Novozymes Helps #Ethanol Producers Listen to Data

Cindy Zimmerman

Listening to your ethanol plant can save you money, according to Novozymes technical service manager Laurie Duval, who presented a NEC Tech Connect session at the National Ethanol Conference last week.

“Basically ethanol plants are huge machines that are producing tons of data every day,” said Duval. “The opportunity in the ethanol industry is around making better use of that information to generate more profitability.”

Duval says getting to the bottom of that data could increase yields as much as two percent “which is worth millions of dollars to an ethanol plant, just by listening to that data.”

Duval explains how Novozymes helps producers understand data management and customize tools for their facilities. Interview with Laurie Duval, Novozymes

National Ethanol Conference photo album

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, National Ethanol Conference, Novozymes

Ethanol Export Opportunities in Sight at #RFANEC

Cindy Zimmerman

Ethanol export panel included Ed Hubbard, RFA; Ryan LeGrand, USGC; Amit Sachdev, USGC; Eric Olson, U.S. Commerce Dept.; and Josh Pedrick, Ethanol Reporter, S&P Global Platts

For the second year in a row, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) joined with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration to host an International Buyer Program (IBP) at the National Ethanol Conference.

The program, designed to introduce U.S. ethanol sellers to foreign buyers in an effort to expand U.S. exports, included 18 international companies from seven top ethanol export markets: China, South Korea, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, India and Brazil.

As part of the IBP, the NEC featured a panel of experts who discussed the top global ethanol markets and export opportunities that exist now and in the future. RFA General Counsel Ed Hubbard moderated the panel which included insights from Ryan LeGrand, Mexico Director, U.S. Grains Council; Amit Sachdev, Country Representative/Consultant, U.S. Grains Council; Eric Olson, Commercial Officer & Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service; and Josh Pedrick, Ethanol Reporter, S&P Global Platts.

Listen to their discussion to learn about future opportunities for ethanol exports: #RFANEC Ethanol Export opportunities panel

National Ethanol Conference photo album

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Groups Oppose RFS Point of Obligation Change

Cindy Zimmerman

U.S. biofuel and agricultural organizations wrote to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt last week opposing any change to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) point of obligation.

“The point of obligation is one of the most important remaining tools to help drive higher blends remaining in the RFS. It creates economic incentives for gasoline retailers to offer higher blends such as E15 by providing an economic incentive for increased biofuels blending. Shifting the point of obligation as urged by its proponents would eliminate this incentive. In addition, the proposed effort to shift the obligation would increase by almost 800 percent the number of entities required to comply with the RFS, creating a new and less efficient market,” said the groups in the letter.

The groups also urged Pruitt to take swift action to provide regulatory relief by lifting the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) restriction on E15. The letter was signed by the Advanced Biofuels Business Council, American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, and the National Farmers Union.

Read more.

ACE, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Terry Brandstad Addresses Ag Outlook Forum

Lizzy Schultz

The distinguished speaker at this year’s USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum was former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who was recently nominated as ambassador to China.

Branstad took time during his speech to praise incoming Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and share his thoughts on the future of agriculture and economic development in rural America.

“Simply put, American agriculture is tied to rural America, and rural America is tied to greater agricultural economic development. Perhaps on of the most underreported national news stories of the past few years has been the economic recession that has hit the agricultural economy and the jobs it has cost in farm machinery manufacturing as well as the losses that farmers have sustained.”

Branstad touched on the projected decrease in farm income and how the current farming economy has created financial pressures that are negatively impacting several different industries that are essential to the economies of rural America.

“Despite recent challenges, I believe there is a bright future for agriculture and economic growth in rural America. I’m hopeful because American agriculture is poised to continue innovation, and I believe American agriculture remains best positioned to help feed and fuel this growing global population and deliver the growing fiber and protein requirements demanded by growing middle class populations around the world,” he said. “I’m encouraged by the renewed interest in agriculture and the talent pipeline that is flowing into American agriculture today. I’m confident that the Trump-Pence administration will support the advancement of innovation in agriculture.”

Listen to his full address here:
Terry Branstad Addressing Agricultural Outlook Forum

Ag group, Audio, policy, politics, USDA

Ethanol Report on National Ethanol Conference

Cindy Zimmerman

ethanol-report-adBuilding Partnerships, Growing Markets was the theme for the 22nd annual National Ethanol Conference held this week in San Diego and it was a great two days of reaching across the aisle to those who have sometimes been adversaries of the ethanol industry to find common ground.

In this Ethanol Report interview with Chuck Zimmerman, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen recaps the highlights of the event and the road ahead for the industry. Ethanol Report on National Ethanol Conference

Click here to subscribe to the Ethanol Report podcast feed and never miss an episode!

Click here to listen to panels and interviews and see photos from the National Ethanol Conference

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Ethanol Report, National Ethanol Conference, RFA

Cellerate Paving the Way for Cellulosic Ethanol

Lizzy Schultz

One of the new NEC Tech Connect sessions at this year’s National Ethanol Conference focused on new technologies that are working to increase the demand and value for ethanol and have successfully converted the fiber within the corn kernel into extremely valuable cellulosic ethanol.

Miloud Araba, head of technical services for the Enogen group at Syngenta, gave the presentation on the Cellerate process technology that is responsible for this new conversion.

“If we can convert that corn kernel fiber, which we can, into ethanol, that would add a lot of value to the ethanol by converting it into cellulosic ethanol,” he said. “Cellulosic ethanol has a lot of value for the corn industry and for the ethanol industry in general in terms of lowering greenhouse gas emissions, improving the yield of the plant on a bushel basis, and adding more value to the feed by concentrating the protein content and reducing fiber, which allows the ethanol plants to go to a higher value market.”

