RFA Chairman to EPA: Tear Down the Blend Wall

rfs-rally-doyleTestifying at a public hearing on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and rally in Kansas City, Kansas Thursday, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) board chairman Randy Doyal urged EPA to “tear down the blend wall” and implement the statute as Congress intended.

In his testimony at the hearing, the CEO of Minnesota-based Al-Corn Clean Fuel said that even though gasoline consumption might be slightly lower today than Congress anticipated when it adopted the RFS, it was always the intent of the program to push beyond the blend wall and increase the share of renewable fuels in our nation’s fuel supply.

“…the Clean Air Act statute does not permit EPA to take into account ‘factors that affect consumption,’ such as purported infrastructure constraints or the so-called ‘blend wall,’ in determining whether to grant a general waiver of the RFS,” Doyal noted. “By embracing the ‘blend wall’ concept, the EPA proposal not only violates the law, but also undermines the incentive to expand biofuel production and distribution capacity, and allows oil companies to only blend as much renewable fuel as they are comfortable using.”

Doyal also made remarks at the #RFSWorks rally. RFA chair Randy Doyal at RFS rally

EPA RFS Public Hearing photo album

Coverage of EPA RFS Hearing is sponsored by
Coverage of EPA RFS Hearing sponsored by RFA

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

Governors Tell EPA the #RFSWorks

The governors of Iowa and Missouri both spoke out in bipartisan support of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) during a hearing and rally Thursday in Kansas City.

rfs-hearing-branstadIowa Republican Governor Terry Branstad drew applause several times during his testimony at the public hearing on EPA’s proposed volume obligations under the RFS. “We are pleased to be here and get outside the Beltway where Big Oil’s army of well-paid lobbyists seem to have so much undue influence,” said Branstad to applause. While Branstad acknowledged the positive changes EPA made in the proposal for biodiesel, when it comes to ethanol “the agency seems to have bought Big Oil’s faulty arguments hook, line, and sinker.”

rally-nixon“By setting the RFS below the Congressional targets, the EPA caps the amount that will be produced,” said Missouri Democrat Governor Jay Nixon. “It is counter intuitive for the agency charged with enforcing the clean air laws to impose a defacto limit on ethanol, a product which so clearly emits fewer greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

“Quite frankly, I’m not seeing how it’s going to hurt our economy to produce cheaper, better, cleaner fuel, and it’s certainly not going to hurt our environment,” said Nixon.

Both governors went from the hearing across the street to a Rally for Rural America to support the RFS and both had their state agriculture directors with them as well. Listen to or download their testimony and rally speeches below.

Iowa and Missouri Governors at EPA Hearing IA and MO governors and ag directors at RFS rally

EPA RFS Public Hearing photo album

Coverage of EPA RFS Hearing is sponsored by
Coverage of EPA RFS Hearing sponsored by RFA

Abe Hughes Joins POET

Abe HughesCongratulations to our good friend Abe Hughes for his new career opportunity with POET. I just spoke with Abe by phone to find out more about what he’s doing now as POET Senior Vice President of Business Development. From the release:

In this role, Hughes will help guide POET’s strategies for continued growth, whether through independent initiatives or partnerships, both in the U.S. and abroad.

“I’m excited to join the experienced and visionary leadership team at POET to help further shape the future of the biorefining and alternative energy industry,” Hughes said. “I look forward to helping POET continue its leadership, innovation and growth through unique partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, licensing and international expansion opportunities.”

“Abe’s experience and his personality are a great fit at POET,” CEO Jeff Lautt said. “There are exciting opportunities ahead in this industry, and I know Abe will help us make the most of them.”

Prior to joining POET, Hughes was Vice President North America for New Holland Agriculture and Construction, a world leader in the manufacture and sale of tractors, combines, hay tools and other agricultural and construction equipment.

Listen to the excitement in Abe’s voice as he tackles this new challenge with POET: Interview with Abe Hughes, POET

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

EPA Official Ready for Long Day

rfs-hearing-agritalkHundreds of stakeholders are gathered in Kansas City, Kansas for a public hearing on the proposed volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Chris Grundler, Director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, is the official in charge and he took a few minutes this morning to sit down with AgriTalk and discuss the proposal and his expectations for the hearing. In a quick interview with Domestic Fuel, Grundler talked about what he learned during his visit to East Kansas Agri-Energy “What struck me is that this plant was built by a bunch of neighbors and now ten years later it’s very successful,” said Grundler.

