Ethanol Pipeline Would Create Green Jobs

A proposed ethanol pipeline could create nearly 80,000 jobs across the country, according to a new feasibility report.

The report, from consulting firm LECG, shows that the majority of the jobs created will be in the construction and transportation industries and the pipeline project would provide approximately 1,100 permanent jobs after construction is complete.

Ethanol producer POET formed a joint venture with Magellan Midstream Partners of Tulsa, Oklahoma to assess the feasibility of a 1,800-mile ethanol pipeline from ethanol production facilities in the Midwest, starting at Davison County, S.D., to distribution outlets in the northeast U.S., ending in Linden, N.J. Once the feasibility study is complete, the pipeline would be operational as early as 2014.

Pacific Ethanol Stock Rebounds

Pacific EthanolPacific Ethanol resumed production at its Burley, Idaho ethanol plant earlier this month and that paid off with a big jump in the share price this week.

The company fired up its 60 million gallon per year Magic Valley facility on January 6, after being shut down for almost a year. “We are pleased to restart our Magic Valley facility and we are grateful for the cooperation our lenders and other stakeholders have extended,” said Neil Koehler, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, “the restart of the facility has also been well received by the local community.”

Apparently it was also well received by the business community as shares of Pacific Ethanol were up as much as 80 percent on Monday to a one year high of $2.65. Last September, the company was facing delisting from the NASDAQ because shares had been below $1 since November 2008. Shares were trading at 59 cents at the time.

Ethanol Groups React to California LCFS Approval

Ethanol advocacy organizations challenging California’s low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) are disappointed with approval for implementation this week by the state’s Office of Administrative Law (OAL).

Renewable Fuels Association Logo“Pursuing this strategy runs counter to the stated goals of Governor Schwarzenegger and the State Assembly to reduce carbon emissions from motor vehicles,” said Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen. “As crafted, the LCFS would virtually eliminate domestic ethanol,the only viable low-carbon alternative to gasoline, from the California marketplace in favor of imported ethanol and futuristic fuel technologies such as hydrogen and the electric car.”

Growth EnergyGrowth Energy CEO Tom Buis commented that, “At a minimum, OAL should have sent the flawed regulation back to CARB, with direction they start over. As written, CARB is depriving Californians of the one low carbon, sustainable fuel available right now as an alternative to oil – and that is ethanol.”

Both groups and others filed suit last month challenging the LCFS on the grounds it violates both the Supremacy and Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Biobutanol Makes Splash in California

Biobutanol got a boost from California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Tuesday at the launching of a Cobalt Technologies pilot plant in his state,

Schwarzenegger said biobutanol will meet California’s Low Carbon Fuels Standard (LCFS), which was approved this week by the state’s Office of Administrative Law. “It is great companies like Cobalt that will help California meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets under AB 32 and our Low Carbon Fuel Standard,” said Governor Schwarzenegger, who used the occasion to promote his proposed sales tax exemption for clean tech companies. “Cobalt shows us that what is good for the environment can also be good for the economy. In fact, within the next few years, Cobalt has plans to build an even larger plant that will create 1,300 permanent jobs. I want that plant and those jobs right here in California.”

Biobutanol can be used as a standalone fuel or blended with gasoline, diesel or ethanol. It can also be converted into jet fuel or plastics, or sold as is for use in paints and coatings. It is similar to ethanol and can be produced from non-food feedstock, such as forest waste and mill residue. However, while the new state LCFS would virtually eliminate corn ethanol, the company says a 12 percent blend of Cobalt biobutanol with gasoline complies with the standard. The drawback is that biobutanol is not yet commercially available. The ethanol industry has filed suit in federal district court in Fresno, California, challenging the LCFS on the grounds it violates both the Supremacy and Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Franklin Fueling Systems Submersible Pumps Now UL Approved

franklin_fuelingFranklin Fueling Systems has annouced that their submersible turbine pumps (STPs) are now Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listed for use in applications containing ethanol concentrations up to 85 percent. According to their press release, their FE Petro STP passed a 16-week testing procedure with the high ethanol blend.

“There is a certain peace of mind that comes with a third-party approval like the UL listing. Our customers know that our equipment has been put through some very demanding testing in order to achieve that listing. They can be confident when they put our STP in the ground to pump ethanol blends that it will perform to the highest degree,” said Jay Walsh, Vice President of Business Development for Franklin Fueling Systems. Franklin Fueling enhanced their product by replacing soft or yellow metals with stainless steel to obtain the UL certifiation.

“This UL listing marks a significant achievement for the FE Petro brand as well as the industry itself,” said Walsh. “We feel that this type of future fuel compatibility will only increase across the petroleum equipment industry moving forward. With the EPA showing its support of higher ethanol blends and the current administration’s commitment to strengthening the ethanol fuel infrastructure and vehicle fleet, we feel it is only a matter of time before the demand for products that are UL listed for high concentrations of ethanol blend will begin to significantly increase.”

At this time, there is no E85 complete dispensing unit that is UL approved. The industry expects approval the second quarter of 2010.

Record Corn Crop for 2009

There may still be corn left standing in the snow, but USDA says the 2009 corn crop was a record setter.

cornIn today’s crop production summary report, USDA projects U.S. corn production at a record 13.2 billion bushels, up from 12.9 billion bushels projected in USDA’s December forecast and 1 percent above the previous record of 13.0 billion bushels set in 2007. The corn yield is estimated at a record 165.2 bushels per acre in 2009, 2.3 bushels higher than the December forecast and 4.9 bushels above the previous record of 160.3 bushels per acre set in 2004.

