BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1According to the latest monthly “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, nine new “units” of wind provided 707 megawatts (MW), followed by 44 units of solar (522 MW), 9 units of biomass (33 MW), and one unit of hydropower (29 MW). By comparison, only two new units of natural gas (18 MW) came on line. There was no new capacity reported for the quarter from coal, oil, nuclear power, or geothermal steam.
  • Supported by Partners, Clean City Coalitions and Corporate Sponsors, Alliance AutoGas is embarking on a 5300+ mile, 12-City, cross country road trip – the Alliance AutoGas Coast-to-Coast Clean Air Ride – with its record-setting propane autogas F-150 on May 2, at 10 a.m., from Richard L. Berkley Riverfront Park in Kansas City, MO. The event is being hosted by the Metropolitan Energy Center/Kansas City Regional Clean Cities in conjunction with Veolia/Kansas City Transportation Group and Alliance AutoGas.
  • FIU and Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) have unveiled a new commercial-scale solar installation at FIU’s College of Engineering and Computing – the only solar research facility of its kind that FPL has installed at a Florida university. The 1.4-megawatt solar array is comprised of more than 4,400 solar panels on canopy-like structures that provide clean electricity to FPL’s grid and shade for about 400 parking spaces. The unique solar array incorporates a 24-foot by 12-foot FIU logo that is visible from high above.
  • According to a recent report from @NavigantRSRCH, annual raw biogas production capacity is expected to reach 2,141 billion cubic feet per year by 2024. The report, Market Data: Renewable Natural Gas, analyzes the global biogas market, focusing on four feedstock sources: waste, industrial, agricultural, and sewage. Policy issues and market drivers are detailed for each region. Global market forecasts for capacity and revenue, segmented by feedstock source, end use (electricity, renewable natural gas injection, and transport), region, and selected country, extend through 2024.

MN Students Continue to Learn About Ethanol

Minnesota high school students throughout the state are continuing to learn about ethanol. Recently, 70 students from Pipestone Area High School visited Highwater Ethanol to learn more about ethanol production, the benefits of the renewable fuel, and ethanol career opportunities.

“By hosting students at our facility for tours, it is our goal to have them learn about the agriculture industry, ethanol industry and how important these two industries are in everyone’s life,” said Brian Kletscher, CEO of Highwater Ethanol. “The students were also briefed on the skills required to work at an ethanol facility. They were able to watch and learn from our employees. Our goal was to leave the students with a positive impression of the ethanol industry and the use of ethanol in our transportation fuels.”

The tour was organized by the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association. During their time at the biorefinery, the students, from grades 11 to 12, toured Highwater Ethanol’s administrative office, water treatment process, incoming grain grading and handling, ethanol loadout, ethanol process facility and energy center.

Pipestone_Highwater“We organize these tours to show students how a homegrown renewable ingredient is converted into a clean fuel that continues to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director of the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association.

Highwater Ethanol began operations in Lamberton in August 2009. It produced 59.42 million gallons of ethanol in 2015 and currently has 41 full-time employees. Kletscher said ethanol plants employ a wide variety of professionals. For the business operations side, professionals with skills in business administration, finance, accounting, human resources and agriculture economics are required. Continue reading

Report: Clean Energy Techs Cut Road CO2 Emissions

A new report from Lux Research has found that using low-carbon fuels and vehicle efficiency will cut road transport CO2 emissions 29 percent by 2030. Biofuels and natural gas combined will account for 45 percent of petroleum displacement. Today, global road transportation accounts for a sixth of all global CO2 emissions.

Lux CO2 reportThe sharp cut – exceeding the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) target of 24 percent set by 188 nations at the Paris Conference of the Parties (COP21) in 2015 – can be achieved from a combination of low-carbon fuels, alternative fuel vehicles, and improved fuel efficiencies.

