Shipping giant UPS is taking a giant leap forward in its use of renewable diesel. The company announced agreements to buy and use up to 46 million gallons of renewable fuels over the next three years, a 15-fold increase over prior contracts and making UPS one of the largest users of renewable diesel in the world.
The agreements with three leading suppliers of renewable fuels, secure access to an advanced renewable diesel fuel in order to meet the company’s objectives for alternative fuel utilization. Neste, Renewable Energy Group (REG) and Solazyme will supply renewable diesel to UPS to help facilitate the company’s shift to move more than 12% of its purchased ground fuel from conventional diesel and gasoline fuel to alternative fuels by the end of 2017. UPS has previously announced a goal of driving one billion miles with our alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles by the end of 2017.
“Advanced alternative fuels like renewable diesel are an important part of our strategy to reduce the carbon emissions impact of our fleet,” said Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president, global engineering and sustainability. “We have used more than three million gallons of renewable diesel to date with positive results. Renewable diesel has a huge impact significantly reducing lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent less versus conventional petroleum diesel. Renewable diesel also performs well in cold weather, does not have any blending limitations and can be easily ‘dropped in’ to our fuel supply chain without modifications to our existing diesel trucks and equipment.”
“UPS believes these agreements are especially important because they will help stimulate demand for investment in refinery technologies and sustainable feedstocks needed to produce renewable fuels at a total cost that is comparable to more carbon-intensive petroleum fuels,” said Wallace.
UPS has been running its trucks in Texas and Louisiana on renewable fuels for more than a year. These new agreements provide a path for expanded use across the U.S. and potentially in parts of Europe.
Goals for biodiesel in the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) recently announced by the government could be a bit better and should be realistic, as the green fuel benefits everyone and gains some unlikely allies. Cindy caught up with Wade Cowan, Texas farmer and president of the American Soybean Association (ASA) during the Ag Media Summit and got his thoughts on biodiesel and what the Environmental Protection Agency’s goals on biodiesel in the RFS means.
“We would hope [the EPA] would raise the goals [to high but attainable levels],” he said. “It’s a product that not only helps all the consumers in the country who use diesel, but it also helps livestock producers” by keeping a steady supply of soybean meal available. “We’re not asking for the moon, but we want [the RFS goals] high enough to keep making the industry want to go forward and be more productive.”
Wade said biodiesel even has fans in the oil industry.
“They like biodiesel, because someone has to distribute it,” adding companies like Exxon are also interested in helping make the environment better and reduce the U.S.’ dependence on foreign oil. “They’re in it with us, and we expect to see more and more cooperation.”
You can hear all of Cindy’s interview with Wade (or if you’re impatient and just want to get to the biodiesel parts, fast-forward to about the 5:00 mark) here: Interview with Wade Cowan, ASA president
2015 Ag Media Summit Photo Album
The power of biodiesel will be on display at the upcoming Farmfest in Minnesota. The United Pullers of Minnesota, a state organization of the National Tractor Pullers Association (NTPA), will hold the Minnesota BioDiesel Pull-Off at the Redwood County Fairgrounds on Tuesday, Aug. 4th.
[T]his fun and exciting event promises something for everyone featuring seven classes of tractors, trucks and semis! Come out and support the Redwood County Fair Board and get ready for a night of great entertainment!
You can get your tickets for the BioDiesel Pull-Off at the fairgrounds beginning at 4:00 p.m. the day of the pull. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for children 6-12, and free for kids 5 & Under: FREE
The biodiesel and livestock industries are working together in Iowa. This news release from the Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB) says poultry and livestock producers are seeing greater profits because of the green fuel.
That was the message … at Western Dubuque Biodiesel’s plant, where soybean groups hosted a tour of the biodiesel facility and gave an economic presentation to members of the state livestock industry. The United Soybean Board, Iowa Biodiesel Board and Iowa Soybean Association hosted about 40 ag leaders to share information and answer questions on how biodiesel impacts the profitability of the livestock industry.
An increased demand for biodiesel also increases the demand for domestic soybeans to crush, growing the supply of soybean meal. This greater supply lowers the meal’s price, which decreases the relative cost of it to poultry and livestock farmers.
