Taurus Energy Joins MN Bio-Fuels Association

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Sweden-based Taurus Energy has become the latest member of the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association. The company, which also has operations in Minnesota, is a research and development business that develops yeasts for ethanol production, among other industries.

A Taurus Energy scientist at the company's lab in Gothenburg, Sweden. Photo provided by Taurus Energy.

A Taurus Energy scientist at the company’s lab in Gothenburg, Sweden. Photo provided by Taurus Energy.

We are pleased to welcome Taurus Energy as our latest vendor member. Taurus Energy has made new forays into yeast technology and we look forward to working with them as they expand their presence in Minnesota,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director of Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association.

Taurus Energy holds over 10 patent families, and the company says it provides ethanol producers technology and methods to produce ethanol from new plant material as well as increase yields and profitability in corn ethanol production.

“For one thing there already exists a cultural bond between Sweden and Minnesota, including an ongoing technology exchange in the bioenergy field between our two countries,” said Eddy Christensson, COO of Taurus Energy’s Minnesota operations. He added, “From Taurus, we hope to participate in biofuel job-creating projects from the timberland in northern Minnesota and to work with existing corn ethanol plants to increase their yield and profitability from added cellulose ethanol production.”

In 2015, Taurus Energy and Canada’s Lallemand Biofuel & Distilled Spirits entered into a partnership to develop, market, sell and distribute the former’s Gen 2 XyloFerm yeast platform, which is a cellulosic yeast that offers minimal byproduct formation with a high tolerance for inhibitors common with cellulosic substrates. In addition, the two companies are in talks to supply this yeast technology to Sweetwater Energy’s proposed bio-chemical and ethanol biorefinery set to be built in Mountain Iron, Minnesota.

biofuels, enzymes, Ethanol

RFA Celebrates National Farmers Day

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Today is National Farmers Day and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is sending out a big thank you to farmers in honor of their role in producing food, fuel and fiber for the U.S. and the world. RFA quotes the words of Thomas Jefferson, “Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness.”

culxdf7weaapxaaThis morning USDA issued the latest statistics on the corn harvest and once again, American corn farmers are set to post another record with corn production estimated to be 15.1 billion bushels for the 2016/2017 harvest. This feat is more than double the production only 25 years ago. For example, in 1991, corn production was 7.48 billion bushels. Also this year the USDA is forecasting another record yield of 173.4 bushels per acre, surpassing the 171 bushels per acre recorded in 2014.

Of this massive haul, the U.S. ethanol industry used 5.25 billion bushels of corn last year valued at $19 billion. This was used to produce nearly 15 billion gallons of ethanol and 40 million metric tons of dried distillers grains, or DDGS, an animal feed, returning the feed grade portion of corn back into the marketplace. In all, the ethanol coupled with DDGs production was valued at more than $31 billion.

Bob Dinneen, RFA president and CEO thanked America’s farmers on behalf of the ethanol industry. “Ethanol continues to be the most important value-added market for America’s farmers, helping to drive investment in rural America while allowing Congress to reduce federal farm program costs. At the same time, ethanol is helping to clean the air, address global climate change, enhance U.S. energy security and lower consumer gasoline costs. Given all that farmers do to help feed and fuel the world, every day should be National Farmer’s Day.

corn, Distillers Grains, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

Young Scientists Scholarship to National Biodiesel Conference

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

National-Biodiesel-Board-LogoCollege science students interested in learning about all aspects of the biodiesel industry can apply for a travel scholarship to attend the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, Jan. 16 – 19 in San Diego. The application process is open for members of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel for scholarships, and to present a poster on their research or outreach activities. Apply by Nov. 18 for the travel $600 travel reimbursement from the National Biodiesel Board, the United Soybean Board and the National Biodiesel Foundation.

Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel is a National Biodiesel Board (NBB) program intended to foster professional relationships between budding and established scientists, share accurate information and increase collaboration with academia and the biodiesel industry.

Student opportunities include a poster session and breakout session to present their research, a preconference biodiesel educational overview and a mentoring lunch with prominent biodiesel scientists.

Last year, more than 30 students attended the event from schools including Colorado State University, Clemson University, Yale University and the University of Missouri

Many of the students, who came from a wide range of disciplines, noted the impact the event made on them.

