RFA Hosting Ethanol Safety Seminars in VA

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and several organizations are hosting ethanol safety seminars in Virginia this week.

The ethanol safety seminars, in partnership with TRANSCAER, International Association of Fire Chiefs, and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, will be held all day today, tomorrow and Wednesday in Chesapeake at the Chesapeake Public Safety Operations Building.

The ethanol safety seminar focuses on numerous important areas of ethanol safety including an introduction to ethanol and ethanol-blended fuels, chemical and physical characteristics of ethanol and hydrocarbon fuels, transportation and transfer, storage and dispensing locations, firefighting foam principles, general health and safety considerations and storage and pre-planning considerations.

The seminar is funded through an Assistance for Local Emergency Response Training (ALERT) grant, awarded by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and in partnership with the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

Click here for more information.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, safety

ACE Addresses Ethanol Questions in 4th Mexican City

Cindy Zimmerman

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty traveled to Chihuahua this week for the fourth of six technical ethanol workshops the U.S. Grains Council is holding for Mexican petroleum equipment installers and retailers.

“My presentations to these groups are primarily math and history,” Lamberty added. “We “do the math” of splash-blending less expensive ethanol with gasoline, and I explain the history of getting ethanol from the middle of the U.S. to the rest of the country, via rail and splash blenders. We expect a few of the people at these events will get the idea they could be one of the wholesalers who takes ethanol all over Mexico.”

Lamberty says Chihuahua is about 250 miles from El Paso, Texas, which is closer than the Mexican refineries and prices favor U.S. ethanol.

Last month, Lamberty spoke at a workshop in León and earlier this year, he spoke at two other workshops in Monterrey and Tijuana. Last year, he traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico, to meet with members of Association Mexicana De Empresarios Gasolineros (AMEGAS), Mexico’s largest group of gasoline station owners. Lamberty will participate in two more USGC technical workshops in Mexico yet this year, with a trip to Xalapa planned to take place next month and a meeting in Mexico City in September.

ACE, Ethanol, Exports

Trump in Iowa Reaffirms Support for Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

As President Trump was starting a roundtable on workforce development in Iowa Thursday, his very first words were about ethanol.

“I’m very close, I have to tell you, to pulling off something that you’ve been looking forward to for many years and that’s the 12 month E15 waiver,”said Trump. “It’s a very complex process.”

E15 comments from Trump in Iowa

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said they were happy to hear those words. “Increased access to US markets will provide America’s farmers with some financial confidence, and we hope that President Trump will direct the EPA to act quickly to provide year-round RVP relief.”

Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen said he was encouraged because, unlike his comments about E15 in April, President Trump did not mention also helping out refiners. “Refiners are doing quite fine today, seeing record profits and unprecedented exports. Farmers are not,” said Dinneen. “Farmers need relief now in the form of increased market opportunities. E15 year-round would do that.”

American Coalition for Ethanol CEO Brian Jennings added that “actions speak louder than words. There’s a clear recognition of refinery wins in the form of so-called hardship waivers and collapsing RIN prices have caused real damage in rural America — it is time to carry out the repeated pledge to allow E15 to be sold year-round outside of a deal that would serve as another win for refiners.”

ACE, Audio, E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Growth Energy, RFA

#SubEnvironment Holds Hearing on RINs

Cindy Zimmerman

The House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Environment took a deep dive into the complex world of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) during a hearing on Wednesday.

The committee, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), heard from a panel of independent witnesses to provide background on RINs and how the market for them works. The panel included:

Brent Yacobucci – Energy and Minerals Manager, Congressional Research Service
Sandra Dunphy – Director, Energy Compliance Services, Weaver and Tidwell, LLP
Paul Niznik – Senior Consultant, Argus Media Incorporated
Dr. Gabriel E. Lade – Assistant Professor of Economics, Iowa State University
Corey Lavinsky – Director of Global Biofuels, S&P Global Platts Analytics

Listen to the opening statements of the hearing and some questioning here:
RINs hearing Rep. Shimkus and members' statements
RINs hearing witness testimony and first questions

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) sent a letter today to the subcommittee leadership urging them to let RINs “do the job they were intended to do by stimulating increased ethanol production and blending.”

“RIN credits are the engine that drives the RFS. Not only are RINs used to demonstrate compliance with annual RFS blending obligations, but they also serve as a critical economic incentive to expand the production and use of renewable fuels,” RFA explained to the lawmakers. “Studies show that higher RIN prices facilitate deeper discounting of ethanol-blended fuels (such as E15 and E85) relative to gasoline, and that wider discounts lead to greater consumption of these blends. In turn, greater demand for E15 and E85 stimulates increased production of ethanol, which leads to increased RIN generation and larger supplies,” the letter noted.

Click to read the letter.

Audio, Biodiesel, biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFS, RINS

EPA Approves Sorghum Oil as Biofuels Pathway

Cindy Zimmerman

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler yesterday announced the approval of sorghum oil as an eligible feedstock under the Renewable Fuel Standard during a signing event at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C., with sorghum farmers and other stakeholders.

In December 2017, the EPA released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) concerning renewable fuels produced from sorghum oil under the RFS program followed by a 30-day comment period. EPA’s analysis showed biodiesel produced from sorghum oil has greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings of 82 percent. This will give ethanol plants extracting oil from sorghum access to sell into the biodiesel market.

In addition to the nine ethanol producers already extracting oil from sorghum, several other facilities will now be able to purchase and use sorghum.

