Hearing Panelists

Cindy Zimmerman

Finally got around to editing some of the audio from the Senate Ag Committee hearing on biofuels yesterday. Separate sound files from each of the panelists, linked on their names, all around 5:00 in length.

Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen talks about importance of ethanol in today’s market. “Today’s industry consists of 97 biorefineries… blended in 40 percent of the nation’s fuel….no longer just a niche market in the midwest…4 billion gallons of ethanol produced last year has provided tremendous economic benefits for the country … added 153,000 jobs… some have questioned if there will be enough ethanol to meet demand and absolutely there will be.”

National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe focused comments on growth factors for biodiesel. “Amount of growth has been substantial … from 25 million gallons in ’04 to 75 million in ’05…. approximately 40 biodiesel plants … another 40 more under construction… majority of diesel is used in … trucking industry… average diesel prices have doubled in past four years… trucking association has endorsed use of B-5…. biodiesel contains oxygen so it burns cleaner… three federal policy measures effective in stimulating biodiesel development…all scheduled to expire … extension of biodiesel tax credit, extension of bioenergy program and extension of biodiesel fuel education program.”

CHS Inc. Executive Vice President Jay Debertin discussed CHS’s role in biorefining. “Largest fuel supplier, including diesel, for on-farm use… one of few refiners that have an equally strong committment to renewable fuels… marketed under CENEX brand … marketing fuels since late 1970s … took step of investing in U.S. Bioenergy … renewable fuels industry is still very young … challenges … include making sure the renewable fuels program is a true national program.”

Finally, Iowa State University professor Robert Brown, Ph.D compared U.S. ethanol industry growth to 1990s internet boom and talked about goals of bioeconomy. “Both internet and renewable fuels industry started from small basis, are dependent upon technological innovation for growth, and both were underinvested…converting corn to ethanol is not a goal of the bioeconomy, but rather a pathway … four goals for bioeconomy … reduce reliance on imported petroleum … improve environmental economy … expand markets for US agricultural products … provide economic development opportunities for rural economy.”

Biodiesel, Cellulosic, Ethanol

Alcohol School

Cindy Zimmerman

school No, not how to drink it – how to make it.

The Ethanol Technology Institute sponsors this event which will be in Toulouse, France at the end of next month. Ethanol Technology is owned by Lallemand Specialties, Inc.

For 25 years, The Alcohol School has been educating fuel ethanol and distilled beverage producers in the science of alcohol production. The week-long program is designed for lab, plant, and management personnel and is organized around lectures, laboratory demonstrations, seminars, and plant visits.

If France is not in the budget, they are planning another one in Montreal in late September.

Ethanol, Miscellaneous

JW Writes:

Cindy Zimmerman

JWIf you’ve seen the news lately, you undoubtedly have seen a story about the high cost of gas. Bad news is, get used to it. Good news is there are clean burning alternatives that hold promise. Without doubt, blends of ethanol and biodiesel burn cleaner and extend the supply of oil. That’s why bills like the one that just advanced in Missouri to require a 10% ethanol blend for all gas sold in Missouri make sense. There is a similar one regarding biodiesel which hasn’t made it through yet. Why all the buzz about ethanol and not so much biodiesel?
The obvious answer is most passenger vehicles in America have gasoline engines. Biodiesel is quickly becoming popular with truckers and government fleets, and is gaining ground with consumers. The problem with alternative fuels however is replacing all the existing gasoline burning vehicles with clean burning models. That’s the reason blends make sense for transition. Meanwhile, as consumers we should demand new alternatives and more efficient engines.
Understandably, oil companies have resisted the switch to a new fuel because it destroys their business. We’ve come to the point where we can no longer be concerned about the welfare of big corporations. The future is now, and it includes domestic fuels.
JW
www.mocommonsense.com

Biodiesel

Back to the Future

Cindy Zimmerman

JW is back from “spring fever” break and sent in this post from the future.
JW Here’s a link to a real cool short film about the positive impact of alternative fuels. I found it from Joel Makower who worked on the project and works to promote green business. The goal was to take the doom out of global warming and show how we can create a positive outcome using green energy like domestic fuels.
JW
www.mocommonsense.com

Biodiesel, Ethanol, Miscellaneous

Hate Message?

