Iowa Governor Honored for #Biofuels Leadership

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

branstad-awardIowa Governor Terry Branstad, the nation’s longest serving Governor, was honored Friday by renewable fuels industry leaders, the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition and the National Governors Association at a breakfast commemorating his steadfast leadership in renewable fuels.

“Gov. Branstad is a true champion for renewable fuels, and we’re delighted to see him honored for his long-standing leadership,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw.

The breakfast honoring Gov. Branstad was hosted and sponsored by the IRFA, Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, Nebraska Ethanol Board and several other biofuels industry partners.

biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Iowa RFA

40+ Groups Fighting Against Big Oil Subsidies

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

More than 40 groups have come together to call for an end to Big Oil subsidies that have been in place for more than 100 years. In an open letter to Congress from a diverse range or organizations from veterans, to renewable energy to environmental, and more, the groups are challenging Congress to repeal the nearly $4 billion a year in “wasteful taxpayer subsidies” handed to Big Oil and Gas. This despite, say the groups, the industry’s efforts to halt efforts to curb climate change.

The letter was released during a press call: Press Call to End Big Oil Subsidies

Example of a "no ethanol" pump popping up around East Tennessee. Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

Example of a “no ethanol” pump popping up around East Tennessee. Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

Members of Congress have been a very lucrative investment for the oil industry. For every $1 they put in in campaign contributions, they get back more than $188 in subsidies, even using these very conservative JCT subsidy figures,” said Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change USA. “I am sure most Americans wish we could get returns even a fraction that good from our 401k’s. This has gone on for far too long, it is time now for a Separation of Oil and State.”

The U.S. and the world have taken bold steps to address climate change as evidence in the history COP21 last December. Greg Dotson, vice president for energy policy at the Center for American Progress Action fund says there is more to be done and clean energy companies are ready to step up to meet growing need. “The first thing you do when you are in a hole is stop digging. We know today that we are putting too much carbon pollution into the atmosphere – and we should stop using tax payer dollars to encourage even more.

Brad Woodhouse, president, Americans United for Change, added, “These tax giveaways serve no useful purpose other than padding oil industry profits. We could send 166,000 kids to college every year with the $4 billion that is instead squandered on Big Oil. Over summer recess, we’re going to demand answers from Republicans in Congress who can’t find the money to address the Zika Virus or Flint water crisis, or repair our crumbling infrastructure, but think Big Oil can’t live without these subsidies. Even with persistently low oil prices, which dipped below $30 a barrel earlier this year, ExxonMobil still reported nearly $1.8 billion in profits last quarter, and BP over $500 million. It seems even in the worst of times, Big Oil can make tons of money comfortably without a taxpayer handout. And it seems the only return on taxpayers’ investment is dirty air and 14,000 oil spills every year.”

On the call, Senators were called on to support the FAIR Energy Policy Act, legislation sponsored by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) that would phase out special tax breaks for fossil fuels on the same schedule as the law Congress passed to phase out the wind production tax credit (PTC). The Call to Action also came in support of the Democratic Senators who took to the floor this week to condemn ExxonMobil Corp. for spinning a “web of denial” about climate change as part of a profit-protecting scheme to kill any legislative action to address it.

Audio, biofuels, Clean Energy, Climate Change, Environment, Oil

DOE Releases 2016 Billion Ton Report

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) along with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have released its 2016 Billon-Ton Report. The study found that within 25 years, the U.S. could produce enough biomass to support a bioeconomy including renewable aquatic and terrestrial biomass resources. The report also found that by 2040, the country could sustainably produce at least one billion tons of non-food biomass. Key biomass feedstocks fueling the bioeconomy include agricultural, forestry, and algal biomass, as well as waste – all useable for the production of biofuel, biopower, and bioproducts.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 1.51.01 AMThe report findings show that under a base-case scenario, the U.S. could increase its use of dry biomass resources from a current 400 million tons to 1.57 billion tons under a high-yield scenario. This is important because increasing production and use of biofuel, biopower, and bioproducts would substantially decrease greenhouse gas emissions in the utility and transportation sectors and reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil as the domestic bioeconomy grows.

New to the 2016 report is novel assessments of potential biomass supplies from algae, from new energy crops (miscanthus, energy cane, eucalyptus), and from municipal solid waste. For the first time, the report also considers how the cost of pre-processing and transporting biomass to the biorefinery may impact feedstock availability.

