IRFA Releases Legislation Renewable Fuels Survey

Iowa’s 2016 U.S. House and Senate candidates show strong support across party lines for renewable fuels according to a new survey from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA). The survey focused on Iowa candidates running for U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. Click here to read specific candidate comments on their renewable fuel positions.

capitol-e1460481310123“Despite the obvious benefits to Iowa, we never take support from our elected officials for granted,” said IRFA President and General Manager of Western Dubuque Biodiesel Tom Brooks. “We appreciate these candidates sharing their positions with the public and committing to an aggressive American renewable fuels energy policy. Renewable fuels play a vital role in supporting Iowa jobs, improving air quality and boosting the state’s economy, so Iowans deserve to know where all candidates stand on these important issues.”

Iowa is the country’s leader in biofuel production, and according to a recent IRFA study, the renewable fuels industry accounts for more than $4.6 billion of Iowa GDP, generates $2.3 billion in income for Iowa households and supports more than 43,000 jobs throughout Iowa’s economy.

USDA Leading Mexico Trade Mission

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse is leading a U.S. ethanol mission to Mexico on May 24–25, 2016 to explore trade opportunities. On hand for the trip will be ethanol industry representatives from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Growth Energy and the U.S. Grains Council (USGC). While there, they will be meeting with government officials, legislators and the Mexican private industry.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 9.22.29 AMAccording to the USDA, mission members will share their experiences with both ethanol production and the development of renewable fuels policies, with the goal of demonstrating how Mexico can implement its own renewable fuels program.

“Mexico, with the right policies in place, has the potential to achieve similar benefits producing ethanol from sugarcane,” Scuse said in a statement. “We view this as a partnership that can provide benefits for both Mexico and the United States.”

One reason for the visit is state-owned oil company PEMEX has plans to begin selling E6 (5.8 percent) ethanol-blended gasoline in selected cities in the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi, and Veracruz. Implementation of a nationwide E6 fuel option in Mexico would create a potential market for 790 million gallons of ethanol.

“The U.S. is the world’s largest producer of ethanol and for several years now has been the low cost supplier as well, allowing us to dramatically increase our exports. With domestic use artificially capped by EPA at 14.8 billion gallons, we will continue to seek export opportunities,” said RFA General Counsel Ed Hubbard, who attended the trade mission. “The world is short on octane and looking for low carbon alternative fuels to meet the climate change goals set in Paris last December. This is the right time to explore new trade opportunities. Mexico, in particular, should be looking for replacements to the highly toxic MTBE. Ethanol can help.”

Ryan LeGrand, USGC director in Mexico, added, “With the current reform to energy regulations in Mexico, the U.S. Grains Council believes that now’s the time to introduce ethanol into the Mexican fuel market in hopes of it one day becoming the principle oxygenate used in the country,” said “We see significant potential for exports of U.S. ethanol to Mexico — and therefore, U.S. grain demand — if the right policies are in place.”

USGC Heads to Egypt to Promote DDGS

The. U.S. Grains Council (USGC) recently returned from a trip to Egypt to discuss using dried distillers grains (DDGS), a by-product of corn-based ethanol production, as feed for its growing aquaculture industry. Also on the trip was USGC member Mirasco who has a large client base in the Egyptian aquaculture industry.

“Egypt has the most active and the largest aquaculture industry in the region,” said Hesham Hassanein, USGC regional director for the Middle East and Africa. “But this growing sector only has limited knowledge of the technical and economic advantages of using corn co-products in fish feeds.”

TOC-Egypt Aqua ProgramTo assess this industry’s potential to utilize U.S. DDGS in their feed formulations, the trip included site visits to fish farms.

“During the site visits, we saw that average aqua production in Egypt was 2 to 4 tons per acre,” Hassanein said. “However there is the potential for these farms to increase output to 8 to 12 tons per acre with improved management. This means there is a great growth potential that could increase demand for coarse grains and co-products.”

The mission wrapped up with a seminar that was attended by 75 executives from the aquaculture sector. “During the seminar, we gave an overview of the advantages of using U.S. DDGS in aqua rations and discussed the success the Council has seen in Vietnam with our catfish feeding trials,” Hassanein said. “While Egyptian aquaculture is mainly focused on the tilapia species, the information from the catfish trial was useful to those attending our program also.”

