Ethanol Conference to Offer View of Future

NEC 2016aThe organizers of the 21st Annual National Ethanol Conference are offering attendees a sneak peek of what they’ll see at the gathering Feb. 15-17, 2015, at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans… while also offering a view of the future for the ethanol industry.

NEC 2016, Fueling a High Octane Future, will highlight how ethanol’s high octane content is driving demand for the fuel both domestically and abroad. Industry experts will provide a look at the current state of the industry, as well as forecasts for the future.

Featured Session Highlights Include…

Keynote Address from John Hofmeister, former president of the Shell Oil Company
Energy Markets Outlook with Tom Kloza, Global Head of Energy Analysis at Oil Price Information Service (OPIS)
High Octane Means High Performance Addresses ethanol’s benefits as a high octane fuel source for today’s vehicles, as well as future advanced engine technologies
Government Industry Conversation About the Future of U.S. Biofuels Policy, including a discussion on how evolving fuel policies present both challenges and opportunities to industry
Why Some Marketers Choose to Sell E15 and Flex-Fuels, and Others Don’t provides first-hand insight on the regulatory and marketplace environment presented by higher ethanol blends.
Opportunities for Ethanol Export in Key Target Markets will involve experts from the target markets of the International Buyer Program (Brazil, China, India, Mexico & Philippines) to provide detailed information on export opportunities for the U.S. ethanol industry
High Octane Fuels: Economic & Environmental Benefits will present a macro picture of the economic and environmental advantages of ethanol as a high octane fuel both domestically and abroad

In addition, those who register early will get some exclusive upgrades.

Register by November 27, 2015 and receive:

An exclusive invitation to participate in a private webinar on the 2016 presidential campaign with a focus on candidates’ positions on ethanol issues (taking place on January 14, 2016)
Entry into a drawing to win a complimentary Executive Suite upgrade
Entry into a drawing to receive a complimentary registration to NEC 2017

And if that weren’t enough, the NEC Scholarship Program will see six students have their full cost of the conference registration fee – an $895 value – paid for in full. Deadline to apply for the scholarship is December 18.

RFA Urges Secy Kerry to Promote RFS

As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry prepares to head to COP 21 in Paris, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is calling on him to promote the success of Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen urged Kerry in a letter to highlight the role of the RFS in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and encourage other countries to follow the example.

rfalogo1“On behalf of America’s renewable fuel producers and farmers across the country poised to contribute to lower carbon fuels here and across the globe, I ask you to be bold in Paris,” the letter states. “I ask that you encourage other nations to follow the lead of the United States, which has the single most effective and aggressive low carbon fuels program the world has to offer – and it has been a phenomenal success.”

Dinneen’s letter noted that although the RFS is a potent weapon in combating climate change and has a proven track record of reducing GHG emissions, the U.S. government’s actions leading up to Paris have not sufficiently embraced what he called “America’s best kept climate policy secret”. Enclosed with the letter was a recent RFA report indicating that nearly 30 countries attending COP21 have included biofuels policies and programs in their post-2020 climate action plans, but the U.S. plan does not even mention the RFS or biofuels.

In closing, the letter states, “Mr. Secretary, a very convenient truth is that renewable biofuels are poised to replace a dramatically increasing share of the world’s liquid transportation fuel. We are doing that successfully and to great benefit in the United States. With your leadership, the world will follow. But we must not be afraid to trumpet our success.”

Florida Station Promotes Higher #Ethanol Blends

protec-citgo-signThe prices for higher ethanol blends at the Citgo Gas Station on John Young Parkway in Kissimmee are low normally, but Friday they were even lower as the retailer continued to celebrate the ability to offer lower cost fuel to consumers.

Motorists who might have been in town for a weekend at the theme parks were able to fill up Friday for an additional discount on the E15 ethanol blend fuel of $.15, OR for $.85 off E85 Flex-Fuel, a fuel for Flex-Fuel gasoline engines.

Station owner Paul Przychocki of Mid-State Energy has worked to offer higher ethanol blends at his retail outlets because he is a big believer in the fuel. “I personally use it in my vehicle,” he said, noting that he drives a 2011 model that can use E15. “It’s put Americans back to work and (helped us) get away from foreign oil that unfortunately we have to supply in America.”