“The biggest change on my views of biodiesel after attending the conference was in my understanding of what makes biodiesel sustainable,” said Jesse Mayer, a biochemistry major at the University of Nevada—Reno. “Now I’m always sure to stress the minimal impact biodiesel has on food production in lab meetings and in other interactions with colleagues.”

Ag group, Biodiesel, Biodiesel Conference, biofuels

RaceTrac Expands E15 Access for Customers

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

RaceTrac_EmblemRaceTrac announced that it has expanded E15 sales to four locations in Florida, giving consumers access to a higher biofuel blend.

RaceTrac recently joined a list of major retailers as part of the Prime the Pump initiative, which works in collaboration with Growth Energy to expand consumer choice for higher blends of ethanol, like E15, to Americans across the nation. Minnoco, Sheetz, Kum & Go, Thorntons, Cenex, Protec and Murphy USA are among the members of the Prime the Pump coalition.

“We are excited that RaceTrac, in addition to the other members of our retail family, is giving more customers the choice to switch to a 21st century fuel that is good for the environment, good for their cars and good for their wallets,” said Emily Skor, Growth Energy CEO. “Consumer demand for E15 is on the rise thanks to its lower price point and environmental benefits and RaceTrac is another example of a retailer committed to providing their customers with the best fueling options.”

E15 is a high performance fuel that contains 5 percent more ethanol than the regular gasoline and it is approved for use in any car made in 2001 and newer. Consumers may go to www.GetEthanol.com to find retail stores that offer E15.

Agribusiness, E15, Ethanol, Growth Energy

RFA Announces Fishing Sponsorship to Promote Ethanol

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

rfalogo1The Renewable Fuels Association will be a co-title sponsor of the Crappie Masters Tournament Trail this year with Bass Pro Shops, in an effort to educate boaters, conservation enthusiasts and consumers about ethanol’s benefits and its use in boats and other marine applications.

Crappie Masters provides a crappie trail that anglers and families can enjoy and compete for prizes.

The sponsorship will focus on ethanol versus the RFA and includes print and TV advertising, as well as a presentation on an episode of Crappier Masters TV. Further, it will include a presence at the tournaments, promotionally wrapped vehicles and boats, and a strong online presence and various social media efforts. Supportive funding from the National Corn Growers Association, as well as a handful of state corn grower organizations, including those from Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana and Kentucky. Further state corn grower organization support is expected in the coming months.

“We are pleased to co-title sponsor Crappie Masters to help spread the word about ethanol’s benefits to boaters,” said RFA Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White. “There has been a lot of misinformation perpetuated by biofuel opponents surrounding boating and ethanol, but for nearly 30 years, 10 percent ethanol (E10) has been used in all types of marine engines and the fuel blend is approved for use by all major marine engine manufacturers. Additionally, with ethanol’s higher octane rating, it gives boaters an extra power boost, while being the lowest-cost, cleanest-burning, biodegradable fuel on the planet.”

Bass Pro Shops Crappiemasters Owner and President Brian Sowers said, “This is a huge opportunity to partner with these great organizations. We aim to be the face and voice in the fishing and outdoor industry, dispelling myths and educating the public regarding the safe use of E10 in outboard engines. We believe renewable fuels provide fewer emissions, cleaner air, cleaner environment, cleaner water, and healthier fisheries that future generations can enjoy. Ethanol and renewable fuels reduce our dependence on foreign oil, support American farmers, and make a stronger America. Bass Pro Shops Crappiemasters is honored to be a partner with the Renewable Fuels Association and ethanol, and look forward to a bright and exciting future working together for a common goal and belief.”

Ag group, Ethanol, RFA

Absolute Energy Celebrates 1 Billion Gallons of Ethanol

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Iowa RFA logo-newThe Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) recognized Absolute Energy for producing its one billionth gallon of cleaner-burning, homegrown ethanol this month.

“Congratulations to Absolute Energy for reaching this incredible milestone,” said IRFA Director Monte Shaw. “The ethanol produced by this locally-owned plant not only benefits the local economy but also increases our nation’s energy independence and reduces polluting emissions across the United States. Their success is a win-win for the economy and our environment.”

