Power Energy Wins $1.44M #Ethanol Infrastructure Award

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Power Energy Corporation (PEC) has been awarded $1.44 million from the state of Illinois to assist them in building out the infrastructure at 20 retail gas stations to offer consumers higher ethanol blends choices at the pump. The grant was awarded from Illinois’ Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity as part of USDA’s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) program.

rfalogo1The funding will be used to help install underground storage tanks and new dispensers that will offer E15, E30 and E85, as well as biodiesel. All stations are located within the Chicagoland area, an RFG market, that allows E15 to be sold year-round to consumers that drive 2001 and newer model year vehicles.

I am very thankful for the efforts of USDA and the state of Illinois to expand retail infrastructure to support higher ethanol blends,” said PEC Owner Sam Odeh. “PEC is a strong supporter, and this effort will bring more fueling options to the Chicagoland area. I am also thankful for the leadership and continued relationship with Illinois Corn and RFA as we move forward.”

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) assisted PEC with station evaluations and recommendations on equipment configurations, and will continue to assist PEC throughout the grant execution process, equipment installation and product offering. PEC will utilize RFA’s Misfueling Mitigation Plan (MMP), the only EPA-approved MMP.

We are pleased that PEC is helping to expand consumer access to higher ethanol blends,” said RFA Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White. “Sam understands the consumer benefits when there are more choices at the pump. We thank him for his leadership and look forward to more stations offering higher ethanol blends in the near future.”

PEC estimates these stations will generate an additional 3.1 million gallons in ethanol sales above today’s E10-only sales. Infrastructure work will begin immediately, with four to six locations open this year, and all stations open by next year.

Biodiesel, biofuels, blends, E15, E85, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

BioEnergy Bytes

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  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Mark your calendars for the Biofuels Financial Conference taking place October 17-18, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Produced by Christianson & Associates and organized by BBI International, this year’s Biofuels Financial Conference is focused on the best ways to explore new options in today’s changing ethanol and biodiesel industries. By understanding risks associated with various technology and marketing initiatives, and by exploring various options for making the best use of capital and resources, attendees will learn how to create a well-managed plan for growth and change—a plan which maximizes profitability while ensuring future stability and meeting the expectations of all stakeholders.
  • Global Bioenergies, IBN-One and Lantmannen Aspen, a market leader in alkylate gasoline for two and four stroke small engines, have entered into a partnership on renewable isooctane for specialty fuel applications such as chain saws and lawn mowers.
  • Greenbelt Resources Corporation has announced that it appointed two new members to its Board effective immediately: Joe Pivinski and Michael Nakamura. Joe Pivinski has served as CFO of Greenbelt for several years and has more than four decades of experience. Michael Nakamura has spent the past decade advising, growing and running multiple businesses. He currently owns and operates DOCNAK Inc.
  • Chicago-based R.J. O’Brien & Associates (RJO), the oldest and largest independent futures brokerage and clearing firm in the United States, has announced that Jordan Sternhas joined the firm as Senior Vice President of Ethanol, operating out of Chicago. Stern will be focused on building out the firm’s futures, swaps and physical brokerage capabilities in ethanol and other biofuels beginningAugust 1.


Bioenergy Bytes

GRFA: #Ethanol Blame Reports Mislead Public

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

coverA new article published in the journal of Global Change Biology – Bioenergy, argues that “good science is essential to inform decisions” and that the simplistic global analyses used in some studies “obscure the main drivers of local food insecurity and ignore opportunities for bioenergy to contribute to solutions.” “Reconciling Food Security and Bioenergy: Priorities for Action,” challenges previous studies that blame biofuels for food insecurity for relying on “faulty”, “questionable” and “subjective” assumptions to reach their conclusions.

For several years there has been a troubling amount of misinformation surrounding the impacts of global biofuels production,” said Bliss Baker, president of the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA). “When done right, biofuels production promotes price stability, incentivizes investments in infrastructure where it is most needed and improves sustainability of non-biofuels crops.