Among those present for the signing who made comments were Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE), National Sorghum Producers CEO Tim Lust, American Farm Bureau Federation president Zippy Duvall, and sorghum farmers Dan Atkisson of Kansas, Bobby Nedbalek of Texas, and Kody Carson of Texas.

Sorghum farmers comment on biofuels pathway

Sen. Fischer comments on biofuels pathway

NSP CEO Tim Lust comments on biofuels pathway

AFBF president Zippy Duvall comments on biofuels pathway
AFBF, Audio, biofuels, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, sorghum

USDA Announces Trade Disruption Relief for Farmers

cindy zimmerman

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take several actions to assist farmers negatively impacted by recent trade actions.

President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally. Specifically, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated $11 billion impact of the unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods. These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets.

Secretary Perdue held a press conference with USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson to announce the aid.

USDA announces trade disruption relief for farmers

Ethanol group leaders thanked the president for the aid, but noted that approving year-round access to 15% ethanol (E15) would be more helpful to farmers in the long run.

“We hope as the administration explores trade mitigation options, they will also recognize the benefit of providing RVP relief,” said Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen. This would increase demand for higher level ethanol blends, stimulating more growth in rural America, and helping to counteract the prohibitive tariff and non-tariff trade barriers that China and other countries have placed on American agricultural products.

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said, “Once again, this administration has missed an opportunity to provide long-term relief to farmers by increasing domestic demand through RVP relief. Allowing year-round sales of higher blend fuels such as E15 is one way to address sales lost because of new tariffs and provide increased certainty for farmers and producers. We will continue encouraging the President and his administration to uphold his promise of supporting farmers and rural Americans by following through on allowing the year-round sale of higher blend fuels.”

AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, Audio, E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Growth Energy, RFA, Trade, USDA

ACE Conference Breakouts to Explore Key Issues

Cindy Zimmerman

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) 31st annual conference coming up August 15-17 in Minneapolis offers a variety of breakout sessions covering the latest in technology updates, strategic planning advice, and ways to make ethanol plants more profitable. The breakout sessions will be held concurrently in three rounds on the afternoon of Thursday, August 16, following the morning general session panels.

The sessions include information tailored to ethanol plant boards of directors, with Christianson PLLP and K·Coe Isom offering one on strategic thinking techniques and guidance on how to use those methods to steer their company’s future. Other sessions will provide workforce management insight to achieve a plant’s productivity and profitability goals, and some of the key provisions that will impact the ethanol industry in the comprehensive tax reform package.

In sessions on increasing profitability, two new ACE members, Whitefox and Solenis, will introduce producers to their unique technologies, and TotalGEN Services will cover the revenue boosting factors of a CHP system installation at an ethanol plant. Diversification will be explored in Saola Energy LLC’s session on how to enhance corn oil to create renewable diesel and Fluid Quip Process Technologies’ presentation focusing on the global market demand for protein. And EcoEngineers will share insights into developing a successful low carbon strategy to maximize the opportunity created by these markets.

A new breakout session added to this year’s lineup will provide attendees with a list of innovative ideas to try at their plant, workplace or community to build support for ethanol.

Click here for registration and other information about the conference.

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Ethanol

FAPRI Report Considers World Biofuels Trends

Cindy Zimmerman

The Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) recently released its 2018 International Biofuels Baseline Briefing Book which provides economic and policy perspective and projections for both ethanol and biodiesel.

“If we continue current policies, which is a big if, we would expect that the U.S. would continue to be an exporter of ethanol and an importer of biodiesel,” said FAPRI director Dr. Pat Westhoff. “The biggest uncertainty in the market is the RFS in the future.”

According to the report, biofuel markets continue to be sensitive to changes in farm commodity markets, petroleum markets, and biofuel policies. Stronger ethanol prices are expected in the coming years, while the biodiesel price is expected to follow vegetable oil prices and remain flatter over the projection period. U.S. ethanol net exports are projected to surpass 5 billion liters by 2027.

Listen to my interview with Dr. Westhoff here: Interview with Dr. Pat Westhoff, FAPRI

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, International

Growth Energy Ad Urges E15 Approval

Cindy Zimmerman

Growth Energy has a new television ad running that casts a spotlight on the repeated calls from rural America for pro-biofuel policies from President Trump and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“Rural America is hurting, and these communities are counting on President Trump and his administration to uphold his promise to support biofuels,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “The EPA could immediately restore hundreds of millions of bushels of demand to the agricultural market by unleashing more homegrown biofuels. American farmers are ready to compete, and the biofuels produced from their crops will revitalize rural growth, increase American energy security, and provide much-needed relief from rising gasoline prices.”

The ad is airing on Fox News and gives voice to many Midwest farmers who have been hardest hit by the ongoing agricultural crisis and attacks on crop-based biofuels. They ask President Trump to ensure that new EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler reverse the demand destruction caused by federal waivers, restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and lift outdated restrictions on the sale of ethanol blends, namely E15 – regulations that President Trump called “unnecessary and ridiculous.”

Watch the ad here:


Ethanol, Growth Energy, Video

Ethanol Report on RFA Leadership Succession

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has announced a change in leadership for the ethanol industry’s leading trade association. Executive Vice President Geoff Cooper will assume the position of president and CEO in October 2018, while current President and CEO Bob Dinneen will transition into the role of RFA’s Senior Strategic Advisor.

In this edition of The Ethanol Report, Dinneen talks about why he made the decision to step down after 30 years, and Cooper discusses how the organization will transition to new leadership.

Ethanol Report on RFA Changes

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Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Ethanol Report, RFA