Ethanol Education for Motorcyclists

sturgis-15-robertAn expanded schedule for free fuel happy hours at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip this year is giving the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) even more opportunity to educate motorcyclists about ethanol.

“We here on two different levels,” said RFA VP of Industry Relations Robert White. “The first is to make sure everyone knows they shouldn’t use more than 10 percent ethanol in their bikes.”

“On the next level, all of these people have engines at home – car, truck, SUV, lawn mower, chainsaw, weed eater, whatever – we want them to know that should be either 10 percent in their smaller engines, E15 in newer vehicles or E85 in flex-fuel vehicles,” said White. “Match the engine with the right fuel.”

sturgis-15-harleyWhile all motorcycles can use E10, White has a custom motorcycle of his own that can actually use higher blends. “My particular motorcycle is a 2009 Road King Classic Harley Davidson,” he said. “All I did was change the computer to allow a wider fuel ratio band so I can use anything from E0 to E85 intermittently, and the bike has run seamless.”

The reason White made the modification on his own bike was in part to show motorcycle manufacturers it could be done. “If they did this at the factory it would cost 100 bucks, just like a flex fuel vehicle,” said White. Additionally, it was to show that motorcycle engines are capable of running on higher blends. “I’ve run 85 percent ethanol on it for over 10,000 miles multiple years now,” he said. “These motorcycles are a lot stronger than people give them credit for.”

No matter what, White says all major motorcycle manufacturers warranty the use of 10 percent ethanol and that is the main message during the free fuel happy hours at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip Campground from 1-4 pm through Thursday this week.

Listen to White explain more in this interview: Interview with Robert White, RFA

2015 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally with RFA at the Buffalo Chip Photos

Free 10 Percent Ethanol at Sturgis Buffalo Chip

sturgis-15-woodyThe Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has been providing free E10 fuel fill-ups for bikers at the Buffalo Chip Campground during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for the past four years, and every year Chip owner Rod “Woody” Woodruff is first in line.

“RFA has been here for a long time getting the word out about ethanol, that it is safe, because there’s all that false information going out there,” said Woodruff. “But, what’s important, when they’re at the Buffalo Chip, they’re extending the hand of friendship in good faith to anybody that wants to accept it and it’s very well received here.” Woodruff has been a strong supporter of ethanol since 1999 when he bought the motorcycle he rides all the time and he says he has never used anything but E10 in it.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in the Black Hills of South Dakota and the 34th anniversary of the Buffalo Chip Campground, the place where a big percentage of bikers call home during the rally. Woodruff says they made lots of improvements to the facility in anticipation of increased traffic this year. Early estimates were for a million plus visitors to the rally, which is called “one of” the biggest in the country – but probably really is the biggest.

In addition, earlier this year Buffalo Chip became South Dakota’s newest town. “The idea of the town was to be a town for bikers, by bikers, just to have as little regulation and government intervention as possible,” said Woodruff.

RFA will be providing free 93 octane premium E10 fuel from 1-4 pm through Thursday at the Buffalo Chip.

Listen to my interview with Woody here: Interview with Woody Woodruff, Buffalo Chip Campground

You can also watch Woody in action in this video:


2015 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally with RFA at the Buffalo Chip Photos

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.