The report cites that best practices for the development of effective bioenergy policies have been published in papers by UNCTAD, FAO, and by FAO, IFAD and the WFP. In their conclusions, the authors of the report recommend policies for the increased production of flex-crops, promotion of stable prices and investment to build capacity and infrastructure to maximize the local benefits biofuels production.

“It is clear that biofuels are a key part of the global agricultural complex. The proper development of biofuels internationally will not only help to reduce global hunger but will also have a significant role to play in achieving the emission reduction targets established in the Paris Agreement reached at COP 21,” Baker concluded.

bioenergy, biofuels, food and fuel, Research

#Biobased Petro Alternative from #Soybeans

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

usb-bio-16-blake As companies continue to focus on sustainability and the development of more “natural” products, they are looking to biobased chemicals and products as the platform for more Earth-friendly wares. One example is BioSynthetics Technologies who was featured during the 2016 Biobased Stakeholders Dialogue that recently took place at USDA headquarters in Washington, D.C. The company is a USDA transfer partner and during the event spoke about their soy-based motor oil.

To learn more, Cindy Zimmerman spoke with Greg Blake who is the company’s director of strategic development. Blake explained that USDA developed a molecule that replaces the petroleum used in motor oils and other lubricants. The molecule is based on a biobased feedstock- soybeans. “So our challenge now is to take that technology, perfect it, commercialize it and get it out into the market,” said Blake.

The company’s base oil is the product they make and that goes in different types of lubricants, explained Blake who noted that the primary ingredient of their base oil is free fatty acid, more specifically, oleic acid from soybean oil. Blake said this is the largest ingredient in their product. They are using a fairly new soybean variety that produces more oleic acid, which Blake said has been a boon for them.

The United Soybean Board (USB) has been a great partner of BioSynthetics Technologies as the company moves from R&D to testing to commercialization. Blake said USB has helped in many ways including hosting events such as this, helping get them in front of potential customers that will help prove out the new technologies, help with funding of technical studies and assisting in demonstrating the viability of the product, and much more. The next step for the company is to build a plant somewhere near the Gulf Coast.

Learn more about BioSynthetics Technologies’ emerging soy-based bioproduct petroleum replacement here: Interview with Greg Blake, BioSynthetics Technologies

USB Biobased Stakeholders’ Dialogue photo album

Audio, automotive, biomaterials, bioplastics, bioproducts, Environment, Soybeans, USB

#Biofuels Industry Calls for Stronger Energy Policy

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The biofuels industry came out in force in support of renewable fuels as the comment period came to a close for the proposed renewable fuel volumes obligations (RVO) for 2017 as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), an energy policy passed in 2007. The consensus of the biofuels industry is that all categories of renewable fuels must be increased and in some instances, must be raised to statutory levels as in the case of  first generation biofuels such as corn-based ethanol.

Below are some comments from various organizations along with links to full comments.

NCGA-Logo-3Chip Bowling, farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association:The RFS is doing exactly what it was intended to do. It is successfully driving the adoption of renewable fuel alternatives to petroleum, supporting jobs across the country, and ensuring the United States remains a global leader in developing new renewable energy sources while decreasing GHG emissions here at home.” Click here to read full comments.

Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy:The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has been the most successful energy policy in the last 40 years. Biofuels, like ethanol, are cleaner burning and reduce harmful emissions that have been linked to cancer and smog. They provide consumers with a choicgrowth-energy-logo1e and savings at the pump, and the RFS promotes economic growth and energy security, helping to isolate America from the volatile price of oil from foreign, and often hostile nations. The comments filed today outline the case for why EPA must continue to move the RFS and, ultimately the development of biofuels forward. It is vital that EPA meet the statutory biofuel targets for America’s fuel mix and keep their promises to consumers, investors and the nation. The RFS always envisioned higher blends in the marketplace, such as E15, and currently ethanol producers, retailers and the current auto fleet are fully capable of providing consumers with a fair and open fuel marketplace and a true choice at the pump.Click here to read full comments.

