NCGA Optimistic About New Administration

Cindy Zimmerman

NCGA president Wesley Spurlock and CEO Chris Novak at NAFB Trade Talk

NCGA president Wesley Spurlock and CEO Chris Novak at NAFB Trade Talk

The National Corn Growers Association is optimistic about what a Trump presidency can mean for agriculture.

“It is great to have the election behind us, and we really are watching and putting our names out, and working with them in order to get ag knowledge into the different areas of administration,” said NCGA President Wesley Spurlock during an interview at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting recent annual meeting. “They’ve got a tremendous amount of people to appoint, and the more ag knowledge that we have in there, the better we’ll be as we move forward into the future.”

Spurlock says they are hopeful the Trump administration will have a friendlier Environmental Protection Agency. “There’s too many lawsuits against EPA right now…and what they have done by not staying with statute on the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Spurlock. “We look forward to having a fresh look coming out of EPA.”

Listen to more of Spurlock’s thoughts on a Trump Administration in this interview: Interview with Wesley Spurlock, NCGA

NCGA CEO Chris Novak is also optimistic about the future, believing that the new administration offers some major opportunities for American farmers who continue to produce record crops.

“We need a strong Renewable Fuel Standard, we need EPA to adhere to the law,” Novak said. “We know from this election season that reforming regulation means giving us access to the tools that allow us to continue to innovate, and that we need to bring science into policy. These are all themes we’ve heard from President-elect Trump, so there is an opportunity for farmers in this next administration.”

Listen to our full interview with Novak here: Interview with Chris Novak, NCGA

View and download photos from the event here: 2016 NAFB Convention

Coverage of the NAFB convention is sponsored by
NAFB Convention is sponsored by FMC
Audio, corn, NCGA, RFS

Introducing New Propane Autogas Filters

Joanna Schroeder

A new filter is now available tailed for propane systems. Alliance AutoGas has partnered with Donaldson Company and the new line of LPG filters are designed to remove potentially harmful particulate matter and heavy ends from propane autogas systems. The filters are available through nationwide propane equipment distributors.

donaldson-filter-photoDonaldson has more than a 100 year history of developing innovative engine air filters. That, said Alliance Autogas, made them a good fit to develop the propane system filter as the organization brought to market the first and only Plug and Play Engineered system for propane as well as the several other products including the Staubli Quick-Connect Refueling Nozzle and the Propane Evacuation Pump.

As propane becomes more popular, the two companies worked together to bring filters to market that are designed to eliminate potential fuel contamination issues with autogas fuel dispenser systems. According to a news release, a highly efficient primary LPG particulate filter was developed to remove 99% of harmful particulates 0.5 micron and larger as well as a secondary absorbent carbon filter specifically engineered to remove heavy ends, without removing the odorant from propane.

The filter housings are made from a high phosphorus nickel-plated steel, meeting current NFPA 58 ( requirements for Pressure Containing Metal Parts, unlike other currently available autogas filtration products. The dual filter design can be tailored to a fleet’s specific need. The filters can be sold and installed separately or together, to ensure a customized solution.


National Biodiesel Foundation Elects New Directors

Joanna Schroeder

nbb-biodiesel-nbf-logoAs part of the annual National Biodiesel Board meeting, the National Biodiesel Foundation elected new board directors. In addition, the Foundation acknowledged out-going President of the Board Mike Cunningham who severed in the position for two years. During this time he oversaw the Foundation’s efforts including the expansion of biodiesel sustainability research, and efforts to improve land use change modeling. He will continue to participate as a director.

The new officers are as follows:

  • Jeff Lynn, President — Illinois Soybean Association;
  • Mark Caspers, Vice President — Nebraska Soybean Board; and
  • Lindsay Fitzgerald, Secretary/Treasurer – Renewable Energy Group.

