Ethanol Producers Manage Growth, Change

The 10th annual Biofuels Financial Conference is right around the corner. This year’s theme is “Managing Expectations” and will focus on ways the successful biofuels facilities are watching for ways to manage capital, reinvest profits and help their plants evolve says John Christianson, CPA and Partner at Christianson & Associates, PLLP, based in Willmar, MN. The Biofuels Financial Conference is taking place June 24-25, 2015 in Minneapolis, MN at the Bloomington Embassy Suites.

Christianson and A logoSpeakers will discuss various aspects of creating a well-managed plan for growth and change, and ways to help investors understand the essential components of future success. Christianson says that his company, which is both a CPA firm and a consulting firm that has worked in the biofuels industry for 20 years, understands the importance of providing services and products that can help ensure financial success for a biofuels plant. This year’s Biofuels Financial Conference will focus on creating a financial plan that maximizes profitability while ensuring future stability and meeting the expectations of all stakeholders.

“It’s important for board members and financial decision-makers to understand the opportunities in the current liquid fuels marketplace,” Christianson added. “What is the impact of the latest legislation changes, what are the marketplace opportunities, what are the technology investments that will bring a plant successfully into the next generation?”

Registration is still open but space is limited. Learn more about the Biofuels Financial Conference and register by clicking here.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1ReNew Power Ventures Pvt. Ltd., one of India’s largest clean energy companies, has appointed Ajay K Goel as President Solar & Chief New Businesses. In his current role, Ajay will be responsible for building new businesses on the distributed side of the solar sector focusing on commercial, industrial and residential segments.
  • Hanwha Q CELLS Co., Ltd. and its development partner Golden Square Energy, have put two solar power plants in operation near Cambridge in the United Kingdom. After having received planning consent for the Fenland Farm and the Green End PV parks in November 2014 and December 2014 respectively, construction and grid connection of both projects took place in the first quarter of 2015, on time to operate under the 1.4 ROC scheme.
  • MPOWERD Inc., the maker of Luci inflatable solar lights, announced that they have signed a 5-year deal with one of the world’s leading medical supply distributors, UK & US-based Durbin Group. The deal significantly expands the presence of MPOWERD’s solar lights in the NGO and humanitarian aid sector, as Durbin will market the lights throughout its vast network of charitable clients in 180 countries. The companies project that millions of units will be distributed over the course of the 5 year contract.
  • AWS Truepower, LLC, an international leader in renewable energy consulting and information services, announced a major upgrade to Windographer, its market-leading software for analyzing, visualizing, and validating wind resource data from meteorological towers and remote sensing systems. Version 4 allows users to perform numerous tasks more effectively and in less time, while retaining the intuitive, easy-to-use interface that has made the software so popular.

Making More Sustainable Ethanol at FEW

celleratesyngentaAttendees of the upcoming Fuel Ethanol Workshop (FEW), June 1 – 4, will have the chance to learn about the next leap forward for ethanol production, as Syngenta presents: Cellerate – a revolutionary ethanol process technology that converts corn kernel fiber into cellulosic ethanol.

Quad County Corn Processors CEO Delayne Johnson will discuss Cellerate as part of, “Grabbing that Next Rung: Advanced Ethanol Production for Existing Starch Producers.” Don’t miss his presentation:

When: Tuesday June 2, 1:30pm – 3:00pm
Where: Room 101 DEFG

Syngenta also invites you to stop by booth 701 at FEW to learn how Syngenta is making ethanol more sustainable by integrating Cellerate process technology and Enogen corn enzyme technology.

Ethanol Groups Promote Safe Boating on E10

With the Memorial Day weekend approaching fast, the ethanol industry is assuring boaters that 10% ethanol blended fuel is just fine for marine engines, despite what the American Petroleum Institute says.

In response to an API press call with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) on Wednesday, Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis noted that “all major manufacturers of outboard and marine motors, as well as small engines, are approved for the use of gasoline blended with up to 10 percent ethanol.”

