Students Benefit From Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel

James Anderson discusses his research with an attendee during #NBB16.

James Anderson discusses his research with an attendee during #NBB16.

It’s never too early to encourage the next generation of biodiesel and bioproduct scientists and this is just what NBB is doing through its Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel program. Several members of the group attended this year’s conference and presented posters, attended educational sessions and networked, networked, networked.

James Anderson, from University of Illinois, serves as co-chair for the group and he presented his research looking at fatty acid profiles and studying divergent plants. His goal was to identify not the fastest growing soybean plant or the plant with the best resistance, but the plant with the best profile. The idea is that they would identify soybeans that would be even better suited to biodiesel production. He and his team checked their results against some USDA studies and found positive results.

James is finishing up his project soon and will be awarded his PhD and will soon be looking for a job…hint, hint. He can be reached via email to discuss both his research and future opportunities.

Listen to my interview with James Anderson here: Interview with Co-Chair James Anderson

Jesse Mayer and James Anderson, Co-Chairs of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel.

Jesse Mayer and James Anderson, Co-Chairs of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel.

Jesse Mayer, from the University of Nevada, Reno, is also a co-chair of Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel. Originally planning on going to medical, he switched gears when the only lab he could find work in was a plant lab. Well, he got hooked. He said he loves the field and the sustainability aspect of it.

He became involved in the group two years ago through his professor. He encourages everyone to join. “It’s really great opportunity to understand all the different aspects of biofuels. Like the students here you’ve got a lot of different fields…. So finding a student organization like NBB, joining them, and getting an idea of what those other aspects are, talking to people in the industry, really helps diversify you as a student and really helps going on to grad school or into the workforce.”

Jesse is also graduating soon and if the networking I saw him doing at the conference is any indication, he won’t be on the market long. You can reach him here.

Listen to my interview with Jesse Mayer here: Interview with Co-Chair Jesse Mayer

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

“Kirby’s Future” Wins Fuel the Future Video Contest

A young woman from Des Moines, Iowa, Helena Gruensteid, who attends Roosevelt High School, took home the top honors in the Fuel the Future video contest. The top three placing high school videos were unveiled yesterday during the 10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit held in Altoona, Iowa. Gruensteid was awarded $1,000 for her video “Kirby’s Future. The contest was sponsored by the BrownWinick Law Firm.

Evan Boss, Brock Henderson, and Christian Moore of North Linn High School and North Linn FFA and won the $600 second place prize for their video entitled, “North Linn FFA E15 Video.”

Hannah Song, a senior at Iowa City West High School, was awarded the $400 third place prize for her video entitled, “Fuel the Future with E15.”

“I want to thank all of the Iowa high school students who took on the challenge of entering this year’s contest and learning about the benefits of using renewable fuels, like E15 and biodiesel,” said IRFA Communications Director T.J. Page. “While all of the videos were fantastic, Helena’s entry stood out for its entertaining storyline, and imaginative presentation of benefits of using homegrown, cleaner-burning E15.”

View the 10th Annual Renewable Fuels Summit Photo Album.

Renewable Fuels Marketing Awards Presented

Darin Schlapia from Farmers Cooperative Company based in Afton, Iowa and Kevin DeGoey from New Century FS in Grinnell, Iowa have won the Secretary’s Biodiesel and Ethanol Marketing Awards by Iowa Secretary of Ag Bill Northey. The awards honor fuel marketers who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to promote and sell renewable fuels including ethanol and biodiesel. Activities include hosting special events such as pump promos, creative signage, and innovative marketing campaigns.

Schlapia, DeGoey“New Century FS and Farmers Cooperative Company have made expanding access to renewable fuels a priority and invested in the infrastructure necessary to make variety of biodiesel and ethanol available to their customers. On top of that, they have worked hard to promote these home-grown fuels and educate their customers about the benefits,” Northey said.

The winners were announced and recognized during the Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Stores of Iowa Annual Meeting in Des Moines on Jan. 12th.

Northey added, “Fuel marketers are the place where customers access the home-grown, clean-burning renewable fuels we produce here in Iowa. Our state is fortunate to have many retailers that have made a significant investment to give customers greater access to renewable fuels and more choice at the pump.”

Kevin DeGoey, the Energy Department Manager for New Century FS in Grinnell is winner of the 2016 Secretary’s Ethanol Marketing Award. New Century FS offers higher ethanol blends at their sites in Grinnell and Vinton and are working to add additional ethanol blender pumps as part of the Iowa USDA Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership program. They were an early adopter of registered E15 and are now one of 40 locations statewide offering this higher blend to customers. In the second year that E15 was offered at their facility in Vinton sales jumped 93 percent and now account for 27 percent of the fuel sales at that site.

