ACE Opens August Conference Registration

ACElogoRegistration for the American Coalition’s for Ethanol’s (ACE) conference has opened, with “Quiet Ingenuity, Bold Advance” the theme for the Aug. 19-21 event. This news release from the group says it’s the 28th annual gathering for ACE and will be held in Omaha, Nebraska.

“One of the best kept secrets of the ethanol industry is how producers are boldly innovating, developing new co-products, and finding ways to improve their bottom line without fanfare. This is an important time for the industry and pivotal topics will take center stage at our upcoming conference,” said ACE Executive Vice President Brian Jennings.

One panel discussion which will reinforce the “Quiet Ingenuity, Bold Advance” theme features Ray Defenbaugh, President, CEO & Chairman of Big River Resources LLC, Delayne Johnson, CEO of Quad County Corn Processors, and Jeff Oestmann, President & CEO of East Kansas Agri-Energy, LLC who will discuss the technology and advanced biofuel innovations their respective companies are pursuing.

Quad County Corn Processors is the first ethanol plant in the nation to produce both conventional and cellulosic biofuel, East Kansas Agri-Energy is constructing a renewable diesel facility adjacent to its existing corn ethanol plant, and Big River Resources will be producing a zein protein alongside its ethanol plant in Galva, IL.

There will also be a retailer panel on E15 and flex fuel sales, a report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on fueling infrastructure, exports of ethanol and DDGs, plant board member training, and much more at this year’s conference. Registration information is here.

Winner of American Ethanol 200 Presented by Enogen

Winner American Ethanol 200The winner of the 2015 American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen is Erik Jones. This is his fifth victory in 26 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races and first in 2015.

The photo is Erik’s team along with the folks from Syngenta/Enogen. The winner’s circle is THE place to be! In my photo album I’ve got over 300 photos from today’s activities that I hope you will enjoy and share.

It has been a long day so I’m calling it quits now. However, expect to see and hear more from Iowa Speedway this coming week. I have a number of interviews to share that I think you will enjoy.

2015 American Ethanol 200 Presented by Enogen Photo Album

Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 sponsored by Enogen
Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 is sponsored by Enogen

Enogen Press Conference at Iowa Speedway

Engine Press ConferenceToday Syngenta announced a major donation to the Prime the Pump fund, an industry initiative to help early retail adopters of high-level ethanol blends through grants to reduce their initial investment in infrastructure. On the pane (l-r) are Chris Tingle, Syngenta; Ray Defenbaugh, Prime the Pump; Kelly Manning, Growth Energy; Delayne Johnson, Quad County Corn Processors and Chris Soule, Iowa farmer and star of ABC’s The Bachelor and Dancing With the Stars.

Syngenta says it will donate approximately $600,000 to the initiative by contributing $1 for every acre planted with Enogen corn enzyme technology. This effort stated in 2013 and is being extended to 2016. Besides the money being raised for the Prime the Pump initiative, the FFA students here today helping collect money for the fund will be receiving matching dollars for the money they raise. So, when you look at the value to the ethanol plants of Enogen corn which already has a vital enzyme for processing which saves the plant money; the fact that farmers growing Enogen corn are receiving a significant bonus incentive on the price of their corn; the fact that this initiative is helping expand the market and use of ethanol and local FFA chapters are benefitting, it seems like a win-win for everyone.

I have recorded the full press conference for you to listen to here: Syngenta Enogen Press Conference

2015 American Ethanol 200 Presented by Enogen Photo Album

Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 sponsored by Enogen
Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 is sponsored by Enogen

American Ethanol 200 Presented by Enogen

Syngenta Enogen FFAIt’s NASCAR race time with the American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen. I’m on location at Iowa Speedway and the race is tonight. Right now we’re in a lull between practice sessions. I’m here courtesy of Syngenta Enogen and will be covering their events.

One of this things is the effort Syngenta is doing with Iowa FFA members again this year. They are raising money and awareness for flex fuels and FFA benefits too.

Money raised for flex fuel infrastructure by FFA members at the Iowa Speedway on race day will be matched by Syngenta, with a portion of the proceeds going to participating FFA chapters. “Engaging the public about ethanol and renewable fuels is a good opportunity for my students,” said Miranda Johnson, advisor of the Twin Cedars FFA Chapter. “They are the future and they understand the importance of conservation and preservation of our land and resources – and the vital role farmers play in feeding and fueling our country.”

