RFA Honored with 3rd TRANSCAER Award

rfa-transcaerFor the third year in a row the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) was awarded the annual TRANSCAER® Achievement Award for its work training first responders for ethanol-related emergencies.

The award is given to “recognize the achievements of individuals, companies, and organizations which have gone beyond the normal call of duty to advocate, demonstrate and implement the principles of TRANSCAER®.” The volunteer coalition works to ensure the nation’s emergency responders are prepared and educated with the most up-to-date information to handle hazardous material disasters.

RFA established an “Ethanol Safety Seminar” program — in conjunction with TRANSCAER® — to educate emergency responders on the make-up and properties of ethanol as well as proper emergency techniques when responding to potentially harmful scenarios. The curriculum is centered on Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition’s (EERC) “Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response,” which has been used over the past five years to educate 4,600 first responders all across the country.

Missy Ruff, RFA’s technical services manager, was on hand to receive the award Tuesday at the AAR/BOE Hazardous Materials Seminar in Addison, Texas.

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.

Ecuador Rolls Out Ethanol Program

Gasolina EcopaisPresident Rafael Correa of Ecuador has issued a decree that orders the gradual national roll out of a 10pc ethanol blend in gasoline, using a price index published by Argus Americas Biofuels. The country is branding the ethanol-blend “Ecopais” and the goal is aimed at reducing the country’s growing high-octane gas imports that are blended with locally produced low-octane gas to make 87 octane and 92 octane.

“We are delighted that Ecuador has chosen to base its new ethanol mandate on Argus price assessments, in recognition of our clear methodology and benchmark status in global biofuels markets,” Argus Media Chairman and Chief Executive Adrian Binks said.

A number of Latin American countries have adopted Argus-related pricing in oil and energy markets. The Ecopais announcement follows last year’s decision by state-owned oil company PetroEcuador to price its crude exports against the ASCI benchmark — Argus’ volume-weighted average of US deepwater sour crude deals.

Pricing will be calculated based on the Argus ethanol price plus delivery costs from the U.S. Gulf coast to Ecuador plus a K factor of 18 cents per liter.

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.

Free Webinar on USDA Biorefinery Assistance Program

Calling those interested in producing advanced biofuels and biochemicals. An upcoming free webinar, “USDA’s 9003 Biorefinery Assistance Program,” will discuss how to take advantage of the program. The webinar will take place Wednesday, June 3, 2015 at 1:00 pm ET. The event is hosted by Stern Brothers & Co., Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and B2BWebinars.com.

USDA’s 9003 Biorefinery Assistance Program is open and offering loan guarantees for advanced biofuel and renewable chemical production facilities. Up to $1 billion in loan guarantee authority is anticipated over the next few years, including FY14 and FY15 Farm Bill funding. The USDA is offering this source of financing to projects, but demand is expected to be high. In the webinar, panelists will discuss the upcoming opportunity and how companies can submit successful projects.

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The panel will address the following topics:

  • Past winners and lessons learned from past 9003 releases;
  • Assessment of the competitive landscape and projects that are a good fit for 9003;
  • How renewable chemicals projects fit in under 9003 program rules;
  • Application requirements, including a Feasibility Study, Environmental Report, Technical Report (including pilot data) and Business Plan;
  • How to prepare for outreach to lenders of record; and
  • Status of program interactions with Office of Management and Budge.

Click here to view the full agenda. Click here for registration information.

MN Ethanol Industry Contributed $2.3B in 2014

According to a new study, “Contribution of the Ethanol Industry to the Economy of Minnesota,” found that Minnesota’s ethanol industry accounted for $2.34 billion of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) during 2014. The report was published by ABF Economics and found that the industry generated $7 billion in gross sales for state businesses and supported 18,630 full-time jobs. This in turn, cites the report, generated $1.74 billion in household income in Minnesota in 2014 as well as $132 million to state and local government tax rolls.

“This study by ABF Economics clearly shows how significant the ethanol industry is to Minnesota’s economy, especially in rural areas where it supports other industries,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director of the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association who commissioned the study.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 4.19.05 PMFor the study, ABF Economics estimated the impact of the ethanol industry on Minnesota’s economy by applying expenditures by the relevant supplying industry to the final demand multipliers for value added output, earnings and employment.

“In this study, ABF used the IMPLAN (Impact Analysis for Planning) economic model to construct a model of the Minnesota economy including the sectors that support the ethanol industry, the links between them, and the level of economic activity,” noted John Urbanchuk, managing partner for ABF Economics, in the study.

The IMPLAN model evaluated the gross output, value added (GDP), household earnings and employment generated by the ethanol industry in 2014.

In 2014, the study notes, Minnesota’s ethanol industry spent $2.7 billion to produce 1.1 billion gallons of ethanol, 3.3 million tons of dried distiller’s grains (DDGs) and 184 million pounds of corn oil.The ethanol industry’s expenditure included corn, industrial chemicals, electricity, natural gas, water, labor and services such as maintenance, insurance and general overheads. Spending for these goods and services represented the purchase of output of other industries that operate in Minnesota, ABF Economics said. Continue reading

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.”