Przychocki partnered with Protec Fuel to install the new pumps at the Kissimmee station with the help of USDA Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership funding. Here’s an interview with Przychocki when the partnership was announced. Interview with Paul Przychocki, Mid-State Energy

28 COP21 Countries Using Biofuels for CO2 Reduction

According to a new report from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), 28 countries attending the climate talks in Paris in December have submitted carbon reduction strategies that use biofuels to help meet goals. Not included in this number? The U.S. despite its Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The RFA report found that America’s action plan did not acknowledge the important roles biofuels have played in significantly reducing GHG emissions from the transportation sector over the past decade.

RFA-RFS COP21 report coverThe report notes that transportation-related emissions, which account for 27 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions, have “steadily trended downward since adoption of the RFS, and current levels are 10 percent below 2005 levels.” The report also notes that both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) cite that the use of biofuels has had a positive net impact on reducing GHG emissions.

“It is unquestionable that biofuels have delivered substantial GHG emissions reductions from the transportation sector over the past decade,” said RFA’s President and CEO, Bob Dinneen. “And these emissions reductions would not have been possible without the adoption of the RFS. Inexplicably, the United States’ initial submission to COP21 completely ignores past GHG reductions and the future promise of even greater reductions as the RFS drives further improvements in biofuels technologies.”

Dinneen continued, “It is ironic that the climate talks will take place just as EPA is due to release its final rule on the 2014-2016 RVOs. If EPA sticks to its initial proposal, it will roll back the single most successful climate change program the world has ever seen. The administration wants to be viewed as a leader on climate change; then it must do what nearly 30 other countries who are attending COP21 plan on doing and embrace, not ignore, biofuels.”

President Obama is heading to Paris later this month to participate in some preliminary discussions prior to COP21. In tandem with this visit, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and GREEN FOR ALL released a poll that found two-thirds of African Americans believe global warming is a serious program and want more action to curb its effects including increased used of clean energy technologies.

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.

Biofuels Groups Blast House Hearing on RFS

uscapitolBiofuels backers say a U.S. House Science Committee had very little to do with science in regards to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The Congressional committee met on the 10th anniversary of the RFS, and Tom Buis, co-chair of Growth Energy, said the committee has a history of misrepresenting biofuels, relying on misinformation and outright lies to cast a negative light on an American success story.

“Today’s hearing was nothing more than a coordinated attack against biofuels. Minus a few open-minded individuals who examined this issue based on facts, not pre-determined bias, this hearing did nothing to reflect the overwhelming contributions of the RFS…

“With regards to the environmental benefits of ethanol, the facts are clear. According to Argonne National Laboratory, – an objective national laboratory – ethanol reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an average of 34 percent compared to gasoline, even when the highly controversial and disputed theory on Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) is factored into the modeling. Furthermore, Argonne has found that without ILUC included, ethanol reduces GHG emissions by 57 percent compared to gasoline.

“It is unfortunate that the Science Committee missed an opportunity to provide an unbiased examination of the RFS. Instead, the Committee – which has no jurisdiction over this policy – continued to present a misguided agenda to smear biofuels, hosting several witnesses that fabricated information on the impact biofuels have on food prices, the environment and the American economy. This treatment of homegrown American fuels is insulting to the hardworking Americans across our country who are helping fuel our energy independence.”

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen said “Big Oil’s narrative opposing the RFS no longer has any currency.” Continue reading

Vertimass Gets US Gov’t OK for Biofuel Tech

vertimass1A California company received U.S. government approval for its technology that will be able to blend more biofuels with gasoline, diesel and jet fuels. This news release from Vertimass says the technology validation allows the company to get a new award of $2 million by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technology Office.

Vertimass technology was originated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where scientists invented novel catalysts that convert a wide range of alcohols including ethanol and butanol into hydrocarbon blend stocks that can be used in existing gasoline, diesel and jet engines without modifications. Additionally, this process can produce renewable chemicals including benzene, toluene, and xylenes (BTX). Thus, Vertimass technology offers a new pathway that can enhance use of biomass-derived renewable fuels that lower greenhouse gas emissions and decrease U.S. reliance on foreign sources of oil. Co-production of BTX and other chemicals can enhance profitability.

“We are excited to clear this critical milestone with the Department of Energy and can now take the next step toward scaling up this novel technology,” said Dr. Charles Wyman, Vertimass president and chief executive officer. “This technology validation further proves the effectiveness and novelty of this technology, and through this DOE award, we intend to work with Technip to ready the technology for introduction into existing and emerging ethanol facilities within two years, thereby significantly expanding the market for renewable transportation fuels.”

“We are very pleased to receive third-party validation of this technology as part of the DOE award so we can now rapidly move to commercialization,” said Bill Shopoff, Vertimass chairman. “We believe this technology will have significant impacts in the renewable plastics and fuels spaces, especially in contributing to attaining Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) targets for advanced fuels and Federal Aviation Administration goals of one billion gallons of renewable jet fuel by 2018.”

Vertimass officials point out their simple, one-step process can be easily bolted onto existing ethanol production facilities, resulting in low capital costs.

Ethanol Producer Green Plains to Buy Texas Refinery

greenplainsNebraska-based ethanol producer Green Plains says it will buy an ethanol refinery in Texas owned by fuel retailer Murphy USA. This news release from Green Plains says it will pay Hereford Renewable Energy, LLC approximately $93.8 million, including $78.5 million for the ethanol production facility with the balance for working capital.

The facility is a Lurgi-designed, ICM-modified ethanol plant with approximately 100 million gallons per year of production capacity, a corn oil extraction system and other related assets.

“The Hereford facility has many strategic and financial advantages over other destination plants because of its location, leading to both export and domestic market opportunities for ethanol and distillers grains,” commented Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer of Green Plains. “Because it is located near the largest concentration of cattle in the world, with over a million head of cattle fed within a 50-mile radius, the plant can produce a low carbon intensity fuel which is typically sold for a premium to ethanol produced at most other plants.”

Andrew Clyde, president and CEO of Murphy USA, added, “The Hereford facility has become a high-performing facility and we want to recognize the commitment of the Hereford employees who executed the two-year turnaround plan and established a track record of consistent, strong performance. Their commitment created the opportunity for us to attract a prominent, long-term focused buyer such as Green Plains who can build on the progress demonstrated to date at Hereford. This transaction reinforces Murphy USA’s strategic intent of selling our non-core assets in a manner that captures the most value for our shareholders.”

The facility uses a shuttle unload technique that can unload 40,000 bushels of corn per hour, a double-loop track that holds two unit trains at a time and a grain handling system with more than 4.8 million bushels of storage. The plant also has 4.5 million gallons of ethanol storage capacity.

Santorum Visits Quad County Cellulosic Ethanol Plant

qccp-santorumRepublican presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum visited the site of the first commercial cellulosic ethanol production in the state of Iowa at Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP) Friday.

“One of the things that’s helped rural small towns and farmers, particularly in Iowa, is the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Santorum, who met with met with plant representatives, including QCCP CEO Delayne Johnson, who share how they recently passed the two-million gallon milestone for cellulosic ethanol production using Syngenta’s Cellerate™ process technology.

“We are excited to have achieved our goal of producing 2 million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol, and are on target to continue, or increase, this production level going forward,” Johnson said. “We’re now focusing on growing alliances and relationships within the industry.”

During 2014, QCCP achieved EPA certification to generate D3 Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) for cellulosic ethanol. According to Johnson, the generation of D3 RINs helps fulfill advanced and cellulosic requirements set forth by the RFS. QCCP is among the first companies to issue D3 RINs, which has also enabled the company to expand sales into racing and advanced biofuels markets.

Santorum met with Johnson and others at the plant to discuss renewable fuels policy and see first-hand the innovative process technology that has enabled QCCP to become a leader in cellulosic ethanol production. Sen. Santorum also called for investment in flex fuel infrastructure to increase access to biofuels – which he believes would provide consumers with increased access to the fuel marketplace and allow greater market competition.

Ethanol Report on Latest Industry News

ethanol-report-adThere were some big ethanol industry announcements this week, most of them good, and I caught up with Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen to get his comments on the latest news.

In this edition of the Ethanol Report, Dinneen comments on the DuPont cellulosic plant opening, how USDA and Protec Fuel are helping to increase higher ethanol blend pumps, attacks on the RFS by the oil industry and the new Fuels America campaign to fight back, and Dr. Ben Carson’s answer to an ethanol-related question during the GOP debate. Dinneen also talks about what he will be doing in the month ahead as the days countdown to the EPA’s scheduled release of volume obligations under the RFS.

Listen to this edition of the Ethanol Report here: Ethanol Report on current ethanol news