Express Lube Offers Gevo’s Isobutanol

Gevo has announced that Express Lube of Fredericksburg, Texas, is the first U.S. service station to sell gasoline blended with Gevo’s renewable isobutanol at the pump. Gevo said this is anticipated to be the first of many retail locations to offer Gevo’s product as the company rolls out its isobutanol to the marina, outdoor equipment and off-road gasoline markets.

Gevo logoAccording to Express Lube owner Adam Sheffield, he decided to sell isobutanol-blended gasoline because its moisture resistance and capacity to reduce engine corrosion are ideal for equipment and vehicles that are used intermittently. Sheffield learned about Gevo’s renewable isobutanol from Kino Oil, a local distributor that sells the product in drums. Kino began to offer the fuel made with isobutanol after finding that it is ethanol-free and is excellent for use with marine and off-road engines. Today the station is selling its fuel at over a 50 percent premium in comparison to local E10 gasoline blends that contain 10 percent ethanol.

“Isobutanol is great for weed eaters, mowers and farm or ranch equipment that sits unused for long periods of time – because it does not cause carburetors to gum up the way ethanol does,” said Sheffield. “I tried it myself after discovering that the ethanol-blended gasoline sitting in my riding mower over the winter had ruined the carburetor. It cost me $700 to replace. That’s when I switched to isobutanol.”

According to Gevo, its isobutanol is blended with gasoline to help meet renewable fuel
and clean air standards, and after several years of work and testing, has successfully obtained registration with the U.S. EPA as a fuel additive. Recently, the National Marine Manufacturers Association officially endorsed isobutanol as a drop-in fuel for marine and recreational boat engines. Gevo believes that retail sales of isobutanol-blended gasoline by Express Lube will help establish the value proposition for other fuel retailers.

Dr. Patrick Gruber, Chief Executive Officer of Gevo, added, “We welcome Express Lube as the very first retail service station to sell gasoline made with our isobutanol. It’s only a matter of time before other distributors and gas stations across the U.S. and in other parts of the world discover the benefits of isobutanol, and begin to offer our product commercially as well.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Ocean Energy Europe, the industry group for ocean renewable energy in Europe, exceeded 100 members when Wavepower, Marine Power Systems and Mojo Maritime joined as members. They join a growing list of industry representatives uniting behind a common plan for industrialising the ocean energy sector.
  • The Waste Conversion Development & Finance Summit is scheduled September 29 to October 1, 2015, at the Law Offices of Baker & McKenzie in Chicago, IL. According to a study conducted by Grand View Research in early January 2015, the global WTE market is expected to reach $37 billion by 2020. The three-day event, hosted by InfoCast, will focus on the development and financing of the projected market.
  • SkyPower, under the guidance of the Government of Kenya, will distribute two million solar kits to homes and working families across the nation currently without access to electricity. The portable SkyPower Home solar kits include a solar panel and an inverter to help Kenyans harness the power of the sun. The home solar kits include LED bulbs, a fan, USB charging capabilities and a radio that will be powered and recharged by the sun.
  • VIASPACE Inc. has announced that it has completed the engineering and design work for a 2 MW biogas power plant in Papua New Guinea for Clean Energy Solutions Pacific (CES). The CES project located in Papua New Guinea (PNG) is to own and operate a biogas power plant and Giant King Grass plantation that delivers reliable, 24/7 electricity to the grid to meet the customer demand profile, under a power purchase agreement from the government electricity company.

New Ethanol Production, Corn Oil Comes to Market

Pacific Ethanol has begun commercial production of corn oil utilizing Valicor’s corn oil recovery system at its Columbia ethanol plant located in Boardman, Oregon. With the completion of this 2-year initiative, all four of the western Pacific Ethanol plants are now producing corn oil.

Neil Koehler, the company’s president and CEO, said of the milestone, “With the production of distillers corn oil at our Columbia plant, all eight of our ethanol facilities separate corn oil for sale into high-value markets. Corn oil production has been a major milestone for the company, and one that we expect to provide significant benefits as it broadens our co-product mix, further diversifies our revenue streams and enhances operating income.”

Cellulosic sugars, following extraction from bagasse at Iogen's Raizen Costa Pinto Plant (Brazil) where cellulosic ethanol is not being produced. Photo Credit:  novocana.com

Cellulosic sugars, following extraction from bagasse at Iogen’s Raizen Costa Pinto Plant (Brazil) where cellulosic ethanol is now being produced. Photo Credit: novocana.com.

Moving to the Midwest, the Dakota Spirit AgEnergy ethanol plant was fully commissioned. The 65 MMGy facility, located in Spiritwood, North Dakota, is the first corn-ethanol plant to be built in the U.S. in more than five years. The plant is unique in that the process steam is purchased from Great River Energy’s nearby Spiritwood Station and is used to help produce electricity.