The group also explored the possibility of launching a similar type of feeding trial in Egypt. “We were also successful in reaching a preliminary agreement with an international aquaculture research institute in Egypt,” Hassanein said. “They have agreed to conduct feed trials using higher inclusion rates of DDGS with support from Mirasco, which will provide the needed DDGS, free of charge, to carry out the trials.”

Anti-Ethanol Bill Steps Consumers, Farmers Back

There is still buzz around a bill introduced last week by Representatives Bill Flores (R-Texas), Peter Welch (D-Verm.), Bob Goodlatte (R-Vir.) and Jim Costa (D-Cali.) that would cap ethanol blends in America’s transportation fuels at 9.7 percent by volume. This cap would be in direct opposition to the goal of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that aims for 20 percent of all fuels to be renewable fuels by 2020.

Growth Energy co-chair, Tom Buis noted that the bill is flawed in many ways, one being the ethanol industry is already producing, and fuel retailers are already blending and selling, more than 10 percent ethanol by volume.

Ethanol Blends Photo Joanna Schroeder

Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

This bill is incredibly flawed because the ethanol industry is already producing over the bill’s 9.7 percent threshold and growing. Perhaps more importantly this bill would deal a blow to American consumers who have embraced ethanol as a less expensive, 21st century fuel that is higher performing and allows for consumer choice,” Buis stated. Today, E15 availability is growing and is now being sold in 23 states.

Paul Jeschke, a farmer from Mazon, Illinois, and chair of the Ethanol Committee of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), called the bill a step backward for farmers and consumers. “Americans want cleaner air, affordable choices at the gas pump, and a strong economy that fosters investment in new technology and improves our energy independence. Meanwhile, American corn farmers are struggling, with prices below the cost of production and the largest carryover stock in two decades.” Jeschke added, “The Renewable Fuel Standard was created to promote American renewable energy while creating a steady market for corn. This bill would undercut the RFS and negatively impact corn farmers, and with it, the entire farm economy.”

As members of Congress head home for Memorial Day recess, Jeschke is urging farmers and consumers to use the opportunity to reach out to their elected officials and call on them to block the bill and share with them the benefits of ethanol.

More 2017 RVO Reacts from #Ethanol Industry

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its draft proposed renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for 2017 as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) yesterday and the biofuels industry is reacting to numbers that remain under statute levels. For first generation biofuels, that includes corn-based ethanol, the numbers were increased from 2016 but still remain 200 million gallons below what is required by law.

AESI logoAmericans for Energy Security and Innovation (AESI) Chairman Jim Talent reacted to the proposed rules, “The Obama Administration’s proposed targets fall short of the goals for energy security that Congress outlined in the Renewable Fuel Standard. America’s domestic biofuels industry has already proven that it can surpass these targets, and our goal should be to maximize the renewable choices that consumers have at the pump. The EPA is moving in a positive direction, but we are leaving homegrown energy on the table, and that means more money and influence will flow to the foreign nations that seek to manipulate the global oil market.” (Click here to read Jim Talent’s full statement.)

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, who has been a vocal opponent of the RFS stated, “While the RVO numbers released today allow for some growth in the renewable fuels levels included in our nation’s fuel supply, unfortunately they don’t meet the levels passed with bipartisan support in Congress and continue to use questionable justifications for not meeting those required levels. The EPA’s proposal starts another comment period, so it is important that Iowans take advantage of that opportunity and voice their support for the renewable fuels industry that is so important to our state.”

National Farmers Union logoPointing to the connection between reliable implementation of the RFS and achievement of the Administration’s climate goals, the National Farmers Union (NFU) stated, “Farmers and ranchers understand the impacts that climate change has on our planet, our environmental resources, and our ability to feed a growing world population. The investments made in renewable fuels and advanced biofuels have helped bridge a divide between our current environmental impact and the climate goals set forth by the Administration – goals that we cannot meet without the participation of our family farmers and ranchers. The oil companies have had plenty of time to build out the distribution infrastructure to deliver more biofuels to the consumer and commercial markets that seek this environmentally-friendly energy source. They have simply refused to do so, and EPA’s negligence in adhering to the statutory levels has significantly undermined the plan laid out by Congress in 2007.”