Darin Schlapia with Farmers Cooperative Company in Afton is the winner of the 2016 Secretary’s Biodiesel Marketing Award. Farmers Cooperative Company participated in the “Fueling our Future” pilot program to install one of the first biodiesel blender pumps in the state at their site in Mt. Ayr. That site offer offers #2 diesel, B11, B20, B30 and B99. As part of the “Fueling our Future” program, Schlapia and Farmers Cooperative Company worked with Iowa State University to evaluate consumer perceptions and the impact of increased assess to mid-level biofuels blending options, including impacts on improved air quality.

Energy, Ag Scholarships Available from CHS

Current college students and soon to be college students who are interested in alternative energy and agriculture are eligible to apply for scholarships from the CHS Foundation. The major giving entity of CHS Inc., more than 300 scholarships will be awarded in 2016.

CHS_LOGOOne hundred $1,000 scholarships will be made to high school students who choose to pursue agricultural-related degrees or STEM-related (science, technology, engineering, math) fields of study with an interest in agriculture or energy industry careers. More than 200 additional scholarships will help fund expenses for existing agriculture college students currently pursuing agriculture-related degrees at two- and four-year colleges.

“CHS and the CHS Foundation are dedicated to developing future leaders,” said William Nelson, president, CHS Foundation and vice president, CHS Corporate Citizenship. “We are proud to invest in educating young people to ensure they gain experience and build the skills necessary for long-lasting careers in the agriculture and energy industries.”

High school scholarship applications must be submitted by April 1, 2016. An independent, external committee will select scholarship recipients based on essays, transcripts and reference letters. For additional eligibility information and to apply, click here. The college scholarships are directly administered by more than 30 partnering universities throughout the U.S. and application deadlines vary by by school. For more information and a list of partnering universities, click here.

NAFTC Launches First Responder Safety Classes

The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) is offering three newly developed Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) First Responder Safety Training classes in partnership with Tulsa Area Clean Cities (TACC). The classes will take place December 8, 2015 at the Tulsa Community College in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

naftctaccFocused on targeted information for firefighters, emergency medical services, and law enforcement, the three courses will feature techniques to safely respond to vehicle collisions, incidents and injuries involving alternative fuel vehicles. Additionally, the courses include information on alternative fuels, their properties and origins, and ways in which alternative fuel vehicles differ from conventionally fueled vehicles.

In addition to the training sessions, activities associated with the training launch include an alternative fuel vehicles display. The vehicles on display will be utilized as part of the training sessions.

“With increased alternative vehicle use, the chance of these new technologies being involved in a collision also increases,” said Bill Davis, NAFTC director. “Firefighters, emergency medical services and law enforcement need to be trained on the proper procedures for safely addressing incidents involving these new technologies so they can work together to secure accident scenes and save lives. We are happy to work with the Tulsa Area Clean Cities in the release of these new courses to make sure first responders have access to the information they need.”

Developed by the NAFTC, these courses were made possible by TACC through funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Cities and were constructed from existing NAFTC First Responder Safety Training materials.

GRID Alternatives Helps Bring Solar to Families in Need

Mitsubishi Electric Green Team volunteers, students from CSULB Disabled Student Services and GRID Alternatives project leader pose in front of a newly installed 3.24kW solar system in Los Angeles. (Photo: Business Wire)

Mitsubishi Electric Green Team volunteers, students from CSULB Disabled Student Services and GRID Alternatives project leader pose in front of a newly installed 3.24kW solar system in Los Angeles. (Photo: Business Wire)

When we think of Thanksgiving and helping those in need, many people take action to help provide food. Yet this holiday, thanks to GRID Alternatives, employees from Mitsubishi Electric and California State University Long Beach’s Disabled Student Services, two low-income families now have access to affordable, clean energy. The group installed solar electric systems with the PV modules donated by Mitsubishi Electric US.

While Mitsubishi Electric US donated 6kW of Diamond Premium high performance monocrystalline PV modules bundled with inverters donated by SolarEdge and racking donated by Orion Solar Racking, Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation provided financial support for the installations with a grant to GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles. The solar package is bundled as the Diamond Kit as provides a simpler way for residential homeowners to install solar energy and save money. The grant provides hands-on training and education in renewable energy for the student volunteers, most of whom are interested in pursuing careers in the solar industry.

At the second installation, volunteers installed a 2.7kW solar system. (Photo: Business Wire)

At the second installation, volunteers installed a 2.7kW solar system. (Photo: Business Wire)

“We are pleased to extend our reach this year to two families in need,” said Gina Heng, vice president and general manager of Mitsubishi Electric U.S., Inc.’s Photovoltaic Division. “We appreciate the generosity of SolarEdge and Orion Solar Racking, and the leadership of GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles, for making these installations possible.”