“This is an exciting time for the Foundation. We have funded cutting edge indirect land use change research. Our work has reduced the carbon score associated with biodiesel. The improved score proves how sustainable biodiesel really is, and making it more economical for users,” explains Jeff Lynn. “A big part of this position is fundraising for our critical projects. In fact, next Tuesday [November 29th] is National Giving Tuesday. I hope that everyone takes a few minutes from holiday shopping to give back and donate to the Foundation through our website.”

advance biofuels, Biodiesel

PERC Highlights Propane on the Farm at #NAFB16

Joanna Schroeder

There is a lot happening in the world of propane Cinch Munson with the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) told Agwired during the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) conference. One area of growth is in the engine markets including irrigation, school buses, delivery vehicles and pick-ups. Munson said they are also seeing good efficiency improvements across a lot of equipment. Another topic that PERC was discussing during Trade Talk was incentives available for farm equipment.

nafb-16-percRight now Munson said propane is relatively cheap so people who are switching to propane are saving money.

“The Propane Council is offering incentives towards the purchase of qualifying equipment,” said Munson who noted that the program will be changing in 2017. “We’re encouraging people to use the incentive in 2016 while it’s there because in 2017 you’ll work through your dealer to get your incentive. Right now it’s an open enrollment program so we’re encouraging people to go to to see what incentives are available and to learn more about the advantages of propane on the farm,” said Munson.

The farm incentive program has just celebrated its fifth anniversary and Munson said the program has helped the industry.

“The Propane Farm Incentive Program is ultimately a research program for the propane industry,” said Munson. PERC works with equipment manufacturers to develop propane powered equipment. They then use the farm incentive program to see how the equipment is performing on the field. “Over five years we’ve seen that people are very happy about how propane equipment is operating today,” said Munson. “Manufacturers are committed to making equipment that is efficient, clean and reliable and in the field performance is being proven that propane is all those things,” he added.

To learn more about propane on the farm and propane incentives, listen to Cindy’s interview with Cinch Munson here: Interview with Cinch Munson, PERC

View and download photos from the event here: NAFB Convention Photo Album

Coverage of the NAFB convention is sponsored by
NAFB Convention is sponsored by FMC
Audio, NAFB, PERC, Propane

BioEnergy Bytes

Joanna Schroeder

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Renewable Energy Group’s (REG) Board of Directors has authorized a review of strategic alternatives for its Life Sciences subsidiary, which is developing renewable chemicals and fuels using a proprietary microbial fermentation process. The strategic review process will be comprehensive and focused on the best path to maximize shareholder value. Over the last three years under REG ownership, the Life Sciences subsidiary has advanced its technology, increased the number of potential products that can be made from the technology and expanded its intellectual property portfolio.
  • The Bio-Industrial Process Research Centre at Lambton College (Ontario) and Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park have completed a techno-economic modelling feasibility study. The study identified suitable high value-added products and determined business scenarios where a beet-based sugar value chain could be re-established economically within southern Ontario. In these scenarios, after a 50-year absence from the Ontario Agricultural sector, sugar beets would be grown, harvested and processed in Ontario with the products and co-products used for the food, feed and industrial biochemical markets. Based on the positive results of the techno-economic modelling study, the Ontario Innovative Sugarbeet Processors Cooperative (OISPC), a farmer cooperative, has been formed.
  • In Finland, UPM Biofuels has joined the below50 coalition to promote the most sustainable fuels that can achieve significant carbon reductions – and scale up their development and use. Below50 is one of the newest initiatives in sustainable fuels, and it brings together forward-thinking businesses with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Roundtable for Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) and Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL). The initiative was launched in June 2016.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has announced AquaHarmonics as the winner of the Wave Energy Prize – which comes with a $1.5 million grand prize. CalWave Power Technologies and Waveswing America were awarded second and third place, respectively, with $500,000 and $250,000 in cash prizes. With more than 50 percent of the U.S. population living within 50 miles of coastlines, there is vast potential to provide clean, renewable electricity to communities and cities across the United States using wave energy.
Bioenergy Bytes

Car Clinic’s Bobby Likis Talks #Ethanol & Mechanics

Joanna Schroeder

likis-smallAs more and more consumers choose ethanol at the pump, Bobby Likis, host of Bobby Likis Car Clinic, says there is a continued need to educate mechanics about ethanol. Likis is a 45-year auto veteran who in his shop has worked on more than 200,000 cars and he loves ethanol. He said that most car problems are not caused by ethanol, but by neglect. Likis and I spoke in-depth about ethanol and technicians and following is our discussion.

