Steps to a Biorefinery

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Diversifying ethanol plants into biorefineries was an important topic at the recent American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) annual meeting in Omaha, as a strategy moving forward.

Steps to a Biorefinery was a panel at the conference with leading technology providers and producers discussing strategies for ethanol producers to diversify, become more efficient, and remain profitable well into the future.

Among the presenters was Jeff Scharping, Sales Director for ICM Inc., who also conducted a breakout session on “How Biorefineries Can Achieve Success by Adopting Focused Strategies.” Listen to his presentation here:
ACE Conference remarks Jeff Scharping, ICM Inc

Also on the panel were Neal Jakel, Partner and VP Strategy & Technology, Fluid Quip Technologies and Chad Kuhlers, COO, Golden Grain Energy LLC. Watch the Facebook Live video of the panel on the ACE Facebook page.

2019 ACE Conference Photo Album

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Audio, biofuels, Ethanol

Political Pollster Plugs E85

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Political consultant, pollster, and “public opinion guru” Frank Luntz gave a surprising plug for the use of E85 (85 percent ethanol blended fuel) and the need for more flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) during an appearance on FOX News Channel’s The Ingraham Angle with Laura Ingraham last Thursday.

“There’s a gasoline, E85, it’s ethanol,” said Luntz during an interview about the “Climate Town Hall” with Democratic presidential hopefuls on CNN. “If our automotive companies make flex fuel vehicles at a cost of less than $100 per vehicle…it reduces our dependence or eliminates it.”

Luntz claims E85 could make America energy independent by Election Day 2020. “We can make this change right now, have a positive impact on the economy, consumers would pay 50 cents less for gasoline, the air would be cleaner, the cars would run more efficiently – it works for everyone,” said Luntz. “This is a real solution without all that craziness you saw from the Democrats.”

Ethanol advocate Marc J. Rauch, THE AUTO CHANNEL, took notice of the interview right away and commented on the reaction that Luntz got from Ingraham:

Show host Laura Ingraham looked stunned by Luntz’ ethanol advocacy, as if she had no idea that Luntz would talk about this safe, sane, domestic solution. At times, she appeared uncomfortable, nearly rolling her eyes, and made a short ill-informed comment about “more and more giveaways to corn growers.” Luntz responded pretty well with correct contrary information and proceed with his pitch.

Watch the clip on THE AUTO CHANNEL – listen to the audio here:

Frank Luntz plugs E85 on Laura Ingraham show
Audio, E85, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Court Rules Against NBB on Small Refinery Exemptions

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit dismissed a petition filed by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) on regarding the 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard rule EPA’s refusal to properly account for retroactive small refinery exemptions. The Court dismissed NBB’s petition on the technicality that the biofuel industry did not comment on the topic and provide EPA sufficient opportunity to address those comments.

NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik says the court decision is frustrating. “EPA requested comment on its practice of ignoring retroactive small refinery exemptions but did not give notice of its intent to unleash a flood of the exemptions. The Court, however, faults the industry for not commenting specifically on that,” said Kovarik. “EPA’s flood of retroactive small refinery exemptions are causing severe economic harm to biodiesel and renewable diesel producers, forcing some to close their doors and lay off workers. It’s disappointing that the Court did not take this opportunity to address that harm.”

NBB challenged EPA’s decision to continue ignoring small refinery exemptions granted after the annual rule is established, even though the agency quietly ramped up granting these exemptions as it took comment on the rule. The Court declined to examine EPA’s flood of small refinery exemptions, but left room for future challenges on the issue.

Biodiesel, NBB, RFS

Ethanol Report DC Update

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Ethanol continues to be in the national news with President Trump indicating he will be announcing some type of small refinery waiver mitigation for the industry, as demands that the gallons waived be reallocated increase.

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Geoff Cooper was in Washington DC this week and in this edition of The Ethanol Report he gives an update on what the industry wants from the administration, Brazil’s modest tariff rate quota increase, and educating Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) regulators.

Ethanol Report DC Update

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Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Ethanol Report, RFA

RFS Support is Key Iowa Voter Issue

Carrie Muehling Leave a Comment

A majority of Iowa voters say the future of biofuels will play a role in how they vote in 2020, according to the Iowa Biodiesel Board.

New public opinion research shows a decisive 78 percent of voters in Iowa support expanding biofuel usage in the U.S. through the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. In addition, 77 percent of voters said it’s important to them that the president keep his promises on supporting the RFS.

The Iowa Biodiesel Board commissioned the bi-annual survey on biodiesel awareness and biofuel-related political values.

A professional public opinion research firm, Moore Information, conducted the online survey of 470 registered voters in Iowa in late July.

Biodiesel, RFS

Biodiesel Industry Spotlights Waiver Pain

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The biodiesel industry wants the administration to understand that they are hurting as much or more than ethanol producers as a result of EPA’s small refinery exemptions (SRE).

