Ethanol NASCAR Driver at Farm Progress Show

While at the 2013 Farm Progress Show, NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace stopped by to talk about ethanol and why he’s so passionate about helping farmer’s get their message out about E-15 and using it, not only in race cars, but in cars traveling up and down the highway as well.

Wallace loves to help spread the message about how ethanol blends can help increase the performance of all types of vehicles, because he knows how E15 performs in the race cars he drives on the NASCAR circuit.  He teamed up with the Illinois Corn Growers Association as a sponsor several years ago and never gets tired of talking about the home-grown fuel.

“I get to educate people that ethanol is a high performance fuel, it burns really clean and all it did was do good.”

You can listen to Leah’s interview with Kenny here Interview with Kenny Wallace

Kenny is pictured here at Farm Progress Show with Leah Guffey to his right, Tricia Braid with Illinois Corn Growers Association to his left, Jeff Nalley with Cromwell Ag Radio, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen and Domestic Fuel editor Cindy Zimmerman.

ACE: Infographic Tells a Thousand Words of Ethanol

Greg Veerman Astronaut Brand StudioYou’ve heard the expression that “a picture tells a thousand words.” Well, some advocates of ethanol believe a well-done picture coupled with compelling facts can tell that thousand words even better (which falls in line with our latest ZimmComm poll results about infographics). American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) members are gathering this week as they “Unite and Ignite” for this year’ 26th annual conference in Des Moines, Iowa, and hopefully, they’re armed to tell ethanol’s story with an engaging infographic touting the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) developed by Greg Veerman’s Astronaut Brand Studio:”An American Success.”

“There are a lot of smart people in this industry who have been serving up a laundry list of features and benefits behind ethanol and the technology, and it’s been kind of a repeated script. What we’re trying to do with the infographic we developed is to use design as a tool,” Greg told Joanna during ACE’s Beltway Biofuels March earlier this year, as about 70 ethanol advocates descended on the nation’s capital to talk with lawmakers. “Design is meant to solve problems, and that’s what we’re doing here with the infographic, [reframing] those features and benefits in a way that engages the audience.”

aceinfographic1Greg went on to say that this infographic helps cut through the noise, and it invites exploration by the reader, giving more visual energy than a white paper, without replacing the necessity and information of a white paper but giving people a chance to better relate to the data.

He continued, pointing out that many of the arguments against ethanol are predictable. But he believes if ethanol advocates are able to use the infographic and the facts behind it, they’ll sway audiences because there are some real compelling reasons to support the green fuel. It just needs to be told properly.

“We need to wrap our data with the human dimension and the human benefits that this industry has delivered to so many communities all over the country … and not just in the cornbelt. There are people paying their bills and putting food in their cupboards who are working on the science, the biotechnology and the engineering, and I think the personal human dimension and benefit that represents for American families really in every state is a critical component to this.”

Listen to Joanna’s interview with Greg here: Greg Veerman, Astronaut Brand Studio

Visit the ACE 26th Annual Ethanol Conference photo album.

ACE: When Telling the Truth About Ethanol, It’s Easy

Troy Prescott Cardinal EthanolAs members of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) gather in Des Moines, Iowa this week to “Unite and Ignite” for their 26th annual conference, we’re reminded of some previous advice from Troy Prescott with Cardinal Ethanol about telling the good news story of ethanol.

“When you’re telling the truth, it isn’t hard to keep telling the story,” he told Joanna back when she talked to him during ACE’s Biofuels Beltway event last March in Washington, D.C., as about 70 ethanol backers gathered on Capitol Hill to tell that ethanol story (and you thought no one ever spoke the truth in Washington!).

Troy said they faced some real doubters in the Nation’s capital, including Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, who had just sponsored legislation to keep E15 from going to the marketplace. But he said they stuck to the facts about ethanol, and giving credit to the senator, Hatch’s office listened. Troy explained that while Utah is not a cornbelt state, it’s still in the senator’s and his constituents’ best interests to see ethanol succeed now, because today’s support of corn ethanol will pay off when the industry is able to move more to cellulosic, and places like Utah can reap the benefits.

“You just have to find the niche that gets them to start thinking, ‘Hey, this could be good for my state.'”

