Green Plains & Delek to Build Ethanol Terminal

greenplainsGreen Plains Partners and Delek US Holdings have announced plans to build an ethanol unit train terminal in Maumelle, Arkansas. The 50:50 venture, being constructed on the Union Pacific rail line, will is estimated to cost $12 million and be completed by the end of 2106. Maumelle is located near Little Rock and Mayor Mike Watson applauded the companies for their investment in the community’s economic development.

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 7.41.23 AM“We are pleased to move forward with the partnership’s first organic growth project with a strategic downstream partner,” said Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer at Green Plains Partners. “When completed, this new terminal will allow ethanol to be delivered more efficiently into the Little Rock and surrounding markets. This certainly will give the joint venture a platform upon which to build.”

Green Plains Partners has been very active the last few weeks with purchase announcements. The company will be buying an ethanol refinery in Texas owned by Murphy USA. In addition, Green Plains Partners has made a bid for a Virgina ethanol plant owned by Future Fuels.

In less than 24 hours, more than 110-car unit trains can be unloaded at the new terminal with initial storage capacity of 4.2 million gallons of ethanol. Green Plains Partners, one of the country’s largest ethanol producers, and Delek US will jointly own the terminal.

All Auto Owners Can Choose Premium E30

Back in September I brought you a story about Orrie Swayze, an active ethanol advocate, who wants all drivers to use E30 in their cars. At the time, there was a special order in front of the South Dakota Farmers Union and this has since passed in a resolution meeting and Swayze believes the resolution will unanimously pass at their December 10, 2015 meeting. The special order declares that all 14,000 members pledge to use premium E30 in all their non-flex fuel autos and other standard engines.

Watertown, South Dakota-based Glacial Lakes Energy is publicly promoting the use of E30 with a full-page newspaper ad and Swayze is calling on other ethanol plants to tear down the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Illegal Ethanol Lie” that holds such power over the ethanol industry and built the E10 blend wall that has cost the industry billions.

Swayze has penned an opinion piece about E30 and it is below.

All Auto Owners Can Choose Premium E30

ShatterOrrie Swayzeing EPA’s biggest illegal lie: “Its illegal to fuel non-flex fuel vehicles with lower cost, more power ethanol’s premium blend E30.”  Even though for manufacturing efficiencies both flex and non-flex fuel vehicles have basically the same engines, fuel, and emissions systems:  And the clean air act’s memorandum 1a, now amended to include persons, or the law protects consumers from EPA’s zealous, unreasonable enforcement of  clean air act’s tampering provisions.  Plus thousands of standard auto owners daily fueling with premium E30 obviously have the clean air act’s memorandum 1a defined “reasonable basis for knowing”: Knowing they are not tampering or illegally degrading emissions, engines, or emission systems and Magnuson-Moss warranty act protects them from unreasonable warranty denials. Continue reading

Vertimass Gets US Gov’t OK for Biofuel Tech

vertimass1A California company received U.S. government approval for its technology that will be able to blend more biofuels with gasoline, diesel and jet fuels. This news release from Vertimass says the technology validation allows the company to get a new award of $2 million by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technology Office.

Vertimass technology was originated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where scientists invented novel catalysts that convert a wide range of alcohols including ethanol and butanol into hydrocarbon blend stocks that can be used in existing gasoline, diesel and jet engines without modifications. Additionally, this process can produce renewable chemicals including benzene, toluene, and xylenes (BTX). Thus, Vertimass technology offers a new pathway that can enhance use of biomass-derived renewable fuels that lower greenhouse gas emissions and decrease U.S. reliance on foreign sources of oil. Co-production of BTX and other chemicals can enhance profitability.

“We are excited to clear this critical milestone with the Department of Energy and can now take the next step toward scaling up this novel technology,” said Dr. Charles Wyman, Vertimass president and chief executive officer. “This technology validation further proves the effectiveness and novelty of this technology, and through this DOE award, we intend to work with Technip to ready the technology for introduction into existing and emerging ethanol facilities within two years, thereby significantly expanding the market for renewable transportation fuels.”

