Interest in EVs Growing Finds Survey

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

The second annual survey on electric vehicles (EVs) has found that consumer interest in purchasing EVs, led by young adults, has increased over the past year from 31 percent in 2015 to 36 percent in 2016 while 50 percent of young adults (18-34) saying they would consider purchasing. The survey found that the more consumers know about EVs, the greater their interest in purchasing.

Commissioned by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), the survey also found that more choices are hitting the market and EVs are beginning more cost competitive with gas powered vehicles. In terms of sales, EVs have outpaced hybrids in their first years on the market with 2016 EV sales set to beat 2015.

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Consumer interest in buying electric vehicles is growing at the same time these vehicles are becoming more available and more attractive,” said Jack Gillis, CFA Director of Public Affairs and author of The Car Book. “It does not surprise us that electric vehicle sales have grown more rapidly in their first four years than did those of hybrid vehicles.

The survey also asked consumers, “The next time you buy or lease a car, would you consider an electric vehicle if it costs the same as a gas-powered car, has lower operating and maintenance costs, has a 200 mile range between charges, and can recharge in less than an hour?” In response to this question, 57 percent said they would be interested in purchasing this EV. For those who say they know a lot about EVs, the figure was 62 percent. And for young adults, the figure was 70 percent.

“As the younger buyers enter the market, more attractive EVs are made available, and consumers learn more about these vehicles, interest in purchasing them is likely to grow significantly,” said Gillis. He added that CFA has updated its EV guide, Car Book’s Snapshot Guide to Electric Vehicles, in an effort to improve consumer understanding of EVs.

Alternative Vehicles, Electric Vehicles

RFA Hosting Illinois #Ethanol Safety Seminars

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

rfalogo1The Renewable Fuels Association is hosting two free ethanol safety seminars next week in Benton, Illinois. 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 the safety seminar.

The Benton seminars will be held on Sept. 27, 2016 from 9:00 am –2:00 pm CT and 5:30 pm – 10 pm CT at the Benton Fire Department. Lunch and dinner will be provided. The seminars will be held with help from an Assistance for Local Emergency Response Training (ALERT) grant.

James Ball, the Emergency Response Administrator Chief in Rhode Island, previously attended an RFA ethanol safety seminar and praised the event. “The ethanol safety seminar was very educational and timely,” he said. “In Rhode Island, we have ethanol unit trains that arrive in downtown Providence twice a week in a highly congested area. The training provided first responders information on chemical properties and environmental fate that can be applied in an environmental emergency. They also discussed the application of AR-AFFF foam and the requirements for amounts needed to be applied based on the size of the incident.

The seminars are free to attend and open to the public, but are limited to the first 50 registrants. Click here to register.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, safety

Survey Says – Americans Want More Renewable Energy

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

A new survey has found that 78 percent of respondents believe the winner of the presidential race should prioritize faster adoption of renewable energy. The 7th Sense & Sustainability Study released by G&S Business Communications also found that opinion is split in relation to elected leaders and their understanding of the costs associated of fossil fuels. Fifty-two percent disagree while 48 agree that elected officials are well informed about fossil energy’s total costs. Regionally, Americans in the Midwest (59 percent) are more likely than those in the Northeast (49 percent) and in the South (47 percent) to disagree that elected officials comprehend the full costs associated with fossil energy.

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-10-50-54-amHowever, public uncertainty is not discouraging the view that the government can play a role in creating advantages for consumers with a marketplace that allows for broader competition among electric power suppliers. The survey found 85 percent believe customers benefit from having alternative energy sources that include rooftop solar and wind. Along the same lines, 77 percent responded government regulators should develop a pricing model that ensures utilities pay for excess power supplied to the grid by smaller scale independently owned device operators. In addition, 68 percent indicated it is more important to have a resilient power grid than to enjoy lower electricity costs.

Even the contentious nature of this year’s presidential campaign could not distract Americans from recognizing the importance of renewable energy to future economic growth and their own personal well-being,” said Ron Loch, G&S managing director and sustainability consulting leader. “It’s clear that public interest is served when there are discussions about the broader financial impact of fossil energy and the need to improve both energy efficiency and the infrastructure investment required to build a resilient power grid. Industry, government and civil society can better educate and engage by communicating about environmental and social responsibility in ways that tie back to stakeholders’ interests in choice, flexibility and security.