Absolute Energy is a 125 million gallon per year ethanol production facility near the Iowa-Minnesota border. The company began production in 2008 and currently employs 45 local workers. One billion gallons of ethanol is equivalent to 34,722 rail tanker car loads.

“We are thrilled with this achievement,” said Rick Schwarck, Chairman, President and CEO of Absolute Energy. “Absolute Energy has always been committed to being a good neighbor in our community and creating a positive environment for our employees. We could not have reached this milestone without the support and commitment of our community, investors and workers.”

Schwarck estimates that Absolute Energy has ground more than 313 million bushels of corn and produced more than 2.6 million tons of distillers grains and 123 million pounds of corn oil since its inception. The plant has employed 99 people throughout its production of one billion gallons, paying more than $28.3 million in wages to local workers.

Agribusiness, Ethanol, Iowa RFA

Gevo Produces 1st Cellulosic Renewable Jet Fuel

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Gevo logoGevo, Inc. announced it has completed production of the world’s first cellulosic renewable jet fuel that is specified for commercial flights. Gevo has adapted its patented technologies to convert cellulosic sugars derived from wood waste into renewable isobutanol, which was then further converted into Gevo’s Alcohol-to-Jet fuel (ATJ) fuel. This ATJ meets the ASTM D7566 specification allowing it to be used for commercial flights. The revisions to the ASTM D7566 specification, which occurred earlier this year, includes ATJ derived from renewable isobutanol, regardless of the carbohydrate feedstock (i.e. cellulosics, corn, sugar cane, molasses, etc.).

Gevo produced over 1,000 gallons of the cellulosic ATJ. Alaska Airlines is expected to fly the first commercial flight using this cellulosic jet fuel in the next few months. Gevo believes that this would be the first ever commercial flight flown with a cellulosic renewable jet fuel. This follows on the back of the two commercial flights that were flown by Alaska Airlines on Gevo’s ATJ in June of this year. The ATJ for the June flights was derived from isobutanol produced at Gevo’s Luverne, MN, production facility using sustainable corn as the sugar feedstock.

The cellulosic ATJ was produced in conjunction with the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA). NARA supplied the sugars that were derived from forest residuals in the Pacific Northwest. Gevo produced the cellulosic renewable isobutanol at its demonstration facility in St. Joseph, MO, that it jointly operates with ICM Inc. The cellulosic renewable isobutanol was then transported to Gevo’s biorefinery facility in Silsbee, TX, that Gevo operates with South Hampton Resources where the cellulosic renewable isobutanol was converted into ATJ.

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Agribusiness, Cellulosic

Register for 22nd Annual RFA National Ethanol Conference

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-9-01-03-amRegistration is now open for the Renewable Fuels Association’s 22nd annual National Ethanol Conference (NEC), to be held Feb. 20–22, 2017 in San Diego. The theme for the NEC will be “Building Partnerships, Growing Markets.”

The NEC provides an exclusive opportunity to engage key decision makers and industry executives, while networking and learning about the latest technologies and government policies. Speakers will address a number of topics, including expanding infrastructure, blends above E10, high octane fuels and exports.

“It is no surprise that the National Ethanol Conference is the most widely attended ethanol industry conference and can’t miss annual event,” said RFA Board Chairman Mick Henderson, general manager of Commonwealth Agri-Energy LLC, which operates a 33-million gallon per year ethanol plant in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. “The conference always has a panoply of speakers to inform attendees about ways we can continue to grow our industry and I look forward to the upcoming event.”

Additionally, for the second year, NEC has been selected to be a participant of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Buyer Program (IBP). Through its network of offices in U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide, the IBP recruits pre-screened foreign buyer delegations and brings them to selected U.S. trade shows and conferences, connecting U.S. companies with international buyers. International trade specialists from the agency will be at the International Trade Center onsite at the NEC to provide export counseling, matchmaking services, market analysis and more.

Ag group, Ethanol, National Ethanol Conference

Senator Brown Introduces EV Transportation Bill

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has introduced new legislation, the Electric Vehicle Credit Act, to give employers the opportunity to provide employees with electric cars access to the same pre-tax transportation benefits many workers receive for traditional forms of transportation including public transportation allowances, parking fees and public transit passes.

