Setting the Record Straight: #Ethanol & Marine Engines

Engine and marine experts called on Washington lawmakers this week to get the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) back on track. The White House Office of Management and Budget is expected to release its review of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed blending requirements for biofuels in 2017 soon. Fuels America hosted a panel discussion and press call with several certified mechanics, engine performance experts and professional fisherman who discussed the benefits of ethanol including the environmental benefits for marine life and engine performance as well as dispelled myths about ethanol. In addition, the panelists addressed misconceptions about ethanol use in classic cars in response to recent comments by Jay Leno.

From left to right: Marc Rauch, Executive Vice President and Co-Publisher at the Auto Channel; Joel Hennen, President and Owner of Hennen’s Auto Service; Brian Sowers, Co-Host of Crappie Masters TV; & Keith Holmes, President and Owner of CK Motorsports

From left to right: Marc Rauch, Executive Vice President and Co-Publisher at the Auto Channel; Joel Hennen, President and Owner of Hennen’s Auto Service; Brian Sowers, Co-Host of Crappie Masters TV; & Keith Holmes, President and Owner of CK Motorsports

According to Keith Holmes, president and owner of CK Motorsports based in Nunica, Michigan, the National Boat Racing Association exclusively uses E10 for all of its races. “We work on a wide variety of racing engines for watercraft, and they run at their absolute best on a high-octane ethanol blend.” Holmes, who is a certified marine racing technician, stressed that ethanol burns cleaner and cooler and since the introduction of E10 into the sport, many racers have found that many engine parts have a 25 to 50 percent longer lifespan.

“It doesn’t matter whether a boat has a two-stroke or four-stroke engine, an in-board or out-board motor, or a built-in or portable fuel tank,” explained Marc Rauch, executive vice president and co-publisher at the Auto Channel, based in Louisville, Kentucky. “Decades of experience with modern engines shows that E10 is the best fuel for marine applications. As an oxygen booster, ethanol replaces toxins like MTBE, which are notorious for contaminating water supplies. And it reduces CO2 emissions by 34 to 100 percent or more compared to gasoline.”

While Rauch and Holmes stressed the marine engine performance benefits of ethanol, also noting that E15 is not approved for use in marine engines, Brian Sowers, the co-host of Crappie Masters TV stressed the biofuels environmental benefits. “I want to take my grandkids fishing someday. That means having clean water and clean air. Mixing ethanol into our fuel is the best way to reduce the pollutants that fossil fuels leave behind, so our lakes and rivers stay clean and marine life can flourish.” Sowers covers the Crappie Masters All American Tournament Trail based in Clinton, Missouri and noted that 100 percent of the tournament winners use ethanol blends.

Major boat manufactures approve the use of E10 and Joel Hennen, president and owner of Shakopee, Minnesota-based Hennen’s Auto Service, said that if a boat owner properly takes care of his boat, then ethanol will pose no problems. He also noted that in his area, boaters ask for and use, ethanol. “We serve communities on the Minnesota River and Prior Lake, and our customers expect to have choices at the pump. Companies like Kawasaki, Mercury Marine, OMC, Pleasurecraft, Tigershark, Tracker, Honda, and Yamaha all approve the use of E10 in their engines. The labels are clear, and whether customers have a flex fuel vehicle or a race boat, we make it easy to pick the most affordable option with the lowest emissions.”

Learn more about ethanol, marine engines and other ethanol myths by listening to the full press conference: The Truth About #Ethanol & Marine Engines

USDA, DOE Invest $10M in Green Energy Research

Biomass Photo Credit Joanna Schroeder

Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

A joint venture has been forged between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help fund green energy research designed to develop more efficient biofuel production and agricultural feedstock improvements. The venture has been allocated $10 million from the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI).

“Advancements in bioenergy research will help protect our national energy security, reduce pollution, and bolster our energy supply,” said Cathie Woteki, under secretary for USDA’s Research, Education & Economics mission area. “Producing more renewable and biobased energy can also revitalize rural communities with a new economic market and provide farmers a profitable and sustainable investment through on-farm energy resources.”

Funding recipients include:

  • University of California-Riverside, Riverside, Calif., $1,297,725
  • University of Montana, Missoula, Mont., $1,403,868
  • Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., $1,849,940
  • State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, N.Y., $906,722
  • North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Durham, N.C., $1,873,987
  • The Department of Energy funded projects by Ohio State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The grant awards will be administered by the NIFA and DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. BRDI is a program designed to foster the development of sustainable sources of biomass and increase the availability, technology and economics of renewable fuels and biobased products.

Bobby Likis Addresses Ethanol Myths

This past weekend Bobby Likis debuted a video that tackles ethanol myths including those around the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Likis is a 20 plus year automotive expert, engine builder and repair shop owner among other qualifications. One of his platforms for education is his national syndicated radio program Bobby Likis Car Clinic and over the past several years, has taken an industry leadership position around the use of ethanol.

