Tobasi Stop Awarded 2016 Distinguished Retailer

Joanna Schroeder

Tobasi Stop, a retail station located in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, has been honored with the 2016 Distinguished Retailer award from the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association. The station sells E15 at three of its retail locations.

“This award recognizes Tobasi Stop’s commitment to offering its customers a clean and locally-produced fuel that is also cheaper than regular unleaded. E15 has been made available in all three Tobasi Stop stations in just 12 months,” said Brian Kletscher, President of the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association.

Abdalla Tobasi, owner of Tobasi Stop, said of the award, “We decided to offer E15 as it’s a fuel that provides customers a great product at a great price. It also helps our local economy and farmers who are the backbone of our country. Since we began offering E15, more than 60 percent of our sales have been E15.”

Tobasi received the award during an event to launch the Association’s 2016 Annual Report. The report lays out the efforts Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association undertook during the year to grow ethanol use in the state.

“In 2016, the ethanol industry in Minnesota faced new opportunities and challenges. We were well positioned to seize those opportunities and defend the industry from new regulatory challenges,” said Tim Rudnicki, Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association executive director. “We also saw E15 acceptance grow exponentially this year. As at end-October, 4.09 million gallons of E15 has been sold, which is a million more gallons than the volume sold for the whole of 2015. This is a positive development and with more E15 stations coming on board in the next year, we expect Minnesota’s E15 consumption to continue increasing,” he added.

E15, Ethanol

Badger State Ethanol Begins Expansion

Joanna Schroeder

Badger State Ethanol, LLC is beginning an expansion project. The ethanol plant is located in Monroe, Wisconsin, and the improvements will enable the facility to increase ethanol production and performance. When the expansion is completed, ethanol production and co-product output will increase by 45 percent. In addition, the plant is increasing energy efficiency through several projects that will result in a reduction of natural gas usage per gallon by an estimated 20 percent.

The project is a collaboration between Badger State Ethanol and Scott Lucas of LE3, and is slated for completion by the end of first quarter 2017.

Company Announcement, Ethanol

#Ethanol Report on Cabinet Picks

Cindy Zimmerman

ethanol-report-adSome ethanol interests may be getting a little nervous about the oil industry ties of several Trump administration cabinet selections. Those include former Texas Governor Rick Perry for energy secretary, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt for EPA administrator and ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.

In this Ethanol Report, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen says all that really matters is who is in charge: Ethanol Report on Cabinet Picks

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Ethanol Report, Government, Oil, politics, RFA, RFS

Iowa RFA Announces 2017 Officers

Cindy Zimmerman

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) this week announced new board members and officers for 2017, elected at last week’s annual meeting.

2017 IRFA Board of Directors Officers
President Eamonn Byrne, Lakeview Plymouth Energy
Vice President Steve Bleyl, Green Plains
Treasurer Bill Howell, POET Biorefining – Coon Rapids
Secretary Derek Winkel, Renewable Energy Group, Inc.
Executive Dir. Monte Shaw (non-voting)

The IRFA Executive Committee is comprised of the IRFA Officers and other members as elected by the Board. Elected to join the IRFA Officers on the Executive Committee for 2017 are:

Past President Tom Brooks, Western Dubuque Biodiesel
At-Large Craig Willis, Archer Daniels Midland
At-Large Rick Schwarck, Absolute Energy

“We are grateful for the leadership of Tom Brooks this year and we look forward to confronting the challenges and opportunities in 2017,” said newly-elected President Eamonn Byrne. “We intend to work with President-elect Donald Trump’s administration to implement a robust Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that ensures greater consumer choice at the pump.”

Biodiesel, biofuels, Ethanol, Iowa RFA

Trump Team Filling Up with Oil Interests

Cindy Zimmerman

Trump picks former Texas Gov. Rick Perry for Energy Secretary

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, the man who sought a waiver for his state from the Renewable Fuel Standard and was consistently ranked as bad for the ethanol industry during his two presidential bids, has been tapped by President-Elect Donald Trump to be Secretary of Energy. With ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson picked as Secretary of State and Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt chosen to head the EPA, it may seem that oil-friendly interests have taken a strong position in the new Trump administration.

