State Fair’s Focus on Agriculture

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

zp-nh1Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Is agriculture still relevant at state fairs?”

I won’t disclose my age, but I will say I have never missed a Missouri State Fair. No, I am not a carney. I was there with my dad as he managed FFA shows and exhibits, I have exhibited my own cattle and more recently have attended as media. No matter the exact reason, they were all centered around agriculture. And luckily, our pollers agreed that agriculture does and should play a large role at state fairs across the county. I hope your memories of state fairs are as memorable as mine and you do your part to make sure agriculture isn’t lost at future fairs.

Here are the poll results:

  • Yes, plays a big role – 65%
  • Yes, but minor – 11%
  • No, should play larger role – 16%
  • No need for ag – 5%
  • Don’t know – 0%
  • Other – 3%

Our new ZimmPoll is live and asks the question, How important is immigration/farm labor to election?

One of the hot topics in this year’s presidential election has been immigration. Both sides of the line have mentioned it’s impact, but few can agree on a solution. Farmers and ranchers are in a constant struggle to find farm labor and immigration laws play a big part. Let us know how important immigration and farm labor are in our upcoming presidential election.


Octane Value Takes Center Stage During #ACE2016

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Higher octane. The automakers want it. Many consumers want it. But how to get it? Ethanol.

ace-16-octane panel

From left to right: ACE EVP Brian Jennings, Dave Hackett, Stillwater Associates and Kristy Moore, KMoore Consulting.

Many in the ethanol industry have begun to realize that one of the pathways forward for continued growth for ethanol is through higher ethanol blends such as E30, or as the lowest-cost, environmentally friendliest option for more octane. How to achieve this was the topic of the panel discussion, “Octane’s Value Proposition and Regulatory Path Forward,” that took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota recently during the 29th annual Ethanol Conference hosted by the American Coalition for Ethanol. Moderated by ACE’s Executive Vice President Brian Jennings, the panelists included Dave Hackett, president of Stillwater Associates and Kelly Moore, KMoore Consulting.

And in case you’re wondering exactly what is octane, octane is measuring knock and is set on a regional basis. Another fun fact: the price of octane at the pump has increased dramatically.

ace-16-hackettThe discussion kicked off with a presentation from Dave Hackett who offered some very interesting nuggets of information. Refineries can make more octane during the refining process. Once complete, products are blended to delivery specifications. Refiners can also increase octane by blending ethanol and reducing blend stock. However, there are blending issues with octane, said Hackett, including different kinds of engines, non-linear octane blending effects and final gas blends are certified at the refinery. On the bright side, Hackett stressed that there is a demand to increase octane. Autos want more octane to meet fuel standards but to make this happen infrastructure will need to be improved and much, much more research will need to be done on higher ethanol blends such as E30.

Listen to the Dave Hackett’s presentation here: Dave Hackett Octane Presentation

ace-16-mooreOnward to some interesting information provided by Kristy Moore who joked that she is usually referred to as the “buzzkill”.  During her remarks she took the audience through some regulatory challenges around octane including what is the most effective way to measure octane. For example, Europe measures octane differently than the U.S. She also contends that no-one really regulates octane. Only 19 states include octane requirements. By 2025, Moore said there will be new fuels in the vehicles and if these fuels are going to be higher blends of ethanol, then the industry must get the floor set so they can go up from here. Fortunately, the ethanol industry stand with the autos in terms of fuel strategy. As with Hackett, Moore also stressed the need for more research into higher ethanol blends, especially E30 where the sweet spot seems to reside.

Listen to Kristy Moore’s presentation here: Kristy Moore Octane Presentation

Ultimately the call to action of the panel? The ethanol industry needs to start funding research and joining committees and groups now that will pave the way for the future these higher ethanol blends.

Listen to the Octane’s Value Proposition Q&A here: Octane Value Proposition Panel Discussion

2016 ACE Annual Ethanol Conference Photo Album

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Audio, Ethanol, Octane

GPRE to Purchase Abengoa #Ethanol Plants

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

logo_footerGreen Plains Inc. (GPRE) has announced the successful bid for three of the U.S. ethanol plants for sale by Abengoa Bioenergy as part of the Spanish-based company’s bankruptcy. The company will purchase the Madison, Ill., Mount Vernon, Ind. and York, Neb. ethanol facilities, with combined annual production capacity of 236 million gallons per year, for approximately $237 million in cash, plus certain working capital adjustments.

“We continue to focus on making strategic investments in high quality assets as we expand our production footprint,” said Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer at Green Plains. “The Madison and Mount Vernon plants will give us access to the Mississippi River, supporting our new export terminal planned in Beaumont, Texas. In addition, we will broaden our product offering globally with industrial alcohol production at the York plant. These acquisitions further our commitment to deliver long-term value for both Green Plains Inc. and Green Plains Partners shareholders.

