Growth Supports Next Energy Generation

The next generation of renewable energy, and by extension agricultural experts, are in college and now have an opportunity for some financial support. Growth Energy is providing $90,000 in scholarships over the next three years to students majoring in agricultural education.  The “Upper Division” scholarships will be awarded by the National Association of Agricultural Education and given to students during their student teaching appointments.

NAAE logo“Student teaching can be a financial strain on agricultural education majors,” said Dr. Wm. Jay Jackman, NAAE executive director. “They spend every day teaching, so they are essentially working a full-time job with no pay. There is a national shortage of agriculture teachers, so anything we can do to help students finish their degree and get into the classroom is critical.”

Previously, NAAE’s Upper Division Scholarships were $750 each, and approximately 15 were given each year. Growth Energy’s gift means that the scholarship amounts will be doubled, and beginning in 2016, more of these larger scholarships will be awarded.

Tom Buis, co-chair of Growth Energy added, “There is nothing more important to the future of agriculture than those who wish to enter a career that will help further the innovation, promise and bounty of America’s farmers. American agriculture and those invested in it are the backbone of this nation and Growth Energy is thrilled to help support the future leaders of this industry. We are thrilled to help support those who will write the next great chapter of American excellence by providing food, feed and fuel to move our nation forward.”

Growth Energy’s gift is a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

Novozymes Intros Avantec Amp Ethanol Enzyme

The ethanol industry has a new enzyme with the introduction of Avantec Amp. Developed by Novozymes, the company says the enzyme improves yield and throughput in corn ethanol production while also increasing corn oil extraction. The product also reduces the need for several harsh chemicals used in production. According to Novozymes, by switching from standard technology to Avantec Amp, a 110 million gallon-per-year plant can see up to $2.5 million a year in additional net profits.

Novozymes_logo_left“Avantec Amp enables yield improvements and chemical reductions that were previously impossible,” says Peter Halling, vice president – Biofuel, at Novozymes. “It will boost our customers’ bottom line and give them flexibility to adjust their various revenue streams based on market conditions. Ultimately, it will give them a competitive advantage in a challenging market.”

Avantec was introduced in 2012 and Avantec Amp is the next generation. The new products combines multiple enzymes activities into one product, and, says Novozymes, surpasses competing enzyme solutions by squeezing more ethanol from each kernel of corn, thus enabling increased output and saving energy and water. The company also says the enzyme can also boost corn oil production by freeing up oil bound in the corn germ.

In addition, Avantec Amp reduces the need for a number of chemicals used to control and accelerate production processes at ethanol plants. Urea, which is used to improve the fermentation of ethanol, can be cut by more than 70%. Surfactants and ammonia, used to extract corn oil and adjust pH levels, can also be significantly reduced. According to Novozymes,  Avantec Amp is the first enzyme product to replace urea and surfactants.

“By replacing these chemicals with enzymes you get greater safety for workers and lower costs,” adds Halling. “When you simplify the recipe, you reduce the risk of errors associated with handling multiple different compounds and you also have less need for storage.”

RFA & RFF to Offer NEC Scholarships

The Renewable Fuels Foundation (RFF) is partnering with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) once again to offer scholarships to students who are interested in attending the National Ethanol Conference (NEC). The annual ethanol event will take place February 15-17, 2016 in New Orleans.

21st NEC“The NEC is the premier event for the ethanol industry, and it offers students a one-of-a-kind opportunity to meet the industry’s movers and shakers up close and personally,” said Mike Jerke, chairman of the RFF and CEO of Guardian Management LLC. “Our goal is to prepare the next generation of biofuel leaders to take over the reins so that the industry remains vibrant. The NEC is the perfect place for students to learn, ask questions, and network.”

“Fueling a High Octane Future,” this year’s theme, will enable students the opportunity to receive an in-depth look into the ethanol industry. Speakers will be discussing topics including higher ethanol blends, the Renewable Fuel Standard, E15 and global marketing.

Students who are interested should submit a 500 word essay explaining how their attendance at the NEC will help them achieve their future goals. Students will also need to submit two letters of recommendation, an up-to-date resume and school transcript. Scholarships are only available to students who are attending a U.S. institution of higher learning or foreign students who are affiliated with the U.S. ethanol industry. Applications are due by December 18, 2015. Click here for application materials.

Green Plains Acquires Ethanol Plant in Virgina

Vireol logoGreen Plains Inc. has acquired Vireol Bio Energy an ethanol facility owned by Future Fuels located in Hopewell, Virginia. The dry mill ethanol plant will increase the company’s annual production capacity by nearly 60 million gallons to nearly 1.1 billion gallon per year. The ethanol plant ceased production in September of this year due to low gas prices and at the same time began courting investors to purchase the plant.

