POET Shows Economic Impact of Its Ethanol

POETEthanol made by POET is big in U.S. economic growth, cutting dependence on foreign oil, and reducing greenhouse gases. The South Dakota-based ethanol maker has released its first-ever economic impact study that shows the company made significant contributions, including:

– Generating a total of $13.5 billion in sales for U.S. businesses;
– Adding $5.4 billion in national gross domestic product;
– Supporting an estimated 39,978 full time jobs; and
– Contributing $3.1 billion in income for American families.

The report further details POET’s contribution to the economic prosperity in each of the seven states where it operates – South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. POET, which is headquartered in Sioux Falls, S.D., operates a total of 27 dry mill corn ethanol plants with an annual capacity of 1.7 billion gallons – more than 11 percent of the total U.S. ethanol output.

“Ethanol provides us the means to produce our own clean fuel and keep the enormous economic benefits within America’s borders,” POET CEO Jeff Lautt said. “The impact flows from the plants to farmers, communities, throughout the states in which they operate and across the nation.”

In addition, the report cites POET’s impact on reducing foreign oil dependence. According to the study, POET’s production of 1.7 billion gallons of ethanol displaces nearly 1.2 billion gallons of gasoline, which requires 61 million barrels of crude oil to produce. This displacement potentially reduces the outflow of money to foreign producers of oil by nearly $5.5 billion.

The use of POET ethanol also reduces greenhouse gas emissions relative to gasoline. Burning a gallon of ethanol opposed to gasoline results in a 35 percent reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Reflecting this, the production of 1.7 billion gallons of POET ethanol cuts CO2 emissions by approximately 874,000 metric tons.

The full report is available here.

Ethanol-Ready Dispensers Offered at 0% Interest

patriotprotecFuel retailers will have an easier path to being able to offer ethanol. Patriot Capital Corporation and Protec Fuel have teamed up to offer 0 percent financing for retailers who install dispensing equipment for E15, E85 and higher ethanol fuel blends.

The rate – available on terms of up to 60 months – is available to qualified retailers who install dedicated dispensing equipment and sign a supply agreement with Protec, a leader in turnkey ethanol solutions. Protec works closely with its C-store and fuel-marketing clients to manage and implement a complete alternative fuel solution, with services that include:

– Equipment expertise in E15, mid-level blends and E85 systems, dispensers and stations.
– Project-management or co-management of infrastructure installations, storage tank conversions or installs.
– Assistance with permit applications and filings.
– Station site promotion, target marketing, and advertisement.

“Protec has developed a solid reputation for providing C-store operators with an expanded range of fuel options, ranging from E15 to E85,” said Chris Santy, managing director, Patriot Capital Corporation. “We are excited about expanding our partnership with Protec Fuel. This partnership would include financing options for dispensers, price signs, underground storage tanks and other equipment work that will support the expansion of alternative fuels.”

“Patriot Capital Corporation is well regarded as the industry’s leader in providing financing to the fueling industry,” said Todd Garner, managing member and CEO of Protec Fuel. “We are excited to expand upon the expertise that Patriot has in providing hassle free financing to our customers. This will enable Protec to achieve our mission of broadening the footprint of ethanol availability for consumers and commercial fleets.”

College Works on Bio-Inspired Fuel Cell

Koylu-UmitResearchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology are working on developing fuel cells made from natural, biological sources. This article from the school says Dr. Umit Koylu, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, has received a six-month $50,000 Innovation Corps Teams (I Corps) Program grant from the National Science Foundation to accelerate tech-transfer and explore commercialization of a biology-inspired polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell.

“Nature perfected its natural delivery system,” Koylu says, glancing out his window. “Our team of researchers came up with an engineering version of it.”

The technology was developed during four years of research led by Dr. Ming Leu, the Keith and Pat Bailey Missouri Distinguished Professor of Integrated Product Manufacturing and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Missouri S&T.

Koylu currently works with Dr. John W. Sheffield, visiting associate professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, who is professor emeritus of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Missouri S&T; and post-doctoral Missouri S&T researcher Dr. Warren Vaz.

To get useable energy out of fuel cells, they have to be stacked together, which takes up a lot of space to produce minimal results. However, the bio-inspired fuel cells are expected to increase peak power density by up to 30 percent over conventional fuel cells, Koylu says. That means bio-inspired cells would take up less space than current models, or more could be stacked in the same amount of space, increasing power.

The research is set to end in December.

EPA’s Ethanol Rules Pollutes Air Equal to 1 Mil Cars

ERCThe government’s proposal to cut the amount of ethanol to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply would pollute the air equivalent to one million more vehicles on the road. The Energy Resources Center (ERC) at the University of Illinois at Chicago conducted the analysis on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed ethanol blending rules.

The findings come in the wake of proposed rules by the U.S. E.P.A. that call for a reduction of the volume of ethanol blended in gasoline as mandated by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a program of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 signed into law 10 years ago this month. If the rules are adopted as proposed, a total of 17.5 billion gallons of ethanol would be blended with gasoline by 2016, 3.75 billion fewer gallons than originally mandated by Congress.