“We are very pleased to receive third-party validation of this technology as part of the DOE award so we can now rapidly move to commercialization,” said Bill Shopoff, Vertimass chairman. “We believe this technology will have significant impacts in the renewable plastics and fuels spaces, especially in contributing to attaining Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) targets for advanced fuels and Federal Aviation Administration goals of one billion gallons of renewable jet fuel by 2018.”

Vertimass officials point out their simple, one-step process can be easily bolted onto existing ethanol production facilities, resulting in low capital costs.

American Ethanol Helps Celebrate Higher Blends

protec-usda-citgoThe American Ethanol No. 3 NASCAR display provided the perfect backdrop last week in Florida for the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership announcement that means 5,000 new higher blend ethanol pumps in 21 states.

Growth Energy co-chairman Tom Buis says the American Ethanol NASCAR racing sponsorship has proven the performance of 15 percent ethanol blends over the past five years. “Almost eight million miles have been put on the NASCAR race cars in that five year time frame and not a single problem,” said Buis as the race car revved up to be loaded back on the trailer.

Buis congratulated Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for his vision in helping to coordinate public-private partnerships to increase higher ethanol blends in the market place. “That creates competition,” said Buis. “Let the consumer make the choice. No one’s forced to buy higher blends.”

Interview with Tom Buis, Growth Energy

USDA-Protec Fuel Biofuel Pump Funding Announcement photos

DuPont Celebrates Opening of Cellulosic Ethanol Plant

dupont-plantDuPont celebrated the opening of its cellulosic biofuel facility in Nevada, Iowa on Friday with a ceremony including industry representatives and many dignitaries. The biorefinery is now officially the world’s largest commercial cellulosic ethanol plant, with the capacity to produce 30 million gallons per year from corn stover – the stalks, leaves and cobs left in a field after harvest.

“Iowa has a rich history of innovation in agriculture,” said Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. “Today we celebrate the next chapter in that story, using agricultural residue as a feedstock for fuel, which brings both tremendous environmental benefits to society and economic benefits to the state. The opening of DuPont’s biorefinery represents a great example of the innovation that is possible when rural communities, their government and private industry work together toward a common goal.”

“Today, we fulfill our promise to the global biofuels industry with the dedication of our Iowa facility,” said William F. Feehery, president of DuPont Industrial Biosciences. “And perhaps more significantly, we fulfill our promise to society to bring scientific innovation to the market that positively impacts people’s lives. Cellulosic biofuel is joining ranks with wind and solar as true alternatives to fossil fuels, reducing damaging environmental impacts and increasing our energy security.”

The majority of the fuel produced at the Nevada, Iowa, facility will be bound for California to fulfill the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard where the state has adopted a policy to reduce carbon intensity in transportation fuels. The plant also will serve as a commercial-scale demonstration of the cellulosic technology where investors from all over the world can see firsthand how to replicate this model in their home regions.

BIP Announcement Welcome News by Ethanol Industry

This week Big Oil launched yet another anti-RFS campaign and has also been calling for an end to programs that support the development of biofuel infrastructure. As such, it was welcomed news this week when USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced while at a Protec Fuel station in Florida, $100 million in funding to increase retail pumps for higher ethanol blends in 21 states through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP). Private partners have matched the funding 1 to 1 with another $100 million in commitments.

USDA BIP Announcement at Protec Fuel stationRon Lamberty, American Coalition for Ethanol’s senior vice president was happy to hear the news as well as shared support for Protec who has been a leader in the southeast in bringing higher ethanol blends to drivers.

“This is a great day for petroleum marketers who want to offer cleaner fuels, and an even better day for drivers, who will save money with more biofuel options at the pump,” said Lamberty. “The USDA-BIP program funds will assist station owners who want to stand out from the competition and offer fuel blends like E15 and E85 to consumers. Making higher ethanol blends available in more stations from coast to coast has been a priority of Secretary Vilsack, and this program does that, by offering funds to retailers from Pennsylvania to Texas, and from Florida to Colorado.”

