Comments are Welcome

Cindy Zimmerman

The great thing about a blog is that it allows interactive commentary – and this is a great way for the domestic fuel industry to address some of its critics in a public forum.
So, you might notice negative comments about domestic fuels from time to time in the comments section of some posts. I will try to address them myself, but I would also encourage others in the industry to make comments in response as well. There are lots of people out there who are experts in this field, and it’s important that we address critical and false statements about biofuels. Making comments is easy – just click on the comments/trackbacks link under the post you want to make a comment on and follow the directions.
I would also note that comments are screened before being allowed on the site – so please be nice.


Luke Perry and Biodiesel America

Cindy Zimmerman

Biodiesel America A new book is being unveiled at the National Biodiesel Conference in San Diego next month. “Biodiesel America” was written by Josh Tickell, author of “From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank: The Complete Guide to Using Vegetable Oils as an Alternative Fuel.” According to a release about the book, Tickell shatters the myth that America must remain dependent on Middle East oil. Tickell shows how biodiesel, a cleaner-burning fuel made from vegetable oil and other natural fats and oils, could bring over one million jobs back to America, invigorate our economy and create a stable domestic fuel supply, while leaving our lifestyle and food supply completely untouched.

I thought it was interesting that one of the quotes about the book was from Luke Perry “actor & farmer” who says “Biodiesel America gives me hope for the future of our great country. Thanks to Josh’s book, we can grow our fuel, bring money into our communities and stop our dependence on foreign energy.” You should remember Luke Perry from Beverly Hills 90210, “in which he portrayed the brooding but sensitive Dylan McKay.” That little teen cutie is now 40 years old and, I guess, a farmer. I could not find any info on line to confirm that, although I did discover he was ranked #6 in TV Guide’s list of “TV’s 25 Greatest Teen Idols” in January 2005. I would be very interested to know what he farms and where.

“Biodiesel America” will be launched on February 6, 2006 at 10:30 a.m. during the general session of the National Biodiesel Board Conference and Expo at the San Diego Convention Center. The Biodiesel website, which was started by Josh (a little cutie himself who looks kind of like Ron Howard when he was Opie and had hair), has all kinds of good stuff on it. Check it out.

Biodiesel, Miscellaneous

Indy Podcasts

Cindy Zimmerman

Indy Pro Fire up your I-Pod and tune in to the latest in Indy racing news from There’s the Indy Racing Weekly Podcast, IMS Radio Network Podcast, and Indy Racing League Teleconference Podcast.
If you wonder what that has to do with domestic fuels, then you don’t know that IRL is embracing ethanol in a big way – starting this year on a 10 percent blend for all cars and going to 100 percent ethanol next year, replacing methanol.

By the way – be sure to tune in Monday for a big ethanol-related Indy announcement.

Ethanol, Miscellaneous

Nationwide Ethanol Plant News

Cindy Zimmerman

Here are links to some stories this week about ethanol plants in the news.

Nebraska – ASAlliances Biofuels breaks ground on 100 million gallon ethanol plant in Albion – link to story in Columbus Telegram
Indiana – Same company as above breaks ground on plant in Montgomery County. Link to story from INside Indiana Business
Iowa – Iowa BioFuels plant near Blairstown increases production, plans expansion – link to Sioux City Journal story
Nebraska again – Wisconsin-based E Energy intends to build a corn-processing ethanol plant in Custer county – this story from North Platte Telegraph

It’s not just that it’s Saturday afternoon and I don’t feel like doing posts on all of these stories. Usually I link to the press release from the company site and when I started out with the stories on the ASAlliances plants in NE and IN, I couldn’t find releases on their site – or the partners Cargill, United Bio Energy and Fagen who make up the development company. So, I decided just to link to the stories I found on them.

Ok – and it is a sleepy, kinda dreary Saturday – so, it works for me.

Ethanol, Production

Adding More Value to Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

Renessen New ethanol plant technology will be tested in Iowa. Renessen, LLC – the biotechnology company offspring produced from a mating between Cargill and Monsanto – has announced plans for a pilot plant in Eddyville that “has the potential to increase the profitability of corn growers, ethanol producers, and swine and poultry producers.” According to a company release, the plant will test a unique technology system in which new biotech corn hybrids with increased energy and nutrient levels will be combined with a novel dry corn separation technique designed for ethanol facilities.
By applying a novel processing technology with a high-nutrient corn specially adapted for the process, the system would allow a standard dry-grind ethanol plant to produce several products on site, including: corn oil for food and biodiesel; a nutrient-rich feed ingredient for use in swine and poultry production; a more easily fermentable ethanol medium; an enhanced form of distiller dried grains with solubles (DDGS), the standard cattle feed co-product of today’s ethanol dry milling process.
The new production process is expected to be more profitable because the nutrient-rich feed ingredient, the corn oil, and the enhanced DDGS produced in this new process all have potentially greater value than today’s traditional dry-grind ethanol co-products.

Link to the full release.

