ACE Conference to Feature Top Fuel Experts

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

The Annual ACE Ethanol Conference is just around the corner and will be full of leading fueling experts sharing their experiences. The event is taking place in Minneapolis, Minnesota August 8-10 2016 and discounted registration rates end August 3rd. Click here to register.

ACE logo“We are excited petroleum industry experts Tom Kloza of OPIS, and David Hackett of Stillwater Associates, will be with us to explain what’s happening and what’s likely to happen in fuel markets, and we’re looking forward to hearing about real world opportunities and challenges of selling E15 and flex fuels from representatives from top ethanol retailers Sheetz, Inc. and Pearson Fuels. These guys are all literally the best at what they do, and it’s a tremendous opportunity to get to learn from them,” said American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty.

He continued, “Our market development efforts help petroleum marketers understand ethanol, and ACE has always placed equal importance on helping the ethanol industry understand the needs of the people and businesses who ultimately sell our fuel to consumers. This speaking lineup really emphasizes those priorities. It’s tailor-made for both ethanol producers and fuel retailers who have an interest in learning more about the fuel market, and how we can work together to move more gallons of ethanol.”

You can get a more in-depth conference preview from Shannon Gustafson here.

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, biofuels, Ethanol

RFA Hosting Safety Seminar in Nebraska

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

rfalogo1There will be a free ethanol safety seminar on Saturday, July 30, in Adams, Nebraska hosted by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) in conjunction with the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition and TRANSCAER.

The free ethanol safety seminar is taking place at the Adams Fire Department from 9:00 am–2 pm CT. Lunch will be provided.

Attendees will receive in-depth information on proper training techniques that emergency responders and hazmat personnel need to effectively respond to an ethanol-related emergency. Certificates of Completion will be handed out to all attendees at the end of each safety seminar.

The seminar is free to attend and open to the public. Click here to register.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, safety

Gustafson Jazzes Us Up for @ACEEthanol Conference

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Shannon GustfasonShannon Gustafson is really jazzed for this year’s American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) annual conference and after speaking with her so am I. The theme is “Power. Passion. Performance.” and Gustafson says it embodies everything that makes American made ethanol great. “The passion of our producers, the power of the American industry and top notch performance of a high octane fuel.” The conference is taking place August 8-10, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ethanol’s octane benefits will be infused throughout the sessions but one panel in particular will discuss octane in-depth, says Gustafson. “Octane’s Value Proposition and Regulatory Path Forward,” will highlight how refiners calculate the octane value of ethanol and what adjustments they will make at the refinery to accommodate a higher octane fuel. Panelists include Dave Hackett, President, Stillwater Associates and Kristy Moore, KMoore Consulting LLC who will also be giving a presentation, “Up to Spec”.

Gustafson says the conference will kickoff with a market and association update from ACE Executive Vice President Brian Jennings. Other sessions will cover ethanol and dried distillers grains exports, carbon intensity, E15’s progress at the pump, Food Safety Modernization Act Compliance and ethanol plant profits.  The first day’s keynote speaker is Tom Kloza with OPIS who will be giving attendees a market update.  And a fun session is sure to be the “Advocate’s Arsenal: Making web resources work for you”.

Registration is still open and anyone from ethanol producers to academics, economists to consumers can attend and Gustafson says there will be something for everyone.

To get an in-depth preview of this year’s Annual Ethanol Conference, listen to my interview with Shannon Gustafson here: Interview with Shannon Gustafson, ACE

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, biofuels, E15, Ethanol

Washington’s Proposed Clean Air Rule Missing #Biofuels

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

The state of Washington has proposed its own Clean Air Rule (CAR) and according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the rule does not factor in the environmental and health benefits of ethanol blended fuels. In their comments submitted to the Washington Department of Ecology, RFA states that the proposed rule is inconsistent with virtually every other program designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and could have the perverse effect of reducing or eliminating the production and use of liquid biofuels in Washington state.

rfalogo1The climate rule is the first of its kind state legislation to cap carbon pollution. Should the legislation pass, it would go info effect in 2017 and would regulate several emissions including those from biofuels. However, “the CAR proposal eschews globally accepted bioenergy carbon accounting methods out of fear that properly recognizing the carbon benefits associated with biofuels would trigger the so-called ‘poison pill’ legislative provision that would shift funding from climate-friendly transportation investments to road and highway construction projects,according to RFA comments.