The video, sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), addresses myths around the RFS, specifically that the legislation does not eliminate any fuel. As such, retail stations can still sell E0 (gasoline with no ethanol) along with other fuel options such as E15 and E85. Also addressed is ethanol damage, ethanol use in classic cars, phase separation, gasoline volatility, and more.

Watch the video now and help bust some ethanol myths.

US Ethanol Exports Swing Upwards

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is reporting that U.S. ethanol exports totaled 95.3 million gallons (mg) in March, a 42 percent increase from February. This is also the highest monthly volume in more than four years. The data comes from the latest report from the U.S. government. The top export market was China (37 mg) followed by Brazil (20.7 mg) and Canada (16.2 mg). Year-to-date ethanol exports are 249.4 mg and RFA says the U.S. is on pace to ship 1 billion gallons of exports this year.

March ethanol exports and imports March exports of denatured fuel ethanol were 50.1 mg, an increase of 49 percent from February. Two countries accounted for 99 percent of denatured fuel ethanol exports—China received 35.3 mg, while Canada took in 14.3 mg. Brazil was the only other major importer of denatured fuel ethanol in March, bringing in 0.5 mg.

Undenatured fuel ethanol exports stood at 41.2 mg in March, up 32 percent from February. At 20.7 mg, Brazil received roughly half of the undenatured product shipments followed by India (4.1 mg), Peru (3.3 mg), South Korea (3.3 mg), Jamaica (2.9 mg), Mexico (2.6 mg), and China (1.7 mg). Exports of denatured and undenatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage use totaled 4.0 mg in March followed by Canada (1.9 mg) and Sweden (1.6 mg).

Exports of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) totaled 822,945 metric tons (mt) in March, up 5 percent from February. Mexico was the top destination for DDGS exports (142,117 mt) while China’s imports were down 42 percent from February (121,619 mt) followed by South Korea (83,196 mt), Vietnam (71,840 mt), Turkey (60,997 mt), Indonesia (51,554 mt), and Thailand (42,328 mt). Year-to-date DDGS exports through the first quarter stood at 2.4 million mt.

NCGA Releases Ethanol Toolkit

NCGA-Logo-3In light of the long-term uncertainty of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) has created a new set of tools. The toolkit, available for state affiliates, was designed to assist the associations and their members in defending the RFS with consistent messaging targeted at policy leaders, environmental groups, businesses and general public.

NCGA says the goal of this toolkit is to help create a unified voice for the corn industry that reflects and capitalizes on the work that has already taken place in defense of the RFS. The kit contains information, trends and lessons learned from state organizations along with the NCGA Action App, material samples, timelines, checklists and messaging documents.

Nebraska Celebrates Renewable Fuels Month

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has proclaimed May “Renewable Fuels Month”. The aim is to recognize the benefits the ethanol and biodiesel industries have provide the state. Nebraska is home to 25 ethanol plants making it the country’s second largest ethanol producing state behind Iowa. There is currently one biodiesel plant producing 50 million gallons with a second plant located in Beatrice, Nebraska expected to go online this year.

COURTESY_ethanolpumpsRenewable biofuels have absolutely transformed the economic landscape in Nebraska,” said Ron Pavelka, a farmer from Glenvil and chairman of the Nebraska Soybean Board. “The additional demand for Nebraska commodities created by renewable fuels production has created a new market for farmers, generated significant investment and tax revenue in rural communities, and created good paying jobs in areas of the state that really need them.”

David Merrell, a farmer from St. Edward and chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board, noted, “The growth of renewable biofuels has helped reduce our nation’s dependence on imported petroleum, reduced prices at the pump and provided greater choice for consumers. But perhaps the most important benefit of these fuels is their dramatically positive impact on the environment and on human health.”

For example, Merrell says adding biodiesel to the tank reduces hydrocarbon emissions by 67 percent and reduces lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by 86 percent compared to diesel fuel. The 2.1 billion gallons of biodiesel used in 2015 reduced the amount of carbon in the atmosphere by 18.2 million metric tons, the equivalent of removing 3.8 million cars from the road or planting 466 million trees. In addition, Merrell explains that ethanol is a non-toxic, clean-burning fuel that dramatically reduces the level of toxics added to gasoline to increase octane, including proven and suspected carcinogens such as benzene, toluene and xylene.

“Since these toxics do not completely combust in the engine, they enter the atmosphere through exhaust emissions and are directly connected to cancer, heart disease and asthma in humans,” Merrell added. “The more ethanol we add to gasoline, the lower the levels of these harmful toxics in the air we breathe.”

