NASCAR Drives toward Championship on Ethanol

austindillon1It’s a big time of the year for race fans as NASCAR heads into the second round of it’s championship series this weekend. And this news article from the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) says American Ethanol is fueling that drive to the championship.

With E15 American Ethanol featured on the side of every car and on the start/re-start green flag, few sponsors in the sport have this broad exposure. It’s a great place to be to show millions of fans that E15 works.

Only 12 drivers remain eligible and have a shot at winning the Sprint Cup trophy entering the Bank of America 500, which airs at 6 p.m. CT Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Like the other 32 drivers rounding out the field who are not Chase eligible, American Ethanol driver Austin Dillon continues to drive for his first win of the season.

Dillon, one of the hottest young drivers in the sport, has championships in the Camping World Truck Series and the Xfinity Series. As he closes in on the end of his second Sprint season he is driving to hone his skills and for pride.

Check your local radio and TV listings to follow all the action fueled by American Ethanol.

Scania Greenlights Renewable Diesel in Trucks

scania truck1European truck maker Scania has approved hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) for use in its Euro 6 range of trucks. This news release from the company says the green fuel can cut carbon dioxide emissions by 90 percent.

Örjan Åslund is Head of Product Affairs at Scania. “We have decided to give our blessing to the use of HVO biodiesel in our diesel vehicles,” he says. “Scania is the leading manufacturer when it comes to offering power trains for alternatives fuels, and we have considerable experience with the practical side of driving using HVO. It’s an alternative fuel that has relatively few disadvantages when compared to diesel, while also offering a large reduction in CO2emissions.”

Earlier this year, Scania approved HVO for use in all types of Euro 5 vehicles and all types of operations. In cooperation with customers, the company also initiated a field test in Sweden involving some 100 trucks with Euro 6 engines.

“Thanks to the certification and our own decision, all Scania hauliers with Euro 6 engines can use HVO, including in buses,” says Åslund. “I know that interest is very high. The challenge for most operators will be in getting access to HVO, as both production and distribution facilities are still limited.”

New Seattle Ferry Running on Biodiesel

doc-maynardThe newest ferry for the Seattle area is running on biodiesel. This article from Marine Log says the M/V Doc Maynard, started service at the end of September, replacing her sister ship, the M/V Sally Fox, which is undergoing some scheduled warranty work.

Both the Sally Fox and Doc Maynard were built by All American Marine, Inc. (AAM), Bellingham, WA. The 105 ft x 33 ft aluminum catamaran ferries are the first U.S. Coast Guard Sub-chapter “K” inspected passenger vessels built and delivered under new guidelines that make it possible for boat builders to design and implement suitable structural fire protection in very low fire load spaces in the construction of weight-sensitive high speed passenger vessels.

Each ferry is powered by two Cummins QSK-50 Tier 3 diesel engines, rated at 1,800 bhp at 1,900 rev/min and driving twin propellers to provide a service speed of 28 knots. The ferries also burn a 10 percent biodiesel blend and have LED lighting onboard.

All American Marine is sponsoring a tour of the Doc Maynard at MARINE LOG’S FERRIES 2015 Conference & Expo, set for November 5-6, 2015 at the Hyatt Olive 8 in Seattle.

US Ethanol Exports Lowest in 2 Years, DDGS Down

rfalogo1American ethanol exports to the world are down to their lowest levels in more than two years. This analysis from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) says at just 50.1 million gallons (mg), total ethanol shipments in August were 35 percent lower than in July, falling by 27.1 mg. In addition, the ethanol by-product, distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) used for animal feed, was also down, but just slightly from record levels of this summer.

Ninety percent of exports were destined for only 10 countries, with the majority of shipments split between Canada (21.4 mg, or 43% of total exports) and Tunisia (12.6 mg, or 25% of total). China (3.3 mg), the Philippines (3.0 mg), South Korea (2.8 mg) and Mexico (2.0 mg) account for much of the remaining balance. Once again, Brazil remained a minor player in the U.S. ethanol export market, taking in just 1.7 mg (compared to 25.1 mg only 5 months ago). Total U.S. ethanol exports for the first eight months of 2015 stood at 564.5 mg, indicating an annualized rate of 847 mg.

