Hearing Addresses #RFS Management

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

senate-hearingThe Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management held a hearing yesterday examining two reports by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) released this week. The hearing included testimony from Frank Rusco, GAO Director Natural Resources and Environment and Janet McCabe, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation and was chaired by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), who advocates repealing the RFS.

According to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the GAO reports “incorrectly suggest the RFS is falling short of its goals to support commercialization of advanced and cellulosic biofuels.”

“This hearing and the GAO reports really miss the point. The RFS has been a resounding success by any measure,” said RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen, who adds that Congress realized in 2007 that it would take some time to get cellulosic biofuel to commercialization by allowing EPA to adjust advanced and cellulosic volume requirements.

Dinneen said advanced biofuel production is now growing dramatically. “Production and use of advanced biofuels has risen from less than 200 million gallons when the original RFS was adopted in 2005 to approximately 4 billion gallons (RINs) in 2016—a 20-fold increase. That’s a remarkable achievement that simply wouldn’t have occurred without the RFS.”

Dinneen also notes that the GAO reports fail to recognize other factors that impeded more rapid growth in advanced and cellulosic biofuel production, including the recession and financial crisis, lengthy delays by EPA in setting annual RFS volume requirements, and uncertainty caused by oil industry lawsuits and repeal efforts.

advance biofuels, Cellulosic, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government, RFA, RFS

#Biodiesel Supporters Share Stories on the Hill

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

nbb-16-dcMore than 30 biodiesel supporters from multiple states shared their stories and the benefits on biodiesel in the halls of Congress this week.

“We have a great message to share with our elected officials,” said National Biodiesel Board CEO, Donnell Rehagen. “We want our messages and our success story to be top of mind now and when any tax extenders or reform is considered.”

The biodiesel industry representatives visited members of Congress with a call to extend the biodiesel tax incentive and move it from a blender’s tax credit to a producer’s tax credit. The current blender’s credit will expire at the end of this year and proposed legislation in both the House and Senate (HR 5240, S 3188) would adjust the credit to support domestic production over imports.

“Effective federal policy has helped level the playing field for our relatively new product. This is about so much more than a standard or tax code. It’s about real people, making a real difference to bring jobs and economic growth all while supporting clean air and renewable fuel options,” Rehagen explained.

Under the current “blender’s” structure of the incentive, foreign biodiesel imported to the U.S. and blended with petroleum diesel in the U.S. is eligible for the tax incentive. Increasingly, foreign biodiesel producers are taking advantage of the U.S. incentive by shipping their product here. In 2015 alone, some 670 million gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel were imported to the U.S., making up nearly a third of the U.S. market.

advance biofuels, Biodiesel, NBB, politics

BioEnergy Bytes

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Green Biologics, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Green Biologics Ltd., a U.K. industrial biotechnology and renewable chemicals company, has announced that its high purity bio-based n-butanol and acetone have received official certification under the USDA BioPreferred® program. The products are now certified as 100 percent bio-based and are marketed under the BioPure™ brand.
  • Biofuels Digest has reported that Blue Marble Biomaterials will become the first biomaterials company to utilize Regulation A+, a type of equity crowdfunding regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and will offer equity shares to the public. Regulation A+ differs from other popular crowdfunding methods, such as Kickstarter. Under Reg A+, investors buy equity in the company. A natural-biochemical pioneer, Blue Marble intends to use the capital raised through its online public offering to expand production capabilities and research and develop new natural chemicals.
  • The English government is seeking input from the public and stakeholders on proposed changes to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation Order. In particular it concerns increases to the obligation level, the appropriate level for the contribution of renewable fuels created from agricultural crops, and increases to the use of advanced renewable fuels.
  • ICSA president Patrick Kent has slammed leaked EU Commission proposals which would undermine previous biofuel policy. The leak is from a new renewable energy plan from the Commission which apparently will slash the target for the crop biofuel component of EU transport fuels from 7% to 3.4% by 2030. According to Kent, this strategy flies in the face of logic. The Commission which was supportive of biofuels has now decided to reverse its position without any scientific basis for so doing. Kent says, “What the Commission is proposing to do will deny tillage farmers access to an important income stream and also puts at risk tens of thousands of jobs across Europe. It will end investor interest in EU biofuels, with a direct knock on effect on the efforts to revive the Irish sugar industry – proposals which have received the direct support of all of the major political parties in Dail Eireann and it will make it harder to achieve EU targets to cut GHG emissions from road traffic.”
Bioenergy Bytes