“The RFS has been one of the most successful federal policies enacted in the United States because it achieved exactly what it was intended to do: spur research and investment, lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce dependence on foreign oil. Our work has demonstrated that, over the last 10 years, steady reductions in greenhouse gas emissions have materialized as biofuels became a more efficient, high quality product,” said Dr. Steffen Mueller, principal economist at the Energy Resources Center.

The peer-reviewed analysis was conducted using the GREET Model (Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation) developed by Argonne National Laboratory which examines the full life cycle emissions impacts of energy sources. As part of the analysis, carbon emissions related to the planting, growing, harvesting, transportation and production of corn into ethanol were compared to that of oil recovery and production.

Under the EPA’s proposed rules, conventional starch ethanol would likely be reduced to 13.4 billion gallons from 15 billion gallons in 2015. In this scenario, the analysis found that 4,520,000 tonnes of additional CO2 emissions would be incurred in 2015.

Both the National Corn Growers Association and the Illinois Corn Growers Association expressed disappointment in the direction the EPA has taken.

“It is very curious that some vocal audiences known for touting job creation, a stronger domestic economy, and reduced air and water pollution were largely mute on this significant occasion,” said Chip Bowling, NCGA president and a farmer from Maryland. “It is pretty hard to miss the irony of this anniversary-related RFS assessment hitting while the Environmental Protection Agency is weakening the successful legislation.”

“We are disappointed that the same federal agency charged to protect human health and the environment is proposing a rule change that would directly lead to greater greenhouse gas emissions,” said Ken Hartman, president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association. “After 18 months of delay in proposing new rules, the EPA has chosen not only to shirk its legal obligation as set forth by Congress, but to lose sight of its own mission.”

The EPA is expected to release its final rule in November.

Pearson Fuels to Sell E85 for $.85 in Sacramento

pearsonfuelsCalifornia-based Pearson Fuels will start selling E85 in the Sacramento area. And the company says it will celebrate the event by selling the green fuel for just 85 cents per gallon today between 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The event is intended to introduce more members of the public to a fuel that many of their vehicles will burn. The event will be held at the following locations:

Shell 5103 Fair Oaks Blvd., Carmichael, CA 95608

Shell 730 29th Street. Sacramento, CA 95816

Shell 3721 Truxel Road, Sacramento, CA 95834

Shell 800 Ikea Court West Sacramento, CA 95691

Oliver Gas 1009 Oliver Road Fairfield, CA 94534

Pearson Fuels General Manager Mike Lewis states, “We are very proud to make this announcement. These five locations in Sacramento, West Sacramento and Fairfield are owned by some of the most progressive fuel station owners in the state. These stations were selling E85 before we made our agreement with them. We are happy to be working with them and helping to recognize and promote their progressive decision to offer something most stations do not. We encourage the public to vote with their dollars to improve the environment and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

IBISWorld Offers Buying Strategies for Ethanol

ibisworldThe ethanol market can be a pretty volatile place when it comes to pricing. IBISWorld is offering a report on how to identify where volatility exists, not just in ethanol, and how to reduce risks in price instability.

Because of fluctuating key input costs, prices of diesel and ethanol have displayed a high level of price volatility. While diesel and ethanol are both used for fuel, they do not share the same production process because diesel fuel comes from crude oil and ethanol comes primarily from corn…

Meanwhile, the price of corn is estimated to fall 21.7% in 2015, which will play a large part in the 29.2% drop in ethanol prices expected this year. Similar to diesel, ethanol prices are forecast to reverse and then stabilize at mild growth in the coming years.

The fuel market is known for its booms and busts, which can foster a hectic procurement environment. As such, buyers are encouraged to engage in long-term contracts with their fuel suppliers to reduce their exposure to price fluctuations. By locking in favorable rates now while prices are low, buyers can avoid the risk of anticipated prices rises in the future.

More information is available here.

North Dakota Firefighters to Get Ethanol Training

rfalogo1Firefighters in North Dakota will get some training on ethanol safety. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and North Dakota Firefighter’s Association will co-host seven free Ethanol Safety Seminars this month across the state, focusing on numerous areas of ethanol safety to target first responders, hazmat teams, safety managers, and local emergency planning committees, as well as the general public.

Starting Aug. 17, Ethanol Safety Seminars will be held in the following locations:

Aug. 17: Bowman Fire Department in Bowman | 5:30–10 p.m.
Aug. 18: Dickinson Fire Department in Dickinson | 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
Aug. 18: Richardton Fire Department in Richardton | 5:30–10 p.m.
Aug. 19: Washburn Fire Department in Washburn | 5:30–10 p.m.
Aug. 24: Stutsman County Law Emergency Center in Jamestown | 9 a.m.–2 p.m. & 5:30–10 p.m.
Aug. 26: Hankinson Fire Department in Hankinson | 5:30–10 p.m.
Aug. 27: Larimore Fire Department in Larimore | 5:30–10 p.m.