The process that has been running at commercial plants like Quad County Corn Processors since 2014.

“The interest is in why converting corn kernel fiber into cellulosic ethanol is important, and the key piece is that the fiber is there to convert and is a low-hanging fruit to producing cellulosic ethanol,” said Araba. “There is an opportunity for using existing dry grain ethanol plants in the US to produce as much as 1.5 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol>”

Cellulosic ethanol in general is something of great interest to nations across the globe. While other feedstocks, such as switchgrass, are also being considered as possible sources of cellulosic ethanol, Araba explained that the Cellerate process of converting corn kernel fiber into cellulosic ethanol is a key step to increasing the production of cellulosic ethanol, as it helps grow momentum and keep investments in that area going.

“It’s our job at Syngenta to continue to invest with the industry as well as internally to keep developing feedstocks, keep developing processes, and keep developing pathways, and those are the three main things we need to produce more ethanol,” said Araba.

Learn more in Chuck’s full interview with Miloud here:
Interview with Miloud Arabas, Enogen

National Ethanol Conference photo album

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Point of Obligation Discussion at #RFANEC

Cindy Zimmerman

The extended comment period for the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed denial to change the Point of Obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) ended this week as panelists at the National Ethanol Conference were discussing the issue.

Pacific Ethanol CEO Neil Koehler refereed the cage fight discussion between Richard Walsh, SVP & Deputy General Counsel, Valero Renewable Fuels Company and Tim Columbus, Attorney, Steptoe & Johnson, who have opposite views on this complicated issue. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), of which Koehler is vice chairman, and the majority of industry organizations oppose changing the point of obligation under the RFS, but Valero has led the effort to move it.

Listen to both sides here: #RFANEC Point of Obligation panel

National Ethanol Conference photo album

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, National Ethanol Conference, RFA, RFS

Agriculture and Ethanol Working Together

Cindy Zimmerman

L-R: RFA CEO Bob Dinneen, former NPPC president Randy Spronk, NCGA CEO Chris Novak

At the National Ethanol Conference this week, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen sat down with representatives from the corn and livestock industries to talk about the current state of the farm economy, the policy impact of historic surpluses, and moving past food versus fuel.

Dinneen discussed common ground with National Corn Growers Association CEO Chris Novak and National Pork Producers Council past president Randy Spronk. Listen to the discussion here: #RFANEC Ag Groups discussion

National Ethanol Conference photo album

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Pacific Ethanol CEO Receives RFA Industry Award

Cindy Zimmerman

The co-founder of California’s first ethanol production company received the Renewable Fuels Association 2017 Industry Award in San Diego this week at the 22nd National Ethanol Conference.

Pacific Ethanol CEO Neil Koehler, who is also vice chairman of the RFA board of directors, was the co-founder and general manager of Parallel Products, California’s first ethanol production company, which made ethanol from beverage waste. He also founded Kinergy Marketing, an ethanol marketing company before forming Pacific Ethanol in 2003. Pacific Ethanol’s initial focus was on destination ethanol plants, building facilities on the U.S. West Coast, not in the traditional Midwest where the corn is grown. The company now owns eight biorefineries — in Oregon, Idaho, California, Nebraska and Illinois — with a combined production capacity of 515 million gallons per year.

“Neil has been a longtime fixture in the U.S. ethanol industry and consistently been an early adopter of new technologies,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Pacific Ethanol has helped to lead the industry in the transition to low carbon renewable fuels, and Neil has been one of our industry’s best and most vocal advocates. On behalf of the RFA, we congratulate Neil on his achievements. This award is well deserved.”

Listen to the award presentation here: Bob Dinneen, RFA and Neil Koehler, Pacific Ethanol

National Ethanol Conference photo album

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, National Ethanol Conference, RFA

#Ethanol Shaping The Future of Exports

Lizzy Schultz

Ethanol was a popular topic for discussion during the 2017 U.S. Grains Council (USGC) Winter Meeting, held last week in Panama City, Panama, with many USGC representatives believing that improving global ethanol demand will be key in sustaining a successful export market for U.S. corn and corn products.

“Our ethanol program that we’ve put a lot of effort in recently has shown some great promise, a lot of countries are anxious to work with us, they just don’t know what to do to get started,” said Mike Dwyer, USGC Chief Economist, in an interview during the event. “So the whole focal point of our market development program is to work with them on the technical and policy side to get the policy right, make sure they understand the benefits of ethanol blending with respect to issues like greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation.”

Dwyer also explained that the market development efforts are focused mainly on trying to develop demand for ethanol that doesn’t exist right now.

“If a country cannot produce enough ethanol to hit their blend levels, they need to pick up their phone and call the U.S. and order whatever they can’t fill domestically. In other words, exports are a supplement to domestic production,” he said.

USGC has committed to reaching 2.63 billion gallons of exports by 2026. Last year’s ethanol exports reached 860 million gallons, but this year’s exports are projected to hit 1.1 billion gallons, which is above where we need to be to hit that benchmark.

“I think we’re just getting started on our growth curve. We have the full support of the U.S. corn community, and we have a strategic alliance with Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuel Association. The three of us are working together for the greater good of developing ethanol demand worldwide with a role for trade,” said Dwyer. “A lot of these countries do not want to import, and we make the case that they’re going to import oil anyway, these are import deficit countries, so wouldn’t you rather import a product that solves an environmental problem rather than one that contributes to it? And so far that message has been resonating.”

Listen to Lizzy’s full interview with Mike here:
Interview with Mike Dwyer, USGC

Ag group, Audio, Ethanol, Exports, USGC