Robert Baker Wins Growth/New Holland Sweepstakes

Robert Baker of Sue City, Missouri has won the 2014 Growth Energy Individual Membership Sweepstakes sponsored by New Holland. His prize included 200 hours of usage of a CR8090 combine with a New Holland Twin Rotor CR8090 combine corn head for the 2014 harvest season.

“I am very excited, and I have a son and grandson that are more excited than me because they get to run [the combine],” said Baker.

Baker is a farmer who has invested in the Macon, Missouri, POET Biorefining plant, and regularly provides feedstock. The 14-year-old plant gained national coverage in 2010 when President Obama visited to learn more about ethanol production and gave a speech discussing the ability of ethanol to “contribute to our clean energy future”.

new-holland8090“We are proud to support a farmer who works so hard every day to grow crops to help feed the world and fuel our nation,” said Growth Energy CEO, Tom Buis. “Our members are working hard to revitalize our rural economies, create new jobs and ensure our nation will have a sustainable and secure energy future. This sweepstakes was part of a larger effort to continue to build grassroots support for biofuels across the country. Our growing grassroots advocates, such as Mr. Baker, help promote our industry and ensure that lawmakers in Washington understand the important role the RFS and biofuels play across America’s heartland. ”

The Growth Energy Individual Membership Sweepstakes offered all new or renewing individual members a chance to win either a NASCAR ticket package or usage of a New Holland combine. The total prize package for the combine is valued at $35,584.

Steve Murphy, General Manager at POET Biorefining – Macon, added, “The economic impact of the ethanol industry here in Missouri is undeniable and what we do here at POET goes far beyond the production process. As the first ethanol plant in the state of Missouri, we are proud of the added value our facility brings to producers and this community. However, we wouldn’t be able to offer consumers cheaper and cleaner choices at the pump if it weren’t for producers like Robert. All of us at POET Biorefining – Macon sincerely thank Robert for his continued support and extend him our congratulations.”

Iowa U.S. Senate Candidates Support Biofuels

ia-rfaConsidering the state’s significant role in biofuels and renewable energy, there’s little surprise that primary candidates for the Iowa U.S. Senate seat are expressing their support of the green fuels. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) says its 2014 Iowa U.S. Senate Primary Candidate Renewable Fuels Survey shows there’s strong, bipartisan support for renewable fuels among the state’s top candidates.

The full results and responses from candidates U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, Sam Clovis, state Sen. Joni Ernst, and Mark Jacobs can be found here: Matt Whitaker informed IRFA he would not be returning the survey.

“Literally tens of thousands of Iowans are invested in or directly employed by the renewable fuels industry, and they deserve to know where the candidates stand on these important issues,” stated IRFA Policy Director Grant Menke. “It’s great to see every candidate who responded showed strong support for ethanol and biodiesel, demonstrating renewable fuels issues are important to Iowa’s future.”

In December, the IRFA held an Iowa GOP U.S. Senate Primary Candidate Renewable Fuels Forum where candidates Sam Clovis and Mark Jacobs answered questions on specific renewable fuels issues. Video of that forum is available here.

Cellulosic’s First Community Advisory Panel to Meet

The Nation’s first Community Advisory Panel (CAP) on cellulosic biofuels will meet early next week in Iowa. Officials from DuPont’s cellulosic ethanol facility in Nevada, Iowa will talk with more than 30 Central Iowa residents including business leaders, farmers, conservationists and educators Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Nevada’s SCORE Pavilion from 6:30-8:30 pm.

dupontcornstoverDesigned to provide an ongoing dialogue between DuPont and the surrounding community, the CAP will meet up to four times each year Dr. Mark Edelman, CAP Facilitator, has more than 32 years of experience as a professor of economics and extension specialist in agricultural policy analysis, community entrepreneurship, and economic development. Edelman also teaches an economic development course and serves as Community Vitality Center Director at Iowa State University. During this inaugural meeting, CAP members will discuss the panel’s goals and objectives, and a process for ongoing engagement with the new facility’s management team.

DuPont’s commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facility is expected to produce 30 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year after it comes online in the second half of 2014. The $200 million facility will be among the first and largest commercial-scale cellulosic biorefineries in the world. Corn stover is expected to be the main feedstock.

RFA National Ethanol Conference Registration Opens

NEC1Time to finalize your plans to attend the Renewable Fuels Association’s 19th Annual National Ethanol Conference with the theme of Falling Walls, Rising Tides, Feb. 17-19, 2014. Conference registration is now open, and the RFA needs you at the JW Marriot in Orlando, Fla.

Now more than ever our industry should be proud of its success in bringing down barriers that limit our production and use, and which have resulted in noticeable reductions in demand for fossil fuels and imports, expanded markets around the world for both fuel and food, and consumer choice for renewable, domestic fuel options. We have answered the call with the introduction of E15, a proven fuel that is cost-effective for both consumers to use and retailers to install and provide. We see continued growth in E85 due to positive economics, and opportunities for advanced ethanol have never been brighter as the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) rises steadily over the coming years.

This is one event you sure don’t want to miss, as more than 1,200 attendees are expected for the two days chocked full of valuable, impactful ethanol expertise and numerous networking opportunities. Click here to register.

New E15 Stations Give Dakota Drivers More Choice

RFA-logo-13Six new E15 stations will give North Dakota drivers more choices at the pump. The Renewable Fuels Association welcomed the move at the six Petro Serve USA locations in Bismarck, Mandan, West Fargo, and Fargo, as North Dakota becomes the ninth state to offer E15 to consumers with vehicles 2001 and newer.

“We are committed to offering our customers choice at the pump,” says Kent Satrang, CEO of Petro Serve USA. “Ethanol blends are the perfect partnership between North Dakota’s corn fields and oil fields. E15 provides a very cost-effective option for our consumers.”

E15 is EPA tested and approved for all vehicles 2001 and newer. It has been offered for over 14 months and has been driven over 40 million miles. E15 is shown to save drivers an average of 10-15 cents per gallon compared to gasoline without ethanol. With the addition of the six North Dakota Petro Serve USA locations, E15 is now available in more than 40 stations in nine states.

“North Dakota drivers now have additional, cost-saving options at the pump,” said Robert White, Renewable Fuels Association’s director of market development. “A recent Fuels America poll showed that 82% of Americans want E15 to be available at the gas station. It is tremendous to see stations in state after state begin to offer E15 and I hope this trend will continue in North Dakota as other stations see the success of the six Petro Serve USA stations. The spread of E15 is only beginning and I am proud that North Dakota is helping lead the way in E15 implementation.”

E15 is a natural fit for the state, as the North Dakota Ethanol Council points out ethanol plants in the state contribute approximately $640 million/year to the economy, and they directly create nearly 200 in-state jobs and indirectly support 10,000 more. Plus, ethanol is made from local grain and creates a high protein feedstock, dried distiller grains (DDGS) for local farms.

DF Cast: Ethanol Battles for Info & Against the Gov’t

Understanding what the auto industry wants and needs… and how ethanol can meet that… all while battling Big Oil and even the government… that’s the daunting task the ethanol industry has been facing for some time.

ACE13-uniteandignite-vandergriendIn this edition of the Domestic Fuel Cast, we talk with Dave Vander Griend, the co-founder and president of one of the world’s largest ethanol plant engineering and construction firms, ICM. He talks about how first the ethanol industry needed to identify what the auto industry needed and then what the refineries were producing, a first on both counts for the ethanol industry. He says once his industry was able to see what the car makers wanted, it was easier to figure out how to counter some of the arguments Big Oil has been making against ethanol.

Meanwhile, the Urban Air Initiative, a group that looks to reduce the threat to public health posed by petroleum-based fuels, issued a white paper, dispelling Big Oil’s myths and countering what the group characterizes as an erroneous report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would hurt ethanol.

It’s a fascinating conversation, and you can hear more of it in this Domestic Fuel Cast: Domestic Fuel Cast - Dave Vander Griend, ICM and Urban Air Initiative

You can also subscribe to the DomesticFuel Cast here.

Corn Oil Biodiesel Adds Arrow to Ethanol’s Quiver

More ethanol plants are squeezing more profits out of the corn they use by recovering more of the oil in the process and turning it into biodiesel. This article from Ethanol Producer Magazine says by the end of the year, as many as 80 percent of U.S. ethanol plants could be recovering corn oil.

cornoilbiodiesel1WB Services is offering ethanol producers a way to turn corn oil into high-value fuels on site. The company has two separate technologies, both commercially available now, that call for co-location of either a biodiesel or renewable diesel facility with an existing ethanol plant. “We think this just adds another arrow to the quiver for an ethanol plant as far as diversifying their product mix and insulating them against tough times,” [Bernie Hoffman, vice president of business development and minority owner of WB Services LLC] says. Rachel Overheul, engineering manager for WB Services, agrees. “It brings a lot of potential market value to the ethanol plant, as opposed to being dependent on the corn oil market,” she adds.

The company has built and is operating a 2 MMgy biodiesel plant and is in the process of completing construction on a 3 MMgy renewable diesel facility, both in Sedgwick, Kan. Although neither facility is co-located with an ethanol plant, both serve as a showpiece for potential customers interested in co-location. “They can come and see the technology at work, feel comfortable with the way they operate,” says Ron Beemiller, company president and CEO.

The article goes on to point out how a co-located biodiesel facility helps with commercial viability, uses existing infrastructure to keep costs down and allows for continued research and development. In addition, while many facilities might be built for corn oil, there’s some real flexibility in choosing another feedstock if the need arises.

