Rick Schwarck Honored with #ACE2016 Unsung Hero Award

Joanna Schroeder

ace16-unsung-hero-awardAnd this year’s winner of the American Coalition for Ethanol’s (ACE) Unsung Hero award is Rick Schwarck of Absolute Energy. Schwarck was presented with the award during the 29th annual Ethanol Conference that took place this week in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Absolute Energy is located in St. Ansgar, Iowa and was one of the first biorefineries to begin selling ethanol direct to retail stations as a means of passing along the best prices possible to the retail station and ultimately the consumer. The result? Price it right and they will come. Yes, local station ethanol sales, said Schwarck, prove that consumers will choose ethanol at the pump.

Rick is an industry leader through and through. He is always the first in line to lead efforts to spread the word about the benefits of ethanol; from attending fly-ins, speaking at events, working with EPA, and coming up with innovative ways to share ethanol’s message, Rick is always ready to inform others in the most persuasive way possible,” said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of ACE.

During a luncheon, Schwarck was presented with the award by ACE’s own Lacey Dixon who commended him on his tireless efforts to promote ethanol to Americans. During his remarks, he said that he was humbled by the award and thanked his team, of whom without, he said, couldn’t have accomplished what he has.

Listen to Lacey Dixon’s remarks: Lacey Dixon Unsung Hero Remarks

Listen to Rick Schwarck’s remarks on winning the Unsung Hero Award: Rick Schwarck's Remarks on Winning ACE Unsung Hero Award

2016 ACE Annual Ethanol Conference Photo Album

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Audio, E15, E85, Ethanol, Retailers

Glacial Lakes Energy Wins #ACE2016 President’s Award

Joanna Schroeder

Glacial Lakes Energy President of Board Mark Schmidt receives ACE President's Award from ACE President of the Board Ron Alverson.

Glacial Lakes Energy President of Board Mark Schmidt receives ACE President’s Award from ACE President of the Board Ron Alverson.

Each year the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) honors individuals for their work in promoting ethanol. During this year’s 29th annual Ethanol Conference, Glacial Lakes Energy, LLC was honored with the President’s Award, given to individuals or organizations who display dedication and support to ACE and the American ethanol industry. Glacial Lakes Energy, with biorefineries located in Mina and Watertown, South Dakota, has been actively promoting the benefits of higher ethanol blends, specifically E30.

Glacial Lakes Energy has long been a community leader,” said ACE Executive VP Brian Jennings in a press statement. “This past year they have been encouraging the sale of higher blends of ethanol in their local community and beyond through the ‘E30 Challenge,’ an effort to educate and promote E30 through seminars with dealerships, technical colleges, city police and fleet managers, farmer’s unions and automotive mechanics.

Mark Schmidt, Glacial Lake’s President of the Board, accepted the award on behalf of the ethanol plant and briefly discussed the plant’s success with their E30 Challenge and promoting E30 as a premium fuel. He reported that the data is showing, in terms of performance, that both horsepower and torque is phenomenal. However, one thing he said the ethanol industry needs to do a better job of is getting the RINS (Renewable Identification Numbers) passed along to the consumer as additional savings at the pump.

Listen to ACE Board of Directors President Ron Alverson’s remarks: Ron Alverson President's Award Remarks

Listen to Mark Schmidt’s remarks on winning the President’s Award. Mark Schmidt Remarks on Winning ACE President's Award

2016 ACE Annual Ethanol Conference Photo Album

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Audio, biofuels, Ethanol

#E15 & #FFV Retailer Roadmap Released at #ACE2016

Joanna Schroeder

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 4.14.05 PMBig news for retailers today out of the 29th annual Ethanol Conference hosted by the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE). The grassroots ethanol leader has released the E15 and FFV Retailer Roadmap. The new educational tool for gas station owners was released during a press conference this afternoon and was created to address some of the most frequently asked questions by retailers about E15, E85 and flex fuel vehicles (FFVs).

ACE VP of Market Development Ron Lamberty said that a few years ago they released a Status guide that highlighted state-by-state ethanol labeling, and also included data on ethanol production per state. With other strong documents already in the marketplace, more technical in nature, Lamberty said they felt there was a need for a more “friendly” document and the perfect tie-in, he said, was a roadmap like gas stations used to sell before GPS.

The Retailer Roadmap will serve as a reference guide to help retailers, fuel marketers and equipment companies understand E15 and flex fuels while also laying out the economic proposition of adding mid-level and higher level ethanol blends such as E15 and E85.

