Missouri Biodiesel Plant Coming to Life, Finally

lakeviewenergyAfter too many years languishing empty, a Missouri biodiesel plant is finally coming to life. This article from Moberly (MO) Monitor-Index says Chicago-based Lakeview Energy, LLC is re-opening what started as the Producer’s Choice Soy Energy biodiesel facility and will now be known in the northern Missouri town as Lakeview Biodiesel, LLC.

The new project will not come cheap for Lakeview. The company is estimated to devote $5 million to upgrade the facility.

Lakeview Energy, LLC CEO Jim Galvin mentioned that the Moberly Area offers a significant workforce pool to pull from including many people with work experience in the biofuels sector.

Galvin went on to say, “After looking at various locations, we decided to expand in Moberly due in part to the availability of the PCSE facility but also the abundance of quality employees in the area. We are excited about the opportunity to rapidly expand our operations and the necessary work on the Moberly facility has already begun. We have enjoyed working with the City of Moberly and MAEDC and look forward to a long and rewarding relationship in Moberly.”

Last month, Lakeview Energy got some help in the form of a U.S. Department of Agriculture $3.3 million loan guarantee to help acquire this Missouri biodiesel plant and make improvements to bring it online to produce enough biodiesel to run approximately 16,500 vehicles annually.

USDA Report Shows Importance of Int’l Biofuel Trade

USDA logoA new government report says that while the U.S. is a major exporter of biofuels, it still imports biofuels in order to meet government mandates. The study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service says some other countries are major exporters and domestic users, thanks to laws there that allow greater blending amounts.

The ethanol blend wall in the United States, and an increase in demand for biofuels from other countries, helped the United States emerge as a net exporter of ethanol for the first time in 2010, with net exports positive each year since. Indeed, the United States has become the world’s largest exporter of ethanol. U.S. ethanol production and exports both remained strong in the face of falling gasoline prices in 2014 due to interactions of supply- and demand-side factors; production capacity beyond domestic policy requirements and strong export markets helped make high exports possible. In addition, U.S. imports of ethanol in 2014 fell to their lowest amounts in years.

Along with market forces, policies can affect future U.S. biofuel trade. If the blending rate in Brazil continues to increase (as it has recently), less Brazilian ethanol will be available to compete with the United States on the global market. At the same time, Brazil could continue to import U.S. ethanol to help meet its mandate. In addition, U.S. biofuel policies could affect the future of U.S. biofuel trade. For example, reducing the amount of ethanol that can be derived from corn in the U.S. renewal fuel mandate could potentially lead to reduction in U.S. ethanol production infrastructure in the long run, which could limit the availability of ethanol for exports.

The study also indicates some grave implications for the U.S.’ biofuel producers if the federal government continues to ignore the requirements under the law that created the Renewable Fuel Standard.

If the scheduled future increases in the U.S. mandate for advanced biofuel are not met by increased domestic production of advanced biofuels (and are not waived), the increase in the mandate amounts will need to be met with imports, such as sugarcane-based ethanol from Brazil.

Boise State Wants to Run Baja 1000 on Biodiesel

gsr_racing1A Boise State University non-profit wants to run an off-road race in Mexico on biodiesel, which the group believes will give them an edge for the win. This article from KMVT-TV says Greenspeed Research is building a biodiesel trophy truck to compete in the Baja 1000, an off-road race that takes place on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula in the third week of November.

“Right now, we’re preparing for our next vehicle, which is a biodiesel powered trophy truck. And we’re shooting for racing at the Baja 1000,” said Dave Schenker, co-founder of Greenspeed.

“A biodiesel powered trophy truck is pretty much the top tier of off-road racing that usually has a big gas guzzling V-8 powered engine in it. But we’re bringing a new fuel and a new engine technology to that event,” said Schenker.

What does going green mean, as far as performance is concerned?

“Performance is the same. The gas mileage is different. The regular trophy truck drivers brag about getting 2.5 to 3 miles per gallon. We should be getting 7 to 8, 9. So that means, when they’re pitting twice, and take 5, 10, 8 minutes to pit, we’ve driven by them. So, yes, biodiesel is a game changers in the off road world, for sure,” said Paul Robinson, an off-road racer who is set to drive Greenspeed’s truck in the Baja 1000.

Greenspeed officials say the biggest challenge in building their first biodiesel trophy truck is the price tag. If you’d like to support their efforts, check them out at greenspeedresearch.org.

Company to Get Biodiesel Boost from End of License

inventurelogoUsually, a licensing agreement opens up the door for companies to prosper in the biotech and biofuels world. But an Alabama-based biotechnology company says it is getting a boost from the end of one of its agreements. Inventure Renewables says the mutual termination of its agreement with Alchimia, Inc. for exclusive licensing rights in North and South America will open up Inventure’s patented process technologies possibilities with American agricultural processors and traditional biodiesel manufacturers.

