Nebraska Names Ethanol Ambassadors

A pair of college students has been named as the Nebraska Ethanol Board’s ambassadors. This news release from the board says David Hansen and Maggie Louthan have been tapped for the posts in the program that engages them in the importance of Nebraska’s ethanol industry.

David_HansenHansen of Lincoln, Nebraska, is a junior chemical engineering student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is involved in Partners in Pollution Prevention analyzing industrial manufacturing facilities and recommending waste reduction solutions.

Maggie_LouthanLouthan of Smithfield, Nebraska, is a sophomore agricultural education student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is a member of the Nebraska Agriculture Youth Council, Sigma Alpha, Block and Bridle and CASNR Coffee Club.

“We’re excited to have two talented students with diverse experience on our team for the 2015-2016 academic year,” said Megan Grimes, Nebraska Ethanol Board. “This is a great opportunity for participants to learn about the multi-faceted ethanol industry and share information among peers, community groups and classrooms.”

Ambassadors learn about ethanol production, technology, research and marketing, and then have opportunities to work with the public, delivering presentations to middle and high school classrooms. The program lasts one academic year (August-May) with new recruits each year. For their time and efforts, ambassadors are earn a $1,000 scholarship to assist with their education.

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

Midwest AgEnergy Starts Making Ethanol, Corn Oil

MidwestAg EnergyMidwest AgEnergy Group has started producing ethanol and corn oil for biodiesel at its Jamestown, North Dakota, refinery. This article from AreaDevelopment.com says the 65 million-gallon-per-year Dakota Spirit AgEnergy biorefinery uses steam from the combined heat and power plant and corn from local farmers to produce ethanol, distillers grains and fuel-grade corn oil.

The ethanol produced at Dakota Spirit AgEnergy amounts to about 20 percent of North Dakota’s annual fuel demand. The biorefinery will purchase 23 million bushels of corn annually from farmers and employs 38 people. The cost of the project was $155 million.

As an incentive, the state provided nearly $40 million in grants and loans for the renewable fuel project, including funding for feasibility studies, construction and jobs training. The state’s investment includes loans from the Bank of North Dakota and the North Dakota Department of Commerce’s Development Fund, along with grants from the North Dakota Industrial Commission and the NDDOC’s Agricultural Products Utilization Commission and Community Development Block Grant programs. Funding for new jobs training was provided by Job Service North Dakota.

“The Dakota Spirit AgEnergy biorefinery is an important investment for North Dakota because it adds value to the state’s production agriculture industry, expands our renewable energy offerings, and creates jobs and economic opportunities for our people,” said Governor Jack Dalrymple. “Congratulations to Midwest AgEnergy Group and its many local and state partners as they celebrate the beginning of operations for this unique biorefinery and its impact on both the local and statewide economies.”

Comment Deadline for RFS Proposal is Monday

The deadline for submitting comments to the Environmental Protection Agency on the proposed Renewable Fuel Standards for 2014, 2015, and 2016 is Monday, July 27.

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy encouraged members of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) meeting in Washington DC last week to make their voices heard during the comment period. “Keep talking, keep communicating, take advantage of the public comment process,” she said. “This was a proposal, this was not a final rule, so tell us what you think. That way we’ll be able to produce a final standard that is based on all of the best information and data available.” EPA administrator encourages comments

rfs-mess-2NCGA has made it a priority to get growers involved in commenting on the EPA proposal, sponsoring rallies at the EPA’s public hearing last month in Kansas City, Kansas and on Capitol Hill last week. NCGA president Chip Bowling says they are doing everything possible to help their farmers make their voices heard. “Anyone out there in the countryside can send their comments to EPA,” said Bowling, who notes that they can also send your comments to the EPA through the corn growers website ncga.com/rfs. “We don’t have a whole lot of time to get your comments in but we could really use them.” NCGA president urges farmers to comment

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen says everyone who has a stake in the ethanol industry should send in comments on the proposal. “EPA needs to be hearing from farmers, from consumers, from renewable energy advocates across the country,” said Dinneen. “We made a difference before when we got EPA to not finalize a flawed program. We need to make a difference again.” RFA CEO on EPA comment deadline

Comments can be submitted directly to the EPA by going to the Federal eRulemaking Portal.