That means in addition to soybean farmers, animal agriculture also benefits from biodiesel.
“Animal agriculture is the soybean farmer’s No. 1 customer with 97 percent of soybean meal going to feed poultry and livestock,” said Delbert Christensen, a soybean farmer from Audubon, Iowa and director on USB. “Biodiesel helps animal agriculture by creating demand for soybean oil, which helps lower the cost of animal feed and creates an additional market for animal fats.”
More demand for biodiesel helps keep soybean meal prices competitive as demand for soybeans continues to rise globally, while biodiesel has also created demand for animal fats and tallow to be made into biodiesel. IBB says for Iowa farmers, these meal savings and increased fat and tallow values really add up. In 2013 alone, pork farmers saved $60,802,700 and dairy and beef farmers saved $25,511,700 respectively, strengthening animal agriculture in the state. Biodiesel by-product glycerin also can be an additional energy source in feed troughs.
A pair of college students has been named as the Nebraska Ethanol Board’s ambassadors. This news release from the board says David Hansen and Maggie Louthan have been tapped for the posts in the program that engages them in the importance of Nebraska’s ethanol industry.
Hansen of Lincoln, Nebraska, is a junior chemical engineering student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is involved in Partners in Pollution Prevention analyzing industrial manufacturing facilities and recommending waste reduction solutions.
Louthan of Smithfield, Nebraska, is a sophomore agricultural education student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is a member of the Nebraska Agriculture Youth Council, Sigma Alpha, Block and Bridle and CASNR Coffee Club.
“We’re excited to have two talented students with diverse experience on our team for the 2015-2016 academic year,” said Megan Grimes, Nebraska Ethanol Board. “This is a great opportunity for participants to learn about the multi-faceted ethanol industry and share information among peers, community groups and classrooms.”
Ambassadors learn about ethanol production, technology, research and marketing, and then have opportunities to work with the public, delivering presentations to middle and high school classrooms. The program lasts one academic year (August-May) with new recruits each year. For their time and efforts, ambassadors are earn a $1,000 scholarship to assist with their education.
We hear a lot about probiotics when it comes to nutrition for people. But research in California is developing probiotic bacteria that will help protect algae that can be turned into biodiesel. This article from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory says scientists there have received an additional $1 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop the bacteria to combat pond infestation and increase ecosystem function and resilience.
Annual productivity is a key metric for algal biofuel production that, if optimized, could significantly decrease and stabilize biofuel price per gallon. Since grazers can result in a 30 percent loss in annual biomass productivity, a consistent mechanism for preventing predators will increase productivity and in turn decrease biofuel cost per gallon.
“We are only just beginning to understand that the pond microbiome is not only an indicator of health but also a tool for crop protection,” said Rhona Stuart, one of the team members from LLNL.
The goal of the project is to identify and employ “probiotic” bacteria to increase microalgal survival by two-fold when under attack by rotifers or chytrids in mass algal cultures.
Rotifers and chytrids are common culprits of algae grazing. By using probiotic bacteria to increase algal resistance against these grazers, the team estimates at minimum a 5 percent to 10 percent increase in annual productivity. The proposed tool has several advantages over the baseline, including minimal risk of pest evolution, tailored microbiome diversity to increase ecosystem resilience and productivity, and probiotics that can increase algal productivity and outgrow pests.
The lab says this work will help overcome the barrier that exists in translating laboratory success to open pond success.
Winners of the 2015 Clean Air Choice Biodiesel Essay Scholarship have been announced. The American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest in Minnesota says Brianna Bredeson, a recent graduate of Willmar Senior High School, is the first place recipient of the 2015 Clean Air Choice Biodiesel Essay Scholarship, winning a $1,000 scholarship.
“Biodiesel is a much more efficient, healthy and renewable option to become less dependent on foreign oil as a fuel source,” she wrote in her winning essay. “It also creates more jobs and keeps the American economy growing.” See her entire essay .
The second place winner is Sydney Benson of Burnsville. A recent graduate of Apple Valley High School, Benson wrote “…there are numerous benefits to using biodiesel, as opposed to petroleum diesel, within Minnesota and the rest of the world.” Benson will receive a $500 scholarship for her essay.