I’ll be until the winner’s circle tonight so keep an eye on photos. I’m collecting photos from today’s activities here: 2015 American Ethanol 200 Presented by Enogen Photo Album

Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 sponsored by Enogen
Coverage of the American Ethanol 200 is sponsored by Enogen

Building Markets for Ethanol Exports

RFA's Kelly Davis on ethanol trade mission to Mexico

RFA’s Kelly Davis on ethanol trade mission to Mexico

Expanding export markets for U.S. ethanol was the focus last month as a group of industry representatives to Mexico and Japan on trade missions coordinated through a partnership between the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), U.S. Grains Council and Growth Energy.

RFA Director of Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis says they saw exceptional opportunities in Mexico. “I left very excited about a potential market beginning in 2016-17 for some corn ethanol exports,” said Davis.

The group met with PEMEX, the Mexican state-owned petroleum company, which Davis says has traditionally been against the idea of using corn ethanol for fuel but that may be changing. “Mexico has enacted an energy reform bill which opens their energy sector to competition,” said Davis. “We think this opens the market up to ethanol because it’s more price competitive compared to the oxygenate they now use which is MTBE.”

Davis says Japan currently has an E3 limit and most ethanol is blended into the supply as ETBE, “so technically they already use ethanol but they use ethanol as a feedstock to make ETBE and then use that as their blending agent.” There is some optimism that the market share of biofuels in Japan will continue to increase through the use of E10.

Learn more in this interview: Interview with RFA's Kelly Davis on ethanol trade mission trip

Senate Committee Grills EPA Official on RFS

hearing-mccabeEnvironmental Protection Agency Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe was the lone witness in a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing Thursday on “Re-examining EPA’s Management of the Renewable Fuel Standard Program.”

Committee chairman James Lankford (R-OK), who favors repealing the RFS, grilled McCabe over the “aspirational” goal of breaching the blend wall and the potential that volumes of cellulosic ethanol targets under law will have to be “reset” by the EPA because not enough is being produced.

Committee Ranking Member Heidi Heitkamp, who is a strong supporter of the RFS, was more concerned that the volume obligations for biofuels proposed by EPA “ignore Congressional intent and reduces Congressionally-mandated blend volumes, citing availability of distribution capacity.”

McCabe continued to defend the EPA’s recently proposed volume obligations for 2014, 2015 and 2016 as “ambitious but responsible” in the face of criticism from both sides of the issue.

Ethanol Report from Washington DC

dinneen-officeDomestic Fuel stopped by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) office in Washington DC Wednesday to visit with president and CEO Bob Dinneen and discuss the latest with the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and expectations for next week’s EPA hearing in Kansas City.

Following his appearance on a Fuels America press call, Dinneen addressed yet another bill introduced this week to repeal the RFS and renewed charges by RFS opponents that the law is increasing food prices.

ethanol-report-adRegarding the June 25 public hearing on EPA’s proposed volume obligations under the RFS, Dinneen says the agency has already received about 250 requests to testify and he is encouraging everyone possible to turnout. “I want chaos, I want farmers that care about what this proposal would mean for their bottom line, I want consumers that care about the fact that gasoline prices will increase if this proposal is finalized, I want ethanol producers there, I want biodiesel producers there, I want anybody that cares about our nation’s energy, economic and environmental future to show up in Kansas City and throw a hissy fit,” said Dinneen.

Listen to or download the Ethanol Report here: Ethanol Report from Washington DC

To EPA – Get the RFS Back on Track

The biofuels industry is reacting to what is being called an “unfriendly” hearing being held tomorrow by the Senate Homeland Security Committee as well as to a press briefing held earlier today by the American Petroleum Institute (API), who industry supporters say is janetmccabe-thseeking a means to end the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The hearing, “Re-examining EPA’s Management of the Renewable Fuel Standard Program,” will be focused on examining EPA’s management of the RFS and features only one speaker: Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation.

API this morning argued against the RFS by once again raising concerns over the EPA biofuel mandates warning “that higher ethanol mandates could damage vehicles and raise food costs.” Corn prices are spiraling downward and are the lowest seen in over two years despite growing ethanol use as noted Wisconsin corn farmer Cal Dalton during a Fuels America press conference this afternoon.