Q1: How well-versed are today’s auto mechanics when it comes to ethanol fuels?
A: Likis said there is a no question that there is a need for higher education levels around ethanol although states with direct ties to ethanol and agriculture tend to have technicians better informed about the biofuel. Bobby Likis on need for ethanol education

Q2: How familiar are technicians with the basics of ethanol and its assets?
A: Likis said there-in lies the problem. “Most technicians are not even informed about the basics of ethanol,” he replied. “They have been so bombarded by myths promoted by oil companies or uneducated individuals who promote totally unfounded horror stories, that unfortunately many technicians have accepted this water tool fiction as truth.” Ethanol, notes Likis, then becomes an easy blame for technicians who haven’t yet learned or embraced the facts.

The challenge is not only with technicians, Likis continued. “There are many aftermarket companies that prey on unknowing consumers fear and use the ethanol ruins engines myth as a means to sell their pour and pray products.” What exactly are those? Likis explained, “The pour and pray products concept is where people are enticed to buy a product, such as a fuel conditioner, pour it in their gas tank and pray that it fixes their car’s problem.” Likis added, “Cars don’t need to be protected from ethanol, cars love ethanol!” Bobby Likis on mechanics level of ethanol knowledgeRead More

Audio, automotive, Education, Ethanol, Octane

Growth Energy Confident Trump is for #Ethanol

Joanna Schroeder

Growth Energy sent Co-Chair Tom Buis to the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention to talk about topics important to the industry including the EPA’s Point of Obligation ruling and what Donald Trump as president may mean for the ethanol industry.

nafb-16-buisTo answer the election question, Buis noted that going into the Iowa Caucuses there were 21 candidates with only three having made public statements about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Hillary Clinton.

“A good chunk of those even said negative comments about ethanol,” said Buis. In response, the ethanol industry created the biggest issues campaign ever in Iowa to educate the presidential candidates that ethanol is a good thing and to educate the worldwide press. “All eyes were on Iowa for a long time,” Buis noted.

“Obviously we succeeded because at the end of the day the two nominees of the major parties both said pro-RFS statements,” Buis said. “Now we’re in devils in the details.”

Using one of his favorite sayings, “Hypocrisy in Washington is not a sin it’s a fine art,” Buis said the industry must keep the Trump Administration’s “feet to the fire” and continue to work with them. “We’re confident that Mr. Trump is on our side and we’ll continue to work with his transition team and his new appointees and others to make sure it stays there.”

In this interview, Buis also talks about what they are expecting from EPA in the volume obligations under the RFS: Interview with Tom Buis, Growth Energy

View and download photos from the event here: NAFB Convention Photo Album

Coverage of the NAFB convention is sponsored by
NAFB Convention is sponsored by FMC
Audio, Ethanol, Growth Energy, NAFB, politics

ASA Director Elected Vice Chairman of NBB

Cindy Zimmerman

asa-cunninghamThe National Biodiesel Board (NBB) last week elected American Soybean Association (ASA) Board member Mike Cunningham as the new vice chairman of the organization. Cunningham is a farmer from Bismark, Illinois.

The agenda included updates on the status of federal and state policy intitiatives, such as the federal biodiesel tax credit and Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), as well as discussion on the impact of the recent elections, outlook for 2017 and more immediately the Lame Duck session of Congress.

The biodiesel tax credit will expire on Dec. 31, 2016 if not extended during the Lame Duck session. As part of this effort, the industry will conduct a fly-in to Washington, D.C. on Nov. 30 to continue to advocate to Members of Congress the value of biodiesel and the importance of the tax credit.

