Record 2015 Biodiesel Numbers Kick Off #NBB16

News that biodiesel set new volume records in 2015 set the stage Monday for the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference and Expo in Tampa, Florida.

nbb-16-jobe-1According to new EPA data, consumers used a record of nearly 2.1 billion gallons of biodiesel last year, demonstrating biodiesel’s rising popularity and its success as the first EPA-designated advanced biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide.

“We just came through a two and a half year period of very difficult struggle because of the EPA’s delay in issuing the rule-making on the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe. “We’re positioned to break a record again in 2016.”

The theme of the biodiesel industry’s 13th annual conference this year is Coast to Coast, which Jobe says reflects the diversity of the fuel. “That diversity gives us a certain amount of strength in terms of our policy and how we utilize very diversified regionally abundant feedstocks,” said Jobe.

The conference really gets underway Tuesday morning when the Expo hall opens and Jobe will lead the opening general session with his state of the industry address. Keep track of all the conference activities on the Biodiesel Conference Blog – and you can also look back on the past 10 years of biodiesel conferences archived there as well.

Listen to my interview with Joe here: 2016 Biodiesel Conference preview with NBB CEO Joe Jobe

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Ethanol Report on Media, Politics and the RFS

ethanol-report-adWith the Iowa caucuses coming up February 1, the Hawkeye State has been inundated with both candidates and reporters, and ethanol has become a topic for mainstream media to report about, often inaccurately. In this Ethanol Report, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen discusses the inaccurate terms being used to describe the RFS, urges the media and voters to do independent research, and gives his thoughts on the views of Republican candidate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Ethanol Report on Media, Politics and the RFS

#RFS Campaign Fact Checks from @EthanolRFA

rfalogo1Ethanol has been in the spotlight as a presidential campaign issue with the Iowa caucuses just around the corner, but the Renewable Fuels Association is concerned about some of the misconceptions that have been tossed around in the discussion so they have issued a one-page fact sheet to correct some of that with both candidates and the media.

First – there is no “corn ethanol subsidy.”The Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (also known as the “blender’s tax credit”) expired five years ago in 2011. Further it was gasoline blenders — not ethanol producers — who received a 45 cent per gallon tax credit for each gallon of ethanol blended. The Small Ethanol Producer Tax Credit also expired in 2011.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is not a “subsidy.”The RFS is not a tax incentive or subsidy in any way, shape, or form. The RFS has absolutely no impact on the federal budget or tax revenues. Rather, the RFS is a program that guarantees lower-carbon biofuels will have access to a fuel market that is overwhelmingly and unfairly dominated by petroleum.

There is also no such thing as an “ethanol mandate.”The RFS does not mandate the use of corn ethanol or any other type of ethanol for that matter. Rather, the RFS requires that oil companies blend increasing volumes of renewable fuels, without specifying the type of renewable fuel. In fact, oil companies may meet their RFS obligations by blending and marketing biogas, renewable diesel, renewable jet fuel, biobutanol, biodiesel, and a host of other renewable fuel options. While a wide variety of renewable fuels are being produced today, ethanol has been the highest-volume and lowest-cost renewable fuel available to meet RFS requirements.

Read more here.

RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen urges members of the media to contact the RFA if they have questions about ethanol or the RFS. “Unfortunately the media has been perpetuating a lot of the misinformation about the ethanol industry as they cover the presidential candidates,” said Dinneen. “There are two sides to every story and if reporters have questions, or need further clarification on any ethanol-related issues, we are ready and available to assist them.”

Iowa Delegation Urges EPA to Get RFS on Track

The entire Iowa congressional delegation this week urged the EPA to propose 2017 ethanol and 2018 biodiesel Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) consistent with enacted law.

A letter signed by Iowa Congressmen David Young, Rod Blum, Steve King, and Dave Loebsack, and Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, was sent to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy encouraging her to commit to getting the RFS back on track.

“Our agricultural base in Iowa, serving as feedstock for ethanol and biodiesel production, has near record supplies of excess corn,” the members of Congress wrote. “We believe the statutory levels are more than achievable in the coming year.”

irfa-iowa-delegationReps. Loebsack, Young and King all appeared Tuesday at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit to discuss the letter and the importance of the RFS.

“We’ll see if we get any results,” from the letter, said Rep. King. “But we’ve been saying consistently and persistently that the RFS is in statute – follow it.”

“It’s not totally out of the question for us to work together,” said Loebsack, the only Democrat of the three. “And on this issue it’s a complete no brainer … it’s about our economy, it’s about our farmers, it’s about national security, it’s about a lot of things.”

“We have farm income down about 35% and we have the EPA which seems to be on a warpath at times,” said Young. “We’re just asking the EPA to obey the law.”

Listen to the press conference here: Iowa congressmen at Iowa RFA

10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit Photo Album

Great Green Fleet Deployed

vilsack-navy-fleetSecretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack kicked off the Great Green Fleet with the deployment of the USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCS CSG) during a ceremony Wednesday in California. At the end of the ceremony, the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Stockdale left the pier to begin its deployment, becoming the first U.S. Navy ship running on an alternative fuel blend as part of its regular operations.

The Great Green Fleet is a Department of the Navy initiative using energy efficiency and alternative fuels to increase combat capability and operational flexibility. “The Great Green Fleet shows how we are transforming our energy use to make us better warfighters, to go farther, stay longer, and deliver more firepower,” said Mabus. “Diversifying our energy sources arms us with operational flexibility and strengthens our ability to provide presence, turning the tables on those who would use energy as a weapon against us.”