Citing data from the California Air Resources Board, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and U.S. Department of Energy show that first-generation ethanol is reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30–60 percent compared to petroleum, while second-generation ethanol can reduce GHG emissions by 80 percent or more. Yet RFA states Washington state’s proposal fails to recognize those clean air benefits from biofuels.

The proposed CAR treats biofuels and fossil fuels identically, which sets a dangerous carbon accounting precedent with potentially far-reaching impacts,” RFA wrote in its comments. “Other GHG cap-and-trade programs exempt biofuels from a compliance obligation because it is broadly understood that bioenergy combustion emissions are ‘carbon neutral’ (i.e., the biomass recently removed an amount of atmospheric carbon through photosynthesis that is equivalent to emissions from combustion).”

What is interesting, states RFA, is that the state seems to understand the aforementioned point as the proposed rules exempts emissions from biomass combustion in stationary sources such as the use of woody waste biomass to generate electricity.  “It is perplexing that this approach would be (properly) applied to stationary emissions from bioenergy production from biomass combustion, but not to emissions from liquid biofuel combustion,” RFA wrote.

“Implementing the CAR as proposed would set a perilous regulatory precedent, deter investment in the state’s biofuels market, and compel reduced consumption of low-carbon biofuels,” the comments continued. If implemented, developers of advanced biofuel technologies would avoid the Washington state market and instead shift focus on investments in California, Oregon, British Columbia and elsewhere.

For these reasons… we strongly urge the Department of Ecology to exempt biofuels from compliance obligation in the final CAR,” concluded RFA.

advance biofuels, Environment, Ethanol, Legislation, politics, RFA

Senators Call for More Biodiesel in #RFS

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Forty Senators are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to strengthen biodiesel volumes in the proposed 2018 rules for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The senators said that biodiesel and renewable diesel are providing the vast majority of renewable fuel under the Advanced Biofuels category and the EPA should do more to encourage growth.

nBB“The biodiesel industry has met RFS criteria for growth, exceeding the goals that Congress envisioned when it created the RFS with bipartisan support in 2005 and supporting over 47,000 jobs,” the letter states. “To date, biodiesel and renewable diesel have delivered the majority of the advanced biofuels under the RFS. We believe it is clear that these fuels offer the best opportunity for growth in the near future.”

The letter was led by Sens. Roy Blunt ( R-Mo.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D). It was signed by a bipartisan group of additional senators from California to Minnesota to Maine.

“I think this letter reflects a growing consensus on Capitol Hill that biodiesel and renewable diesel are successfully delivering the economic and environmental benefits that Congress had in mind when it created the RFS,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). “This is a success story, and hopefully this letter helps show the Obama administration and the EPA that we need to do more. We need to embrace growth in our cleanest fuels, and the EPA proposal as it stands falls short of that.

On behalf of biodiesel producers around the country we want to thank all the senators who signed this letter, particularly Sens. Blunt, Murray, Grassley and Heitkamp for their leadership in organizing the effort,” Steckel added.

The additional senators signing the letter were Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Angus King (D-Maine), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

advance biofuels, Biodiesel, NBB, RFS

Survey Says…Consumers Don’t Care about Ethanol

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

According to a new survey looking at consumers’ decisions at the pump, the environment does not seem to play a primary role in the choices they make. The big factor is price at the pump. According to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and reported in a Reuters article, E15 is about 5 cents per gallon less expensive, or about 2 percent.