#Ethanol Industry to EPA: Deny Point of Obligation Change

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-9-50-39-amA letter was sent to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator McCarthy yesterday from the ethanol industry, along with some unlikely allies, calling on the EPA to deny the request for a change to the point of obligation for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)  compliance.  The letter was signed by Growth Energy, API, RFA, PMAA, Advanced Biofuels Association, NACS, NATSO and SIGMA. The letter states:

Dear Administrator McCarthy,

The undersigned associations represent a significant majority of participants across the United States’ transportation fuels value chain. While each association has an individual, unique position – often conflicting – regarding the broader Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, we write to express our unified position in opposition to efforts by petitioners to move the point of obligation for RFS compliance. It is unprecedented for all of these undersigned groups to unite in a single letter to express a uniformly held position.

Each of the undersigned associations strongly supports the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed denial of petitions for a rulemaking to change the point of obligation under the RFS. There is no sound public policy rationale for moving the point of obligation and further, such a change would add complexity and uncertainty to the current RFS program.

We urge EPA to finalize its conclusion and deny the petitions to move the point of obligation.

EPA, Ethanol, Growth Energy, RFA, RFS

Should EPA Increase Biofuels Use?

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

zp-nh1Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “What are you most thankful for this year?”

Family, friends, food and freedom…no doubt the simple majority shined in our Thanksgiving poll.

Here are the poll results:

  • Family – 13%
  • Friends – 3%
  • Food – 0%
  • Freedom – 0%
  • All of the above – 80%
  • Other – 3%

Our new ZimmPoll is live and asks the question, Should EPA increase biofuels use?

EPA set final levels for biofuels use in 2017 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) last week that are in line with the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, calling for the maximum 15 million gallons of conventional ethanol for the first time and increasing volumes for biomass-based biodiesel. What’s your reaction to that?

ZimmPoll

Finnish #Climate Report Phases out Coal, Ups #Biofuels

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

On November 30, 2016, the Finnish Government began discussing its approved National Energy and Climate Strategy that was released on November 24th. “National Energy and Climate Strategy to 2030,” outlines the country’s strategies and gives detailed actions that will be undertaken for the country to reach European Union (EU) climate objectives through 2030 as well as to help Finland to meet its Paris Climate Change Agreement. The biggest action, and the first of its kind for any country, is the complete phasing out of coal during the 2020s. A proposal on how to accomplish this goal will be prepared and may include the recommendations of “strong tax steering” or “legally prohibiting the use of coal” may be offered.

Finnish Government unveiling its National Energy and Climate Strategy during a press event. Photo Credit: Finnish Government

Finnish Government unveiling its National Energy and Climate Strategy during a press event. Photo Credit: Finnish Government

“We are facing a global and fundamental change of the whole energy economy. The National Energy and Climate Strategy adopted by the Finnish Government today is our response to this serious challenge,” said Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn during a press conference to unveil the plan. Also on hand for the press event were Minister of Agriculture and the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen, Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Kai Mykkänen, and Minister of Justice and Employment Jari Lindström who presented the high-level strategies and objectives.

According to the report, the share of renewable energy of total energy consumption will increase to more than 50 percent in the 2020s. With this in mind, the overall goal of the energy plan is for Finland’s energy system to become carbon neutral with the majority of energy provided by sustainable, low carbon renewable sources. The energy plan outlines several measures to reduce GHG emissions in sectors outside of emissions trading with the majority in land and air transportation. In addition, the country’s large amount of biomass, or waste wood, will be a key feedstock to meet renewable energy goals.

Specific to biofuels, the country’s use of imported oil as well as jet fuel and kerosene will be cut in half during the 2020s as compared to the total energy consumption of 2005. This includes a transition away from fossil energy in the transport, heating and machinery sectors. According to energy plan, the percentage of biofuel in fuels sold to road transport will be increased to 30 percent by 2030.

With the increased role of biofuels, the report finds that there will also be an increase in the use of forest-industry by-products and forest chips. However, the plan states that raw material suitable for the wood processing industry will not be used for energy production and the plan calls for sustainability programs to be put in place to preserve the forests.

