Ethanol Exports Bounce Back in September

growth-exportsU.S. ethanol exports rebounded in September after a drop in August, with shipments expanding 20% to 60.3 million gallons (mg), according to Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) analysis of government data released this week.

RFA Research Analyst Ann Lewis reports that Canada remained the top market for U.S. ethanol, with 44% of expors. “Meanwhile, India imported 14.3 mg (24%), its highest level of imports since February,” said Lewis. Other top importers included South Korea (8.5 mg), Peru (4.3 mg), Mexico (2.7 mg) and the Philippines (2.7 mg). Tunisia backed away from purchases in September after accounting for a quarter of the market last month, while exports to Brazil were close to zero. Total year-to-date U.S. ethanol exports are almost 625 million gallons – which is up six percent from this time last year and already greater than total exports in 2013.

The California LCFS “ethanol shuffle” reappeared in September, as U.S. imports hit a 16-month high. The United States imported 24.9 mg of ethanol, almost 60% higher than August and the largest volume imported since May 2014. All of the 24.2 mg of undenatured ethanol imports originated from Brazil. The U.S. also imported 689,365 gallons of denatured ethanol in September, with 96% shipped from Spain and the remainder coming from South Africa and Canada. Year-to-date U.S. imports of ethanol now total 57.7 mg–quickly catching up to last year’s cumulative volume at this point. In September, the United States realized its 25th straight month as a net exporter, albeit at a significantly reduced margin.

Meanwhile, exports of U.S. distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) were lower in September with decreasing shipments to China, which still remains by far the number one destination for DDGS exports. Four countries account for most of the 1,108,582 metric tons of U.S. DDGS exports: China (484,535 mt), Mexico (140,338 mt), Viet Nam (101,335 mt) and South Korea (96,503 mt). China had been importing about 750,000 mt per month and making up about 64% of our DDGS export market. However, DDGS exports to China dropped 30% in August and another 26% in September, settling at a volume equal to just half of the June record high.

US Ethanol Exports Lowest in 2 Years, DDGS Down

rfalogo1American ethanol exports to the world are down to their lowest levels in more than two years. This analysis from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) says at just 50.1 million gallons (mg), total ethanol shipments in August were 35 percent lower than in July, falling by 27.1 mg. In addition, the ethanol by-product, distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) used for animal feed, was also down, but just slightly from record levels of this summer.

Ninety percent of exports were destined for only 10 countries, with the majority of shipments split between Canada (21.4 mg, or 43% of total exports) and Tunisia (12.6 mg, or 25% of total). China (3.3 mg), the Philippines (3.0 mg), South Korea (2.8 mg) and Mexico (2.0 mg) account for much of the remaining balance. Once again, Brazil remained a minor player in the U.S. ethanol export market, taking in just 1.7 mg (compared to 25.1 mg only 5 months ago). Total U.S. ethanol exports for the first eight months of 2015 stood at 564.5 mg, indicating an annualized rate of 847 mg.

August exports of undenatured ethanol for fuel use fell 44% from July to 26.2 mg. Nearly half of those exports moved to Tunisia (12.6 mg), with China (3.3 mg), the Philippines (3.0 mg) and South Korea (2.7 mg) also pulling in notable volumes. Exports of denatured ethanol fuel decreased by 24% from July, down to 20.1 mg. This is the lowest denatured volume since August 2010. Canada took the lion’s share of denatured product at 18.1 mg (90% of exports), with Jamaica, Singapore and Turkey receiving much smaller volumes. The United States exported 356,211 gallons of undenatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage use, a decrease of 39% over July. Denatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes was the only product to see any upward movement over the prior month, with nearly all of the 3.4 mg crossing the border to Canada.

After months of virtually nonexistent fuel ethanol imports, the United States saw 15.7 mg enter the country in August—greater than the combined imports from the past 5 months. All but 3% of total imports originated in Brazil (11.8 mg undenatured, 3.8 mg denatured), with Spain and Sweden responsible for the remainder. At 65.8 mg, year-to-date imports are just half of last year’s total at this point. In August, the United States boasted a net exporter status for two years straight.

DDGS exports were off by 6 percent from the record high logged in July to a still-sizable 1,279,396 metric tons (mt), with China still receiving about half of that number – down from the 65-74 percent market share seen in recent months.

Grains Council Chairman at #ACE15

ace15-tiemannNebraska farmer Alan Tiemann was recently elected chairman of the U.S. Grains Council and he is excited about the work they are doing to expand exports of ethanol and the co-product Distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) used for livestock feed.

“For this coming year, my theme is ‘Excellence in Exports,'” said Tiemann during an interview after his address to the American Coalition for Ethanol conference this week in Omaha. “That’s what we’re going to focus on, excellence in exports – in ethanol, in distillers grains, in all the co-products, in sorghum and barley.”

During his address at ACE, Tiemann talked about the great success in exports of DDGS around the world and the potential for increasing ethanol exports to markets like Asia. “We look at Beijing and the smog issues they have there, the opportunities for a clean burning fuel like ethanol should be a no-brainer,” he said. Right now the largest export markets for U.S. ethanol are Canada and Brazil.