National Biodiesel Board (NBB) CEO Donnell Rehagen and Vice President of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik hosted a conference call with reporters Thursday to discuss the impact of small refinery exemptions on biodiesel and renewable diesel producers. The group estimates the small refinery exemptions have destroyed hundreds of millions of gallons of demand for biodiesel, which is forcing domestic producers to stop production and furlough employees, and NBB recently joined with other groups to request a meeting with President Trump to address a resolution to the demand destruction.

The NBB officials say biodiesel is getting forgotten in the media coverage about the waivers focusing on ethanol only, but the exemptions are actually causing disproportionate harm to biodiesel and renewable diesel, and “biodiesel must be addressed in any package the addresses lost gallons from the RFS.”

Kovarik said they just want to make it clear that the refinery exemptions are not “ethanol wa

Listen to NBB press conference here:
NBB press call on refinery waivers

Audio, Biodiesel, NBB

Governors Suggest Waiver Mitigation Actions

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The Governors’ Biofuels Coalition is offering some advice to President Donald Trump on how to mitigate the effects of the small refinery waivers on ethanol and biodiesel producers.

Coalition chair and vice chair, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, sent a letter recommending actions the President might include in his promised “giant package” of initiatives for the biofuels industry, including:

– Request that EPA add the lost gallons to the pending 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations proposed rule
– Initiate another Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) program through USDA
– Increase the minimum octane standard in gasoline to create an immediate market for more ethanol
– Direct EPA to enforce the Clean Air Act requirement to replace the aromatic toxics in gasoline with ethanol as a less expensive source of octane.

“Farmers, environmentalists, and consumers would all benefit from these actions,” the governors wrote. Governor Walz and Governor Noem also offered to work with the Administration to find solutions to address the impact the waivers have had on the nation’s agriculture community and ethanol producers.

Biodiesel, biofuels, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Nebraska Retailers Event Shows E15 Interest

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

As the first summer of nation-wide approved E15 use winds to an end, a fuel retailer workshop hosted last week by the Nebraska Ethanol Board (NEB) and American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) showed a lot of interest in learning more about offering the fuel.

ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty, a former fuel retailer, keynoted the workshop which included testimonies and a question and answer session with fuel retailers Randy Gard, COO of Bosselman Enterprises, owner of the Pump & Pantry convenience store chain, and Phil Smith with Aurora Coop.

The event agenda also included the Nebraska State Fire Marshal for the Fuels Safety Division walking through the steps to take before adding blends E15 and higher, as well as information on proper labeling of fuel dispensers, state policies supporting ethanol sales, and financial resources for expanding infrastructure.

ACE, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Retailers

Ethanol Exports Drop 6% in July

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

U.S. ethanol exports were down six percent in July, but the bulk of a 44% drop in shipments to Brazil was almost made up by in gains in other markets, according to data issued by the government and analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

Canada was the top destination for U.S. ethanol for the third consecutive month. Shipments increased 18% to a 12-month high of 34.8 mg. Exports to Brazil lowered to 15.8 mg, a 12 mg drop, as the country’s sugarcane harvest accelerated. Oman nearly doubled its offtake in July at 12.4 mg, and the Netherlands re-entered the market to buy 11.4 mg. Other top importers of U.S. ethanol included South Korea (9.8 mg, up 44%), Colombia (9.3 mg, up 38%), and the Philippines (9.1 mg, up 112%). Notably, India essentially withdrew from our export market for the first time in three years after taking 21.9 mg of American-made ethanol in June. Total year-to-date exports of U.S. ethanol stand at 880.1 mg. This implies an annualized export volume of 1.51 billion gallons which, if realized, would be the second-largest volume on record.

Imports of ethanol to the United States from Brazil were recorded in July for the fourth time this year. In fact, imports from Brazil were larger than exports to the country in July. Total year-to-date imports stand at 70.5 mg, which implies an annualized import volume of 120.9 mg. If realized, the U.S. would import the largest volume of foreign ethanol in six years.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, RFA

New Next Gen Biodiesel Scientist Leaders

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

The Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel (NGSB) program has selected students from Iowa State and National University as new co-chairs.

Sam Kramer is a chemical engineering and economics undergraduate at ISU, who helped get the school’s unique “BioBus” program going again after a long hiatus. “The world needs more capable and caring engineers,” Kramer said. “Programs like NGSB and our ISU BioBus Club spark interest in renewable energy and give young engineering students hands-on experience.”

Kayla Tilton is pursuing a Master of Public Health degree through National University in San Diego and also working as a student as an outreach coordinator for Maine Standard Biofuels. “I love watching people make the decision to switch to heating their homes with a 20 percent blend of biodiesel [Bioheat®], and helping local fleet managers take their Corporate Social Responsibility plan in a whole new direction,” Tilton said.

NGSB, a program of the National Biodiesel Board for college-level science students, fosters professional relationships between budding and established scientists, shares accurate information and increases collaboration with academia and the biodiesel industry.

Biodiesel, NBB, Science