Some ethanol interests are understandably a little concerned. The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) issued a call-to-action to its grassroots membership today, urging ethanol supporters to ask their senators to work during the confirmation process to get some reassurance that Pruitt will support ethanol. ACE notes that Pruitt filed a ‘friend of the court’ brief in support of a lawsuit to overturn EPA’s approval of E15 for 2001 model-year and newer vehicles and has called the RFS “unworkable.” On the other hand, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor last week congratulated Pruitt on his nomination and looks forward to “working with him to carry out President-elect Trump’s strong commitments to protecting the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who has accepted the position as Trump’s ambassador to China, got his assurances about Pruitt from the president-elect himself. During his weekly press conference Monday, Branstad said he talked to Trump during his “Thank You” tour in Des Moines last week. “First thing Trump told me is ‘don’t worry about him, he’s going to be for ethanol,'” Branstad said, laughing. “I think that was a condition he laid out when he appointed him.”

Listen to Branstad’s comments here: Gov. Branstad on Trump and RFS

ACE, biofuels, Ethanol, Growth Energy, RFS

Green Biologics Ships First Butanol Order

Joanna Schroeder

UK-based Green Biologics has shipped its first customer order of biobased n-butanol and acetone from its manufacturing biorefinery in Little Falls, Minnesota. The company has developed several partnerships that include distribution agreements with Acme Hardesty, Nexeo Solutions, and Caldic, and has also developed a strategic partnership with HOC Industries. The facility was purchased by Green Biologics in December 2014 from Central Minnesota Ethanol Cooperative and was renamed to Central MN Renewables (CMR). Over the past 18 months, the company retrofitted the 21 million gallon per year ethanol plant with advanced fermentation technology to produce biobased n-butanol and acetone and expects the facility to be producing at full capacity in the next 12-18 months.

Photo Credit Green Biologics

“The start of our first commercial facility is a critical milestone in building our position within the industry as a global renewable speciality chemicals company,” said Sean Sutcliffe, Chief Executive of Green Biologics. “We’re very proud to announce the start of shipments to key customers in highvalue markets and look forward to working with existing and new collaborators to bring a wide range of sustainable, environmentally-friendly products to shelves.”

The company brands its biobased products, alternatives to petrochemical materials including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, personal care and consumer products. Green Biologics sells its products under the name BioPure, which has received USDA BioPreferred status. The company offers a wide portfolio of 100 percent bio-based products in addition to n-butanol and acetone, including high purity 100 percent bio-based isopropyl alcohol and a range of specialty esters of n-butanol, isopropanol and other biobased alcohols.

David Anderson, global vice president of marketing for Green Biologics, added, “There’s a clear and urgent demand within consumer and industrial markets for more sustainable products that can deliver improved performance over traditional petro-based commodities. We’re meeting this need by creating high-value, performance-driven speciality chemicals and formulated products, all sourced from the chemicals produced at our commercial facility, and continuing to work in collaboration with industry leaders who share our vision.”

biobutanol, biochemicals, bioproducts

Turf Feeding Kicks off Hydroponic #Biofuels Project

Joanna Schroeder

Turf Feeding Systems has been selected to design, build and manage a unique hydroponic biofuels project in Mexico for Zphere Works. The biojet fuel will be produced from Jatropha grown on an 80,000 acre Monarca plantation in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. Turf Feeding Systems says this is the first project to bring together products and technologies to create a large-scale high yield hydroponic agriculture.

Hydroponic greenhouse – Photo Credit: Turf Feeding Systems

“Hydroponics is the high end of horticulture with high tech irrigation, fertigation and grow lighting to push greenhouse plant production to maximum limits. However, we are doing all that and more taking the crop out of the greenhouse and putting it on 80,000 acres to produce high yield crops for biojet fuel and food,” said Michael Chaplinsky, President of Turf Feeding Systems.

Chaplinsky continued, “We have a worldwide team of agronomists, engineers and scientists who open new pathways to grow plants and crops with yields of 50% to 100% over traditional field production. We are using proprietary irrigation, special fertigation and probiotic organics, which will reduce irrigation water 50%, reduce fertilizer and chemicals by 60% and produce ultra-high yield crop production.”

The project will also utilize satellite pastures, food crops and greenhouses for food production. The plantation will also be used as a teaching tool for rural farmers in the region. Chaplinsky said he believes the project will become a cornerstone for a new sustainable ag model for the region.