Therace-16-lamberty-roadmape was a time when service stations had a rack full of roadmaps showing the main highways and roads in the state, with more detailed maps of the state’s bigger cities. Journeys were planned by looking for the place you wanted to go, and considering all of the routes that could get you there,” explained Lamberty. “The E15 and Flex Fuel Retailer Roadmap is like those maps. It’ s not a GPS system providing turn-by-turn instructions – because every retail station owner’s journey is different.

The guide addresses frequently asked questions about flex fuels, provides market statistics for each state for E15 and flex fuels and looks at the comparison between ethanol blends and premium and diesel. “We think retailers will be interested in the ’back-of-the-napkin’ E15 and flex fuel ‘math’ included in the Roadmap,” Lamberty said who stresses that when retailers learn to “do the math” they see that offering consumers ethanol blend choices at the pump offers them a profitable advantage over their competitors. The guide helps with the math in that it shows real-life examples of potential volume and profit a retailer could expect if they perform as well as an average high blend retailer or a top performing E15 and flex fuel retailer.

Copies of the Roadmap will be distributed to fuel marketers during events and mailings. The guide is also available online by clicking here.

Learn more by listening to the Retailer Roadmap Press Conference: #E15 and #FFV Retailer Roadmap Press Conference

Interview with Ron Lamberty on the Retailer Roadmap: Interview with Ron Lamberty, #ACE16

2016 ACE Annual Ethanol Conference Photo Album

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Audio, biofuels, E15, E85, Education, Ethanol, Flex Fuel Vehicles, Retailers

Jennings #ACE2016: Passion for Promoting Ethanol Contagious

Joanna Schroeder

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Executive Vice President Brian Jennings began his opening remarks to a standing room only crowd at this year’s 29th annual Ethanol Conference. The excitement was high. Why? Because as Jennings put so succinctly, his passion for promoting ethanol is contagious. And indeed it is.

ACE16-JenningsJennings stressed that when everyone works together, the industry is stronger, something ACE founder Merle Anderson understood when he led the effort to form ACE back in 1987. “He understood what the ‘politics of addition’ mean, and why we needed a grassroots voice in support of ethanol.”

ACE has the strongest grassroots voice in the country and their Power to People campaign is a great example of how in touch ACE is with the consumers who purchase the industry’s homegrown products.

That’s what ACE’s Power by People campaign is about – putting a human face on ethanol – making connections with people on their terms; appealing to people’s hearts in addition to their minds,” said Jennings who added that people don’t make decisions on facts and data alone, but emotion and feelings play a huge role. “And it goes beyond having a message that’s persuasive to both the left and right side of the brain. If we want to influence the public opinions that inform political decisions, we also need to think about our audience and have the right messenger deliver the right message.”

Jennings also highlighted the big need to fix the RVP problem, nationally, that keeps E15 from being sold during summer months. He said this must be overcome if the industry is to pave the way for even higher blends. He also stressed the need to keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) on track so RIN values will continue driving demands for flex fuels. Yesterday was the 11th Anniversary of the RFS being signed into law and noted that ACE was the first organization to support the RFS and ACE’s President of the Board at the time, Bob Scott, was invited by the White House to take part in the signing.

Another topic Jennings discussed was ethanol’s octane value as a leading demand driver in the future. He cited the growing number of technical studies demonstrating that a high-octane fuel with upwards of 20-30 percent ethanol improve fuel efficiency and reduces carbon emissions in advanced engine technologies.

In closing, Jennings reminded attendees that the November election is only a few short months away. While he didn’t touch on the Presidential campaign, he did stress: “As candidates stump for your vote, whether Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton or Ron Johnson and Russ Feingold, or whoever, please hold them accountable on our priorities.

Listen to Brian’s full opening presentation here: Brian Jennings, ACE, Opening Presentation

2016 ACE Annual Ethanol Conference Photo Album

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Audio, biofuels, E15, Ethanol, RFS, RINS

Opis’ Kloza #ACE2016: The Rise & Fall of Oil

Joanna Schroeder

When record high oil prices plagued the globe, many thought $100 per barrel was going to be the new norm. But this wasn’t the case when in February 11, 2016 a barrel of oil was trading for only $26.05 per barrel. What happened? To learn more about the rise and fall of oil, Tom Kloza, global head of energy analytics with the Oil Price Information Services (OPIS), took the stage at the 29th annual ACE Ethanol Conference to give attendees a lesson in oil prices.