E15-Americas-FuelBut do consumers care if ethanol is in their fuel? If you ask Big Oil, then the answer should be yes and have been claiming that ethanol could impair performance and vehicle durability. Yet according to the poll, around four out of 10 Americans who drive to work said they did not know if ethanol was good for performance, while the remainder appeared split. The same portion did not know if ethanol affected gas mileage.

The article says that the debate does not resonate with consumers, in part, because the ethanol industry has focused its efforts on lobbying lawmakers in Washington according to Laura Sheehan, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies and a public relations specialist in the energy sector.  She said that it would take a massive personal, consumer education campaign to change consumer perceptions.

Robert White, RFA vice president of industry relations said that there is difficulty in reaching consumers if ethanol is not widely available. E15 is only available in a few hundred stations today and growing and White said as E15 becomes more widely available the industry will do more to educate consumers.

biofuels, E15, Ethanol, RFA

BioEnergy Bytes

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1According to Lux Research, biojet fuels will be key to achieving the aviation industry’s pledge to cut CO2 emissions to 200 million tons in 2050—half the 2005 figure—as opposed to the staggering 2.1 billion tons projected by current growth rates. Biojet fuel innovations, led globally by Honeywell UOP and Boeing, will account for 56 percent of the targeted CO2 emissions reductions, while a third of the cuts will come from new aircraft technology, and optimization of operations and infrastructure.
  • Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection has issued the final permits for a first-of-its-kind waste management plant in Hampden that would convert trash from more than 100 central Maine communities into biofuel. The plant is being built by Fiberight.
  • TruStar Energy has announced it was awarded the contract to build and maintain the first CNG fueling station for the City of Long Beach, California. The new CNG station supports the city’s commitment to using cleaner, safer and domestically produced fuels for its vehicles. Long Beach, which is in midst of shifting from liquefied natural gas (LNG) to CNG for its fleets, currently has 24 CNG-fueled vehicles. Over the next six years, the City plans to acquire an additional 307 CNG vehicles.
  • The U.S. Departments of State, Commerce, and Energy have announced an opportunity for U.S.-based suppliers and providers of clean energy, smart grid, and energy efficiency solutions to participate in an interactive directory of renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions. The Interagency Team has developed the beta version of an interactive app to serve as a mobile business directory for U.S. clean energy exporters. The app highlights deployments of sustainable technologies and systems at U.S. diplomatic missions and provides potential business partners around the world with a searchable interface to find information on potential U.S. technology and service providers.
Bioenergy Bytes

Bioenergy Crop Modeling Predicts Soil Carbon Increases

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Argonne National Laboratory are using computational modeling to predict which counties in Illinois could see increases in soil organic carbon from crops such as switchgrass for biofuels. Increasing carbon stored in soil is one way to help mediate the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires the use of advanced biofuels and feedstocks like switchgrass that can grow on a range of crop and marginal lands across the country.  And because Earth’s soil stores about three times as much carbon as the atmosphere, these deep-rooted plants that return season after season might also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions before they are even harvested for fuel by increasing the amount of carbon stored in the soil.

Switchgrass is one of the five crops modeled for local soil carbon sequestration rates in an Argonne study that predicts the impact of different biofuel crops on soil carbon across the country. (photo credit: hjochen/Shutterstock)

Switchgrass is one of the five crops modeled for local soil carbon sequestration rates in an Argonne study that predicts the impact of different biofuel crops on soil carbon across the country. (photo credit: hjochen/Shutterstock)

The Argonne researchers note that for bioenergy crops in particular, modeling land types and local climates at high spatial resolution is important because the yield of the crop and its impact on soil carbon stocks can vary significantly across the country. The study, published in Global Change Biology – Bioenergy, the team combined county-level crop yield, weather data and soil data at depths relevant to bioenergy crops. The researchers than used a soil carbon model to calculate sequestration rates.  This study was done in collaboration with Steffen Mueller at the University of Chicago, Michelle Wander at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Ho-Young Kwon at the International Food Policy Research Institute. The results are contributing to DOE’s third Billion-Ton report.