New-Bio-LogoBrent Erickson, executive vice president of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO):Among other things, the RFS program has been seriously impeded by EPA’s unwarranted and unlawful expansion of its general waiver authority in setting annual Renewable Volume Obligations under the RFS statute. EPA’s approach to setting biofuel volumes violates the law and has undermined certainty and predictability for investors and other market participants, with negative environmental and economic consequences that run contrary to Congress’s purposes in enacting the statute. Biofuels policy provides the stability and economic driver needed to decarbonize our fuel supplies. That is why entrenched interests have worked aggressively to undermine the RFS and preserve the status quo. However, relying exclusively on oil as our only source of transportation fuel will never help us reduce human-made greenhouse-gas emissions or reduce pollution.” Click here to read full comments.

DuPont logoJan Koninckx, Global Business Director, DuPont Industrial Biosciences:Biofuels policy provides the stability and economic driver needed to decarbonize our fuel supplies. That is why entrenched interests have worked aggressively to undermine the RFS and preserve the status quo. However, relying exclusively on oil as our only source of transportation fuel will never help us reduce human-made greenhouse-gas emissions or reduce pollution.Click here to read full comments.Read More

BIO, biofuels, EPA, Ethanol, Growth Energy, NCGA, RFS

NBB: Strengthen #Biodiesel, Advanced Biofuel Volumes

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As the comment period came to a close on the proposed rules for the 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) called for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to strengthen biodiesel and advanced biofuel volumes. The organization says EPA is significantly underestimating biodiesel’s capacity to deliver more advanced biofuel over the coming years.

nBB“We believe the evidence clearly shows that growing biodiesel and renewable diesel volumes will help achieve this Administration’s goals for strengthening the economy, reducing carbon emissions and other costly pollution, and diversifying and strengthening fuel markets that are now dangerously dependent on petroleum,” NBB wrote to the EPA in a letter accompanying the official comments filed.The RFS and specifically the Biomass-based Diesel program do this in a cost-effective way that benefits consumers through lower costs at the diesel pump.”

“We can build on this success over the next decade,” the comments continue. “Unfortunately, this proposal, which calls for a Biomass-based Diesel volume of 2.1 billion gallons in 2018 and 4 billion gallons of overall Advanced Biofuels next year, fails to do so by severely underestimating the capacity for growth in the biodiesel and renewable diesel sector.

Biodiesel has made up the vast majority of Advanced Biofuel production under the RFS to date. According to the EPA, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 57 percent to 86 percent compared with petroleum diesel. Biodiesel and renewable diesel – a similar diesel alternative – fall under the Biomass-based Diesel category of the RFS, which is an Advanced Biofuel category intended to ensure that the policy also addresses the diesel fuel market, not just gasoline. Under the law, Advanced Biofuels must reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent compared to petroleum fuels.

The EPA proposal would establish a 2.1-billion-gallon Biomass-based Diesel requirement in 2018, up only slightly from 2 billion gallons for 2017. Citing unused capacity and data showing that Biomass-based Diesel consumption this year will significantly exceed 2.1 billion gallons, NBB is calling for at least 2.5 billion gallons for 2018.

The higher biodiesel volumes would also allow the EPA to establish higher overall Advanced Biofuels, which includes not just biodiesel and renewable diesel but other fuels such as cellulosic ethanol. NBB is calling for an Advanced Biofuel volume of 4.75 billion gallons instead the proposed 4 billion gallons.

advance biofuels, Biodiesel, EPA, NBB, RFS

RFA, Pinnacle Hosting Webinars on Hazardous Chemicals

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Pinnacle Engineering has teamed up with the Renewable Fuels Foundation to host a six-part webinar series for the ethanol industry focused on how to comply with regulations designed to prevent or minimize the consequences of a release of hazardous chemicals. The regulations, from Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), require a comprehensive management program integrating technologies, procedures and management practices. The first webinar kicks off on Tuesday, July 19, 2016 from 11:00 am to noon CT.

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 11.55.55 PMThe goal of the webinars are to educate industry stakeholders and provide information on how to demonstrate compliance and avoid common deficiencies, costly regulatory action and overly burdensome paperwork.

“These webinars will be helpful in further educating stakeholders on how to navigate these often complex regulations,” said Steve Schleicher, vice president of industrial services at Pinnacle Engineering. “Each session will provide general and technical information on the development of a compliant PSM/RMP program. While the PSM/RMP programs are designed to prevent or minimize a hazardous chemical release, a properly implemented program will provide operational benefits and improve employee safety. I encourage stakeholders to register for these essential webinars, and to bring their implementation questions to the experts.

Each webinar will take place from 11:00 am to noon CT. The dates and topics of each webinar are below:

  • July 19: Process Safety Management (PSM) / Risk Management Plan (RMP) Overview
  • Aug. 2: Process Hazard Analyses
  • Aug. 9: Mechanical Integrity Programs
  • Aug. 23: Management of Change
  • Sept. 6: Compliance Auditing
  • Sept. 20: RMP In-depth Overview

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Director of Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis said of the webinar series, “RFA is pleased to announce this webinar series, which will provide ethanol producers with a clear understanding of the requirements of theses complex regulations. Working safely and preventing accidents is always job number one.”

The Renewable Fuels Foundation is RFA’s education and research arm. The webinars are FREE for RFA members, $100 per webinar for non-members or $500 for all six webinars for non-members. To register, email Missy Ruff.

Click here to see the flyer. The webinars, which will all be held from 11 a.m. – noon CT, are FREE for RFA members; the fee for non-members is $100 per session or $500 for all six webinars. To reserve your spot, please contact Missy Ruff at mruff@ethanolrfa.org or 202-446-1944.

biofuels, Education, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, safety

.@ACEEthanol Comments to @EPA on 2017 #RFS

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Yesterday was the deadline for comments for the proposed blending volumes for 2017 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). One set of comments was submitted by Executive Vice President of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Brian Jennings.

ACE logoWhile we appreciate that EPA is proposing to increase ethanol blending levels from 2016, we are disappointed EPA continues to rely on a dubious interpretation of the general waiver authority which is contrary to the statute and has disrupted RFS implementation for more than a year,wrote Jennings.

ACE’s comments cover six primary concerns and recommendations for improvement.

1. EPA continues to misread the general waiver authority of the statute which is unnecessarily preventing consumers from greater access to E15 and flex fuels, the Agency needs to follow the statute.

2. EPA needs to increase the implied conventional volume to the 15 billion gallons called for under the statute for 2017 because gasoline use is expected to reach record highs in 2016-2017 and the market can fulfill this demand (without factoring the considerable stockpile of RINs that EPA is allowing obligated parties to hoard).

3. Sales volumes from retailers and fuel marketers who are able to offer E15 and flex fuels prove the so-called E10 ‘blend wall’ is a myth, as ethanol comprises between 13 and 25 percent of total gasoline sales for many stations.

4. The commercialization of cellulosic ethanol production is undermined by the way EPA is applying the general waiver authority and cellulosic waiver credits (CWCs).

5. EPA’s unwillingness to be proactive about Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) and meaningful credits for Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) makes developing new markets for E15 and flex fuels much more challenging.

6. Transportation is now the leading emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the U.S. EPA has a responsibility to update its lifecycle modeling to keep up with the latest science, which will better enable the RFS to play a role in reducing GHGs.

Jennings added, “Ultimately, it is up to EPA to get the RFS back on track by enforcing the RFS the way it has stood its ground on previous efforts to ensure clean air. In the 1970s, oil companies complained that forcing them to remove lead from gas would increase prices at the pump. In the 1990s, oil companies said new underground storage tank regulations would lead to the disappearance of gas stations. In the early 2000s, refiners said reducing the sulfur content of gasoline would destroy engines. Each time the oil sector made these doomsday predictions, EPA stood its ground. Each time EPA stood its ground, the air got a bit cleaner and none of the predicted disasters occurred. Today oil companies are claiming that if EPA enforces the RFS as Congress intended, it will lead to similarly dire consequences. Today, it is up to EPA to see through oil company attacks and to get the RFS back on track.

ACE, advance biofuels, E15, Ethanol, RFS

.@EthanolRFA Submits #RFS Comments to @EPA

Joanna Schroeder

Today is the deadline for submission of comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the 2017-2018 proposed renewable volume obligations (RVO) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) urged the EPA to raise the requirement for conventional renewable fuel volumes to the statutory level of 15 billion gallons per year. Signed by RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen, he writes in the comments, “There’s no justification for lowering the requirement, which would turn the RFS into a stagnant, backward-facing policy.”

rfalogo1RFA is calling for higher blend levels in part because the ethanol industry is already producing well above the 15 billion gallons per year. With record levels of E10 consumption, broader availability of E15 and E85, more than 2 billion surplus renewable identification numbers and other factors make the statutory requirement easily achievable in 2017, according to RFA.

EPA seems to be burdened by a fundamental misunderstanding of the RFS,” Dinneen said in the comments. “By adopting the narrative of the oil industry with regard to how much ethanol can be blended into gasoline, EPA has incomprehensibly and illegally curtailed the continued evolution occurring in the transportation fuels market that is delivering technology innovation, carbon reduction and consumer savings.

“The agency continues to justify reducing required volumes of conventional renewable fuel by suggesting that certain ‘marketplace realities’ preclude refiners from meeting the higher statutory volumes,” Dinneen continued. “This narrative hinges upon a belief that refiners and gasoline marketers simply cannot supply higher volumes of ethanol to consumers because of a lack of infrastructure, consumer demand, or vehicles that could safely utilize fuels containing more than 10% ethanol.

Dinneen added, “This is a false premise, and turns the RFS from a technology- and market-driving program into a stagnant, backward-facing policy that sacrifices environmental and economic benefits by allowing the oil industry to determine how much biofuel it can use based upon their infrastructure and marketplace decisions. RFA is strongly opposed to the proposal to reduce the 2017 RVO for undifferentiated renewable fuel from the statutory levels specified by the statute. We encourage EPA to finalize a rule that demonstrates fidelity to the statute and truly reflects today’s marketplace realities: ethanol is providing the consumer savings, carbon reductions, and energy security benefits envisioned by Congress.

Read RFA’s full comments here.

biofuels, E15, E85, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, RFS

Manito Transit Greens Its Transportation

Joanna Schroeder

Manito Transit logoManito Transit is now transporting goods throughout the Midwest with a greener footprint. The GROWMARK subsidiary transports fuels, fertilizers, crop protection products and more via tank trucks, and has just become a member of the EPA’s SmartWay Transport Partnership program. The SMARTWAY registrants work with the EPA and adopt tools and approaches to track and reduce emissions and fuel use.

This partnership reinforces our commitment to sustainability, energy efficiency and environmental leadership,” said Steve Kubsch, GROWMARK director of transportation operations. “It will help us continue to seek efficient ways that enhance competitiveness and reduce cost. It will also help benefit the environment and strengthen our nation’s energy security and economy.

Manito Transit is one of around 3,000 SmartWay Transport Partners that include shipper, logistics companies, truck rail, barge, and multimodal carriers. The company will contribute to the Partnership’s savings of 170.3 million barrels of oil, $24.9 billion in fuel costs, 72.8 MMT of carbon dioxide (CO2), 1,458,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 59,000 tons of particulate matter. This is equivalent to eliminating annual energy use in over six million homes. The program was launched in 2004 jointly by the EPA and Charter Partners represented by industry stakeholders, environmental groups, American Trucking Associations, and Business for Social Responsibility.

Clean Energy, energy efficiency, Environment, GROWMARK, transportation