ACE16-Kloza Kloza joked that there really aren’t such things as global energy price experts. He said he a fuel agnostic but the mainstream media has a very biased view on oil.

One interesting fact during Kloza’s presentation was that the first time the globe saw $40 per barrel prices was in October 1990 (Desert Storm) and then oil dropped to $9.75 per barrel before rising back to $40 per barrel in May 2004. This morning, oil is trading around $42 and the market is telling us, said Kloza, is that oil will be around $44-$46 per barrel for the next 17-18 months.

So what does this mean for corn ethanol? Kloza said oil prices are too low and its not sustainable so prices will head back up to as high as $75 dollars sooner than later, somewhere around 2018-2020, said Kloza. Some of his other predictions included that corn ethanol will “pop” if there is the right drought conditions. E15 is a no-brainer, especially after September 15th when EPA allows stations to sell E15 again. E15 is selling at an average of 5-8 cents less than traditional octane and this is a great rehearsal for higher ethanol blends especially over the next six months. There is an octane race and he sees ethanol as the winner.

Kloza also said that the retailer market is seeing differentiated gas and battle lines are being drawn. Especially for independent retailers, they are using ethanol blends to their advantage.

Learn more about the future of oil prices by listening to Tom Kloza’s presentation:
Tom Kloza, OPIS, #ACE16 Presentation

2016 ACE Annual Ethanol Conference Photo Album

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Audio, Ethanol, Oil

#ACE2016 Hears about Booming Minnesota #Ethanol Industry

Joanna Schroeder

ACE16-RudnickiThe ethanol industry packed the room for the opening night reception of the 20th annual American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota where Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association Executive Director Timothy Rudnicki talked about the booming ethanol industry in his state.

“Within the last year and a half, we’ve seen more E15 stations become available, and that means more fuel choice for consumers,” said Rudnicki. “What we’ve found for the most part is when consumers have a choice between a clean, green renewable fuel versus petroleum they will take the renewable fuel.”

Rudnicki says because education is so important, they have developed new communications tools, such as a biofuel station locator app. “We’ve also implemented some direct consumer campaigns using social media tools to alert consumers to where retailers are having special events to promote E15 and higher blends, but more importantly, to give consumers the confidence in knowing what they’re buying is good for their engines, the environment, and the economy – and for the most part, ten cents less per gallon on E15 compared to regular,” said Rudnicki.

In this interview, Rudnicki also talks about Minnesota’s tremendous ethanol production: Interview with Timothy Rudnicki, MN Bio-Fuels

2016 ACE Annual Ethanol Conference Photo Album

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, Audio, biofuels, Ethanol, RFS

AST Awarded Biomass Extraction Patent

Joanna Schroeder

American Science and Technology (AST) has been awarded a patent for the system and method the company developed for the extraction of chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass. The company says their system reduces the costs of Organosolv processing and helps to make biochemicals from biomass more economically viable.

AST logoLed by Dr. Ali Manesh and group of researchers and engineers at AST, the team created a new organic solvent cocktail along with a new process that drastically reduces both the cost of solvent usage and solvent recovery to increase the economics of their Organosolv pulping process. The team both designed and built the required equipment as well as tested the process.

AST’s process not only has reduced the cost of solvent recovery, but also produces extra organic solvent that can generate a new income stream, allowing the Organosolv pulping process to be profitable.

According to AST, its Organosolv process fractionates lignocellulosic biomass to produce pure lignin, biochemicals, and high quality pulp. The patented process delignifies the lignocellulosic biomass by dissolving lignin into organic solvent, converting most of the hemicellulose to biochemicals (such as furfural, butyl acetate, etc.), and producing high quality pulp. AST’s Organosolv-based pulp has been successfully tested for paper production as well as for high quality cellulosic sugar production. AST’s lignin, with a very high purity, has been used for various applications such as biorenewable polymers, biorenewable colorant for polymers, and as a base for composite materials.

advance biofuels, biochemicals, biomass, biomaterials

California Reps Urge Congress to Fulfill #RFS Intent

Joanna Schroeder

On the day the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) celebrated its 11th anniversary – August 8, 2005 – California Representative Eric Swalwell (CA-15) along with five of his California colleagues, submitted a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging the agency to fulfill Congress’ intent when it passed the energy policy. Each year, the amount of renewable fuels blended into the country’s fuel supply is to increase. However, the EPA has not set volumes that meet statuary requirements even though the biofuel industry can meet, and in some cases exceed, demand.

