RFA Responds to Anti-Ethanol Boat Campaign

This weekend marks the end of “summer” and boaters are expected to hit the waters for one last hurrah. In an effort to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and growth of biofuels, the Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS) released a survey of Fueled with Pride - Boat Safe Fuel Rightits members that show half of them say ethanol free gas is not available to them at marinas and gas stations. In addition, the survey found that 91 percent of boaters want ethanol-free gas for their boat and more than half of the respondents claimed to have had to replace or repair their boat engine or fuel system parts due to suspected ethanol damage.

Interestingly, this past weekend, an ethanol-powered speed boat reached speeds of 208 MPH in an annual shootout.

In response, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), stated:

“The poll results are, unfortunately, a clear indication that the myths surrounding boating and ethanol continue to exist,” said Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “The National Marine Manufacturers Association has engaged in a relentless misinformation campaign regarding E15 and, in doing so, has confused the issue. It is simply not true that ethanol and boat engines do not mix. E10 is safe for boat engines. In fact, every boat manufacturer warrants the use of ethanol-blended fuel with up to 10 percent ethanol. So boaters should not have any worries about filling their engines with E10 over the Labor Day holiday.”

RFA has made available information related to ethanol use in boats. Click here to learn more.

Nebraska Wants Clean Air

Kim Clark ACE 2015Kim Clark, former director of biofuels development for Nebraska Corn spoke during the recent Ethanol Conference in Omaha, Nebraska hosted by the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) about their Clean Air for Nebraska campaign. Her focus is to educate consumers across the state about ways to improve air quality. The goal of the campaign is create awareness around how using ethanol in fuels is a small step to make a big impact in air quality. She noted that there is a good number of organizations supporting the efforts.

The multi-facted campaign includes adding additional biofuels infrastructure throughout the state with Nebraska Corn allocating $500,000 to adding more blender pumps. Next, the campaign is focusing on helping consumers understand what ethanol blends are and what cars can use what blends including E15 and E85. Much of the marketing is taking place at the pump but the campaign also included radio ads. Ultimately the clean air campaign supporters hope their tools can be used by other regions and states as a template for biofuel and air pollution education.

To learn more about the Clean Air for Nebraska campaign, listen to Kim Clark’s presentation: Kim Clark, Clean Air for Nebraska

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

USDA Report Shows Importance of Int’l Biofuel Trade

USDA logoA new government report says that while the U.S. is a major exporter of biofuels, it still imports biofuels in order to meet government mandates. The study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service says some other countries are major exporters and domestic users, thanks to laws there that allow greater blending amounts.

The ethanol blend wall in the United States, and an increase in demand for biofuels from other countries, helped the United States emerge as a net exporter of ethanol for the first time in 2010, with net exports positive each year since. Indeed, the United States has become the world’s largest exporter of ethanol. U.S. ethanol production and exports both remained strong in the face of falling gasoline prices in 2014 due to interactions of supply- and demand-side factors; production capacity beyond domestic policy requirements and strong export markets helped make high exports possible. In addition, U.S. imports of ethanol in 2014 fell to their lowest amounts in years.

Along with market forces, policies can affect future U.S. biofuel trade. If the blending rate in Brazil continues to increase (as it has recently), less Brazilian ethanol will be available to compete with the United States on the global market. At the same time, Brazil could continue to import U.S. ethanol to help meet its mandate. In addition, U.S. biofuel policies could affect the future of U.S. biofuel trade. For example, reducing the amount of ethanol that can be derived from corn in the U.S. renewal fuel mandate could potentially lead to reduction in U.S. ethanol production infrastructure in the long run, which could limit the availability of ethanol for exports.

The study also indicates some grave implications for the U.S.’ biofuel producers if the federal government continues to ignore the requirements under the law that created the Renewable Fuel Standard.

If the scheduled future increases in the U.S. mandate for advanced biofuel are not met by increased domestic production of advanced biofuels (and are not waived), the increase in the mandate amounts will need to be met with imports, such as sugarcane-based ethanol from Brazil.