RFA Sponsors Ethanol-Powered Boat Race

RFAboats1Boat racers were able to show the power of ethanol recently. This news release from the Renewable Fuels Association says the group, along with East Kansas Agri-Energy and the Kansas Corn Commission, sponsored the National Boat Racing Association’s (NBRA) annual Garnett Ethanol Hydroplane Shootout in Garnett, Kansas, running on Lake Garnett with ethanol-powered hydroplanes.

The Shootout is a popular family attraction that also demonstrates the benefits that ethanol brings to the performance of a marine engine. E10 is approved for use by all boat manufacturers for their engines. The NBRA, which represents more than 250 drivers in 30 states, has used E10 as its primary fuel source for years and has a long history of breaking records with the fuel blend.

“We were happy to again sponsor this event to help dispel any myths boat owners might have had about using ethanol in their engines,” said Robert White, RFA’s vice president of industry relations. “E15 has become a negative buzzword in the marine world, but it is a fuel not approved for boats. Many people still don’t know that E10 is a perfectly safe fuel for boats, and this event by the NBRA demonstrates that. We always tell boaters to review their owner’s manuals and to read fuel dispenser labels — hopefully the same practice they have with their cars, trucks and SUVs. Consumers can have the same high performance outcome as these racers if they just follow this advice.”

“EKAE is a proud supporter of this national event. The Garnett Ethanol Hydroplane Shootout proves to ethanol newcomers that E10 is great not only for the average motorboat, but for high-performance marine engines like the ones showcased on Lake Garnett,” said Jeff Oestmann, president and CEO of East Kansas Agri-Energy. “These races cast an important spotlight onto an industry significant to both the state of Kansas and our entire nation. Ethanol and boats do mix, and we’re excited so many people turned out to witness it for themselves.”

Senate Committee Advances Tax Credits Extension

The Senate Finance Committee Tuesday approved a two-year extension of various tax credits that expired at the end of 2014, including those for biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol, and wind energy.

The bill contains a two-year extension of the Second Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credit, the Special Depreciation Allowance for Second Generation Biofuel Plant Property, and the Alternative Fuel Mixture Excise Tax Credit.

rfalogo1Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen commended the committee’s leadership for recognizing how important these tax credits are for the continued growth and innovation of the U.S. biofuels industry. “Stability in the marketplace is crucial to encouraging development in second-generation biofuels, like cellulosic ethanol,” said Dinneen. “By extending these incentives, the Committee has helped to provide that needed stability. We look forward to working with the Senate Finance Committee specifically and Congress generally on comprehensive tax reform.”

Dinneen says passage of the tax credit extensions, which will be retroactive, still has a long way to go. “Still needs to get through the floor of the Senate and be conferenced with a bill from the House side,” said Dinneen. “But it’s progress.”

Last year Congress passed retroactive tax credits for 2014 in December, two weeks before they expired again.

Listen to Dinneen’s comments here: RFA CEO Bob Dinneen comments on tax credits progress

Renewable Tax Credits Before Committee

grassley-head1A Senate committee will consider a package of tax credits for wind, biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa included the tax incentives in the bipartisan tax extenders bill the Finance Committee will consider today.

“Certainty and predictability in tax policy are both important for retaining and creating jobs,” Grassley said. “The Finance Committee leaders deserve credit for getting an early start on extending tax provisions. The energy items not only help support jobs. They also support the renewable energy that consumers want for a cleaner environment and energy independence. The higher education deduction helps families and students afford college.”

The inclusion of the wind energy provision comes after Grassley urged the committee chairman to include it, noting it deserves a fair shake compared to many long-standing tax provisions benefiting non-renewable energy sources. Grassley authored and won enactment of the first-ever wind energy production tax credit in 1992. The incentive was designed to give wind energy the ability to compete against coal-fired and nuclear energy and helped to launch the wind energy industry. He has worked to extend the credit ever since.

Renewable production tax credit. Under the provision, taxpayers can claim a 2.3 cent per kilowatt hour tax credit for wind and other renewable electricity produced for a 10-year period from a facility that has commenced construction by the end of 2014 (the production tax credit). They can also elect to take a 30 percent investment tax credit instead of the production tax credit. The bill extends these credits through December 31, 2016.

Cellulosic biofuels producer tax credit. Under the provision, facilities producing cellulosic biofuels can claim a $1.01 per gallon production tax credit on fuel produced before the end of 2014. The bill would extend this production tax credit for two additional years, for cellulosic biofuels produced through 2016.

Incentives for biodiesel and renewable diesel. The bill extends for two years, through 2016, the $1.00 per gallon tax credit for biodiesel, as well as the small agri-biodiesel producer credit of 10 cents per gallon. The bill also extends through 2016 the $1.00 per gallon tax credit for diesel fuel created from biomass.

Hope for Renewable Energy Tax Credits

The Senate Finance Committee is set to vote Tuesday on a two-year extension of tax benefits, including the production tax credit for wind power, and credits for biodiesel and cellulosic biofuels production.

wyden-hatch“This markup will give the Committee a timely opportunity to act on extending a number of expired provisions in the tax code that help families, individuals and small businesses,” Hatch said. “This is the first time in 20 years where a new Congress has started with extenders legislation having already expired, and given that these provisions are meant to be incentives, we need to advance a package as soon as possible.”

“The tax code should work for, not against, Americans,” Wyden said. “We need to extend these tax provisions now in order to provide greater certainty and predictability for middle class families and businesses alike. However as we look beyond next week, it’s critical we all recognize and take action to end this stop and go approach to tax policy through extenders.”

A group of biofuel trade organizations have sent a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) encouraging extension of the critical advanced biofuel tax incentives. The incentives include the Second Generation Biofuel Producer Tax Credit, the Special Depreciation Allowance for Second Generation Biofuel Plant Property, the Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Fuels Credit, and the Alternative Fuel and Alternative Fuel Mixture Excise Tax Credit. Groups supporting the extensions are the Advanced Ethanol Council, Advanced Biofuels Association, Algae Biomass Organization, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Growth Energy, National Biodiesel Board, and Renewable Fuels Association.

EPA Chief Defends RFS Proposal to Corn Growers

ginaSpeaking to members of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) meeting in Washington DC this week, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy defended her agency’s proposed volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) while at the same time thanking farmers for their strong voice on the issue.

“I know RFS matters deeply to corn growers,” said McCarthy. “You know we held a hearing in Kansas and I know you knew it because you showed up. Last month you were there in force. And I want to thank you for being out there.”

McCarthy told the farmers that “EPA is deeply committed to the RFS” and to the industry. “You might have heard that we are trying to shrink or kill this program, but the truth is we are committed to growing it,” she said. “The volumes we’ve proposed for 2015 and 2016 are designed to bust through any blend wall – even if you don’t believe it exists!”

McCarthy was invited to address the summer Corn Congress session by NCGA President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Newburg, Maryland. “I invited her to Corn Congress because I wanted farmers to hear from her directly,” said Bowling. “To her credit, she had the courage to show up and talk to farmers face to face.”

In her address, McCarthy also talked about the EPA’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which is also a major issue of concern for corn farmers. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy at NCGA Corn Congress

DuPont Signs Cellulosic Ethanol Deal with Chinese Co.

dupontchina1DuPont and Chinese company New Tianlong Industry Co. (NTL) have signed an historic deal that will bring cellulosic ethanol to China. This DuPont news release says the agreement allows NTL to license DuPont’s cellulosic ethanol technology and use DuPont Accellerase enzymes to produce renewable biofuel from the leftover biomass on Jilin Province’s highly productive corn farms.

Combining NTL’s ethanol production expertise with processing technology, technical support and world-class enzymes supplied by DuPont, NTL will be able to produce cellulosic renewable fuel for the rapidly growing Chinese liquid biofuel market, which is projected to exceed 1.7 billion gallons per year by 2020.

“As we bring online the largest and most sophisticated cellulosic facility in the world in the State of Iowa in the United States, we are simultaneously working with leaders who share the same vision of producing the next generation of clean renewable fuels in their region,” said Jan Koninckx, global biofuels leader for DuPont Industrial Biosciences. “We are honored to have found such a strong partner in NTL. The company’s reputation for producing world-class grain ethanol makes it a superior candidate to put DuPont’s advanced technology to work to realize the additional economic and environmental benefits of cellulosic biofuel in China.”

“With its history of scientific innovation, collaboration and commitment to the ethanol industry, DuPont is an ideal partner for New Tianlong in our quest to bring the cleanest renewable fuel on the planet to China,” said SUN Guojing, general manager of NTL. “We look forward to working with DuPont over the coming years as we develop the biomass supply chain, construct a world-class facility, and produce fuel that delivers on the promise of reduced pollution and greenhouse gases. This project will augment our current excellent grade ethanol offerings and business and will make NTL the preeminent biofuel product supplier in China.”

This deal is expected to fill China’s aggressive goals for renewable energy, cutting its reliance on foreign oil and increasing employment opportunities for its large rural population.