Another interesting finding is that there is an increasing trend among those who stay uninformed. While 50 percent say they turn to news media for information (down from 57 percent in 2014), 27 percent indicated they do not rely on any sources to learn about environmentally and socially responsible practices among businesses.

And for the second year in a row, the same three industries of agriculture, food and beverage, and energy lead with positive reputations for sustainability while manufacturing, leisure services and transportation lag again.

Climate Change, Renewable Energy, Utilities

ACE Ads Urge Congress to Fix RVP Legislation

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is calling on Washington to pass legislation that would fix arcane RVP (Reid Vapor Pressure) that keeps E15 from being sold in most markets during summer months. The two-week digital media campaign is focused on five target online publications and includes a daily video webcast for energy and environmental policy leaders. Featured in the campaign is Charlie Good, an ASE-certified mechanic and c-store owner. The campaign urges Congress to take action on bipartisan, bicameral legislation (S. 1239 and HR 1736) to allow gas stations to sell E15 year-round by updating EPA’s RVP regulation. The campaign runs September 19-23 and September 26-30 and will be featured on sites such as E&E Daily, Climatewire, Greenwire, and E&E TV.

ace16-007_ee_300x250_final1Even though E15, and all higher blends of ethanol, has fewer evaporative emissions than gasoline and E10, EPA refuses to allow E15 in conventional gasoline areas of the country from June 1 to September 15. As a result, most gas station owners can only sell E15 to flex fuel drivers. However, if EPA acts now on bringing RVP legislation in to the 21st century, then beginning in 2017, E15 could be sold year round.

It is imperative for Congress to take action on this legislation before adjourning for the year so c-store chains and gas station owners will be able to sell E15 to their customers year-round,” said ACE Executive Vice President Brian Jennings. “Our campaign includes retailer Charlie Good, in his own words, telling Congress how ridiculous it is for EPA to say E15 is okay to use one day, but not the next, when the fuel is cleaner than gasoline and E10,” said Jennings. “The ads make the case that the old RVP rule is out of sync with science and forces retailers like Charlie to halt sales of low-cost E15 during peak driving season.

According to ACE, year-round allowance of E15 could help save consumers between two to 10 cents per gallon, enabling retailers to sell a higher octane fuel for less than gasoline. ACE estimates that thousands of stations nationwide would start selling E15 if the RVP restriction was lifted by EPA or fixed by Congress.

ACE, E15, Ethanol, Reid Vapor Pressure

Renmatix Secures $14M

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Sample applications for 1M tons of cellulosic sugar, produced by the Plantrose process

Sample applications for 1M tons of cellulosic sugar, produced by the Plantrose process

Renmatix has announced a $14 million investment led by Bill Gates. The company has developed a process called Plantrose that produces cellulosic sugars that can be used to produce bioproducts such as biofuels and biochemcals. The monies raised will be used, in part, to commercialize Plantrose through license sales.

To effectively address climate change, we need to develop an energy infrastructure that doesn’t emit greenhouse gas and is cost competitive,” said Gates. “A critical component in this effort must be to decarbonize the industrial sector. Another is the possibility of cost competitive biofuels. Renmatix provides an innovative process that is an exciting pathway to pursue.

Gates is joined in the round by Total the global energy major which, after an initial investment in 2015, has expanded its investment and has additionally signed a licensing agreement with Renmatix for 1M tons of annual cellulosic sugar production capacity, at Total’s discretion to build corresponding facilities. According to Renmatix, the license represents significant revenue potential for the company, extending over the lifetime of the agreement.

The Plantrose process uses supercritical water to reduce costs in conversion of biomass to cellulosic sugars, the critical intermediary for second-generation biochemicals and biofuels. According to the company, with faster reactions and virtually no associated consumable-expenses, its supercritical hydrolysis economically enables a multitude of renewable process technologies to access the market for ‘high volume, low cost, broadly sourced’ cellulosic sugars.