Once such matching infrastructure program is the Prime the Pump Fund. Organizers of the campaign thanked USDA for their commitment to helping drivers have access to cleaner, greener domestically produced fuels.

“The investment the USDA and other industries are making to give consumers more choices at the pump goes a long way to break Big Oil’s stranglehold on the fuel market,” said Ray Defenbaugh, chairman of the Prime the Pump Fund following the BIP announcement.  “America’s farmers and biofuel producers can provide a cleaner, greener, higher octane fuel that actually lowers the price of gasoline at the pump. We’re now seeing several of the nation’s leading fuel retailers making these fuel blends available to consumers and these USDA funds will help to make this continue to happen. I would like to thank the USDA and specifically Secretary Vilsack for their leadership and commitment to rural America.”

View the USDA-Protec Fuel Biofuel Pump Funding Announcement photo album.


What Ben Carson Said About Ethanol in Debate

carson-debateDuring Wednesday night’s CNBC Republican presidential candidates debate, Dr. Ben Carson was asked about a comment he made to the Des Moines Register earlier this year that he would “probably be in favor” of using oil subsidies to increase pumps for ethanol blends.

The question posed by the CNBC moderator was “Isn’t that just swapping one subsidy for another?”

Carson responded by saying he was “wrong about taking the oil subsidies” and that “the best policy is to get rid of all government subsidies and get the government out of our lives.”

“All this too big to fail stuff and picking winners or losers, this is a bunch of crap,” said Carson.

Listen to Carson’s answer here: Ben Carson answers oil subsidies question

Carson said nothing about ethanol in his answer but America’s Renewable Future State Director, Eric Branstad issued a statement to clarify that ethanol does not receive government subsidies, “while the oil industry does and has for the past 102 years.”

“Iowans want a candidate who will take the time to learn about the issue, not just repeat the oil industry’s talking points,” said Branstad. “We hope that next time he comes to Iowa, Dr. Carson will actually meet with farmers so he can get a better understanding of the full issue and that he will choose to side with Iowa farmers instead of Big Oil.”

USDA Announces Biofuels Infrastructure Funds

vilsack-protecAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was at a Citgo station in Kissimmee, Florida today to announce a USDA partnership to increase fueling pumps for biofuels in 21 states through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP).

The investment will nearly double the number of fueling pumps nationwide that supply renewable fuels to American motorists. “The Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership is one more example of how federal funds can be leveraged by state and private partners to deliver better and farther reaching outcomes for taxpayers,” said Vilsack.

The 21 states participating in the BIP include Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The final awards being announced today are estimated to expand infrastructure by nearly 5,000 pumps at over 1,400 fueling stations.

Vilsack was joined by representatives from Growth Energy and Florida-based Protec Fuel to make the announcement. “We’re very excited about this USDA program because we’re going to be opening up sites in other parts of Florida, as well as across the country,” said Protec Fuel VP of Operations and Business Development Steve Walk. “What this program is going to help us do is help speed up the growth” of stations offering higher ethanol blends.

Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis congratulated Protec Fuel and thanked Secretary Vilsack for his support of renewable fuels. “The Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership is helping us to further leverage industry funds to gain measurable market access in a far timelier manner than we could accomplish otherwise,” said Buis.”

Listen to remarks from Walk, Buis and Vilsack here: Secretary Vilsack announces biofuels infrastructure funding

Vilsack remarks to the media: Secretary Vilsack comments on Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership

USDA-Protec Fuel Biofuel Pump Funding Announcement photos

API Launches Another Anti-RFS Campaign

American Petroleum Institute’s Downstream Group Director Bob Greco told reporters this morning in a press call that they are launching another multi-faceted ad campaign targeted at the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in anticipation for Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rules set to be announced by November 30th.

