#FlexMyChoice Massages at #Classic16

classic16-rfaVisitors to the 2016 Commodity Classic had the opportunity to voice their support for Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) and relax their aching muscles at the same time at the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) booth.

It was the first opportunity for RFA to get their recently launched “Flex My Choice” campaign in front of the agriculture industry and Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White says many of the people they spoke to at Classic had no idea that auto makers were cutting their production of FFVs. “It doesn’t matter what part of agriculture you’re coming from, the phasing out or elimination of flex fuel vehicles will be devastating to the advancement and growth of our industry,” said White.

Beginning this year, the fuel economy credits given to auto makers for building flex fuel vehicles were phased out. “Ironically, now we have incentives for natural gas vehicles, so we’re encouraging fossil fuel usage over an alternative like E85,” White said.

Classic attendees who visited the RFA booth were able to fill out post cards to be sent to the main three automobile manufacturers, as well as EPA. While doing that, they were also able to get a nice chair massage, which was welcome relief for many who spent the day walking through the huge trade show catering to corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum farmers.

Listen to Robert explain more about Flex My Choice in this interview: Interview with Robert White, RFA, at Commodity Classic

2016 Commodity Classic Photo Album

NCGA Identifies Ethanol as Driver for Demand

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) held a press conference this week during 2016 Commodity Classic to discuss several key issues facing the corn industry and highlight the efforts currently in place to create solutions to the challenges that have been facing growers.

NCGA president Chip BowlingNCGA Present Chip Bowling, a corn grower from Newburg, Maryland, said that the most important action the organization is taking on behalf of its members is creating more demand for corn products. Ethanol, said Bowling, is an important element to increasing demand.

“Ethanol is the most important driver for future growth of corn demand,” said Bowling during his remarks. “We’re investing in fuel pump infrastructure that will give customers more access to higher ethanol blends. USDA has provided $100 million in matching grants to help us with this effort. We’re also pushing for changes that would give every American year round access to E15. At the same time we’re protecting the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which provides renewable, clean energy and increases our nation’s energy independence.”

Bowling noted that in January, NCGA banded with other organizations in court to challenge the EPA’s renewable volume obligations (RVS) under the RFS, which are under statutory levels. “We’re pushing for our case to be heard before EPA announces 2017 RVO numbers that are supposedly coming out at the end of March.”

Listen to the full press conference here:
NCGA Press Conference at Commodity Classic

2016 Commodity Classic Photo Album

Tom Buis Delivers the “CEO Report”

Growth Energy Co-Chair Tom Buis delivered his “CEO Report” yesterday during the Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida. During his remarks, Buis said, “Last year was an interesting year, we increased exports, had another great corn crop and defeated every single attempt to repeal or reform the RFS.”

The Growth Energy team.

The Growth Energy team.

Buis segued into how the ethanol industry stepped up to the plate to help change the flight of the ball on the renewable volume obligations (RVO’s), or how much biofuels are required to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply. He noted that while the rules remain flawed, it was better than the proposed rules and “the blend wall was finally cracked this year”. In addition he outlined how supporting the Renewable Fuel Standard (#RFS) along with expanding market access to E15 will continue to be top priorities for 2016.

“We need to grab the bull by the horns and discuss all the good work that this industry does, including the environmental benefits, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and all the good jobs we create across the nation, while helping bring choice to American consumers,” continued Buis. Who added in regards to their successes in working directly with retailers to bring E15 to the market, “Our work showed that we were not going to let others define us, we must share our story on how we are tomorrow’s fuel,” noting that “fossil fuels will go the way of the steamboat, horse and buggy and the blimp. Anytime we are compared to the oil industry, we win.”

Buis concluded his remarks by stressing, “I think as an industry, there is no industry that is better. With our knowledge, passion and engagement, we’re going to win this fight, but it’s going to take effort. Effort equals results. We will not sit back, we will roll up our sleeves and we will win.”

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Tom Buis following his CEO Report: Interview with Tom Buis, Growth Energy co-chair

Growth Energy Holds 7th Leadership Conference

growth-throttleEthanol industry organization Growth Energy is holding its seventh annual Executive Leadership Conference in Orlando this week.