Renmatix CEO, Mike Hamilton added, “This continued progress marks the pronounced acceleration of a new, sugar based, chemistry regime. One that can go beyond conventional oil based products for cleaner, more sustainable solutions. While we’re working with partners to capitalize on the vast opportunity for biobased transformation in markets as diverse as the U.S. and India, this investment from Gates and Total together — shows recognition of our technological achievements, and magnifies our commercial momentum. That acknowledgment and Total’s signing of the million-ton license, are compelling indicators of our Plantrose technology’s maturation towards biorefinery scale.

biochemicals, biofuels, biomass, bioproducts

BioEnergy Bytes

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1September 21, 2016 is Zero Emissions Day, the global 24 hour moratorium on the use of fossil fuels. On this day, people are challenged to not use or burn oil, gas or coal as well as to minimize (or eliminate) the use of electricity generated by fossil fuels.
  • Excelerate Energy L.P., in collaboration with Dubai Supply Authority, has completed the first commercial gas-up operation at DUSUP’s Jebel Ali LNG Import Terminal via Excelerate’s floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) Explorer on August 31, 2016. The FSRU gassed-up all five tanks of a 173,000 m3 LNG Carrier, in a 17-hour period. DUSUP’s ability to utilize the FSRU for these operations will allow LNG vessels departing regional dry docks avoid having to travel significant distances to perform this required step in the LNG cargo cycle, making Dubai a full-service LNG hub. A second similar gas-up operation was completed a few days later on another vessel.
  • Norway continues to lead the global market for electric vehicles, according to the most recent plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) index from IHS Automotive, part of business information provider IHS Markit. Based on analysis of new vehicle registrations during the first quarter 2016, one out of every three vehicles registered in Norway during the quarter was a plug-in electric vehicle, reflecting more market penetration in Norway than any other major market tracked by IHS Markit within the index.
  • The global biofuels market is expected grow at a CAGR of nearly 6% during the forecast period, according to Technavio’s latest report. In this report, Technavio covers the market outlook and growth prospects of the global biofuels market for 2016-2020. The market is further categorized into two fuel type segments, including ethanol and biodiesel, of which the ethanol segment dominated the market with almost 70% of the overall market share in 2015.
Bioenergy Bytes

Biofuel Champions Celebrate Return of #E15

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

A group of America’s biofuel champions joined together this week to celebrate the return of #E15 at the pump for consumers who drive a 2001 or newer vehicle. In Minnesota, Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed today (Sept. 16, 2016) as Ethanol Day in his state. This announcement followed E15 decrees by Mayors of South St. Paul and Minneapolis. And in Iowa, Governor Terry Branstad declared E15 Day in Iowa and North Carolina Mayors Jennifer Roberts of Charlotte and Bill Bell of Durham also declared E15 Day in two of North Carolina’s largest cities.

Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

“Across the country, policymakers and consumers are recognizing how renewable fuels grow the economy, protect our environment, and dramatically reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor in acknowledgement of the support both the ethanol industry and consumers are receiving to expand choice at the pump. “We’re grateful our champions in Iowa, Minnesota and North Carolina for helping us bring new options to consumers that will save them money at the pump. Higher ethanol blends like E15 support new jobs, and they keep our engines running strong without the toxic additives associated with fossil fuels.

Most gasoline sold in the United States contains at least 10 percent ethanol. Fifteen percent blends were approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2011 for all 21st century passenger vehicles, and are being offered at approximately 330 locations in 26 states. Due to summer fuel regulations from the EPA, many retailers are largely prohibited from selling E15 from June 1 through September 15. Growth Energy and other champions hope to change that, and a bipartisan coalition of governors recently joined their call with a letter urging EPA officials to lift outdated regulatory barriers on clean, affordable biofuel.

E15 is critical to America’s energy future. Ethanol and other advanced biofuels help slash carbon emissions and keep U.S. dollars out of the hands of hostile nations,” Skor added.

Leading retailers offering E15 include: Sheetz, Thortons, Murphy USA, MAPCO, RaceTrac, Minnoco, Protec and Kum & Go.

E15, Ethanol, Growth Energy

High Plains Bioenergy Acquires #Biodiesel Plant

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

hpb-st-joe-biodieselHigh Plains Bioenergy (HPB) is expanding its biodiesel business with the acquisition of a biodiesel plant located in St. Joseph, Missouri. The new biorefinery will operate as HPB- St. Joe Biodiesel.

Under the HPB brand, the biodiesel facility will use regionally sourced feedstocks and feature technology that will produce biodiesel with lower hpbcloud point specifications. The plant is in production and product is available for sale by truck and rail. When the plant reaches full production capacity, it will produce 28 million gallons annually.