Ag group, Biodiesel, NBB, Soybeans

Biofuture Platform Announced During COP22

Joanna Schroeder

One of the first transportation-fuel related climate initiatives was announced during COP22 this week. The Biofuture Platform was launched in COP22 host country Marrakech by co-hosts Brazil and Morocco, and is a coalition formed to accelerate development and scale up deployment of modern sustainable low-carbon alternatives to fossil based solutions in transport fuels, industrial processes, chemicals, plastics and other sectors. There are 20 founding members of which the U.S. is one, with the first interim facilitator from Brazil, the country who originally proposed the initiative.


“Transportation has, so far, been one of the most challenging sectors for mitigation. This is not a matter of selecting between different paths to achieve a certain goal. We need all hands on deck, to explore all avenues towards near and medium term solutions for the transport sector if we are to reach our emissions targets by 2030,” said the Minister of Environment of Brazil, Sarney Filho, who presided the launch event. “In face of the urgency of fighting climate change, countries cannot afford to ignore the largely underestimated potential of bioenergy, especially in face of new technological developments which are opening the door to a whole new low-carbon bioeconomy as an alternative to fossil-based fuels, chemicals and materials,” added Filho.

biofuture-platform-logoSeveral international organizations have come out in support of the initiative including IRENA. “Sustainably-sourced advanced biofuels will be key to expanding the use of renewables in the transport sector. Their high energy density and wide range of feedstock options make them especially vital as a transportation fuel,” said Adnan Z. Amin, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). “As we move to deliver a sustainable energy future and meet climate objectives, initiatives for strengthening international cooperation, such as the Biofuture Platform, can make an important contribution.”Read More

advance biofuels, bioenergy, biofuels, Climate Change, Environment

UNIST Discovers Waste Gas to Biofuel Catalyst

Joanna Schroeder

A research team led by Professor Jae Sung Lee of Energy and Chemical Engineering at UNIST has discovered a new way to make biofuels directly from carbon dioxide. The team has produced road ready diesel through a direct CO2 conversion to liquid transportation fuels by reacting with renewable hydrogen generated through solar water splitting. The research was published in the journal Applied Catalysis B: Environmental.

The sample on the left is the new delafossite-based catalyst used in the reaction between CO2 and H2 generated by solar water splitting. Shown on the right is diesel, produced by the reaction.

The sample on the left is the new delafossite-based catalyst used in the reaction between CO2 and H2 generated by solar water splitting. Shown on the right is diesel, produced by the reaction.

According to Lee, traditional catalysts used for H2 with CO2 reactions mostly rely on low molecular weight substances such as methane or methanol. These low value catalysts provide low CO2 reduction effects. However, the research team has found the new delafossite-based catalyst composed of affordable copper and steel, converts CO2 into liquid hydrocarbon-based fuels (e.g., diesel fuel) in one single step. The resulting fuels can be used by trucks and buses with no modifications. The catalyst causes a reaction between CO2 emissions of industrial plants and H2 generated from solar hydrogen plant with diesel as the result.

“Diesel fuels have longer chain of carbon and hydrogen atoms, compared to mathanol and methane,” says Yo Han Choi, the first author of the research. “Using delafossite-CuFeO2 as the catalyst precursor, we can create longer carbon chains and this would allow for the production of diesel.”

%e1%84%8b%e1%85%b5%e1%84%8c%e1%85%a2%e1%84%89%e1%85%a5%e1%86%bc-%e1%84%80%e1%85%ad%e1%84%89%e1%85%ae%e1%84%90%e1%85%b5%e1%86%b7_main-800x448This direct CO2-FT synthesis, explains Yo Han Choi, is different from the German car maker Audi’s CO2-to-dielsel conversion process that involves two steps – reverse water gas shift (RWGS) reaction to CO followed by CO Fisher-Tropsch (FT) synthesis.

The researchers believe their new discovery holds the potential to revolutionize the auto industry in part due to its two major benefits: the process removes climate-change causing CO2 from the atmosphere and the resulting diesel/biofuel can be used an an alternative to petroleum-based transportation fuels.

Professor Lee adds, “We believe the new catalyst breaks through the limitation of CO2-based FT synthesis and will open the avenue for new opportunity for recycling CO2 into valuable fuels and chemicals.”

advance biofuels, Carbon Dioxide, Research, Waste-to-Energy