Listen to my interview with Tiemann here: Interview with Alan Tiemann, US Grains Council chairman

Listen to Tiemann’s full presentation at ACE here: USGC chair Alan Tiemann address to ACE

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

Ethanol Exports Down, DDGS Exports Hit Records

A new analysis from the Renewable Fuels Association shows that while ethanol exports dropped in June, the export of dried distillers grains (DDGS), a by-product of ethanol production, set an all-time record.

U.S. ethanol exports retreated for the third month in a row in June, according to RFA analysis of government data released today, dropping 7% from May to 60.2 million gallons (mg). Canada (22.9 mg, or 38%), the United Arab Emirates (12.7 mg, or 21%) and the Philippines (7.4 mg, or 12%) accounted for the bulk of exports in June, followed by South Korea (4.2 mg) and the Netherlands (4.2 mg). No ethanol exports were shipped to Brazil in June. Outside of Canada, Brazil has been the largest customer for U.S. ethanol exports, averaging 12.3 mg per month over the past five years. Through the first half of the year, exports stood at 437 mg, indicating an annualized rate of 874 mg.

June exports of U.S. distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product manufactured by dry mill ethanol plants—bounded 12% higher to 1,306,623 metric tons (mt), breaking the previous monthly record set in July 2014. Monthly exports to China reached an historic high of 967,529 mt in June—with China maintaining a 74% market share for the second month in a row. Exports to the rest of the world in June reversed a 7-month decline as monthly export volumes increased 10%. Mexico (76,784 mt, or 6% of exports), Canada (38,501 mt), Egypt (35,197 mt), Thailand (23,982 mt) and Ireland (22,700 mt) captured most of the remaining global market for U.S. DDGS in June. Year-to-date exports for 2015 are 5.8 million mt, implying an annualized total 11.6 million mt—almost one-third of projected domestic production.

Meanwhile, ethanol imports also fell again in June to just 717,320 gallons of denatured product. Almost all of that imported ethanol (99 percent) came from Spain.

US Ethanol Exports Drop Again

Ethanol exports dropped again during May to hit their lowest level of 2015. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) reports exports dropped 14 percent from April to 64.6 million gallons (mg), with the largest cutbacks in Tunisia, India, the Netherlands and the Philippines. Year-to-date exports of 377.1 mg implied an annualized total of 905 mg for 2015, which would surpass all years but 2011.

The United States reduced its exports of undenatured ethanol for fuel use by 34%, dropping from 42.8 mg in April to 28.4 mg in May. Top customer Brazil once again cut U.S. ethanol imports (13.8 mg, or 49%), while the Philippines (4.0 mg), Mexico (3.8 mg) and Nigeria (3.4 mg) received significant volumes. May exports of denatured ethanol fuel increased 13% to 33.5 mg, surpassing shipments of undenatured product for the first time since October 2014. Canada (17.2 mg), Oman (12.6 mg) and Peru (3.5 mg) accounted for virtually all of the volume exported. The United States exported 545,652 gallons of undenatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage use and 2.2mg of denatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage use in May, in line with recent norms.

Ethanol imports were dramatically lower in May, with the U.S. taking delivery of 3.2 mg of denatured product from the Netherlands and 33 gallons from Germany. Total year-to-date imports of 16.4 mg are less than a third of imports at this time last year.

Meanwhile, May exports of U.S. distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product manufactured by dry mill ethanol plants—surged 23 percent over April levels and marked the second biggest monthly jump on record. May shipments were 1,171,916 metric tons (mt), topping the 1.1 million mt mark for only the third time. Monthly exports to China were at an historic high of 864,777 mt in May, nearly three-quarters of total U.S. DDGS exports.

New Solenis’ Antibiotic-free Ethanol Fermentation Aids

Solenis announced during the recent Fuel Ethanol Workshop (FEW) the launch of a novel family of antibiotic-free fermentation aids to help ethanol producers improve efficiency of the ethanol production process. The aids also, said Solenis, will address consumer concerns about antibiotics in the food chain. While the ethanol produced from an ethanol production plant is not ingested, one byproduct is distillers grains (DDGs), an animal feed. Solenis said today’s typical fermentation processes control undesirable microorganisms using antibiotics, which remain in the resulting distillers grains. The company also launched a scale inhibitor during #FEW15.

“As consumer demands and regulatory requirements continue to become more stringent, current antimicrobials, and specifically antibiotics, may be further subject to maximum contaminate limits,” said Allen Ziegler, global biorefining marketing 18244022139_9ed6c4e7fc_zdirector. “As a result, our new fermentation aids give fuel ethanol producers more tools to address undesirable microorganisms without antibiotics, while helping them boost production and satisfy consumers at the same time.”

According to Solenis, their family of fermentation aids, which includes three patented and patent-pending products, significantly enhances the ability of yeast to compete with undesirable microorganisms in the critical initial stages of propagation and fermentation without the use of antibiotics—an increasingly important goal for fuel ethanol producers.

