Fueling Biodiesel’s Future in San Diego

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Biodiesel enthusiasts are converging in San Diego this week for shows and announcements at the industry’s largest gathering of producers, distributors and fans.

The 14th Annual National Biodiesel Conference & Expo officially kicks off this morning with an overview of the industry at the conference’s General Session, which is followed by numerous breakout sessions where experts will present on the latest trends in the industry. Local fans will be particularly interested in the discussion in the session, “California’s Thriving Low Carbon Markets.”

“The General Session is one event attendees won’t want to miss,” said Donnell Rehagen, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board, which produces the annual conference. “Not only will they get presentations on what’s been accomplished and what’s expected ahead, we are looking forward to a very special announcement from General Motors that will be exciting news for biodiesel fans everywhere.

Attendees will also enjoy the Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase that kicks off Tuesday in the Expo Hall. There they will find the latest biodiesel-capable vehicles, technologies and special announcements on what to expect in the future.

Watch for the latest from the National Biodiesel Conference here and on the conference blog.

2017 National Biodiesel Conference photo album

Biodiesel, Biodiesel Conference, NBB

New UN Report Shows Food vs Fuel Fallacy

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A new report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) finds that food prices declined for the fifth year in a row in 2016, down 1.5 percent from 2015. That included a steady decline in cereal prices- which includes maize or corn – which fell 9.6 percent from 2015 and were down 39 percent from their 2011 peak.

At the same time last year, the U.S. ethanol industry set records for both production and exports, and the final 2016 corn harvest is estimated at 15.1 billion bushels, 11% higher than 2015.

“The FAO news clearly demonstrates that increased ethanol and corn production has not driven up food prices,” said Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen, who notes that U.S. ethanol production will use just 2.95% of global grain supplies, the lowest in six years. “As yet another analysis has found, it’s time to put an end to the demonstrably false ‘food vs fuel’ myth that our opponents inexplicably continue to pass off as fact. There is more than enough corn to both feed and fuel the world.”

Dinneen said the FAO report backs up findings of a recent analysis commissioned by the RFA, which found that retail food prices were “not impacted in any demonstrable way by expansion of U.S. grain ethanol production under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) over the past decade.”

corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, food and fuel, Food prices, International, RFA

Biofuels and China Impact Crop Outlook

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Dr. Pat Westhoff of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri brought attendees of the American Farm Bureau Federation‘s Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show last week an outlook for the 2017-2018 crop demand.

Overall, he says, look for 2017 to follow a similar trend of 2016, with prices continuing to be below average. With an emphasis on the patterns of growth in populations and the advancements already made in grains and oilseeds, Westhoff outlines how harvest has increased by 17 percent while the world per capita consumption is increasing at 16 percent yearly.

“China and biofuels accounted for all the growth in per capita consumption since 1980,” Westhoff said. “Ethanol production and an increase in Chinese consumption per capita has had the greatest effect on grains and oilseeds global markets. Remove those two factors and we have about the same per capita use of grains and oilseeds.”

You can listen to his predictions here: AFBF Crop Outlook with Pat Westhoff

2017 AFBF annual meeting photos

Audio, biofuels

Iowa 2017 Ethanol and Biodiesel Marketing Awards

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Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced the winners of this year’s Ethanol and Biodiesel Marketing Awards during the Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Stores of Iowa Annual Meeting in Des Moines on Jan. 11th.

Charlie Good (L) receives award from Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey

Charlie Good, owner/operator of Good & Quick in Nevada, received the 2017 Secretary’s Ethanol Marketing Award.

Charlie Good not only offers E15 for vehicles in the Nevada area, he also offers biodiesel, E20, E30, E85 and is a leading national figure for ethanol promotion. He is relentless in educating his customers on renewable fuels and promoting consumer choice at the pump. He has briefed Congressional staff on the value of E15 to the environment, the economy and national security and his photos and testimonials are used nationally to promote ethanol. He will be going back to Washington, DC, in March to lobby for more ethanol standards for E-15 and above. His increased sales of higher ethanol blends are proof that no ethanol “blend wall” exists. He has shown true leadership in renewable fuels marketing and is visionary in his promotion of this renewable resource.

Secretary Northey with Richard Weiner of Cartersville Elevator, Inc.

Richard Weiner with Cartersville Elevator, Inc. in Nora Springs is the winner of the 2017 Secretary’s Biodiesel Marketing Award.

Richard Weiner’s commitment to biodiesel transcends the on-road diesel market and extends to his entire slate of fuel products. All diesel fuel sold by Cartersville Elevator, regardless of the season, includes some mixture of biodiesel—and has for nearly a decade. Because of the tireless marketing efforts of Mr. Weiner and Cartersville Elevator, their end-user fuel customers are not only comfortable consuming biodiesel, but they are now supporters and advocates for this homegrown product. They are leaders in biodiesel promotion and in demonstrating its benefits.

The awards were created by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to recognize fuel marketers that have gone above and beyond in their efforts to promote and sell renewable fuels.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Retailers

Hero BX Announces Branded Bioheat Program

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Pennsylvania-based biodiesel producer HERO BX has launched the HERO BX Branded Bioheat® Program, offering heating oil retailers the opportunity to carry the HERO BX brand and supporting technical
and marketing benefits in exchange for Bioheat® supply contracts. The company signed DF Richard Energy of Dover, New Hampshire as its first Bioheat® branded dealer this week.

In conjunction with the new branded dealer program, HERO BX has leased a 5,000-barrel storage facility in North Hampton, NH that will help jumpstart the program. HERO BX invested in the infrastructure
that allows for biodiesel/heating oil rack blends from B2 through B80, allowing branded retail dealers an automated solution for Bioheat® supply and distribution. The company is seeking similar northeast US terminals that will help support the programs growth.