The hearing is now underway and Grundler says “we will be here until the last person speaks.”

Interview with Chris Grundler, EPA

EPA RFS Public Hearing photo album

Coverage of EPA RFS Hearing is sponsored by
Coverage of EPA RFS Hearing sponsored by RFA

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

EPA Officials Visit Kansas Ethanol Plant

EPA officials visit East Kansas Agri-Energy plant

EPA officials visit East Kansas Agri-Energy plant

In advance of a public hearing in Kansas City on the proposed volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials visited East Kansas Agri-Energy (EKAE) in Garnett, Kansas Wednesday.

Federal and regional EPA personnel toured the 45 million gallon per year corn ethanol plant, examined progress on EKAE’s co-located renewable diesel project, and discussed the importance of the RFS with plant management and local investors. EPA also hand-delivered a letter to EKAE approving the company’s efficient producer pathway petition, which certifies that the company’s ethanol reduces GHG emissions by 27.2 percent compared to petroleum.

“Today’s event provided an excellent opportunity for key EPA officials to see firsthand the ethanol industry’s innovation and ingenuity,” said Jeff Oestmann, CEO of EKAE. “We were honored to host EPA, and we thank them for spending a few hours with us to learn more about the ethanol process, renewable diesel, and the importance of the biofuels industry to the Garnett community. We had a very productive discussion and hope they left here with a new appreciation for both the challenges and opportunities facing ethanol producers today.”

EKAE, which was founded by local farmers and business leaders, produced its first gallon of ethanol one month before the original RFS was adopted in 2005. In 2014, the company broke ground on a bolt-on renewable diesel facility, which will convert the corn distillers oil already produced at the plant into low-carbon advanced biofuel.

RFA Senior Vice President Geoff Cooper, who also attended the tour, said EKAE is proof that the RFS is working. “EKAE is an excellent example of how the RFS provided the stability needed for first-generation biofuels like corn ethanol to succeed and flourish, then delivered the investment certainty required to develop second-generation biofuels like renewable diesel from corn distillers oil,” he said.

Both Oestmann and Cooper will be testifying today at the EPA hearing in Kansas City, along with more than 250 other industry stakeholders.

Listen to an interview with Oestmann and Cooper about the plant tour and hearing here: Interview with Jeff Oestmann, EKAE and Geoff Cooper, RFA

EPA RFS Public Hearing photo album

Iowa RFA President at American Ethanol 200

Iowa RFA president Brian Cahill (right) interviewed by KMA radio at American Ethanol 200

Iowa RFA president Brian Cahill (right) interviewed by KMA radio at American Ethanol 200

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association president Brian Cahill of Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy was at the NASCAR American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen last Friday to support ethanol and this week he will be in Kansas City, Kansas to do the same.

Iowa RFA members will be among those testifying at a public hearing on Thursday to explain what is wrong with EPA’s latest proposal to set volume obligations for biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). “We’ll be testifying to show the benefits that ethanol provides to the whole country and also get the message across that EPA just can’t change the law,” said Cahill, who says that having the hearing in the Midwest will allow many RFS supporters to attend. “There’s more than just ethanol involved in this so hopefully we’ll see a good show of support for the biofuels industry in Kansas City.”

In this interview from the race on Friday, Cahill also talks about why growers who supply corn for his plant grow Syngenta Enogen, a corn trait designed specifically for ethanol production. Interview with Iowa RFA president Brian Cahill

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 Press Conference at Iowa Speedway

Engine Press ConferenceToday 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. On the pane (l-r) are Chris Tingle, Syngenta; Ray Defenbaugh, Prime the Pump; Kelly Manning, Growth Energy; Delayne Johnson, Quad County Corn Processors and Chris Soule, Iowa farmer and star of ABC’s The Bachelor and Dancing With the Stars.

Syngenta says it will donate approximately $600,000 to the initiative by contributing $1 for every acre planted with Enogen corn enzyme technology. This effort stated in 2013 and is being extended to 2016. Besides the money being raised for the Prime the Pump initiative, the FFA students here today helping collect money for the fund will be receiving matching dollars for the money they raise. So, when you look at the value to the ethanol plants of Enogen corn which already has a vital enzyme for processing which saves the plant money; the fact that farmers growing Enogen corn are receiving a significant bonus incentive on the price of their corn; the fact that this initiative is helping expand the market and use of ethanol and local FFA chapters are benefitting, it seems like a win-win for everyone.

I have recorded the full press conference for you to listen to here: Syngenta Enogen Press Conference

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