NCGA: We Will Not Stand for RFS Attacks

Rob Elliot NCGAThe National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is continuing to fight back said NCGA president Chip Bowling of Maryland during a press conference at the Farm Progess Show. “It’s about the many people who attack us [farmers] in DC like the DC bureaucrats, radio talk loudmouths and fearmongers on social media.”

Among other issues, Bowling was referring to the attack on ethanol through the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). He noted that growers must find a way to stay in business when market prices drop below the price of production. “That is why we’re not standing by while government regulators ignore the law when it comes to ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Bowling.

In addition to defending the RFS, Bowling said NCGA is working to help build infrastructure for higher ethanol blends such as E15 and E85 while working with their allies at the U.S. Grains Council to increase ethanol and by-products exports such as dried distillers grains DDGs.

To learn more about NCGA’s biofuel and bioproducts intiatives, listen to their Farm Progress Show press conference here: NCGA #FarmProgressShow Press Conference

Check out the Farm Progress Show photo album.

Nebraska Wants Clean Air

Kim Clark ACE 2015Kim Clark, former director of biofuels development for Nebraska Corn spoke during the recent Ethanol Conference in Omaha, Nebraska hosted by the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) about their Clean Air for Nebraska campaign. Her focus is to educate consumers across the state about ways to improve air quality. The goal of the campaign is create awareness around how using ethanol in fuels is a small step to make a big impact in air quality. She noted that there is a good number of organizations supporting the efforts.

The multi-facted campaign includes adding additional biofuels infrastructure throughout the state with Nebraska Corn allocating $500,000 to adding more blender pumps. Next, the campaign is focusing on helping consumers understand what ethanol blends are and what cars can use what blends including E15 and E85. Much of the marketing is taking place at the pump but the campaign also included radio ads. Ultimately the clean air campaign supporters hope their tools can be used by other regions and states as a template for biofuel and air pollution education.

To learn more about the Clean Air for Nebraska campaign, listen to Kim Clark’s presentation: Kim Clark, Clean Air for Nebraska

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

GREET Model Advances

When determining how much a fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions as compared to pure gasoline, most use Argonne National Laboratory’s GREET Life-cycle model (Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation Model). In recent years, the model has seen some advancements and during the recent ACE Ethanol Conference, Dr. Jeongwoo Han, assistant energy system analyst with Argonne National Labs, discussed these changes.

HanAs he explained, GREET has been updated and used to evaluate/update the environmental impacts of ethanol. Han’s presentation discussed the recent life-cycle analysis results of ethanol with the technology advancement as well as key issues in life-cycle analysis.

To learn more about advancements in the GREET Life-cycle Model, listen to Dr. Jeongwoo Han’s presentation: Dr. Jeongwoo Han Presentation

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

Biodiesel & Bioheat Forum Great Success

Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (MSRPC) hosted the Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum recently and it was a huge success said Keith Schrader, Chairman of MSPRC. He told DomesticFuel that what promoted the Council to put the event together was having gone to New York City for the past few years to participate in the Bioheat Tour.

biodiesel-bioheat-15-schrader“So I went out this Winter and saw what they were doing in the heating oil market out there and the diesel market,” said Schrader. “We thought we’d really like to have these guys come and spread the good news they have about their industry here in the Midwest. So we invited them to come and look around our industry and then do the Forum.”

The event featured a wide, diverse group with retailers, associations, research organizations, fuel marketers and more and who really want to spread the word on how successful the Northeast has been with biodiesel (new York City uses B20 to offset the emission problems due to heating oil) and Bioheat.

The goal of the Forum, that was achieved, was bigger awareness with retailers and fuel marketers in the Midwest to understand how successful these programs are in other parts of the country. And the people who visited the Midwest enjoyed the opportunity to meet the growers who are growing and producing the biodiesel they use every day.