GPRE logo“We are confident in our ability to significantly improve the plant’s production economics by applying our operational and commercial expertise,” said Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer. “We plan to make several capital investments before restarting the plant to increase its operational efficiency and production volume. In addition, we anticipate using the site to transload distillers grains that are produced locally and at our other plants located on the Norfolk Southern rail line into containers destined for export markets to further enhance the property’s profitability.”

Production is expected to resume by the end of the year and corn oil processing is expected to be operational during the second quarter of 2016. When the plant is fully operational, Green Plains expects to offer the Hopewell plant’s transportation and storage assets to its master limited partnership, Green Plains Partners LP.

American Ethanol Race Car Hits Top Speeds

The American Ethanol No. 3 car hit tops speeds this weekend during the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. The E15 fueled race car was recorded as the fastest on the track.

E15 NASCAR“We has a really fast American Ethanol Chevrolet. I was catching everybody in front of us,” said Austin Dillon, American Ethanol driver.

While speed was on Austin’s side, it was not enough to take him across the finish line first. After holding on to the fifth position for 20 laps, Dillon cut a right front tire and destroyed his race car on Lap 155. Yet despite how the race ended Greg Krissek, CEO of the Kansas Corn Growers Association said that the performance of NASCAR’s fuel Sunoco Green E15 continues to demonstrate its benefits on the track.

Krissek told race fans during his interview with Motor Racing Network’s Jeff Striegle, Joe Moore and Rusty Wallace that the NASCAR partnership has provided a great example for consumers to see E15 in action. He encouraged consumers to look for E15 at gas stations near them. Earlier this year new NASCAR-focused ethanol labels were unveiled making it easier for consumers to identify the fuel that NASCAR uses. Krissek added if they don’t see E15, ask the retailer to look into offering the ethanol blend. For interested retailers across the country, there are programs available to help cover some of the infrastructure costs of adding mid-level and higher blends of ethanol.

RFA: EPA Probe Will Go Nowhere

rfalogo1The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published an announcement that they would begin preliminary research into the lifecycle impacts of EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The work will be conducted within the Office of Air and Radiation and the Office of Research and Development. The OIG’s objectives of the study are to determine whether the EPA:

  1. complied with the reporting requirements of laws authorizing the RFS; and
  2. updated the lifecycle analysis supporting the RFS with findings from the mandated National Academy of Sciences 2011 study on Biofuels, the EPA’s 2011 Report to Congress on the Environmental Impacts of Biofuels as well as any more recent and relevant research on lifecycle impacts of biofuels.

In response to the announcement, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) CEO Bob Dinneen said, “For years RFA has been asking the EPA to update their analysis of the RFS’s impacts on greenhouse gas emissions so we welcome this review, as it will give the public a clearer picture of the climate benefits that ethanol is producing today. ”

“Lifecycle analyses conducted by the Department of Energy and others since the final RFS rule was implemented have shown that grain ethanol produced today reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent compared to fossil fuels — even when hypothetical land use emissions are taken into account. And, added Dinneen, the EPA has recently approved nearly 50 petitions from grain ethanol producers for its efficient producer program, with each petition requiring careful lifecycle analysis based on actual production data. These results show that the RFS is doing what it was intended to do, and is a potent weapon in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

No date has been set for the release of the report.

Growth Energy Says RFS Resounding Success

On Friday, October 16, 2015, the Brookings Institute held an online panel discussion on 10 years of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The panel included two well-known ethanol critics, Timothy Searchinger and Chris Knittel, who have been directly linked to oil-funded research.

growth-energy-logo1In response to the panel. Tom Buis, co-chairman of Growth Energy said: “I have said it before, and I will say it again, slapping a new title on this previously discredited research won’t change the facts. The design of this panel had one objective – to drive a policy directed at repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) so that the status quo of a 90 percent mandate for petroleum based fuels and the excessive profits that it generates stays in place.

Conveniently omitted from today’s panel was discussion of the 100 years of subsidies Big Oil has been taking from the American taxpayer, as well as their disastrous record of ecological and environmental damage. The ethanol industry voluntarily gave up its tax incentives in 2011, and no beaches have ever been closed by an ethanol spill, yet these biased ‘researchers,’ continue to ignore the facts and attempt to discredit an American success story.

The RFS is the only meaningful policy to help break Big Oil’s stranglehold on the liquid fuels marketplace. This is an energy policy that is working. It is doing exactly what it was intended to do, with great success. It is irresponsible to rely solely on fossil fuels, and we should not put all our eggs in one basket when it comes to our national and energy security.

The bottom line is that ten years after the RFS, Americans across the country are celebrating and recognizing a decade of job creation, rural economic revitalization, clean air, innovation, and increased energy independence and consumer choice.”