“What probably does concern boaters is the amount of time they spend dry docked as a result of oil spills, like the one that dumped 21,000 gallons of oil along four miles of coastline in Santa Barbara, California” this week,” said Buis.

rfa-nbra-3Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen adds that “E10 has been used successfully in marine engines for 30 years now” and that the higher octane in the fuel helps with summertime boating activities. “It’s gasoline on steroids, it doesn’t pollute, it’ll pull your jetskier, it’ll pull your tuber, it’ll get you to your favorite fishing hole, and you can know you’re supporting America’s farmers and clean water,” said Dinneen.

Dinneen’s simple advice to boaters concerned about using E10: “Take a look at your owner’s manual.” And check out RFA’s FAQs on ethanol and marine engines.

Listen to Dinneen’s comments about E10 and boating here: RFA CEO on E10 Safe for Boats

E15 Comes to Orlando

protecfuelThe Orlando, Florida area is getting its first offering of the higher blend of ethanol, E15. Biofuels distributor Protec Fuel and Kissimmee Citgo have teamed up to launch the 88-octane fuel at the station at 3297 S. John Young Pkwy in Kissimmee, which already sells E85 and B20 biodiesel fuel.

“We are extremely excited to be the first in Central Florida to offer this additional grade of alternative fuel,” said Ken Allen, president of Mid-State Energy, Inc., “and offer our customers more choices as it comes to fueling. This vacation destination is especially prime with all the rental cars that can run on E15, and even E85.” Mid-State Energy, Inc. owns and provides fuel for this station.

These are part of Protec Fuel’s station rollout of dozens of E15 sites to metropolitan areas that include various cities in the South and Southeast. This is the fourth location under Protec to open in Florida.

The news was also welcomed by ethanol advocacy group Growth Energy.

Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, issued the following statement:

“I would like to congratulate Protec for bringing higher performing, lower cost fuel options to more consumers in Florida. Protec recognizes that E15 is a win for both retailers and consumers, and its ongoing efforts to find new locations to offer the homegrown renewable fuel shows that it is a leader in the marketplace.

“The demand for E15 is strong, and it is great to see E15 expand its footprint in Florida. It is clear, with the growing presence of E15 that when consumers are given the choice, they will choose the less expensive fuel that is better for their engines and our environment – one that creates jobs in America and reduces our dangerous dependence on foreign oil.”

Buis pointed out that E15 is compatible with more than 80 percent of the cars on the road today, as millions of miles have been driven on E15 without a single issue.

Study Shows No RINS Impact on Gas Prices

fuelsA new statistical analysis prepared for the Renewable Fuels Association shows that retail gas prices remain unaffected by the “RIN credit” system under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

According to the analysis, conducted by Informa Economics, Inc., prices for “RIN credits” (Renewable Identification Numbers) used to demonstrate compliance with the RFS had no impact on retail gasoline prices from 2013 through the first quarter of 2015.

Instead, the analysis shows that “…a majority of gasoline price movements can be explained by crude oil prices.” In fact, the study found that gas prices in recent years have been driven almost entirely by crude oil prices and vehicle miles traveled.

RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen says the study “disproves the faulty assertion by oil industry trade groups that RINs somehow negatively influence consumer gas prices.”

“The bottom line is that RINs are free for refiners who purchase and blend required volumes of ethanol with gasoline,” said Dinneen. “Only those refiners who stubbornly refuse to blend required ethanol volumes have a need to buy separated RINs on the open market; and in the highly competitive gasoline marketplace, there is no way they can pass those costs on to consumers and remain competitive with refiners and blenders who are blending more ethanol than required.”

The new Informa analysis also supports the findings of an April study by former White House economic advisor James Stock, who concluded that “…there is negligible estimated effect of RIN prices on pump E10 prices.” Dinneen notes that Stock is a former Office of Management and Budget official who was involved with the approval of EPA’s proposal in November 2013 that called for scaling back the RFS. “I wish he had that revelation when he was at OMB,” said Dinneen.

Dinneen comments on the new analysis in this interview: RFA CEO on RINs/Gas Price Analysis

Biodiesel Board Ad Campaign Showcases Success

nBBA new ad campaign from the National Biodiesel Board is showcasing the success of the green fuel from coast to coast. The “Biodiesel is Getting Us Where We Need to Go” campaign celebrates biodiesel’s benefits that touch cities and towns, fields and farms, water and air.

