Phibro Animal Health on Ethanol and FSMA

PhibroEthanol performance and animal health go hand in hand at Phibro Animal Health Corporation, which is why the revised FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations are an important focus for the company right now.

Phibo Animal Health Senior Vice President for scientific and regulatory affairs Richard Coulter says many ethanol producers are concerned about what impact the new regulations have on their plants and the distillers grains by-products they produce that are used for animal feed. “We see a lot of confusion at the moment in producers looking to adopt FSMA regarding the FDA’s approach to antimicrobial use for controlling bacterial contamination in ethanol production,” said Coulter in an interview with Domestic Fuel. “The reason that confusion is arising is that the FDA simultaneously has another initiative, Guidance 209, involving veterinary medicine and the use of antibiotics in food animals.”

phibro-coulterGuidance 209 requires that no antimicrobials may be used after the end of 2016 in food animals without the specific authorization of a veterinarian. “So a number of ethanol producers have thought that since they’re making ethanol, and since they’re making distillers grains, and distillers grain is an animal’s feed, that they may need a veterinarian to write them a prescription or a veterinary feed directive to allow them to use antimicrobial products in ethanol, but that’s not true,” says Coulter, explaining that Guidance 209 relates only to veterinary drugs.

Ethanol plants use antimicrobials such as the Phibro Ethanol Performance group product Lactrol to reduce bacterial contamination during alcohol fermentation and Coulter says regulations are very clear that the use of most antimicrobials in ethanol production are still authorized as safe under the new FSMA regulations.

“Lactrol has a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) designation, so it may be used in ethanol, and when its used in accordance with the label it is GRAS and the distillers grain that arises from that ethanol production may be used in animals with no impact from FSMA,” Coulter explained. “The issue that many producers are concerned about is that if Lactrol is used in ethanol production to control bacterial contamination, would there be unacceptable residues or unhealthy or harmful dangerous resides of Lactrol that would persist into the distillers grains that would cause a hazard to animals or food that they would produce, and the answer is no.”

Learn more in this interview: Interview with Richard Coulter, Phibro Animal Health

Students Discuss Biodiesel Research Projects at #NBB16

Students who are part of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel had the opportunity to share their research during the recent National Biodiesel Conference and Expo. The students all have one thing in common – their passion for the biodiesel industry.

nbb-16-thomas-kwanI spoke with several of these budding biodiesel leaders during the poster session. Thomas Kwan is a PhD candidate at Yale and is part of the Center for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering. While doing his undergraduate he looked at emissions from diesel fuel, particularly locomotives. He then leveraged this interest into looking not at the tailpipe, but the fuels themselves for emission reductions.

Thomas’s research is framed around an integrated biorefinery with algae as the foundation. In other words, the “plant” accepts some biomass and then produces biodiesel and other biobased products. Enabling technologies for the idea of an integrated biorefinery. Used micro algae that has high content for biodiesel lipids as well as other compounds, in particular, astaxanthin, a powerful antioxident. IN the case of algae, the bioproduct is not yet approved for human consumption but Thomas hopes this research will help change that. Ultimately, they looked at how to tweak the biorefinery to get more lipids for biodiesel, or to get more astaxanthin. To learn more, listen to my interview with Thomas Kwan here: Interview with Thomas Kwan

nbb16-eric-william

Clemson University Biosystems Engineering students Eric Monroe and William O’Connell, present their biodiesel research during the poster session.

William O’Connell is a senior at Clemson University in Biosystems Engineering. He became interested in biodiesel while doing his undergraduate research, and then attended the conference last year. He’s back and this year presented his research during the poster session.

The focus on the project is to reanalyze the school’s current process of collecting used cooking oil and converting it to biodiesel. William said they are looking to see if there is a more efficient way to produce the biofuel. What they have discovered is using interesterification is more efficient. To learn more, listen to my interview with William O’Connell here: Interview with William O'Connell

nbb-16-james-davisJames Davis is in his fourth year of his PhD at the University of Nevada, Reno. He has a keen interest in fatty acids of seed crops such as canola or camelina sativa. He explained that his research is focused on altering the lipid profile of camelina sativa.

