New Holland Focus on Clean Energy at Expo Milano

cnh-expo-tractorThe centerpiece outside the New Holland Agriculture Sustainable Farm Pavilion at Expo Milano is a prototype methane-powered tractor that the company is developing to help farmers run their equipment on self-generated energy.

“We are a clean energy leader company,” said New Holland Agriculture Brand president Carlo Lambro. “Methane is really close to zero emission.”

cnh-carlo-welcomeIn addition, Lambro says methane is very economical. “Methane is one of the cheapest fuels that can be found,” he told a group of agricultural bloggers from around the globe during an event at Expo Milano last week.

The prototype tractor on display at Expo is based on a New Holland T6.175 standard tractor and has a total capacity of 300 litres (52kg) compressed methane, enough to operate the tractor for half a day. The biomethane powered tractor can result in fuel savings of 20-40% and has 80% lower emissions than a standard diesel tractor.

Lambro says New Holland is also looking at other alternative fuels. “In North America, we’re working more on the ethanol side as a potential fuel,” Lambro told a group of agricultural bloggers from around the globe during an event at Expo Milano last week. “Methane in Europe, ethanol in the U.S., ethanol from sugarcane in Brazil.”

Listen to Carlo’s discussion with the bloggers here: Carlo Lambro, New Holland Brand President

2015 New Holland Heroes & Bloggers Days

Growth’s Kelly Manning Shares ‘All Things Ethanol’

Growth Energy's Kelly Manning brings out the 'big guns" during his all things ethanol interview with DF blogger Joanna Schroeder.

Growth Energy’s Kelly Manning brings out the ‘big guns” during his all things ethanol interview with DF blogger Joanna Schroeder.

Growth Energy’s Kelly Manning, vice president of development, shared all things ethanol with me during the #FarmProgressShow in Decatur, Illinois and it was great to catch up after a year of the organization fighting the good fight with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) going forward. But this was not the focal point of our conversation; rather, Manning gave me updates on all the consumer and retailer education and infrastructure development they are doing around the country about ethanol.

For all the anti-ethanol boaters out there, Manning told us about Don Onken, a farmer from Illinois, who broke the speed record with his American Ethanol Mystic catamaran, topping out at speeds of 208 mph. Manning said Onken is a passionate supporter of ethanol and passionate about speed so he put the two together. His boat runs on four engines, all powered with 90 percent ethanol. Manning said that no matter what you read, ethanol is safe to use with boats and encourages people to get the facts and they would like to work with the boating industry to discuss the safety of ethanol and boats.

On to E15. Just this week all drivers of vehicles newer than 2001 can use E15 again. The industry has been working to change this so that drivers can use the ethanol blend year round. Manning noted that two years ago the conversations they were having with retailers were quite different than the conversations they are having now. He explained that E15 is “More economical at the pump overall. It’s saves them money. It drives store traffic. We have retailers who are seeing thirty percent jumps on their inside sales.”

Manning also said that the Prime the Pump program has been successful in expanding ethanol blends and today there are 23 states offering consumers E15 at the pump. Also helping is large retailers offering E15. But in terms of the issue with EPA, Manning said that this is a high priority for retailers and many have joined Growth’s advocacy efforts with the EPA to resolve this issue and allow E15 sales year round. (It’s a RVP, or Reid Vapor Pressure Issue).  He encouraged consumers to let retailers know they want the fuel, and, Fiat, the last auto manufacturer hold-out has endorsed E15.

Other topics of discussion included flex pumps (ethanol blends such as E30, E40 and E85), rolling out an auto dealership education program and the success of the NASCAR program and the new NASCAR-branded ethanol labels at the pump.

To learn more about ‘All Things Ethanol’ listen to my interview with Kelly Manning: Interview with Kelly Manning, Growth Energy

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

NFU Fly-In Focuses on RFS

The National Farmers Union (NFU) 2015 Fall Legislative Fly-In took place this week in Washington, D.C. and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was on the top of the list when growers from around the country met with White House official, Congressional staffers and members along with Senators and Representatives.

NFU members meet with MN Rep. Collin Peters during the fall Fly-In.

NFU members meet with MN Rep. Collin Peters during the fall Fly-In.

Farmers Union members expressed concerned about a stalling of the RFS by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has prevented the RFS from meeting the targets set forth in the law’s statute.

“The RFS has already made significant gains for family farmers, rural communities, consumers and the environment, and the EPA needs to stick to statutory levels for the RFS to continue these successes,” said NFU President Roger Johnson who noted that family farmers and ranchers have enormous credibility with the public and as such, are the most effective to deliver messages of importance in rural America to legislators.

NFU has been holding Fly-Ins for generations; with the only real change being the mode of transportation used by family farmers to come to Washington. This year, roughly 275 Farmers Union members gathered in Washington for the annual event. In addition to meeting with legislators, participants were also briefed by various elected and administration officials.

