Ethanol Blends Save Drivers Money

aceAs drivers are hitting the road for the 4th of July weekend, they’ll be able to do so with a little extra jingle in their pockets, thanks to ethanol. This news release from the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) says gas prices are lower because of the green fuel.

“People are traveling more because gas prices are about a dollar a gallon less than last year,” says ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty, “American drivers are paying $11 billion a month less at the pump. That’s almost $40 bucks a month for every man, woman and child in the U.S.”

Lamberty says ethanol production gains made possible by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are a big help in lowering the price of gas.

“Ethanol costs less than gas, so adding ethanol lowers the price of gas,” Lamberty explained. “And when people can use more ethanol in fuels like E15 or E85, that’s more competition for gasoline. That forces oil companies to lower their prices to compete, and that’s why they badmouth ethanol and the RFS.”

Lamberty also warned that Big Oil is trying to get Congress and the EPA to eliminate or dramatically weaken laws that allow ethanol to compete with gasoline, and if petroleum interests are successful, we’ll all end up paying more.

Pacific Ethanol, Aventine Finalize Merger

pacethanolPacific Ethanol and Aventine have completed their merger. This Pacific Ethanol news release says the merger will make a large impact for both companies and their customers.

Neil Koehler, the company’s president and CEO, stated: “We are pleased to complete this transformative acquisition, establishing Pacific Ethanol as the sixth largest producer of ethanol in the United States. In addition to more than doubling our ethanol production capacity, this synergistic transaction expands our geographic footprint, leverages our existing infrastructure to reach new markets and customers and enhances our overall scale and co-product diversification. We look forward to working with the Aventine employees to achieve a smooth integration and accelerate the growth of our combined company.”

Per the terms of the definitive merger agreement, Aventine stockholders received 1.25 shares of Pacific Ethanol common stock for each share of Aventine common stock owned at closing. As a result, Pacific Ethanol issued approximately 17.76 million shares in the merger, resulting in 42.5 million total shares outstanding as of July 1, 2015. Aventine had term debt of approximately $145 million as of July 1, 2015. Pacific Ethanol will provide information regarding capital plans and synergies when it releases its second quarter 2015 financial results anticipated in late July 2015.

Aventine brings a 100 million gallon per year wet mill and 60 million gallon per year ethanol dry mill located in Pekin, Illinois, and its 110 million gallon per year and 45 million gallon per year dry mills in Aurora, Nebraska, to the deal. Combined with Pacific Ethanol’s current ethanol production capacity of 200 million gallons per year, the combined company will have a total ethanol production capacity of 515 million gallons per year and, together with Pacific Ethanol’s marketing business, is expected to sell over 800 million gallons of ethanol annually.

Biodiesel to Power Swedish Train Line

swedishtrain1A train line in Sweden has plans to convert its fleet to run on biodiesel. This article from Global Rail News says Inlandsbanan AB wants to make the conversion by the year by 2020.

Inlandsbanan AB has received funding from the EU to assess the feasibility of converting its diesel trains to RME, a biodiesel produced from rapeseed.

The initiative would allow Inlandsbanan AB to commit to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions without footing the substantial cost of electrifying the 1,300-kilometre railway between Kristinehamn and Gällivare.

Conversion to biodiesel would reduce the operator’s carbon emissions by 60 per cent, Inlandsbanan AB has said.

Testing will begin later this year.

Despite Fewer Acres, Plenty of Corn for Ethanol

NCGA-Logo-3The number of acres corn planted is down this year. But the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) says there’s plenty of the crop for ethanol and all the other uses from the grain. Citing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Acreage report, NCGA says total corn planting in the United States totals 88.9 million acres, the lowest planted acreage since 2010 but the sixth-largest U.S. corn acreage planted since 1944.

“Corn farmers produced an abundance in 2014 that resulted in a large carry over into this year,” National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling said. “While planted acreage has decreased as farmers in many parts of the country face unrelentingly wet conditions, U.S. farmers have steadily increased our ability to grow more corn on every acre. Americans can rest assured that we will be able to meet all needs, be they for food, fuel or fiber, for years to come.”