ES Official Photo 114th_1The RFS was created to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and provide U.S. consumers with access to cleaner transportation fuels. Despite the recent increase in domestic oil production, the U.S. economy remains heavily dependent on foreign oil and at the mercy of international market prices,” the lawmakers wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

Billions of dollars in private investment have made America a leader in homegrown, clean biofuels. California alone is home to dozens of companies working on approaches from algae and biodiesel-based products to municipal solid waste, supporting nearly 60,000 jobs. However, EPA’s proposed rule for 2017 falls short of total renewable fuel volumes set in the law by Congress.

“Under this methodology, which Congress previously rejected, EPA allows the oil industry to avoid its statutory blending obligation by claiming there is inadequate infrastructure to bring more biofuels to consumers,” the lawmakers wrote. “Yet due to the fact that the oil industry controls the fuel distribution infrastructure, the EPA is essentially allowing the oil industry to cap the RFS and limit future growth in the biofuels sector.”

Increased fuel demand and greater availability of higher ethanol blends is more than enough justification for the EPA to increase volumes for 2017 and get the RFS back on track, they concluded.

“California and the nation have made great strides in protecting the environment, improving air quality, meeting fuel demand and creating jobs through use of biofuels under renewable fuel standards,” Swalwell said. “The EPA must follow Congress’ intent and keep up the pressure on the oil industry to provide the infrastructure needed to deliver these cleaner fuels.

Emily Skor, Growth Energy CEO, made the following statement following the submission of the letter, “The letter explicitly urges EPA to put the RFS program back on track by finalizing blending targets that are in line with Congress’ original intent. The RFS program has been a resounding success. EPA’s methodology, as it currently stands will let the obligated parties off the hook, decreasing the commercial availability of higher blends, such as E15. By returning to the statutory levels, the administration would will send a signal to the renewable fuels industry that they are committed to achieving the goals of carbon reduction, a free and fair fuel marketplace where consumers have a choice, and reaffirm their commitment to reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil.” Click here to read Skor’s full letter.

biofuels, EPA, Ethanol, RFS

#ACE2016 Board of Directors Elected

Joanna Schroeder

ACE logoThe 29th annual American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) conference kicked off in Minneapolis, Minnesota today and one of the first items on the agenda was the election of its board of directors. Four board members were re-elected and three new representatives were appointed to the board.

Board members re-elected to serve three year term include:

  • Owen Jones, representing Full Circle Ag Cooperative
  • Duane Kristensen, representing Chief Ethanol Fuels
  • Dave Sovereign, representing Golden Grain Energy
  • Dale Tolifson, representing Minnesota Corn Growers Association

New board members elected to a three-year term include:

  • Scott McPhetters, representing KAAPA Ethanol
  • Rick Schwarck, representing Absolute Energy
  • Chris Studer, representing East River Electric Cooperative

Studer is replacing Scott Parsley who retired from East River Electric Cooperative in 2015. Click here to view the ACE’s full Board of Directors.

The ACE board of directors is a focused group of active volunteers who highlight the grassroots diversity of our entire membership,” said Brian Jennings, ACE Executive Vice President. “Our member interests are clearly represented by the passion, expertise, and experience the ACE board brings to the table and we are grateful for their support and leadership.”

2016 ACE Annual Ethanol Conference Photo Album

ACE, ACE Ethanol Conference, biofuels, Ethanol

Bikers Fueling up With E10 in Sturgis

Chuck Zimmerman

sturgis-16-1Bikers love ethanol blended fuel at the Legendary Buffalo Chip Campground. They also love free fuel! Thanks to the Renewable Fuels Association, Free Fuel Happy Hours are back at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

This is not just a promotional effort, it’s an educational effort to help bikers and the general public learn and understand the facts about this renewable fuel source. Motorcycle manufacturers like Harley-Davidson, Indian, Victory, Triumph and more all have statements in their owner’s manuals that say fuel blended with up to 10 percent ethanol is approved.

Bikers like to know what other bikers have to say so I spoke to our first customer at today’s Free Fuel Happy Hours. He’s very happy running ethanol blended fuel in his bike.

Listen to his comments here: RFA Free Fuel Customer Interview

I will be collecting more interviews over the next couple days from here in Sturgis, SD and sharing photos as time allows. I hope you enjoy our coverage which is sponsored by the RFA.

Audio, biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, Sturgis