Fuels America Ad Targets President Obama

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 8.04.06 AMIn conjunction with the National Clean Energy Summit that took place in Las Vegas, Fuels America published a full-page ad in the Las Vegas Review-Journal aimed at President Obama. The theme of the ad is the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and a call to action to uphold the law as signed in 2007 by then President Bush. Obama was a keynote speaker at the event and the ad was accompanied by a Review Journal homepage takeover, as well as banner ads geotargeted at the conference.

The ad touts the progress under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – passed 10 years ago this month by Senator Reid and a bipartisan coalition – including the creation of more than 850,000 American jobs and the reduction of America’s oil imports by nearly two-thirds.

The ad describes how the EPA caved to pressure from the oil industry and changed the law midstream with its latest proposal that would let oil companies continue to ignore their obligations under the law and block market access to renewable fuel for American consumers.

Fuels America notes in the ad that American biofuel innovators have invested billions of dollars in the next generation of biofuels – fuels that is cleaner and helps curb climate change, cutting carbon emissions by 88-108% compared to petroleum – under the promise of the RFS that it would end the oil industry’s chokehold on fuel distribution and market access, create American jobs, and give consumers a choice at the pump.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1The Ross Solar Group has completed two record setting solar installations for Gengras Motor Cars at the dealership group’s Volvo and Chevrolet facilities on Connecticut Blvd., in East Hartford Conn. Comprised of 1,280 high efficiency SunPower E-Series solar panels, the two systems, are the largest single SunPower rooftop solar installations to date in East Hartford.
  • FFP New Hydro LLC has announced the continued expansion of its hydroelectric power portfolio in the U.S. with its closing of a senior loan facility with Crestline Investors, Inc. and the acquisition and integration of Rye Development, FFP New Hydro’s manager, into the company. FFP New Hydro has completed these transactions in order to pursue continued development of its portfolio of 21 advanced stage hydropower projects on existing dams across five states, the first of which received a 50-year license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in September of 2014.
  • Doosan Fuel Cell announced its newest fuel cell installation at Norco College, which is part of the Riverside (Calif.) Community College District. The PureCell Model 400 power plant is expected to reduce overall costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions at the 141-acre campus. Unlike conventional grid energy that consumes water for cooling, Doosan’s fuel cell operates with zero water consumption, reducing the campus’ impact on water usage in the drought-stricken region by 1.4 million gallons annually.
  • Clean Energy Fuels Corp. has announced that it will construct new compressed natural gas (CNG) stations for Arlington Transit (ART) in Arlington County, Virginia; Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) in Long Island, NY; and North Kansas City (MO) School District, which is set to become the largest school district in the U.S. to transition its school bus fleet to CNG.

Everyone Wins with Bioheat

Paul Nazzaro said that Bioheat has been a win, win situation for marketers, the biodiesel industry and the petroleum people as well during the Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum that recently took place in Mankao, Minnesota. Nazzaro is the President of Nazzaro Group, who is a liaison between the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and companies who want to, or do sell Bioheat. Specific to Bioheat, he said the product has allowed the biodiesel industry to reinvent itself and produce a product that is more accepted by consumers.

biodiesel-bioheat-15-nazzaro“In the past, heating oil was dirty, prehistoric and linked to to big oil,” said Nazzaro. “They’re finding out Bioheat is the next generation fuel for them and they are valuing the benefits that come with it.”

He said that education has been very important for the increased adoption of Bioheat and that NBB has been leading the way. But he noted that the education is not coming from newspapers and radio ads and stories, its coming from “gorilla marketing”. “It’s a fuel dealer talking to a consumer about the Bioheat and its benefits.”

You can listen Chuck Zimmerman’s interview with Paul Nazzaro: Paul Nazzaro, Nazzaro Group

Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum Photo Album

Kum & Go, E15 Leader #ACE Award Honoree

Jim Pirolli Kum and GoKum & Go is well known in the Midwest, especially in states like Iowa and Nebraska where this year’s #ACE annual Ethanol Conference took place (Omaha). During the event, Jim Pirolli, Vice President of Fuels for Kum & Go talked about his company’s commitment to rolling out E15 stations as well as their efforts to continue to sell more E85. The retailer opened their first E15 station in Des Moines, Iowa recently with 6 more planned over the coming months.

How are they successful? Well, for starters they are price competitive at the pump. Pirolli said that Kum & Go recognizes that alternative fuels such as ethanol support local economies, better for the environment and help them deliver more to the customer than they might expect via an expanded product portfolio and also offering the economic and performance benefits. This summer they have done a very aggressive promotion campaign for E85 in Omaha and also for E15 in Des Moines. He did ask for help in helping to educate consumers about E15.