August exports of undenatured ethanol for fuel use fell 44% from July to 26.2 mg. Nearly half of those exports moved to Tunisia (12.6 mg), with China (3.3 mg), the Philippines (3.0 mg) and South Korea (2.7 mg) also pulling in notable volumes. Exports of denatured ethanol fuel decreased by 24% from July, down to 20.1 mg. This is the lowest denatured volume since August 2010. Canada took the lion’s share of denatured product at 18.1 mg (90% of exports), with Jamaica, Singapore and Turkey receiving much smaller volumes. The United States exported 356,211 gallons of undenatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage use, a decrease of 39% over July. Denatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes was the only product to see any upward movement over the prior month, with nearly all of the 3.4 mg crossing the border to Canada.

After months of virtually nonexistent fuel ethanol imports, the United States saw 15.7 mg enter the country in August—greater than the combined imports from the past 5 months. All but 3% of total imports originated in Brazil (11.8 mg undenatured, 3.8 mg denatured), with Spain and Sweden responsible for the remainder. At 65.8 mg, year-to-date imports are just half of last year’s total at this point. In August, the United States boasted a net exporter status for two years straight.

DDGS exports were off by 6 percent from the record high logged in July to a still-sizable 1,279,396 metric tons (mt), with China still receiving about half of that number – down from the 65-74 percent market share seen in recent months.

Virginia School Reviving Algae-to-Biodiesel Operation

hatcher1A Virginia farm that grew algae for biodiesel has been shut down, but researchers at a nearby university are helping the operation produce the green fuel from the green slime again. This article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch says Old Dominion University is working on the issue and hoping to make it commercially viable.

Patrick G. Hatcher, an Old Dominion University geochemist who was a major force behind the project, is trying to keep the dream alive.

“We are still actively pursuing the technology and trying to go commercial,” Hatcher said. “Right now is not the best time because the price of gas is cheap, the price of oil is low, and nobody gives a darn about biodiesel anymore.”

He said he hopes to find investors willing to put up $75 million to $100 million to produce biodiesel on a commercial scale.

“To make money, you need to do this on a large scale — thousands of acres,” Hatcher said.

ODU and the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium, a group created by the state legislature, started the project back in 2006, but it failed to take off. A new patented process could make this newest iteration of the project more successful.

Nebraska Firefighters Train on Safety with Biodiesel

beatriceFD1Firefighters across the country have been getting special training to work with renewable fuels, such as biodiesel and ethanol. One example is in Beatrice, Nebraska, where local firefighters are working with the Duonix Biodiesel plant. This article from the Beatrice Daily Sun says they want to make sure they are ready when the plant goes into production later this year.

“These drills are a part of our normal practice to get ready for our plant to be in operation,” Flint Hills Resources venture manager Michael Harris said…

As Duonix looks to open the biodiesel plant by the end of the year, the Beatrice Fire and Rescue team wants to stay prepared in case of any emergencies.

Fire Chief Brian Daake said he has been working with Duonix and they have provided information packets, lessons, videos and plans to help assist in emergency situations.

The tabletop exercise was the fourth time members of the Fire Department have met in person with the plant staff.

“These are good and help improve the readiness of everyone and gives the Fire Department knowledge and awareness of the surroundings,” Harris said.

Biodiesel Helps Keep Heating Oil Prices Down

noraGood news going into the fall and winter chill: heating oil prices are expected to stay lower throughout the winter. And part of the reason for that is biodiesel. The National Oilheat Research Alliance says increases in production and the addition of biodiesel into the supply chain is helping keep the price of home heating oil down to levels not seen in years.

Prices have dropped across the entire heating oil marketing footprint. Heating oil closed on the NYMEX this past Friday, October 2 approximately 15% lower than the same time last year and almost half the price at the close of October 4, 2013-just two years ago.

According to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), heating oil prices state-wide on September 14, 2015 are lower by $1.20 per gallon than the same time last year, a 31.9% reduction. New York is the largest heating oil consuming state.

