Ethanol to Help Fuel 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

rfa-sturgis14-fuelThe Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) will once again partner with the Buffalo Chip Campground at the 75th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which will be held Aug. 3-9 in Sturgis, South Dakota. More than 1.5 million motorcycle enthusiasts are expected to attend the event this year for the big anniversary and RFA Vice President for Industry Relations Robert White the event offers a perfect venue to dispel some of the misconceptions about the use of ethanol blended fuel in motorcycles.

“We do that around the “Free Fuel Happy Hours,” said White. “From Sunday August 2nd through Thursday August 6 from 1 to 4 pm, any motorcyclist can come up and fuel for free with 93 octane 10 percent ethanol.” This is the fourth year that RFA has sponsored the free fuel happy hours and White says it also offers them the opportunity to talk one on one with bikers and provide them with information about ethanol.

sturgis-guideIn addition, White says messages about ethanol can be found throughout the Buffalo Chip Campground during the rally. “We have everything from banners to commercials on the Jumbotron at the main stage and we sponsor the Essentials Guide that goes out to every camper this year,” said White.

The event sponsorship has become more important in the last 2-3 years as the oil industry has worked with the motorcycle association to spread misinformation about 15% ethanol, which is not approved for use in motorcycles – a fact which is stated clearly on all pumps that sell E15. But White says the information they provide goes beyond motorcycles. “If there is 1.6 million or more people there, they all own lawnmowers, cars, trucks, SUVs, boats back at home,” he added.

Listen to this edition of “The Ethanol Report” where White talks about what they will be doing in Sturgis to connect with those attending and help them come away with a better understanding of ethanol. Ethanol Report Preview of 2015 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

EcoTech Institute Releases New Career eBook

Ecotech Institute has released another installment of their Ditch the Desk eBook series. The latest free book is a comprehensive guide covering everything from networking tips, industry trends, required electrical-engineering-coverskills and insights from Peter Luciano, a service manager with Konecranes.

eBook Ditch the Desk: The Complete eBook To Starting A Career in Electrical Engineering Technology also delves into how the renewable energy movement has created a new demand for tools, technologies and equipment to help companies and individuals use energy efficiently and finds there is an increased demand for trained professional technicians to assess these needs. These electrical engineering occupations take specialized training, cleantech industry knowledge and passion.

Now, future electrical engineering technicians have one place to access vital information about the industry, including:

  • Key industry facts about the electrical engineering sector;
  • Tips for job seekers in the clean energy field;
  • Expectations and requirements for electrical engineering jobs;
  • States where hiring is hot; and
  • Advice from current students, working industry experts and technicians.

The eBook is available for download at

Trevor Day School Uses Geothermal for Energy, Education

Trevor Day School, located in New York City, is using geothermal for energy and education. The technology used is the first by an educational institute as well as the first on the East Coast to contribute to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 80 percent prior to 2050.

The system contains structural piles that are made from reinforced concrete. They are turned into heat exchangers by adding loops of plastic pipes down their length with some going more than 80 feet deep. They provide both support for the building, but also allow the structure to extract and store heat from the earth to use in heating and cooling the building.

A view from First Avenue of Trevor's new LEED qualifying, state-of-the-art, geothermal school building; a first of its kind on the East Coast. (Photo: Business Wire)

A view from First Avenue of Trevor’s new LEED qualifying, state-of-the-art, geothermal school building; a first of its kind on the East Coast. (Photo: Business Wire)

To learn more about the project, DomesticFuel spoke to several of the project team members including Michael Paquette, P.E. senior project engineer for Langan. He explained that this technology was different than many current geothermal projects.

On ‘traditional’ geothermal projects, the geothermal loops are installed in boreholes drilled specifically to install the geothermal loops, or in shallow trenches excavated specifically for geothermal loops, explained Paquette. However, at Trevor Day School, the geothermal loops were installed in pile foundations that were already required for the building (hence the term ‘energy piles’).

“The value of the energy piles is that the piles must be installed for the building’s foundation support, so adding geothermal loops inside the piles themselves is a relatively lower cost compared to drilling dedicated boreholes for the geothermal loops,” continued Paquette. “The piles serve dual purpose as foundation support and energy transfer. Although energy piles are becoming more common in Europe, Trevor Day School is one of the first projects in the USA to use this technology and will hopefully serve as a catalyst for other developers in the U.S. to consider this technology.”

What is the return on investment of this clean energy technology? Continue reading

IBB Features Mechanic Training Program

The Biodiesel for Diesel Technicians,” is currently available for free at community colleges in Iowa and surrounding states complements of a federal grant. The class has been supported by the regional Clean Cities along with the Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB) and was developed by the National Biodiesel Board and IBB together.