On July 21, 2016, the Bioenergy Technologies Office will be hosting a joint webinar with Oak Ridge National Laboratory staff to further discuss and answer questions regarding the 2016 Billion-Ton Report volume 1 results, scenarios, assumptions, and constraints.

advance biofuels, bioenergy, biomass, bioproducts

House #Biofuels Caucus To @EPA: Get #RFS Back on Track

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) remains under fire regarding its proposed rule for the 2017 renewable fuel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). This week, 17 members of the House Biofuels Caucus sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, urging the agency to complete its 2017 RFS “in a manner consistent with the Congressional intent to aggressively expand the production of renewable fuels.” Last month, 39 Senators also sent a letter to McCarthy calling for her to increase biofuel use back to statuary levels.

The 2017 proposal calls on refiners to blend 14.8 billion gallons of conventional biofuels in 2017, slightly below the 15-billion-gallon level envisioned by Congress when it expanded the RFS in 2007.

rfalogo1We thank the lawmakers for their leadership to ensure EPA finalizes a strong RFS that gets the program back on track,” said Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “As the House members wrote, ‘a final rule that falls short of the conventional biofuel cap will do nothing to assuage critics of the program, while missing an opportunity to refocus on addressing the pressing issues needed to fully realize the potential renewable fuels can make for our economy and energy security.’ We couldn’t agree more.”

Dinneen continued, “As we outlined in comments to EPA this week on its proposed 2017 RFS rule, there’s no justification for lowering the conventional biofuel target. Record levels of E10 consumption, broader availability of E15 and E85, more than 2 billion surplus renewable identification numbers and other factors make the statutory requirement readily achievable in 2017. It’s time EPA follows the statutory requirement and increase the conventional biofuel target to 15 billion gallons.”

growth-energy-logo1Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor also thanked the House members for their support of ethanol. “The letter explicitly urges EPA to put the RFS program back on track by finalizing blending targets that are in line with Congress’ original intent. The RFS program has successfully grown the biofuels industry in the United States, and finalizing blending targets that satisfy the original statutory requirements will keep that progress intact.”Read More

biofuels, EPA, Ethanol, Growth Energy, Legislation, policy, RFA, RFS

NBB Applauds Senators for #Biodiesel Tax Incentive Bill

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash) plus 12 co-sponsors have introduced legislation to extend the biodiesel tax incentive through 2019 that is set to expire at the end of this year. The bill would also reform the tax credit to apply only to domestically produced biodiesel. The bill follows similar legislation Sens. Grassley and Cantwell previously introduced, including last year when it cleared the Senate Finance Committee without objection. It also mirrors House legislation (H.R. 5240) introduced by Reps. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.).

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash) have introduced a new biodiesel tax credit bill.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash) have introduced a new biodiesel tax credit bill.

The biodiesel tax credit has been the victim over the years of inconsistent support. The incentive expired on December 31, 2014, then was retroactively reinstated late in 2015 and is again set to expire on December 31 2016. According to the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), under the current “blender’s” structure of the incentive, foreign biodiesel imported to the U.S. and blended with petroleum diesel in the U.S. is eligible for the tax incentive. Increasingly, foreign biodiesel producers are taking advantage of the U.S. incentive by shipping their product here. In 2015 alone, some 670 million gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel was imported to the U.S., making up nearly a third of the U.S. market.

However, the new bill would eliminate the credit for foreign produced biodiesel and push the expiration date out three years, rather than the one year extensions that have been historically passed giving the biodiesel industry, especially investors, more certainty.

NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel released the following statement in response to the legislation:

“Biodiesel and renewable diesel producers around the country are yet again facing what effectively amounts to a tax increase in less than six months. Congress can keep that from happening by passing this bill. It will give producers the certainty they need to hire and grow in the coming years. It will continue our success in diversifying the diesel market and reducing our dependence on petroleum. And it will help clean the air by cutting carbon emissions and other pollution.

It also will appropriately reform this incentive by applying it only to domestic biodiesel production, ending a growing practice where foreign producers are taking advantage of our tax system. Our tax law should not be incentivizing foreign fuel, and this bill fixes that loophole so that we’re stimulating jobs and economic development here at home.

