Ethanol imports and the Brazilian tariff made up the majority of questions from the media during the “Truth About Ethanol” press conference Tuesday. Why do we need to import any ethanol if the industry can meet the demand? How much ethanol will we import this year? What about a temporary waiver of the Brazilian import tariff? What are the secondary tariffs on ethanol? How does the Brazilian tariff fit into the WTO negotiations and is it vulnerable to a challenge? Do you expect an unsuccessful effort to repeal the tariff and by who? Obviously this is an issue that the media believes is important. RFA president Bob Dinneen did a very good job of explaining the entire tariff structure for ethanol in response to one question. What I found interesting was that because ethanol can enter the US duty free from a number of countries – such as those in the Caribbean Basin Initiative – Brazilian ethanol can basically circumvent the secondary tariff by going through another country. Listen to Dinneen’s entire explanation here.
The Truth About Ethanol press conference today (see previous post) lasted nearly an entire hour and included questions from media such as UPI, Chicago Tribune, Inside US Trade, Des Moines Register, Inside Washington, and Congress Daily as well as a number of farm journalists, although not as many as I would have expected. Bob, Bob and Jon did a pretty darn good job fielding some tough questions about the Brazilian tariff, in particular. It was the first question that was asked, in fact – do you think there will be a major legislative effort to remove the tariff? NCGA’s Jon Doggett answered simply, “No, I don’t.” When asked to elaborate, he said there are a lot of things congress won’t get done this year and this is on that list. RFA’s Bob Dinneen was a little more specific, “I don’t think there’ll be a successful effort to lift the tariff. The fact of the matter is, it’s not necessary.” Listen to the first Q and A of the Truth press conference here.
Like I said, this conference was almost an hour long, so I will break it down into smaller bites to feed over the next few days.
The Pacific Southwest region of the Environmental Protection Agency today honored biodiesel advocate and singer Willie Nelson for his support of the cleaner burning fuel. According to the National Biodiesel Board, the award was presented during the agency’s eighth annual Environmental Awards Ceremony in San Francisco.
Nelson first heard about biodiesel two years ago from his wife, Annie, pictured here with him at the National Biodiesel Conference in February.
I’m happy to announce that I’ll be blogging the Clean Cities Congress in just a few short weeks. The event takes place May 7 – 10 in Phoenix, AZ.
The Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute (AFVI) and its industry partners present unparalleled education and networking opportunities for fleet and policy professionals when it hosts its annual Clean Cities Congress and Expo at the Phoenix Convention Center, May 7-10, 2006.
“This showcase of alternative fuels and vehicles is a solutions-oriented marketplace,” says Annalloyd Thomason, AFVI Executive Director and organizer of the conference. “It is intentionally inclusive of all viable alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies that provide money-saving options for fleets.” The annual Congress features more than 100 speakers and is expected to draw 1,500 participants for 3 days of activities including: workshops, sessions, lectures, networking, a free public forum, and a trade show for industry professionals. The industry partners, official sponsors of the Congress, recommend the event for commercial, utility, and government fleets.
In addition to the AFVI, Southern California Gas Company is sponsoring Domestic Fuel coverage of the Clean Cities Congress. We really appreciate their support and plan to bring you a lot more information before, during and after the event.
Dyadic International, Inc. is working to make ethanol production more efficient. That’s just one of the uses this Florida-based company has found for biological products such as proteins, enzymes, polypeptides and other such things in the agricultural, industrial, chemical and biopharmaceutical industries. For example, they actually pioneered the stone-free method used to make “stone-washed” blue jeans. Instead of tumbling them in the washer with pumice stones, manufacturers use a cellulase enzyme isolated from a fungus to selectively modify the fabric surface. For real! Now they are redesigning the enzyme to “make ethanol quicker, better and cheaper,” according to Dyadic CEO Mark Emalfarb. Chuck interviewed both Mark and Dyadic Chief Science Officer Glenn Nedwin at BIO 2006, and it is a very interesting conversation about how this fungus-derived enzyme can help to make more ethanol from corn and also bring down the cost of making ethanol from other sources. Listen to it here: Dyadic Interview (8:00 MP3)
AgWired coverage of BIO 2006 was made possible by:
The Illinois Soybean Association/Check Off Board was represented at last week’s BIO 2006 conference in Chicago by several board members and executive director Lyle Roberts. Chuck interviewed Lyle about the BIO in biodiesel and you can hear that conversation here: Lyle Roberts (5:00 MP3)
AgWired coverage of BIO 2006 was made possible by:
The Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) has joined the CityHome™ program, a major national clean air initiative designed to create a better quality of life for city residents by improving urban air quality. According to a news release from the O2Diesel Corporation,
By embracing the CityHome challenge, EPIC can continue to show that the benefits of ethanol are not limited to gasoline. Making diesel fuel perform as efficiently as possible, while being good stewards of the environment, are critical goals for industry and government. It is a natural fit for EPIC to support the CityHome initiative using O2Diesel™, a cleaner burning ethanol diesel blend.
It looks like the program is currently operating in Nebraska and the whole effort is to use this O2Diesel in municipal buses. According to the CityHome website, CityHome officially launched March 10, 2005 in Lincoln, Nebraska with its StarTran system. StarTran is the first municipal transit system in the U.S. to convert its bus fleet of 67 vehicles to O2Diesel’s cleaner burning ethanol diesel blend. The program will expand very quickly over the next 12 months to other cities, primarily in the Midwest, California, Texas and East Coast.
Three industry leaders will be holding a media conference on Tuesday to “separate fact from fiction on the myth of ethanol’s role in rising gas prices.” The three are American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman, Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen, and National Corn Growers Association vice president Jon Doggett. Farm Bureau is coordinating the telephone conference call for reporters because “of all the factors influencing increasing gas prices, the use of ethanol as a fuel additive is having the least effect, but yet is being reported as the main contributor. In reality, the phase-out of MTBE, high crude oil prices and the petroleum industry’s pricing tactics are the true culprits hiking gas prices.”
Okay, even as a farm media person I have to say it would be a lot better if they got someone a little less biased to vouch for them. How about a private sector economist or industry analyst? Someone not on the corn/ethanol payroll, in other words. I’m on your side, folks – just trying to help here.
A downtown Kansas City distributor for Anheuser-Busch is now delivering Bud by biodiesel. United Beverage Company is fueling its fleet of 22 diesel delivery trucks with a blend of 20 percent biodiesel, according to a press release from the National Biodiesel Board. The vehicles will fill up at a nearby Valero station, the area’s first biodiesel retail outlet. On Friday, NBB joined with the Kansas City Regional Clean Cities Coalition, Maher Oil, the City of Kansas City and the Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) to celebrate the grand opening of the pump.
Choosing ethanol at the pumps just got easier for motorists fueling up at Sioux Valley Coop (SVC) in Watertown, S.D. The coop recently installed blender pumps which will allow customers to essentially blend their preferred level of ethanol fuel.
SVC in partnership with Glacial Lakes Energy, LLC ethanol plant is hosting a “Yellow Dime” promotional event Friday to officially launch the blender pump offering. Motorists who chose ethanol-blended fuels during the promotion will receive one yellow dime back for every gallon of ethanol they purchase. The yellow dimes handed out during the event will circulate throughout the community, showing the impact of corn and ethanol production on the local economy.