Cindy Zimmerman

Billboard I had been meaning to do a post on this billboard, which I see every day crossing over the Missouri River bridge into Jefferson City, just because I thought it was great advertising. Now, the darn thing is causing controversy because it “implies hate and discrimination for no reason” according to the president of the St. Louis chapter for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Give me a break! Here’s a link to the AP article that appeared on the front page of the local paper yesterday. The farmer on the billboard is Missouri Corn Growers Association president Terry Hilgedick, the sheik is a former king of Saudi Arabia. The MCGA paid for this billboard and others around the state, some with different messages, to increase awareness of the ethanol bill in the state legislature that would require a 10 percent ethanol blend in Missouri gas whenever ethanol costs the same or less than gasoline. It passed the state senate yesterday and would make Missouri the fifth state to require ten percent ethanol blends. The others are Hawaii, Minnesota, Montana and Washington.

Ethanol, Miscellaneous

The BOLD and the Biofuels

Cindy Zimmerman

Kent Conrad Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) is pushing a BOLD new energy initiative – BOLD, as in Breaking Our Long-term Dependence. Sen. Conrad introduced the legislation just before the spring recess and he talked about the details during this morning’s Senate Agricutlure Committee hearing on the future of biofuels. The BOLD act calls for “extending biodiesel and ethanol tax credits through 2013. It calls for increasing ethanol use from 4.7 billon gallons in 2007 to 30 billion gallons in 2025. It calls for all vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2017 to include alternative fuel technology such as hybrid electric or flex fuel systems.” Click here for the Senator’s full 5:00 remarks on the BOLD act.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, Government

If Talk were Fuel…

Cindy Zimmerman

It would be cheap in our nation’s capitol. I just spent the past two hours and 15 minutes listening to the Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on Biofuels. The first hour was taken up with comments from 13 of the senators in attendance – thanking everyone for holding the meeting, saying how much they looked forward to hearing testimony from the witnesses, and commenting on what was being done to help the biofuels industry in their states. That being done, the actual testimony from the four witnesses took about 20 minutes. The rest of the time, just short of an hour, was questions and answers – mostly questions. It is amazing how long a senator can take to ask a question!
At any rate, the panelists were Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen, National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe, CHS Inc. Executive Vice President Jay Debertin and Iowa State University professor Robert C. Brown, Ph.D – and they had some good comments and answers to senators’ questions and concerns. We’ll get some of that up in audio form post haste. Stay tuned.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, Government

President Promotes Renewable Fuels

Cindy Zimmerman

Bush RFA speech President Bush announced steps he is taking to address high gas prices during a speech today to the Renewable Fuels Association in Washington. Bush announced the government would “stop making purchases or deposits to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve” for the summer, that EPA would be allowed to waive local fuel requirements regarding the switch from MTBE to ethanol, and called for the formation of a task force on so-called “boutique fuels.” Bush also heavily promoted domestic fuels, both ethanol which he says has “the largest potential for immediate growth,” and biodiesel, which is why he “signed into law the first ever federal tax credit for biodiesel producers.” Bush said, “We owe it to the American people to be aggressive in the use of technology so we can diversify away from the hydrocarbon society.” The National Biodiesel Board was pleased with the president’s comments about biodiesel, which were greeted with applause.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, Government

Global Shift to Biofuels

Cindy Zimmerman

FAOThe Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, better known as FAO, is seeing a major international trend toward bioenergy. According to a news release from the FAO Rome newsroom,

“The gradual move away from oil has begun. Over the next 15 to 20 years we may see biofuels providing a full 25 percent of the world’s energy needs,” Alexander Müller, the new Assistant Director-General for the Sustainable Development Department of FAO said here. Factors pushing for such a momentous change in the world energy market include environmental constraints – increased global warming and the Kyoto Protocol’s curbs on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses – and a growing perception by governments of the risks of dependence on oil.

International, Miscellaneous

Microsoft Money for Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

Pac Eth Over one quarter of Pacific Ethanol is now owned by Microsoft mogul Bill Gates. According to Reuters, Gates acquired 5.25 million shares convertible preferred stock on April 13 for $16 per share. Pacific Ethanol is building an ethanol production facility in California and said in late March it hoped the deal with Cascade Investment, Gates’s investment vehicle, would close by mid-April. Darn close.

Ethanol