Researchers modeled soil carbon sequestration rates for five crops: corn and four energy-dense crops including switchgrass, poplar, willow and Miscanthus.  The production of each species was modeled on four types of land, including cropland, cropland pasture (which fluctuates between producing crops and serving as pastureland) and flong-standing undisturbed grassland and forest — totaling 20 land scenarios depicting different initial and final land uses or covers. Researchers also considered changes to soil carbon stocks when 30 percent of the corn stover remaining after corn harvest is collected, which is likely to contribute to future biofuel production and can also affect carbon stocks.

By modeling soil carbon at a depth of 100 centimeters rather than the standard 30, the study results represent the deeper root systems of crops like switchgrass and poplar trees that transport carbon below the topsoil, unlike more shallow-rooted row crops like corn. The team also collected detailed data on local weather patterns, soil conditions, historical land use and local crop yields for each county, as well as data from bioenergy crop field trials conducted by other agencies and national laboratories.

For bioenergy crops in particular, modeling land types and local climates at high spatial resolution is important because the yield of the crop and its impact on soil carbon stocks can vary significantly across the country.

“By doing this type of analysis we can find areas where bioenergy crops can have positive environmental effects — but also hotspots where growing bioenergy crops may cause a decline in soil carbon,” said Argonne postdoctoral researcher Zhangcai Qin, who is examining the environmental effects of biofuel production.Read More

advance biofuels, Cellulosic, feedstocks, Research

The Ecology of a New Crop

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Researchers at the UConn Plant Science Farm are studying the ecology of camelina as a high-tech crop. The research team is led by professor emerita Carol Auer and she and her team have been working with Camelina sativa, an oilseed crop that has never been grown commercially in the state. The feedstock has been subject to genetic modification for use to make biofuels, dietary supplements and bioplastics and could soon be a viable cash crops for farmers.

camelina160620a086-630x420

From left, postdoctoral fellow Chuan-Jie Zhang, professor emerita Carol Auer, and graduate student Richard Rizzitello in a field of Camelina sativa at UConn’s Plant Science Research Farm. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

Camelina has historically been considered a weed and is closely related to other common weeds in the mustard family. According to Auer, this raises questions about future interactions between cultivated plants and their surrounding environment. With this in mind, one of the team’s main goals is to understand gene flow, the movement of genes between individual plants within a species or between closely related plant species. Gene flow between plants depends upon the movement of pollen by wind or insects, and the fields at UConn have demonstrated that camelina attracts pollinators such as honey bees, native bumble bees, and flies.

Graduate student Richard Rizzitello has been studying these insect visitors. “If camelina is planted across the U.S., it could provide good food resources for bees and other pollinators that are in decline,” he said. “But we need to know if the new traits from genetic engineering could cause problems in the environment. For example, we don’t want camelina to change from a cultivated plant to an aggressive weed.”

Over the next few years, the UConn research team will share their information about camelina gene flow and weed dynamics with farmers and other groups including government regulators who are responsible for crop biotechnology regulation.

“These experiences have given me a lot of insight into the challenges that regulators face. That’s a big driver for me in these projects,” said Auer. “Although it sounds simple, good baseline data about crop biology and ecology are essential to many regulatory decisions. In the long run, this research will help us manage biotechnology and improve coexistence in our farming systems.”

The research is supported by a grant from the Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grant Program, an initiative of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

advance biofuels, Biodiesel, bioplastics, feedstocks, Research

#Ethanol Report on E15 at Fuel Terminals

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

ethanol-report-adIllinois-based HWRT Oil Company will soon be the first company in the United States to offer pre-blended 15% ethanol at the terminal level, something the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is calling a “game-changer” for increasing access to E15.

RFA Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White talks about why this is such a big deal in this edition of the “Ethanol Report.”

Listen to the Ethanol Report: Ethanol Report on E15 at Fuel Terminals

Audio, E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Ethanol Report, RFA