ACE Celebrates NE Flex Fuel Station Opening

Cindy Zimmerman

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) board member Scott McPheeters of KAPPA Ethanol was first in line to fill up this week at the new Blue Heron Renewable Flex Fuel Plaza on Interstate 80 in Nebraska.

“There was a need and an opportunity to provide more ethanol blends at a great price in central Nebraska,” said McPheeters. “Blue Heron is a great location to attract business from the more than 15,000 vehicles a day traveling on Interstate 80.”

Blue Heron has installed Wayne Helix dispensers and offers E10, E15, E30, E40 and E85. “Based on the early reports, the station’s overall volume is triple what it was before the upgrade and blends above 10 percent ethanol make up well over half of their volume,” said ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty who has documented the station’s upgrade on to demonstrate how privately-owned, single-store owners can add E15 and flex fuels affordably and profitably.

The station is hosting a grand opening this morning with a ribbon cutting followed by an E85 fuel promotion. The station received state and federal grant funding coordinated by Access Ethanol Nebraska, as well as support from ethanol producers in central Nebraska. McPheeters’ plant KAAPA Ethanol in Minden sponsored fuel canopy and billboard upgrades for the station, and Nebraska Corn Processing and Anew Fuel Services provided ethanol at a discounted price for the grand opening.

ACE, Ethanol, Retailers

NFU President Joins Board of New Energy America

Cindy Zimmerman

National Farmers Union’s (NFU) President Roger Johnson has joined the advisory board of New Energy America, a new organization created to promote clean energy jobs in rural America.

As part of its launch last week, New Energy America released the first Fifty State Clean Energy Jobs Report, which shows that clean energy jobs outpace fossil energy jobs in 41 states.

“Too often the debate in Washington misses the fact that what is good for clean energy is good for rural America,” said Mike Carr, Executive Director of New Energy America. “New Energy America will make sure that rural America knows that clean energy policies are creating jobs in their communities.”

The organization focus on clean energy includes solar, wind and biofuels.

Energy, Ethanol, NFU, Solar, Wind

EPA Proposes Further Cuts in Biofuels Under RFS

Cindy Zimmerman

The Environmental Protection Agency surprised the biofuels industry Tuesday by issuing a notice asking for comment on further reducing volume obligations for some fuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

The EPA Notice of Data Availability (NODA) suggests a reduction of the 2018 advanced biofuel volume requirement from the proposed level of 4.24 billion gallons to 3.77 billion gallons, and the 2018 total renewable fuel volume requirement from the proposed level of 19.24 billion gallons to 18.77 billion gallons, driven by apparent concerns over biofuel imports.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) calls EPA’s action outrageous “This seems like a bait-and-switch from the EPA’s prior proposal and from assurances from the President himself and Cabinet secretaries in my office prior to confirmation for their strong support of renewable fuels…This all gives me a strong suspicion that Big Oil and refineries are prevailing, despite assurances to the contrary,” said Grassley.

“There is no rationale for further lowering either the 2018 advanced biofuel volume requirement or the total renewable fuel volume,” said Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen. “EPA appears to be adopting API’s argument that ‘domestic supply’ somehow means ‘domestic production,’ when this is clearly not the case. The domestic supply of biofuels includes both imported and domestically produced biofuel volumes, just as USDA recognizes in its monthly supply-demand estimates that the total domestic supply of corn includes corn imports from other countries.”

The EPA notice cites concerns that price of biodiesel used in the U.S. could increase as a result of the recent Department of Commerce determination that it would be appropriate to place countervailing duties of 41% to 68% on imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia. Doug Whitehead, chief operating officer at the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), says EPA was already “underestimating the power of domestic biodiesel production and ignoring the intent of the law” in the proposed RVO rule and this request for comment is even more disappointing. “NBB will be working with EPA to demonstrate the industry’s proven success record, continued growth and impacts to American workers who were promised that this administration had their back,” said Whitehead.

Biodiesel, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, RFS

Crappie Masters National Champs Appreciate Ethanol

carrie muehling

The recent 2017 Crappie Masters National Championship, sponsored in part by the Renewable Fuels Association, American Ethanol, and Bass Pro Shops, saw Missouri fishermen Paul Alpers and Phillip Haynes finishing on top. The partners fought unseasonably hot weather and dropping river levels as they brought in a two-day total weight of 21.89 pounds. They use ethanol in their vehicles and in their boats, and shared an appreciation for the quality and the value of the fuel.

“Anything you can save, especially on the fuel, and I appreciate everything they’re doing to make it cheaper on the folks,” says Alpers.

This year’s champions shared their enthusiasm for the sport and their confidence in ethanol after winning the recent competition.

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Paul Alpers and Phillip Haynes here: Paul Alpers & Phillip Haynes, 2017 Crappie Masters Tournament National Champions

AgWired Energy, Audio, Ethanol, RFA

USDA Trade Mission Heading to Brazil

Cindy Zimmerman

A USDA Foreign Agriculture Service trade mission to São Paulo and Recife, Brazil, is underway this week with ethanol industry leaders looking to expand their agricultural exports and further develop their business relationships in Brazil.

“Brazil holds significant untapped market potential for U.S. exporters,” said Mark Slupek, deputy administrator of the Office of Trade Programs for USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. “The country’s growing population and rising per-capita income, coupled with the fact that Brazilian consumers have a high regard for U.S. products and brands, make this a market well worth exploring for American exporters.”