EIA: Wind, Solar & Biofuels Seeing Good Growth

eiaThe latest government energy report seems to provide plenty of good news for some of our favorite alternative fuel sources. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) August 2013 Short-Term Energy Outlook shows that wind, solar, ethanol and biodiesel productions are all up for the year, according to comments from EIA’s Administrator Adam Sieminski:


“Wind power generation is expected to grow by 19% this year as capacity that came on line at the end of 2012 is available to produce electricity for the entire year. Wind generation is forecast to grow by 7% in 2014.”

“EIA expects continued robust growth in solar power generation, although the amount of utility-scale generation remains a small share of total U.S. generation at about 0.2% for this year.”

U.S. Liquid Biofuels:

“U.S. ethanol production has been increasing since April, and is projected to average 870,000 barrels per day this year and 920,000 barrels per day in 2014. Biodiesel production has also been rising this year and reached 85,000 barrels per day in May. Biodiesel output is expected to average 82,000 barrels per day this year.”

It’s a good thing renewable energy is doing so well, because the EIA also reports that petroleum oil prices, and consequently gasoline prices, are also on the rise. Nice to know alternatives are there to give us some choices.

Analysis: Biodiesel Could Solve Ethanol Blend Wall

epa-logoA new analysis shows that biodiesel might be the solution for ethanol “blend wall” concern and its impact on the overall number of advanced biofuels being blended. There’s been a lot of talk about the issue of the ethanol “blend wall,” the point at which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates for that renewable fuel are greater than the amount of ethanol able to be blended into regular gasoline. Right now, the most widely accepted “safe” level of ethanol mix for most vehicles is 10 percent, with a debate raging around the ability to go all the way up to 15 percent without modifications of current vehicles or the vehicles being flex-fuel capable. In this analysis posted on Reuters, the author points out that even with the higher blend limit, there will still be a gap between the time all the infrastructure is in place and the higher blends could be the norm. In the meantime, he suggests that biodiesel could help meet the EPA numbers by being a substitute for some of the ethanol products and cites precedent for such a move.

EPA has already used its authority to cut the cellulosic ethanol mandate (because of under-supply) and increase biodiesel, while keeping the overall advanced biofuel target unchanged.

That has directly substituted biodiesel for ethanol.

This year EPA cut the cellulosic target to 14 million gallons from 1 billion gallons as required in the 2007 act, and increased biodiesel to 1.28 billion gallons, also from 1 billion.

The U.S. National Biodiesel Board estimates record output of more than 1.2 billion gallons this year, roughly half of which will be made from soyoil with the rest a mix of recycled cooking oil, animal fats and other products.

EPA talked up the ability of the U.S. biodiesel industry to take an increasing role, in its ruling last year setting the biodiesel target.

“We believe that it is appropriate that biomass-based diesel play an increasing role in supplying advanced biofuels to the market between 2012 and 2022,” it said. (“2013 Biomass-Based Diesel Renewable Fuel Volume; Final Rule”)

The article goes on to point out that the biodiesel industry is capable of ramping up production if more of the green fuel is needed. Current expanded targets for biodiesel production represent just 2.9 percent of the total diesel picture, and since all diesel vehicles can take at least a 5 percent blend (and many experts will point out that blend is much easily higher), there’s no danger of biodiesel hitting a similar blend wall in the near future.

Propel Moves Biodiesel, Ethanol Forward

Propel biodiesel pumpPropel Fuels is not just selling biodiesel and ethanol, alternatives to non-renewable petroleum, but it is doing it in an alternative fashion. This article from Convenience Store News says the California-based purveyor of the green fuels is doing something a bit different at most of its locations in California and Washington State.

At 36 of the locations, Propel partners with existing gas station retailers to operate its renewable fuel pumps at their stores. These pumps, which Propel calls a “Clean Fuel Point,” reside under a single canopy and are branded with the Propel name.

Propel pays rent to the station owners in return for the fuel sales from its pumps. Since Propel offers pay-at-the-pump technology, once a consumer turns on its pump to buy E85 or biodiesel, Propel — not the convenience store operator — accepts the payment and processes the transaction. All other fuel transactions at these 36 stores are handled by the c-store operator.

“The thinking in America is changing. The vehicles we have are changing as well. Those two things together helped with the idea to form a different type of fuel company that’s focused on bringing renewable fuels to the marketplace,” Chris LaPlante, director of marketing for Propel, told CSNews Online.

The two other Propel locations, in Fresno and Fullerton, Calif., are owned by Propel and have been dubbed “Clean Mobility Centers.” While the locations also sell petroleum-based gasoline, they also let customers buy a carbon offset of $1 a tankful right there at the pump.

So far, Propel’s blueprint seems to be one for success or at least growth. This year, they’ve added nine sites to their retail network, with more on the way soon. The article says Propel is even considering getting into the compressed natural gas and electric vehicle charging station markets.