Proterra EV Buses Travel Million Miles

Proterra battery-electric(EV) buses have been driven one million miles. The company recently congratulated its customers on achieving the EV industry milestone and held a celebratory event at its plant in Greenville, S.C. where they honored their transit agency partners for their leadership as EV pioneers.

Each transit agency was honored with award commemorating their early adoption of EV bus technology and acknowledging their role in building the future of mass transit and sustainable urban mobility.

Proterra battery electric busCustomers receiving the awards were: Foothill Transit (Pomona, Calif.), WRTA (Worcester, Mass.), the City of Seneca, S.C./Clemson Area Transit, RTC Washoe (Reno, Nev.), TARC (Louisville, Ky.), VIA Metropolitan Transit (San Antonio, Texas), San Joaquin RTD (Stockton, Calif.), and StarMetro (Tallahassee, Fla.).

“Reaching our 1,000,000th mile in revenue service is a significant milestone, not just for Proterra, but for the entire transit industry,” said Proterra President and CEO Ryan Popple. “Along with our forward-thinking and highly valued transit agency partners, we can offer the world a million proof points to bolster the fact that electric vehicles not only offer great performance, but represent the best total cost of ownership and environmental option for transit agencies.”

By combining performance, efficiency and flexibility, Proterra buses offer the lowest per passenger cost and environmental impact of any transit bus technology—electric, diesel, hybrid or natural gas. Proterra has now received orders from 14 different transit agencies in cities across North America. Over the course of their 1,000,000 miles in service, Proterra customers have saved nearly 250,000 gallons of fossil fuel and have eliminated nearly 3.5 million pounds of emissions from being released into the environment.

Bennet Files Amendment for Bridge to Tax Reform

Trade groups are calling for national support of the Bennet Amendment for Bridge to Tax Reform. U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) has filed an amendment to the annual budget resolution being considered this week by the Senate that would make room for renewable and efficiency tax credits. The amendment specifies “a fund for “creating clean energy jobs, including extending over a reasonable period of time, as a bridge to tax reform, expired and expiring tax credits for renewable energy production and investment.”

The renewable tBennet Tax Reform Amendment Trade Group Supportersrade groups endorsed the amendment in a letter:

Dear Senator:

The U.S. Senate begins debate this week on the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Resolution. Senator Michael Bennet will be offering an amendment (#715) which expresses support for the extension of expired and expiring federal tax credits for renewable energy production and investment as the bridge to tax reform. On behalf of the thousands of American companies and over 500,000 Americans working in the renewable energy sector, we strongly encourage you to support the Bennet Amendment.

Over the past five years, nearly 44% of all new domestic power generation capacity has come from renewable energy resources, including more than 56% of all new power generation capacity in 2014 – surpassing all other energy sources. The investment tax credit (ITC) and the production tax credit (PTC) have been the primary federal policy drivers for this growth, spurring private sector investment, creating jobs, and driving down costs significantly, making renewable and clean technologies more cost competitive.

The clean energy sector has the potential to be one of the greatest engines of middle class job growth in the 21st century, while providing our nation with secure sources of clean and renewable domestic energy. To realize that objective, however, we must have a supportive and certain tax policy environment.

Again, on behalf of our thousands of member companies and more than half a million Americans working in our industries, we ask you to send an unambiguous signal of support for clean and renewable energy. Please vote for the Bennet Amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution in support of continuing tax incentives for clean and renewable domestic energy sources.

The letter is signed by representatives of the Solar Energy Industries Association, American Wind Energy Association, Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, Geothermal Energy Association, American Biogas Council, Energy Recovery Council, National Hydropower Association, Biomass Power Association, Distributed Wind Energy Association and Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association.

NEC Scholarship Award Winner Announced

rfa-nec-15The Renewable Fuels Association and Renewable Fuels Foundation are proud to announce the student scholarship award winner for the 20th annual National Ethanol Conference: Going Global next month in Grapevine, Texas.

This year’s scholarship winner is Laís Thomaz of Brazil, who received her master’s degree in international relations in 2012 from San Tiago Dantas, a graduate program supported by three of Brazil’s premier universities. Her dissertation, which focused on the role of advocacy groups in the shaping of ethanol trade policies, was published as a book by Brazil’s Editora UNESP. Her research previously won the Top Ethanol Award promoted by the Brazilian Sugarcane Ethanol Industry Association (UNICA). She is currently a Ph.D. candidate and a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Government at Georgetown University.

