ACE Elects Executive Committee

Cindy Zimmerman

During its fourth quarter meeting, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Board of Directors elected its Officers and Executive Committee for 2020.

Re-elected to serve as officers on the 2020 Executive Committee are:

Duane Kristensen, serving as ACE’s Board President. Kristensen is the General Manager and Vice President of Operations of Chief Ethanol Fuels, which owns a 70 million-gallon-per-year (MGY) ethanol plant in Hastings and a 40 MGY plant in Lexington, Nebraska.

Dave Sovereign, serving as Vice President of the ACE Board. Sovereign is Chairman of Golden Grain Energy’s Board, which owns a 120 MGY ethanol plant in Mason City, Iowa. Sovereign also serves on the board of Absolute Energy, a 125 MGY ethanol producer in St. Ansgar, Iowa.

Ron Alverson, serving as Treasurer of the ACE Board of Directors, represents Dakota Ethanol, which owns a 50 MGY plant in Wentworth, South Dakota.

Greg Krissek, CEO of the Kansas Corn Growers Association, serving as Secretary of the ACE Board of Directors.

Chris Wilson, General Manager of Mid-Missouri Energy, a 50 MGY plant in Malta Bend, Missouri, serving as an Executive Committee member on ACE’s Board.

Also elected to serve on the 2020 Executive Committee is Troy Knecht, South Dakota farmer, representing Redfield Energy, a 50 MGY ethanol producer in Redfield, South Dakota.

ACE, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Presidential Hopeful Says Waivers are “Killing” Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

Ethanol and small refinery waivers came up in the middle of a trade question during the Democratic presidential candidate debate Wednesday on MSNBC.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg was asked whether he would continue the “farm subsidies” that President Trump has authorized to help farmers struggling from the impact of the trade war with China. “We shouldn’t have to pay farmers to take the edge off of a trade war that shouldn’t have been started in the first place,” said Buttigieg.

However, Buttigieg said there are other problems facing farmers. “The worst thing is these so-called small refinery waivers which are killing those who are involved in ethanol,” he said.

Presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg - farmers, trade, China, ethanol (1:41)

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, politics

National Biodiesel Board Elects New Leaders

Cindy Zimmerman

The National Biodiesel Board held its annual fall meeting this week in Washington D.C. to focus on policy initiatives and moving the industry forward. During the meeting, the membership elected representatives to serve on the Governing Board to help the development and success of biodiesel.

NBB members voted to fill seven board member spots for two-year terms:

Kent Engelbrecht, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM)
Chad Stone, Renewable Energy Group (REG)
Ryan Pederson, North Dakota Soybean Council
Harry Simpson, Crimson Renewable Energy
Paul Soanes, RBF Port Neches, LLC
Dave Walton, Iowa Soybean Association
Tim Ostrem, South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council

Troy Alberts, Rob Shaffer, Jeff Lynn, Tim Keaveney, Greg Anderson, Mike Rath, Robert Morton, and Tom Brooks continue to serve on the board. The board also elected Chad Stone as Chairman, Mike Rath as Vice Chairman, Rob Shaffer as 2nd Vice Chairman, Ryan Pederson as Treasurer and Troy Alberts as Secretary.

Nebraska soybean farmer Greg Anderson has served on the board for many years and has been an active biodiesel supporter for decades. At the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) Trade Talk last week, Anderson talked about the importance of the biodiesel industry to soybean farmers.

NAFB19 Greg Anderson, NBB soybean farmer leader
Audio, Biodiesel, NBB, Soybeans

New York Approves Sales of 15 Percent Ethanol Fuel

Cindy Zimmerman

Drivers in the state of New York will soon have the liberty to choose 15 percent ethanol blended fuel (E15) under a rule finalized Wednesday by the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets.

“Consumers in the Empire State can now enjoy the economic and environmental benefits of E15, and the opening of the state’s fuel market represents a growth opportunity for our industry at a time when new demand opportunities are sorely needed,” said Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Geoff Cooper.

The ethanol industry has been working with state officials to support the expansion of E15 into New York. “This was a culmination of a long process over several years, and we’re thrilled to see it finally move forward,” said Tim Winters, President and CEO of Western New York Energy in Medina, one of the leaders of the effort.

New York ranks fourth in gasoline consumption, and with the country coming off the highest monthly sales ever for gasoline, there is a lot of room for volume growth for E15 and other ethanol blends.

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings supports the E15 part of the rule, but is disappointed that it also aims to prohibit market access to mid-level ethanol blends. “We appreciate that the Department intends ‘to closely monitor the marketplace and will consider, at some future point, allowing additional blends if the marketplace adapts well to the introduction of E15’ and we look forward to assisting in the development of this market opportunity in the future.”

According to Growth Energy, sales of E15 this past summer were up 46 percent “compared to 2018 on a per-store basis” based on analysis of sales reported by Prime the Pump partnered retailers. The 2019 summer driving season was the first summer E15 was sold without restriction.

ACE, E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA

Proposal Would Extend Biodiesel Tax Incentive

Cindy Zimmerman

The Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now (GREEN) Act was introduced this week by Democrats on the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures led by Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05).

The draft legislation is called “a comprehensive approach to tackling climate change by using the tax code to extend and expand renewable energy use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions” and it would extend current renewable energy tax incentives, including for biodiesel.