The idea is to apply a cutting edge gene editing technology to knock out certain genes. Essentially, his goal is two-fold. One, to alter the fingerprint of the lipid profile and they are also trying to eradicate erucic acid, a semi-negative toxic lipid that is bad for livestock making camelina seed meal restricted for use in feeding livestock. James notes that if they can get rid of some of the negative profile, they can create a more high-value byproduct. To learn more, listen to my interview with James Davis here: Interview with William O'Connell

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Two Women Share Their Biodiesel Research

There is a growing number of women who are forging paths and leading the way in innovative biodiesel research. Two such women are Megan Hums, a student at Drexel University, and Jennifer Greenstein, a student at North Carolina State University. They are both members of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel program and they both presented posters during this year’s National Biodiesel Conference & Expo. I spent some time with both young women to learn about how they became interested in biodiesel/bioenergy. These are some amazing young ladies!

nbb16-greensteinJennifer Greenstein used to work in bioethanol and she says biofuels is something she can really get behind. As such, she headed to North Carolina State University to pursue her PhD and while there began working for Piedmont Biofuels, a biodiesel producer. (She will be graduating soon. Contact her here.)

For her research, Jennifer is working on developing lipases, which are a catalyst to make biodiesel. She is looking at an improved production system for making the lipases and immobilizing them. So in other words, she is looking for a way to express the lipases on the surface of the bacteria rather than intracellularly. The cool thing is that the process she is looking at will use an enzyme to replace chemicals in the production process. To learn more about her research, listen to my interview with Jennifer Greenstein here: Interview with Jennifer Greenstein

nbb16-megan-humsAfter Megan graduated with her undergrad degree she said she felt she still had more to learn. With her interest in sustainability and biofuels she found a project at Drexel University (She’s in her fifth year of her PhD program and graduating soon. Contact her here.) that interested her using waste greases for biodiesel production. She has been involved with this project and it was the focus on her poster.

Megan is looking at the environmental impact of using low quality greases, or kitchen waste greases, which have gone down the sink, to produce biodiesel using nonconventional biodiesel conversion. She then takes the whole process and applies environmental impacts to it through a lifecycle assessment and tries to figure out the footprint of production. To learn more, listen to my interview with Megan Hums here: Interview with Megan Hums

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Ethanol Report Analyzes Iowa Caucuses

ethanol-report-adSince the ethanol industry made a strong effort to support candidates who favored the Renewable Fuel Standard going into the Iowa caucuses, the oil industry is making much about the fact that one of the only two candidates opposed to the RFS won the Republican vote in the state. In this Ethanol Report, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen analyzes the caucus results and the position GOP winner Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has taken on ethanol, and comments on the successful efforts of America’s Renewable Future to educate all the candidates about the RFS and renewable fuels.

With 49 more states yet to make their choices for candidates in the November presidential election, Dinneen says the conversation about ethanol and the RFS is far from over. “The debate about renewable fuels, the RFS and ethanol is not just a one state debate,” he says. “It is something that is important across the country.”

Dinneen also predicts that the final nominees for both parties will be supportive of ethanol “and quite likely supportive of the Renewable Fuel Standard.” Listen here: Ethanol Report on Iowa Caucuses

Cruz Takes Iowa Despite #RFS Campaign

America's Renewable Future logoSen. Ted Cruz of Texas finished a strong first in the Iowa caucuses, despite heavy campaigning against him by the ethanol industry and even Governor Terry Branstad saying it would be a “big mistake for Iowa to support him.” Still, America’s Renewable Future, headed by Branstad’s son Eric, took a positive tone on the caucus results, noting that 100% of Democrats and “more than two-thirds of Republicans are caucusing for a pro-ethanol, pro-RFS candidate.”

“We feel good about our results. The vast majority of our candidates and the vast majority of caucus-goers realize the economic, national security, and environmental benefits of the (Renewable Fuel Standard),” said Eric Branstad. “And even though Sen. Cruz’s position would be devastating to our economy and tens of thousands of Iowans’ livelihoods, even he, who has accepted more donations from oil than any other candidate and is personally invested in oil companies, claims that he’s pro-ethanol and wants to eliminate oil subsidies. That’s a sure sign how important the RFS and ethanol are.”

trump-iowaDonald Trump was “honored” that he placed second in the Monday caucuses in Iowa and expressed his love for the state during his speech to supporters last night, with a parting note that he could become a farmer.

“Iowa, we love you, we thank you, you’re special,” said Trump. “We will be back many, many times – in fact, I think I may come here and buy a farm – I love it!”

Listen to Trump’s remarks here: Donald Trump after Iowa Caucuses

#ClimateChange in Focus at #NBB16

nbb-16-inglisFormer Republic Congressman Bob Inglis of South Carolina brought his message of conservative climate realism to the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference opening general session last week in Tampa.

“Free enterprise can solve the problem of climate change,” said Inglis, who talked about the Energy and Enterprise Initiative he founded in 2012. RepublicEn, as it is called, is a nationwide public engagement campaign promoting conservative and free-enterprise solutions to energy and climate challenges. “I’m very happy with what I’m doing now because it gives me the opportunity to be about something that’s big enough to be about,” he said.

Learn more about RepublicEn and how conservatives can be part of the climate change solution in Inglis’ speech: Bob Inglis Speech

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Policy Panel at #NBB16

nbb-16-panelBack by popular demand, the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference once again featured a panel of former Congressional representatives to talk about renewable fuels policy and in this election year, presidential politics as well.

The panel featured former Republican Congressman Bob Inglis of South Carolina, who spoke at the first general session this week; former Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, and former Republican Congressman Kenny Hulshof of Missouri.

All of the panelists expressed grave concerns about candidates’ abilities to run this country. “I think my party will either choose well or choose its destruction,” said Inglis.

As a Democrat, Dorgan said he was worried about both political parties. “All this (the campaign) is very clever and funny but this is really serious business, we’re talking about the future of this country,” he said.

Hulshof said he was personally supporting John Kasich for president, but definitely was not so much for Trump. “I’m sure there are a lot of Trump supporters here – and that’s great …. for you.”

When it came to policy issues for biodiesel, all of the panelists expressed their support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and for a producers tax credit.

Listen to the panel here: Biodiesel Policy Panel

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

GOP Debate Spotlights Cruz Views on #Ethanol

debate-cruzWith the Iowa caucuses coming up on Monday, agriculture and renewable fuels finally got some attention in the Republican debate last night, as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was asked about his position on the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“We should be developing oil and gas and coal and nuclear and wind and solar and ethanol and biofuels but I don’t believe that Washington should be picking winners and losers,” said Cruz during the debate. “But I don’t believe Washington should be picking winners and losers and I think there should be no mandates and no subsidies whatsoever,” adding that his tax plan includes eliminating subsidies for oil and gas. He said it is “not true” that he opposes ethanol and noted Rep. Steve King (R-IA) “perhaps the fiercest defender of farmers” in Iowa supports him.

Listen to Cruz here: Sen. Cruz on RFS and ethanol

iowa-cornHowever, the senator’s words got him no love from Iowa Corn Growers president Bob Hemesath, a farmer from Decorah, who urges people in Iowa to “support a candidate who supports the RFS.”

“Ted Cruz claims that he supports ethanol, he does not support the RFS,” said Hemesath during a conference call this morning. “We can’t afford to let the ethanol industry to be taken away from us by a president who doesn’t support the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

Listen to Hemesath’s comments here: Iowa Corn Growers president Bob Hemesath

Bringing #Biodiesel to the Northeast

Paul Nazzaro is no stranger to the biodiesel industry and has been a huge champion for the advanced biofuel in the Northeast for nearly two decades. During the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Tampa, Florida, Nazzaro participated in several panel discussions focused on how to get more biodiesel into the Northeast as each year, more legislation is passed to curb emissions and ultimately promote renewable energy. BioHeat in particular is really gaining ground.

Paul NazzaroYet distribution challenges need be overcome in order to get more biodiesel products into the northeast. Nazzaro said in an interview after the panel discussion that compared to other areas of the country, there are very few terminals where the fuel can be blended and distributed. When asked who is responsible for paying to get more terminals, such as the biodiesel industry or the petroleum industry, Nazzaro said ultimately the cost will fall on consumers. But if they keep asking for biodiesel products, he stressed, suppliers will listen and down the road, biodiesel is not only more environmentally friendly, it will cost consumers less.

Nazzaro is working with a team to help overcome distribution and supply challenges to help ensure that the biodiesel industry can deliver what they promise: high value, advanced, renewable bioproducts.

To learn more listen to my interview with Paul Nazzaro: Interview with Paul Nazzaro

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Eye of Biodiesel Winners Announced at #NBB16

nbb-16-livergoodThe “Eye of Biodiesel” awards were announced during the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Tampa, Florida this week.

First up was Mike Livergood who received the Lifetime Achievement award. He is retiring this year from ADM after nearly four decades with the company. In his acceptance speech, Livergood talked about how ADM become involved with the National Biodiesel Board back in 1999. “By 2011, we were running eleven biodiesel facilities on three continents with total capacity of nearly three-quarters of a billion gallons a year,” he said. “Biodiesel was truly the savior of the soybean crushing industry.”

Listen to his remarks here: Mike Livergood, Lifetime Achievement Award

nbb-16-climate-leaderThe National Biodiesel Board recognized three organizations in California this year as the Climate Leader award winners. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF); Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2); and the American Lung Association were all recognized for their environmental leadership to promote all clean fuels, including biodiesel, along the West Coast. These three organizations, along with other NGOs, bolstered and defended Low Carbon Fuel policies in California and Oregon. NBB Director of Sustainability Don Scott (L) presented the awards to representatives each organization – Mary Solecki of E2, Heather Palmer with the American Lung Association, and EDF’s Timothy J. O’Connor.

O’Connor spoke for the group in accepting the award. Timothy O'Connor, Environmental Defense Fund

nbb-16-calabottaBeth Calabotta, former Monsanto Director for Bioenergy and currently serving on the National Biodiesel Foundation, was honored with the Impact award for her tireless dedication to the advancement of biodiesel.

Beth’s experience in the field of agricultural yield technology and the markets that drive demand for protein give her a rare and valuable knowledge base that she has put 100 percent into her work to advance biodiesel. She has contributed greatly to the sustainability efforts at NBB and projects to analyze the real world indirect effects of biodiesel production.

Listen to her remarks on winning the Impact Award here: Beth Calabotta, Biodiesel Impact Award winner

nbb-16-pioneerJohn Maniscalco, who recently retired as the head of the New York Oil Heating Association after more than 20 years was honored with the Pioneer award. In 2013, Maniscalco received the Industry Partnership award.

Maniscalco was at the forefront of leadership in the heating oil industry, serving as the first treasurer of the National Oilheat Research Alliance before his time at NYOHA. He’s also been at the forefront of the industry’s move to Bioheat®, biodiesel in home heating. He was instrumental in New York City implementing legislation for B2 heating oil citywide. New York City continues to be a Bioheat® leader in the Northeast on both policy and public perception when it comes to cleaning up heating oil.

Listen to his remarks here: John Maniscalco, Biodiesel Pioneer Award winner

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album