Nebraska News

Cindy Zimmerman

Prarie DogEthanol plants are popping up like prarie dogs in Nebraska.

Coming up April 24th, Mid America Agri Products/Horizon will host a ground breaking ceremony for a plant in Cambridge. According to this Grainnet report, the first phase of the two-phase project will cost $70 million and produce 44 million gallons a year. It’s the second Nebraska project for Mid America Bio-Energy & Commodities of North Platte, the other is in Madrid, due to start up in December 2006.

Also this week, Phelps County Ethanol, a subsidiary of Midwest Ethanol Producers, Inc. announced plans to build an 100 million gallon/year ethanol plant near Holdrege, according to this news release. MEPI is also currently in the permitting stages for a 100 MMGY Plant in O’Neill.

Thanks to our friend Erick Erickson of Holdrege for passing along those stories.

Ethanol, Facilities

Former CIA Director Talks Renewable Fuels at BIO

Chuck Zimmerman

R. James WoolseyThe plenary breakfast speaker today, R. James Woolsey, Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton, Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, just finished speaking. He really focused on how biotechnology can play a role in our national security. Besides what most people probably think of first in terms of cures or innoculants for bio-terror induced disease he spent a while talking about energy and independence from terrorist controlled foreign oil.

You can hear his comments on the role biotechnology can play in the renewable fuels area here: Listen To MP3 James Woolsey (6 min MP3)

AgWired coverage of BIO 2006 is made possible by: Rhea & Kaiser Marketing Communications

Audio, BIO, Biotech

International Media Get “Earful” From IL Corn Growers

Cindy Zimmerman

Defenbaugh Illinois farmer, banker, ethanol plant CEO and RFA board member Ray Defenbaugh was one of several people who spoke to a group of visiting agricultural journalists during a media reception sponsored by the US Grains Council and Illinois Corn Growers at the BIO 2006 conference in Chicago that concludes Thursday. Chuck interviewed Ray after his presentation and you can hear that conversation here: Listen To MP3 Defenbaugh (2:45 MP3)

AgWired coverage of BIO 2006 is made possible by: Rhea & Kaiser Marketing Communications

BIO, Ethanol

Ethanol’s Role in Gas Prices

Cindy Zimmerman

RFA The media has been sounding the alarm about higher gas prices today, following the release of the Energy Information Administration’s latest forecast. What’s interesting is that the report shifts the blame for the rising prices from ethanol to the oil industry, which the Renewable Fuels Association was quick to point out in a press release.

EIA Administrator Guy Caruso said consumers can expect gasoline prices to be 25 cents higher on average this summer. Caruso attributed 19 cents of that increase (or 76%) to high world oil price and said that the increased use of ethanol would affect gasoline prices by “just a few pennies.”
“Today’s report from EIA is a much more accurate reflection of what is going on in the gasoline and ethanol markets as refiners voluntarily eliminate MTBE from the nation’s gasoline supply,” said Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen. “Were it not for the tremendous growth of the U.S. ethanol industry and the availability of ethanol, refiners’ decisions to eliminate MTBE this spring would send gas prices through the roof.”

RFA also sent out a Fact Sheet about ethanol and gas prices that seems to have been heard by the media, as most articles have either not mentioned ethanol at all or just briefly in reference to the MTBE transition. AAA blamed it all on the government, according to CNN Money, quoting spokesman Geoff Sundstrom. “The refining industry has had to go on a crash course conversion to ethanol, and of course it’s coming at the worst possible time,” he said. “It seems the whole process could have been managed better by the federal government.”


New Fill Up, Feel Good Podcast

Cindy Zimmerman

e-podcastThe latest “Fill Up, Feel Good” podcast from the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council is about Jeff Simmons, new driver for the #17 Team Ethanol Honda/Panoz/Firestone Indy Car (see previous post). The podcast features comments from both Jeff and EPIC executive director Tom Slunecka discussing the future for Team Ethanol and how Paul Dana’s legacy will live on in the IRL.
The “Fill up, Feel Good” podcast is available to download by subscription (see our sidebar link) or you can listen to it by clicking here. (5:00 MP3 File)

EPIC, Ethanol, Fill Up Feel Good, Indy Racing

IL Gov Blagojevich Mentions Renewable Fuels

Chuck Zimmerman

IL Gov Rod BlagojevichIt wasn’t real easy but I was able to ask llinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich, a quick question after he cut the ribbon prior to the trade show here at BIO 2006.

