Ethanol-Ready Dispensers Offered at 0% Interest

patriotprotecFuel retailers will have an easier path to being able to offer ethanol. Patriot Capital Corporation and Protec Fuel have teamed up to offer 0 percent financing for retailers who install dispensing equipment for E15, E85 and higher ethanol fuel blends.

The rate – available on terms of up to 60 months – is available to qualified retailers who install dedicated dispensing equipment and sign a supply agreement with Protec, a leader in turnkey ethanol solutions. Protec works closely with its C-store and fuel-marketing clients to manage and implement a complete alternative fuel solution, with services that include:

– Equipment expertise in E15, mid-level blends and E85 systems, dispensers and stations.
– Project-management or co-management of infrastructure installations, storage tank conversions or installs.
– Assistance with permit applications and filings.
– Station site promotion, target marketing, and advertisement.

“Protec has developed a solid reputation for providing C-store operators with an expanded range of fuel options, ranging from E15 to E85,” said Chris Santy, managing director, Patriot Capital Corporation. “We are excited about expanding our partnership with Protec Fuel. This partnership would include financing options for dispensers, price signs, underground storage tanks and other equipment work that will support the expansion of alternative fuels.”

“Patriot Capital Corporation is well regarded as the industry’s leader in providing financing to the fueling industry,” said Todd Garner, managing member and CEO of Protec Fuel. “We are excited to expand upon the expertise that Patriot has in providing hassle free financing to our customers. This will enable Protec to achieve our mission of broadening the footprint of ethanol availability for consumers and commercial fleets.”

EPA’s Ethanol Rules Pollutes Air Equal to 1 Mil Cars

ERCThe government’s proposal to cut the amount of ethanol to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply would pollute the air equivalent to one million more vehicles on the road. The Energy Resources Center (ERC) at the University of Illinois at Chicago conducted the analysis on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed ethanol blending rules.

The findings come in the wake of proposed rules by the U.S. E.P.A. that call for a reduction of the volume of ethanol blended in gasoline as mandated by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a program of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 signed into law 10 years ago this month. If the rules are adopted as proposed, a total of 17.5 billion gallons of ethanol would be blended with gasoline by 2016, 3.75 billion fewer gallons than originally mandated by Congress.

“The RFS has been one of the most successful federal policies enacted in the United States because it achieved exactly what it was intended to do: spur research and investment, lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce dependence on foreign oil. Our work has demonstrated that, over the last 10 years, steady reductions in greenhouse gas emissions have materialized as biofuels became a more efficient, high quality product,” said Dr. Steffen Mueller, principal economist at the Energy Resources Center.

The peer-reviewed analysis was conducted using the GREET Model (Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation) developed by Argonne National Laboratory which examines the full life cycle emissions impacts of energy sources. As part of the analysis, carbon emissions related to the planting, growing, harvesting, transportation and production of corn into ethanol were compared to that of oil recovery and production.

Under the EPA’s proposed rules, conventional starch ethanol would likely be reduced to 13.4 billion gallons from 15 billion gallons in 2015. In this scenario, the analysis found that 4,520,000 tonnes of additional CO2 emissions would be incurred in 2015.

Both the National Corn Growers Association and the Illinois Corn Growers Association expressed disappointment in the direction the EPA has taken.

“It is very curious that some vocal audiences known for touting job creation, a stronger domestic economy, and reduced air and water pollution were largely mute on this significant occasion,” said Chip Bowling, NCGA president and a farmer from Maryland. “It is pretty hard to miss the irony of this anniversary-related RFS assessment hitting while the Environmental Protection Agency is weakening the successful legislation.”

“We are disappointed that the same federal agency charged to protect human health and the environment is proposing a rule change that would directly lead to greater greenhouse gas emissions,” said Ken Hartman, president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association. “After 18 months of delay in proposing new rules, the EPA has chosen not only to shirk its legal obligation as set forth by Congress, but to lose sight of its own mission.”