Learn more about the Biodiesel and Bioheat Forum by listening to Chuck Zimmerman’s interview with Keith Schrader: Keith Schrader, MN Soybean Research & Promotion Council

Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum Photo Album

RINS, Tax Credit Good Drivers of Biodiesel

John Wenzel, with FC Stone, is a large energy dealer and works primarily with large fuel dealers and end users. He spoke during the Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum in Mankato, Minnesota last week. He recently moved to Kansas City from Minnesota and said it was good to be be back.

biodiesel-bioheat-15-wenzelWhen asked what he was hoping to convey to attendees he answered, “I wanted to show how the current oil market is oversupplied but at some point we think it will balance out. I also took a good look at some of the cost drivers around biodiesel and there still is a good opportunity for fuel dealers, I think, to blend biodiesel and for it to be really profitable. It goes back to where are some of the RIN values and also with the tax credit coming up, that’s a big driver and will help fuel dealers blend more biodiesel.”

Wenzel said that it was good to be at an event where he could see biodiesel used in different ways such as with Bioheat. He also noted that Minnesota has a B10 mandate while New York is marketing biodiesel through Bioheat and he thought these are good examples for other states. Ultimately though, he said the biodiesel industry will need to work closely with the oil heating industry to ensure that Bioheat is affordable for consumers who are considering a move to natural gas to meet statewide emission goals.

Learn more about by listening to Chuck Zimmerman’s interview with John Wenzel: John Wenzel, FC Stone

Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum Photo Album

Clinton Voices Support for Renewable Energy

clinton-iowaWith a John Deere tractor as a backdrop, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton voiced her strong support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), solar and wind energy during a visit to Iowa this week.

“We need to capitalize on rural America’s strength as a producer of clean, renewable energy,” said Mrs. Clinton during a speech in Ankeny, adding that she has two main goals in that area. “Half a billion solar panels within four years and enough energy production from renewables to power every home in America within 10 years.”

Noting that Iowa produces a third of its total energy from renewables, especially wind and biofuels. “If Iowa can do it…so can the rest of America,” she said.

“We need to strengthen the Renewable Fuel Standard,” Mrs. Clinton continued to applause. “So that it drives the development of advanced biofuels and expand the overall contribution that renewable fuels make to our overall fuel supply.”

Introduced by former Iowa governor and current Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Clinton discussed her plan to support rural America which includes investments in rural areas and rural transportation, making the production of agricultural products more profitable for farmers, and promoting the use of clean energy and renewable energy sources.

Listen to Vilsack’s introduction and Clinton’s speech here: Hillary Clinton on Ag in Iowa

#ACE15 Success, Jennings Highlights What’s Next

The 28th Annual American Coalition for Ethanol’s (ACE) Ethanol Conference was a huge success. At times the room was stand-up only and the content was engaging and informational for attendees. I had a chance to sit down with Executive Vice President Brian Jennings who kicked off the conference and closed the conference and he said that there were a few presentations that really stood out.

The first was the retailer panel that featured Kum & Go and what they are doing to promote the use of E15 and other ethanol blends to consumers in the Midwest, along with Protec and what they are doing in a totally different way and different part of the country (South/Southwest) to bring ethanol to consumers.

Brian Jennings EVP of ACE“There are a lot of smart, progressive companies out there that see the advantage, that see the price advantage, see the other advantages that E15 and higher blends bring to the table,” said Jennings. “I know it’s frustrating for some in our industry because the progress of E15 is going as quickly as any of us like but progress indeed is being made and it’s a testament to the work that ACE and others are doing with the Kum & Gos in the world and the Protecs of the world.”

Another panel that was very informative, noted Jennings, was the panel of ethanol producers who are adopting new technologies and becoming pioneers of emerging technologies. These plants, he said, are leading the way in production improvements, in new product developments, bring in new revenues and help them diversify. Jennings hopes that other ethanol producers both at their conference and not, will look to these plants as examples and also embrace these new technologies and co-products.

The conference really focused on emerging technologies and wins in the industry but none the less talk of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was common among attendees. I asked Jennings what the next step was for ACE, on behalf of the industry, to keep the fight for the RFS front and center. He said that the industry has until November 30th to continue engaging with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and they will continue to do just that. “They have mountains of comments they have to sift through and we’re proud of ACE and the ethanol industry on how many comments were submitted.”

