RFA Unveils New Website

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 10.24.58 AMThe Renewable Fuels Association has unveiled a new website this morning. With improved user experience, the new site has new and enhanced content to further improve ease of navigation and usability. RFA’s website will provide up-to-date market data as well as feature news of importance to the ethanol industry. In addition, users will be able to access ethanol industry statistics, RFA reports and studies and infographics. The website also features Google optimization and a responsive design that allows its display to be easily viewed of any mobile device, smartphone, laptop, or tablet.

“When we took on the task of redesigning the RFA website, our main goal was to greatly enhance the end-user experience,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “The functionality of the new website will make it a dynamic resource for those who are looking for the latest information on the ethanol industry. RFA will continue to vigorously advocate for policies that seek to provide a stable energy marketplace and allow consumers to have more choices at the pump; the new website is part of a set of tools, including the RFA mobile app, ‘RFA Advocacy,’ that will assist RFA in its efforts.”

For information on the RFA mobile app, visit: www.EthanolRFA.org/policy/app

WiSER Encourges More Women in Energy

Many initiatives were launched during the United Nations General Assembly in New York City including the launch of the Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable energy (WiSER) Initiative. Founded by Abu Dhabil’s-based Masdar, a renewable energy company, and the Zayed Future Energy Prize, the goal is to empower women to be catalysts of innovation and the drivers of solutions to combat issues potentially aggravated by climate change including the need for renewable energy, clean water and access to food.

“As vital members of society, women are essential to building stronger and healthier economies. Nowhere is this need more important than in achieving a sustainable economic, environmental and energy future,” said Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, United Arab Emirates Minister of State Chairman of Masdar. “WiSER aims to be both a platform for dialogue, new thinking and thought-provoking ideas, as well as a pathway for women to gain real-world experience and to build the skills necessary to be leaders of industry, and drivers of commercial solutions.”

wiser_launch__cloudDuring the launch event at the Plaza Hotel, leadership from Masdar and the Zayed Future Energy Prize unveiled key elements of the WiSER initiative designed to promote the important role that women play in industries related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). WiSER also announced that the group will convene regularly in cities around the world to encourage participation in these fields.

“The WiSER initiative plays a critical role in connecting networks and building relationships across different communities to improve decision-making for sustainable development,” said Razan Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD). “To meet the challenges facing the global economy, women must occupy more decision making roles in government, engineering and science in order to meet our needs.”

WiSER will partner with academic and research institutions, women’s networking groups and corporate interests in to create education and training opportunities. Masdar and the Zayed Future Energy Prize also announced the members of the WiSER Advisory Council, who will oversee the implementation of the programs under the WiSER Initiative. The Advisory Council will serve as a global reference for the initiative on women’s leadership and careers in sustainability, particularly related to energy, water and climate change.

Propane Council Donates $30K for Propane Buses

With a growing movement to transport children in buses fueled by propane, the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) has begun a campaign to teach communities about the benefits of propane-powered transportation that include improved health. Today more than 7,000 buses across the U.S. are currently using the fuel and in an effort to see this number continue to rise, PERC is partnering with journalist and former teacher Jenna Bush Hager and the nonprofit Adopt a Classroom to donate more than $30,000 to teachers at schools adopting propane buses.

Jenna Bush Hager rides with students to Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School in celebration of their adoption of cleaner, safer propane school buses. (Photo: Propane Education & Research Council)

Jenna Bush Hager rides with students to Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School in celebration of their adoption of cleaner, safer propane school buses. (Photo: Propane Education & Research Council)

“It’s clear when you talk to school administrators and transportation departments that they are saving more than just dollars and cents by going with propane buses,” said Hager. “The switch is improving their school as a whole and giving them the opportunity to invest in more teachers or school programs.”