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) says this proves the amazing productivity of the American farmer. “The unparalleled productivity of America’s farmers continues to amaze even the most skeptical of critics,” said RFA president Bob Dinneen. “Despite unfavorable weather conditions from start to finish, farmers produced considerably more corn than the food, feed, and fuel markets are demanding. Such gains in productivity undermine any claims that U.S. biofuel production will require new lands in other nations to come into production. There can be no question that American farmers have both the capability and the can-do attitude to feed the world while simultaneously helping reduce our nation’s reliance on imported oil.”

For calendar year 2009, the U.S. is expected to produce 10.6 billion gallons of ethanol and more than 30 million metric tons of livestock feed from 3.8 billion bushels of corn.

Arizona Biofuels Workshop

pinal_energyPinal Energy, Arizona’s first ethanol production facility, will be holding a biofuels workshop on Tusday, January 12, 2010 to assist station owners in converting stations to install biodiesel and/or E85. The workshop will be held at the Hilton Phoenix Airport.

The agenda includes: Mark Ellery from Caljet; Introduction to Biofuels by Andrea Martincic of Arizona Petroleum Marketers Association (APMA); E85 and Biodiesel Basics by Colleen Crowninshield, Clean Cities; Regulatory Requirements by Duane Yantorno of ADWM; All About Ethanol by John Skelley of Pinal Energy; Arizona’s Biofuel Conversion Program by Mark Ellery of Caljet; and Conversion of Existing Infrastructure by Brent Erikson of Cochise.

Currently, there are 28 E85 fueling facilities in the state of Arizona to fuel the nearly 115,000 flexible fuel vehicles in the United States. This workshop is intended to assist in bringing more stations to fuel the surplus of vehicles.

DMC Green Launches First Alternative Fuel Dealers’ Group

dmc_greenDMC Green, Inc. have organized their first alternative/renewable fuel dealers’ group to support the growing number of DMC Green fuel program dealers now in operation in California. According to their press release, under the DMC Green brand, these dealers currently offer ethanol, biodiesel and electric car charging in addition to their major oil company fuel brands.

Launched at an inaugural kick-off meeting on January 6, 2010 in Sacramento, the DMC Green Dealers’ Group brought together DMC Green’s research support teams to support existing gas station dealer-owners that have purchased the turn-key DMC Green alternative/renewable fuel installation package. The open forum meetings are scheduled to take place 4 times per year.

“DMC has been a very supportive partner and their program has exceeded my expectations”, says Robert Takhar, owner of Robert’s ARCO in Woodland, CA. “Vehicle traffic has definitely increased which increases our fuel sales as well as sales in our AM/PM convenience store.”

The DMC Green Dealer’s Group meetings provide a working discussion round-table where dealers can stay abreast of the rapid growth and regulatory changes in the green fuel market and where dealers can share experiences with their peers. “More importantly, these meetings help us find ways to increase dealer profitability through our research programs.” says Andy McCargar, Director, Market Development for DMC Green.

Brazil May Reduce Level of Ethanol Blends

Ethanol pump at a Petrobras station in Sao Paulo

Ethanol pump at a Petrobras station in Sao Paulo

With a shortfall of sugarcane due to excessive rain, Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Reinhold Stephanes announced that they are considering reducing the amount of mandatory ethanol blended with gasoline. Today, all stations are required to sell gasoline mixed with a minimum of 20-25 percent ethanol. If enacted, the change could take effect as soon as this week but Stephanes has not disclosed what the new percentage will be.

Above average rainfall plagued Brazil over the past few months, slowing down the harvest, and ultimately, some sugarcane was left in the field. Consequently, the region of Sao Paulo, the number one producing state of both sugarcane and ethanol, saw its ethanol production numbers down by 8.3 percent compared to last year. According to UNICA, (Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association) the region will product 5.86 billions gallons from this harvest.

The rain has also caused ethanol prices to rise at the pump leading to a reduction in hydrated ethanol sales, a trend that began surfacing in June 2009. According to UNICA, this reduction, “is a consequence of higher hydrous ethanol prices at the pump resulting from a combination of weather-related difficulties during the harvest and the approaching inter-harvest period which normally lasts from December to April the following year.”  In addition to Brazil being “energy independent,” the country also boasts the largest fleet of flex-fuel vehicles in the world.

Novozymes Receives $28.4 Million To Advance Biofuels

nzflagbigNovozymes has received a $28.4 million tax credit to aid in the construction of the company’s new enzyme manufacturing facility in Blair, Nebraska. Specifically, Novozymes has received an Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit from the Obama administration. Once complete, the plant will produce enzymes used during the production of advanced biofuels and create more than 100 ‘green’ jobs. The tax credit will become available in 2012 and could save the company nearly $18 million per year in tax savings.

“We believe our selection for this tax credit is a reflection of the tremendous potential of advanced biofuels to create green jobs and contribute to meaningful reduction of greenhouse gases in the near-term,” said Adam Monroe, President of Novozymes North America. “Novozymes applauds the continued support of the Obama Administration to further the development of clean energy technologies like advanced biofuels.”

As part of the administration’s support for the development of clean technologies, monies were allocated as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to foster investment and employment for companies who are working to bring clean technologies to the marketplace.To date, a total of $2.3 billion has been awarded to 183 manufacturing facilities across 43 states.

Currently the blending facility went online in November 2009 and is currently shipping product throughout the world. Full production should begin mid-2012. Once the project is complete, Novozymes will have invested between $160-$200 million.