Dalton was joined by Ohio corn grower Fred Yoder and Bob Dinneen, CEO and president of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), who said during the call, “There is nothing wrong with the RFS that can’t be fixed by what is right with the RFS.” He continued by saying new legislation is not needed, but rather, the EPA needs to review the statute and put the program in place that Congress established.

Participants on the call also discussed how legislative changes to the RFS will threaten America’s security, consumer choice, climate and rural economies. They also provided insight on EPA’s proposed renewable fuel obligations (RVOs) and they reacted to the claims put forth during the API media call.

The media conference was also a preview of the RFS public hearing taking place in Kansas City, Kansas on June 25, 2015 where EPA representatives will hear comments on the proposed rules for 2014, 2015, 2016 and the proposed 2017 RFS standard for biomass-based diesel. More than 250 people have already submitted requests to speak during the event. DomesticFuel will be covering the event live that begins at 9:00 am CT and will be held at Jack Reardon Center, 520 Minnesota Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas 66101.

To learn more about the ethanol industry’s call to the EPA to get back on track, listen to the Fuels America press conference here: Fuels America RFS Hearing Presser

Novozymes Increases Ethanol Plant Sustainability

few15-novozymes-jackNovozymes sees a tremendous potential to increase performance at ethanol plants. Jack Rogers, biofuels global marketing manager for Novozymes highlighted several of these projects during the Fuel Ethanol Workshop. He said they have a number of products in the pipeline that target specific areas of the ethanol production process.

One area of focus is in improving ethanol conversion yields. Rogers said that several of their forthcoming projects will address this area and take Novozymes beyond where they are today. He also said they have products being developed that will reduce energy and chemical use. “So there are a lot of ways we see us being able to help add value to the ethanol plant.”

Novozymes is focused on helping the biofuels industry become even more sustainable. Rogers said they are committed to helping the industry reduce inputs and improve the carbon intensity of the industry. He said they feel really good about the contributions they can make to the industry and their efforts to keep improving biofuel production.

Interview with Jack Rogers, Novozymes

2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop Photo Album

Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by
Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by Novozymes

Nebraska Governor Visits Novozymes

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts wrapped up his first agricultural trade mission this week with a visit to Novozymes world headquarters in Denmark, where a company tour showcased the production of unique enzymes and microbial products used in the animal nutrition, agriculture, and biofuels industries.

Novozymes CEO Peder Holk Nielsen welcomes Nebraska Gov. Ricketts

Novozymes CEO Peder Holk Nielsen welcomes Nebraska Gov. Ricketts

While at Novozymes, Gov. Ricketts and the United States Ambassador to Denmark hosted a roundtable on renewable fuels and bio-products where Nebraska delegates “showcased the dynamic interaction between the corn, cattle, and ethanol sectors and their important roles in Nebraska’s success in agriculture.”

Industry representatives presented U.S. market trends and regulations to the group, with a focus on co-products, revenue opportunities, and biorefinery developments. In addition to the governor, Nebraska roundtable participants included Department of Economic Development Director Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, KAAPA President and Nebraska Ethanol Board representative Paul Kenny, Green Plains Energy COO Jeff Briggs and Bret Wyant with American Laboratories. European company executives included representatives from Novozymes, Dong Energy, Leifmark, Renew Energy, DuPont, and the U.S. Embassy.

The Governor and mission members also met with Novozymes CEO Peder Holk Nielsen and Executive Vice Presidents of Business Development and Supply Operations Thomas Videbaek and Thomas Nagy to discuss business development and international expansion. Ricketts says the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was a concern as they discussed expansion plans in the United States. “With the EPA changing the rule, pulling the rug out from under our ethanol producers, by changing the RFS they’ve created uncertainty,” said Ricketts. “That uncertainty is impacting Novozymes as it’s impacting the rest of the industry.”

Novozymes opened its newest advanced manufacturing plant in Blair, Nebraska to make enzymes for biofuels production in 2012 in part because of strong policies like the RFS.

Listen to the governor’s summary of the trade trip here:Neb. Gov Pete Ricketts on trade trip wrap up