The RFA/RFF scholarship provides students enrolled in higher education with complimentary registration at the conference, giving scholarship recipients the chance to connect with hundreds of leaders, policymakers, and experts associated with the renewable fuel industry. Only students who focus on renewable fuels in their studies and intend to pursue a career in the industry are eligible to receive the scholarship. This is the sixth consecutive year in which this scholarship has been made available to students.

Amyris Renewable Jet Fuel Gets Approval in Brazil

Amyris-logo (1)Airline regulators in Brazil have approved the use of Amyris’ renewable jet fuel. The company says the sugarcane-derived fuel helps cut greenhouse gases and can now be used in up to 10 percent blends.

“Building on the revised ASTM International standard for aviation turbine fuel approved in June, Brazil’s ANP last week removed the last regulatory hurdle for the use of our renewable jet fuel in Brazil. We meet the most rigorous performance requirements in the aviation industry and are now commercializing our product in Brazil as well as around the world,” said John Melo, President & Chief Executive Officer of Amyris.

“The airline industry continues to experience strong growth and, while current low oil prices may provide a short-lived respite, the impact of carbon pollution is undeniable. Amyris and its partners are contributing to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions with our renewable fuel. We are pleased that leading airlines, such as Air France, Lufthansa and KLM are, or will soon be, flying with a blend of our renewable jet fuel,” added Melo.

A study shows that Amyris’s farnesane can cut greenhouse gases by 90 percent compared to fossil fuels.

Oil-Rich Texas is Nearly Renewable Energy Leader

Texas flagLooks like Texas is taking an all-of-the-above approach when it comes to energy sources. The oil-rich state added nearly 800 clean energy jobs during the first three months of this year, and according to this story in renewablesbiz.com, that puts Texas second only to Idaho and California. But the article also warns those the 5,600 new clean energy and clean transportation jobs added throughout the country are less than half of what was announced a year earlier by Environmental Entrepreneurs, or E2, the non-partisan business group that compiled the figures.

E2’s executive director, Bob Keefe, suggests more declines could be on the horizon, amid uncertainty about the future of state mandates and federal tax incentives driving renewable energy investments around the country.

The biggest hit at the federal level is the disappearance of the renewable energy production tax credit that allows project owners to reduce tax bills by 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity produced from renewable sources over 10 years…

Meanwhile, an investment tax credit that has been used to finance solar projects with long lead times is set to expire in 2016.

So far, renewable energy advocates have been prevailing in most of those fights, notably when the Kansas House voted to retain the state’s requirement that utilities draw 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. But a similar battle is under way in Ohio.

Four new big projects in Texas drove the increase: the Barilla Solar project in Pecos County; the Plainview Orchard Wind project in Plainview; the First Wind project in Armstrong and Carson counties; and a biodiesel plant in Temple by Austin-based Thomas Biodiesel.

Forest Service Seeks Wood Energy Applications

forestserviceIn honor of Earth Day today, the U.S. Forest Service is seeking proposals that expand wood energy use and support responsible forest management. This news release says the service is also offering a Wood Energy Financial App to help business leaders see a positive bottom line for these efforts.

“USDA through the Forest Service is supporting development of wood energy projects that promote sound forest management, expand regional economies, and create new jobs,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These efforts, part of the Obama Administration’s ‘all of the above’ energy strategy, create opportunities for wood energy products to enter the marketplace.”

“Building stronger markets for innovative wood products supports sustainable forestry, reduces wildfire risk, and creates energy savings for rural America,” said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

Under the Forest Service’s Wood-to-Energy Grant program, about $2.8 million will be made available to help successful applicants complete the engineering design work needed to apply for public or private loans for construction and long-term financing of wood energy facilities. Another $1.7 million from the Statewide Wood Energy Team cooperative agreement program will help public-private teams make advancements in wood energy.

The Wood Energy Financial App that allows users to do a simple and quick analysis to see if wood energy is a viable alternative for their community or small business. You can dowmload the app here.

Where Your Marketing Dollars are Going

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “What’s the largest percentage of your 2014 marketing budget?”

