Iowa Senate Passes RFS Resolution

The Iowa Senate has passed a bipartisan resolution in support of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) through 2022. The resolution calls on Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), President Obama, and the next president to support the policy as passed by Congress in 2005.

dontmesswithRFS_logoSenate Resolution 118 names the RFS as one of the single most successful energy policies in our nation’s history and goes on to say, “Under the RFS, renewable fuels have access to a retail market in the face of a vertically integrated petroleum market; and whereas, the RFS represents a congressional promise to American biofuels producers, farmers, communities, and investors that the blend levels of the RFS will increase each year; and whereas, this congressional policy support the RFS will continue to build on the long-term capacity of the renewable fuels industry and will encourage the development of new types of clean fuels…”

The resolution serves as a reminder of the benefits of the RFS to the state of Iowa in terms of economic output and the preservation of Iowa’s agricultural way of life. “The RFS has been a tremendously successful bipartisan policy that’s worked to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by producing our own clean American fuel and in leading the innovation of 21st century solutions to our energy needs. We need to keep this momentum going and I commend the Iowa Senate for passing this resolution,” said Tom Buis, co-chair of Growth Energy.

Retailers Tell Success Stories at #ACE16DC

ace16-dc-retailersFuel retailers disputed the existence of the mythical “blend wall” and told their success stories selling higher ethanol blends during a Congressional briefing last week at the end of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) legislative fly-in. Participants in the briefing for Congressional staffers were ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty, Pearson Fuels CEO Mike Lewis and Midway Service Owner Bruce Vollan.

“For years, we’ve been battling against an avalanche of misinformation about ethanol, the RFS, and E15, and yet there seem to be some lawmakers who have just given into this “cartoon villain” version of ethanol and are opposed for reasons that don’t exist,” said Lamberty. “Among the most frequent objections we hear are station owners don’t want to sell higher blends of ethanol, customers won’t buy them, and those factors create a mythical “blend wall” that makes it impossible to get beyond ten percent as required by the RFS. The best way to bust all of those myths is to introduce policymakers to people like Bruce and Mike whose real-world stories prove the naysayers are wrong, and higher ethanol blends are creating tremendous opportunities for station owners.”

Vollan talked about how has seen ethanol blends help his store grow from a tiny gas station into a multipurpose convenience and auto repair stop, and noted that he has never had customers report any damage from using higher ethanol blends. Pearson Fuels is a supplier of multiple locations offering E15 and E85 to drivers in the Pacific Coast and Lewis discussed the growth he has seen in demand since opening the nation’s first Alternative Fuel Station in San Diego in 2003.

ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album

Alliance BioEnergy Reports Successful Cellulosic Pilot

Alliance BioEnergy + has been developing bolt-on cellulosic ethanol technology and the company has announced that its results from the testing of its pilot plant are positive. The tests looked at distillers grains (DDGs) and corn kernel fiber and it ability to be converted to cellulosic ethanol using the CoPro Max separation unit designed in conjunction with Harvest Technology. The two byproducts can be converted into cellulosic ethanol, adding millions of gallons of additional ethanol production to an existing facility.

alliance-bioThe pilot testing has demonstrated that the corn kernel fiber is an ideal feedstocks when used in the CTS process and converts nearly 100 percent of the available sugars in as little as 12 minutes, according to Alliance BioEnergy. When combined with the CoPro Max system (to an 100 million gallons per year) corn ethanol plant), the company is reporting the CTS process adds nearly 12 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol to the plant and recovers most all of the highly valuable corn oil and proteins, from the DDGs. In addition, Alliance BioEnergy is reporting the sale of the additional ethanol, corn oil and proteins as well as cellulosic credits could add an additional $48 million to the bottom-line of a typical 100 mmgy corn ethanol plant.

Advantages of the bolt-on technology, says Alliance, include no need to purchase or transport feedstock to the plant nor is there a pre-treatment process.

Alliance BioEnergy is reporting its intentions to build and install the first unit in an existing ethanol plant this year and begin marketing the combined unit to U.S. ethanol plants later this year.

Big Oil Wins Big on Taxes

Big OilToday is Tax Day. While many Americans will receive a modest refund, oil producers are raking in the big bucks, $4 billion to $6 billion, through tax incentives dating back more than 100 years. Today, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is pointing out that many of these century-old tax provisions never expire while the ethanol industry agreed to let its incentive expire in 2011.

The Joint Committee on Taxation recently estimated that elimination of certain “fossil fuel preferences” (i.e., subsidies) would save U.S. taxpayers at least $24.5 billion — or roughly $210 per U.S. household — between 2015 and 2020.

“Big Oil needing any government assistance is preposterous,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Why would an incumbent industry that has a virtual monopoly at the pump need taxpayer dollars to compete?”

“On this tax day, Congress should seriously consider repealing this absurd and costly corporate welfare,” continued Dinneen. “Consumers will benefit when there is a truly free market in motor fuel, when alternatives like ethanol have access to the pump, when a variety of biofuel blends (E15, E25, E85) are accessible to consumers and when taxpayers no longer have to subsidize the most profitable industry on the planet. Until then, programs like the Renewable Fuel Standard are all we have to compel some level of competition and cost-control on an otherwise broken and unfair market.”

Grains Council CEO at #ACE16DC

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is a new member of the U.S. Grains Council, recognizing the important role that organization plays in the promoting exports of both ethanol and the livestock feed co-product DDGS.

ace16dc-sleight“We have a unified (ethanol) industry effort working together to build exports,” said USGC president and CEO Tom Sleight who visited with members of ACE in Washington DC last week for their annual legislative fly-in. “For 15, 20 years we’ve been doing DDGS and now for about three years we’ve been looking at ethanol and the effort is going farther and faster then I thought it would, again because of the strong cooperation we’re getting from the full ethanol industry.”