Designed to promote beneficial yeast growth and efficiency in both high pH and standard pH fermentation processes, Solenis said their fermentation aids are based on advanced proprietary and targeted antimicrobial technology. While the products were initially developed for fuel ethanol production, they also have practical application in other commercial fermentation processes.

“We will continue to anticipate and proactively address our customers’ needs to optimize processes while staying ahead of evolving regulations,” added John Panichella, president and CEO. “With close to 100 years of experience in process and water treatment chemistries, Solenis is committed to serving the fuel ethanol and biorefining industries with our well-respected and diverse product line, along with our application expertise and our investment in research and development.”

2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop Photo Album

Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by
Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by Novozymes

Neb Governor Ricketts On Global Biofuels Tour

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has been spending the past few weeks on a global agriculture and biofuels promotion tour. Ricketts attended Expo Milano 2015 last week and while there, he visited the “Sustainable Farm Pavilion” sponsored by New Holland where with a group that included CNH Industrial Governor-Ricketts-Headshot-FINALdiscussed Nebraska’s ethanol industry. CNH Industrial operates a Combine Center of Excellence in Grand Island, Nebraska.

Carlo Lambro, a member of the Group Executive Council and Brand President of New Holland Agriculture, spoke to the group about their commitment to using biofuels across all sectors as well as highlight their local investments in agriculture. Nebraska is the top state in terms of cattle feed and the Nebraska ethanol industry, the second largest ethanol producer in the U.S., produces more than six million tons of livestock feed each year.

The meeting also addressed Governor Ricketts’ active advocacy for the widespread use of ethanol as a biofuel in the United States. The two parties discussed their shared commitment in promoting the use of alternative fuels, which include natural gas and biomethane.

Gov. Ricketts and his Nebraska delegation had discussions in Italy about renewable fuels with Italian energy company Enel. Next, the group headed to Brussels, Belgium where they have planned a visit to Novozyme’s headquarters in Denmark. The company operates a plant in Blair, Nebraska that makes enzymes used in the ethanol industry.

What Food Safety Act Means for Ethanol Plants

few15-fsma-kellyThe Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law in 2011 and this summer the rulemaking for the new act might finally be complete. Because it includes safety of animal food as well as human food, ethanol plants that produce the co-product distillers grains for livestock feed are impacted.

Renewable Fuels Association Director of Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis talked about what plants will need to do when FSMA becomes final during the 2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop. “One of the first things in the rule is Current Good Manufacturing Practices,” said Davis, who says that most plants are already ahead of the game in that area. “We have really nice manufacturing facilities, good housekeeping, good quality assurance … a lot of us were gifted what we would call a good manufacturing practice plant.”

The main impact that FSMA will have on ethanol plants is another layer of bureaucracy. “It’s going to be a written plan with constant updating, supervision of the plan, verification of the plan,” said Davis. “It’s going to be similar to other programs like air quality and process safety management – you’re going to write down what you’re going to do, you’re going to do what you wrote down, and you’re going to verify you did it.”

Davis says there were some changes already made in the rule as it has been developed and assuming it is finalized in its current form she thinks ethanol plants will be able to comply within the two year time frame given by the law. “This is an important program and we’re going to provide some guidance to help people comply,” said Davis.

Find out more about FSMA and ethanol plants in this interview. Interview with Kelly Davis, RFA

2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop Photo Album

Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by
Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by Novozymes

DDGS Exports to China Returning to Normal

Exports of U.S. distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) are starting to return to normal levels, according to the latest numbers for March.

Patriot Renewable Fuels DDGsThe Renewable Fuels Association reports that exports of the animal feed ethanol co-product rose in March for the fourth consecutive month, at 923,515 metric tons (mt), up 15% from February, with half of those shipments going to China. Exports of DDGS to China have been increasing this year after falling off last year due to a biotech trait issue. If normal shipments to China resume on an ongoing basis, 2015 theoretically could see total exports reach the 11 million mt mark. Mexico, Canada, Vietnam, and Thailand account for most of the remaining global market.

U.S. exports of ethanol in March were down slightly from February at 83.8 million gallons (mg), but that still represents the third-highest monthly volume in the last 12 months. Brazil and Canada accounted for half of total U.S. ethanol exports in March, followed by Oman and South Korea. The Netherlands, Tunisia and Nigeria were other key destinations in March.

RFA Reports February Ethanol Export Record

The Renewable Fuels Association reports that U.S. ethanol exports reached a new record in February, based on an analysis of the latest government data.

RFANewlogoAccording to RFA Research Analyst Ann Lewis, U.S. exports of denatured and undenatured ethanol in February totaled 85.2 million gallons, up 24% from January, the highest February export volume on record. Year-to-date exports at 153.9 million gallons are in line with exports during the same period last year.

The biggest customer for U.S. ethanol remains Brazil, which received about one quarter (28%) of total U.S. ethanol exports in February, followed by India (20%), Canada (17%), and the United Arab Emirates (12%). The Philippines, South Korea, the Netherlands and Peru were other key destinations in February.

In addition, exports of the ethanol co-product distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) rose 13% to the highest monthly level in 5 months, as the Chinese market continues to recover. “However, exports to China remain at about half the level enjoyed prior to the market collapse,” said Lewis.