Building Markets for Ethanol Exports

RFA's Kelly Davis on ethanol trade mission to Mexico

RFA’s Kelly Davis on ethanol trade mission to Mexico

Expanding export markets for U.S. ethanol was the focus last month as a group of industry representatives to Mexico and Japan on trade missions coordinated through a partnership between the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), U.S. Grains Council and Growth Energy.

RFA Director of Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis says they saw exceptional opportunities in Mexico. “I left very excited about a potential market beginning in 2016-17 for some corn ethanol exports,” said Davis.

The group met with PEMEX, the Mexican state-owned petroleum company, which Davis says has traditionally been against the idea of using corn ethanol for fuel but that may be changing. “Mexico has enacted an energy reform bill which opens their energy sector to competition,” said Davis. “We think this opens the market up to ethanol because it’s more price competitive compared to the oxygenate they now use which is MTBE.”

Davis says Japan currently has an E3 limit and most ethanol is blended into the supply as ETBE, “so technically they already use ethanol but they use ethanol as a feedstock to make ETBE and then use that as their blending agent.” There is some optimism that the market share of biofuels in Japan will continue to increase through the use of E10.

Learn more in this interview: Interview with RFA's Kelly Davis on ethanol trade mission trip

Senate Committee Grills EPA Official on RFS

hearing-mccabeEnvironmental Protection Agency Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe was the lone witness in a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing Thursday on “Re-examining EPA’s Management of the Renewable Fuel Standard Program.”

Committee chairman James Lankford (R-OK), who favors repealing the RFS, grilled McCabe over the “aspirational” goal of breaching the blend wall and the potential that volumes of cellulosic ethanol targets under law will have to be “reset” by the EPA because not enough is being produced.

Committee Ranking Member Heidi Heitkamp, who is a strong supporter of the RFS, was more concerned that the volume obligations for biofuels proposed by EPA “ignore Congressional intent and reduces Congressionally-mandated blend volumes, citing availability of distribution capacity.”

McCabe continued to defend the EPA’s recently proposed volume obligations for 2014, 2015 and 2016 as “ambitious but responsible” in the face of criticism from both sides of the issue.

Ethanol Report from Washington DC

dinneen-officeDomestic Fuel stopped by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) office in Washington DC Wednesday to visit with president and CEO Bob Dinneen and discuss the latest with the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and expectations for next week’s EPA hearing in Kansas City.

Following his appearance on a Fuels America press call, Dinneen addressed yet another bill introduced this week to repeal the RFS and renewed charges by RFS opponents that the law is increasing food prices.

ethanol-report-adRegarding the June 25 public hearing on EPA’s proposed volume obligations under the RFS, Dinneen says the agency has already received about 250 requests to testify and he is encouraging everyone possible to turnout. “I want chaos, I want farmers that care about what this proposal would mean for their bottom line, I want consumers that care about the fact that gasoline prices will increase if this proposal is finalized, I want ethanol producers there, I want biodiesel producers there, I want anybody that cares about our nation’s energy, economic and environmental future to show up in Kansas City and throw a hissy fit,” said Dinneen.

Listen to or download the Ethanol Report here: Ethanol Report from Washington DC

Novozymes Increases Ethanol Plant Sustainability

few15-novozymes-jackNovozymes sees a tremendous potential to increase performance at ethanol plants. Jack Rogers, biofuels global marketing manager for Novozymes highlighted several of these projects during the Fuel Ethanol Workshop. He said they have a number of products in the pipeline that target specific areas of the ethanol production process.

One area of focus is in improving ethanol conversion yields. Rogers said that several of their forthcoming projects will address this area and take Novozymes beyond where they are today. He also said they have products being developed that will reduce energy and chemical use. “So there are a lot of ways we see us being able to help add value to the ethanol plant.”

Novozymes is focused on helping the biofuels industry become even more sustainable. Rogers said they are committed to helping the industry reduce inputs and improve the carbon intensity of the industry. He said they feel really good about the contributions they can make to the industry and their efforts to keep improving biofuel production.

Interview with Jack Rogers, Novozymes

2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop Photo Album

Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by
Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by Novozymes

Nebraska Governor Visits Novozymes

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts wrapped up his first agricultural trade mission this week with a visit to Novozymes world headquarters in Denmark, where a company tour showcased the production of unique enzymes and microbial products used in the animal nutrition, agriculture, and biofuels industries.

Novozymes CEO Peder Holk Nielsen welcomes Nebraska Gov. Ricketts

Novozymes CEO Peder Holk Nielsen welcomes Nebraska Gov. Ricketts

While at Novozymes, Gov. Ricketts and the United States Ambassador to Denmark hosted a roundtable on renewable fuels and bio-products where Nebraska delegates “showcased the dynamic interaction between the corn, cattle, and ethanol sectors and their important roles in Nebraska’s success in agriculture.”

Industry representatives presented U.S. market trends and regulations to the group, with a focus on co-products, revenue opportunities, and biorefinery developments. In addition to the governor, Nebraska roundtable participants included Department of Economic Development Director Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, KAAPA President and Nebraska Ethanol Board representative Paul Kenny, Green Plains Energy COO Jeff Briggs and Bret Wyant with American Laboratories. European company executives included representatives from Novozymes, Dong Energy, Leifmark, Renew Energy, DuPont, and the U.S. Embassy.

The Governor and mission members also met with Novozymes CEO Peder Holk Nielsen and Executive Vice Presidents of Business Development and Supply Operations Thomas Videbaek and Thomas Nagy to discuss business development and international expansion. Ricketts says the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was a concern as they discussed expansion plans in the United States. “With the EPA changing the rule, pulling the rug out from under our ethanol producers, by changing the RFS they’ve created uncertainty,” said Ricketts. “That uncertainty is impacting Novozymes as it’s impacting the rest of the industry.”