E15 Offered in Iowa, Again

E15 is being sold to consumers across Iowa who drive vehicles newer than 2001, again. The ethanol blend, that was still sold to flex-fuel vehicle drivers during the summer months, is not allowed to be sold in the state June 1-September 15, an issue that the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) has been working to eliminate.

“E15 is the lowest-cost fuel for the vast majority of Iowans on the road today, and we’re excited 2001 and newer vehicle owners across the state can once again reap the benefits of E15,” said IRFA Managing Director Lucy Norton. “With millions of miles already driven on E15, Iowa motorists can choose E15 with confidence, knowing it’s a safe, economical fueling option that provides nearly identical fuel economy to E10.”

E15 pump at Kum and Go

The label on an E15 pump at a Kum & Go retail station in Des Moines, IA when only FFVs drivers can legally fill up their tanks with E15 during the summer months. Photo: Joanna Schroeder

The halt of sales is due to a quirk in federal regulation. The EPA has yet to equalize the vapor pressure regulations for E10 and E15 during the summer driving season, from June 1 through September 15. As a result, the sale of E15 in Iowa is restricted to flex-fuel vehicles only during that timeframe. To re-introduce E15 into the marketplace in Iowa, the IRFA is kicking-off a consumer education campaign to inform motorists of the benefits of E15.

“There’s loads of interest in E15 among Iowa drivers, and quite a bit of misinformation out there, so we’re doing our part to educate motorists on the benefits of this more American-made fuel,” Norton added. “IRFA staff and ethanol supporters will be at many Iowa E15 stations over the next few weeks, talking with drivers about cleaner-burning E15, while many stations offer special E15 discounts.”

IRFA’s E15 consumer education program starts September 18, 2015 with events at Murphy USA in Indianola, Iowa and Good & Quick in Nevada, Iowa. Murphy USA, located at 1502 N. Jefferson St. in Indianola, Iowa, will offer E15 to 2001 and newer vehicles at a 75-cent per gallon discount to 87-octane E10 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Good & Quick, located at 519 Lincoln Highway in Nevada, Iowa, will offer registered E15 for a 15-cent per gallon discount from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Additionally, Cenex Ampride in Eagle Grove and Fort Dodge, Iowa, will host consumer education events on September 22. Supplementary consumer education events will be announced in the near future.

Farmers Cooperative Hosting Grand Opening

FClogo_bigFarmers Cooperative Company, in conjunction with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB), will be holding a Grand Opening event Tuesday, September 22nd to promote their new biofuel offerings. The Mount Ayr location (400 East South Street Mount Ayr, IA) will offer E15 for $1.15 per gallon and E85 for $.85 per gallon from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. A free lunch will also be served to those who fill up with biofuels.

The retail station is also selling biodiesel blends including B5, B11 B20, B30 and B99.

“Thanks to Farmers Cooperative Company and Governor Branstad’s ‘Fueling Our Future’ program, Mount Ayr-area motorists will now have a wide range of cleaner-burning fuel choices when it comes to ethanol and biodiesel blends,” said IRFA Managing Director Lucy Norton. “Not only will nearby motorists benefit from E15, the lowest-cost fuel for the vast majority of vehicles on the road, diesel customers will be able to take advantage of increased fuel lubricity from more environmentally-friendly biodiesel blends, like B20.”

RFA: Oregon Treating Biofuels Unfairly

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has offered a proposal to include indirect land use change (ILUC) emissions when calculating the carbon intensity of biofuels regulated under the state’s Clean Fuels Program (CFP). The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has expressed disappointment in the proposal that is to take effect on January 1, 2016 and aims for a 10 percent reduction in the carbon intensity (CI) of transportation fuels in the state over a 10-year period.

rfalogo1RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen said that the DEQ proposal would have the effect of creating an inconsistent and unfair methodology for estimating the carbon intensity of competing fuel options under the CFP. Specifically, DEQ’s proposal would penalize certain biofuels for theoretical indirect emissions, while assuming that no other fuels induce any indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at all. DEQ proposed to integrate the flawed ILUC analysis conducted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), despite the fact that recent analyses have shown that the land use changes predicted by CARB’s computer models have not occurred in the real world. DEQ also flatly ignored the results of new land use modeling approaches, including recently published data from the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory.

“Oregon DEQ really fumbles the ball with this proposal,” said Dinneen. “The Oregon CFP previously enjoyed broad-based support from the biofuels and ag industries because the CI impacts of all fuels were being evaluated fairly and consistently. But the program is headed off the rails now that DEQ is planning to simply regurgitate CARB’s faulty and biased ILUC penalties, while pretending that other fuels don’t have indirect GHG effects.”

Dinneen continued, “Regrettably, Oregon’s proposal puts politics ahead of science, a problem that has plagued the California program, harming consumers by limiting choice at the pump. The U.S. ethanol industry will continue to support performance-based low carbon fuel programs that are grounded in the principles of fairness, sound science, and consistent analytical boundaries. Unfortunately, Oregon’s proposal doesn’t meet any of those criteria.”