PERC’s donation will assist teachers at seven schools this fall, including Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School in Massachusetts; Kyrene Monte Vista in Arizona; Broward Education Foundation in Florida; Wilkes Elementary in Oregon; Five Star Education Foundation in Colorado; St. Francis Elementary in Minnesota; and Friendswood Jr. High in Texas.

Hager surprised teachers at the Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School in Boston with the news they would receive a total of $10,000 from PERC to purchase supplies for their classroom. Boston Public Schools is the first district in the city to switch from diesel to propane buses. Today, the transition from diesel to propane buses has been reported in 20 of the top 25 designated market areas, and four of the 10 largest school districts in the country are using them.

“As a former teacher and parent, I know that the school day begins and ends on the bus,” added Hager. “When we give our kids a safer, healthier start to the day, it can improve their entire experience in the classroom and at home, too.”

EHS Summit Comes to Kearney Nebraska

The 11th annual Environment, Health and Safety Summit is coming to Kearney, Nebraska Tuesday, October 11, 2015. The daylong summit, for safety professionals, includes speakers from agencies including the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Pinnacle Engineering, Fletcher Safety and Southeast Community College. The event is hosted by the Nebraska Ethanol Board (NEB).

NEB EHS Summit“This is a great opportunity to network and learn about the latest government regulations and compliance changes,” said Todd Sneller, NEB administrator who was recently awarded the Merle Anderson Award during the annual ACE Ethanol Conference. “We are proud that the summit has grown to include diverse companies beyond the ethanol industry during the past 11 years.”

Sneller said that the event was originally established to provide compliance, safety, public health and emerging technology information for the rapidly developing ethanol industry, but today the Summit has attracted the attention of other professional sectors as government regulations continue to increase.

The NEB works with a variety of private partners and ethanol plant personnel, who focus on compliance, worker safety and public health issues, to put on the summit. College students also are invited to attend and may qualify for a scholarship to waive the registration fee.

The event is presented in cooperation with the Association of Nebraska Ethanol Producers (ANEEP) and open to professionals who work in environmental compliance, worker safety, and processing and manufacturing. For registration details, contact the NEB at 402-471-2941 or visit www.ethanol.nebraska.gov.

GWU Education Partnership Launched

Delegates taking the exam for the Galileo Master Certificate

Delegates taking the exam for the Galileo Master Certificate

The School of Engineering and Applied Science at the George Washington University (GWU) is partnering with the European Energy Centre to offer renewable energy and energy efficiency educational opportunities. The Centre works closely with the United Nations Environment Programme.

This October short course educational seminars will be launched for current professionals who want to up-skill their expertise in the renewable energy industry. The classes will be taught by leading experts who have more than 20 years theoretical and practical experience. Seminars are open to all professionals and students regardless of experience. Class sizes are set in order to encourage Q&A consultancy sessions during the courses, both between the delegates and lecturer and also to provide an opportunity for the delegates themselves to network.

Training materials are developed by industry experts and are required to maintain the standards set by a team of Quality Assessors at an Independent Body, which has provided training seminars for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for participants from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia.

“It is clear that the renewable energy industry must further expand worldwide to drive forward the growth expected from upcoming UN climate talks. Our experience tells us that employees pursuing careers within the Renewable Energy sector require support to continue their professional development and keep pace with technological innovations within the industry,” said Paolo Buoni, Director, the European Energy Centre. “Therefore, education and training must remain a priority for all individuals working within and affiliated with the renewable energy sector, and so we are very pleased to announce this collaborative Partnership with The George Washington University.”

Click here to learn more and to register for classes.

Growth’s Kelly Manning Shares ‘All Things Ethanol’

Growth Energy's Kelly Manning brings out the 'big guns" during his all things ethanol interview with DF blogger Joanna Schroeder.

Growth Energy’s Kelly Manning brings out the ‘big guns” during his all things ethanol interview with DF blogger Joanna Schroeder.