Al-Corn Featured on Bobby Likis Car Clinic

Al-Corn Clean Fuel CEO Randy Doyal, who also serves as Chairman of the Board of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), was a guest on Bobby Likis Car Clinic over the weekend. The ethanol plant is located in Claremont, Minnesota and Doyal spoke about how the ethanol market is evolving and how Minnesota’s initiative in the industry is serving as a blueprint for helping solve future energy and economic challenges.

Randy Doyal“Ethanol’s track record of continuous improvement is impressive, but that drive for constant improvement is characteristic of the creative people who make up our industry,” says Doyal about the ethanol industry. “The ethanol industry has significant potential to continue to evolve in ways that cannot be matched by petroleum fuels. I will admit that with all the information and misinformation about ethanol, it is sometimes difficult to separate fact from fiction. But I believe that an honest evaluation of our nation’s ethanol industry will reveal a success story of which the American people can be proud. The ethanol industry embodies the kind of forward-thinking and pragmatism that will be needed to meet our nation’s future energy and economic challenges.”

Host Bobby Likis asked Doyal to tackle some commonly held ethanol myths and they also discussed the continuation of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Click here to listen to the interview.

Brookings Institute Hosts RFS Panel

The Brookings Institute hosted a panel discussion today entitled, “Ten years of the Renewable Fuel Standard: What’s been the impact on energy and the environment?“. Two of the featured speakers were Chris Knittel and Tim Searchinger and prior to the event, Americans United for Change called on them to fully disclose their past work against the biofuels industry. Back in 2008, Searchinger released a report on the Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) elements of biofuel production, that even though was found to have been found highly flawed, discussions around ILUC continue today.

According to Americans United for Change (AUC) Communications Director Jeremy Funk, criticism of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) would be put in proper context for the audience if they knew if was coming from those who benefited financially from the oil industry, who has aggressively lobbied against biofuels and the RFS.

The organization cites Knittel as a long-term academic critic of the RFS who between 2007 to 2009 received nearly $500,000 in grants from Chevron. Knittel is currently an associate scholar at the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, which is sponsored by BP, Chevron and Shell among other companies. Also, notes AUC, the ‘event materials’ the Brookings panel attendees are encouraged to download are all, with the exception of a CBO report, co-authored by Knittel.

“We hope Mr. Knittel and Mr. Searchinger will be transparent about their financial ties to Big Oil and not present themselves as objective critics of the RFS,” said Funk prior to event. “Refusing to disclose their relationship with the oil industry would put them in poor company with Dr. ‘Willie’ Soon who controversially published a number of academic papers playing down the consequences of climate-change without disclosing that his work was financed with over a million dollars from the fossil-fuel industry, which of course is a leading producer of carbon pollution. It’s only fair the audience knows whose interests are really being represented at the table. And those interests hate the fact that over the last 10 years, the RFS has successfully displaced nearly 1.9 billion barrels of foreign oil with cleaner homegrown fuels like ethanol. When Big Oil pretends to care about the environment, it should be taken with a grain of tar sand.”

Funk added, “And in case it doesn’t come up among the panelists, we would also encourage the Brookings moderator to note there is mountain of independent academic research showing that ethanol use significantly cuts down carbon emissions compared to gasoline made from dirty fossil fuels, whether it be from the Argonne National Laboratory, Purdue University, the University of Nebraska, Michigan State University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory/Duke University, the University of Illinois-Chicago and others.”

The panel was moderated by Ted Gayer, Vice president and Director, Economic Studies Joseph A. Pechman Senior Fellow and also featured Bruce Babcock, Director of the Biobased Industry Center and Economics Professor for Iowa State and Terry Dinan, Senior Advisor, Microeconomic Studies Division of the Congressional Budget Office.

NEB Debuts Biofuel Education Videos

The Nebraska Ethanol Board has debut several biofuel education videos that focus on the economic and environmental benefits of using renewable fuels. The ‘white board-style’ biofuel videos starring gruff military man Colonel Korn and modern couple Andy & Sandy.

“The educational messages embodied in the new videos are an excellent means of communicating the benefits of ethanol to students as well as older adults,” said Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “They are brief, factual and quickly convey the economic, environment and public health advantages associated with ethanol and other biofuels.”

Colonel Korn takes the audience on a journey through Nebraska’s $5 billion ethanol industry. He shares why American Ethanol is important to the state and the world, discussing exports and co-product use along the way.

Andy and Sandy focus on the journey to become more environmental minded, they discover the environmental benefits of biofuels.

The new videos will be used throughout the state to inform consumers about the benefits of biofuels. The videos are available to share online, but DVDs also can be requested through the Nebraska Ethanol Board office.