The EPA is expected to release its final rule in November.

Minnesota Coop to Offer E85 For 85 Cents A Gallon

pump3E85 (85 percent ethanol/15 percent gas) will be available for 85 cents a gallon at the Farmers Coop Elevator in Bellingham, Minnesota on Wednesday, August 19 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Located at 300 Railroad Road, the promotion will also offer a 30 cents per gallon discount on E30 and a 15 cents discount per gallon on E15. The fuels are only available for flex fuel vehicles (FFVs). To see if your car can run on higher blends of ethanol, visit www.MNFuels.com.

“These promotions are a great opportunity for drivers of flex fuel vehicles to give these cleaner-burning fuels a try,” said Robert Moffitt, communications director for the American Lung Association in Minnesota. “Because flex fuel vehicles can also run on conventional gasoline blends, many owners don’t realize they can also use a fuel that reduces air pollution and usually costs less than gas.”

The American Lung Association in Minnesota recognizes the role cleaner-burning fuels like E85 have in reducing harmful tailpipe emissions and reducing air pollution. Other supporters include the Bellingham Farmers Elevator, Lac qui Parle County Corn & Soybean Growers, Minnesota Corn Growers Association and the Minnesota Clean Air Choice Team. For more information on the ethanol and other cleaner fuels available in Minnesota, visit www.CleanAirChoice.org.

USDA Predicts Big Corn and Soybean Crops

USDAUSDA is forecasting the third largest corn crop on record and the second largest soybean crop in a new planted acreage update released today.

U.S. growers are forecast to produce 13.7 billion bushels of corn this year, according to the report from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). That is actually a four percent decrease from last year’s production, but if realized will be the third largest production on record. The numbers are up 156 million from the July projection, with the season’s first survey-based corn yield forecast at 168.8 bushels per acre, 2.0 bushels higher than last month’s projection.

Overall, the report says that growers nationwide planted 88.9 million acres to corn, unchanged from the June estimate. As of August 2, 70 percent of U.S. corn was reported to be in good or excellent condition, three percentage points below the same time last year.

U.S. soybean growers are now forecast produce the second largest crop on record although one percent less than last year. NASS forecasts U.S. soybean production of 3.92 billion bushels with a yield of 46.9 bushels per acre, which would also be the second largest on record, down 0.9 bushels per acre from the record set in 2014. Growers are expected to set new record-highs in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Virginia.

The new World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimate also released today increased usage of corn for ethanol from 5.225 million bushels to 5.250 million and lowered the average corn price estimate for the year five cents to $3.35-3.95 per bushel. “With the lower prices, domestic demand should kick up,” said analyst Jack Scoville of the PRICE Futures Group during the Minneapolis Grain Exchange call on the report. “Which will make ethanol that much more attractive in the corn … definitely should help biofuels consumption.”

MGEX Crop Call with Jack Scoville

Iowa E15 Retailer Grants Available

Iowa fuel retailers interested in adding E15 ethanol blends to their consumer fuel options have an opportunity to apply for grants through the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP). The program gives retailers financial assistance to install or upgrade fuel dispensing equipment to offer E15.

E15 at Des Moines Iowa Kum and Go station

Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

“Adding E15 to the state renewable fuels infrastructure program provides a missing link to expanding mid-level ethanol blends, and providing another low-cost fuel option to more than 80 percent of the vehicles on the road today,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Managing Director Lucy Norton. IRFA was integral in getting the program passed. “We already have retailers lining up to take advantage of this new eligibility because they have customers asking for cleaner-burning E15. Iowa retailers want to provide economical fuel choices to their customers, and E15 is the lowest-cost fuel on the market for the majority of vehicles on the road, so it’s getting a lot of attention.”

Since 2007, the Iowa RFIP has provided cost-share grants to increase the accessibility of higher ethanol and biodiesel blends. The program provides monetary assistance for the installation of blender pumps and E85 and biodiesel dispensing equipment, as well as bulk biodiesel terminal storage tanks. This year, the RFIP was expanded to also provide financial assistance for the upgrade or installation of dispensing equipment for the purpose of offering E15 as a registered fuel. Qualifying projects are eligible for up to 70 percent of the installation costs, or a maximum of $50,000 per retail location.