Upon completion of the acquisitions, Green Plains will own and operate 17 dry mill ethanol facilities with combined production capacity of nearly 1.5 billion gallons per year.

The sale of all Abengoa assets are subject to review and approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court with a court hearing scheduled for August 29, 2016. Green Plains expects the acquisitions to be complete by the end of September 2016.

biofuels, Ethanol

How to Tell #Biofuel’s Sustainability Story

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Sustainability is a key topic in both the biofuels industry as well as among consumers. However, each person seems to have a different definition of what exactly sustainable means. Industry efforts have included ongoing tactics to improve the environmental footprint and the panel discussion, “What Does Sustainability Mean for Biofuel Producers Today? How Will It Affect Your Business Tomorrow?” covered the gambit during the 29th annual American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Conference. Emily Johannes, director of ResourceMax with K Coe Isom, began her presentation by noting that sustainable is not an end-state; it’s a journey.

ace-16-johannesShe counseled attendees that their companies need to capture their environmental efforts and learn how to leverage them and get the story out to consumers. Johannes explained the the sustainability message has three legs to the stool: economics, social component and environmental.

“The future of biofuels in in the consumer,” said Johannes. “Generation Z – today’s teenagers – are talking now about the types of vehicles they are going to drive.”

She concluded her presentation with a reminder – sustainability is about people – and a tip. “It is important to set your own framework for sustainability and then create goals and initiatives to meet your sustainability goals.”

Listen to Emily Johannes’s presentation here: Sustainability and Biofuel Producers Presentation

2016 ACE Annual Ethanol Conference Photo Album

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Audio, biofuels, Environment, Ethanol

Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy Celebrates 10 Years

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

PHAE-_logo_hmpgIn celebration of its 10th anniversary, Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy (PHAE) hosted a public celebration on Friday, August 19, 2016.  The event featured a cookout and an open swim at the Armory in Phillipsburg.

PHAE CEO and General Manager Joe Kreutzer said the event served as a pat on the back to local residents for their support over the years. “Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy is proud to be celebrating its 10-year anniversary of producing ethanol. The vision started 13 years ago by a local group of individuals looking to bring jobs to the community. It quickly turned into not only jobs but a chance to be part of an industry that promoted home grown fuels, cleaned up the environment, and replaced oil.

Kreutzer continued, “We would like to thank our employees, our investors, our community, and all of our industry partners that have made our first 10 years a success. We look forward to the next 10 years as we push to expand the ethanol industry and spread the word of the benefits of ethanol.”

Prairie Horizon is a limited liability corporation owned by 300 local investors. The plant employs thirty-five people and produces 40 million gallons of ethanol on a yearly basis.

biofuels, Ethanol

Webinar: Growing Your Business with #Biodiesel

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

85a3757cd33f93870beef666af5a8224Fuel Marketer News and REG are hosting a webinar on September 22, 2016 at 1:30 CDT entitled, “Growing Your Business with Biodiesel Blended Fuel.” The webinar will focus on how to grow your business with biodiesel with a case study from Growmark on how they use biodiesel blended fuel to drive margin for their fuel business.

Speakers include REG’s Executive Director of Sales & Marketing Jon Scharing. He will offer an update on biodiesel demand in the coming years and how the RVO requirements and sustainability movement will impact demand. He will also discuss the implications this may have on travel centers. Scharing will be joined by Scott Long, manager of marketing and business development for Growmark. Long will discuss how biodiesel blended fuel offers fuel marketers opportunities to enhance their bottom line and expand their product offering. He will talk about the pros and cons to integrating biodiesel into their operation, how they market biodiesel to customers, issues regarding cold weather use and how biodiesel is helping grow their business.

All registrants will receive a free copy of the “Feedstock Flexibility – The Key to Delivering Reliable Biodiesel” white paper. Click here for this free webinar.

Biodiesel, biofuels, Education, GROWMARK, REG

#ACE2016 Discusses the Future of #Ethanol

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

What is the future of ethanol? This was the topic of discussion during the recent 29th annual American Coalition for Ethanol Conference (ACE). The panel included Chad Friese, General Manager, Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company; Delayne Johnson, Quad County Corn Processors CEO; and East Kansas Agri-Energy President and CEO Jeff Oestmann.

#ACE16 Future of Ethanol Panel

From Left to right: The Future of Ethanol panel during #ACE16 was moderated by ACE EVP Brian Jennings and included Delayne Johnson, CEO Quad County Corn Processors; Jeff Oestmann, President & CEO, East Kansas Agri-Energy; and Chad Friese, GM, Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company.

One of the key topics was how to keep the ethanol industry, and thus an ethanol plant, profitable. Oestmann noted that Chippewa Valley has been profitable 19 out of 20 years even through all economic conditions. Why? Diversify. Diversify. Diversify, and manage risk. This sentiment was readily agreed upon by all the panelists.