USDA projects 13.5 billion acres of corn to be harvested this fall.

Amyris Renewable Diesel Test with VW a Success

Amyris-LogoIndustrial bioscience company Amyris says its two-year test with renewable diesel in Volkswagen vehicles has been a success. This company news release says the test was to check the commercial readiness of Amyris renewable diesel and its ability to enhance VW’s innovative and advanced diesel technology.

Utilizing vehicles provided by VW in real-world driving conditions, the two-year-long program to assess the results reinforced the company’s data that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were reduced by more than 60 percent on a well-to-wheel basis when using Amyris’s No Compromise® renewable diesel. In addition, the program demonstrated fuel economy that was similar to or improved over petroleum-based fuels, together while maintaining outstanding engine performance under a variety of conditions.

“The results of this program provide additional validation for renewable fuels and showcase the tremendous market potential for Amyris’s advanced renewable diesel,” said John Melo, President & CEO of Amyris. “Growing awareness of these benefits contributes to increased consumer awareness, end-user demand pull and future adoption of renewable fuels at a larger scale.”

The collaboration included evaluating emissions reductions and demonstrating performance of Volkswagen’s existing TDI Clean Diesel technology using advanced renewable diesel fuel.

Ontario Refinery Gets New Life as Atlantic Biodiesel

atlanticbiodieselIn what’s been a roller coaster ride for a biodiesel refiner in Canada seems to be on the upswing now. This article from the Welland (Ontario) Tribune says the former Great Lakes Biodiesel plant, which closed last year after falling into receivership, has officially reopened as the 45-million-gallon-per-year Atlantic Biodiesel.

“In a very short time, we’ve taken the assets and built up a business with a new management team,” said Michael Paszti, chief operating officer of the new company.

Paszti said the 25 people who had worked for Great Lakes Biodiesel were rehired to work at the plant, which is expected to be among the top 20 largest producers of biodiesel in North America after production begins at the end of July.

“There was a conscious commitment to the employees and they were kept on right through the process,” he said. “The operations workers are the same experienced workers we had before and they’re going to be critical to our success going forward. We need their experience to run this plant.”

The new owners do plan to expand the plant’s capacity down the road.

FFA Helps ‘Prime the Pump’ for Ethanol & Students

syngenta-enogen-nascar-15-ffaMaker of Enogen corn, Syngenta, recently announced it had raised money for ethanol infrastructure through the “Prime the Pump” campaign, an industry initiative to help early retail adopters of high-level ethanol blends through grants to reduce their initial investment in infrastructure. By donating a dollar for every acre of corn planted with the Enogen variety, Syngenta will put approximately $600,000 into the fund. In addition, the company teamed up with local FFA members at the American Ethanol 200 NASCAR truck race in Iowa and matched dollars the group raised through donations at the race, a percentage of that the FFA groups get to keep.

Dan Lopez is the high school guidance counselor at South Tama. He said his students were able to get out and talk with a lot of the tailgaters at the race.

“One hundred percent of the folks have been behind [ethanol],” he told Chuck during an interview, adding the people have been appreciative of Syngenta’s efforts to get more ethanol out to consumers and how the company supports the FFA.

Miranda Johnson who teaches at Twin Cedars Community School District said the folks at the race understand ethanol. “They understand the importance of using ethanol. It’s been great!”

While Johnson said her FFA hasn’t decided yet what to do with the money raised, Lopez’s FFA plans to use its share to send students to the national FFA convention.

Listen to Chuck’s interviews with both FFA groups here: South Tama FFA Twin Cedars FFA

2015 American Ethanol 200 Presented by Enogen Photo Album

Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 sponsored by Enogen
Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 is sponsored by Enogen

Enogen, Tech Boost Ethanol, Corn Producers’ Profits

syngenta-enogen-nascar-15-johnsonCombining its own patented process for converting the corn kernel fiber into cellulosic ethanol with Syngenta’s Enogen corn, specially bred for ethanol production, Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP) is boosting its bottom line, as well as the profits for local growers. During an interview at the American Ethanol 200 in Iowa, CEO Delayne Johnson explained they use the alpha amylase enzyme already in Enogen corn with their own process to enhance the production of ethanol.