“Global warming remains at center stage, and significant strides need to be made in road transportation technologies to achieve the goal set for 2030,” said Yuan-Sheng Yu, Lux Research analyst and lead author of the report titled, “Driving Down Emissions: Achieving CO2 Emissions Reduction Goals through Biofuels and Alternative Fuel Vehicles“. Low-carbon biofuels like cellulosic ethanol, renewable diesel, and biomethane have lower well-to-wheel carbon intensities compared to their first-generation counterparts and play a pivotal role in cutting emissions, as does renewable electricity.”

The report evaluated measures needed to meet emission targets set at COP21. Some key findings included:

  • Biofuels are key. First-generation biofuels, low-carbon fuels, and natural gas vehicles will together account for at least 45.4% of the potential fossil fuel displacement in road transportation in 2030, when global road transportation demand is projected to reach 911 billion gallons.
  • Carbon intensity matters. First-generation biofuels have made incremental reductions in road transportation emissions over the years. But low-carbon biofuels will be the key driver in achieving 2030 emissions reduction goals with an average three to four times lower well-to-wheel carbon intensity profile.
  • Fuel efficiency counts. Without improved fuel efficiencies, emissions reduction falls short of the INDC target in 2030 by nearly 5%. Automobile makers will have a range of lightweight materials available as multinationals and start-ups develop the next-generations of steel, aluminum and composite technologies.

RFA Releases E15 Retailer New Equipment Guidance

E15 pump in Iowa. Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

E15 pump in Iowa. Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

With E15 offerings on the rise across the U.S., the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has released a guide to assist retailers with choosing legal equipment with which to dispense the renewable fuel. The E15 retailer new equipment guide provides information on how to properly offer E15 at the retailer level.

In addition, RFA is highlighting what they believe are key items retailers should consider before ordering equipment:

  • What are the equipment options to legally offer E15 to 2001 and newer vehicles?
  • What are the various dispenser hose configurations allowed?
  • What are the retail fuel dispenser labeling requirements for each configuration?

“Four years and 23 states later, confusion still remains in the fuel equipment and retailing communities when it comes to E15,” said Renewable Fuels Association Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White. “With this document, we hope we can eliminate the misinformation and ensure retailers get the appropriate equipment needed to safely and legally offer this relatively new fuel. With proper labeling and education, we look forward to seeing many more retailers, consumers and states embrace E15 in the near future.”

Iowa Legislature Votes for Blender Pumps

Iowa will see another year of funding for retailers to add blender pumps. The Iowa Legislature voted unanimously to allocate funding for the biodiesel and ethanol blender pump program known as the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP). The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) recently reported that interest in blender pumps is at an all time high and the last round of funding, totaling $3.2 million funded 68 projects. This marks the last year of funding for the program that kicks off the FY2017 fiscal year.

Biodiesel and ethanol pump in Des Moines, Iowa on April 24, 2016. Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

Biodiesel and ethanol pump in Des Moines, Iowa on April 24, 2016. Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

“While we were hopeful for a long-term funding solution for the state’s renewable fuels infrastructure program, we’re very pleased today that the Iowa legislature was able to keep this vital initiative going for another year,” said IRFA Policy Director Grant Menke. “The USDA’s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership re-energized many Iowa retailers, leading to record participation in the blender pump program over the past year. This one-year funding extension allows us to build upon this momentum and ensure Iowans have greater access to cleaner-burning, lower-cost renewable fuels.”

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP) offers cost-share grants to Iowa retailers wishing to upgrade fueling infrastructure to offer E15, E85 and/or biodiesel blends. Reimbursement can be up to 70 percent of the installation costs, up to a maximum of $50,000 per project, with a five-year commitment to sell E15, E85 or biodiesel blends.

“This legislation does permanently end the current source of RFIP funding, so finding a long-term funding solution will be a high priority for the biofuels and renewable retailers community next legislative session. Bottom line, this program provides immense benefits to Iowans in the form of cleaner air, competition at the pump, lower fuel prices, and a stronger Iowa economy,” added Menke.