Novozymes_logoNovozymes said the proposal acknowledges crucial role of biofuels with higher blending volumes but still lets obligated parties off hook. “While President Obama is pushing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on one hand, today’s proposal still allows the oil industry to pollute with carbon-intense fuels on the other. The only way the world will switch to renewable energy is if bold leaders make it happen,” said Adam Monroe, President, Americas. “The private sector is taking bold action: Investing millions of dollars in cutting emissions with our technology, turning biomass into biofuel and building facilities, like our $200 million enzyme manufacturing plant in Blair, Nebraska. We urge the Administration to be bold too, and get back to the original intent of the RFS. Other countries are already capitalizing on our lack of clarity.”

VoteVets_logoRetired Major General Paul D. Eaton, senior advisor to VoteVets focused on the energy security benefits of biofuels. Continue reading

RFF, MathPro Host #Ethanol Octane Webinars

RFA-MatchPro logoMembers of the ethanol industry interested in learning more about the octane benefits of ethanol, as well as other ethanol benefits, can now do so in a five-part webinar series hosted by the Renewable Fuels Foundation (RFF), the education and research arm of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), and MathPro, fuel refining experts. The webinar series kicks off next month and will focus on ethanol’s unique octane properties and ethanol’s potential role as the octane source of choice in future fuels. RFA says the webinar series is in response to the call from automakers for higher octane fuels that provide better engine efficiency and to assist in facilitating compliance with future fuel economy and greenhouse gas reduction standards.

The ethanol octane webinar series includes:

  • Webinar #1: “All About Octane” – June 9 (11am-12pm CDT)
  • Webinar #2: “Gasoline Refining and Blending 101” – July 7 (11am-12pm CDT)
  • Webinar #3: “Gasoline Blending 102 (with Ethanol)” – July 28 (11am-12pm CDT)
  • Webinar #4: “Future CAFE Standards” – Aug. 18 (11am-12pm CDT)
  • Webinar #5:“Economics of High Octane Fuels” – Sept. 8 (11am-12pm CDT)

“Guided by the experts at MathPro, these webinars will provide stakeholders with a better understanding of ethanol’s important role in the fuel supply today, as well as the immense opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for ethanol-based high octane fuels,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “As automakers continue to pursue higher octane fuels, ethanol is well positioned to serve as the lowest-cost, lowest-carbon and cleanest octane source on the market. But there are a number of obstacles that must be overcome in order to solidify an expanded role for ethanol in our future fuels.”

The webinars are offered to RFA members at no charge. The fee for non-members is $250 per session or $1,000 for all five webinars. To reserve your spot, contact Missy Ruff.

Cassie Mullen Joins RFA Team

cassieCassie Mullen has joined Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) as the director of market development. She will focus on working with the supply chain to facilitate expansion of infrastructure capable of offering higher level ethanol blends to consumers. Prior to joining the RFA team Mullen worked as an executive for Seneca Companies, managing a 17-state territory of retailer accounts.

“Cassie brings a wealth of fuel equipment and fuel marketing experience to the RFA,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Cassie’s expertise will prove to be invaluable as the U.S. ethanol industry works with downstream partners to offer greater access to higher level ethanol blends such as E15, E85, and future ethanol-based high octane fuels. Infrastructure is critically important for future growth of the ethanol industry. Between USDA’s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership Program and the industry’s Prime the Pump initiative, Cassie’s unique background and knowledge will be in high demand. She will be a welcome addition to the RFA team, already known for its unrivaled technical and regulatory expertise. Cassie knows the players in the retail market and she knows the business case for higher ethanol blends. Her impact will be felt immediately.”

She has been working with fuel retailers for more than two decades, conducting station equipment evaluations, providing equipment recommendations and helping them build new stations. She is well versed in environmental compliance, EMV and major oil branding and marketing agreements, and has even owned retail stations during her career.

“I am thrilled to be joining RFA and look forward to working with their technical and marketing staff to help support the market’s transition to higher-level ethanol blends,” said Mullen. “My background working with fuel retailers and owning stations gives me a unique perspective, and I plan to use that knowledge to help boost consumer access to higher ethanol blends. Retailers are increasingly interested in offering a broader array of fuel choices, and I plan to help them understand and pursue the value proposition associated with higher level ethanol blends.”

Bill Attempts to Cap Ethanol Blends

A new bill was introduced this week that would cap ethanol blends in the U.S. transportation fuel system to no more than 9.7 percent by volume. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.), all biofuel critics. This bill is in conflict to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), an energy policy designed to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign sources of oil.