While he realizes he’s not going to convert everyone, Troy believes continuing to tell ethanol’s factual story, even to those in the cornbelt, will pay off in the long run, bit-by-bit.

“You just gotta keep chippin’ away, getting your word out,” he concluded.

Listen to Joanna’s interview with Troy here: Troy Prescott, Cardinal Ethanol

Visit the ACE 26th Annual Ethanol Conference photo album.

EPA: Reject 2014 RFS Partial Waiver

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is today urging Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy to reject the partial waiver of 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM).

Big Oil’s attempt to completely rewrite and redefine the statute pertaining to RFS waivers is just another shameless example of how far they’ll go to protect their market share and block larger volumes of renewable fuel from reaching the consumer,” wrote Bob Dinneen, RFA’s President and CEO in a letter to McCarthy. “Not only do API and AFPM blatantly contort the meaning and intent of the statute, but, as trade associations, they aren’t even entitled to file a petition for a waiver in the first place.”

Fass-Füllanlage Drum fillingAccording to RFA’s letter, the petition from API and AFPM obscures the fundamental purpose and intent of the RFS, which is to drive the production and use of renewable fuels beyond their traditional role as fuel additives.

“The need to move beyond E10 in 2014 for the purposes of RFS compliance should hardly come as a surprise to obligated parties,” wrote Dinneen, pointing out that it was clear as early as 2009 that the so-called E10 “blend wall” would occur in 2013 or 2014. “Unfortunately, many obligated parties chose to blatantly ignore the strong signals compelling them to begin preparations for higher volumes of renewable fuels and to increase investments in storage and distribution infrastructure. Now, the members of API and AFPM seek relief from their renewable fuel blending obligations, arguing that their failure to prepare for 2014 RFS requirements somehow merits reprieve. EPA should not reward such blatant disregard for resoundingly clear policy signals.”

The RFA comments conclude that the combination of increased E85 and E15 sales, carry-over Renewable Identification Number (RINs) from 2013, and likely administrative adjustments to the 2014 advanced biofuel standard will allow obligated parties to easily meet their RFS requirements without adverse economic consequences.

“EPA should act swiftly to reject the petition submitted by API and AFPM. The conditions outlined in the Clean Air Act under which EPA may grant a waiver simply do not exist,” Dinneen concluded. “The RFS is working precisely as intended—EPA is exercising its authority to adjust annual blending requirements, RINs are sending clear signals to the marketplace to expand renewable fuels infrastructure and consumption, and RIN banking and trading provisions are providing compliance flexibility to obligated parties. In short, oil refiners and importers should have no difficulty in meeting their 2014 blending requirements.”

Farmers Cooperative To Offer E15

Farmers Cooperative Company has announced it will be offering E15 beginning this fall at its Creston, Iowa station.

This car can use E15“The customer is of the utmost importance at Farmers Cooperative,” said Farmers Cooperative Creston Branch Manager Darin Schlapia. “With that in mind, we strive to offer the highest-quality products at an affordable price. Bringing E15 to our product line-up will give our customers another low-cost fuel choice that also benefits our rural economy.”

Farmers Cooperative will be offering E15 as a registered fuel at its station located at 304 North Osage Street in Creston, Iowa. E15, a blend of gasoline and 15 percent ethanol, can be used by all 2001 and newer passenger vehicles, which account for about 85 percent of fuel use in the United States. In order to offer E15, a retailer must register with the EPA. IRFA assisted Farmers Cooperative in the registration process to ensure they comply with all federal and state E15 regulations. In addition, IRFA will be co-sponsoring a consumer education campaign in September to introduce E15 to Creston residents.

“Thanks to Farmers Cooperative, southwest Iowa residents will now have access to the newest ethanol-blended fuel,” added IRFA Managing Director Lucy Norton. “The growth in E15 availability means more consumers can reap the benefits of this high-performance, low-cost fuel produced right here in Iowa.”

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) recently released the results of a new analysis that shows a pending shift in the fuels carried in pipelines that service Iowa will lead to E15 being the lowest-cost option for many retailers.