HERO BX manufactures 60 million gallons of biodiesel annually from its plants in Erie, PA and Moundville, AL.

Biodiesel, Bioheat

New USDA Report on Lifecycle GHG Balance for #Ethanol

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A brand new USDA analysis finds that U.S. corn-based ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent compared to gasoline, greater than previous estimates and something the ethanol industry has been saying for years.

Unlike other studies of GHG benefits, which relied on forecasts of future ethanol production systems and expected impacts on the farm sector, the new “Life-Cycle Analysis of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Corn-Based Ethanol” reviewed how the industry and farm sectors performed over the past decade to assess the current GHG profile of corn-based ethanol.

“This report provides evidence that corn ethanol can be a GHG-friendly alternative to fossil fuels, while boosting farm economies” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The report also found that corn-based ethanol is projected to increase to a 50 percent greenhouse gas reduction and could potentially reach 76 percent in 2022 if there is more widespread adoption of optimal crop production and biorefinery efficiency. “This is not your grandfather’s ethanol industry,” said Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen in a statement about the new report. “Today’s farmers and ethanol producers use less energy than ever before, have lowered costs with new value-added markets and technologies, and evolved into the most cost-effective, cleanest-burning source of octane on the planet. Moreover, as this study proves, concerns about land use change were terribly overblown, and U.S.-produced corn ethanol is a stone-cold winner for the environment, providing dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Click to read the report.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, USDA

China Imposing Duties on U.S. DDGS

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Almost exactly one year after initiating anti-dumping countervailing duty investigations into U.S. produced distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has announced anti-dumping and countervailing duties beginning today. The decision comes just ten days after action by the Chinese government to increase tariffs on imported U.S. ethanol from 5 to 30 percent.

“The U.S. Grains Council is deeply disappointed in this series of events that is a severe departure from our industry’s three decades of broad, cooperative work with China’s government and livestock industry and that follows a year of extensive cooperation on the part of the U.S. DDGS and ethanol industry with MOFCOM investigations,” said USGC President and CEO Tom Sleight in a statement.

The U.S. industry even hosted MOFCOM investigators at several U.S. production facilities, including the Marquis Energy facility in Hennepin, Illinois. CEO Mark Marquis says the tariffs will severely impact what has been the largest market for U.S. distillers feed exports and a growing ethanol export destination. “These tariffs are the poster child of bad trade deals,” said Marquis. “It is our opinion that the Chinese calculations are not in line with WTO trade rules.”

Sleight says the actions do raise serious questions about China’s international obligations and could impact future involvement of the USGC in that country. “This new year marks the 35th anniversary of U.S. Grains Council programs in China,” said Sleight. “The implication of these recent moves is clearly that we are less than welcome in their market, and this will challenge the extent of our engagement with China.”

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, International, USGC

#Ethanol Production Starts 2017 with New Record

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U.S. ethanol production started 2017 the way it ended 2016 – with a new record.

According to the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol production averaged an unprecedented 1.049 million barrels per day the week ending January 6, 2017 — an increase of 6,000 barrels from the last week of 2016’s now-broken record of 1.043 million barrels per day. Stocks of ethanol stood at 20 million barrels, up more than 7% from the last week of 2016.

Weekly production averaged more than 1 million barrels per day for ten straight weeks at the end of 2016, with an annualized rate of 15.90 billion gallons for the year.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

Iowa Governor Touts Biofuels Success

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In his 2017 Condition of the State address as governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad touted the state’s leadership in biofuels and promised more for the future as he enters the confirmation process to become the next Ambassador to China under President-elect Donald Trump and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds prepares to finish his term.

“We just set an all-time record for ethanol production, set a new record for biodiesel production by an additional 55 million gallons and lead the nation in percentage of electricity generated by wind,” said Branstad, noting that the recently released Iowa Energy Plan “will help build on our past energy successes and reaffirms our commitment to maintaining Iowa’s energy leadership in the future.”

Branstad spoke about the need for a responsible budget in the address, entitled “Smaller and Smarter Government,” but Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw was pleased to see him prioritize funding for the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP). “This cost-share program has leveraged millions of dollars of private investment for equipment to provide consumers the option of higher ethanol and biodiesel blends,” said Shaw. “The demand for this program remains strong and the $3 million in proposed funding is dearly needed.”

Branstad served as governor of Iowa from 1983 to 1999, then ran and again and was elected in 2011. He was elected to an unprecedented sixth four-year term as Iowa governor in 2014 and is the longest-serving governor in history.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Ethanol Exports Grew Again in November

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U.S. ethanol producers exported nearly 122 million gallons of ethanol in November, the third-largest monthly total in five years, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. Year-to-date exports as of November totaled 947.4 million gallons. Brazil was the top market again in November, followed by Canada and China.

Shipments to Brazil jumped to 50.9 mg in November, representing 42% of the monthly total and making Brazil the top destination for U.S. ethanol for the second straight month. Exports to Brazil have been rising steadily since May, when the country recorded 6 mg of imports from the U.S. Canada scaled back from the prior month as 24.8 mg (20% of U.S. ethanol exports) moved north of the border in November. Meanwhile China increased its purchases of U.S. ethanol, pulling in 19.8 mg (16%) and the country’s largest monthly volume since April. With over three-fourths of total exports heading to the Big Three, the remaining volumes headed to India (11.3 mg, or 9%), Peru (5.1 mg, or 4%), South Korea (3.9 mg, or 3%) and Mexico (2.8 mg, or 2%). With only one month left in the calendar year, it’s still a toss-up between Canada and Brazil as our largest customer for 2016 as each maintained 24% of U.S. ethanol exports, with China falling behind at 19%.

Click to read more of RFA’s analysis.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, RFA