On behalf of biodiesel and renewable diesel producers across the country, we want to thank Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., for their continued leadership on this issue as well as the additional cosponsors, Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). We urge Congress to take up this bill and pass it as quickly as possible so that we can continue expanding biodiesel’s role as the leading Advanced Biofuels in America.”

advance biofuels, Biodiesel, Legislation, NBB

Ensyn to Build Forest Waste-to-Fuel Biorefinery

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Ensyn has broken ground on the first of its kind biorefinery in Quebec that will produce renewable fuel oil from forest residues. The Governments of Canada and Quebec will provide $76.5 million in funding to AE Côte-Nord Bioenergy for the Port Cartier project that when in full production, will convert forest residues into 40 million litres of renewable fuel oil per year. Production is anticipated to begin in 2017.

Ensyn logo“We are pleased to initiate construction of the Côte-Nord project. Our RTP technology was born and developed in Canada, and we are proud to see that this important project, the first commercial facility designed and optimized for fuel production, will be established in Canada with the support of IFIT, SDTC and Investissement Québec,” said Dr. Robert Graham, chairman, Ensyn Corporation.

The project was kicked off at Port-Cartier by Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, and Laurent Lessard, Quebec’s Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks. In March 2016, to ensure the fibre supply for the project, the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks reserved 170,000 green tonnes of residues from government forests for the plant.

The Government of Canada is supporting the project through a $27-million investment from Sustainable Development Technology Canada and $17.5 million from Natural Resources Canada’s Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program. In addition, the Government of Quebec is contributing $32 million to the project, including $10 million from Investissement Québec.

Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, said of the announcement, “Today’s announcement is an important step in advancing Canada’s bioeconomy. By increasing the commercial availability of renewable fuel oil, which can be used as a clean replacement for fossil fuels, this project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs in the local economy. This investment demonstrates our leadership in supporting this strong example of clean-technology innovation.”

advance biofuels, biomass

NCGA Calls for #RFS Policy Support with Lower Corn Demand

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Lincolnway Energy in Nevada, Iowa produces ethanol and distillers grains an animal feed, from locally produced corn. Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

Lincolnway Energy in Nevada, Iowa produces ethanol and distillers grains an animal feed, from locally produced corn. Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

According to new USDA forecasts, increases in corn acres, both planted and harvested in the U.S., led to higher production and lower prices. Despite a 30-million-bushel overall increase in demand, corn price forecasts for the 2016/2017 crop year fell ten cents to $3.40 per bushel. The 2016/17 season-average corn price received by farmers fell and is now projected to be between $3.10 to $3.70 per bushel. Corn prices are an important factor in determining cost per gallon of production for ethanol facilities so lower prices are good for the ethanol plants, but not necessarily good for corn growers.

While NCGA is pleased with increased demand from the export sector, it is evident that far greater gains must be made in generating additional demand from all sectors if we are to ensure the continued profitability of U.S. family farmers,” said National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Chip Bowling, a farmer from Maryland.

“To grow these markets, farmers need the help of our federal legislators and regulators. Farmers need the EPA to step up and comply with its statutory obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard,” stressed Bowling.

He continued, “We need Congress to help us push export demand even further by opening new markets by passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and lifting the Cuban Trade Embargo. We must work together to generate the demand America’s rural communities and farm families need to thrive.”

The USDA report projected increased export forecasts by 100 million bushels to 2.05 billion bushels. If realized, this would be the first time U.S. corn exports have exceeded two billion bushels since 2007/2008, says NCGA. This increase, in large part, reflects decreased competition by Brazil, for which USDA reduced old crop export estimates by 157 million bushels. This increase was, in large part, offset by decreased demand in the ethanol and feed sectors. Overall demand forecasts were thus only raised by 30 million bushels.

Both the number of planted and harvested acres were changed in light of the information released in the acreage report last month. With an additional 500,000 acres planted and 700,000 acres to be harvested, production forecasts increased despite steady yield forecasts. If achieved, corn production would set a new record at 14.5 billion bushels. Notably, the ending stocks forecasts was increased by 73 million bushels.

NCGA recently hosted an event, the Corn Utilization and Technology Conference that features emerging technologies that utilize corn and thus finding new avenues for corn producers.

Agribusiness, corn, Ethanol, NCGA, RFS

Enginuity Worldwide Wins Grant for BioCoal Fuel

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has awarded a $250,525 grant to Enginuity Worldwide to develop its BioCoal Fuel. The Missouri-based company uses its patented rotary compression technology to produce the renewable fuel. The multi-phase grant will begin on July 1, 2016 and will end June 30, 2017.