Ethanol Pump Photo May 2016 Joanna Schroeder

Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen responded to the bill by saying, “Passage of this bill would represent a complete capitulation to the oil industry that steadfastly refuses to provide consumers higher octane, lower cost alternative fuels at the pump. They whine about a so-called blend wall even as they continue to build it themselves by denying consumer access to E15 and E85. The RFS was made necessary by oil company intransigence. It was intended to break the stranglehold oil companies have on the motor fuel market by forcing access. This bill would gut the RFS and send America’s energy and climate change policy back decades. Americans want choices at the pump, they want to see lower carbon fuels, they want to spend less on motor fuel, and they want to stimulate investments in new technologies and new fuels to drive our economy in a low carbon world. This bill would sacrifice all of that at the altar of Big Oil, and that is why it will never pass.”

Setting the Record Straight: #Ethanol & Marine Engines

Engine and marine experts called on Washington lawmakers this week to get the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) back on track. The White House Office of Management and Budget is expected to release its review of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed blending requirements for biofuels in 2017 soon. Fuels America hosted a panel discussion and press call with several certified mechanics, engine performance experts and professional fisherman who discussed the benefits of ethanol including the environmental benefits for marine life and engine performance as well as dispelled myths about ethanol. In addition, the panelists addressed misconceptions about ethanol use in classic cars in response to recent comments by Jay Leno.

From left to right: Marc Rauch, Executive Vice President and Co-Publisher at the Auto Channel; Joel Hennen, President and Owner of Hennen’s Auto Service; Brian Sowers, Co-Host of Crappie Masters TV; & Keith Holmes, President and Owner of CK Motorsports

From left to right: Marc Rauch, Executive Vice President and Co-Publisher at the Auto Channel; Joel Hennen, President and Owner of Hennen’s Auto Service; Brian Sowers, Co-Host of Crappie Masters TV; & Keith Holmes, President and Owner of CK Motorsports

According to Keith Holmes, president and owner of CK Motorsports based in Nunica, Michigan, the National Boat Racing Association exclusively uses E10 for all of its races. “We work on a wide variety of racing engines for watercraft, and they run at their absolute best on a high-octane ethanol blend.” Holmes, who is a certified marine racing technician, stressed that ethanol burns cleaner and cooler and since the introduction of E10 into the sport, many racers have found that many engine parts have a 25 to 50 percent longer lifespan.

“It doesn’t matter whether a boat has a two-stroke or four-stroke engine, an in-board or out-board motor, or a built-in or portable fuel tank,” explained Marc Rauch, executive vice president and co-publisher at the Auto Channel, based in Louisville, Kentucky. “Decades of experience with modern engines shows that E10 is the best fuel for marine applications. As an oxygen booster, ethanol replaces toxins like MTBE, which are notorious for contaminating water supplies. And it reduces CO2 emissions by 34 to 100 percent or more compared to gasoline.”

While Rauch and Holmes stressed the marine engine performance benefits of ethanol, also noting that E15 is not approved for use in marine engines, Brian Sowers, the co-host of Crappie Masters TV stressed the biofuels environmental benefits. “I want to take my grandkids fishing someday. That means having clean water and clean air. Mixing ethanol into our fuel is the best way to reduce the pollutants that fossil fuels leave behind, so our lakes and rivers stay clean and marine life can flourish.” Sowers covers the Crappie Masters All American Tournament Trail based in Clinton, Missouri and noted that 100 percent of the tournament winners use ethanol blends.

Major boat manufactures approve the use of E10 and Joel Hennen, president and owner of Shakopee, Minnesota-based Hennen’s Auto Service, said that if a boat owner properly takes care of his boat, then ethanol will pose no problems. He also noted that in his area, boaters ask for and use, ethanol. “We serve communities on the Minnesota River and Prior Lake, and our customers expect to have choices at the pump. Companies like Kawasaki, Mercury Marine, OMC, Pleasurecraft, Tigershark, Tracker, Honda, and Yamaha all approve the use of E10 in their engines. The labels are clear, and whether customers have a flex fuel vehicle or a race boat, we make it easy to pick the most affordable option with the lowest emissions.”

Learn more about ethanol, marine engines and other ethanol myths by listening to the full press conference: The Truth About #Ethanol & Marine Engines