In a recent poll when participants were asked if they would consider using E15 if they owned a 2001 and newer vehicle and it was cheaper than E10, 70 percent said yes. Additionally, 76 percent of respondents who said they would purchase E15 also said they would drive out of their way to buy E15 to save between 5 and 10 cents per gallon, if their usual station did not offer E15.

“This poll shows what we expected: an overwhelming amount of Iowans support the use of lower-cost, cleaner-burning E15,” Norton added. “For the vast majority of Iowa’s E15 retailers, E15 is often being sold 5 to 10 cents cheaper than E10, and with more than three-quarters of Iowa E15 supporters willing to drive out of their way to save with E15, fuel retailers should take notice.”

Pearson Fuels to Sell E85 for $.85 in Sacramento

pearsonfuelsCalifornia-based Pearson Fuels will start selling E85 in the Sacramento area. And the company says it will celebrate the event by selling the green fuel for just 85 cents per gallon today between 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The event is intended to introduce more members of the public to a fuel that many of their vehicles will burn. The event will be held at the following locations:

Shell 5103 Fair Oaks Blvd., Carmichael, CA 95608

Shell 730 29th Street. Sacramento, CA 95816

Shell 3721 Truxel Road, Sacramento, CA 95834

Shell 800 Ikea Court West Sacramento, CA 95691

Oliver Gas 1009 Oliver Road Fairfield, CA 94534

Pearson Fuels General Manager Mike Lewis states, “We are very proud to make this announcement. These five locations in Sacramento, West Sacramento and Fairfield are owned by some of the most progressive fuel station owners in the state. These stations were selling E85 before we made our agreement with them. We are happy to be working with them and helping to recognize and promote their progressive decision to offer something most stations do not. We encourage the public to vote with their dollars to improve the environment and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

IBISWorld Offers Buying Strategies for Ethanol

ibisworldThe ethanol market can be a pretty volatile place when it comes to pricing. IBISWorld is offering a report on how to identify where volatility exists, not just in ethanol, and how to reduce risks in price instability.

Because of fluctuating key input costs, prices of diesel and ethanol have displayed a high level of price volatility. While diesel and ethanol are both used for fuel, they do not share the same production process because diesel fuel comes from crude oil and ethanol comes primarily from corn…

Meanwhile, the price of corn is estimated to fall 21.7% in 2015, which will play a large part in the 29.2% drop in ethanol prices expected this year. Similar to diesel, ethanol prices are forecast to reverse and then stabilize at mild growth in the coming years.

The fuel market is known for its booms and busts, which can foster a hectic procurement environment. As such, buyers are encouraged to engage in long-term contracts with their fuel suppliers to reduce their exposure to price fluctuations. By locking in favorable rates now while prices are low, buyers can avoid the risk of anticipated prices rises in the future.

More information is available here.

North Dakota Firefighters to Get Ethanol Training

rfalogo1Firefighters in North Dakota will get some training on ethanol safety. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and North Dakota Firefighter’s Association will co-host seven free Ethanol Safety Seminars this month across the state, focusing on numerous areas of ethanol safety to target first responders, hazmat teams, safety managers, and local emergency planning committees, as well as the general public.

Starting Aug. 17, Ethanol Safety Seminars will be held in the following locations:

Aug. 17: Bowman Fire Department in Bowman | 5:30–10 p.m.
Aug. 18: Dickinson Fire Department in Dickinson | 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
Aug. 18: Richardton Fire Department in Richardton | 5:30–10 p.m.
Aug. 19: Washburn Fire Department in Washburn | 5:30–10 p.m.
Aug. 24: Stutsman County Law Emergency Center in Jamestown | 9 a.m.–2 p.m. & 5:30–10 p.m.
Aug. 26: Hankinson Fire Department in Hankinson | 5:30–10 p.m.
Aug. 27: Larimore Fire Department in Larimore | 5:30–10 p.m.