ACE Unite & Ignite Conference Kicks off with a Bang

ACE13-ignite-and-unite-lambertyI don’t know what it is, but there’s something about the ethanol industry that gets me jazzed up about biofuels and my latest spark: the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) 26th Annual Ethanol Conference that kicked off tonight in Des Moines, Iowa. The opening reception was abuzz with the latest news and contagious optimism about the industry, despite Big Oil’s efforts to block E15 and other higher blends of ethanol.

To get a preview of the event, I chatted with ACE’s Ron Lamberty, better known as the “fuel guy,” because Ron not only works with fuel retailers and the petroleum industry in his role as senior vice president, but he also owns several fuel retail stations. So if anyone knows how safe and beneficial ethanol is to consumers, it’s Ron.

Lamberty noted that the ethanol industry is battling against a competitor that really doesn’t want to compete and doesn’t feel any need to tell the truth. “We’re battling against all this misinformation,” he said, but truth is on our side and we’ve got to keep getting it out any way we can.”

He said that things are going well for the ethanol industry and they just need to ride out this full-scale assault. He believes that once consumers get a chance to buy more of the industry’s fuels, they will see they are a good thing and he doesn’t think any amount of advertising can stop the movement of ethanol.

ACE13-Ignite-and-uniteThis year’s conference theme is “Unite and Ignite” and Lamberty says the theme is near and dear to him. He said, “You’ve heard the saying, it’s not you, it’s me, well in this case we’re saying its not ACE, it’s you. We truly want our members to go out and do these things.” He said ACE has learned through doing their fly-in, that it’s a lot more effective to have people who work in the industry every day tell their story.

Lamberty says the industry needs to fight back and people need choice. “And when people have choice, they will choose us.”

Listen to my full interview with Ron Lamberty who discusses not only the importance of this year’s theme, but also the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the truth about RINs (Renewable Identification Number). ACE Unite & Ignite Kicks off with a Bang

Visit the ACE 26th Annual Ethanol Conference photo album.

Growth Launches “You’re No Dummy” Campaign

In response to the major ad campaign funded by Big Oil in an effort to block higher blends of ethanol into the marketplace (such as E15), ethanol advocacy group Growth Energy has launched an advertising campaign called “You’re no Dummy“. The goal of the campaign is to help Americans better understand that the oil industry is trying to stop the growth of renewable fuels for the purpose of protecting their bottom line.

“For too long we’ve had all our energy eggs in one basket,” said Growth Energy Board of Directors co-chairman General Wesley K. Clark (Ret.) who explained he saw it coming back when he was a Captain working at the Pentagon in the summer of 1973. “Renewable fuels are critical to national security.” He noted that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is vital to national security and “we can’t let go of the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

“The campaign we have launched today is designed to do one thing – show consumers that the oil industry has attempted to deceive them over and over again and it’s time they stop being treated like puppets by the oil industry,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy during a media call. “It is time consumers are allowed a choice when they fill up at the pump – a choice that allows them to not only save their own hard-earned money, but also spend their money on an American product that creates American jobs, promotes energy independence and improves our environment.”

“We understand we’re the little guy. We know we’re the underdog. It’s David versus Goliath,” continued Buis. “But the biofuels industry will no longer tolerate misleading information and nor should the American public. While Big Oil may be one of the largest and well-funded industries on the planet – they are not entitled to use their influence to control Congress to maintain unbridled control over the transportation fuels marketplace.”

Youre No Dummy TV adBuis said that consumers need to know they are being deceived by Big Oil and they are preventing them from having the ability to make a choice at the pump. “Our message is simple – You’re no dummy. Don’t let the oil industry treat you like one,” Buis concluded.

As part of the “You’re no Dummy” campaign, ads will air nationally on major cable news networks such as FOX, CNN, MSNBC and RFD-TV, as well as several local markets. The multi-media campaign also includes print, radio and social media.

Listen to the “You’re no Dummy” press conference here: Growth Launches You're No Dummy Campaign

GPRE Cuts Ribbon on Atkinson Ethanol Plant

IMG_0481[2]Green Plains Renewable Energy (GPRE) held a ribbon cutting for their newly acquired ethanol plant in Atkinson, Nebraska. GPRE bought the idled plant in June 2013 after being offline for nearly a year. The plant employs 42 people, a third of which were employed at the plant prior to its shutdown, and is now in full operation. With the acquisition of the biorefinery, GPRE now has 10 ethanol plants in operation and is the fourth largest producer of ethanol in the world.