“Biodiesel shows that forward-looking energy initiatives work to promote new ideas and innovation that deliver results,” said Joe Jobe, National Biodiesel Board CEO. “We have a lot to be proud of and want to showcase to leaders in Washington and around the nation the environmental, economic, and energy benefits biodiesel brings right to their communities.”

The 30 second commercial will air on national television networks, as well as on select local broadcast outlets and cable news programs throughout the summer.

The digital campaign includes banner advertising and a 15 second version of the television commercial presented as a pre-roll to programming on news platforms and as openers to videos on YouTube. Radio and print focused on target areas will round out the comprehensive campaign, anchored by a re-launched website (www.americasadvancedbiofuel.com) that provides videos featuring how biodiesel is making a difference in from coast to coast.

The campaign complements NBB’s efforts to support biodiesel growth through the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and is funded by the United Soybean Board, State Soybean Checkoff Boards, U.S. Canola Association, and the National Biodiesel Board.

Biofuels, Nat Gas Boost Nonpetroleum Usage Levels

Petroleum is still tops in transportation fuels, but biodiesel, ethanol and natural gas have taken the biggest bite out of its share since 1954. This report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says the numbers harken back to when coal-fired steam locomotives were declining and automobile use was growing rapidly.
nonpetroleumconsumption
After nearly 50 years of relative stability at about 4%, the nonpetroleum share started increasing steadily in the mid-2000s, reaching 8.5% in 2014. Of the nonpetroleum fuels used for transportation, fuel ethanol has grown most rapidly in recent years, increasing by nearly one quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) between 2000 and 2014. Nearly all of the ethanol consumed was blended into gasoline in blends of 10% or less, but a small amount was used in vehicles capable of running on higher blends as the availability of those flexible-fuel vehicles grew. Consumption of biodiesel, most of it blended into diesel fuel for use in trucks and buses, grew to more than 180 trillion Btu by 2014.

In 2014, transportation use of natural gas reached a historic high of 946 trillion Btu, 3.5% of all natural gas used in the United States. Transportation natural gas is mostly used in the operation of pipelines, primarily to run compressor stations and to deliver natural gas to consumers. Natural gas used to fuel vehicles, although a much smaller amount, has more than doubled since 2000.

RFA Honored with 3rd TRANSCAER Award

rfa-transcaerFor the third year in a row the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) was awarded the annual TRANSCAER® Achievement Award for its work training first responders for ethanol-related emergencies.

The award is given to “recognize the achievements of individuals, companies, and organizations which have gone beyond the normal call of duty to advocate, demonstrate and implement the principles of TRANSCAER®.” The volunteer coalition works to ensure the nation’s emergency responders are prepared and educated with the most up-to-date information to handle hazardous material disasters.

RFA established an “Ethanol Safety Seminar” program — in conjunction with TRANSCAER® — to educate emergency responders on the make-up and properties of ethanol as well as proper emergency techniques when responding to potentially harmful scenarios. The curriculum is centered on Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition’s (EERC) “Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response,” which has been used over the past five years to educate 4,600 first responders all across the country.

Missy Ruff, RFA’s technical services manager, was on hand to receive the award Tuesday at the AAR/BOE Hazardous Materials Seminar in Addison, Texas.

BIO to EPA: Issue RFS Rule Consistent with Statute

biologoThe Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today issued comments on the proposed consent decree to resolve oil industry lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency over delays in promulgating final rules for annual biofuel volume obligations.

“BIO is supportive of EPA’s commitments contained in the proposed consent decree, which would establish definitive deadlines this year for EPA to take final action on the 2014 RFS rule and proposed and final action on the 2015 RFS rule,” Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, wrote in the official comments. “EPA should withdraw its proposed 2014 RFS rule and reissue it by June 1, 2015, to include advanced and total renewable biofuel volumes that are consistent with the RFS statute.”

BIO recently released an analysis showing that instability in EPA’s administration of the RFS is responsible for chilling as much as $13.7 billion in investments that the advanced biofuel industry needed to build capacity to meet the RFS goals. The delays in rulemaking have also undercut the industry’s ability to create new employment opportunities, resulting in the loss of more than 80,000 direct jobs.