Listen to Jim Pirolli’s presentation here: Jim Pirolli, Kum & Go

Paul Dana Marketing Vision Award

American Coalition for Ethanol’s (ACE) Ron Lamberty (left) awards Jim Pirolli with Kum & Go the Paul Dana Marketing Vision Award.

Also during the event, Kum & Go was awarded the Paul Dana Marketing Vision Award, to honor a retailer who is supportive of ethanol. Ron Lamberty with ACE noted that the retailer has been an ongoing leader in ethanol selling E10 back in 1979, today as 170 E85 stations in 11 states. He praised them for stepping up for ethanol and for marketing the fuel aggressively and for being a leader in offering E15 to consumers.

Listen to Ron Lamberty’s remarks about Kum and Go here: Kum & Go Honored with Paul Dana Marketing Vision Award

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

New Biodiesel Techs, Feedstocks Help Expand Bioheat

Doug Root works in the world of biofuels in his role with the Ag Utilization Research Institute (AURI) where he looks for new opportunities for Minnesota commodities and co-products. One example: biodiesel. Root spoke during the Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum in Mankato, Minnesota where East met Midwest, or the home of Bioheat met the home of soybean production.

biodiesel-bioheat-15-rootThere are new technologies, explained Root, including new technologies to make biodiesel, new opportunities to utilize the biofuel, and new markets to expand to. There are also opportunities for reduced cost, quality and alternative feedstocks for manufacture of biodiesel or sale into the bioheat market and into the transportation fuels market.

Root said its been exciting to see the biodiesel industry mature and see the improvements in biodiesel quality, year after year to the point where there are virtually no longer low-temperature issues with the biofuel.

You can listen Chuck Zimmerman’s interview with Doug Root here: Doug Root, Ag Utilization Research Institute

Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum Photo Album

NREL Studies E15 Infrastructure

Kristi Moriarty NRELThe National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has been studying current gas retailer’s infrastructure to determine if the equipment is already certified for E15 and flex fuels such as mid-level ethanol blends (E30, E40, E85). If so, the cost to a retailer adding E15 and other ethanol blends will be much less than a retailer who has to upgrade all his/her equipment – a definite cost barrier to more stations adopting emerging ethanol blends.

During the American Coalition for Ethanol’s (ACE) annual Ethanol Conference, held in Omaha, Nebraska, NREL Senior Analyst Kristi Moriarty, discussed the study and demonstrated how retailers can identify opportunities with their current fueling equipment and begin the process of adding E15 as one of their fuel choices.

Listen to Kristi Moriarty’s presentation here: Kristy Moriarty, NREL

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

Hart Home Comfort Adds Bioheat to Usurp Competition

biodiesel-bioheat-15-hartRay Hart with Oakdale, New York-based Hart Home Comfort, is a Bioheat dealer who distributes the biodiesel heating oil blend across New York and Long Island. He spoke during the Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum that took place in Mankato, Minnesota and hosted by Minnesota Soybean. His company was an early adopter of Bioheat and thought it would be a great renewable fuel to set themselves apart from their competition. And it worked.

His company started with one truck and only a few customers and today his company has a fleet, hundreds of customers and their own terminal where they blend the biodiesel into the heating oil. Hart said that along the way there were a few obstacles. At the time they began selling Bioheat no one had heard of the product before. Education is an ongoing challenge, said Hart, who has been selling Bioheat for nine years but noted that more and more customers are asking for the fuel.

Hart said that they try to do everything possible to source the biodiesel as local as possible. He added that the event was a great opportunity to meet some of the people, including the farmers, who are growing the soybeans to make the biodiesel that has helped his business become successful.

You can listen Chuck Zimmerman’s interview with Ray Hart here: Ray Hart, Hart Home Home Comfort

Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum Photo Album

Reign in the EPA Say Republican Candidates

The last batch of Republican presidential candidates took the Soapbox stage during the last weekend of the Iowa State Fair.

Chris ChristieNew Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) took a different approach and only answered questions. His overall statement was that the government needs to enforce the laws currently in place – not just the laws we like- but all laws. Speaking of a law he doesn’t like: the Clean Power Plan. His state has submitted a request to end the program and believes that each state should set their own legislation and develop their own plans. For example, he noted that Iowa is a land of wind, but in the most dense state in the country, solar works better. New Jersey uses solar, natural gas and nuclear and has already met their 2020 clean power goals.

When asked about the Renewable Fuel Standard (#RFS), he said he supports the RFS. The problem is that the Obama Administration along with the EPA is not enforcing the law. He stressed that he is a huge supporter of more energy options and the RFS provides just this and he called out to other candidates to make up their mind on their RFS position.

Listen to why New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wants to be president: Chris Christie at the Iowa State Fair

U.S. Senator from Texas Ted Cruz (R) took much of his time to crack jokes about the Democrats andTed Cruz the rest of his time to talk about all the U.S. government executive orders he would rescind along with government organizations he would dismantle including the IRS, Department of Education and all the other ABCs. And Cruz promised he will reign in the regulatory agencies that “descend like locusts on farms and ranches and small businesses.” As for energy, not sure if reigning in the EPA includes revisions (or trying to overturn) the Renewable Fuel Standard, Clean Power Plan or WOTUS.