Instructor Jerry Burns signs students up for training. Photo Credit: Iowa Biodiesel Board

Instructor Jerry Burns signs students up for training. Photo Credit: Iowa Biodiesel Board

“This training program helps mechanics better understand how biodiesel works in diesel engines, particularly in today’s New Technology Diesel Engines, and advise their customers about the true impacts of using biodiesel blends,” said Grant Kimberley, IBB executive director. “This program is mission critical to the long-term success of biodiesel becoming ingrained in our domestic fuel supply.”

Upcoming free training sessions are scheduled for:

  • 6:00 – 8:30 pm, June 11, 2015 at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon, Iowa, and
  • 8:00 – 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 – 3:00 pm, June 16, 2015 at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa.

The course offers the latest information about:

  • Original Equipment Manufacturer support for biodiesel
  • Fuel quality
  • Service requirements
  • Impacts on technology found on new diesel engines

The Biodiesel for Diesel Technicians program received Automotive Service Excellence accreditation in June 2012. Since its founding, the program has served as a model for a number of other organizations across the country. Click here for registration information.

Novozymes Ethanol Game Educates at #FEW15

few15-novo-rachel“Gamification” is the concept of applying game-design thinking to non-game applications as engaging learning tools, particularly for the younger generation and Novozymes had a great example on display at the 2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop.

The Ethanol Challenge game features characters like Alphie the alpha amylase, Glucador the glucoamylase, and a number of enzyme buddies who help them out throughout the ethanol production process as they navigate through dangerous doughballs and bacteria. Rachel Burton with Novozymes says the Ethanol Challenge is their foray into gamification as part of a training program they have developed called Bioenergy University. “We’re launching that this summer for our customers,” said Burton. “We have three tiered learning tracks – a basic beginner track, an advanced track, and we have an expert level track.”

Rachel explains more in her FEW presentation on “Next Generation Training for Ethanol Plants.” Rachel Burton, Novozymes, at 2015 FEW

Watch Rachel demonstrate the Ethanol Challenge game in this video:

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

Lallemand Makes #FEW15 Fashion Statement

few15-lallemand-pantsLallemand Biofuels and Distilled Spirits really stood out at the opening of the 2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop trade show with logo patterned pants that were definitely attention-getting.

“We just decided we wanted to try something a little bit different and stand out a little bit,” said Lallemand VP of Marketing Craig Pilgrim, who came up with the idea. “I looked on line and saw some crazy, swirly pants and said we could probably incorporate our logo in there and figured most people wouldn’t be wearing that the night of the trade show.”

few15-lallemand-logoThe crazy pants helped draw attention to the fact that Lallemand is celebrating its 35th Alcohol School this year in Montréal September 13-18. “Started off very small, 10 or 12 people in a room,” said Pilgrim. “We have roughly over 4,000 people that we’ve educated over the 35 years.”

The course provides detailed information on both fuel ethanol and beverage alcohol unit processes and is designed for lab, plant, and management personnel with lectures, laboratory demonstrations, seminars, and lab visits. Find out more in this interview: Interview with Craig Pilgrim, Lallemand

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

DOE Offers $32M for Solar

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $32 million in funding to train Americans to enhance the country’s solar energy workforce. The monies are part of the DOE’s SunShot Initiative. The funds will also go to company’s that can develop innovative, low-cost concentrating solar power collectors and to increase access to solar data.

DOE STEP programAccording to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) the new opportunities will:

  • The Solar Training and Education for Professionals funding program will tackle soft costs by addressing gaps in solar training and energy education, both within the solar workforce and in professions that play a crucial role in solar deployment.
  • The Solar Bankability Data to Advance Transactions and Access funding program will increase data accessibility and quality, and will facilitate the growth and expansion of the solar industry by creating a standardized data landscape for distributed solar. The goal of this funding program is to support the creation and adoption of industry-led open data standards for rapid and seamless data exchange across the value chain from origination to decommissioning.
  • The CSP: Concentrating Optics for Lower Levelized Energy Costs funding program seeks to further CSP system technologies by soliciting disruptive, transformative projects for the concentrating solar collectors in the CSP plant. These innovative projects will seek to enable CSP to be cost-competitive with conventional forms of electric power generation.