Sleight says China, Japan, Mexico and India are top priorities for U.S. ethanol exports. Secondary markets include Canada, Philippines, Colombia, and Peru.

In this interview, Sleight also discusses the U.S. DDGS market outlook and upcoming Export Exchange this year to bring buyers and sellers of DDGS together. Interview with Tom Sleight, USGC

ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album

#ACE16DC Gets Update on China DDGs Investigation

Back in January, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) initiated an investigation into anti-dumping and countervailing duties on imports of U.S. produced distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS). The U.S. Grains Council has been on top of the situation from the start and provided an update for members of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) meeting in Washington DC this week.

ace16dc-erbUSGC Director of Industry Relations Lyndsey Erb says the issue is important because China is such a huge market for the ethanol co-product used as animal feed. “China had been the largest importer of U.S. DDGS, taking 56% of exportable supplies last year,” said Erb. USGC has been coordinating the response from the U.S. ethanol industry to provide the information needed to help address the concerns and get China back in the market.

“We’re still very much in the beginning stages,” Erb says. “Ultimately the case has to wrap up between a year and a year and a half after the initiation so we still have a long road ahead of us in this case but such a large percentage of the U.S. industry is joining the Grains Council to fight that we are optimistic we can put together a good defense.”

Erb explains more in this interview: Interview with Lyndsey Erb, USGC

ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album

Nebraska Congressman Visits #ACE16DC

ace16dc-smithAll Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) wants is for consumers to be able to have the choice to fill up with 15% ethanol all year long. That’s why he introduced H.R. 1736 to extend the current EPA Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to include E15.

“My bill would reverse this antiquated, non-scientific regulation out of EPA that was created in 1990,” said Rep. Smith during an interview at the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) annual legislative fly-in. “It’s about generating interest and enthusiasm by consumers to exercise their choice.”

Smith recognizes that getting any legislation passed during this election year is challenging, but he hopes to find a legislative vehicle on which to attach the bill.

In this interview he also makes some comments about the budget and appropriations process going on in Congress right now: Interview with Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE)

ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album

Political Strategist Speaks to #ACE16DC

ace16dc-tewesAs we all know in this contentious presidential campaign, most candidates spend at least as much time attacking their opponents as they do talking about their own good qualities and experience. That is a strategy that the ethanol industry should employ more often, according to an experienced political strategist.

Paul Tewes of the Smoot Tewes Group (STG) has 20 years experience as a political operative and he believes that in the ethanol public relations battle, there is a clear villain on the other side. “We’re only going to win if we always make it a contrast with oil,” said Tewes, speaking to members of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) meeting in Washington DC this week. “We always have to continue to stress our positives because there are so many of them but we have to contrast that with the negative facts about the oil industry.”

Listen to an interview with Tewes here: Interview with Paul Tewes, Smoot Tewes Group

ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album

#Ethanol Supporters Storm the Hill #ACE16DC

ACE president Ron Alverson  (2nd from left) with other members after Hill visits

ACE president Ron Alverson (2nd from left) with other members after Hill visits

Nearly 70 grassroots members of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) stormed the Hill Wednesday at the organization’s 8th annual fly-in.

ACE members participated in more than 125 meetings with lawmakers representing 36 states to convey the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and bipartisan legislation to extend Reid vapor pressure (RVP) relief to E15 and higher ethanol blends.

ACE president Ron Alverson of Dakota Ethanol says his visits on Capitol Hill went very well. “We had good discussions, they asked good questions, generally it was a pretty positive day,” said Alverson, noting that members are much more informed about ethanol than they were just a few years ago.

There is good support among ethanol-friendly members of Congress for the RVP bill, but Alverson says the sense he got from his meetings is that very little will be done this election year. “They said probably nothing at all,” he said.

Alverson is pleased with the turn out for this year’s fly-in, which has grown from just 25 attendees the first year to 60-80 on average now. “Quite frankly, it’s hard to handle more than that,” he said. “We 60 people we can cover the meetings pretty well.”

Listen to my interview with Alverson here: Interview with Ron Alverson, ACE

ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album

How Reid Vapor Pressure Impacts #Ethanol

Reid vapor pressure (RVP) is one of those scientific terms reminiscent of high school chemistry but it has a significant impact on fuel at the pump, especially in the summer months.

ace16dc-lambertyAmerican Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) senior vice president Ron Lamberty gave a brief lesson on RVP to attendees at the organization’s annual legislative fly-in this week as they prepared to visit lawmakers and ask them to back legislation the would address how it impacts retail sales of E15. “When you put it in a car, gasoline needs to vaporize so you can burn it, so a higher RVP in the winter is good because it’s colder, but in the summer when it’s hot, gasoline automatically vaporizes a little bit itself,” said Lamberty. EPA’s current rules require gas to have nine pounds of RVP in the summer but adding 10% ethanol, even though it has a lower RVP, the combination increases the total RVP to about 10. The one pound waiver that was added to the rule several years ago dealt with that, but it was specific to 10 percent ethanol only. “That means you can’t use E15 even though it actually has a lower Reid vapor pressure than E10 does,” said Lamberty. The legislation seeks to change that rule.

In this interview, Lamberty gives an update on labeling USDA’s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership (BIP), and new FTC labeling guidelines for mid-level ethanol blends. Interview with Ron Lamberty, ACE

ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album