Listen to why Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz wants to be president: Ted Cruz at the Iowa State Fair

Bobby JindalLouisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) went back to the “by the bootstraps” message. He said this election is all about the American dream, like most other candidates, and how to bring it back. He wants to evolutionize the economy, stop illegal immigration, buff up our military power and curb the power of regulatory agencies such as the EPA who is regulating the “water in our backyards”. He concluded, “I ask you to believe again. Let’s rescue the idea of America before it slips away.”

Listen to why Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal wants to be president: Bobby Jindal at the Iowa State Fair

Mark EversonThe very last presidential candidate to take the stage was Mark Everson (R) who is the former IRS Commissioner. Who better to call for tax reform than the person who knows it best. He said that this campaign, this country, needs a new type of politician (one could argue Donald Trump and Ben Carson are proving this to be true). In that he meant one who isn’t a life-long politician but rather one who knows how to run a business. He stressed that tax reform would get the economy going.

Listen to why Mark Everson, former IRS Commissioner wants to be president: Mark Everson at the Iowa State Fair

And thus concludes our #Energy and #Ag coverage of the Des Moines Register’s Presidential Soapbox series at the Iowa State Fair. The election is long so the candidates (especially the Democratic candidates) who chose not to address these concerns head on will have some time to get their messages straight before the caucus tentatively scheduled for Monday, February 1, 2016.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Panasonic is currently the runaway leader in the nascent battery market for electric vehicles, but LG Chem has the potential to overtake it in what will be a $30 billion market in 2020, according to Lux Research. Panasonic’s 39% share of the battery market for plug-in vehicles makes it the leading supplier, but its reliance on a single deal with EV leader Tesla leaves it vulnerable. Its lead rival LG Chem has already signed up large automakers including General Motors, Volkswagen, Daimler, and Ford. In the event of a surge in sales of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) by the German manufacturers, LG Chem would only need to win over Japan’s Nissan to topple Panasonic.
  • Gevo, Inc. and Butamax Advanced Biofuels have announced that they have entered into worldwide patent cross-license and settlement agreements, ending a patent dispute related to technologies for the production of bio-based isobutanol. This settlement creates a new relationship between the companies, aimed at leveraging each other’s strengths and accelerating development of competitive supply for bio-based isobutanol.
  • SolarCity and Habitat for Humanity of San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys, together with the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), have come together for the first time to build 78 new affordable solar-powered homes in Santa Clarita, California for returning veterans. The new home project is made possible by the CalVet Residential Enriched Neighborhood (REN) program.
  • SkyPower President and CEO announced while speaking at the 6th World Renewable Energy Technology Congress (WRETC), the company will fund the creation of a new renewable energy scholarship program at three leading universities. The scholarship program will help promote innovation in solar technology and energy storage in India. SkyPower will provide 10 scholarships a year, over 25 years, to the Indian Institute of Technology (ITT), NIMS University and EMPI University.

#Biodiesel Update at Biodiesel & Bioheat Forum

During the Bioheat and Biodiesel Forum in Mankato, Minnesota, attendees learned about the benefits and opportunities of Bioheat, and also heard an update on the biodiesel industry. Bioheat is heating oil that is blended with biodiesel to reduce its carbon emissions. Bioheat has been on the rise with state legislation that has passed in many northeastern states in an attempt to reduce emissions from all forms of energy. The result of great Bioheat demand? Greater biodiesel demand.

biodiesel-bioheat-15-session-2The second portion of the Forum kicked off with a call-in from Larry Schafer with the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) who gave a state and federal policy update that included a behind-the-scenes look at the political winds in Washington, D.C. He also discussed the fate of the biodiesel tax credit and reviewed policy initiatives in Minnesota.

Listen to Larry Schafer’s remarks here: Larry Schafer, NBB

Doug Root with the Ag Utilization Research Institute and Steve Howell with MARCIV Consulting took the stage next to discuss how the evolution of the industry paired with emerging technologies and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has spurred the biodiesel industry to improve its optimization strategies. Remaining competitive, said Root and Howell, is an integral aspect of keeping domestic biodiesel production competitive.

Listen to Doug Roots remarks here: Doug Root, Ag Utilization Research Institute

Listen to Steve Howell’s remarks here: Steve Howell, MARCIV Consulting

The session was rounded out by Gary Koch with Gislason & Hunter LLP who discussed what’s happening in the marketplace when it comes to investing in biodiesel production ranging from venture capital markets to private companies.

Listen to Gary Koch’s remarks here: Gary Koch, Gislason & Hunter

Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum Photo Album