Also of note, in an effort to support the conversion to renewable energy, the energy plan calls for investment subsidies that will mainly be focused on commercializing new technologies especially those producing advanced biofuels for the transportation sector and technologies that use waste as feedstocks will also be supported.

advance biofuels, Alternative energy, bioenergy, biojet fuel, Climate Change

Growth Energy, Retailers Pink Out Program Raises $40K

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

growth-energy-logo1This past October Growth Energy partnered with several retailers who sell E15 for a Pink Out campaign to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. When a consumer purchased E15 during the month, each retailer donated 2 cents per gallon with the campaign raising $40,465.64 Participating retailers included Sheetz, Minnoco, Protec Fuel and Murphy USA.

“We are thrilled to have such incredible partners with whom we were able to donate $40,465.64 to deserving organizations working to find a cure for breast cancer and help those affected by it,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “The ethanol industry is proud to help in the fight against cancer by replacing toxic carcinogens that were previously blended in gasoline. By partnering with leading retailers such as Sheetz, Minnoco, Protec Fuel and Murphy USA, this program ensures we continue to take up the fight on behalf of mothers, daughters and families everywhere.”

More than 700 dispensers pumped E15 at participating retailers with locations in Arkansas, Florida, Illinois and North Carolina. Of the funds raised, Sheetz donated its portion to the American Cancer Society, Minnoco donated its funds to Hope Chest for Breast Cancer, Protec Fuel donated its funds to the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation and Murphy USA donated its funds to Susan G. Komen.

E15, Ethanol, Growth Energy, Retailers

Biogreen Diesel Wins #Biofuels Company of the Year

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Biogreen Diesel has been awarded the 2016 South Africa Biofuels Company of the Year by Frost & Sullivan for its work in the biofuel industry producing biodiesel from waste cooking oil. Biogreen began processing between 3,000 to 5,000 litres each month in Cape Town and today is processing between 20,000 to 25,000 litres per month. The company has announced plans for two new biodiesel facilities in Johannesburg and Durban. Once these plants are completed and in operation, Biogreen will be producing more than 300,000 litres per month.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-10-20-36-pmSouth African restaurateur Roy de Gouveia established the company when he realized the need that biodiesel was providing local communities. He set up his own plant to meet both the needs of South African consumers but also to ensure that waste cooking oil was not recycled and sold to poorer communities.

Roy de Gouveia says that margins in the recycling business tend to be sparse but because his company uses waste cooking oil as its feedstock, the highest costs in biodiesel production, his biodiesel is affordable. He sells high quality biodiesel based on manufacturers’ warranties that can range from 5 percent to 100 percent in industrial motors. In addition, Biogreen offers suppliers and customers set contracts that are not tied to oil prices, and the company offers end-to-end services for select customers – collecting their used oil and re-delivering it as biodiesel.

“Receiving the Frost & Sullivan Award is a great milestone in our journey. We are humbled and honored to receive the Award. We strive daily to better the processes of eradicating waste oil being re-sold into poorer communities, as well as being exported which has a higher carbon footprint than fossil fuels,” said Roy de Gouveia, Biogreen founder.

“Under a license agreement, Biogreen uses locally developed and patented jet reactor technology to make SANS1935 specification biodiesel,” said Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Constance Nyambayo. “While the standard trans-esterification process is conducted at 60 degrees Celsius, Biogreen’s technology allows it to run its processes at 45 degrees Celsius. It uses 16% methanol, which is lower than what other reactors use, making it even more environmentally friendly. Furthermore, its biodiesel is of higher quality and requires less time for conversion.”

Nyambayo added, “Biogreen enables customers to bolster their brand and corporate image by marketing their use of sustainable fuels,”  “This visionary leadership, exemplified by its focus on driving business performance by innovating for the future, has made Biogreen a worthy recipient of Frost & Sullivan’s honour.”

advance biofuels, Biodiesel, International, Waste-to-Energy

RFA Analysis Finds 80% Cars Warrantied for #E15

Joanna Schroeder 1 Comment

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-10-57-39-amA new analysis of warranty statements and owner’s manuals conducted by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) finds that more than 80 percent of vehicles model year 2017 are approved for the use of E15 by the manufacturer. This is an increase of 10 percent from model year 2016. Model Year 2017 is the first for Hyundai Motor Company and Kia to have expressively approved the ethanol blend. Combined the two auto companies represent slightly more than 8 percent of the U.S. light-duty auto market.

While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved E15 as a legal fuel for use in cars manufactured in 2001 or later, auto manufacturers didn’t retroactively endorse E15 in vehicles already on the road.