API has launched another anti-biofuels and anti-RFS campaign. The ethanol industry is fighting back.

API has launched another anti-biofuels and anti-RFS campaign. The ethanol industry is fighting back.

“Our ads focus on the negative consequences that higher ethanol mandates EPA is considering could have on consumers, including unexpected repair bills and potentially broad harm to our nation’s economy,” Greco said.

The ethanol industry has been fighting Big Oil about the RFS for years now and there is no end in sight. According to Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Big Oil is pressuring the EPA to keep blending levels below mandates.

“Much like an uncontained oil spill which obliterates everything in its path, as we approach the deadline for the EPA to release its final RFS rule Big Oil and its congressional supporters are pulling out all the stops by completely obliterating the truth,” said Dinneen. “The blend wall narrative has been perpetuated by the petroleum industry as a way of creating fear among consumers about ethanol, while simultaneously greatly restricting their choices at the pump.

“If the blend wall is such an impenetrable barrier to increasing the amount of biofuels that can be blended with gasoline, as has been claimed by the petroleum industry, how can it explain that, according to data recently released by the Energy Information Agency, in 2013 ethanol comprised more than 10 percent of gasoline consumption in 22 states and the District of Columbia? As one would expect, the EIA data includes the Midwestern agricultural states of Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. But a number of coastal states also broke through the so-called blend wall in 2013, including Louisiana, Massachusetts, California and New Jersey. All of these states sailed past the 10 percent ethanol level, and there have certainly been no claims of ‘harmful economic effects’ coming from them. Nationally, ethanol constituted 9.75 percent of gasoline consumption in 2013, according to the EIA data — above the supposed limit of 9.7 percent supported by Big Oil.

Dinneen added that API needs to stop trying to scare consumers about biofuels in an attempt to protect their monopolistic market share. “Consumers rightly deserve to have choices at the pump and to hold onto more of their hard-earned dollars. The RFS is working. No amount of advertising by Big Oil will change that fact.”

Bachelor Chris Soules’ Delivers Pro RFS Message

The end of this week mark’s the final countdown to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 required volumes for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). To continue to gain support for the renewable energy legislation, Iowa-based America’s Renewable Future (ARF), has tapped in to Bachelor Chris Soules’ fame, who is an Iowa farmer, to raise awareness of the benefits of the RFS. He is also sharing the message of the importance of caucusing for pro-ethanol, pro RFS candidate for president.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 10.51.30 AM“As a farmer and an Iowan Chris knows firsthand just how important the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is to preserving 73,000 Iowa jobs, our agricultural economy, and our environment,” said ARF Co-Chair Rep. Annette Sweeney, “We are thankful that he is using his voice to tell Iowans about the choice we face this election. The choice is stark—politicians who do Big Oil’s bidding and want to repeal the RFS and candidates who stand with Iowans and support this commonsense policy.”

ARF has been following the candidates’ views on biofuels and the RFS, as have we at DomesticFuel, during the campaign process and this week marked the 100 day countdown to the Iowa caucuses. (And in case you missed it, yesterday fellow Iowa-based journalist Jerry Perkins with Biofuels Journal and I announced our “run” across Iowa for the 2015 presidency at the Advanced Biofuels Conference and Expo in Omaha Nebraska. Running T-Shirt compliments of Fleet Feet Sports in Des Moines, IA.)

The video shows Soules on his farm in Northeast Iowa as he harvests field corn, which will eventually be turned into ethanol and Distiller’s Grain (DDG) for livestock feed. For farmers like him, the RFS protects his livelihood and the economic well-being of his tight-knit rural town of Arlington.

“Choosing who to caucus for is a very important decision – especially for Iowa farmers. We need to know if the candidates support the RFS and if they’ll defend this industry for farmers like me,” says Soules says in the video. “I hope you’ll join me in caucusing February 1st for a presidential candidate who stands with us and protects our livelihood through the RFS.”