Ethanol, Production, Research

French Race for Ethanol Supremacy

Cindy Zimmerman

France wants to be the number one ethanol producer in Europe, according to this article from Reuters posted on Planet Ark today. Currently, Spain is Europe’s biggest ethanol producer with annual output of 200,000 tonnes. France occupies the number two spot with output of 100,000 tonnes a year, according to the article. The French ethanol industry coordinator believes that France can beat that by 2008 because they have more agricultural output than Spain. Alain Jeanroy told Reuters he expects France to produce 880,000 tonnes of ethanol by 2008 and two million tonnes by 2015. Currently, most of the ethanol production in France is from sugar beets, but they expect wheat to be most used in the future “due to it’s high availability.” The European Commission set a non-binding goal to have 5.75 percent of their energy supplied by bio-fuels by 2010, but France wants to beat that goal. I found this map of biofuels plants in France that shows where the production is located. The blue dots are biodiesel and the red squares are ethanol. About 40 percent of the biofuels production in France is ethanol, 60 percent biodiesel. The main crop used for biodiesel production is rapeseed.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, International, Production

Only Livestock Friendly Counties Need Apply

Cindy Zimmerman

MCGAMSA The Missouri Soybean Association and the Missouri Corn Growers Association showed their support for their biggest customers this week by opposing biofuel expansion in counties that restrict livestock production. Fact is, no matter how many new uses we might find for corn and soybeans, most of them are still going to be fed to cattle, hogs and poultry. In fact, over half of the soybeans produced in the U.S. are fed to livestock in the form of soybean meal and over 60 percent of the corn goes to livestock feed. So, according to MSA and MCGA leadership, soybean and corn farmers cannot afford to invest millions of dollars in biodiesel and ethanol production facilities in counties that refuse to support animal agriculture. In addition to limiting livestock and poultry production, county health ordinances also eliminate marketing potential for the high protein co-products that are created while processing corn and soybeans into biodiesel and ethanol. Without animal agriculture in close proximity to biodiesel and ethanol plants, the ability to utilize these co-products is diminished and the plants themselves become less viable.
Link to full release.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, Production

Wyoming Ethanol Racing Teams With Ethanol Industry In 2006

Cindy Zimmerman

The Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) has teamed up with Wyoming Ethanol Racing to be its title sponsor for the 2006 racing season. According to their news release:

The ethanol industry service providers will fund the sponsorship and have EPIC oversee the team’s promotions and public relations on its behalf for the season. The five-car drag team races with a high-performance fuel known as E-85, which is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline and is commercially available at the pump.

“We’re excited about the partnership. EPIC is a natural fit as our title team sponsor since we use E-85 to give us a performance advantage,” says Dan Schwartzkopf, a 17-year race veteran, and founder of Wyoming Ethanol Racing.

Dyno tests have shown performance gains over high-quality racing gasoline, in some cases more than 100 horsepower, without the downside of fuel system maintenance that one would have with a methanol-fuel engine.

“The sponsorship of Wyoming Ethanol Racing is important to the industry because it demonstrates to both race fans and everyday heros that ethanol is a performance fuel at every level,” says Tom Slunecka, the executive director of EPIC. “Not only can dragsters use it to increase performance, but a mother can stop at her local gas station, fill up her minivan with ethanol and then safely drive her kids to soccer practice.”

Ethanol, which is becoming a more common fuel in racing, is a high-octane, high-performance, clean-burning fuel. The IndyCar® Series is using a 10 percent ethanol 90 percent methanol fuel blend beginning in 2006, and 100 percent ethanol fuel in 2007.

Read the full release here.

I searched for about a half hour to try and find a logo or picture for Wyoming Ethanol Racing to no avail. I’d post one if someone would send me one.

EPIC, Ethanol

Biodiesel Conference Kicks Off Super Bowl Sunday

Cindy Zimmerman

Biodiesel industry leaders and experts are gearing up for the 2006 National Biodiesel Conference and Expo coming up in just a few weeks in beautiful San Diego. The meeting kicks off on Super Bowl Sunday, February 5th with a special Super Bowl party and welcome reception starting at 2:00 pm. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are jam-packed with activites, seminars, a trade show and much more. “Wednesday with Willie” wraps it all up – a live XM satellite radio broadcast hosted by Bill Mack “The Satellite Cowboy” and starring Willie Nelson. On-line registration closed January 13, but you can still register in person in San Diego.
If you can’t make it, not to worry. A National Biodiesel Conference BLOG is being set up and the event will be blogged by the best – my husband and partner Chuck Zimmerman. More about that when the website address is officially announced. Plus, we will have plenty of news from the conference here as well.


Ethanol Industry Leaders Address the Future

Cindy Zimmerman

RFA The Renewable Fuels Association held it’s winter meeting this week in Tucson, AZ – bringing some of the industry’s major movers and shakers together. Following the meeting, three industry leaders issued audio statements addressing the future of the industry – from continued growth to new technologies to the role of farmer-owned refineries. They are posted on the RFA website for your listening pleasure. The three are: RFA Chairman Ron Miller, President and CEO of Aventine Renewable Energy in Pekin, Illinois; Renewable Fuels Foundation chair Bill Lee, General Manager of Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company in Benson, Minnesota; and Tom Branhan, General Manager of Glacial Lakes Energy in Watertown, South Dakota.

Miller says 2005 was a great year for ethanol with passage of the Renewable Fuels Standard and 2006 holds just as much promise. “Currently there are 95 ethanol refineries capable of producing more than 4.3 billion gallons of ethanol every year,” he said, “in addition 29 refineries are under construction and nine plant expansions promise more than 1.5 billion gallons of additional capacity in the very near future.”

Lee talks about the development of cellulosic ethanol production in his comments. “There isn’t an ethanol refinery today that isn’t looking into new feedstocks, more efficient processing techniques and improved energy use.”

Branhan believes farmer-owned plants are the future of the industry. “Since 2002 ethanol production in this country has doubled largely due to the investment of farmers in rural communities across the country,” he said. “The largest ethanol producer has seen its share of the market decrease from 40 to 25 percent because of farmer-owned plants.”

These three guys and about 1250 other industry leaders and experts will be attending the 11th Annual National Ethanol Conference next month at the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada. Meeting dates are February 20-22. Conference registration and information is available here.