The goal of these seminars is for attendees to gain a complete ethanol emergency response training experience that they can put to use immediately in the field and pass along to other first response teams. A majority of this training is based on the “Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response,” a training package created by the Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition (EERC) that has been distributed throughout the United States and to several countries worldwide. These seminars are funded through a grant from the Department of Transportation’s Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

“The North Dakota Firefighter’s Association is honored to partner with the Renewable Fuels Association to provide the Ethanol Safety Seminars to seven different locations throughout North Dakota,” said Renee Loh, executive director of the North Dakota Firefighter’s Association. “NDFA is grateful that this training can be offered to the first responders of North Dakota! We encourage all first responders to register for this important class.”

RFA officials say it is important that communities have the know-how to respond to ethanol emergencies quickly and effectively. Incidents are rare, but should they occur, these seminars will give first responders the necessary training they need to keep the public safe.

To register for a session, go to www.rfa.traincaster.com.

E15 Hot Topic at ACE Ethanol Conference

E15 will be a hot topic at the upcoming American Coalition for Ethanol Conference next week. The topic of how higher blends can help fuel retailers to succeed will be discussed during a panel in Omaha, Nebraksa August 19-21. Panelists include Todd Garner, CEO of ProTec Fuel and Jim Pirolli, VP of Fuels for Kum & Go. The August 20th dialogue will delve into the sale and handling of E15 and flex fuels.

aceAlso scheduled to speak August 20th is Kristi Moriarty, one of the authors of a National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) report investigating the true costs of E15 fueling infrastructure.

“The ethanol industry needs to understand the challenges facing fuel retailers who want to sell more ethanol-blended fuels. Last year’s conference presentation by single-station and small chain operators received overwhelmingly positive reviews, so we’re providing this year’s attendees with two additional perspectives from the ‘downstream’ fuel marketplace,” explained ACE Senior VP Ron Lamberty.

“Kum & Go is a large c-store retail chain with a history of leadership with E85, that can tell us why adding E15 isn’t as simple as decaling pumps and dropping fuel in the tank. ProTec is a fuel distributor with an interesting approach to expanding the availability of E15 and flex fuels by providing retailers with ethanol-blended fuels and the equipment needed to sell them,” he continued.

“And, Lamberty added, “on the topic of ‘equipment needed to sell E15,’ we’re excited to have NREL present their recent authoritative study on that very subject. It’s good news for fuel marketers, but fuel marketer groups seem strangely unhappy their $400,000 per store cost predictions have been proven wildly inaccurate.”

The theme of the August 19-21 ACE Conference is “Quiet Ingenuity, Bold Advance.” The event will also feature a talk on technology and advanced biofuel innovations involving Ray Defenbaugh, President and CEO of Big River Resources LLC, Delayne Johnson, CEO of Quad County Corn Processors, and Jeff Oestmann, President and CEO of East Kansas Agri-Energy, LLC, a progress report on ethanol and DDGs exports, ethanol plant board member training, and much more.

What Iowa Legislators Support the RFS?

ARF-Logo-Retina-AltIn celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), America’s Renewable Future (ARF) has published a list of which legislators support the RFS in Iowa. Iowa is the top producing biodiesel and ethanol state and is also a leading cellulosic ethanol producing state. The bipartisan list includes city, county and state government officials who publicly support the policy.

The organization released the following statement today:

“The RFS is a commonsense, bipartisan issue that infuses competition into the motor fuel market, lowers consumers’ price at the pump, and strengthens rural communities. The 10-year old policy bolsters the national and state economy supporting over 852,000 American jobs and 73,000 jobs across the state of Iowa. 

These elected leaders know firsthand the benefits of the RFS, ethanol and biofuels, and they join supporters from every corner of the state coming together to ensure that the RFS is protected.”

Click here to read the full list.