East Kansas Agri-Energy Hosts Congressman Yoder

Renew Kansas hosted Congressman Kevin Yoder‘s tour of East Kansas Agri-Energy (EKAE) located in Garnett, Kansas. While touring the facility, the Congressman and his staff heard from EKAE’s President and CEO Jeff Oestmann about the many opportunities and challenges facing the industry. Last month, EKAE celebrated its 10 year anniversary.

(l-r) Ron Seeber, Renew Kansas; Jeff Oestmann, EKAE President and CEO; Jacob DeBolt, EKAE Plant Manager; Congressman Kevin Yoder; and Greg Krissek, Kansas Corn.

(l-r) Ron Seeber, Renew Kansas; Jeff Oestmann, EKAE President and CEO; Jacob DeBolt, EKAE Plant Manager; Congressman Kevin Yoder; and Greg Krissek, Kansas Corn.

Congressman Yoder learned that the plant produces more than 40 million gallons of renewable, clean-burning ethanol, 200,000 tons of livestock feed distillers grains and 5 million pounds of corn oil each year from more than 16 million bushels of locally-sourced corn. The Congressman was informed of the many positive impacts the ethanol industry has on the local, state, and national economies and was briefed on and witnessed the progress of the renewable diesel plant now under construction at the EKAE facility. Additionally, he also learned of their stellar work place safety with over 750,000 hours of operation without a lost time accident.

Renew Kansas thanked Congressman Yoder for taking the time to travel to Garnett and participate in a hands-on ethanol education. The Congressman is currently serving as Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture.

ACE Elects Board Representatives

aceDuring the recent American Coalition for Ethanol’s conference in Omaha, Nebraska, members elected directors to serve on their governing board. Four individuals re-elected to the ACE Board of Directors:

  • Ron Alverson, representing Dakota Ethanol, LLC, an ethanol plant in Wentworth, South Dakota, which produces 50 million gallons of ethanol per year (MGY).  Alverson currently serves as the President of the ACE Board of Directors.
  • John Christianson, on behalf of Christianson and Associates, a Wilmar, Minnesota based accounting and consulting firm.
  • Doug Punke, CEO of the Renewable Products Marketing Group (RPMG), an ethanol marketing company in Shakopee, Minnesota.
  • Brian Wilcox, from the Nebraska Public Power District, an electric utility company in Columbus, Nebraska which serves 87 out of the 93 counties in the state.

ACE members also elected two individuals to serve as new board directors.  Kenton Johnson was elected to represent Granite Falls Energy, LLC, a 62 mgy ethanol plant located near Granite Falls, Minnesota, and Mike Clemens, a farmer from Wimbledon, North Dakota, was elected to represent the North Dakota Corn Growers Association.

The full list of the ACE Broad of Directors is available here.

Ethanol-Powered Boat Hits 208 MPH

amethanolboat1For some of my fishermen friends who claim that ethanol damages their engines, I’d just like to know, How fast do you want to get to your favorite spot? An ethanol-powered speed boat could get you there at a cool 208 MPH clip. This article from LakeExpo.com says a super-powered catamaran running on ethanol made the run during a shootout race at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

Don Onken’s American Ethanol, an ethanol-powered Mystic catamaran, reached 208 mph during a run on Saturday, Aug. 30 — it was the day’s highest speed, and it set the bar high for other racers returning to the course on Sunday.

The Shootout was held for years at Shooters 21, where the event record was set by Dave Callan and John Cosker in 2007, at 209 miles per hour. The next year, the event moved to Captain Ron’s Bar & Grill. Dave Scott and John Tomlinson set the course record of 208 there, in 2010, and Bill Tomlinson and Ken Kehoe tied it in 2011. Tomlinson and Kehoe returned in 2013 to post a formidable 224 mph new course and event record. Many thought it would be years before that was broken, but in 2014, Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani and Steve Curtis soared past Tomlinson and Kehoe, hitting 244 miles per hour in Al Adaa’am 96 Spirit of Qatar.