Growth Energy’s Kelly Manning, vice president of development, shared all things ethanol with me during the #FarmProgressShow in Decatur, Illinois and it was great to catch up after a year of the organization fighting the good fight with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) going forward. But this was not the focal point of our conversation; rather, Manning gave me updates on all the consumer and retailer education and infrastructure development they are doing around the country about ethanol.

For all the anti-ethanol boaters out there, Manning told us about Don Onken, a farmer from Illinois, who broke the speed record with his American Ethanol Mystic catamaran, topping out at speeds of 208 mph. Manning said Onken is a passionate supporter of ethanol and passionate about speed so he put the two together. His boat runs on four engines, all powered with 90 percent ethanol. Manning said that no matter what you read, ethanol is safe to use with boats and encourages people to get the facts and they would like to work with the boating industry to discuss the safety of ethanol and boats.

On to E15. Just this week all drivers of vehicles newer than 2001 can use E15 again. The industry has been working to change this so that drivers can use the ethanol blend year round. Manning noted that two years ago the conversations they were having with retailers were quite different than the conversations they are having now. He explained that E15 is “More economical at the pump overall. It’s saves them money. It drives store traffic. We have retailers who are seeing thirty percent jumps on their inside sales.”

Manning also said that the Prime the Pump program has been successful in expanding ethanol blends and today there are 23 states offering consumers E15 at the pump. Also helping is large retailers offering E15. But in terms of the issue with EPA, Manning said that this is a high priority for retailers and many have joined Growth’s advocacy efforts with the EPA to resolve this issue and allow E15 sales year round. (It’s a RVP, or Reid Vapor Pressure Issue).  He encouraged consumers to let retailers know they want the fuel, and, Fiat, the last auto manufacturer hold-out has endorsed E15.

Other topics of discussion included flex pumps (ethanol blends such as E30, E40 and E85), rolling out an auto dealership education program and the success of the NASCAR program and the new NASCAR-branded ethanol labels at the pump.

To learn more about ‘All Things Ethanol’ listen to my interview with Kelly Manning: Interview with Kelly Manning, Growth Energy

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

Orrie Swayze Says E30 is a Child’s Best Friend

According to the Clean Air Act, Memorandum 1A it is legal for all cars to use E30, a blend of 30 percent ethanol, 70 percent gasoline, according to Orrie Swayze, a long-time ethanol advocate. He is working along side the South Dakota Farmers Union to encourage drivers to use E30 – especially for the health benefits higher blends of ethanol offer to children.

20568763580_03f060c94f_zSwayze says the language has always been there, but “like the bible is subject to interpretation”. “It’s clear to me, says Swayze, “that it is legal to use E30 in a standard vehicle because you aren’t damage emissions equipment or degrading emissions.”

E30 is often known in the industry as the “sweet spot” and according to the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) is volatility neutral. NREL also classifies E30 as a super premium fuel. Ethanol runs cooler, provides better combustion and thus more power, explains Swayze.

Swayze along with the the South Dakota Farmers Union have created a special order of business to encourage farmers, and drivers, to use E30. Click here to read the proclamation.

But he notes that the biggest winners of ethanol use is not actually the drivers, but our children. E30, says Swayze who quoted an American Medical Association research report, helps to nearly eliminates engine created benzene and other known human carcinogenic emissions that destroy brain matter in growing children. He has outlined the information on his website, www.saferair.net as an educational mechanism for consumers.

To learn more about the use of E30 and how it helps reduce air pollution, listen to my interview with Orrie Swayze: Orrie Swayze Says Use E30 for the Children

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

Nebraska Wants Clean Air

Kim Clark ACE 2015Kim Clark, former director of biofuels development for Nebraska Corn spoke during the recent Ethanol Conference in Omaha, Nebraska hosted by the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) about their Clean Air for Nebraska campaign. Her focus is to educate consumers across the state about ways to improve air quality. The goal of the campaign is create awareness around how using ethanol in fuels is a small step to make a big impact in air quality. She noted that there is a good number of organizations supporting the efforts.

