RFA Updates E85Prices.com

e85-pricesThe Renewable Fuels Association has unveiled a redesigned version of its popular fuel market website E85prices.com.

According to RFA Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White, the layout of the site has been updated for easier navigation and redesigned with a modern interface for a cleaner presentation. “The all new E85prices.com website and mobile app make it easier than ever to locate E85 stations, search for the best prices for ethanol blends, and post your personal pricing experiences,” said White. “Both the website and the app are optimized for use on any device and allow easier interaction than ever before. It is our hope that these upgrades will lead to increased usage and reporting.”

nafb15-rfa-whiteDuring an interview at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting last week, White said they have been working on the upgrade since they acquired E85Prices.com earlier this year. “We think this will allow consumers and fleet operators a better ability to find E85 stations to use the fuel and find the best deal they can on E85,” White said, noting that 85 percent ethanol is approved for use only in Flex Fuel vehicles, of which there are now over 19 million on the road in the nation.

E85prices.com is now better integrated with Google for optimal search results that link back to the website. In addition, the E85prices.com mobile app also includes an updated interface that makes it easier for users to share the latest prices for the fuel in their areas.

ethanol-report-adIn this edition of the Ethanol Report, White talks about the update, as well as the increasing number of flex fuel vehicles on the road, the growing number of stations offering E85, and other topics related to higher ethanol blends in the marketplace.

Listen to this edition of the Ethanol Report here: Ethanol Report on Updated E85Prices.com

Iowa Biodiesel Makers Take to DC

nafb15-nbb-grantIowa Biodiesel Board (IBB) members joined their National Biodiesel Board colleagues in lobbying lawmakers to renew and restructure the federal $1-per-gallon credit for biodiesel and renewable diesel. IBB pointed to Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley’s proposal that would correct a loophole in the existing program and save U.S. taxpayers $90 million.

“Nowhere is the success of the tax credit more evident than in Iowa. Our state’s 13 plants produced more than a quarter of a billion gallons of biodiesel last year, supporting jobs and economic development while replacing foreign oil and diversifying our fuel supply. The federal tax incentive has played a key role in enabling those plants to stay operating and profitable, benefiting all levels of our economy,” said Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board.

But Kimberley isn’t just looking at the benefits for Iowa. During an interview with the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, he said that Iowa biodiesel can be a real help to California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).

“California … wants to have all of their transportation fuels fit under the [LCFS], where it reduces greenhouse gas emissions and is better for the environment,” said Kimberley. “Renewable fuels, including biodiesel, can play a key role in that.”

He said biodiesel producers have had to educate California officials just how good biodiesel can be. Initially, California scored biodiesel just above conventional diesel. But education efforts improved that score.

“Now they’ve moved that score higher, so now it’s up to 50-80 percent better than petroleum-based diesel, which means biodiesel can play a really strong role in the [LCFS]. It could be up to 600 million gallons of biodiesel per year that could be utilized in California,” said Kimberley.

He also pointed out that since California doesn’t produce much of the green fuel, it opens up many possibilities for Midwest producers.

Listen to all of Cindy’s conversation with Kimberley here: Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board

HERO BX Purchases Alabama Biodiesel Plant

Erie, Pennsylvania- based HERO BX has purchased the assets of the former Veros Energy biodiesel refinery located in Moundville, Alabama. The plant will be renamed HERO BX Alabama LLC. The Moundville facility currently employs 17 full-time staff who will remain on as HERO BX Alabama employees. In addition, HERO BX plans to hire and train an additional 10-12 employees as it gears up for recommissioning the facility.

HEROBXHERO BX Chairman and CEO Samuel “Pat” Black III said, “We are excited to be expanding into Alabama. This acquisition allows us to serve a new market outside the reach of our Erie facility and will enable our company to follow through on its growth mission. The preliminary Renewable Fuel Standard volumes are growing and as they do, the Moundville facilities will too.”

According to a press release HERO BX has plans to capitalize on its strong technical and operational expertise to upgrade and expand the 15 MGPY facility, which is slated to come on line in the first quarter of 2016.

HERO BX President Mike Noble, added, “Our technical staff is among the world’s finest. We will take everything that we have learned in almost a decade of producing great biodiesel in Erie and apply it to the Moundville plant. Our quality standards will remain the same. Customers who are familiar with our high quality can again count on biodiesel produced in Moundville to be BQ 9000 certified ASTM D-6751 and Q-RIN approved.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1GE has introduced its new Renewable Energy business at the European Wind Energy Association’s 2015 Annual Event in Paris. The new unit significantly expands GE’s wind portfolio in the wake of its recent acquisition of Alstom’s power and grid businesses. The new business expands GE’s global wind footprint to more than 30,000 turbines worldwide and significantly increases its presence in regions like Europe and Latin America. In Europe alone, GE’s installed base will grow by approximately 50 percent as a result of the deal.
  • Trina Solar Limited has announced that two of its overseas subsidiaries, Trina Solar (U.S.), Inc. and Trina Solar (Singapore) Science & Technology Pte. Limited, have signed a total of US$90 Million in financing facility agreements with Wells Fargo Bank, National Association and Barclays Bank PLC.
  • Equinix, Inc. has announced that it has signed power purchase agreements with both an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC and Invenergy LLC to purchase wind energy in Oklahoma and Texas, respectively, which will cover all Equinix data centers throughout North America. These agreements will provide a combined 225 MW of capacity, bringing Equinix’s total renewable energy coverage in North America to 100% by the end of 2016, and nearly doubling its global renewable energy, moving from 43% to 82%. Both projects will be fully deployed by the end of 2016.
  • Distinguished guests and media recently joined Hydro Ottawa’s President and CEO, Bryce Conrad, on a tour of the future site of the utility’s new 29 MW facility. Scheduled to be completed in 2017, the new below-ground hydroelectric station will feed into the provincial grid and power 20,000 homes with clean renewable energy every year.

