Grand Forks Buses Go Green With Biodiesel

Cindy Zimmerman

The Cities Area Transit (CAT) buses in Grand Forks, North Dakota are sporting a new look this summer to celebrate the switch to B20, a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel.

To help introduce residents to biodiesel and its benefits, the Route 7 bus that travels from downtown, along Washington St. and around the shopping hub is sporting a full biodiesel wrap. Biodiesel messaging can also be seen on the backs of three other bus routes throughout the city. The wraps are a partnership between CAT, the North Dakota Soybean Council and the National Biodiesel Board.

“Utilizing public transit helps Grand Forks residents reduce the impact of transportation on the environment,” said Ali Rood, Cities Area Transit Mobility Manager. “Using public transit fueled by a clean, more renewable fuel blend reduces the impact even further.”

Rob Rose, North Dakota Soybean Council director and farmer said, “This is a great example of successful, farmer-led investment of our soybean checkoff dollars in education and market development for value-added products.”

Biodiesel, NBB

EPA Receives More Gap-Year Waiver Requests

Cindy Zimmerman

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated its Small Refinery Exemption (SRE) dashboard, revealing six more retroactive “gap-year” petitions for compliance years 2011 through 2016 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), bringing the total now to 58.

“We are already halfway through the year and instead of taking steps to comply with the January Tenth Circuit Court ruling to limit Small Refinery Exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard, EPA seems merely interested in providing refiners yet another escape hatch in the form of the now nearly 60 retroactive waiver requests,” said American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings.

The EPA dashboard shows 86 SRE petitions currently pending, including the 58 gap year SRE petitions.

ACE, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Fuel Ethanol Workshop to go Virtual in September

Cindy Zimmerman

Yesterday it was a go for a live event in Omaha next month. Today BBI International announced that the 2020 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo (FEW) has been moved and will be virtual, due to COVID-19.

The event will now take place September 15-17, 2020 and will be a live online event only. The virtual FEW will include a general session, a live virtual expo hall, all listed track sessions, pre-conference events, the co-located Biodiesel Production Technology Summit and the ACE Annual Conference. Attendees will be able to access all presentations, networking events, the virtual expo hall and chat rooms.

“It’s been somewhat of a roller coaster this year and we recognized turning the FEW into a virtual event would be the safest and most cost-effective option for our attendees, and it would also eliminate any hovering uncertainty,” said Joe Bryan, CEO of BBI International. “The event will still contain a massive amount of content, networking opportunities and multiple ways to promote products and services, all from the safety of your office or home.”

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) annual meeting was scheduled to take place August 26 as part of FEW. The organization has been invited to be part of the virtual FEW event and more information will be coming shortly.

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Ethanol, Ethanol News, FEW

RFA Study Estimates Ethanol Industry COVID Losses

Cindy Zimmerman

A new economic analysis from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) shows the COVID-19 crisis has already led to more than $3.4 billion in lost revenues for the U.S. ethanol industry, and could ultimately reach nearly $9 billion.

The new study by RFA Chief Economist Scott Richman uses empirical data to assess the actual impact of COVID-19 on the ethanol industry to date. For the period running from March through June 2020, the study found:

– The cumulative decline in ethanol production and consumption exceeded 1.3 billion gallons.
– Nearly 500 million fewer bushels of corn were used in ethanol production during the period.
– Industry revenues from ethanol and co-products sales were reduced by over $3.4 billion due to the combination of reduced output and lower prices.

Based on EIA and FAPRI projections and assuming current market conditions do not deteriorate, total pandemic-related revenue losses for the industry could approach $7 billion in 2020 and $1.8 billion in 2021. However, if additional travel and business restrictions are adopted by states, the losses would be larger and may even surpass the $10 billion estimate from RFA’s initial forward-looking analysis released in April.

“At one point in late April, more than half of the ethanol industry’s production capacity was shut down,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “We have seen conditions improve since the low point in April, but ethanol production and consumption remain well below pre-COVID-19 levels.”

RFA CEO on ethanol industry losses (2:05)

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

Retailers Urged to Act Fast on Ethanol HBIIP Grants

Cindy Zimmerman

The deadline to apply for USDA’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) is less than a month away, and the Renewable Fuels Association reminds retailers and other interested parties to move quickly to complete the registration and application process before August 13.

Among the important tools available to interested retailers are: 1) application assistance from grant-writing experts; 2) equipment compatibility analyses and site surveys; and 3) assistance related to pursuing additional funding opportunities for equipment upgrades. These services are provided to retailers by RFA and the National Corn Growers Association.

RFA is hosting a free webinar this Thursday for all interested parties to provide details on the profram. This webinar is in conjunction with the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores, and takes place at 10 a.m. EDT Thursday, July 16. Click here to register.