Argent Energy Biodiesel Plant Adds Wastewater Tech

Argent Energy’s new biodiesel plant located in Cheshire, UK will be adding new wastewater treatment technology. Once in production, the biorefinery will use waste fats, oils and greases (FOG) to produce biodiesel. By adding the WPL Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) wastewater treatment system, WPL says the plant will be able to reclaim more of the waste fats for conversion to biodiesel while producing less waste. Today Argent Energy supplies biodiesel to thousands of buses across the UK.

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 8.19.17 AMThe new biorefinery is being built in an industrial area where the facility will be close to its feedstock – waste from food and wastewater industries. the DAF technology will enable more FOG feedstock to be removed from the wastewater stream.

Andrew Haywood, utility and industrial sales manager of WPL said, “The WPL DAF system will become an integrated part of this brand new biofuel processing plant which is being built on a brownfield site. One of the exciting things about being part of this project is that the fats, oils and grease, which are separated from the wastewater by the WPL DAF system, will be channelled back into the biofuel plant – so the solid waste will effectively be recycled.”

Haywood added that utilizing waste greases, oils and fats is becoming a trend whereas rather than seeing it as waste, it is now being viewed as a resource. He also noted that while the DAF system is typically used in water treatment plants, the technology is also beneficial in other industries such as the biodiesel industry.

Tequila Cazadores Uses Biomass to Produce Biofuels

Tequila CAZADORES, part of the Bacardi portfolio, is now using a biomass boiler to produce biofuels in the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. Surrounded by spiky blue-leaved agave plants, they are used to make the liquid and power the distillery. The new boiler is 100 percent biomass fueled and the company says its a model of forward-thinking, eco-conscious ingenuity. The “waste” from the production of the top-shelf spirits is used in the boiler. The ashes produced during the burning process are then used for composting, a sustainable means of improving soil quality.

362747-Bacardi-Limited-Tequila-CAZADORESIn some regards, the term “biofuel” is a bit misleading. Prior to its final stages, biofuels are actually liquor such as vodka or in this case tequila. In the Tequila CAZADORES distillery, about 60 percent of the biofuel is used to produce the tequila. This creates about 11,000 tons a year of spent agave fibers. The remaining 40 percent the biomass is comprised of nearly 8,000 tons of carbon-neutral, renewable fuel sources such as clean waste wood, biomass briquettes, sawdust, coconut shell, and tree cuttings.

“Global climate changes have the potential to affect Bacardi and the production of our brands. Understanding these realities, we are continuing our focus to minimize environmental impacts companywide,” said Eduardo Vallado, vice president of supply chain and manufacturing for Bacardi in the Americas. “Our Good Spirited initiative is part of our legacy, vital to our growth and sustainability, and this biomass boiler changeover in Mexico, one of many to come, represents our steadfast commitment to our customers and consumers to make the best quality spirits in the most responsible ways.”

The new biomass boiler replaced two fossil-fuel dependent boilers that used 2,000 tons of heavy fuel oil each year. This move is just one element of Barcardi’s “Good Spirited” philosophy of producing the highest quality products in the most sustainable ways.

Aemetis to Purchase Edeniq

aemetis1Advanced renewable fuels companies Aemetis and Edeniq have entered into a definitive agreement for Aemetis to acquire all of Edeniq’s outstanding shares in a stock plus cash merger transaction. Under the terms of the agreement, Aemetis expects to issue between one and two million shares of its common stock plus cash to be paid over the next five years in an amount of up to $20 million in exchange for all of the issued and outstanding shares of Edeniq.

“The acquisition of Edeniq will further Aemetis’ plan to lead the deployment of technology to transition traditional biofuels plants into the production of valuable advanced biofuels, upgrading the existing infrastructure found at the 210 ethanol production facilities operating throughout the United States,” said Eric McAfee, chairman and CEO of Aemetis, Inc. “Edeniq has commercially deployed its patented cellulosic ethanol technology at a number of leading US ethanol companies, and coupled with Aemetis’ extensive biorefinery operating expertise, we expect to enhance this technology to expand cellulosic feedstocks and to increase yields. We believe Edeniq’s technology offers compelling advantages to existing ethanol operators to increase profitability without purchasing additional feedstock.”

Edeniq-LogoAccording to Edeniq, it’s patented technology is commercially proven, with 29 of its Cellunators installed in 6 US ethanol plants. The company has also signed several license agreements for its Pathway technology, which integrates the mechanical Cellunator equipment with cellulase enzymes to convert corn kernel fiber to cellulosic ethanol.

“We believe that joining with Aemetis will enable Edeniq to accelerate the deployment of the Pathway technology to the ethanol industry,” said Brian Thome, president and CEO of Edeniq. “The Edeniq team is also excited to be able to work day-to-day alongside the Aemetis team to enhance our technology through optimization and innovation at the Aemetis ethanol plant.”

Upon completion of the transaction, Edeniq will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aemetis. The closing of the transaction is expected to occur during the second quarter.