Hungarian Delegates Visit Enginuity Worldwide

Missouri-based Enginuity Worldwide hosted a group of energy delegates from Hungary recently where they learned more about the company’s biotechnology efforts. The company has developed technology that turns local agriculture waste into renewable solid Enginuity's Solid Biofuelbiomass fuel. The delegation was comprised of project developers, including Gabor Nagy, Andras Herozeg, Daniel Szollosi-Nagy, and Gabor Kaczmarczyk, who spent time assessing Enginuity’s patented rotary compression technology to deploy for use in Hungary.

“As countries around the world search for ways to reduce carbon emissions, Enginuity has developed a cost-effective, viable way for countries to meet baseload renewable requirements,” said Kaczmarczyk, a member of the Hungarian delegation. “We are interested in sharing ideas that can lead to partnerships and investment opportunities, many of which we discussed during this visit. We look forward to working with Enginuity to build on the successful conversations we had during this trip, and would like to thank the leaders at Enginuity who helped make this possible.”

The visit began with a visit to Enginuity’s headquarters, located at the Missouri Plant Science Center, followed by a visit to the Missouri State Capitol, where the House of Representatives and Senate recognized the delegation for their leadership in the renewable energy industry. The delegation’s trip concluded with an event hosted by the Mexico Missouri Chamber of Commerce.

Missouri State Senator Jeanie Riddle, who spent time with the delegation, noted, “It was a pleasure to have a delegation from Hungary visit the Capitol with the entire team of Enginuity Worldwide. Their desire to procure new technology shows the growing success that Enginuity is having worldwide. Missouri must continue to support and encourage growth in new forms of biotechnology that go hand in hand with agriculture, our number one industry.” Continue reading

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Radio Iowa is reporting the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) and Homeland Security and Emergency Management have released a report on the study of the rail transport of oil and biofuels in the state. The Iowa DOT believes it is the first such report nationally that included a look at how the state is prepared to prevent spills, preparedness in the event of a spill, response to an incident, and recovery from an incident.
  • Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) has released its International Biofuels Baseline Briefing Book. This report presents the international baseline 10-year projections for the international biofuels market.
  • Finland’s Finnair and TAP Portugal have emerged as the two least polluting carriers in a study of 20 of the world’s biggest airlines. A study of the greenhouse gas emissions produced by the airline industry from 2007 to 2014 revealed none are showing a significant reduction over the seven years for those that provided the data. In the study Finnair had the smallest carbon footprint in 2014, with TAP Portugal and Virgin Australia in the top three least polluting airlines, while American Airlines, following its merger with US Airways in 2013, had the largest footprint in the study with fellow US carriers Delta and United Airlines also large polluters in this sample.

REG Holds Ribbon Cutting for Wisconsin Plant

REG leaders along with state and local leaders broke ground on upgrades at REG Madison. Pictured from Left to Right: Brian Coker, Plant Manager, REG Madison; Guy Gryphan, Executive Director, DeForest Windsor Area Chamber of Commerce; Raymond Richie, Director, Strategic Planning & Analysis, REG; Jeff Lyon, Wisconsin Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; Daniel Oh, President & CEO, REG; Brad Albin, Vice President, Manufacturing, REG; Wisconsin State Representative Keith Ripp; Bruce Lutes, General Manager, REG Madison; Natalie Merrill, Chief of Staff & Vice President, REG. (Photo: Renewable Energy Group, Inc.)

REG leaders along with state and local leaders broke ground on upgrades at REG Madison. Pictured from Left to Right: Brian Coker, Plant Manager, REG Madison; Guy Gryphan, Executive Director, DeForest Windsor Area Chamber of Commerce; Raymond Richie, Director, Strategic Planning & Analysis, REG; Jeff Lyon, Wisconsin Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; Daniel Oh, President & CEO, REG; Brad Albin, Vice President, Manufacturing, REG; Wisconsin State Representative Keith Ripp; Bruce Lutes, General Manager, REG Madison; Natalie Merrill, Chief of Staff & Vice President, REG. (Photo: Renewable Energy Group, Inc.)