Brown-062609-18446- 0008

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has introduced the Electric Vehicle Credit Act to allow employers to give employees who drive EV’s pre-tax benefits.

As more Ohioans choose to drive electric to save on gas and reduce pollution, it’s important that employers have the opportunity to offer vehicle charging as a workplace benefit,” said Brown of the national legislation. “Many workers are already able to exclude bus passes and parking fees from their taxable income and offering workers using new transportation options this same benefit help Ohio employers recruit and retain talent.

The Electric Vehicle Credit Act, endorsed by the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA), would exclude transportation benefits for electric vehicle charging from an employee’s taxable income. This would be the same as employees who can exclude other transportation benefits such as transit passes or parking fees. The Act would allow employers to give each employee up to $250 per month in electric charging benefits before the employee would be taxed. Brown says he believes this Act would help employees offer more competitive benefit packages.

Genevieve Cullen, president of the EDTA, said of the proposed bill, “EDTA applauds Senator Brown’s leadership on electric drive and this effort to promote charging in workplaces. Electrifying the daily commute allows employees to save on gasoline and communities to benefit from reduced pollution. Expanding electric vehicle charging in the workplace is an important step in moving toward smarter, cleaner electric transportation in Ohio and across the country.

Alternative Vehicles, Electric Vehicles

REG Completes $34M Danville Biorefinery Upgrade

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The biodiesel biorefinery located in Danville, Illinois is showing off its new upgrades and enhancements. REG, the owner of the 45 million gallon per year biodiesel plant that has expanded from 8 acres to nearly 30 acres, invested $34.5 million into the facility. REG hosted a public celebration to showcase the completed project that included a ribbon cutting. On hand for the event was Illinois Congressman John Shimkus (R) as well as area civic and business leaders and contractors involved in the project.

In order to enable the biodiesel plant to utilize a wider array of low-carbon feedstocks, the upgrades included the addition of a biodiesel distillation unit along with various manufacturing improvements. The project also included several logistical improvements including an additional truck loadout, new warehouse and office space. With the acquisition and integration of the neighboring Bunge facility, the biodiesel biorefinery now has an additional 13 million gallons of feedstock and biofuel storage, that according to REG, will significantly improve year-round production and storage capability.

This is a culmination of more than two years of work not just within REG, but also with our contractors, our longtime lending partner Fifth Third Bank, the city of Danville, Vermillion County, and local residents,” said REG President and CEO Daniel Oh. “We now have a stronger REG Danville that can produce high quality, lower carbon intensity biofuel from a wider variety of crude raw materials in a part of the country where they are abundant.

Renewable Energy Group celebrated the completion of $34.5 million in upgrades to its Danville, IL biorefinery. Pictured (L to R)---Gary Haer, REG Vice President, Sales & Marketing; Cong. John Shimkus (R-IL); Brad Albin, Vice President, Manufacturing; Mike Jackson, REG Board Member; Chad Stone, Chief Financial Officer; Daniel Oh, President and CEO; Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer; Natalie Merrill, REG Vice President & Chief of Staff; Paul Calamari, REG Danville Plant Manager; and Bruce Lutes, REG Danville General Manager. (Photo: Business Wire)

Renewable Energy Group celebrated the completion of $34.5 million in upgrades to its Danville, IL biorefinery. Pictured (L to R)—Gary Haer, REG Vice President, Sales & Marketing; Cong. John Shimkus (R-IL); Brad Albin, Vice President, Manufacturing; Mike Jackson, REG Board Member; Chad Stone, Chief Financial Officer; Daniel Oh, President and CEO; Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer; Natalie Merrill, REG Vice President & Chief of Staff; Paul Calamari, REG Danville Plant Manager; and Bruce Lutes, REG Danville General Manager. (Photo: Business Wire)

Among the speakers was Illinois Congressman John Shimkus, a senior member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and long-time biodiesel advocate. “Biodiesel adds value to the economy and it helps improve the environment, supports jobs throughout the supply chain and strengthens our energy security,” he said.

REG acquired the Danville biorefinery in 2010 from Blackhawk Biofuels, LLC. It is one of the company’s 11 biomass-based diesel refineries across the U.S. that have a combined nameplate production capacity of 452 million gallons annually, making REG the leading producer of advanced biofuels in North America.

advance biofuels, Biodiesel