“We’re really motivated for the rapid expansion the retention of our licensing rights will allow,” said John Brown, Inventure Renewables’ Chief Operating Officer. “The extensive corn and soybean processing facilities in the United States will be obvious partners for Inventure, as our technologies will allow them to convert waste streams into revenue streams by turning low or no value biomass into carbon-neutral biofuels, biochemical and biomaterials. The same opportunities will be present in South America, where vast amounts of soy beans and sugar cane are processed.”

Inventure Renewables is currently negotiating with several leading agricultural processors.

ARF Reacts to Hillary Clinton’s Ag, Energy Plan

Presidential candidate Sec. Hillary Clinton (D) made another visit to Iowa this week where she unveiled her agriculture and rural policy plan. She called for strengthening the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) so that it continues to drive the development of advanced cellulosic and other advanced biofuels. Clinton called for more consumer choice at the pump with better access to ethanol blends such as E15 and E85 as well as biodiesel. She also called for more renewable energy to be phased into the electricity sector.

Sec Hillary ClintonAmerica’s Renewable Future (ARF), who is meeting with candidates to discuss the benefits of biofuels, released the following statement in response to the plan.

“We thank Sec. Clinton for her commitment to Iowa’s farmers, consumers, and investors with her call of a strengthened RFS. We enthusiastically echo that call, especially in light of President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) disastrous Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) proposal. The EPA’s proposal is another example of conceding to the oil industry’s demands at the expense of clean, domestic renewable fuels and American jobs.

Billions of dollars were invested by famers and local investors to produce biofuels with the promise of a strong RFS. Reducing the RVO will strand capitol and punish the pioneers who invested in clean, homegrown renewable energy. The RFS has created 73,000 jobs here in Iowa and hundreds of thousands more around the country that cannot be outsourced, reduced our dependence on foreign oil, helped clean our air, and provided consumers savings at the pump.

Iowa’s rural communities and economy depend on the RFS for stability and growth and the EPA must get it back on track and focus on protecting the jobs and economic progress it has yielded.”

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

Justice Cracks Down on Biodiesel RIN Defrauders

scalesofjustice1To maintain the integrity of government incentives for biodiesel, the feds are cracking down on defrauders. This news release from the U.S. Department of Justice says four individuals have been sentenced for their part in the $23 million scheme.

Dean Daniels, 52, Richard Smith, 57, Brenda Daniels, 45 and William Bradley, 58, all of Florida, pleaded guilty and were sentenced today in U.S. district court for charges related to a scheme involving the false production of biodiesel.

Dean Daniels was sentenced to 63 months incarceration, Bradley was sentenced to 51 months incarceration, Smith was sentenced to 41 months incarceration and Brenda Daniels was sentenced to 366 days incarceration.

According to court documents, the defendants profited by unjustly generating and selling biodiesel credits (RINs) and unjustly claiming biodiesel tax credits for the production and blending of fuel that was not actually biodiesel.

“Congress enacted incentives for the production of biofuels to make the United States stronger and more energy independent and to move our energy economy into the 21st century,” said Assistant Attorney General Cruden. “The fraud perpetrated by the defendants threatens these important public policies. The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute those seeking to line their pockets using scams like this one.”

The defendants were all employees and officers of New Energy Fuels LLC, a business in Waller, Texas, that claimed to process animal fats and vegetable oils into biodiesel. The defendants subsequently relocated, operating a similar scheme at Chieftain Biofuels LLC in Logan, Ohio.

The defendants produced a low-grade fuel that was not biodiesel, however, the defendants would represent to the EPA that they had produced biodiesel. They would generate fraudulent biodiesel RINs and sell them to various third parties.

Olleco Acquisition Expands Biodiesel Abilities

ollecoc2gUK-based Olleco has acquired another company that also converts used cooking oil and food waste into biodiesel. This company news release says it bought Convert2Green Ltd.

Bringing together Convert2Green and Olleco increases our number of depots to 17 across the UK and enables us to improve efficiencies and coverage to enhance the used cooking oil collection service offered to our customers. The work done by Convert2Green on producing carbon efficient fuels is an exciting addition to Olleco’s range of low carbon bio-liquid fuels and they look forward to developing the possibilities of these fuels in the future.

Commercial Director Adam Baisley said: “We are delighted to welcome Convert2Green customers and staff to Olleco. We aim to build on the strong foundation they have established and extend our reliable and award winning services to our new customers.”

Olleco is fully committed to helping its customers waste nothing from their foodservice business. Olleco ensures that all of the organic waste it collects is converted into renewable energy and compost; nothing goes to landfill.

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

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