The growth of the biodiesel industry over the past decade has been tremendous. With the addition of HPB Biodiesel – St Joe, we are expanding our geographical footprint and adding value to customers by offering an integrated approach to our sales and marketing paradigm,” said Gene Binder, HPB director of sales and business development.

High Plains Bioenergy is a subsidiary of Seaboard Foods.

advance biofuels, Biodiesel

LanzaTech Produces First Lanzanol

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

LanzaTech has produced its first 1,5000 gallons of jet fuel from Lanzanol – low carbon ethanol produced from waste industrial gases from steel mills via a fermentation process. In partnership with Virgin Atlantic, the fuel has been tested and passed all performance tests with early results showing the ethanol derived biojet fuel has carbon savings of 65 percent as compared to conventional jet fuel.

This initial batch of Lanzanol was produced in China at the Roundtable of Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) demonstration facility. The ethanol to jet fuel process deveopment also included assistance from the Pacific Northwest National Lab and the U.S. DOE.

virgin-atlantic-logoThis is a real game changer for aviation and could significantly reduce the industry’s reliance on oil within our lifetime,” said Sir Richard Branson. “Virgin Atlantic was the first commercial airline to test a bio-fuel flight and continues to be a leader in sustainable aviation. We chose to partner with LanzaTech because of its impressive sustainability profile and the commercial potential of the jet fuel. Our understanding of low carbon fuels has developed rapidly over the last decade, and we are closer than ever before to bringing a sustainable product to the market for commercial use by Virgin Atlantic and other global airlines.”

The next step is for the two companies to work with with Boeing and other industry colleagues to complete additional testing and begin the approval process to use Lanzanol in commercial flights. Once the biojet fuel is approved, LanzaTech will raise funds for its first commercial production biorefinery with an eye on the UK for its home.

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-8-58-45-amWe can now truly imagine a world where a steel mill can not only produce the steel for the components of the plane but also recycle its gases to produce the fuel that powers the aircraft,” said Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, chief executive of LanzaTech. “This program illustrates that such breakthroughs are only possible through collaboration. In this case, it is governments (US DOE, FAA, DARPA), laboratories (PNNL, AFRL, SWRI, MTU, UDRI), NGOs (RSB) and industry (Virgin, HSBC, Boeing, Shougang, Airlines for America) coming together to disrupt our current global carbon trajectory. We look forward to working with colleagues past, present and future to make this pioneering new fuel a commercial reality.

advance biofuels, aviation biofuels, biojet fuel, Ethanol

Governors’ Biofuels Coalition Turns 25

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

governor-biofuelsThe Governors’ Biofuels Coalition is celebrating its silver anniversary this month.

“No one would have guessed that a meeting I had with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad 25 years ago this month, in the basement of the governor’s mansion in Lincoln, Nebraska, would lead to the formation of a group of governors who changed the nation’s energy history,” said former Nebraska Governor and U.S. Senator Ben Nelson. Membership in the Coalition quickly grew to 19 states during the first year, and peaked with 36 states along with international representatives from Brazil, Quebec, Mexico, Australia, Sweden and Thailand.

“Twenty-five years later, the spirit of bipartisanship, so rare in today’s political arena, remains the Coalition’s foundation,” said Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and co-founder of the Coalition. “It’s my hope that the Coalition can redouble its efforts to address the challenges and opportunities facing the biofuels industry today.”

Beginning in 2003, the Coalition’s governors began working with Congressional leadership and the White House on legislation that would allow biofuels to fairly compete with the petroleum industry in the transportation fuel market — a market that the petroleum industry had dominated for more than a 100 years. The result of that collaboration was the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), which members of Congress from both parties overwhelmingly supported. President George W. Bush signed the RFS into law in 2005. Two years later, President Bush signed an expanded RFS that would pave the way for the production of cellulosic ethanol and biofuels from diverse feedstocks.

“Passage of the RFS would not have happened without bipartisanship leadership from the states,” said Senator Nelson, who was the floor manager for the RFS legislation in the Senate. “It would have been impossible to pass the RFS without the work and collaboration of senators from both sides of the aisle. Although they were from different parties, they all agreed that something had to be done to end the petroleum industry’s monopoly of the nation’s transportation fuel market.”

Many governors also worked to pass the RFS. The rest is history: billions invested in new biofuels plants, thousands of new jobs, and revitalization of the nation’s rural economy.

biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government, RFS