Anitox Expands Fermentation Business

Nick Braden, Commercial Director, Anitox

Nick Braden, Commercial Director, Anitox

Anitox is expanding its fermentation division and as part of its efforts has created two new roles. Nick Braden has been appointed to the newly created Commercial Director position where he will lead OptimOH operations, heading-up the sales, marketing and technical teams. Braden joins Anitox from Monsanto and previously ADM where he served in various sales and commercial leadership roles.

“Our objective is for OptimOH to become the market-leading bacterial control tool for antibiotic free fermentation,” said Braden. “We’re expanding our footprint and investing in partners, research and development. We are also adding top talent to an already-strong team to push toward global expansion of our fermentation business.”

Also joining the Fermentation division in the new role of Technical Services Manager is Matt Wilson. Wilson has developed his career through various technical roles, most recently at Lallemand Biofuels & Distilled Spirits.

Anitox Chief Operating Officer Roger Mann said of the fermentation division expansion, “Anitox values its relationship with the biofuel and fermentation sectors. OptimOH has the power to increase ethanol yield by protecting against microbial contaminants earlier in the fermentation process. Its proven thermostability means it can be applied earlier in the production process than other products on the market, minimizing potential loss of yield. The addition of Nick and Matt to our team is a major commitment to the growth of our Fermentation business unit. It underlines our dedication to this industry.”

2016 FEW Agenda Announced

The agenda for the 2016 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo (FEW) has been announced. The event, taking place June 20-23, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will feature more than 140 speakers speaking on topics in four tracks. FEW is the longest and largest running global ethanol event and more than 2,000 attendees are expected this year including ethanol producers, industry suppliers, service providers and researchers.

Tracks include:

Track 1: Production and Operations
Track 2: Leadership and Financial Management
Track 3: Coproducts and Product Diversification
Track 4: Infrastructure and Market Development

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 9.01.47 AMThis year’s agenda covers the latest innovations and efficiencies currently being developed for ethanol production,” said Tom Bryan, president of BBI International. “The agenda committee did an outstanding job of rating presentation abstracts and bringing the brightest biofuels minds together under one roof for this event.”

This year, the National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo will be co-located with the FEW, making this one of the largest gatherings of biofuels producers, professionals and presenters in the past decade according to BBI. The advanced biofuels event will feature the world of advanced biofuels and biobased chemicals—technology scale-up, project finance, policy, national markets and more—with a core focus on the industrial, petroleum and agribusiness alliances defining the national advanced biofuels industry.

Minnesota Students Learn About Ethanol

Norwood Young America's Central High School students touring Heartland Corn Products.

Norwood Young America’s Central High School students touring Heartland Corn Products.

More than 40 Minnesota high school students from Arlington’s Sibley East High School and Norwood Young America’s Central High School have visited Heartland Corn Products to learn more about ethanol production. Heartland Corn Products is one of the largest ethanol plants in Minnesota with an output of 108 million gallons a year and was built in 1995. During the tours, students learned about different elements of production including grain grading and handling, fermentation, grain storage, liquefaction and ethanol storage and shipment.

“We were interested in the tour so we can learn about this renewable energy source that is so important to Minnesota’s agriculture economy,” said Jim Mesik, agriculture teacher at Central High School. Minnesota is the fourth largest ethanol producing state.

Included in the tours was dried distiller grain production and storage. Dried distiller’s grains (DDGs) are a high-protein animal feed. In 2015, Minnesota’s ethanol industry produced 3.6 million tons of DDGs, which was sufficient to meet the feed requirements of the entire inventory of cattle and calves in the state.

Sibley East High School students touring Heartland Corn Products.

Sibley East High School students touring Heartland Corn Products.

“We are always pleased to welcome high school students to our plant and provide them with a first-hand look at how clean Minnesota-grown renewable energy is produced,” said Scott Blumhoeffer, Vice-President at Heartland Corn Products.

“These tours show students how a homegrown renewable ingredient is converted into a clean fuel that continues to reduce harmful greenhouse gases. These tours also provide them with a better understanding of the career opportunities in Minnesota’s ethanol industry,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director of the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association, whose organization organized the tours.

Sibley East High School’s agriculture science teacher, Jeff Eppen, said it was important for students to get a better understanding of the ethanol industry and how it is produced, adding some of the school’s former students have been employed at Heartland Corn Products.

“A unique part about agricultural education is the instructor, students and community help decide the curriculum for their school. We as a school have decided that we want biofuels as a part of our Ag education,” he added.