The goal of these seminars is for attendees to gain a complete ethanol emergency response training experience that they can put to use immediately in the field and pass along to other first response teams. A majority of this training is based on the “Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response,” a training package created by the Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition (EERC) that has been distributed throughout the United States and to several countries worldwide. These seminars are funded through a grant from the Department of Transportation’s Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

“The North Dakota Firefighter’s Association is honored to partner with the Renewable Fuels Association to provide the Ethanol Safety Seminars to seven different locations throughout North Dakota,” said Renee Loh, executive director of the North Dakota Firefighter’s Association. “NDFA is grateful that this training can be offered to the first responders of North Dakota! We encourage all first responders to register for this important class.”

RFA officials say it is important that communities have the know-how to respond to ethanol emergencies quickly and effectively. Incidents are rare, but should they occur, these seminars will give first responders the necessary training they need to keep the public safe.

To register for a session, go to www.rfa.traincaster.com.

Scottish Scientists Identify Algae Best for Biofuels

stephenslocombe1Scientists in Scotland have identified which algae are the best for biofuels. This article from the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) says the researchers used a new technique to figure out which ocean-based strains had the highest oil content.

The screening revealed two marine strains, Nannochloropis oceanica and Chlorella vulgaris, which had a dry-weight oil content of more than 50 per cent. This makes them ideal sources of biofuel for vehicles and aircraft.

The results of the screening, part of the BioMara project, have been published in Nature’s online journal Scientific Reports and are likely to help bring forward research into algae as a source of biodiesel and other biofuels by a number of years.

SAMS scientists have demonstrated that Nannochloropsis, for example, is very efficient at converting nutrients, so it has the perfect combination of high levels of oil and high productivity.

The report’s lead author, Dr Stephen Slocombe, SAMS research associate in molecular biology, said: “In order to produce biofuels from micro-algae we will have to generate high yields, so we need to know which strains will produce the most oil.

“While there is a lot of work being done on micro-algae biotechnology – currently around 10,000 researchers across the world – no-one has identified a shortlist of the best performing strains and how their properties could be used.”

The research also identified algae varieties best for the health food industry.

RFS Hits 10 Years, Celebrations Begin

rfs-mess-2Celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) began last Friday, with farmers and biofuels advocates beginning a series of grassroots events nationwide.

Over fifty grassroots events will take place at state and county fairs throughout the month of August… Farmers and consumers will have the chance to inform and educate elected officials, and local and national media on the successes of the RFS in the past decade.

… Monday, constituents from Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin are dropping off comments they submitted to the EPA on its proposed multiyear RVOs during the comment period at the district offices of their respective U.S. Senators to show the economic impact of the RFS on their communities and the importance of the RFS to everyday Americans – and to rally for clean, secure, American energy and point to the progress of the past decade under the bipartisan law.

In just the past 10 years, the renewable fuel industry has stimulated the economy, created American jobs, and helped farmers and rural communities get back on their feet:

Consumers: After ten years under the RFS, we have tripled production of homegrown renewable fuel, which now makes up nearly 10% of our motor fuel supply. As designed, the RFS has reduced our reliance on imports from an unstable global oil market, reducing the price of gas and insulating us from price shocks.

Economy: The RFS has spurred investment in biofuels and been a major stimulus to the nation’s economy, creating $184.5 billion in annual economic output and $46.2 billion in wages each year, and generating over 852,000 American jobs that can’t be outsourced.

Rural Communities: By promoting homegrown, renewable fuel the RFS is America’s most successful policy bolstering rural economies and family farmers by injecting more homegrown renewable fuel into our motor fuel supply, and less oil imported from hostile foreign regions. Thanks in large part to the RFS, farm income rose 88% from 2006 to last year—nearly doubling.

Environment: The RFS is the most effective policy reducing America’s greenhouse gas emissions. The RFS also cuts down on asthma- and cancer-causing pollution in the air we breathe and the water we drink. Using traditional corn ethanol represents a 34% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to regular gasoline, according to research by the Department of Energy. Advanced biofuels like cellulosic ethanol reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 88-108% compared to gasoline—and independent studies have proven we need renewable fuel volumes at statutory levels to keep the advanced biofuels industry moving forward. Last year, ethanol-blended gasoline was responsible for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 40 million metric tons, or the equivalent of 8 million cars removed from the road per year.

USDA Builds Rural Energy with Loans & Grants

usda-logoThe U.S. Department of Agriculture is helping build renewable energy in rural areas. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $63 million in loans and grants for 264 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide that USDA is supporting through its Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

“This funding will have far-reaching economic and environmental impacts nationwide, particularly in rural communities,” Vilsack said. “Investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects supports home-grown energy sources, creates jobs, reduces greenhouse gas pollution and helps usher in a more secure energy future for the nation.”

These REAP projects are expected to generate and/or save 207.8 million kilowatt hours (KWh) of energy – enough to power more than 13,600 homes for a year.

The next application deadline for REAP grants is November 2, 2015.