“A research and development (R&D) center will be the first phase of the Monarca project, with a teaching and marketing center. The R&D center will have a complete genetic and testing laboratory, a hydroponic growing greenhouse and field testing of Jatropha and other crops. This will change agriculture and build the economy of the rural Yucatan peninsula,” Chaplinsky concluded.

advance biofuels, Agribusiness, aviation biofuels

Half of U.S. Breaks Through ‘Blend Wall’

Joanna Schroeder

New data from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) finds that nearly half of the U.S. has broken through the so-called “blend wall” in 2015.  Gasoline purchased in 25 states as well as the District of Columbia, contained more than 10 percent ethanol on average. This, says the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), demonstrates that the spurious “E10 Blend Wall” is crumbling. In 2015, DOE data showed the average ethanol blend rate was 9.91 percent. In response to the data, RFA says its “completely undermines” the proposed legislation to reduce the amount of ethanol content in the country’s fuel supply to no more than 9.7 percent from Reps. Bill Flores (R-Texas) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

Based on the 2015 data published by the DOE’s Energy Information Administration,  the state with the highest average ethanol blend was Minnesota with 12.5 percent. On average, ethanol fuels such as E85 are available at nearly one out of every eight stations in the state. Iowa comes in second with an average of 11.5 percent up from 10.3 percent in 2014 and 9.5 percent in 2013.

Six coastal states also exceeded 10 percent of ethanol blended into their gasoline including California, Oregon, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Louisiana, with no states, for the first time ever, having an average ethanol content below 9 percent although Vermont ranked last with 9.18 percent. These numbers are up from 2014 when the national average was 9.83 percent and 22 states plus the District of Columbia were above 10 percent.

RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen said the DOE data underscore that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is working as intended to drive increased use of ethanol and other biofuels. “As E15 and ethanol flex fuels like E85 have gained in popularity in recent years, the so-called blend wall has been reduced to a pile of rubble,” Dinneen said. “This data clearly shows that the RFS is delivering on its promise to expand consumer access to lower-cost, cleaner fuel options at the pump. And with EPA putting the RFS back on track in 2017, the share of renewables in our nation’s motor fuel will only continue to grow.”

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, RFS

RFA’s Dinneen to Keynote 2017 @IowaFuel Summit

Joanna Schroeder

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen will keynote the 2017 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit. His theme: Making Ethanol Great Again. The annual event is taking place January 31, 2017 at the Prairie Meadows Conference Center in Altoona, Iowa. Registration is open and it’s free to attend.

“The inauguration of a new President always creates the potential for changes to U.S. energy and trade policy,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Managing Director Lucy Norton. “As head of the Renewable Fuels Association, Bob Dinneen is well-positioned to forecast the future impact any policy changes could have on the ethanol industry and ensure renewable fuels always plays a key role in that discussion.”

Dinneen, who has more than 30 years experience in the ethanol industry, is a national leader on ethanol issues. He is also a key strategist in advancing policies that create robust and dynamic markets for renewable fuels such as ethanol. RFA was an instrumental organization in helping to get the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) passed in 2005 and then expanded two years later to 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels per year by 2022.

Click here to register to attend, learn more about the Summit, and review sponsorship and trade show opportunities.

biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Iowa RFA, RFA

Solenis Licenses Corn Oil Technology to Hydrite

Joanna Schroeder

Solenis has announced that the company has licensed its corn oil extraction technology to Hydrite Chemical. This resolves pending legal action filed by Hydrite against Solenis regarding Solenis’ patents for using polysorbate as an additive for corn oil extraction aids. Going forward Solenis has licensed the use of its corn oil extraction technology to Hydrite; thus, Hydrite will become an authorized licensee in the U.S. and Canada of Solenis’ technology. Solenis says that its technology enhances the efficiency of corn oil extraction in the corn-to-ethanol process.

“Our corn oil extraction technology is a game changing invention that has enabled many ethanol producers to improve their profit potential. This agreement is a win-win for the industry as it will enable more ethanol producers to reap the benefits of our technology,” said Shruti Singhal, Vice President, Industrial Water, North America, Solenis.

Jon Murnik, Executive Director – Foam Products, Hydrite, added, “As a market leader in ethanol, we are pleased to have reached an agreement with Solenis to continue to offer polysorbate chemistries to our customers, in addition to other products that enhance the biofuels process and produce more corn oil.  We remain focused on product innovation to expand our current offerings of non-polysorbate chemistries.”

biofuels, corn, Ethanol