HBIIP is a $100 million retailer grant program designed to expand the availability and sale of higher blends of ethanol like E15 and E85/Flex Fuel, as well as other renewable fuel blends. To expand ethanol fuel infrastructure, approximately $86 million will be made available to transportation fueling facilities including fueling stations, convenience stores, hypermarket fueling stations, fleet facilities, and similar entities. Awards to successful applicants will be in the form of cost-share grants for up to 50 percent of total eligible project costs, but not to exceed $5 million per applicant. Importantly, applications must be submitted, online only, by 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13.

Click for more information on HBIIP

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Retailers, RFA

Ethanol Report 7-15-20

Cindy Zimmerman

U.S. ethanol production is slowly clawing its way upward to more normal levels after reaching record lows in April, but it remains significantly lower than a year ago and the industry is hoping Congress will soon get a new stimulus bill passed to provide some aid.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency is not making decisions on important ethanol issues, such as the 52 gap-year small refinery waiver requests and 2021 Renewable Volume Obligations.

In this edition of The Ethanol Report, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Geoff Cooper provides an update on these and other important ethanol issues.

Ethanol Report 7-15-20 (16:23)

The Ethanol Report is a podcast about the latest news and information in the ethanol industry that has been sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association since 2008.

Choose an option to subscribe

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Ethanol Report, RFA

July WASDE Lowers Corn Production

Cindy Zimmerman

USDA’s July World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) for the 2020/21 U.S. corn outlook is for sharply lower supplies, reduced feed and residual use, increased food, seed, and industrial use, and lower ending stocks.

For 2020/21, corn production is forecast 995 million bushels lower based on reduced planted and harvested areas from the June 30 Acreage report. Corn beginning stocks are raised 145 million bushels, based on lower use forecasts for 2019/20. Feed and residual use for 2019/20 is lower based on the June 30 Grain Stocks report. Corn use for ethanol for 2019-20 is lowered 50 million bushels based on reported use to date and weekly ethanol production data reported by the Energy Information Administration during the month of June and into early July.

The national average corn yield for 2020/21 is unchanged at 178.5 bushels per acre, stocks are lowered 675 million bushels to 2.6 billion and the season-average corn price received by producers is raised 15 cents to $3.35 per bushel.

corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, USDA

Corn and Ethanol Groups Challenge EPA to Correct Study

Cindy Zimmerman

A coalition including the Urban Air Initiative (UAI), 10 state corn grower organizations and the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) are pressuring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to correct its recent “Anti-Backsliding” study. The coalition says the study is based on faulty modeling data that fails to recognize the role of ethanol in reducing pollution.

The study is required under the Clean Air Act and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to ensure the influx of renewable fuels into the nation’s gasoline pool is not adding to poor air quality. EPA claims there are in fact adverse emission impacts resulting from ethanol blends, contrary to numerous studies refuting that finding.

The basis of the agency’s work is a modeling system called the Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES) that states must use to meet emission standards. The coalition argues that because the emissions generated by the MOVES model are unsound, the anti-backsliding study’s air quality conclusions are also unsound.

Read more

ACE, corn, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News

RFA Comments on EPA Anti-Backsliding Measure

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association supports for the EPA’s proposal to determine that no additional measures are necessary to mitigate “potential adverse air quality impacts” associated with the Renewable Fuel Standard. At the same time, RFA’s comments on the Proposed Anti-Backsliding Determination for Renewable Fuels and Air Quality challenged the flawed air quality modeling and analysis conducted by EPA to inform the proposed determination.

“We agree that no additional ‘fuel control measures’ are necessary, but we reach this conclusion for a different reason than EPA,” wrote RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “We believe no additional measures are necessary because the scientific evidence demonstrates that increasing the concentration of ethanol in gasoline generally improves air quality and does not cause ‘adverse air quality impacts.’”

Earlier this year, EPA completed an “anti-backsliding study” to determine whether the RFS would adversely impact air quality. After considering the results of the study, the Clean Air Act requires EPA to either promulgate new regulations to mitigate any adverse impacts on air quality or to determine that no such measures are necessary.

Read more from RFA.

EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

Video Spotlights Ethanol’s Important Co-Products

Cindy Zimmerman

A new educational video from the Renewable Fuels Association and Kansas Corn spotlights all of the important co-products that come from ethanol production.

Those products include distillers grains for livestock feed, distillers oil used to make biodiesel, and captured carbon dioxide for the food and beverage industries.

With fuel ethanol demand experiencing a significant reduction during the COVID-19 pandemic, which kept many people at home and off the roads, numerous news stories arose over the hit these other products were taking as well. The need to educate consumers and others about ethanol co-products led to this video project, so the public and policymakers alike would understand how the ethanol industry makes more than ethanol and serves so many markets.

The video will benefit the Kansas Corn STEM program which provides K-12 teachers with lessons and materials to teach science with topics like growing corn, ethanol production, biotechnology benefits, and water and soil conservation.

At just under five minutes, the video is ideal for community meetings and briefings with policymakers, as well as to supplement education curricula, such as the Kansas program mentioned above and RFA’s Ethanol in the Classroom program.

Distillers Grains, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA