BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Novozymes has become a member of the the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association. “We are pleased to welcome Novozymes to our portfolio of members. Novozymes provides its customers with advanced bioinnovation solutions that set new standards for performance and viability,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director of the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association.
  • In the first six months of 2015, the European offshore wind industry installed more new capacity than in any other year on record as several projects reached completion and deployment of larger turbines increased. Installations in the first half of 2015 touched 2,342.9MW – tripling the grid-connected capacity for the same period last year. As a result, total installed offshore wind capacity in Europe hit 10,393.6MW in 82 wind farms across 11 countries.
  • Senate President Kevin de León and California Air Resources Board Chair and Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. appointee Mary Nichols have announced the award of $1.6 million to the City of Los Angeles for an electric vehicle pilot program in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Pasquale Romano, president and CEO of ChargePoint, said of the announcement, “Today, California leaders are making a clear statement: California’s innovation economy is for everyone, including economically hard hit communities where clean technology investments mean more jobs and healthier communities.”
  • Hydro Ottawa has announced that it has acquired 10 run-of-the-river hydroelectric facilities from Fortis Inc., in Ontario and nearby New York State; representing approximately 30.9MW of installed operating green energy capacity. Hydro Ottawa was already the largest municipally-owned producer of green energy in Ontario with a generation capacity of 48 MW. The acquisition aligns with Hydro Ottawa’s 2012-2016 Strategic Direction to increase the utility’s supply of clean energy to customers, and by pursuing low risk opportunities with stable long-term returns.

Voters Want Pro Clean Energy Prez Candidates

NextGen Climate has released the results of a survey that finds voters in key presidential swing states support transitioning to at least 50 percent clean energy by 2030. Hart Research conducted the poll in eight battleground states including: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin. In particular, the survey found that young voters (Millennials) are more likely to vote for a candidate who embraces aggressive climate change goals.

The survey also found:

  • 70% of voters had a favorable reaction to a goal of at least 50% clean energy by 2030 — including 69% of independents and 54% of Republicans.
  • 61% of voters said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who embraced this goal, while only 14% say they would be less likely.

“Transitioning to a clean energy economy is an ambitious goal, but one that is necessary and achievable — and politically potent, ” said NextGen Climate President and Founder Tom Steyer. “It’s time for presidential candidates in both parties to produce plans to achieve at least 50% clean energy by 2030 and put us on a path to a completely clean energy economy by 2050—creating millions of jobs across the country and protecting our economy from the most devastating impacts of climate change.”

The survey supports that swing state voters believe achieving at least 50 percent clean energy by 2030 is an “important priority” and “necessary” and favor specific policies and initiatives that will build a clean energy economy. Millennial voters are particularly likely to support the goal, and see it as “inspiring.”

The poll is part of an NextGen Climate initiative to call on leaders to embrace policies that accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy.

Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis to Assume New Role

growth-energy-logo1Growth Energy has announced today that CEO Tom Buis has been named as co-chairman of the organization’s Board of Directors, joining POET Founder and Executive Chairman Jeff Broin in that role.

In his new role Buis will remain actively involved in member activities and policy matters important to the industry. Buis will continue overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization until a new CEO has been appointed.

buis“I love this job and I love advocating for an industry that means so much for America,” Buis said. “As co-chair, I will remain engaged in growing membership and advocating for policies that benefit American farmers and consumers, but I’m also at a point in life where I’m ready to assume more of a guiding role as a leader on the board. I am proud of the accomplishments we have had at Growth Energy, as it has grown from a startup to the largest trade association representing the ethanol industry in America.”

Growth Energy has retained Korn/Ferry International, the world’s largest executive search firm, to lead a nationwide search for its next CEO.

UPS Substantially Ups Renewable Diesel Use

UPSShipping giant UPS is taking a giant leap forward in its use of renewable diesel. The company announced agreements to buy and use up to 46 million gallons of renewable fuels over the next three years, a 15-fold increase over prior contracts and making UPS one of the largest users of renewable diesel in the world.

The agreements with three leading suppliers of renewable fuels, secure access to an advanced renewable diesel fuel in order to meet the company’s objectives for alternative fuel utilization. Neste, Renewable Energy Group (REG) and Solazyme will supply renewable diesel to UPS to help facilitate the company’s shift to move more than 12% of its purchased ground fuel from conventional diesel and gasoline fuel to alternative fuels by the end of 2017. UPS has previously announced a goal of driving one billion miles with our alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles by the end of 2017.

“Advanced alternative fuels like renewable diesel are an important part of our strategy to reduce the carbon emissions impact of our fleet,” said Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president, global engineering and sustainability. “We have used more than three million gallons of renewable diesel to date with positive results. Renewable diesel has a huge impact significantly reducing lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent less versus conventional petroleum diesel. Renewable diesel also performs well in cold weather, does not have any blending limitations and can be easily ‘dropped in’ to our fuel supply chain without modifications to our existing diesel trucks and equipment.”

“UPS believes these agreements are especially important because they will help stimulate demand for investment in refinery technologies and sustainable feedstocks needed to produce renewable fuels at a total cost that is comparable to more carbon-intensive petroleum fuels,” said Wallace.

UPS has been running its trucks in Texas and Louisiana on renewable fuels for more than a year. These new agreements provide a path for expanded use across the U.S. and potentially in parts of Europe.

ASA Wants RFS Biodiesel Goals to be Realistic

ams15-asa-wadeGoals for biodiesel in the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) recently announced by the government could be a bit better and should be realistic, as the green fuel benefits everyone and gains some unlikely allies. Cindy caught up with Wade Cowan, Texas farmer and president of the American Soybean Association (ASA) during the Ag Media Summit and got his thoughts on biodiesel and what the Environmental Protection Agency’s goals on biodiesel in the RFS means.

“We would hope [the EPA] would raise the goals [to high but attainable levels],” he said. “It’s a product that not only helps all the consumers in the country who use diesel, but it also helps livestock producers” by keeping a steady supply of soybean meal available. “We’re not asking for the moon, but we want [the RFS goals] high enough to keep making the industry want to go forward and be more productive.”

Wade said biodiesel even has fans in the oil industry.

“They like biodiesel, because someone has to distribute it,” adding companies like Exxon are also interested in helping make the environment better and reduce the U.S.’ dependence on foreign oil. “They’re in it with us, and we expect to see more and more cooperation.”

You can hear all of Cindy’s interview with Wade (or if you’re impatient and just want to get to the biodiesel parts, fast-forward to about the 5:00 mark) here: Interview with Wade Cowan, ASA president

2015 Ag Media Summit Photo Album

Icom Adds New Propane Vehicles to Lineup

001-2016-ford-police-interceptor-utility-1Icom North America, based in New Hudson, Michigan, has added several new propane powered vehicles to its offering. Customers can now purchase 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016 3.7 engine Ford Police Sport Utility, Police Sedan, Explorer, Taurus, Edge, Flex and Lincoln MKT, MKS and MKX. These fleet platforms are focused on police, government and livery vehicles and Icom said using propane reduces fuel costs and offers a more sustainable transportation option.

Ed Zoglman Icom V.P. Central Division, said, “Icom enjoys a large Police, Government Fleet and Livery market and Icom is the first to certify these key vehicle platforms for which we have a large order-bank.”

“I drive many thousands of miles each month in an Icom Liquid Injection System SUV and enjoy noticeable increased performance and miles per gallon as compared to propane vapor injection kits and performance exceeding gasoline,” noted David Griffin Icom Southeast autogas specialist. “Having been a Propane Fleet Manager and Technician for almost 20 years what most impressed me about the Icom System are the many benefits of Liquid Injection and how Plug and Play the Icom Systems are.”

Icom is anticipating additional EPA Certifications for additioanl fleet platforms powered by liquid injection propane systems.

Grains Council Presents Ethanol Export Strategy

During this week’s 55th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting in Montreal, Canada, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) unveiled an ethanol export promotion strategy. The program was developed with input from the ethanol industry including U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

U.S. Grains Council Chairman Ron Gray.

U.S. Grains Council Chairman Ron Gray.

“In 2014, the Council and its partners completed in-depth market assessments in Southeast Asia, Peru, Panama, Japan and Korea that produced valuable information used develop this strategy,” said USGC Chairman Ron Gray. “Our plans in these markets continue to develop, and we are carrying on market assessment work in places like Canada and the European Union. However, we are also moving forward aggressively with market development and policy-focused work in countries like the Philippines that have the potential to increase demand for U.S. ethanol in the near term.”

Ethanol was the subject of a general session panel at the meeting, including input from Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis, RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen and Green Plains Renewable Energy Executive Vice President for Ethanol Marketing Steve Bleyl, moderated by USGC’s Chief Economist Mike Dwyer, a leading global biofuels analyst.

Ethanol export plans were explored in more depth during the Ethanol Advisory Team meeting, comprised of members from throughout the value chain, and a breakout session focused specifically on USGC’s ongoing ethanol-focused programs.

“U.S. ethanol exports are becoming increasingly vital to our stakeholders’ bottom line, which makes finding new markets for U.S. ethanol is a priority for the Council,” Gray added. “This plan shows our and our partners’ commitments to making that happen.”

Among other activities, two trade teams in the United States and three missions traveling overseas are scheduled to focus on ethanol in the remainder of 2015.

Express Lube Offers Gevo’s Isobutanol

Gevo has announced that Express Lube of Fredericksburg, Texas, is the first U.S. service station to sell gasoline blended with Gevo’s renewable isobutanol at the pump. Gevo said this is anticipated to be the first of many retail locations to offer Gevo’s product as the company rolls out its isobutanol to the marina, outdoor equipment and off-road gasoline markets.

Gevo logoAccording to Express Lube owner Adam Sheffield, he decided to sell isobutanol-blended gasoline because its moisture resistance and capacity to reduce engine corrosion are ideal for equipment and vehicles that are used intermittently. Sheffield learned about Gevo’s renewable isobutanol from Kino Oil, a local distributor that sells the product in drums. Kino began to offer the fuel made with isobutanol after finding that it is ethanol-free and is excellent for use with marine and off-road engines. Today the station is selling its fuel at over a 50 percent premium in comparison to local E10 gasoline blends that contain 10 percent ethanol.

“Isobutanol is great for weed eaters, mowers and farm or ranch equipment that sits unused for long periods of time – because it does not cause carburetors to gum up the way ethanol does,” said Sheffield. “I tried it myself after discovering that the ethanol-blended gasoline sitting in my riding mower over the winter had ruined the carburetor. It cost me $700 to replace. That’s when I switched to isobutanol.”

According to Gevo, its isobutanol is blended with gasoline to help meet renewable fuel
and clean air standards, and after several years of work and testing, has successfully obtained registration with the U.S. EPA as a fuel additive. Recently, the National Marine Manufacturers Association officially endorsed isobutanol as a drop-in fuel for marine and recreational boat engines. Gevo believes that retail sales of isobutanol-blended gasoline by Express Lube will help establish the value proposition for other fuel retailers.

Dr. Patrick Gruber, Chief Executive Officer of Gevo, added, “We welcome Express Lube as the very first retail service station to sell gasoline made with our isobutanol. It’s only a matter of time before other distributors and gas stations across the U.S. and in other parts of the world discover the benefits of isobutanol, and begin to offer our product commercially as well.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Ocean Energy Europe, the industry group for ocean renewable energy in Europe, exceeded 100 members when Wavepower, Marine Power Systems and Mojo Maritime joined as members. They join a growing list of industry representatives uniting behind a common plan for industrialising the ocean energy sector.
  • The Waste Conversion Development & Finance Summit is scheduled September 29 to October 1, 2015, at the Law Offices of Baker & McKenzie in Chicago, IL. According to a study conducted by Grand View Research in early January 2015, the global WTE market is expected to reach $37 billion by 2020. The three-day event, hosted by InfoCast, will focus on the development and financing of the projected market.
  • SkyPower, under the guidance of the Government of Kenya, will distribute two million solar kits to homes and working families across the nation currently without access to electricity. The portable SkyPower Home solar kits include a solar panel and an inverter to help Kenyans harness the power of the sun. The home solar kits include LED bulbs, a fan, USB charging capabilities and a radio that will be powered and recharged by the sun.
  • VIASPACE Inc. has announced that it has completed the engineering and design work for a 2 MW biogas power plant in Papua New Guinea for Clean Energy Solutions Pacific (CES). The CES project located in Papua New Guinea (PNG) is to own and operate a biogas power plant and Giant King Grass plantation that delivers reliable, 24/7 electricity to the grid to meet the customer demand profile, under a power purchase agreement from the government electricity company.

Power of Biodiesel to be on Display at Farmfest

FarmfestThe power of biodiesel will be on display at the upcoming Farmfest in Minnesota. The United Pullers of Minnesota, a state organization of the National Tractor Pullers Association (NTPA), will hold the Minnesota BioDiesel Pull-Off at the Redwood County Fairgrounds on Tuesday, Aug. 4th.

[T]his fun and exciting event promises something for everyone featuring seven classes of tractors, trucks and semis! Come out and support the Redwood County Fair Board and get ready for a night of great entertainment!

You can get your tickets for the BioDiesel Pull-Off at the fairgrounds beginning at 4:00 p.m. the day of the pull. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for children 6-12, and free for kids 5 & Under: FREE