Kurt Kovarik, Vice President of Federal Affairs with the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), says the proposal calls for a multi-year extension of the biodiesel tax incentive, keeping the credit at its current rate of $1.00 per gallon for 2018 through 2021 but gradually reduce it to $0.33 per gallon by 2024.

“We appreciate the recognition, through this proposed long-term extension, that the biodiesel industry is integral to our domestic energy needs,” said Kovarik. “We look forward to working with our supporters on Capitol Hill to ensure that consumers, producers and marketers benefit from a long-term, forward-looking pro-growth tax policy.”

Biodiesel board members are in the nation’s capital this week meeting with 88 Congressional offices to discuss the status of the biodiesel tax incentive as part of NBB’s fall member meeting.

Biodiesel, NBB

Grains Council Talks Trade at NAFB Trade Talk

Cindy Zimmerman

Trade was probably the top topic at NAFB Trade Talk last week and the U.S. Grains Council was more than ready to talk about it.

Darren Armstrong, a North Carolina farmer who is currently serving as chairman of the council, discussed the need for Congress to ratify USMCA, the new agreement with Japan, potential for ethanol in China, and some of the other markets where the council is very active promoting U.S. exports.

NAFB19 Darren Armstrong, US Grains Council (4:26)

2019 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, USGC

Rough Times for Biodiesel Industry

Cindy Zimmerman

It’s been a tough year for the biodiesel industry with ten biodiesel plants that have closed or cut back production, impacting jobs across the country, and ultimately the agricultural producers.

“It’s just one more hit to soybean farmers too, right now,” said National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Director of Communications Kaleb Little during an interview at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Trade Talk last week in Kansas City.

Last week, 140 companies and organizations from the biomass-based diesel industry, sent a letter to House and Senate leaders, telling them “an immediate extension of the biodiesel tax incentive is needed to prevent a severe economic disruption of the U.S. biodiesel industry.” This week, nearly 100 NBB members are in the nation’s capital to meet with 88 Congressional offices and discuss the status of the biodiesel tax incentive.

Little says the industry remains hopeful that they will receive better news from EPA yet this year to help them grow volumes of biomass-based diesel under the RFS, and make up for gallons lost under small refinery exemptions. “There’s still time for EPA to do the right thing,” said Little. “We have to be successful in this otherwise we’ll see more biodiesel producers shut their doors.”

Listen to Jamie Johansen’s interview with Little from NAFB:
NAFB19 Kaleb Little, National Biodiesel Board - policy (4:46)

2019 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Audio, Biodiesel, NAFB

Project LIBERTY “Pauses” Cellulosic Biofuel Production

Cindy Zimmerman

POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels is hitting the pause button on production of cellulosic biofuels at Project LIBERTY and shifting instead to “R&D focused on improving operational efficiency,” according to the company which is a joint venture of Royal DSM and POET, LLC.

POET-DSM is blaming the shift on “EPA challenges with the implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).”

“Over the last three years, EPA management of the RFS has held back cellulosic ethanol advancement, hindered future agricultural markets for U.S. farmers, and undermined what the President has promised,” said POET’s Senior Vice President of External Affairs and Communications, Kyle Gilley.

Gilley says EPA has continuously implemented lower RVO levels for cellulosic biofuels, granted small refinery waivers that caused a drop in D3 RIN values removing an incentive for purchasing the product and commercializing the technology, and blocked new cellulosic pathways by changing the approval mechanisms outside of the required legal processes.

“Because of these policy changes, the economic landscape for cellulosic ethanol in the US makes private and global investments in this technology more challenging. As a result, our joint venture is responding by temporarily pivoting and focusing on R&D efforts to improve technological efficiencies and explore additional international licensing opportunities in countries that are not choosing oil over agriculture,” said President DSM North America Hugh Welsh.

As part of this effort, the joint venture will use biomass stored on site or already under contract and will not purchase additional biomass at this time. The team needed to sustain R&D efforts has been evaluated and the joint venture will move forward with a reduced headcount in February.

Gilley and Welsh participated in a conference call with reporters Tuesday to discuss the action.

POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels press call (12:53)

advance biofuels, biofuels, Cellulosic, Ethanol, Ethanol News, POET

National Ethanol Conference to Feature Bill Kristol

Cindy Zimmerman

Political analyst and commentator Bill Kristol will provide his unique and entertaining brand of political insight and prognostication during a special luncheon at the 2020 National Ethanol Conference (NEC).

Kristol, founder and director of Defending Democracy Together and a regular guest on popular television news programs, will offer a look ahead at the 2020 elections and the emerging political landscape. The 25th annual NEC runs from February 10-12, 2020, in Houston, and Kristol will be featured on February 11.

Registration for the NEC is open and there is a November 22 deadline for discounted “early bird” registration.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, National Ethanol Conference, RFA

ACE Shares Ethanol News With Farm Broadcasters

Cindy Zimmerman

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings did a lot of interviews with farm broadcasters around the country last week about the importance of ethanol supporters making comments on the EPA’s proposed supplemental rule to the RFS.

“It’s critically important to farmers, to ethanol producers, to shareholders in ethanol plants, that for 2020, 15 billion gallons in the statute for the Renewable Fuels Standard indeed means 15 billion gallons,” said Jennings at the NAFB Trade Talk. “We have a very short window with which to try and get EPA turned around on a very flawed proposal.”

Listen to Jennings’ interview with Jamie Johansen here:
NAFB19 Brian Jennings, American Coalition for Ethanol

2019 NAFB Convention Photo Album

ACE, Audio, Ethanol, NAFB