I asked him about agriculture since I only had one question and in his answer he mentions renewable energy and corn and soybeans.

You can listen to his answer here: Listen To MP3 Governor Blagojevich (1 min MP3)

AgWired coverage of BIO 2006 is made possible by: Rhea & Kaiser Marketing Communications

Audio, BIO, Biodiesel, Ethanol, Government

Enzymes And Ethanol

Chuck Zimmerman

Novozymes BoothThe #17 Team Ethanol car is on display here at BIO 2006 in the Novozymes booth. Nobozymes is one of the sponsors of the car. It seems like the presence of biotech companies at BIO is on the increase.

I interviewed company VP, Jorgen Thorball about how Novozymes is involved in the production of ethanol. It’s all about enzymes. The enzyme products his company produces are being used in the production of ethanol to increase the efficiency and cost-effectivess of the process. He says they’ve made great strides and that this will only continue.

You can listen to my interview with him here: Listen To MP3 Jorgen Thorball (6 min MP3)

AgWired coverage of BIO 2006 is made possible by: Rhea & Kaiser Marketing Communications

Audio, BIO, Biotech, Ethanol

Finding E85 With OnStar

Cindy Zimmerman

OnStar Auto news site InsideLine posted an exclusive story last weekend that OnStar will soon be able to help drivers find E85 stations.

OnStar President Chet Huber said his company will unveil a new service in June to let customers know if their vehicle is E85 compatible and help them find ethanol filling stations.
Customers will receive an e-mail telling them where ethanol filling stations are in their area — or they can press the OnStar button in their vehicle and get help from a representative.

That’s very cool. Now we just need to get more E85 pumps for OnStar to find!

Ethanol, Flex Fuel Vehicles

Ethanol Imports

Cindy Zimmerman

Analysts are saying that the US will be importing more ethanol this summer to keep up with demand caused by the phase-out of MTBE. According to a Dow Jones story,

U.S. cane-based ethanol imports are expected to more than double in 2006 from 511 million liters in 2005. “Moving U.S. ethanol, produced in the heartlands, to population centers on the coasts, where demand is heaviest, is a logistical challenge,” said Edward Murphy, downstream general manager of the American Petroleum Institute in Washington. “Because ethanol absorbs water and corrodes pipelines, it must be trucked or moved by rail to consumption areas for final blending.” More tanks are needed to store and blend ethanol on the East Coast, where it’s difficult and expensive to construct them. Imports, however, have the advantage of arriving at major population centers.

In other words, the petroleum industry is contending that it’s easier to import ethanol than it is to truck it from the midwest. Not sure I believe that.

The article also notes that with the increased demand – guess what? – the price of Brazilian ethanol is going up. It’s also significant to note that while there is a tariff on ethanol imports from Brazil, the Caribbean Basin Initiative allows a limited amount of ethanol to come in duty free from 24 nations. So, the call to lift the tariff on foreign ethanol is being sounded by lawmakers. One is Connecticut Governor Jodie Rell, who is asking her state’s congressional delegation to support lifting the tariff to provide “much needed relief” from rising gas prices, according to an AP report.
I think it makes good political sense to lift the tariff, at least temporarily, to help with the short supply situation here – but I have serious doubts that it will provide any relief from rising gas prices since it’s as good as any excuse to raise gas prices.


I’ll Be Blogging The BIO

Chuck Zimmerman

BIO 2006Beginning late Sunday I’ll be blogging the BIO 2006 Convention in Chicago. This is a very large event that covers the full range of biotechnology, including alternative fuel technology. I’m going to be on the lookout for news related to our subject and already have some press releases about announcements that will be made while I’m there. I will then bring it to you!

I want to say a big thank you to my sponsor that’s making it possible for me to attend BIO 2006.

Domestic Fuel coverage of BIO 2006 is made possible by: Rhea & Kaiser Marketing Communications

BIO, Science