Ethanol Groups Note EPA Memo on RINS

fuels-americaThe ethanol industry is drawing attention to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) memo “buried deep” in the recent proposal for volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) about the impact of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINS) and gas prices.

“The memo that came out in the rule package that was made public in the docket by EPA confirm(s) something we’d all confirmed before – that RIN prices didn’t and don’t have an impact on retail gas prices,” said Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis during a Fuels America press call on Thursday with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

RFA Senior Vice President Geoff Cooper explained that EPA openly acknowledges that fact and others in the memo that the ethanol industry has been claiming for some time. “They spend a lot of time in this memo talking about how RIN prices can transform the gasoline market place,” said Cooper, since a higher RIN price results in a “significant decrease in the price for E85.”

Growth Energy Chief Economist Jim Miller adds that the memo shows the RFS is working as intended and the volume obligations under the law should reflect that. “We hope EPA will consider the memo they drafted and revise their proposed rule to reflect the positive elements that the RFS provides to everyone in America,” said Miller.

“By failing to implement the statute, EPA is systematically destructing the RIN credit market and discouraging investment in new technology and infrastructure that would break the blend wall,” concluded RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen. “We strongly believe that EPA needs to scrap this proposal and get the RFS back on track.”

Fuels America press conference

USDA Lowers Corn for Ethanol Forecast

usda-logoIn the June World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate, USDA raised corn beginning stocks for 2015/16 with a 25 million bushel reduction in 2014/15 forecast corn use in ethanol production. The revision, the result of a reduction of the forecast corn use in ethanol reduction for 2014/2015, is based on data reported in the Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production report through April.

Forecasts continue to show farmers planting 89.2 million acres and harvesting 81.7 million acres, with an average yield of 166.8 bushels per acre and production of 13.6 billion bushels, down from 2014 corn production of 14.2 billion bushels.

Despite total supply and ending stocks revisions, USDA continues to estimate the average farm price for the current market year at $3.55 to $3.75 per bushel, and a broader range of $3.20 to $3.80 for the next market year, which begins Sept. 1.

Novozymes Tech Service Adds Profitability

One of the themes that Novozymes wanted to drive home to ethanol producers at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop last week was that they deliver more than enzymes when they partner with plants.

few15-novo-billy-kevinA big part of the Novozymes philosophy in helping ethanol plants is technical service. “We have a team of over 40 scientists deployed across the U.S. supporting the biofuels industry,” said Kevin Cox, Novozymes director of technical service for biofuels. “It’s a unique part of our company in that we provide a different value proposition through technical service.”

Novozymes technical service offerings include customer training, process optimization, data analysis, and laboratory support. “Our overarching goal is to be a trusted adviser and a partner to our customers and help them succeed in their business,” Cox said. Interview with Kevin Cox, Novozymes

Billy Whitlock, plant support tech services manager for Novozymes, says they work with plants on trials to make sure new products are right for them. “We’re there working with them whether it’s products that improve yield, to products that try to streamline the production process to increase output,” said Whitlock. “Our arm of the tech services division is really tasked with bringing the knowledge and the information from our headquarters to our customers.”

Interview with Billy Whitlock, Novozymes

2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop Photo Album

Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by
Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by Novozymes

America’s Renewable Future Announces Partners

ARF-LogoAmerica’s Renewable Future (ARF) today announced its diverse coalition of partners that includes state and national ethanol and biofuels associations and companies committed to educating presidential candidates in both parties about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The partners include organizations such as the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA), Iowa Biodiesel Board, Iowa Ethanol Producers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Biotechnology Association, Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealer Association, Growth Energy, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and companies such as POET, DuPont, Stine Seed Company, Archer Daniels Midland, and Novozymes.

“We’re involved because over a third of our corn crop goes directly into the ethanol industry,” said ICGA CEO Craig Floss, during a conference call today with representatives of several partners. The corn growers were one of the coalition’s founding partners, along with Iowa RFA. “We are very excited to see support (for ARF) grow and I think we’ll see more in the future,” said IRFA executive director Monte Shaw. “It really shows this is not just about farmers, or ethanol and biodiesel plants, it’s something that really affects every one of us.”