“When we combine the two technologies together, the benefits of [Enogen and the technology] allows plants to get up to 15 percent additional throughput, reduce energy content by 10 percent, and it also allows them to get all the benefits out of [both technologies combined],” he said.

Delayne added the $1 million a year his company doesn’t have to pay for the alpha amylase enzyme it would have had to add to ethanol production allows it to pay premiums to local farmers.

“It’s been fantastic for continuing to turn the dollars in rural America.”

Listen to all of Chuck’s interview with Delayne here: Delayne Johnson, CEO of Quad County Corn Processors

2015 American Ethanol 200 Presented by Enogen Photo Album

Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 sponsored by Enogen
Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 is sponsored by Enogen

Enogen ‘Primes the Pump’ for Ethanol Infrastructure

syngenta-enogen-nascar-15-tingleSyngenta’s Enogen seed corn, specially bred just for ethanol production, is “priming the pump” for infrastructure to keep the green fuel flowing. Previously, Syngenta announced a major donation to the Prime the Pump fund, an industry initiative to help early retail adopters of high-level ethanol blends through grants to reduce their initial investment in infrastructure. During an interview with Chuck at the American Ethanol 200 in Iowa, Chris Tingle, Head of Marketing for Enogen said approximately $600,000 will be raised for the initiative by contributing $1 for every acre planted with Enogen corn enzyme technology.

“[This allows for] the adding of equipment and enabling the use of ethanol more broadly,” he said, adding they’re getting some help from FFA students there. “We’re happy to partner with the FFA to support Prime the Pump. For every dollar the local FFA chapter collects here at the race, we’ll match.”

Chris went on to explain that the valuable enzyme in Enogen corn adds value for the ethanol plants and the farmers who grow it. Another important feature to know about Enogen is it doesn’t have to be a 100 percent blend of the variety when ethanol is made for it to be effective. “It’s really only about 15 percent of the overall corn that needs to be Enogen corn that needs to go into that [ethanol] plant to make the [maximum efficient use of the enzyme].”

Listen to more of Chuck’s interview with Chris here: Chris Tingle, Head of Marketing for Enogen

2015 American Ethanol 200 Presented by Enogen Photo Album

Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 sponsored by Enogen
Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 is sponsored by Enogen

Soules Supports Ethanol & Ag at American Ethanol 200

syngenta-enogen-nascar-15-soules1He’s been a guy handing out roses to the ladies on “The Bachelor” and wowing everyone with his fancy footwork on “Dancing with the Stars.” Now, Chris Soules says he just a “normal famous guy” back home in Iowa supporting agriculture and getting back to what he loves: farming. He recently served as the grand marshal for the American Ethanol 200 and talked to Chuck at the race about the importance of ethanol and how Syngenta’s Enogen corn seed, bred especially for ethanol production, is an key part of the food and fuel products coming from American farms.

“This is an exciting event for me,” he said. “We’re promoting Enogen corn that’s helping build the ethanol industry and adding value back to the farmers. It’s exciting to have a platform that helps farmers connect with the consumer and tell the story of ethanol and how important it is to Iowa’s and the entire U.S.’s economy.”

Soules knows firsthand how much value ethanol has added to corn. He remembers the days when we had $1.30 a bushel corn, and while the prices are down a bit now, they’re still better with the ethanol market. He also pointed out how farmers are making feed and fuel for America and the world. “Having that diversity in our energy is really important. Keeping that market is something we need to work hard to do.”

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Chris Soules here: Chris Soules at American Ethanol 200

2015 American Ethanol 200 Presented by Enogen Photo Album

Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 sponsored by Enogen
Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 is sponsored by Enogen