It looks like the old faithful form of print marketing tops this week’s ZimmPoll. But what is interesting is that rest of the choices were almost evenly spread across the board, with the newer trends of social media and digital marketing right up there with broadcast and direct mail.

Our poll results:

  • Broadcast – 10%
  • Digital – 15%
  • Direct mail – 10%
  • Print – 25%
  • Social media – 15%
  • Trade show/promo items – 15%
  • Other – 10%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “Has spring sprung for you yet?”

If you haven’t got a case of Spring Fever, then you must be living in Florida with Chuck and Cindy. Here in the Midwest we had an 80 degree weekend and now are back into the 30’s. I think Mother Nature is a little confused. Are you seeing any signs of spring in your neck of the woods?

NASA to Study Renewable Fuels in Space

Renewable Fuels are getting one stop closer to heading out to space. NASA has signed agreements with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) to conduct a series of joint flight tests to study the atmospheric effects of emissions from jet engines burning alternative fuels. The Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise Emissions (ACCESS II) flights are set to begin May 7, 2014 and will be flown from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California.

“Partnering with our German and Canadian colleagues allows us to combine our expertise and resources as we work together to solve the challenges common to the global aviation community such as understanding emission characteristics from the use of alternative fuels which presents a great potent629321main_ED07-0256-13cial for significant reductions in harmful emissions,” said Jaiwon Shin, NASA’s associate administrator for aeronautics research.

NASA’s DC-8 and HU-25C Guardian, DLR’s Falcon 20-E5, and NRC’s CT-133 research aircraft will conduct flight tests in which the DC-8’s engines will burn a mix of different fuel blends, while the Falcon and CT-133 measure emissions and observe contrail formation.

“Cooperation between DLR and NASA is based on a strong mutual appreciation of our research work,” said Rolf Henke, the DLR Executive Board member responsible for aeronautics research. “We are very pleased to be performing joint test flights for the first time, and thus set an example by addressing pressing research questions in global aviation together.”

ACCESS II is the latest in a series of ground and flight tests begun in 2009 to study emissions and contrail formation from new blends of aviation fuels that include biofuel from renewable sources. ACCESS-I testing, conducted in 2013, indicated the biofuel blends tested may substantially reduce emissions of black carbon, sulfates, and organics. ACCESS II will gather additional data, with an emphasis on studying contrail formation.

Farm Foundation Forum to Examine Energy, Ag

farmfoundationlogo3Our friends at Farm Foundation will host another one of their thought-provoking discussions, this time, talking about the energy and agricultural markets and their relationship. Titled, “Geopolitical Uncertainty in Agriculture and Energy Markets,” the April 9 Forum will be held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. EDT.

Current political unrest in numerous locations across the world is having a profound effect across agricultural and energy markets and generating supply chain uncertainties.

The April 9 Farm Foundation® Forum will examine the potential consequences of sudden policy changes, production issues, and unforeseen price fluctuations in a turbulent global marketplace. Panelists for this Forum will include:

Former U.S.Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman will moderate the panel.
Vincent Smith, scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and professor at Montana State University.
Gary Blumenthal of World Perspectives, Inc.
Brian Oleson, professor at the University of Manitoba.
Charles Doran, professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

There’s no charge for the forum, and you can register to attend here. In addition, a webcast, including audio and slides, is available here.

Georgia Biodiesel Maker Installs Shockwave Reactor

shockwavereactor2aA Georgia biodiesel maker has installed a reactor that the system’s builder says will transesterify vegetable or animal fats in just seconds. This article from Biodiesel Magazine says World Energy in Rome, Ga., has put in the Hydro Dynamics Inc. ShockWave Power Reactor (SPR) BD 50 at the 50 million gallon a year refinery.

“Harnessing the power of cavitation, the ShockWave Power Biodiesel Reactor drives the transesterification reaction to completion in seconds,” stated Hydro Dynamics. “In true continuous or batch systems, the SPR gives biodiesel producers greater feedstock flexibility and the power to achieve consistently superior quality. The SPR can improve processes to reduce monoglycerides and reduce catalyst utilization.”

Hydro Dynamics says the ShockWave Power technology, now in its 8th year, is used widely throughout the biodiesel industry with 500 million gallons of annual reactor capacity now sold.