The Atkinson ethanol plant will produce 50 million gallons of ethanol each year from approximately 15-17 million bushels of corn and will also produce 145,000 tons of distillers grains (DDGs – livestock feed).

Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer lauded the community of Atkinson and surrounding area for it’s accomplishments and also thanked GPRE for their investment in north central Nebraska. She said GPRE is a great company and they not only recognized the great community of Atkinson, but that they are also looking to build a strong partnership with the community.

Sen. Fischer is a rancher who feeds her cattle DDGs. “One thing I always tell folks about agriculture: We have to stick together,” said Sen Fischer. “We need to stick together in rural communities. And when we have a business partner like Green Plains that is willing to come in to this community, willing to make a pretty darn big investment in this community to provide good jobs, to provide a market for your crops, to provide a by-product for livestock producers, I think we all need to thank them for making that investment.”

Happy 5th Anniversary Patriot Renewable Fuels

Patriot Renewable Fuels celebrated their five year anniversary today and dozens of community members, legislators, employees and those from the ethanol industry were on Community tour of Patriot Renewable Fuelshand for the celebration. With fierce attacks from ethanol detractors on the corn-based ethanol industry, the celebration was proof that the ethanol industry is standing firm.

Bob Dinneen, RFA president and CEO attended the celebration touting the five year milestone. “Today is truly a day of celebration for everyone involved in Patriot Renewable Fuels,” said Dinneen to the crowd gathered at the plant for the celebration. “It is often said that the first year of business is always the hardest. It is truly an accomplishment that you have long passed the first year and have reached the five year anniversary. There have been times of prosperity and times of drought, but as a company you have shown perseverance, dedication and hard work. Today is a day to celebrate and enjoy the fruits of your labor.”

Rock KatschnigPatriot Renewable Fuels is located in Annawan, Illinois and employs 55 full time employees at a plant that produces 110 million gallons of ethanol and 300,000 tons of DDGS per year. Over the past few weeks, plant partners have been congratulating the bioenergy plant on five years of success and wished them success for many more years.

“The last five years in business has been both challenging and uniquely rewarding. I have seen the company grow and thrive from an idea into reality,” said Patriot Renewable Fuels’ CEO and co-founder Gene Griffith. “I am proud of the positive impact we have had on our country, creating jobs, decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, and revitalizing our rural community. It is my hope that the next five years will be as rewarding as the last.”

Interactive Map Shows Biofuel Friendly Policies

According to the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA), 62 countries now have biofuels friendly policies in place that have driven global demand to over 1 million barrels per day. To help people around the world keep track of the changing political landscape, GRFA has launched an Interactive World Biofuels Map available on their new website.

“It is amazing to watch the growth of the biofuels industry from a global perspective,” said Bliss Baker, spokesperson for the GRFA. “Today, governments have embraced biofuels in every corner of the world, from Australia to Zimbabwe.”

GRFA Interactive Globla Biofuels MapOne of the latest countries to enact a biofuels mandate is India. Currently their mandate is set at 5 percent ethanol content and scheduled to increase to 10 percent as soon as production capacity is in place. India has ultimately set a goal of 20 percent for all biofuels content by 2017.

“Enacting biofuels friendly policies in developing countries and growing economies like India will be crucial for the continued growth of the global biofuels industry and reducing our reliance on crude imports,” said Baker. “The GRFA applauds the government of India for taking the steps to reduce its reliance on crude oil and setting a plan in place to become a global leader in biofuels use and production.”

Baker explains that the new Interactive World Biofuels Map clearly shows that biofuels production and policies are no longer limited to the United States and Brazil, but have spread to numerous countries that are struggling to reduce GHG emissions and reduce their reliance on crude imports.

“It is interesting to note that several African countries now have biofuels friendly policies in place. Countries like Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan and Mozambique all now have biofuels friendly policies in place to encourage the use and production of renewable fuels. In total, ten African countries have implemented biofuels friendly policies to reduce their crude oil reliance,” concluded Baker.