“I am enormously frustrated with the EPA,” said Jennings. “I have to be honest. We try to be constructive, we try to be helpful, and they just really want to continue to base this thing on the blend wall. So we have our work cut out for us.”

ACE hopes to engage in a Power to the People campaign this fall in the beltway and around the country to educate consumers about the benefits of ethanol.

To learn more about the Ethanol Conference and what’s next for ACE, listen to my interview with Brian Jennings here: ACE's Brian Jennings Conference Review

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

Eric Degesero: Bioheat Wins Environmental Contest

Eric Degesero runs the Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey who represents retail heating oil and Bioheat distributors as well as motor fuel distributors throughout the state. Degesero said during the Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum in Mankato, Minnesota last week that the state, and thus his members, are seeing interest in Bioheat but an accelerated interest in the heating oil blend due to regulations and the cleanliness of fuels.

biodiesel-bioheat-15-degesero“What’s happened to us over time is that the goal line has been moved. We’ve worked out addressing our fuel being ‘dirty’ from a traditional environmental perspective,” said Degesero. “We worked very hard to remove sulfur from the fuel which we did, and we hadn’t even got that across the goal line and they kicked in a new game around greenhouse gas and global warming potential. That is where biodiesel blended into heating oil, thus the term bioheat, is a game changer because it allows us to be better than our competitor, which is natural gas in the Northeast that is relative to emissions across the board.”

He stressed that using a B5 Bioheat blend poses no problems for current equipment but trials with blends of up to B20 have also posed no issues. Degesero explained that a study they did in conjunction with Penn State found that using a B20 Bioheat blend actually increases system performance in existing heating systems in the field.

Learn more about how New Jersey is adopting and using Bioheat to meet environmental goals by listening to Chuck Zimmerman’s interview with Eric Degesero: Eric Degesero, Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey

Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum Photo Album

Protec Takes Unique E15, E85 Approach

Todd Garner, CEO of Protec Fuel, has more than 30 years in the fuel business. As such, he has been able to launch an interesting model in how they bring more choice at the pump by helping retail stations offer E15 and E85. The company started offering E85 in 2006 and has made incredible strides in getting more ethanol into the marketplace. But they do more than just distribute biofuels. They are also a large fuel logistics provider, basically, they do all of the aspects that any oil company might do but work primarily with small to midsize retailers and companies. Attendees were able to learn about their business model during the ACE Ethanol Conference last week in Omaha, Nebraska.

Todd Garner ProtecProtec is the largest supplier of ethanol to the military in the U.S. and has E85 stations on nearly every naval base in the country. And for the first time, they have begun to supply the rental car companies at the Nashville, TN and Charlotte, North Carolina airports. Garner said rental car companies used to buy their own fuel. Today it’s all done together and outsourced. So Protec has convinced these rental car operations to change to E15 because nearly all cars on the road can use this ethanol blend. Gardner said that they will continue to push this program with other rental car agencies located at airports across the country.

To learn more about how Protec is promoting/selling E15 and E15 listen to Todd Garner’s remarks here: Todd Garner, Protec

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

Everyone Wins with Bioheat

Paul Nazzaro said that Bioheat has been a win, win situation for marketers, the biodiesel industry and the petroleum people as well during the Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum that recently took place in Mankao, Minnesota. Nazzaro is the President of Nazzaro Group, who is a liaison between the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and companies who want to, or do sell Bioheat. Specific to Bioheat, he said the product has allowed the biodiesel industry to reinvent itself and produce a product that is more accepted by consumers.

biodiesel-bioheat-15-nazzaro“In the past, heating oil was dirty, prehistoric and linked to to big oil,” said Nazzaro. “They’re finding out Bioheat is the next generation fuel for them and they are valuing the benefits that come with it.”

He said that education has been very important for the increased adoption of Bioheat and that NBB has been leading the way. But he noted that the education is not coming from newspapers and radio ads and stories, its coming from “gorilla marketing”. “It’s a fuel dealer talking to a consumer about the Bioheat and its benefits.”

You can listen Chuck Zimmerman’s interview with Paul Nazzaro: Paul Nazzaro, Nazzaro Group

Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum Photo Album