John Huber, President of the National Oilheat Research Alliance, stated:
“It is a really exciting time for oil heating customers. Prices are low and the oilheating industry is transitioning to a superior fuel product. By adding biodiesl, a renewable, carbon neutral fuel to low-sulfur heating oil, heating oil retailers are actually delivering a better product at a significantly lower price. What could be better?”

NORA says homeowner’s savings could approach $1,000 for the year.

German Quality Group to Test Biodiesel Heating Oil

AGQMThe German quality group AGQM (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Qualitaetsmanagement Biodiesel e. V.) will offer a test to assess oxidation stabilisers for Biodiesel (FAME) intended as blend component for heating oil. This news release from the group says the tests are meant to rule out probable harmful effects of the fuel itself as well as undesired interactions with other fuel components.

Since 2008 already, AGQM has offered a no-harm test for oxidation stabilisers used for Biodiesel blended to conventional Diesel fuel. Successfully tested products are published in AGQM’s ‘No-harm List’ which is available to the public and contributes considerably to improve the quality of Biodiesel blends.

The new test for oxidation stabilisers used for Biodiesel intended as blend component for heating oil is AGQM’s reaction to an increasing demand for Bio heating oil. Since this application of FAME must also be safely handled at all times and negative interactions with additives must not occur, this new test program was developed by AGQM in cooperation with the German mineral oil industry. In addition tests are carried out concerning the relative effectiveness to also be able to adapt the use of additives to the individual application from an economical point to view.

The registration deadline for this test is Oct. 16, 2015.

Deal to Provide Biodiesel to Utility Approved

pacificbiodieselA deal that would provide locally produced biodiesel to a Hawaiian utility received approval from regulators. This article from Pacific Business News says the deal was approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission and has Pacific Biodiesel Technologies providing the green fuel to Hawaiian Electric Co. for a 110-megawatt power generation facility.

The contract calls for Pacific Biodiesel to supply Hawaiian Electric with between 2 million gallons and 3 million gallons per year of biodiesel at a lower price than either of the biodiesel contracts currently in place.

Hawaiian Electric noted that the impact of $3 million in incremental savings on the typical 600 kilowatt-hour residential customer bill equates to a reduction of 30 cents per month, or a 0.2 percent decrease.

Iowa’s Renewable Energy Group Inc. has the current contract to provide biodiesel processed from waste fats and oils to the Campbell Industrial Park plant. That contract ends in November.

The article went on to say the new contract will use up half of Pacific Biodiesel’s production volume.

MSU, ExxonMobil Partner for Algae Biodiesel

david-kramer1One of the nation’s premier research universities is partnering with one of the biggest oil producers to make renewable, algae-based biodiesel. This news release from Michigan State says the school and ExxonMobil will expand research designed to progress the fundamental science required to advance algae-based fuels.

David Kramer, MSU’s John Hannah Distinguished Professor in Photosynthesis and Bioenergetics at the MSU-DOE Plant and Research Laboratory, says that the overall goal of the partnership is to improve the efficiency of photosynthesis in microalgae to produce biofuels and bioproducts.

“Photosynthesis is the biological process that plants and algae use to store solar energy in biomass. It is how all our food is made, and we would starve without it,” said Kramer, who is leading the grant with Ben Lucker with the PRL and Joe Weissman, Distinguished Scientific Associate at ExxonMobil.

The key to bioenergy is the efficiency of photosynthesis, the process algae use to capture solar energy and the first step in converting the energy from the sun into a liquid fuel. Past research has shown that algae photosynthesis can be highly efficient under optimal conditions in the laboratory. Under realistic growth conditions however, this efficiency drops. There is a need to improve photosynthesis under simulated production environments.

“Fortunately, nature has provided us with a great potential for improvement. There are many different strains of algae that have adapted to work well in different environments,” Kramer said. “What we want to do is figure out how they are able to do this and what genes are responsible. With this knowledge, we can potentially combine traits to make strains that are more efficient even under harsh conditions.”

“We know certain types of algae produce bio-oils,” said Vijay Swarup, vice president of ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company. “The challenge is to find and develop algae that can produce bio-oils at scale on a cost-efficient basis.”