The multi-facted campaign includes adding additional biofuels infrastructure throughout the state with Nebraska Corn allocating $500,000 to adding more blender pumps. Next, the campaign is focusing on helping consumers understand what ethanol blends are and what cars can use what blends including E15 and E85. Much of the marketing is taking place at the pump but the campaign also included radio ads. Ultimately the clean air campaign supporters hope their tools can be used by other regions and states as a template for biofuel and air pollution education.

To learn more about the Clean Air for Nebraska campaign, listen to Kim Clark’s presentation: Kim Clark, Clean Air for Nebraska

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

East Kansas Agri-Energy Hosts Congressman Yoder

Renew Kansas hosted Congressman Kevin Yoder‘s tour of East Kansas Agri-Energy (EKAE) located in Garnett, Kansas. While touring the facility, the Congressman and his staff heard from EKAE’s President and CEO Jeff Oestmann about the many opportunities and challenges facing the industry. Last month, EKAE celebrated its 10 year anniversary.

(l-r) Ron Seeber, Renew Kansas; Jeff Oestmann, EKAE President and CEO; Jacob DeBolt, EKAE Plant Manager; Congressman Kevin Yoder; and Greg Krissek, Kansas Corn.

(l-r) Ron Seeber, Renew Kansas; Jeff Oestmann, EKAE President and CEO; Jacob DeBolt, EKAE Plant Manager; Congressman Kevin Yoder; and Greg Krissek, Kansas Corn.

Congressman Yoder learned that the plant produces more than 40 million gallons of renewable, clean-burning ethanol, 200,000 tons of livestock feed distillers grains and 5 million pounds of corn oil each year from more than 16 million bushels of locally-sourced corn. The Congressman was informed of the many positive impacts the ethanol industry has on the local, state, and national economies and was briefed on and witnessed the progress of the renewable diesel plant now under construction at the EKAE facility. Additionally, he also learned of their stellar work place safety with over 750,000 hours of operation without a lost time accident.

Renew Kansas thanked Congressman Yoder for taking the time to travel to Garnett and participate in a hands-on ethanol education. The Congressman is currently serving as Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture.

Kum & Go, E15 Leader #ACE Award Honoree

Jim Pirolli Kum and GoKum & Go is well known in the Midwest, especially in states like Iowa and Nebraska where this year’s #ACE annual Ethanol Conference took place (Omaha). During the event, Jim Pirolli, Vice President of Fuels for Kum & Go talked about his company’s commitment to rolling out E15 stations as well as their efforts to continue to sell more E85. The retailer opened their first E15 station in Des Moines, Iowa recently with 6 more planned over the coming months.

How are they successful? Well, for starters they are price competitive at the pump. Pirolli said that Kum & Go recognizes that alternative fuels such as ethanol support local economies, better for the environment and help them deliver more to the customer than they might expect via an expanded product portfolio and also offering the economic and performance benefits. This summer they have done a very aggressive promotion campaign for E85 in Omaha and also for E15 in Des Moines. He did ask for help in helping to educate consumers about E15.

Listen to Jim Pirolli’s presentation here: Jim Pirolli, Kum & Go

Paul Dana Marketing Vision Award

American Coalition for Ethanol’s (ACE) Ron Lamberty (left) awards Jim Pirolli with Kum & Go the Paul Dana Marketing Vision Award.

Also during the event, Kum & Go was awarded the Paul Dana Marketing Vision Award, to honor a retailer who is supportive of ethanol. Ron Lamberty with ACE noted that the retailer has been an ongoing leader in ethanol selling E10 back in 1979, today as 170 E85 stations in 11 states. He praised them for stepping up for ethanol and for marketing the fuel aggressively and for being a leader in offering E15 to consumers.

Listen to Ron Lamberty’s remarks about Kum and Go here: Kum & Go Honored with Paul Dana Marketing Vision Award

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos