BIO to EPA: Issue RFS Rule Consistent with Statute

biologoThe Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today issued comments on the proposed consent decree to resolve oil industry lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency over delays in promulgating final rules for annual biofuel volume obligations.

“BIO is supportive of EPA’s commitments contained in the proposed consent decree, which would establish definitive deadlines this year for EPA to take final action on the 2014 RFS rule and proposed and final action on the 2015 RFS rule,” Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, wrote in the official comments. “EPA should withdraw its proposed 2014 RFS rule and reissue it by June 1, 2015, to include advanced and total renewable biofuel volumes that are consistent with the RFS statute.”

BIO recently released an analysis showing that instability in EPA’s administration of the RFS is responsible for chilling as much as $13.7 billion in investments that the advanced biofuel industry needed to build capacity to meet the RFS goals. The delays in rulemaking have also undercut the industry’s ability to create new employment opportunities, resulting in the loss of more than 80,000 direct jobs.

Dyadic Gives Details of Biomass-to-Ethanol Program

dyadicBiotech company Dyadic International, Inc., has announced details of its program to build a large-scale biomass-to-ethanol plant. This company news release says in the 2G BIOPIC, a new advanced biofuels project funded by a $1.13 million grant from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program, Dyadic will work in collaboration with Compagnie Industrielle de Matière Végétale (“CIMV”) and five other industry partners.

Dyadic’s Chief Operating Officer, Danai Brooks, stated, “We are pleased to continue working closely with CIMV, and believe that Dyadic’s C1 enzymes will play a critical role in the 2G BIOPIC project success. The aim of 2G BIOPIC is to demonstrate the performance, reliability and sustainability of producing bioethanol from agriculture waste and wood. The demonstration plant built in the 2G BIOPIC program will process one ton of biomass per hour, or about 50 times the size of the CIMV pilot plant upon which the project is based. Successful funding of the 2G BIOPIC program further highlights the strength of Dyadic’s C1 Expression System in the field of advanced biofuels.”

Emmanuel Dutournier, CIMV’s Chief Financial Officer, Member of the Board of Directors and 2G BIOPIC Program Coordinator, continued, “2G BIOPIC is the second EU funded program where we are collaborating with Dyadic Netherlands. The first program Biomimetic, which deals with depolymerization of our BioligninTM, opens up many opportunities and we look forward to furthering our work together with the Dyadic team. We believe that the Dyadic and CIMV technologies are highly complementary, as Dyadic’s C1 enzymes work particularly well with the purer plant material produced from CIMV’s biomass pretreatment technology.”

The grant will be paid out over three years, with the first approximately $500,000 paid up front.

Corn Ethanol Yields Improve

corn-ethanol-3A new brief from the U.S. Energy Information (EIA) illustrates just how dramatically corn ethanol efficiency has increased in a very short time.

Today in Energy notes that last year fuel ethanol production in the United States reached an all-time high of 14.3 billion gallons of ethanol fuel. “The growth in U.S. fuel ethanol production has outpaced growth in corn consumed as feedstock—as the industry has grown, it has become more efficient, using fewer bushels of corn to produce a gallon of ethanol.”

If ethanol plant yields per bushel of corn in 2014 had remained at 1997 levels (when ethanol made up just 1% of the total U.S. motor gasoline supply), the ethanol industry would have needed to grind an additional 343 million bushels, or 7% more corn, to produce the same volume of fuel. To supply this incremental quantity of corn without withdrawing bushels from other uses would have required 2.2 million additional acres of corn to be cultivated, an area roughly equivalent to half the land area of New Jersey.

The article credits the yield increases to several factors including increased plant scale which has allowed producers to incorporate better process technology, such as finer grinding of corn to increase starch conversion and improved temperature control of fermentation to optimize yeast productivity. Additionally, the development of better enzymes and yeast strains has led to improved output per bushel of corn.

US Ethanol Getting Exported to More Markets

A few years ago, almost all of U.S. ethanol went to Brazil, Canada and the European Union. But this article from the National Corn Growers Association says new information from the U.S. Grains Council shows just how wide the market has grown.
Ethanol-Exports
Exports to the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines and India experienced the strongest growth in 2014. While the UAE is largely importing U.S. ethanol to blend with its gasoline that is later re-exported, and India is importing for industrial purpose, the Philippines has a blend mandate in place. Domestic production in the Philippines has been unable to meet its 10 percent blend mandate making imports necessary.

Currently, the United States has a 55 percent market share in the Philippines and the Council is hopeful there is room to capture more. To help nurture this market, the Council and its partners, Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, have planned a busy summer with missions heading to the Philippines and other growing markets like China, Indonesia, India and Japan.

Joule CO2-to-Ethanol Gets Financing, US & Europe Specs

jouleRenewable energy maker Joule has secured $40 million for its carbon dioxide-to-ethanol plant and has the green fuel meeting U.S. and European specifications. The company says the money will help build a staged industrialization of its patented, reverse-combustion process, including the near-term expansion of Joule’s production field in Hobbs, New Mexico and a longer-term build-out of a 1,000-acre plant to begin in 2017 able to produce 25 million gallons of ethanol per year.

“In the past six months alone, Joule has achieved rapid progress and impressive results that position the company well for industrialization. This progress will be bolstered by the newly committed funds and the continued support from our shareholders and strategic partners, including Audi,” said Serge Tchuruk, President and CEO of Joule. “Joule’s CO2-recycled fuel is on track to become a real answer for carbon neutrality. It provides a solution which is both practical and economical for global mobility and it can be implemented in the short term.”

“The call for global decarbonization is increasingly making headlines, and Joule is at the forefront of a CO2 recycling movement that can both reduce industrial emissions and generate economic growth,” said Noubar Afeyan, Co-Founder and Chairman of Joule and Senior Managing Partner and CEO of Flagship Ventures. “The company has proven the industrial viability of its approach and, with the strong new leadership team in place, is rapidly advancing towards market introduction within the next few years.”

Third-party testing of Joule’s ethanol meets the following standards in the U.S. and Europe, respectively:

– American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D4806 – Denatured fuel ethanol for blending with gasolines for use as automotive spark-ignition engine fuel
– German Institute for Standardization (DIN) EN 15376 – Ethanol as a blending component for petrol

Joule wants to use the meeting of the standard to get new government approvals needed for commercialization of its ethanol fuel.

Bipartisan Bill Expands RVP Ethanol Waiver for 10%+

donnellyA bipartisan bill that increases the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) wavier for ethanol blends above 10 percent has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) was joined by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Deb Fischer (R-NE). The legislation would allow for more retailers to sell E15 gasoline/ethanol blended fuel year-round.

Donnelly said, “Biofuels like ethanol are renewable domestic energy sources, create more economic opportunities, and give consumers more options at the gas pump. This legislation would expand the RVP waiver for ethanol blends, increasing the market for ethanol producers in Indiana and around the country and making more clean fuels available to consumers year-round. We should be pursuing an all-in approach toward American energy production that includes ethanol and other biofuels because it helps our economy and increases our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. I am proud my colleagues Senator Grassley and Senator Fischer are joining me in this bipartisan effort to reduce the burden of regulations on ethanol producers and consumers.”

Grassley said, “Consumers appreciate having choices, whether it’s at the grocery store or the fuel pump. Those of us who live in biofuels-producing states understand the appeal of cleaner, domestic, renewable fuels. The EPA should be consistent in the way it treats different fuel blends as a matter of fairness and to give consumers more options for fueling their vehicles. The EPA has never acted on its authority to grant a Reid vapor pressure waiver for E15. This bill proposes a legislative fix to fill the void.”

Tom Buis, Growth Energy CEO, said, “We applaud this strong bipartisan effort to remove the largest regulatory hurdle standing between consumers and access to a cleaner, less expensive and higher performing fuel. Senators Donnelly, Grassley and Fischer recognize that higher ethanol blends such as E15 benefit our environment, our economy and our rural communities, and are working together to bring those benefits to every American and move our nation forward. We commend them for taking the lead on this important issue in Congress.”

ncga-logo-newThe National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) also welcomed the news:

“We applaud Senators Donnelly, Grassley, and Fischer for their bipartisan efforts to increase the market for ethanol producers and give consumers more choices at the pump,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “June 1 is rapidly approaching, and we should ensure consumers will continue to have access to energy that is clean, renewable, and American-grown. We urge Congress to pass this legislation.”

Pacific Ethanol Produces Corn Oil at Madera Plant

Pacific Ethanol logoA West Coast ethanol producer is cashing in on a co-product of the green fuel’s prodcution. Pacific Ethanol has begun commercial production of corn oil using Valicor’s proprietary VFRAC™ corn oil recovery system at its Madera, California plant.

Neil Koehler, the company’s president and CEO, stated: “We are pleased to be producing corn oil at our Madera plant, which further diversifies our plant revenue streams and significantly improves operating income. In addition, plans are underway for corn oil production to begin at our Boardman, Oregon plant in the second quarter, at which time all four of Pacific Ethanol’s ethanol production facilities will be producing and benefitting from this high-value co-product.”

New Ad from ACE Uses ‘Power by People’ for RFS

Marietta1Looking to capitalize on President Obama’s visit to Watertown, South Dakota, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) placed a full page advertisement in the May 8 Watertown Public Opinion. The ad uses the Power by People campaign which highlights the personal stories and persuasiveness of ACE’s grassroots members.

The ad features Marietta Lakness, a farmer, rancher, and investor in Glacial Lakes Energy, an ACE-member ethanol company that owns and operates facilities in Watertown and Mina, South Dakota. It focuses on how the RFS has supported Watertown’s economic growth and success. The text of the ad reads:

“Sometimes policy makers in DC get it right. Watertown, South Dakota is proof. So is Marietta Lakness. She raised a family in Hamlin County and has seen up close the challenges rural communities face. That’s why Marietta joined with her neighbors to build Glacial Lakes Energy, their very own home town biorefinery. Thanks to a policy called the Renewable Fuel Standard, today Watertown and places like it across the country produce clean renewable fuel for all Americans. The RFS also helped Marietta and 4,000 people like her who invested in Glacial Lakes Energy unleash a new chapter of hope and prosperity for the region. Today there’s a new market for her crops, new feed for her livestock, new fuel for her neighbors, and new dollars circulating throughout the region. It’s a jolt that’s plain to see all over town. Even though they live well outside the Beltway, the people of Watertown – folks like Marietta – are proof that good things come when Washington gets it right. And that’s worth keeping. Mr. President, help keep the RFS on track.”

You can read Marietta’s ethanol story here.

Georgia’s First E15 Stations to Open Friday

protecfuel1Georgia gets its first three E15 stations this week. To help celebrate the event at the Atlanta area stations, Protec Fuel will be running special “Happy Hour” pricing from 4-5 pm on Friday, May 8, at the Gulf Quick Stop Food Store, 855 S Cobb Dr SE, in Marietta.

88-octane E15 fuel costs less and can run in any 2001 and newer gas vehicle! Plus, it’s American-made, higher octane fuel that’s better for the environment. And, for the first time, it’s available in Georgia!

In addition, state officials will be on hand for the event, plus festivities will include 94.9 The Bull & Zac Brown Band tics giveaway, face painting, balloons, karaoke/bands, a moon walk for kiddos, and more!

E15 will also be available at the Gulf Sunflower Food Mart 1241 Eaton Road, Madison, Georgia and Gulf Food Mart 405 S. Walnut St., Greensboro Georgia.

New Iowa E15 Station Having $1.99/Gallon Event

kum-and-go1Not only does it burn green, but this coming Monday at Iowa’s newest E15 station, the higher blend of ethanol will save you some green. The Kum & Go in Windsor Heights near Des Moines will sell E15 for $1.99 per gallon from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Monday, May 11. This news release from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) says the promotion also coincides with Kum & Go’s announcement last week that the company plans to add E15 to an additional 65 locations in Iowa and six other states over the next two years.

“We have a strong tradition in our company to implement sustainability within our business and at our locations. From our 100 LEED-certified stores, to our selection of alternative fuels, E15 was a natural addition to our fuel offering,” stated Kum & Go Vice President of Fuels Jim Pirolli. “Having E15 in our portfolio allows Kum & Go to offer our customers a quality product at a great value.”

“Motorists have been clamoring for wider availability of E15, and we applaud Kum & Go for providing Iowans with yet another low-cost, cleaner-burning fueling option,” stated IRFA Managing Director Lucy Norton. “E15 is the most extensively tested fuel in history, is safe for use in all 2001 and newer vehicles, and will be priced at a great money-saving discount through this special promotion. That’s a win-win-win for Iowa’s motorists.”

“The American farmer is a backbone of the renewable fuels industry. Thanks to partners like Kum & Go, Iowans can fill up with more American-grown fuels like E15 and E85 that are better for our environment, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and create new Iowa jobs,” stated Iowa Corn Promotion Board Director of Marketing and Communications Shannon Textor. “E15 is five percent more Iowa-grown fuel that supports Iowa’s farmers.”

The Kum & Go Windsor Heights store is located at 7229 University Avenue.