Another question discussed included how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is affecting business. In the case of Quad County, Johnson said the EPA is making too many cellulosic waiver credits – around $1.33 per RIN. However, he is hoping that RINS increase to $2.00 next year and if this happens, it will create a $2 to $2.5 million dollar per year revenue stream.

When asked how to position ethanol for long-term success, Friese noted that the country needs to move to higher blends. “We can’t let the EPA continue to hide behind a blend wall. We can’t rely on an export market. We have to find a place for advanced to go into the market.

Listen to the full discussion here: Conversation about the Future of Ethanol

2016 ACE Annual Ethanol Conference Photo Album

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Audio, biofuels, Cellulosic, E15, EPA, Ethanol

Former ACE President Reminisces at #ACE2016

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Former ACE president Bob Scott (right) with ACE founding members Orrie Swayze and Merle Anderson

Former ACE president Bob Scott (right) with ACE founding members Orrie Swayze and Merle Anderson

Former American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) president Bob Scott likes being able to come to the annual meetings and just catch up with friends, instead of having to “work.”

“It’s been seven of these years since I retired so I can come and relax and just enjoy myself,” said Scott during an interview at the 2016 ACE conference.

The conference in Minneapolis this year kicked off on the 11th anniversary of the signing of the 2005 Energy Policy Act creating the Renewable Fuel Standard and Scott attended that event at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico as president of ACE. “One of the best phone calls I’ve ever gotten was the call that says I’m from the White House and you’re invited to the signing of the RFS in the Energy Bill,” said Scott. “It was great because we’d work a lot on getting the RFS done.”

In this interview, Scott talks about how he thinks the RFS has turned out 11 years later and how the industry should continue moving forward. Interview with Bob Scott, former ACE president

2016 ACE Annual Ethanol Conference Photo Album

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Audio, Ethanol, RFS

Direct #Ethanol Sales is #ACE2016 Unsung Hero Strategy

Cindy Zimmerman 1 Comment

ace-16-schwarckAmerican Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Unsung Hero award winner Rick Schwarck of Absolute Energy in St. Ansgar, Iowa is a pioneer in the direct biorefinery to retail station sales of ethanol.

Schwark says selling ethanol direct to retail stations is a way of passing along the best prices possible to the retail station and ultimately the consumer. “Each gallon of ethanol carries with it a RIN, a Renewable Identification Number,” explains Schwark. “Those RINS have value but the terminals were not passing that value through to the retailer who then could not pass its value on to the consumer…So we’re basically passing through that savings to the retailer selling E85 who then can pass those savings on to the consumer.”

Absolute Energy actually has a retail station that offers E85 as well as mid-level blends in St. Ansgar and Schwark says the majority of customers driving flex-fuel vehicles choose blends higher than ten percent. “It’s really just getting it priced where the consumer has access to it,” he said.

Schwark talks more about the need for more consumer access to higher level retail blends of ethanol in this interview: Interview with Rick Schwarck, Absolute Energy

2016 ACE Annual Ethanol Conference Photo Album

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Audio, E15, E85, Ethanol, Retailers, RINS

EPA OIG Finds Lack of Compliance on #RFS

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

epa-150The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of the Inspector General issued a report today that finds the agency “has not met certain statutory requirements to identify environmental impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).”

According to the report, the EPA’s Office of Research and Development has not complied with the requirement to provide a report every 3 years to Congress on the impacts of biofuels. The last such report was in 2011.

In addition, the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation has not fulfilled the anti-backsliding requirements for RFS, which are to analyze and address any negative air quality impacts of RFS. In 2010, the EPA completed a comprehensive lifecycle analysis to determine greenhouse gas reduction thresholds for RFS. Although not required to do so, the EPA committed to update this analysis as lifecycle science evolves, but does not have a process for initiating an update.

The EPA OIG report recommends that the agency take corrective actions which it has agreed to do.

rfalogo1Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen says they agree with the report findings and recommendations. “Indeed, the RFA has repeatedly asked EPA to update its carbon scoring of ethanol blended fuels,” said Dinneen. “We are confident that once EPA conducts these required studies, they will show that biofuels like ethanol are significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, even above the threshold reductions.”

Dinneen points out that the U.S. Department of Energy’s GREET model shows corn ethanol from an average dry mill reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 34% compared to gasoline—even when hypothetical land use change emissions are included and the use of ethanol in gasoline in 2015 reduced CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions from transportation by 41.2 million metric tons—equivalent to removing 8.7 million cars from the road for an entire year.

“We look forward to EPA’s environmental analysis of the RFS and believe biofuel use will continue to meet and exceed greenhouse gas reductions,” Dinneen concluded.

Click here for the full EPA OIG report.

EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, RFS