“This analysis demonstrates that automaker acceptance and approval of E15 continues to expand rapidly,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “More than four out of every five new vehicles carries the manufacturer’s explicit endorsement of E15, putting to rest the myth propagated by the American Petroleum Institute that automakers don’t allow or warranty the use of this lower-cost, higher-octane fuel blend. We applaud Hyundai for joining the ‘E15 Club’ with its model year 2017 vehicles, and we’re thrilled to see Mini going above and beyond to offer E25-compatible vehicles. At the same time, we encourage Nissan, Mazda, Subaru and Daimler to get with the times and offer their customers greater freedom and flexibility when it comes to making a fuel choice at the pump,” Dinneen added.

Other key points from the analysis include:

  • The Detroit Three (Chrysler, General Motors and Ford), which collectively represent 45 percent of U.S. market share, all clearly allow E15 in their vehicles. GM started approving the use of E15 with its MY 2012 vehicles, while Ford joined the following year and Chrysler began E15 approval with its MY 2016 vehicles.
  • Other automakers explicitly offering E15 approval for MY 2017 vehicles include Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen Group, and Tata Motors (maker of Land Rover and Jaguar). Altogether, auto manufacturers with approximately 81 percent of the U.S. market share now approve the use of E15 in their MY 2017 vehicles.
  • With 9 percent of the U.S. market share, Nissan Motor Corporation remains the largest vehicle manufacturer that does not explicitly approve E15 in its vehicles. Despite announcing earlier this year that it is developing a vehicle powered by an ethanol fuel cell, the automaker only approves the use of E10 in its vehicles. Curiously, Nissan approves the use of gasoline containing up to 15 percent MTBE, a toxic additive that is banned in more than two dozen states.
  • Mazda, Subaru and The Daimler Group (maker of Mercedes-Benz) also continue to exclude E15 from fuel approvals and warranty statements. Together, these three manufacturers own about 7.5 percent of the U.S. market share.
  • Of note, BMW Group’s Mini vehicles again allow the use of 25 percent ethanol blends. The manufacturer states, “Fuels with a maximum ethanol content of 25 percent, i.e., E10 or E25, may be used for refueling.”
  • While neither automaker approves the use of E15, both Mercedes-Benz and Nissan produce some flex fuel vehicle models that are capable of operating on up to 85 percent ethanol blends (E85).

According to RFA estimates, around 25-30 percent of the 230 million vehicles on the road today are clearly approved by automakers to use E15; whereas, around 90 percent of cars on the road were built in 2001 or later so are legally allowed to use E15. Today nearly 400 retail stations in 28 states sell E15 including several major retail chains including Kum & Go, Murphy USA, RaceTrac and Thorntons.

automotive, E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

Biodico Begins #Biodiesel Delivery to UCSB

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Biodico is now delivering biodiesel to the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), that was produced from used cooking oil collected at UCSB. The biodiesel will be used to fuel tractors and other diesel-powered equipment on campus. The renewable fuel was produced at Biodico’s “Zero Net Energy Farm” that went online in December of 2015 in the San Joaquin Valley.

shutterstock_131349245“Producing biodiesel for UCSB is symbolic of our philosophy at Biodico to provide sustainable solutions that are economically viable, good for the environment, and support the needs of local communities,” said Russ Teall, president and founder of Biodico. “As an alumnus I am proud to say that UCSB serves as an excellent example of a forward-thinking institution that puts into practice what many of its environmental studies courses are teaching: We need to find practical alternatives to fossil fuels.”

Mark Rousseau, Energy and Environmental Manager of UCSB Housing, Dining & Auxiliary Enterprises stated that the university’s relationship with Biodico is focused on sustainability and closing the loop – used cooking oil is collected from campus and then returned as biodiesel to be “re-used” on campus. “Biodiesel is not only cleaner for the environment and non-toxic to store, it reduces our fossil fuel purchases. This helps meet a UC-wide goal of carbon neutrality by 2025 since biodiesel is a low carbon intensity fuel,”  Rousseau noted.

JJ Rothgery, Chairman of Biodico, added, “We are thrilled to work with UCSB to help implement a program that is changing the narrative in how universities and other organizations utilize byproducts to create biofuel that is cost effective and environmentally sound. As Biodico’s ZNEF concept continues to gain traction, we look forward to implementing fully sustainable solutions in similar settings across the country.”

advance biofuels, Biodiesel