DOE Releases 2015 Revolution…Now Report

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released the 2015 Revolution…Now report, which details the state of multiple clean energy technologies in the U.S. that have the ability to provide climate change solutions. The report builds upon past versions that demonstrate an increase in deployment and a decrease in cost for transformational technologies including: wind turbines, solar technologies, electric vehicles (EVs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

revolution-now-infographic“We are experiencing a clean energy revolution in the United States, and this report confirms it,” Secretary Moniz said. “Today, clean energy technologies are providing real-world solutions – not only to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming, but they also drive a domestic, low-carbon economy with technologies that are increasingly cost-competitive with conventional technologies. We have the tools for a cleaner and more secure energy future.”

The 2015 update finds that dramatic cost reductions are continuing to drive the adoption of clean energy technologies. The report reviews the rapid growth of photovoltaic (PV) solar modules for both large, utility-scale PV plants, and smaller, rooftop and distributed PV systems. DOE continues to invest in research and development for these technologies in addition to reducing market barriers in order to make these clean energy technologies even more cost-effective and widely available across the United States.

Between 2008 and 2014, land-based wind accounted for 31 percent of all new generation capacity installed in the U.S. The DOE says this is in part due to early investments from DOE that helped drive technology innovation.

New Leadership at National Biodiesel Board

nBBThe National Biodiesel Board (NBB) has four new members and four returning members on its governing board. This news release from NBB says the group was elected during NBB’s latest annual fall membership meeting in Washington, D.C., this week.

“Biodiesel faces many challenges but we have strong leadership from among all sectors of the industry and we are in a position as an organization to face those challenges head on,” said NBB CEO Joe Jobe. “This industry has reached nearly two billion gallons for a third consecutive year and will continue to grow into the future under the direction of the board.”

NBB members voted to fill eight board member spots:

– Kent Engelbrecht, ADM
– Ron Heck, Iowa Soybean Association
– Ed Hegland, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council
– Ron Marr, Minnesota Soybean Processors
– Steve Nogel, AGP
– Amy Sigg Davis, Ohio Soybean Council
– Robert Stobaugh, Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board
– Chad Stone, Renewable Energy Group

Steven Levy, Mike Cunningham, Greg Anderson, Jennifer Case, Timothy Keaveney, Robert Morton, and Ben Wootton also continue to serve on the Governing Board. Four long-time board members retired their positions this year including two past chairs Bob Metz, South Dakota Soybean, and Gary Haer, Renewable Energy Group. Also retiring their positions were Ed Ulch, Iowa Soybean Association, and Todd Ellis, Imperium Renewables.

The meeting also saw discussions on the current state of federal policies impacting the industry, held meetings of standing committees, and began the annual program planning process.

Vancouver Gets First ‘Green & Go’ Biodiesel Station

cowichanMotorists on Vancouver Island in Canada will get more choice in their biodiesel blends. Cowichan Energy Alternatives (CEA), the Cowichan Bio-Diesel Co-op (Co-op) and the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) are opening the island’s first “Green & Go” biodiesel station, which could pump 5, 20 or 50 percent blends.

The new biodiesel blending pump and Point of Sale (PoS) technology will provide drivers with an easy and secure way to access clean, renewable biodiesel after they create a user account at Biodiesel is a proven fossil-fuel-alternative that reduces harmful pollution while increasing a vehicle’s engine life. The pump’s PoS will provide each member with a transaction record that shows greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions with every fill up.

‘Sustainable Solution in Action’ – The Cowichan Biofuel Facility is a homegrown centre for recycling commercial and residential waste cooking oil into environmentally-friendly biodiesel for local use as a petroleum diesel substitute. This demonstration facility is the first of its kind in North America and a model for communities seeking sustainable solutions that support the development of a local, low-carbon economy. It is the result of a unique partnership between the Cowichan Valley Regional District, Cowichan Bio-Diesel Co-op and Cowichan Energy Alternatives, and is part of the growing BC Biofuel Network. Financial support was provided in part by Vancity.

Officials will hold an official ceremony later this afternoon at the Cowichan Biofuel Facility, 3900 Drinkwater Road, North Cowichan, British Columbia. The public and media are invited to the event.

RFA Updates

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

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 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 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. is now better integrated with Google for optimal search results that link back to the website. In addition, the 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

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