Renewable Diesel Use High at Propel Fuels’ Stations

Earlier this year, Propel Fuel launched its Diesel HPR (High Performance Renewable) across Southern California in August 2015. The company has announced that consumer adoption of the product has risen 300 percent compared to its former biodiesel product (B20).

Propel’s Diesel HPR features several performance features including a 75 cetane rating, 40 percent higher than regular diesel. The company cites Diesel HPR provides cleaner and more efficient combustion for more power and a smoother ride at a cost similar to or lower than petroleum diesel.

HPR_SoCal copy“Diesel HPR is an affordable way for fleets and consumers to reduce emissions and improve local air quality while seeing better engine performance,” said Rob Elam, CEO of Propel. “As new diesel models hit the market, drivers across California are moving towards low carbon fuel options such as Diesel HPR.”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, renewable diesel’s high combustion quality results in similar or better vehicle performance compared to conventional diesel, while California Air Resources Board studies show that renewable diesel can reach up to 70 percent greenhouse gas reduction compared to petroleum diesel. Studies show that Diesel HPR improves local air quality due to the reduction of harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate (PM 2.5) emissions. NOx and particulate emissions are directly linked to air quality in California, negatively impacting children, people with lung diseases such as asthma, and people who work outside.

Propel is the largest retailer of low-carbon fuels in California with 32 public stations across the state selling Diesel HPR. There is a Propel Android app and Apple app that identifies alt fuel locations and real-time pricing. Propel also provides Diesel HPR commercial and bulk availability for business and government fleets statewide.

U.S. Toyota Makes Cars with ‘Green’ Gas

Toyota will soon be manufacturing cars with “green” gas. The company announced its efforts to nearly eliminate all CO2 emissions from its factories and vehicles and will achieve this, in part, with electricity produced from methane. The “green” gas, also known in some instances as renewable natural gas, is a byproduct of trash decomposition from the nearby Central Kentucky Landfill.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 12.26.51 AM“We will generate one megawatt (1 million watts) per hour at the site,” said Toyota’s environmental strategies manager Dave Absher. “That’s enough annual energy generation to produce approximately 10,000 vehicles. The system can eventually be scaled up to 10 megawatts per hour.”

Toyota has announced aggressive global emission reduction goals for all of its production plants as well as for the cars they produce. This year the company launched the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle and has made the technology available for use by other automakers. In addition, they are developing manufacturing technologies that also use hydrogen as a power source within their plants. The company has also integrated other renewable energy power sources including wind, solar and locally produced renewable energy. Toyota hopes to reach its zero emissions goal by 2050.

“The landfill gas generator represents the kind of thinking that our company is asking us to do to reduce our carbon footprint over the next 35 years,” said Kevin Butt, Toyota’s general manager for environment strategies. “It’s a small step, but a significant one. These types of changes to our manufacturing operations coupled with other global initiatives will help us reach this very aggressive goal.” Continue reading

Biodiesel Leaders Push for Tax Credit Renewal

Biodiesel leaders from across the nation descended on Washington, D.C., to push lawmakers to renew the federal $1-a-gallon biodiesel tax credit. The National Biodiesel Board points out producers have been without the credit for all of 2015, and that’s the fourth time in six years Congress has allowed it to lapse.

nafb15-nbb-gregDuring the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, NBB board member Greg Anderson, a soybean producer from Nebraska, said they’d like to get the tax credit done for two years – retroactive for 2015 and for the upcoming 2016 calendar year. He said it’s important to get this passed.

“It levels the playing field,” said Anderson. “We know that oil is subsidized, and biodiesel is a young industry [in comparison]. It would give incentives and confidence to the plants out there that have the production capacity, want to make new hires, provide great jobs and energy independence. We’re lacking when [the tax credit] is not in place.”

Anderson feels confident it will get done, because he knows the NBB’s Washington office has been working legislators hard. He hopes those lawmakers will realize just how valuable the fuel is and how it fits with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“Biodiesel is the tip of the spear toward the RFS’ success. We’re the only advanced biofuel commercially available,” showing success from coast-to-coast, heating homes and fueling vehicles cleanly, he noted.

Anderson added the NBB is also working with the Environmental Protection Agency that could see more aggressive RFS growth for biodiesel than what the EPA is currently proposing.