The Renewable Energy Group (REG) recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the formal opening of its biodiesel plant in Madison Wisconsin. The facility, REG Madison, received upgrades prior to its reopening. The facility was formerly owned by Sanimax Energy.

“We are dedicated to producing cleaner, lower carbon intensity products and this celebration is another example of our commitment to environmental stewardship and energy security,” said REG President & CEO Daniel Oh. “We are proud to be in the DeForest community and look forward to growing here.”

The event also served as a groundbreaking for approximately $7 million of additional investment into the biorefinery. The upgrades include process improvements, a dedicated entrance for the plant, additional biodiesel storage and locker rooms for the team.

“These upgrades will allow the plant to run more efficiently and optimize our production and logistics capabilities,” added Brad Albin, Vice President, Manufacturing.

DeForest business leaders expressed thanks for the Company’s commitment to the area. “We are happy to welcome REG to the community and are excited that REG is investing in the plant and in the community,” said Jeff Miller, Village of DeForest Trustee. “We look forward to a positive and growing partnership with REG.”

DOE Offers Bioenergy Funding Opportunities

The Bioenergy Technologies Office has announced a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled, “Project Definition for Pilot and Demonstration Scale Manufacturing of Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biopower (PD2B3).” The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) says the FOA will be officially issued in May 2016 on the EERE Exchange website. The funding opportunity is for technology DOE logodevelopment for the manufacture of drop-in hydrocarbon biofuels, bioproducts, or intermediates in a pilot- or demonstration-scale integrated biorefinery. EERE says scale-up and validation of these process technologies is essential to enable the industry to build future pioneer- and commercial-scale manufacturing facilities. Plans for facilities that use lignocellulosic biomass, algal biomass, or biosolids feedstocks will be considered under this funding opportunity.

Under this FOA, Applicants must address one comprehensive topic area with three main priority areas. These priority areas are:

  • Pilot scale production of Biofuels from high impact lignocellulosic, algal, or bio-gas feedstocks.
  • Demonstration scale production of Biofuels from high impact lignocellulosic, algal, or bio-gas algal feedstocks.
  • Production of bio-power, bio-products, and Biofuels from biosolids and other waste streams.

If applicants wish to receive official notifications and information from EERE regarding this FOA, they should register in EERE Exchange. When the FOA is released, applications will be accepted only through EERE Exchange.

Indiana’s Family Express Awarded Blender Grant

fe-logoIndiana fuel retailer Family Express has been awarded more than $789,000 through an Indiana blender pump program. The retailer will be using the monies to install 45 dispensers at 37 stations. Of the stations, 34 already sell E85 and E15 will be added to the fuel choice lineup. Family Express is also building three new stations and these will carry both E85 and E15. The grant dollars were awarded by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council through its Hoosier Homegrown Fuels Blender Pump Program.

“We are glad to be able to help Family Express offer more ethanol blender pumps through the Hoosier Homegrown Fuels Blender Pump Program,” said Ken Parrent, ethanol director for the Indiana Corn Marketing Council. “Indiana currently has more than 185 dedicated ethanol refueling stations for blends above 10 percent and thanks to this program, there will soon be more.”

Fiftenn of the stations are in EPA-designated ozone non-attainment areas and will be able to offer E15 year-round. The ethanol industry is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow E15 to be sold year round in all 50 states.

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen said of the news, “We are pleased that Family Express has been able to take advantage of the Hoosier Homegrown Fuels Blender Pump Program and grow its offerings of higher ethanol blends. More blender pumps mean greater consumer access for ethanol blends, bringing about higher octane fuels and lower gasoline prices. We look forward to more stations offering fuels such as E15 in the near future.”