Oregon DEQ is hosting a public hearing on the proposed rule on October 19, 2015 and will accept written comments from the public through October 21, 2015.

BIO Analysis: Oil Companies Set to Lose Trillions

A recasting of oil industry data from a recent NERA Economic Consulting study prepared for the American Petroleum Institute (API) found the oil industry would be economically harmed by more than $12.3 trillion in potential profits in 2015 if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) obligations below statutory levels. The analysis, “Economic Impacts Resulting from Failing to Implement the RFS2 Program,” was conducted by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), and finds the same result; however, views the information slightly differently.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard was designed to drive investment in renewable fuel production, and some oil companies have partnered with biofuel producers to do just that,” said Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section. “Since many of the oil refiners are publicly owned companies, they have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to maximize earnings and generate a return on that investment.”

dreamstime_xs_23776976Erickson continued, “The oil industry reported earnings of a paltry $77.2 billion for 2014, as prices at the pump fell during the year. But if EPA sets the RFS at the statutory volumes in 2015, the industry would be able to earn $12.3 trillion in profits this year by again raising the price of gasoline and diesel. The oil companies owe it to their shareholders to urge EPA to set RFS volumes at the statutory levels.”

According to BIO, the oil industry study from NERA Economic Consulting assumes that if EPA sets the RFS at levels established by the U.S. Congress, oil refiners will elect to export their products rather than sell them to American drivers. The resulting artificial shortage of fuels within the U.S, NERA’s proprietary economic modeling predicts, will raise gasoline and diesel prices to “outrageously high” levels – $93.64 per gallon for regular gasoline and $103.00 per gallon for diesel. NERA’s data indicates that ethanol is the lowest cost fuel component and that higher renewable fuel blends such as E85 would be the lowest priced fuel choice for consumers. Continue reading

USDA Applauded for Biofuel Infrastructure Support

Photo Credit Joanna Schroeder

Photo Credit Joanna Schroeder

This morning, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement that 21 states will receive grants through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) to help provide access to more renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. In response, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) applauded USDA for expanding its efforts to provide consumers with fuel choice at the pump through expanded ethanol blends. The program will help retail station owners pay for equipment they may need to offer higher ethanol blends such as E85.

“Secretary Vilsack has worked tirelessly to see that his vision of 10,000 blender pumps across the nation becomes reality, and the Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership is another great example of his commitment to expanding markets for farmers’ products,” said ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty whose organization works with retailers and provide assistance through their FlexFuelForward website.

“BIP is a matching grant program, which means USDA also challenged states and ethanol supporters to step up and make equal or greater amounts of infrastructure funding available to station owners. The intended result is nearly a quarter of a billion dollars petroleum marketers can use to buy equipment and offer more ethanol blends to consumers. In many cases, station owners will pay little or nothing to add state-of-the-art blender dispensers and other equipment they may need to sell flex fuels and E15. We encourage retailers to apply for funding assistance through the appropriate state agencies,” Lamberty added.

Growth Energy also praised the USDA with CEO Tom Buis noting that the announcement is a “tremendous win” for American consumers. “It is unfortunate that the obligated parties refuse to follow the law and blend increasing amounts of renewable fuel,” said Buis, “but the steps by the administration and Secretary Vilsack will ensure higher ethanol blends, such as E15, penetrate the marketplace, and provide consumers with a choice and savings they deserve.” Continue reading

What Do You Think About the Brazilian Bioeconomy?

Leading up to World Bio Markets Brasil, taking place November 30-December 1, 2015 in Sao Paulo, GreenPower Conferences asked over 100 people their thoughts on the Brasilian bioeconomy and the factors influencing it, including: What the biggest change in the last 12 months has been; the biggest threat to the industry; and the most important factor over the next year. And the survey said…Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 10.42.48 AM

Click here to see the full infographic.

RFA Responds to Anti-Ethanol Boat Campaign

This weekend marks the end of “summer” and boaters are expected to hit the waters for one last hurrah. In an effort to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and growth of biofuels, the Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS) released a survey of Fueled with Pride - Boat Safe Fuel Rightits members that show half of them say ethanol free gas is not available to them at marinas and gas stations. In addition, the survey found that 91 percent of boaters want ethanol-free gas for their boat and more than half of the respondents claimed to have had to replace or repair their boat engine or fuel system parts due to suspected ethanol damage.

Interestingly, this past weekend, an ethanol-powered speed boat reached speeds of 208 MPH in an annual shootout.

In response, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), stated:

“The poll results are, unfortunately, a clear indication that the myths surrounding boating and ethanol continue to exist,” said Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “The National Marine Manufacturers Association has engaged in a relentless misinformation campaign regarding E15 and, in doing so, has confused the issue. It is simply not true that ethanol and boat engines do not mix. E10 is safe for boat engines. In fact, every boat manufacturer warrants the use of ethanol-blended fuel with up to 10 percent ethanol. So boaters should not have any worries about filling their engines with E10 over the Labor Day holiday.”

RFA has made available information related to ethanol use in boats. Click here to learn more.