The photovoltaic systems were installed in the homes of Edward Wong, a CSULB alumnus, and his family, of Los Angeles, and Zelmira Medina of East Los Angeles. “As a CSULB graduate, it was great to connect with these student volunteers from my alma mater,” said Mr. Wong. “On behalf of my family, I also want to thank all the companies for giving us the gift of solar energy for our new home.”

Kevin Webb, director of the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, added, “GRID Alternatives gave us the opportunity to further our mission to help youth with disabilities maximize their potential and participation in society. I’m impressed by the students’ interest in solar technology. We’re proud to continue our support of GRID Alternatives not only to help these students get practical experience in their chosen careers, but also to assist them to serve their community.”

ACE Ads Feature RFS Success Stories

As the deadline for the final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rules nears for 2014, 2015 and 2016, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is promoting members with RFS success stories in Washington, D.C.  One such story is being featured in Morning Consult’s daily energy brief and another in the November 18, 2015 edition of The Washington Post.

Delayne Johnson WaPo AdOne story features Delayne Johnson, CEO of Quad County Corn Processors and other features Jeff Oestmann, CEO of East Kansas Agri-Energy. Both are part of ACE’s Power by People campaign, an initiative that highlights people in the ethanol industry who are doing extraordinary things for the economy and the environment.

“ACE’s ads draw attention to the milestones that East Kansas Agri-Energy and Quad County Corn Processors have achieved in advanced and cellulosic biofuel thanks to the RFS, evidence that should help the Obama Administration stand strong on RFS blending volumes instead of caving into oil company demands,” said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of ACE.

Jeff Oestmann WaPo AdMorning Consult’s daily energy brief is read by more than 41,000 subscribers inside and out of the Beltway and ACE’s advertisement runs today through November 23. In addition, ACE is sponsoring a “cover wrap” print ad in copies of The Washington Post delivered to Capitol Hill on November 18. The print ad is available on the ACE website.

During the month of November, ACE’s social media platforms are also showcasing people from all walks of life, including retailers and consumers, who benefit from a strong RFS using videos, infographics, and profiles on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and featuring hashtags #RFSWorks, #PowerByPeople, and #RFSOnward.

Trump Tours Iowa Ethanol Plant

P1000220Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump toured the POET Biorefining ethanol plant in Gowrie, Iowa last night to learn more about ethanol production and the role ethanol plays in the success of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). While onsite, he also visited with POET’s President James Moe along with America’s Renewable Future (ARF) Co-Chairs Lt. Governor Patty Judge and Bill Couser. Earlier this week, ARF released its Mid-term Report Card giving Trump a “Good Rating”.

“We want to thank Mr. Trump for his continued support for this industry and for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS),” said Judge. “He has shown that he is committed to Iowa’s farmers and to American entrepreneurship which has paved the way for making America cleaner, stronger, and more secure through the RFS.”

ARF is committed to both educating presidential candidates about the benefits of biofuels and the success of the RFS. In addition, they are publishing candidates’ views on these issues so voters who are concerned about energy issues understand the candidates’ positions prior to election day. According to ARF, Trump’s latest comments and show of support at the POET plant solidifies his standing with ARF and will earn him praise from the organization.

“It’s great for the country. I’m with you one hundred percent,” Trump said about the RFS to a crowd of POET employees and RFS supporters during his remarks.

All Auto Owners Can Choose Premium E30

Back in September I brought you a story about Orrie Swayze, an active ethanol advocate, who wants all drivers to use E30 in their cars. At the time, there was a special order in front of the South Dakota Farmers Union and this has since passed in a resolution meeting and Swayze believes the resolution will unanimously pass at their December 10, 2015 meeting. The special order declares that all 14,000 members pledge to use premium E30 in all their non-flex fuel autos and other standard engines.

Watertown, South Dakota-based Glacial Lakes Energy is publicly promoting the use of E30 with a full-page newspaper ad and Swayze is calling on other ethanol plants to tear down the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Illegal Ethanol Lie” that holds such power over the ethanol industry and built the E10 blend wall that has cost the industry billions.

Swayze has penned an opinion piece about E30 and it is below.

All Auto Owners Can Choose Premium E30

ShatterOrrie Swayzeing EPA’s biggest illegal lie: “Its illegal to fuel non-flex fuel vehicles with lower cost, more power ethanol’s premium blend E30.”  Even though for manufacturing efficiencies both flex and non-flex fuel vehicles have basically the same engines, fuel, and emissions systems:  And the clean air act’s memorandum 1a, now amended to include persons, or the law protects consumers from EPA’s zealous, unreasonable enforcement of  clean air act’s tampering provisions.  Plus thousands of standard auto owners daily fueling with premium E30 obviously have the clean air act’s memorandum 1a defined “reasonable basis for knowing”: Knowing they are not tampering or illegally degrading emissions, engines, or emission systems and Magnuson-Moss warranty act protects them from unreasonable warranty denials. Continue reading

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.