A Toast to Making Ethanol from Grape Biomass

univofadelaideRaise your glass in a toast to some researchers from Down Under, as they have figured out how to make ethanol out of some of the leftovers from wine-making. University of Adelaide researchers in Australia showed they could make about 100 gallons of ethanol by fermenting a ton of grape marc – the leftover skins, stalks and seeds from wine-making.

Global wine production leaves an estimated 13 million tonnes of grape marc waste each year. Nationally it is estimated that several hundred thousand tonnes are generated annually and it is generally disposed of at a cost to the winery.

“This is a potentially economic use for what is largely a waste product,” says Associate Professor Rachel Burton, Program Leader with the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.

PhD candidate Kendall Corbin analysed the composition of grape marc from two grape varieties, cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc. She also investigated pre-treatment of the grape marc with acid and enzymes.

Ms Corbin found that the majority of the carbohydrates found in grape marc could be converted directly to ethanol through fermentation with a yield of up to 270 litres per tonne of grape marc.

What was leftover from this ethanol-making process is suitable as an animal feed or fertilizer.

Ethanol Rail Opportunities & Challenges

hyderThis past winter was a tough one on the rail industry with lots of cold and snow. Among industries affected was the biofuel industry including ethanol transportation. During the ACE Ethanol Conference, Hasan Hyder, assistant vice president grain and grain products for Union Pacific, addressed some of these issues and discussed new opportunities.

Hyder gave a brief history of the rail industry with a focus on safety, service and supply chain efficiency. He also discussed longer-term opportunities and challenges ethanol and the rail industry face together. One great opportunity and challenge- transporting the growing amount of American made biofuels around the country.

To learn more about Union Pacific, and their commitment to the ethanol industry, listen to Hasan Hyder’s presentation: Hasan Hyder, Union Pacific

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

GREET Model Advances

When determining how much a fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions as compared to pure gasoline, most use Argonne National Laboratory’s GREET Life-cycle model (Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation Model). In recent years, the model has seen some advancements and during the recent ACE Ethanol Conference, Dr. Jeongwoo Han, assistant energy system analyst with Argonne National Labs, discussed these changes.

HanAs he explained, GREET has been updated and used to evaluate/update the environmental impacts of ethanol. Han’s presentation discussed the recent life-cycle analysis results of ethanol with the technology advancement as well as key issues in life-cycle analysis.

To learn more about advancements in the GREET Life-cycle Model, listen to Dr. Jeongwoo Han’s presentation: Dr. Jeongwoo Han Presentation

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

ARF Reacts to Hillary Clinton’s Ag, Energy Plan

Presidential candidate Sec. Hillary Clinton (D) made another visit to Iowa this week where she unveiled her agriculture and rural policy plan. She called for strengthening the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) so that it continues to drive the development of advanced cellulosic and other advanced biofuels. Clinton called for more consumer choice at the pump with better access to ethanol blends such as E15 and E85 as well as biodiesel. She also called for more renewable energy to be phased into the electricity sector.

Sec Hillary ClintonAmerica’s Renewable Future (ARF), who is meeting with candidates to discuss the benefits of biofuels, released the following statement in response to the plan.

“We thank Sec. Clinton for her commitment to Iowa’s farmers, consumers, and investors with her call of a strengthened RFS. We enthusiastically echo that call, especially in light of President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) disastrous Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) proposal. The EPA’s proposal is another example of conceding to the oil industry’s demands at the expense of clean, domestic renewable fuels and American jobs.

Billions of dollars were invested by famers and local investors to produce biofuels with the promise of a strong RFS. Reducing the RVO will strand capitol and punish the pioneers who invested in clean, homegrown renewable energy. The RFS has created 73,000 jobs here in Iowa and hundreds of thousands more around the country that cannot be outsourced, reduced our dependence on foreign oil, helped clean our air, and provided consumers savings at the pump.

Iowa’s rural communities and economy depend on the RFS for stability and growth and the EPA must get it back on track and focus on protecting the jobs and economic progress it has yielded.”