There were more than 100 submissions to the contest, which is sponsored by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council and administered by the American Lung Association in Minnesota.
Midwest AgEnergy Group has started producing ethanol and corn oil for biodiesel at its Jamestown, North Dakota, refinery. This article from AreaDevelopment.com says the 65 million-gallon-per-year Dakota Spirit AgEnergy biorefinery uses steam from the combined heat and power plant and corn from local farmers to produce ethanol, distillers grains and fuel-grade corn oil.
The ethanol produced at Dakota Spirit AgEnergy amounts to about 20 percent of North Dakota’s annual fuel demand. The biorefinery will purchase 23 million bushels of corn annually from farmers and employs 38 people. The cost of the project was $155 million.
As an incentive, the state provided nearly $40 million in grants and loans for the renewable fuel project, including funding for feasibility studies, construction and jobs training. The state’s investment includes loans from the Bank of North Dakota and the North Dakota Department of Commerce’s Development Fund, along with grants from the North Dakota Industrial Commission and the NDDOC’s Agricultural Products Utilization Commission and Community Development Block Grant programs. Funding for new jobs training was provided by Job Service North Dakota.
“The Dakota Spirit AgEnergy biorefinery is an important investment for North Dakota because it adds value to the state’s production agriculture industry, expands our renewable energy offerings, and creates jobs and economic opportunities for our people,” said Governor Jack Dalrymple. “Congratulations to Midwest AgEnergy Group and its many local and state partners as they celebrate the beginning of operations for this unique biorefinery and its impact on both the local and statewide economies.”
A Dutch tank terminal has handled half a million tons of oil by rail, thanks in part to biodiesel. This TankTerminal.com story say the Botlek Tank Terminal (BTT) in the Netherlands is part of the company’s vision to provide all modes of transport and is a response to growing customer demand for rail transport.
The rack will initially be used to handle block trains with biodiesel but also palm and soybean oil have already been loaded from BTT’s tanks. The facility can also be used for other vegetable oils like sunflower and rapeseed oil. In future the facility can also be expanded to handle other oil products such as aviation fuels, gasoline and diesel.
The train loading/unloading station has two rail tracks with a length of 340 metres. A block train of 24 wagons can be handled with expansion possibilities up to 30 wagons. With a capacity of 400 tonnes per hour, six wagons can simultaneously be loaded or discharged. BTT offers a 24 hours a day, seven days a week service to their customers and accordingly two block trains per day can be handled.
BTT has 34 storage tanks, with a total storage capacity of 200.000 cubic metre (cbm). Of this capacity 130.000 cbm is suitable for the storage of clean fuels and 70.000 for biodiesel and vegetable oils. The current occupancy of the storage capacity is high. BTT can expand the storage capacity to 750.000 cbm on the new reclaimed land that has been completed last year.
A Utah-based company is offering a better biodiesel processor. Argo Fuels has developed the NanoCatalyst fuel processor, which that improves air quality while reducing the economic and environmental costs of petroleum.
Unlike traditional refineries, this process is scalable and portable with an ultra-low carbon footprint. An entire processor with an eight million gallon-per-year output capacity can be packed into a single forty-foot shipping container.
Cutting energy costs in half, this processor can reach full reaction in four minutes, a significant reduction compared to existing processes (which take up to two hours). As one of only a few companies able to rely wholly upon second generation feedstocks, Argo Fuels can efficiently create fuel from otherwise unusable wastes. Synthetic diesel produced in this way burns ninety percent cleaner than petroleum diesel; even a twenty percent blend with petroleum diesel reduces C02 emissions alone by fifteen percent.
Ray Dellinger, inventor of the NanoCatalyst™ Processor, is the founder and CEO of Argo Fuels. He is confident that these innovations can improve air quality along the Wasatch Front.
“The potential benefits from the NanoCatalyst™ are incredible,” Dellinger explains. “If consumers want a safe, high-quality alternative to petroleum-based diesel, this project paves the way for clean fuel, cleaner air, and sustainable energy that doesn’t break the bank.”