Novozymes opened its newest advanced manufacturing plant in Blair, Nebraska to make enzymes for biofuels production in 2012 in part because of strong policies like the RFS.

Listen to the governor’s summary of the trade trip here:Neb. Gov Pete Ricketts on trade trip wrap up

RFA Names New Communications Director

rfa-jacksonA man with a professional background in ag communications is the new communications director for the Renewable Fuels Association. The group says Tony Jackson, a former Director of External Affairs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency and counsel for the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, is also a graduate of Boston College Law School.

“We are thrilled to have Tony joining our remarkable team,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “With his extensive communications and policy background, Tony will be a tremendous asset to RFA in its efforts to tell the story of how the U.S. ethanol industry is bolstering rural economies and assisting our nation to become more energy independent.”

“I am excited about the opportunity to be a part of the RFA team,” Jackson said. “I look forward to using my skills to amplify RFA’s voice, and to help our nation to become cleaner, safer, and more energy independent.”

Jackson will be responsible for developing and managing the full range of RFA’s communications efforts, including advocacy-oriented communications approaches, traditional and social media strategies, and brand awareness.

Syngenta Works with Iowa FFA for Ethanol

syngentaSyngenta is partnering up with Iowa FFA chapters to support ethanol. This company news release says the developer of the corn ethanol feedstock Enogen will be at the American Ethanol 200 with the FFA members to raise money and awareness for flex fuels – and the farm group.

The American Ethanol 200 is a 200-lap NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race honoring American-grown ethanol and presented for the third consecutive year by Enogen® corn enzyme technology. Money raised for flex fuel infrastructure by FFA members at the Iowa Speedway on race day will be matched by Syngenta, with a portion of the proceeds going to participating FFA chapters.

“Engaging the public about ethanol and renewable fuels is a good opportunity for my students,” said Miranda Johnson, advisor of the Twin Cedars FFA Chapter. “They are the future and they understand the importance of conservation and preservation of our land and resources – and the vital role farmers play in feeding and fueling our country.”

According to Jack Bernens, head of Enogen at Syngenta, the ethanol industry since its inception has had a profoundly positive impact on the U.S. economy and on rural America.

“Ethanol has enlarged and strengthened the market for American-grown corn, adding jobs in rural communities and spurring the innovation of new technologies,” he said. “Syngenta is pleased to again be partnering with local FFA chapters at the American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen to help spread the word about the importance of American ethanol and the need for increased flex fuel infrastructure. It’s inspiring to see FFA members embracing renewable fuels and helping to tell its story.”

Bernens added that investments in flex fuel pump infrastructure are necessary to help grow the market for American ethanol.

USDA Taking Apps for Biofuels Infrastructure Funding

USDA logoUSDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) is now accepting applications in 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. for up to $100 million in grants under the Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership (BIP). The funding is to support the infrastructure needed to make more renewable fuel options available to American consumers. The Farm Service Agency will administer BIP.

Through BIP, USDA will award competitive grants, matched by states, to expand the infrastructure for distribution of higher blends of renewable fuel. These competitive grants are available to assist states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. with infrastructure funding. States that offer funding equal to or greater than that provided by the federal government will receive higher consideration for grant funds. States may work with private entities to enhance their offer.

CCC funds must be used to pay a portion of the costs related to the installation of fuel pumps and related infrastructure dedicated to the distribution of higher ethanol blends, for example E15 and E85, at vehicle fueling locations. The matching contributions may be used for these items or for related costs such as additional infrastructure to support pumps, marketing, education, data collection, program evaluation and administrative costs.

This new investment seeks to double the number of fuel pumps capable of supplying higher blends of renewable fuel to consumers. This will expand markets for farmers, support rural economic growth and the jobs that come with it, and ultimately give consumers more choices at the pump.

Nebraska Governor Talks Biofuels in Europe

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and ag delegation meet with officials in Brussels

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and ag delegation meet with officials in Brussels

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts is on an agricultural trade mission trip to the European Union with stops in Italy, Belgium, and Denmark. The trade mission, being coordinated jointly by the Nebraska Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development, includes a number of representatives from the state’s agriculture and biofuels industry.

“As the number two ethanol producer in the country, we have a big interest in seeing what we can do with ethanol and one of the concerns in the industry is being able to export,” said Ricketts during a conference call with reporters on Friday from Brussels. “We’re just starting the conversion with regard to how we can expand that and export our ethanol into the European Union.”

In Brussels, the trade team met with executives from Ghent Port Company, TOTCO, Sygenta Brussels, and a consultant for Belgian Biodiesel Board to promote Nebraska’s biofuels industry and build relations between firms in Europe and the U.S.

Neb. Gov Pete Ricketts discusses biofuels in Europe

Corn Growers Urge Comments on RFS

PrintThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has opened the public comment period on its proposal to cut corn ethanol in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by nearly 4 billion gallons. That’s prompting the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) to urge farmers and their family and friends to email their opposition to this proposal as soon as possible, before the July 27 deadline.

“Last time, we were very clear to EPA about what we wanted,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “It is simple: EPA should follow the statute. For farmers and others in rural America, this new EPA proposal means low corn prices and ethanol plant and industry cutbacks. And for everyone, it means higher gas prices and dirtier air.”

This link while allow you to send a quick email: www.ncga.com/rfs. Various draft comments are available to enable both farmers and their non-farmer friends to easily send personalized notes to the EPA.