“Last year, a new solar energy project was installed every two and a half minutes in the United States,” said Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall. “To ensure the continued growth of the U.S. solar industry and our clean energy economy, it is critical that we support workforce training programs that will give American workers the skills they need for well-paying jobs and also make sure American consumers have access to highly-trained, credentialed professionals when they choose solar to power their daily lives.”  Continue reading

EcoTech: Clean Jobs Continue to Grow

Clean jobs continue to grow with more than one million green energy job postings across the nation during Q1 2015 according to Ecotech Institute’s Clean Jobs Index. The index is based on Bureau of Labor Statistics and includes jobs in which workers’ duties involve making their company’s production processes more environmentally friendly or use few natural resources.

Clean Job Openings Q1 2015“As more businesses look for ways to conserve energy and renewables continue to gain traction, more jobs are becoming available,” said Chris Gorrie, Ecotech Institute’s President. “States have come to see clean energy sources as an important piece of infrastructure, opening the door to great opportunities in renewable energy.”

In Q1 2015 there were 1.2 million clean job postings in the U.S. with the top states for jobs being California, Texas and New York. States with the Highest Rise in Clean Jobs Openings, Compared to Q1 2014 include: Rhode Island, New York, Texas, North Carolina and Maryland.

States with Most Clean Jobs per 100,000 People:

  • North Dakota
  • Iowa
  • Rhode Island
  • Colorado
  • Wyoming
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Ohio
  • Indiana
  • South Dakota

EcoTech Institute created the Clean Jobs Index to provide objective information about renewable energy jobs and to compare states’ use and development of clean and sustainable energy.

Solar Goes to Space

Solar has gone to space. SolAero Technologies has announced that 32 of its SolAero solar panels populated with high-efficiency triple-junction ZTJ solar cells are powering the four Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission spacecraft that launched successfully on March 12, 2015 aboard the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

SolAero Solor Panels on MMS spacecraftThe MMS will study magnetic reconnection, a fundamental process that occurs throughout the universe when magnetic fields connect and disconnect explosively, releasing energy and accelerating particles up to nearly the speed of light. Unlike previous missions that have observed only evidence of magnetic reconnection events, MMS has sufficient resolution to observe and measure reconnection events as they occur. While MMS will fly through reconnection regions in less than a second, key sensors on each spacecraft are able to capture measurements 100 times faster than any previous mission. In addition, MMS consists of four identical observatories, which together will provide the first ever three-dimensional view of magnetic reconnection.

SolAreo said this mission is unprecedented. Building four spacecraft at the same time – something that had never before been done at Goddard – required a unique set of engineering, management and production skills. In addition, SolAero said they provided solar panels for each spacecraft designed and built at the highest efficiency and to the highest standards necessary for a successful mission.

Sun Edison & GRID Alternatives “RISE”

SunEdison and its SunEdison Foundation has announced a $5 million solar/funding contribution to GRID Alternatives to launch a two-year initiative called RISE to connect the solar industry’s demand for skilled workers with communities that need jobs. Building on the successful 2014 SunEdison and GRID Alternatives partnership to bring more women into the solar industry, the RISE initiative will provide underserved communities with solar job training and job placement through GRID Alternatives’ workforce development program.

SunEdison and GRID Alternatives announce major solar workforce initiative called RISE. SunEdison and the SunEdison Foundation contribute $5 million to train women and members of underserved communities for jobs in the solar industry. (PRNewsFoto/SunEdison, Inc.)

SunEdison and GRID Alternatives announce major solar workforce initiative called RISE. SunEdison and the SunEdison Foundation contribute $5 million to train women and members of underserved communities for jobs in the solar industry. (PRNewsFoto/SunEdison, Inc.)

This partnership is making solar more accessible for everyone in America. For lower income families, that means lower electricity bills, more money for necessities, and the opportunity to receive valuable job training,” said Ahmad Chatila, president and chief executive officer of SunEdison. “I’m very proud that with this contribution, SunEdison is truly helping the people who need it most.”

The RISE initiative will provide hands-on training and real-world solar installation experience to over 4,000 people across the country. In addition, the initiative will connect job trainees with solar companies looking for skilled workers. As part of the initiative, GRID Alternatives through its SolarCorps program will provide 40 individuals with one-year paid fellowships in GRID Alternatives’ offices around the country. In addition, SunEdison employees will donate over 2,000 hours of their time installing solar systems for low-income families and supporting job-readiness for trainees.

“The solar industry is adding jobs at a rate of more than 20% year over year,” added Erica Mackie, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of GRID Alternatives. “This is an incredible opportunity to connect an industry that needs good people with people that need good jobs, and that’s just what this partnership is doing.”

SunEdison and GRID Alternatives will also be working with the White House to help President Obama meet his goal of installing 100 megawatts of solar capacity on federally assisted housing in a way that provides job training opportunities to the residents of those communities.