Senators Call for Increased RFS RVOs

This week Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and 17 others sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calling for them to follow the congressional intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by increasing blending targets (Renewable Volume Obligations/RVO) for 2017. The biofuels industry praised the senators for their call to action and released a joint statement.

epa-150“We want to thank all 19 senators for highlighting the biofuel industry’s concerns with EPA incorrectly citing distribution infrastructure as a factor in setting the 2014–2016 blending targets, and urging the agency to reverse course for the 2017 rule by simply following congressional intent. That is the very heart of why we and other biofuel groups filed a lawsuit in January against EPA.

Getting the RFS back to the statutory levels congress intended is critical in moving our nation forward to energy independence by using cleaner burning, homegrown biofuels, like ethanol, which reduce harmful emissions and our reliance on foreign oil imports. As important, returning to the statutory levels intended by Congress will provide the necessary certainty producers need to move forward with critical business decisions.

Back in the fall of 2015, Administrator McCarthy addressed biofuels stakeholders, saying, ‘EPA is working hard to make sure that the Renewable Fuel Standard program is actually moving towards the levels that Congress intended.’ We are hopeful that the EPA will follow through on their commitment, releasing a rule that reflects this and eliminates the possibility of any distribution waivers.”

We appreciate the steadfast commitment of these senators to ensure the RFS is enacted as originally envisioned and encourage the EPA to heed the recommendations of these senators, to indeed get the RFS ‘back on track’ as the agency has promised.”

Report Confirms Ethanol’s GHG Reductions

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 8.22.03 PMEarlier this month the European Commission released its new report, “The land use change impact of biofuels consumed in the EU,” (GLOBIOM). The study assessed the (indirect) land use change (LUC) impacts of biofuels demand expected as a result of Europe’s 2020 climate and energy policy. According to the European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE), the study found that increased demand for European produced ethanol would have low impacts on land use change and confirms ethanol’s high net greenhouse gas (GHG) savings.

The study was conducted by IIASA, Ecofys and E4Tech at the request of the European Commission. The report found that the increased demand from ethanol made from sugar and starch crops, such as corn, along with cellulosic biomass bill have low impacts ILUC. In addition, the study found that this increase in demand will have no impact on food prices through 2020.

Specifically, the study finds that:

  • Conventional ethanol feedstocks, such as sugar and starch crops, have much lower land use change emissions impacts than other biofuel feedstocks. For example, in Europe the key feedstocks used to produce ethanol would have LUC emissions of 14g CO2 e/MJ for maize, 15g CO2 e/MJ for sugar beet and 34g CO2 e/MJ for wheat.
  • Cellulosic ethanol feedstocks similarly have a low or even positive LUC impact (16g CO2 e/MJ for straw ethanol, 0g CO2 e/MJ if a sustainable straw removal rate is introduced, -12g CO2 e/MJ and -29g CO2 e/MJ for perennials and short rotation crops).
  • Land use change impacts and associated emissions can be much lower if: abandoned land in the EU is used for biofuels production; yield increases occur as a result of biofuels demand; and/or peat drainage in Malaysia and Indonesia is halted.

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EPA, CFTC to Share RFS& RIN Data, Analysis

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that allows the agencies to share data and analysis on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). As part of the deal, the agencies will cooperate and coordinate on topics relevant to the RFS and the market for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINS).

CFTC logoMore specifically, the MOU states, with the partnership the Commission can, “advise EPA on techniques that could be employed to minimize fraud, market abuses or other violations, and to conduct appropriate oversight in RIN and renewable fuels markets to aid EPA in successfully fulfilling the EPA’s statutory functions…” Sharing of the information will “…increase the CFTC’s understanding of the operation of and participants in those markets.” CFTC is an independent federal agency that regulates U.S. futures and options markets.

In response to the news, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen stated, “We are encouraged to see that EPA is coordinating and cooperating with CFTC to identify methods for improving the transparency and efficiency of the RIN market. For several years, RFA, members of Congress, and other stakeholders with an interest in the success of the RFS have been requesting that EPA coordinate with CFTC to take steps to prevent manipulation and increase transparency in the RIN market. Through this agreement, we believe CFTC will provide valuable expertise and insight that will improve the functionality and clarity of the RIN system for all market participants and the public.”

Iowa Retailer Interest in Biofuels Grows

Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

A recent meeting of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Board concluded by approving 68 infrastructure projects for a total of $3.2 million in state grants. The funds are to assist retailers in adding the infrastructure needed to offer higher blends of ethanol including E15 and biodiesel.