During the call, representatives of ARF discussed reaction to the EPA’s new proposed volume obligations under the RFS. Others on the call included former Iowa Lt. Gov. and ARF Co-Chair Patty Judge, Lincolnway Energy Director and ARF Co-Chair Bill Couser, and Iowa farmer Mark Recker. America's Renewable Future partners press conference

Novozymes Enzyme Solutions for Ethanol Producers

few15-novo-nickOne of the last presentations at the 2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop featured some of the enzymatic solutions Novozymes North America offers to optimize fermentation and increase yields.

Novozymes data scientist Nick Giffen discussed Novozymes throughput solutions such as Avantec and Olexa. “Avantec is our featured liquifaction solution,” said Giffen. “It provides a more well-prepared mash for fermentation.” Olexa® is specifically designed for oil recovery, releasing 15% more oil for extraction, increasing ethanol yield and reducing use of natural gas. Both products Giffen says really help fermentation take off and produce ethanol faster.

Giffen also talked about Spirizyme® Achieve, the industry’s first fiber-degrading glucoamylase. “That allows the fiber-bound starch to be released which provides an extra pool for yield to come from,” said Giffen.

In the five years Giffen has been with Novozymes he has helped in the development of all these relatively new products. “My role is to really focus on the proof of concept phase of our new product launches and analyze the data and figure out the trends going on,” he said, adding that he thoroughly loves his job. Interview with Nick Giffen, Novozymes

2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop Photo Album

Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by
Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by Novozymes

The Novozymes Strategy

few15-novo-andersThis year, Novozymes announced a new corporate “Partnering for Impact” strategy and a new purpose statement which reads, “Together, we find biological answers for better lives in a growing world – Let’s rethink tomorrow.”

“We try to make a difference in the world with the technologies that we provide,” said Anders Lund, Vice President of global marketing for Novozymes, who attended last week’s Fuel Ethanol Workshop where the Novozymes strategy was on display. “The more successful we can be with partners, the more impact these technologies will have in the marketplace.”

The new strategy sets out four focus areas for Novozymes:
1) Rally for change
2) Lead innovation
3) Focus on opportunities
4) Grow people

Novozymes is an industrial biotechnology company with a focus on enzymes and is the largest global supplier of enzymes in the ethanol industry. Lund says they are driven by research and development. “We invest 12 to 14 percent back in R&D in our revenues,” said Lund. “That’s our DNA, we’ve been doing that for the last 40-50 years and we would like to continue to do that.”

In this interview, Lund explains more about the Novozymes strategy of Partnering for Impact. Interview with Anders Lund, Novozymes

2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop Photo Album

Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by
Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by Novozymes

Solenis Launches Scale Inhibitor at #FEW15

few15-solenisSolenis introduced a new scale inhibitor for ethanol plant evaporators at the 2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo (FEW) in Minneapolis last week.

Solenis, a leading global producer of specialty chemicals, launched the Polystabil™ AS4535 scale inhibitor specifically designed to help fuel ethanol producers control scale in their evaporators, improving heat transfer and reducing downtime while still meeting regulatory guidelines for chemical usage.

solenis-inhibitor“Today’s fuel ethanol processes tend to generate more scale than ever before,” said Allen Ziegler, global biorefining marketing director. “This novel product performs significantly better than polyacrylate chemistries and allows fuel ethanol plants to split feed the chemistry, for example at the front of the evaporators to treat the whole system, and then with an additional dosage before problem areas, such as the evaporator where inorganics are concentrated. This results in improved heat transfer efficiency and a reduced need for cleaning and related downtime. Fuel ethanol operations using Polystabil AS4535 scale inhibitor are therefore able to maintain maximum efficiency while staying within regulatory limits.”

The new scale inhibitor represents one of many solutions recently developed for fuel ethanol producers by Solenis, which was previously known as Ashland Water Technologies. Other process and water treatment innovations include FDA-approved corn oil extraction aids for both disk-stack and tricanter systems; a proprietary control system that allows for around-the-clock surveillance and control of process and water treatment programs; a low-corrosion microbiocide for cooling water systems; and new antibiotic-free fermentation aids.

2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop Photo Album

Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by
Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by Novozymes

Iowa RFA Praises State Legislature

irfaAs the Iowa Legislature wrapped up the 2015 legislative session last week, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) praised several key pieces of legislation that were passed to expand use of higher ethanol and biodiesel blends.

Before the gavel went down on the 86th General Assembly, Iowa lawmakers passed key legislation that allows E15 infrastructure investments to become eligible for Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure grants. Previously, the funds were only available for blender pumps and dispensers offering E85. Additionally, the Iowa legislature passed a bill that will establish a new grant program for fuel retailers to replace old underground storage tank (UST) equipment with new components that are UL listed to be fully compatible with E85.

“After a long, spirited session, we sincerely thank the Iowa Legislature for remaining committed to increasing the use and availability of higher ethanol and biodiesel blends,” stated IRFA Policy Director Grant Menke. “With an uphill climb for renewable fuels ahead in terms of federal policy, forward-thinking state initiatives are a must to continue to build upon the successes of Iowa’s nation-leading renewable fuels industry.”

Earlier in the session, the Iowa Legislature included a 3-cent per gallon differential tax rate for B11 and higher biodiesel blends in its road infrastructure legislation. Iowa RFA says this provision, which takes effect for five years on July 1, will help encourage the increased use and availability of higher biodiesel blends.

Novozymes Talks Fermentation at #FEW15

few15-novo-derekOne of the most well-attended breakout sessions at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop last week in Minneapolis explored “Best Practices for Yield Maximization.”

Novozymes research associate Derek Payne focused on propagation and fermentation optimization and getting data from small scale fermentations to find out what works. “By doing the smaller scale first you can predict patterns you would see in larger scale before implementing it,” said Payne who compares small scale fermentations to micro-breweries. “As technology gets better, we can more closely mimic what’s going on in the plant, in the lab itself.”

Novozymes offers lab services consulting and advanced laboratory seminars, depending on a plant’s needs. Listen to Derek explain more in this interview: Interview with Derek Payne, Novozymes

2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop Photo Album

Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by
Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by Novozymes

Ethanol Industry Thoughts on Presidential Candidates

few15-bob-brookeSeveral new presidential hopefuls in both parties have officially declared their candidacies recently and more are planning to announce soon. During a press briefing at the 2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop, Bob Dinneen with the Renewable Fuels Association and Brooke Coleman with the Advanced Ethanol Council were asked how they think the candidates, declared and undeclared, rate when it comes to the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Dinneen attended the Iowa Ag Summit in March where nine Republican presidential hopefuls were asked their views on the RFS and was not surprised that the only two who said they were opposed were from Texas – the first declared GOP candidate Sen. Ted Cruz and former Gov. Rick Perry, who just formally declared this week. “That’s a dog bites man story if there ever was one,” said Dinneen. “I would think less of those two men if they weren’t sticking up for their big Texas oil industry.”

Dinneen was surprised by the candidates who did express support for the RFS, some of them publicly for the first time, including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is expected to announce his candidacy later this month, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, both of whom have yet to declare.

On the Democratic side, another new candidate announced this week was former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee, but the big dog in the fight is still Hillary Clinton and Coleman was impressed with her recent op-ed in the Cedar Rapids Gazette. “It suggested that she understands the different intricacies of the challenges we face in this industry,” said Coleman. “However, one op-ed does not make a candidate and we will have to continue to work with Secretary Clinton to make sure that she is helpful to make sure she is helpful with regard to what we are dealing with in the administration right now because there is no better person to help us than Hillary Clinton when it comes to where the Obama administration is in the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

Listen to Dinneen and Coleman here: Comments from RFA's Bob Dinneen and AEC's Brooke Coleman at FEW

2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop Photo Album

Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by
Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by Novozymes