Across the pond (and an ocean) in Brazil, Iogen Energy’s cellulosic ethanol plant is now up and running at the Raízen`s newly expanded Costa Pinto sugar cane mill in Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was on hand for a celebration and noted, “the production of second generation ethanol from sugarcane bagasse is the realization of a dream for the country. The collaboration between the State and Raízen is part of the government’s commitment to ethanol production as a strategic measure for economic development.”

Climate Deniers Uncovered

A paper published by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), “The Climate Deception Dossiers,” reveals decades of corporate misinformation campaigns by the fossil fuel industry. The paper focuses on seven deception dossiers, or collections containing nearly 85 internal company and trade association documents that have either been leaked to the public, come to light through lawsuits, or been disclosed through Freedom of Information Act requests.

gw-cover-climate-deception-dossiersThe authors say that many call climate change a hoax, including U.S. Senator James Inhofe who is now chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. However, write the authors, the biggest climate hoax is continuing today and that is, “…the decades long campaign by a handful of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies – such as Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy – to deceive the American public by distorting the realities and risks of climate change, something acting directly and sometimes acting indirectly through trade associations and front groups.”

The authors continue that that deception dossiers tell an undeniable truth, “…that for nearly three decades, major fossil fuel companies have knowingly worked to distort climate science findings, deceive the public, and block policies designed to hasten our needed transition to a clean energy economy.

So what do we learn?

  • Fossil Fuel companies have intentionally spread climate disinformation for decades.
  • Fossil fuel company leaders knew that their products were harmful to people and the planet but still chose to actively deceive the public and deny this harm.
  • The campaign of deception continues today.

The authors write that while many fossil fuel companies acknowledge the main findings of climate science, some still continue to support groups that spread misinformation about climate science and policy. Some of these front groups include: Heartland Institute, Americans for Prosperity, and the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow. The authors say these groups, along with industry trade associations such as American Petroleum Institute (API), American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE). The fossil fuel industry also uses a host of fake grassroots organizations such as Fed Up at the Pump and Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy to fight against legislation such as the Clean Power Plan and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Continue reading

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Martifer Solar will begin construction of a 57 MWp portfolio of solar PV projects in Jordan. The portfolio consists of four projects, which were awarded successfully with Power Purchase Agreements under Round 1 of Jordan’s National Renewable Energy Plan. Of the 57 MWp portfolio, there are three projects each with an individual capacity of 11 MWp, located near the city of Ma’an in south-central Jordan—Al Ward Al Joury, Al Zahrat Al Salam and Al Zanbaq. In addition, there is one project, Jordan Solar One, with a capacity of 24 MWp, to be constructed near the northern town of Mafraq.
  • While the UK government’s recent decision to remove renewable energy sources from Climate Change Levy (CCL) exemption will generate around £490 million by 2016 and up to £1 billion per year by 2020, the policy will have a negative impact on the country’s renewable sector, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData. According to Prasad Tanikella, GlobalData’s Senior Analyst covering Power, the renewable energy sector may suffer in the next few years, but decreasing costs will mean that it will continue to grow in the long term.
  • A new report from Navigant Research analyzes the market for natural gas refueling infrastructure and the factors expected to influence its deployment, including global market forecasts segmented by fuel type, station type, and region, through 2025. The total number of global natural gas refueling stations is expected to grow from 23,001 in 2015 to 38,887 in 2025.
  • The opportunities for institutional investors to invest in hydropower may increase as the limited secondary market in existing hydro plants begins to open up, according to a new paper published by Aquila Capital, one of Europe’s leading independent alternative asset managers. “Real Assets – Hydropower Investments,” explains how hydro plants are beginning to be sold as energy suppliers offset losses in other sectors. Hydropower also provides the strongest diversification in renewables portfolios, the report says.

Block Island Wind Farm Has Steel in Water

The American wind energy industry along with Rhode Island state legislators and others celebrated what Deepwater Wind is calling a “historic moment” for the offshore wind industry as the first “steel in the water” milestone was met this week for the Block Island Wind Farm. This marks the installation of the first offshore wind farm foundation component – a 400-ton steel jacket on the sea floor – by Weeks Marine and Mason Construction. The site is located roughly three miles off the Block Island coast.

On hand for the ceremony were Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Abigail Ross Hopper, the state’s Congressional delegation, and more than a hundred other elected officials, leaders of national environmental advocacy organizations, federal and state regulators, Block Islanders and project supporters to celebrate the milestone where guests took a ferry tour of the offshore construction site.

Block-Island-RI-Google-300x190

Block Island – Photo Credit: Coastal News Today

“Rhode Island is proud to be home to the nation’s first offshore wind farm – a great opportunity for our state to stake out real leadership in this growing industry,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “Not only are we going to create over 300 good-paying jobs, but we’re going to rebrand ourselves as being more innovative and, over time, make Rhode Island a place that has a more diversified energy supply and greener energy. I’m committed to supporting this progress with a comprehensive jobs plan focused on making it easier to do business in Rhode Island and making sure we are training the workforce today to support the innovations of tomorrow.”

Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski noted, “We know the world is watching closely what we do here, and we’re incredibly proud to be at the forefront of a new American clean-tech industry launching right here in the Ocean State. This moment has been years in the making – and it’s just the start of something very big.” When complete, the offshore wind farm will generate 30 MW.

Construction is set for an eight-week period this summer and more than a dozen construction and transport barges, tugboats, crew ships and monitoring vessels will be active at the offshore construction site. In addition, vessel and crane operators, engineers, welders, scientists, protected species observers and dozens of others are all involved with this momentous operation.

“Weeks Marine and Manson Construction are enthused to assist with this challenging project and excited for the future opportunity it promises,” said Rick Palmer, Project Director for Weeks/Manson, a joint venture leading the installation work. “We commend Deepwater Wind for their diligent efforts that have led to this milestone achievement.” Continue reading

NBB Cites Biodiesel Benefits of RFS

The comment period has officially ended for the final 2014 and 2015 final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rule as set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The National Biodiesel Board submitted comments but has a different take on how to keep the legislation moving forward and successful.

Biodiesel at the pumpBiodiesel falls under the Biomass-based Diesel category of the RFS, which is a subset of the overall Advanced Biofuels category. The EPA proposal, which is slated to be finalized in November, would gradually raise biodiesel volumes by about 100 million gallons per year to a standard of 1.9 billion gallons in 2017. The overall Advanced Biofuel standard would rise to 3.4 billion gallons in 2016.

NBB wrote in their comments, “The growth and expansion of the U.S. biodiesel industry in recent years represents a tremendous success story under the RFS. Today, nearly 2 billion gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel displace an equivalent amount of petroleum diesel. This has resulted in significant reductions in pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while creating thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic impact across the nation.”

“The industry now has production plants in nearly every state in the country making fuel from an increasingly diverse mix of feedstocks, including recycled cooking oil, plant oils such as soybean oil, and animal fats,” the comments state. “In short, the biomass‐based diesel program has exceeded expectations and is achieving the goals that Congress outlined in creating the RFS. As a result, it warrants additional volume growth to meet the objectives of Congress in expanding renewable fuel use in the diesel market and in promoting advanced biofuels under the program.

NBB’s comments follow a letter from 36 U.S. senators last week calling for increased biodiesel volumes, and add to thousands of comments submitted by biodiesel supporters to the EPA in recent weeks. The comment period on the EPA’s pending proposal closed at midnight Monday.

“The EPA’s proposal is an improvement over its initial draft, but the agency can and should do much better,” said Anne Steckel, NBB vice president of federal affairs. “We have presented credible, compelling reasons for increasing biodiesel use under the RFS, and we hope the EPA carefully reviews our comments and those of thousands of other biodiesel supporters who have weighed in.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) released a new economic study detailing a devastating relationship between higher electricity prices and job losses. The study, Affordable Electricity: Rural America’s Economic Lifeline, measures the impact of a 10 and 25 percent electricity price increase on jobs and gross domestic product (GDP) from 2020 to 2040. According to the study, a 10 percent increase in electricity prices results in 1.2 million jobs lost in 2021. Nearly 500,000 of those lost jobs are in rural areas of the country, and even 20 years later, the economy fails to fully recover. The impact of a 25 percent increase would be more damaging with 2.2 million jobs lost in 2021, with more than 890,000 of those occurring in rural areas.
  • The Nebraska Ethanol Board will be part of the new “Farm to Fork” interactive activity located in the multi-purpose arena kid’s zone from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT during the Lancaster County Super Fair Agriculture Awareness Day Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015. Several commodity boards and farm-related sponsors will exhibit giveaways and activities for children.
  • SunPower has announced that it has acquired 1.5 GW of U.S. solar power plant development assets from Australia-based Infigen Energy. With the acquisition, SunPower has assumed ownership of projects in varying stages of development across 11 states. Included in the development portfolio are three projects totaling 55 megawatts (AC) with power purchase agreements with Southern California Edison. All three are located in Kern County, California with commercial operation anticipated in 2016.
  • IEEE Smart Village, a global humanitarian program helping remote, energy-deprived communities build toward sustainability with renewable energy and technology, today launched its new website (www.ieee-smart-village.org) to the world and to crowds assembling this week in Denver at the annual IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) General Meeting (GM). It also unveiled the new IEEE Global Classroom at the Posner Center for International development.