After a weekend at the Daytona 500 to highlight American Ethanol, the meeting kicked off Monday morning with the Chairman’s Report from Jeff Broin, co-chair of Growth Energy’s Board of Directors. Broin noted that the industry had a record year producing a product that represents a growing share of the gasoline market.

growth-broin1“This is a long-term game, and we will not give up,” said Broin. “Our industry is poised to succeed, because we are doing the right thing for our nation and generations to come. We will continue to go full throttle to produce a biofuel that reduces toxic air emissions while improving performance for future vehicles.”

The growth of E15 in the marketplace was a big focus of the meeting on Monday, after revving up with the NASCAR Daytona weekend. “We’ve seen tremendous increases in consumer acceptance among NASCAR fans … Once they see that it’s a higher performance fuel, a higher octane fuel, people use it,” said Broin during an interview at the meeting. “NASCAR’s been very successful at showing ethanol is a great fuel.”

The American Ethanol partnership between NASCAR, Growth Energy, New Holland, and the National Corn Growers Association is now in its sixth year and will hit the 10 million mile mark this year running on running on 15% ethanol blended Sunoco Green E15.

Listen to Broin’s interview here: Interview with Jeff Broin, Growth Energy co-chair

DOC Partners With NEC to Increase Ethanol Exports

Despite low crude oil prices, 2015 was still a robust export year for the ethanol industry according to Kenneth Hyatt, deputy under secretary for International Trade with the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). The DOC partnered with the Renewable Fuels Association, the host of the 21st Annual National Ethanol Conference (#RFANEC) where delegates from several countries were on hand to discuss export opportunities.

nec16-hyattHyatt said his organization has four key areas of focus in which they can assist the ethanol industry: promotion of U.S. exports; aid in opening global markets; assist investors in increasing direct foreign investment; and enforce U.S. trade laws and international trade agreements. However, the focus of his presentation was on exports.

“I would think about us as doing anything that would help you figure out whether to export, figure out to where to export. If you want to find a buyer in one of those countries, to help find a buyer in those countries. If it’s to help find a distributor in a country, we help find that distributor. It can also be if you have a problem in a country,” remarked Hyatt.

Hyatt also gave an overview on the top destinations of the export markets (Canada, Brazil and Phillipines), and also discussed the updates on the horizon of its Renewable Fuels Top Markets Report 2016. It covers both ethanol and biomass woodpellets and includes case studies, contact information and ranks them on strength of prospects.

Listen to Kenneth Hyatt’s presentation here: Kenneth Hyatt's Presentation

Kenneth Hyatt’s PowerPoint presentation

2016 National Ethanol Conference Photo Album

#Ethanol Export Trends from #RFANEC

nec16-hubbardExpansion of ethanol exports is critical to allow U.S. industry to grow in face of domestic infrastructure challenges, which is why exports were such a big focus at the 21st National Ethanol Conference last week.

“We are firmly committed to help grow and expand export markets for our members and for the industry,” said Renewable Fuels Association General Counsel Ed Hubbard, who moderated two panels at the NEC discussing export trends and opportunities. RFA was selected to partner with the Department of Commerce’s International Buyer Program at the conference which focused on five main target markets – Brazil, China, Philippines, India, Mexico. “The markets were part of the top markets report prepared by the Department of Commerce, which was the result of careful analysis on export markets to look at where the opportunities for our industry lie,” Hubbard added.

nec16-exports-panelThe first panel on exports featured Ricardo Dornelles with the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Brazil; Stephan Zepeda of Grupo Báltico in Mexico; and Amit Sachdev, Consultant in South Asia, U.S. Grains Council.

Links to presentations from each are found below:
Ricardo Dornelles presentation
Stephen Zepeda presentation
Amit Sachdev presentation

Listen to the panel here: Ethanol Exports Panel 1

The second panel on exports featured Max Thomasson, CHS Inc. Director for Global Trading; U.S. Grains Council Chief Economist Mike Dwyer; Eco-Energy International Director Alexandre Zebulun Ades; and Scott Richman, Senior Vice President at Informa Economics.