“Thanks to sound, forward-thinking state policy, many Iowans will soon have greater access to cleaner-burning, homegrown fuels, like E15, E85 and biodiesel,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Managing Director Lucy Norton. “The state’s biofuels infrastructure program has been very popular and wildly successful in expanding consumer access to higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel, as shown by the most recent round of grants.”

Adding that interest by retailers continues to grow each year, Norton said project funding is set to expire at the end of Iowa’s fiscal year on June 30, 2016.

“With more interest in this program from Iowa retailers than ever before, it’s imperative that this program receive continued funding to capitalize on the momentum for expanding higher blend levels of renewable fuels and provide motorists with more lower-cost, locally-produced choices at the pump,” Norton concluded.

E15 Takes Missouri

E15 has made its debut in the Show-Me State at two Kum & Go locations in Springfield, Missouri. The fuel is a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline and can be used on cars and light duty vehicles 2001 and newer.

“The availability of E15 is great news for Missouri drivers,” said Missouri Corn Growers Association President Morris Heitman of Mound City. “Ethanol is produced locally, with corn grown in Missouri. The addition of E15 at the pump provides an alternative to foreign oil and another opportunity to support this state’s rural economy.”

Kum & Go E15Kum & Go began offering E15 at their South Campbell location in Springfield March 2 and quickly followed suit at the North National station March 4. The chain anticipates six additional locations across Missouri will offer the ethanol blend by the end of the month, including two newly-constructed stores opening in Joplin and Republic featuring a new store prototype and fresh food offerings in addition to an expanded fuel selection.

Kum & Go has a history of early adoption of ethanol blends, so the addition of E15 in Missouri is a natural fit for our fuel offering,” added Jim Pirolli, Kum & Go vice president of fuels. “E15 provides customers with a quality product at a great value-and one that’s in line with our focus on sustainability, as well.”

ICM to Expand Albion Ethanol

ICM has been hired by The Andersons Albion Ethanol for an expansion project. The company will be designing and building the expansion that will double ethanol production.

ICM_2-color_logoVRTThe dry-mill corn ethanol plant was designed and built by ICM, Inc. in 2006 and engineered for future expansion. As part of the project, the plant will add a combined heat and power system that will generate approximately 7.5MW of electricity and produce steam for the existing and expanded ethanol plant. The ethanol plant expansion and installation of the combined heat and power system is expected to be completed in April 2017.

ICM President Chris Mitchell said, “We’re thrilled to announce the expansion project at the Albion, Michigan facility, and we look forward to continued collaboration with The Andersons to support the economic growth of the region by providing our process technologies and services to advance renewable energy.”

Ethanol Contributed $2B to Minnesota’s Economy

A new study by ABF Economics found that the ethanol industry in Minnesota contributed $2.13 billion to the state’s gross domestic product in 2015. The report also found the industry generated $7.37 billion in gross sales for the same year. This in turn generated $1.6 billion worth of income for Minnesota households, supported 18,116 full-time jobs and contributed $93 million to state and local taxes. In addition, the ethanol industry created indirect jobs including jobs in retail trade, health care, natural gas distributors, banking and finance.The report was commissioned by the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association.

Refinery_1“The ethanol industry continues to be a significant contributor to Minnesota’s economy and is vital to continued economic growth in the state,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director of the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association.

For the study, ABF Economics used the Impact Analysis for Planning (IMPLAN) economic model to construct a model of the Minnesota economy including the sectors that support the ethanol industry, the links between them and the level of economic activity.

John Urbanchuk, managing partner of ABF Economics said of the report, “Ethanol plants provide jobs and income not only for people who work at the plants, but also for businesses that sell ethanol plant supplies including Minnesota farmers who produce most of the corn used by Minnesota’s biofuel industry.”

The study found Minnesota’s 21 ethanol plants spent $2.05 billion in 2015 to produce 1.2 billion gallons of ethanol, 3.6 million tons of dried distiller’s grains (DDGs) and 198 million lbs of corn oil. In addition, the study reported the volume of ethanol produced last year, the study said, was 11 percent higher than 2014.

Also of note, the study found, “If all of the corn refiner’s oil produced by Minnesota ethanol plants was used as a biodiesel feedstock, it could produce more than 26 million gallons of biodiesel, or more than 40 percent of the biodiesel produced by Minnesota’s biodiesel plants.”