Listen to interview here: NBB board member Greg Anderson

Wind Energy Can Lead Europe in 2030

According to a new report from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), wind power can exceed gas, coal and other forms of energy by 2030 if European member states follow the ambitious policy framework put in place through 2030.

EWEA Report - Aiming HighThe report finds total wind installations in Europe could reach 392GW with 294GW of onshore and 98GW of offshore wind. Today, Europe’s 128.8GW can meet 10 percent of European power consumption in a normal wind year. Giles Dickson, CEO of the European Wind Energy Association, noted wind power can be the foundation of the European energy system within the next 15 years.

The report outlines a number of policy priorities that need to be addressed including the development of national renewable energy action plans for member states; streamlining national permitting procedures; proposing legislation for well-functioning energy markets and driving reform of the Emissions Trading System. Should these policies be implemented the report finds the measures will result in a net gain of EUR13 billion, the equivalent of the EU’s funding for transport infrastructure over the next 5 years. The wind industry would also support up to 366,000 direct and indirect jobs.

“Wind power makes economic sense. But policymakers must demonstrate more determination than is on show today,” said Dickson. “Wind power can deliver economic growth in Europe by boosting investments, creating jobs and reducing electricity bills. A new market design, a reformed ETS and rigorous accountability on 2030 targets are essential if these goals are to be achieved.”

“Already onshore wind is cheaper than any form of new power generation. Last year wind power installed more than gas and coal combined in the EU. Europe’s energy and economic transition is underway.” Dickson added, “Now politicians must decide whether to accelerate this transition or drag their heels, which would damage investments and job creation.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1New Hampshire is crashing into an arbitrary cap on solar, and without swift measures before the next legislative session begins in January, New Hampshire’s competitive solar market and local jobs are in jeopardy. Tell Utilities Solar Won’t be Killed (TUSK) and their Chairman Barry Goldwater Jr. are urging New Hampshire’s leaders to preserve competition by lifting this cap on energy choice and preventing disruption to a growing market.
  • Concurrent Design, Inc. has received a one-year, $1 million cooperative award from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. With support from Pecan Street Inc., the company will develop an advanced prototype of Energy Switch, a home energy device that manages the flow of electricity between a home, the home’s solar panels, an on-site battery, back-up generation, and the electric grid.
  • Invenergy has announced that it has signed a 125 MW wind power purchase agreement (PPA) with Owens Corning to provide the insulation, roofing, and fiberglass manufacturer with renewable energy supporting their new corporate sustainability goals.
  • Representatives from C.A.T., U.S. Venture Gain Fuel Canada, and Gaz Métro, along with local and regional dignitaries, celebrated the grand opening of the first GAIN Clean Fuel compressed natural gas (CNG) public station in Quebec. The GAIN station, located at 4 Transport Street in the industrial park of Coteau-du-Lac, will provide the North American carrier with alternative fuel to support C.A.T.’s growing fleet of CNG trucks.

Effect OSG Unveils “Hybrid” House

The Effect Operational Sales and Systems Group (Effect OSG) has unveiled a “hybrid” house on a private home in Laurentians in Quebec. The home is powered by an Enerdynamic Hybrid Technologies (EHT) wind and solar hybrid system. The systems, coined EnerCubes, consists of eight vertical axis wind turbines featuring an innovative vane design and solar panels fully integrated into an automated battery management and control system.

PaulDionneThe Outback Power management system controls eight 500 watt EnerCubes, 3.8 kilowatt (kW) of solar panels and batteries with 54 kWh energy capacity. According to Effect OSG, the roof mounted EnerCubes has features such as:

  • self-start at wind speeds as low as 1.7 meters per second (3.8 miles or 6.1 kilometers per hour) sustained rotation;
  • low maintenance since the system has no drive shaft, no gear boxes, no brushes, bushings or slip rings;
  • modular design, which allows ‘flat-packed’ shipping to the deployment site with plug and play installation;
  • scalable, since they can be installed either as single functioning units or grouped together for additional power, low vibration, through the use of precision matched bearings, which are the only turbines’ moving parts; and
  • no electromagnetic interference (EMI) since the generator emits a frequency of 14 HZ when operating at its rated output, which is too low to produce EMI.

21892-effect-osg-wind-solar-hybrid-de-300x172President and CEO of Enerdynamic Hybrid Technologies Inc., John Gamble, said, “We are most pleased to deliver an advanced wind and solar hybrid resource with key performance parameters.

Paul Dionne, President Effect OSG, added that, “as a specialist firm in linking client needs to custom fit energy solutions, we felt that introducing this wind generator technology, which turns with much greater ease than traditional turbines, gave our clients a significant edge in using an ultra-efficient wind energy system to be less dependent on electric utilities.”

Other companies involved in the project included O² Globale Énergie, Phase3 Energy and EnShift Power. Other contributors include Gagnon & Zollner Maîtres Artisans, for system installation and building structure; Triacta Power Solutions, for power monitoring system; and Budget Propane, for gas heating systems, as an alternative to further reduce customers’ electrical bills.