Last year, Brazil purchased nearly $1.4 billion in agricultural and related products from the United States. Top U.S. exports to Brazil in 2016 included ethanol, wheat, prepared foods and dairy products.

The delegation traveling to Brazil represents a range of U.S. products, from prepared foods and specialty food ingredients to bulk commodities and ethanol. Among the ethanol companies and organizations represented on the trip are all three ethanol industry organizations, and member companies including E Energy Adams and Green Plains of Nebraska and Lakeview Energy in Chicago.

ACE, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, RFA, Trade, USDA

Magellan to Offer E15 at all Iowa Fuel Terminals

Cindy Zimmerman

Magellan Midstream Partners fuel pipeline and storage company is now offering pre-blended E15 at many terminals across the U.S., including all Magellan terminals that service Iowa.

“This announcement from Magellan is game-changing,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “It is now possible for most retailers across the state to replace a low-demand product with E15 without investing in major infrastructure upgrades.”

“While IRFA remains very supportive of blender pumps because they provide consumers access to even more ethanol blend options, I expect Magellan’s decision to offer pre-blended E15 will rapidly increase the number of Iowa retailers who decide to offer this exciting new fuel,” Shaw added.

Without access to pre-blended E15, retailers have to install blender pumps to blend the fuel onsite. Nearly all underground storage tanks are certified to store E15 and all fuel dispensers in Iowa are approved to dispense E15. Therefore, the ability to purchase pre-blended E15 at the terminal means most Iowa retailers could offer E15 through their existing station infrastructure with little or no equipment upgrades.

E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Iowa RFA

New Zealand Triples U.S. DDGS Purchases

Cindy Zimmerman

Cows on a New Zealand dairy farm

New Zealand is producing record amounts of milk this year and feeding triple the amount of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) compared to last year, according to the U.S. Grains Council. New Zealand has purchased 113,000 metric tons of U.S. DDGS so far this year compared to just 37,000 tons imported the same time last year. While this market is currently small, these sales represent the potential for demand growth.

The 2017 milk supply in New Zealand is expected to reach 21.9 million tons, surpassing the prior record of 2014, thanks to higher-expected cow numbers and optimal pasture conditions. The dairy industry imports approximately 2 million tons palm kernel meal (PKM) to supplement pastures, and only 5 percent of the total dairy industry is currently utilizing DDGS or soybean hall pellets (SBHP) in rations.

However, the door is open for increased use of DDGS following local crop failures due to excessive rains compounded by an industry push to limit the ration of PKM due to negative effects on butter fat levels. As a result, grain buyers significantly increased purchases with two combination vessels discharging U.S. DDGS in the port of Tauranga in September 2017.

Distillers Grains, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Trade, USGC

Corn Stover Could Generate Electricity

Cindy Zimmerman

Corn biomass residue. Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

Two new studies show that generating energy from corn stover biomass could create a new market for farmers and increase the value of ethanol by reducing its overall carbon footprint. The studies are based on the premise that the crop residue left behind in the fields after corn to be used for ethanol is harvested.

Iowa-based Regional Strategic, Ltd. examined the economic impact of collecting, processing, and delivering corn stover byproducts of ethanol – the stalks, leaves, and stems of corn plants – for use in generating electricity. The stover is compressed into biomass pellets that can be burned like coal in existing power plants, reducing CO2 emissions and increasing renewable energy supplies. This is similar to the use of wood pellets in European power plants.

The studies were commissioned by Larksen LLC, an affiliate of Trestle Energy, a California-based biofuel company specializing in low carbon production system. Larksen estimates that corn grown for ethanol in the six major ethanol-producing states “could yield roughly 44 million tons of harvestable corn stover per year. It is conceivable that this stover could replace around 37 million tons of coal used for electricity generation.”

However, the economic studies are based on harvesting all leftover crop residue from corn going to ethanol production and do not appear to take into consideration the conservation benefits of corn stover and crop residue, much of which is left in the fields for no-till or low-tillage farming operations.

Link to report summary.

biomass, corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Low Carbon Fuel Standard

Corn Rep Appointed to NE Ethanol Board

Cindy Zimmerman

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has appointed Taylor Nelson, a farmer from Jackson, to join the Nebraska Ethanol Board as the corn representative.

Nelson earned his agriculture economics degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He returned to the family farm in 2012, and produces corn and soybeans in Dixon and Dakota counties with his father, Doug Nelson, and uncle, Jim Nelson. Along with his wife and parents, Nelson also operates the Jackson Express convenience store.

“Taylor’s background in both fuel sales and farming makes him a unique addition to the board,” said Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “As the youngest board member, we look forward to his input on using new marketing techniques to engage drivers.”

Nelson is a member of the American Coalition for Ethanol and vice president of the northeast Nebraska chapter of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.

ACE, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Al-Corn Clean Fuel Votes to Become LLC

Cindy Zimmerman

By an overwhelming majority the membership of Al-Corn Clean Fuel has voted to convert from a cooperative to a Limited Liability Company (LLC), effective September 30.

“Without our member’s willingness to grow and compete in an ever changing business environment, we wouldn’t be here today.” said Rod Jorgenson, President of Al-Corn Clean Fuel. “We have begun moving forward to allow the conversion to become a reality while ensuring our current operations continue running smoothly”.

Al-Corn Clean Fuel, LLC is currently expanding and modernizing the Claremont facility from 50 million gallons per year to 120 million gallons per year, including storage for 1.5 million bushels of corn to facilitate deliveries. Once complete, the expansion will require an additional 25 – 27 million bushels of corn annually.

Ethanol, Ethanol News