RFS Comments Piled High at EPA Doors

Boxes upon boxes of comments relating to the Renewable Fuel Standard were delivered to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) doors yesterday as the comment period ended for the final 2014/2015 rule. Despite clear legislation on the amount of renewable volumetric obligations (RVOs) for all facets of renewable fuels, the EPA lowered the amount of corn-ethanol required to be blended in America’s fuel supply. During the timeframe allocated for comments, the biofuels industry came together not only in support of the industry but to call on the EPA to “get back on track” and put the RVOs at minimum at the levels set by legislation.

Leaders from the National Farmers Union and I Am Biotech delivered more than 200,000 comments on behalf of Fuels America to the EPA.

Leaders from the National Farmers Union and I Am Biotech delivered more than 200,000 comments on behalf of Fuels America to the EPA.

Fuels America collected more than 200,000 written comments while VoteVets.org turned in nearly 47,000 petition signatures calling on the EPA to strengthen the RFS.

“It is absolutely crucial, for the wellbeing of our military, and our national security, that we lessen our dependence on oil,” said Jon Soltz, Iraq veteran and chairman of VoteVets.org.  “A strong RFS is a key part of that equation.  It is very simple – every drop of renewable fuel in our gasoline means one less drop of oil.  The EPA should listen to those who love and support our military, and care about our national security, and strengthen the RFS.”

Last week the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) held an RFS rally where hundreds of corn growers from across the country called the EPA to task and told them to “stay the course”. A letter submitted by NCGA states, “The RFS has spurred growth in agriculture, increased energy diversity and decreased GHG emissions from fossil fuels through the development of renewable energy resources. We urge the Agency to stay the course and support this important piece of transformational energy policy, and we request it reconsider its proposed reduction in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 renewable volume obligations.”

Also submitting a letter along with comments was the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). The letter, authored by President and CEO Bob Dinneen, called the proposal “surprising” and imprudent” and he charged the EPA with buying into the oil industry’s false narrative regarding the so-called blend wall. By doing so, he wrote, “EPA has unnecessarily and illegally curtailed the unprecedented evolution occurring in the transportation fuels market that was delivering technology innovation, carbon reduction, and consumer savings.”

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE0 also submitted comments that included E15 sales data demonstrating that consumers are choosing ethanol at the pump. Executive Vice President Brian Jennings wrote, “The RFS is intended to reduce the GHG emissions of motor fuel and provide consumer access to E15 and flex fuels which are less expensive and cleaner than gasoline. These sweeping goals will not be realized if EPA continues to ride the brakes on the RFS. Issuance of the final RFS in November has consequences beyond trying to get the program back on track.  The decision will come at the same time the President prepares to negotiate an international agreement to reduce GHG emissions in Paris.  What an embarrassment it will be if EPA betrays the Administration’s commitment to curb climate change by restricting the use of low carbon biofuels in the U.S.” Continue reading

Neb Gov Ricketts Rallies for RFS

On Friday, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts rallied for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in Blair, Nebraska at Novozymes’ biofuel enzyme facility. Also in attendance was Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson and Kyle Nixon, Novozymes general manager. According to speakers, should the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule that slashes the required volumes of corn ethanol by more than one million gallons move forward, it will threaten thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investments by ethanol producers in Nebraska and Iowa.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts speaks about the RFS during a rally held at Novozyme's enzyme facility in Blair, Nebraska. Photo Credit: Novozymes

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts speaks about the RFS during a rally held at Novozyme’s enzyme facility in Blair, Nebraska. Photo Credit: Novozymes.

“Agriculture is Nebraska’s number one industry, and ethanol is one of the key agricultural growth industries that have added billions in revenue and thousands of jobs over the past decade to our state,” said Gov. Ricketts. “These efforts were undertaken in expectation that such efforts would meet the commitment of this nation to renewable fuels established by the Renewable Fuel Standard. Nebraskans have cause for concern because the EPA’s proposal to slash billions of gallons of biofuels from the RFS has the potential to negatively impact the future growth of our state. The RFS is an achievable and ambitious target and must be maintained.”

Today is the last day for public comment on the rule and more than 200,000 comments alone were submitted today by Fuels America. Earlier this year the association released an economic study citing the RFS driving $184 billion in economic activity, 850,000 jobs and $46 billion in wages across the country. This activity, found the report, creates a ripple effect as supplier firms and employees re-spend throughout the economy. The local impact for Nebraska is $11.1 billion and nearly 40,000 jobs. Likewise, the impact for Iowa is $19.3 billion and 73,000 jobs.

Today the U.S. biofuels industry produces 14 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel.

According to Nixon, enzymes from Novozyme’s Blair, Nebraska plant allow agricultural products like corn starch and corn stover to be converted into conventional and advanced biofuels. He noted the facility has helped realize two of the Obama Administration’s key goals for renewable energy; creating short-term construction and long-term professional jobs; and helping move the U.S. away from foreign oil and towards homegrown renewable fuel, energizing the economy and increasing domestic security. Continue reading