The blend fueling the Navy ships contains alternative fuel made from waste beef fat provided by farmers in the Midwest purchased through a partnership between the Navy and USDA. “The Navy’s use of renewable energy in the Great Green Fleet represents its ability to diversify its energy sources, and also our nation’s ability to take what would be a waste product and create homegrown, clean, advanced biofuels to support a variety of transportation needs,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Today’s deployment proves that America is on its way to a secure, clean energy future, where both defense and commercial transportation can be fueled by our own hardworking farmers and ranchers, reduce landfill waste, and bring manufacturing jobs back to rural America.”

The advanced fuel blend was produced by California-based AltAir Fuels from a feedstock of beef tallow – waste beef fat – provided by Midwest farmers and ranchers, and traditional petroleum provided by Tesoro. Pursuant to Navy requirements, the alternative fuel is drop-in, meaning it requires no changes to ship engines, transport or delivery equipment, or operational procedures.

National Biodiesel CEO Keynotes Iowa RFA Summit

irfa-jobeNational Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe was the keynote speaker at the 10th annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit this week, highlighting the significance of the new volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for biodiesel.

“It signaled a strong commitment by the EPA that they not only wanted to get the program back on track but they want to keep it on track,” said Jobe. “Prior to this rulemaking, we only had a precedent of one year’s growth for biomass-based biodiesel…after this year, we have a precedent for five years’ growth.”

Jobe noted that the rulemaking doubled the volumes for biodiesel between 2012 to 2017. “That’s significant because in the next five year time frame, from 2018 to 2022, it’s our industry’s goal to double again,” he said. “It’s our industry’s vision to be 10 by 22, ten percent of the nation’s diesel fuel supply by 2022.”

Jobe invited everyone to the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference coming up next week in Tampa, promising all that it will be warmer there.

Listen to Jobe’s address here: NBB CEO Joe Jobe at Iowa RFA summit

10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit Photo Album

Iowa Governor Blasts Ted Cruz Over Ethanol

irfa-branstadIowa Governor Terry Branstad made national headlines Tuesday at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit with his comments about presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) during an impromptu press conference.

“He is heavily financed by Big Oil,” Branstad said about Cruz. “I think it would be very damaging to our state…and I think it would be a big mistake for Iowa to support him.”

Branstad noted that Senator Cruz was not invited to speak at the renewable fuels summit specifically because of his views on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). “That’s the reason why he hasn’t been invited to this because he hasn’t supported renewable fuels,” said Branstad. “He still supports immediately repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard.” Branstad added that Cruz is “against the wind energy tax credit as well.”

Listen to Branstad’s comments here: Gov. Branstad comments on Ted Cruz

Governor Branstad addressed the 10th Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit, which he has done almost every year that the event has been held. “I have supported ethanol and biodiesel from the very beginning,” he said. Gov. Branstad at Iowa RFA summit

10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit Photo Album

Four GOP Candidates Address #Ethanol

Four Republican presidential candidates addressed the 10th annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit on Tuesday, putting a major national spotlight on the importance of ethanol to the nation.

irfa-santorumFirst up was former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the only candidate who had been there before, making his third appearance to the group. He stressed his long support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). “I am not a newbie to the RFS world,” he said. “I’m the only person in this race who actually voted for the RFS when I was in the United States Senate in 2005.”

Alluding to Senator Ted Cruz, who was not invited to speak at the summit but who has strong support in Iowa, Santorum encouraged ethanol supporters to “Stand up for someone who supports the RFS.”

Listen to Santorum’s remarks here: Rick Santorum at Iowa RFA

irfa-trumpFront runner Donald Trump was next up, reading from prepared remarks and also stressing his support for the RFS. “The RFS is an important tool in the mission to achieve energy independence for the United States,” Trump said. “I will do all that is in my power as president to achieve that goal.”

Trump also noted remarks that Iowa Governor Terry Branstad made in a press conference at the event that “it would be a big mistake for Iowa to support him.”

Listen to Trump’s remarks here: Donald Trump at Iowa RFA

irfa-huckabeeFollowing Trump was former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who stressed the importance of farmers in the goal of energy independence, saying people don’t appreciate “that our agricultural system not only provides the food and fiber for our tables, but now is doing something truly remarkable – helping provide fuel for our energy needs.”

Huckabee said the RFS created investment in renewable fuels and “something magic happened – the program actually worked!”

Listen to Huckabee’s remarks here: Mike Huckabee at Iowa RFA

irfa-fiorinaLast to take the stage was businesswoman Carly Fiorina who talked about the EPA’s final rule for biofuels volume obligations under the RFS made last year that is lower than Congress intended.

“What’s going on with renewable rule standards, what’s going on with EPA, are an example of what’s wrong with our government,” she said. “They are one of the reasons why I’m running for the presidency of the United States.”

Listen to Fiorina’s remarks here: Carly Fiorina at Iowa RFA

10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit Photo Album

Ethanol Report on 2016

ethanol-report-adA new year has dawned and with it new opportunities for the ethanol industry. In this Ethanol Report, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen discusses some of the upcoming events in 2016, including the 21st National Ethanol Conference in New Orleans February 15-17, and comments on whether there may yet be a legal challenge by the industry to the EPA’s biofuels volume obligations under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

Ethanol Report on 2016

Happy New Year from ZimmComm!

2015 was a great year and 2016 promises to be even better! In 2015, the ZimmComm team covered over 70 events in 18 states and four countries, including Australia and New Zealand. We uploaded almost 16,200 photos and 65 videos and did over 5,000 posts on our own five websites and several others. Our Flickr photo albums now have almost 14.7 million views! Thanks to our wonderful clients and friends who make our work a joy!

Look for the golden microphone to get back on the road right away in 2016, heading to Orlando and the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting on January 10. See you down the agriblogging highway!

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