578127081707c.imageThrough its innovative biotechnology, Enginuity Worldwide has provided Nebraska with an opportunity to introduce biomass as an alternative fuel source using the state’s current waste stream and vast agriculture industry,” said Jim Macy, Director of the DEQ. “As the DEQ develops its plan to meet waste management targets, we look forward to working with Enginuity to help us reach this goal.”

Enginuity’s rotary compression technology transforms waste streams such as eastern red cedar, corn stover, sorghum stover, animal manure and woody waste, into energy-dense, easily transportable biomass – better known as BioCoal Fuel. The company says the product can be used as a cost-effective solution for existing coal-fired power plants to meet carbon emission targets by simply co-firing the product alongside current coal supplies without making expensive facility alterations.

Nancy Heimann, Founder and CEO of Enginuity Worldwide, said of winning the DEQ grant, “BioCoal Fuel can help make a cleaner, more sustainable energy for consumers without raising electricity rates. This grant can ultimately help build on Nebraska’s $22.6 billion agriculture industry, and further provide a solution for the state’s 15 coal-fired power plants to meet emission targets. We are proud to work with the DEQ, who understands the economic and environmental potential of our technology, and is willing to lead in the country as an early adopter.

Alternative energy, biomass

Power Energy Wins $1.44M #Ethanol Infrastructure Award

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Power Energy Corporation (PEC) has been awarded $1.44 million from the state of Illinois to assist them in building out the infrastructure at 20 retail gas stations to offer consumers higher ethanol blends choices at the pump. The grant was awarded from Illinois’ Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity as part of USDA’s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) program.

rfalogo1The funding will be used to help install underground storage tanks and new dispensers that will offer E15, E30 and E85, as well as biodiesel. All stations are located within the Chicagoland area, an RFG market, that allows E15 to be sold year-round to consumers that drive 2001 and newer model year vehicles.

I am very thankful for the efforts of USDA and the state of Illinois to expand retail infrastructure to support higher ethanol blends,” said PEC Owner Sam Odeh. “PEC is a strong supporter, and this effort will bring more fueling options to the Chicagoland area. I am also thankful for the leadership and continued relationship with Illinois Corn and RFA as we move forward.”

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) assisted PEC with station evaluations and recommendations on equipment configurations, and will continue to assist PEC throughout the grant execution process, equipment installation and product offering. PEC will utilize RFA’s Misfueling Mitigation Plan (MMP), the only EPA-approved MMP.

We are pleased that PEC is helping to expand consumer access to higher ethanol blends,” said RFA Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White. “Sam understands the consumer benefits when there are more choices at the pump. We thank him for his leadership and look forward to more stations offering higher ethanol blends in the near future.”

PEC estimates these stations will generate an additional 3.1 million gallons in ethanol sales above today’s E10-only sales. Infrastructure work will begin immediately, with four to six locations open this year, and all stations open by next year.

Biodiesel, biofuels, blends, E15, E85, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

BioEnergy Bytes

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Mark your calendars for the Biofuels Financial Conference taking place October 17-18, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Produced by Christianson & Associates and organized by BBI International, this year’s Biofuels Financial Conference is focused on the best ways to explore new options in today’s changing ethanol and biodiesel industries. By understanding risks associated with various technology and marketing initiatives, and by exploring various options for making the best use of capital and resources, attendees will learn how to create a well-managed plan for growth and change—a plan which maximizes profitability while ensuring future stability and meeting the expectations of all stakeholders.
  • Global Bioenergies, IBN-One and Lantmannen Aspen, a market leader in alkylate gasoline for two and four stroke small engines, have entered into a partnership on renewable isooctane for specialty fuel applications such as chain saws and lawn mowers.
  • Greenbelt Resources Corporation has announced that it appointed two new members to its Board effective immediately: Joe Pivinski and Michael Nakamura. Joe Pivinski has served as CFO of Greenbelt for several years and has more than four decades of experience. Michael Nakamura has spent the past decade advising, growing and running multiple businesses. He currently owns and operates DOCNAK Inc.
  • Chicago-based R.J. O’Brien & Associates (RJO), the oldest and largest independent futures brokerage and clearing firm in the United States, has announced that Jordan Sternhas joined the firm as Senior Vice President of Ethanol, operating out of Chicago. Stern will be focused on building out the firm’s futures, swaps and physical brokerage capabilities in ethanol and other biofuels beginningAugust 1.


Bioenergy Bytes