Listen to that panel here and presentations via links below: Listen to the panel here: Ethanol Exports Panel 2

Scott Richman presentation
Alexandre Ades presentation

2016 National Ethanol Conference Photo Album

Ethanol Evolution Sees Industry Consolidation

This week in New Orleans, “Ethanol Evolution: The Data and Deals Driving the Future,” was a topic during the 21st Annual National Ethanol Conference (#RFANEC). The panel was moderated by Mike Jerke, CEO, Guardian Energy; and included Mark Fisler, Managing Director, Ocean Park Advisors; and John Christianson, Primary Partner, Christianson & Associates, PLLP.

nec16-evolutionDuring the discussion, Fisler said that the North American biofuels industry saw a major consolidation of players last year and this year is pointing to the same trend.

“Our experience leads us to believe there will be an increased number of owners and boards of renewable fuel companies evaluating their options in 2016, if not testing the market for reasonable assessments of the value of their plants,” noted Fisler. He added that the ethanol industry in particular is ripe for consolidation although there are still 94 standalone ethanol plants that have annual production capacity of 5.3 billion gallons, or about 36 percent all North American ethanol production volumes.

To learn about about this trend as well as how the ethanol industry is faring financially, listen to the Ethanol Evolution panel discussion: Ethanol Evolution Panel

View Power Point presentation.

2016 National Ethanol Conference Photo Album

OPIS’ Tom Kloza Discusses Energy Markets

nec16-klozaDuring the 21st Annual National Ethanol Conference (#RFANEC) this week, one of the hot topics was the energy and ethanol market outlooks especially with the low oil prices the globe is currently experiencing. Tom Kloza with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) offered attendees the outlook for ethanol, oil and natural gas markets in his presentation, “Wronger for Longer – sideways look at North American Energy Supply.”

“What would you have imagined would be more unlikely 3 or 4 years ago?” Kloza asked in his introduction. “That a hip-hop version of Alexander Hamilton would win the Tonys on Broadway? That America’s Dad Bill Cosby would be America’s serial rapist? Or that the person who was the greatest athlete in the world in 1976 Bruce Jenner was now a woman? Or that oil prices were a $110 a few years ago and now are struggling to get out of the 20s?”

Your answer may change after you listen to Kloza’s remarks here: Tom Kloza, OPIS, Energy Markets Outlook Remarks
View Power Point presentation.

2016 National Ethanol Conference Photo Album

Abigail Fisler Shares Her #RFANEC Experience

nec16-scholarshipAbigail Fisler was the recipient of this year’s National Ethanol Conference (NEC) scholarship awarded by the Renewable Fuels Foundation. She is a junior at Dickinson College in Carlislie, PA studying environmental studies with a focus on renewable energy and climate change. Last year she attended her first NEC show and wanted to attend again because of all the great educational and networking opportunities.

Before she headed back to the books, she spoke with Cindy Zimmerman about some of the highlights of her time at the ethanol conference. She prefaced her answer with “that’s a tough one” but noted she really enjoyed the panel that included Alicia Lindauer with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). “I grabbed her at the networking reception and talked with her about what her career path has been and about her education path that led her there, and I thought it was really interesting to talk with her.”

Other areas that particularly interested her were discussions around why some areas are implementing E15 and other areas are not, and why some places have lots of flex fuel vehicles while others don’t.

To learn more about Abigail’s growing interest in renewable fuels (she’s been a fan since 4th grade) and to hear more about her NEC experience, listen to Cindy Zimmerman’s interview with NEC Scholarship winner Abigail Fisler: Interview with Abigail Fisler

2016 National Ethanol Conference Photo Album

#RFANEC Biofuels Policy Panel

nec16-policyThe future of U.S. biofuels policy was the topic of a panel at the 2016 National Ethanol Conference this week in New Orleans.

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen moderated the panel, which included industry and government stakeholders, but no representative from the Environmental Protection Agency, even though they were invited to participate. “They had expressed some real enthusiasm for talking about this with us,” said Dinneen. “On December 8th, when we filed a lawsuit (against EPA over the RFS volume obligations), the enthusiasm waned a bit.”

Alicia Lindauer with the U.S. Department of Energy did join the panel, representing the government. “Quite frankly, the Department of Energy is doing far more in terms of the analysis and work on future fuel and technology,” Dinneen said.

Also on the panel was Fuels Institute Executive Director John Eichberger and Jan Koninckx, Global Business Director for Advanced Biofuels with DuPont Industrial Biosciences. Listen to their conversation here: NEC Biofuels Policy Panel

2016 National Ethanol Conference Photo Album