AFV Day Odyssey Highlights Propane Autogas

Cindy Zimmerman

The National Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Day Odyssey, sponsored by Alliance AutoGas and the Propane Education and Research Council, kicks off today in Dallas, Texas in advance of Earth Day activities.

National AFV Day Odyssey is a nationwide celebration conducted to educate the public about the importance of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and to promote their widespread adoption. The event was created by the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium, a program of West Virginia University, in 2002. The NAFTC has coordinated the nationwide Odyssey campaign since that time.

The U.S. DOE Clean Cities Program, West Virginia University, Earth Day Texas, and the Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities Coalition are national partners of the event.

autogas, Propane

Iowa Continues to Fund Blender Pump Program

Cindy Zimmerman

The Iowa Legislature this week approved another year of funding for the state’s blender pump program, which is designed to assist fuel retailers in the conversion of their equipment to allow the expanded use of renewable fuels in Iowa.

“The Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP) has played an imperative role in expanding consumer access to higher ethanol and biodiesel blends,” stated Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Policy Director Grant Menke. “Demand for renewable fuels has more momentum now than ever. In a tough budget year we are very grateful to Governor Branstad and the Transportation, Infrastructure, and Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee for making this successful program a priority.”

The bill passed by the Iowa Legislature Wednesday includes $3 million in RFIP funding for fiscal year 2018 as part of the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund which Governor Terry Branstad is expected to sign.

Menke say interest among Iowa retailers in selling more renewable fuels is at an all-time high. Since the beginning of fiscal year 2017 RFIP has awarded 92 projects with $4.4 million in state grants to upgrade infrastructure to offer higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel. This funding leveraged two to three times that amount in private investment.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP) offers cost-share grants to Iowa retailers wishing to upgrade fueling infrastructure to offer E15, E85 and/or biodiesel blends. Reimbursement can be up to 70 percent of the installation costs, up to a maximum of $50,000 per project, with a five-year commitment to sell E15, E85 or biodiesel blends.

blends, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Iowa RFA

Ethanol Report on Earth Day

Cindy Zimmerman

Ethanol has a seat on the ground at one of the largest Earth Day events in the country this weekend – Earth Day Texas, which last year hosted over 130,000 attendees, over 700 exhibitors and more than 250 speakers.

ethanol-report-adEven bigger and better this year, the event includes the National Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Day Odyssey where Renewable Fuels Association Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White will be speaking this week.

In this edition of The Ethanol Report, White talks about how ethanol has helped to clean up vehicle emissions and come a long way since the first Earth Day in 1970.

Listen to this episode here: Ethanol Report on Earth Day 2017

Audio, Environment, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Ethanol Report

First Iowa Town to Get E10 is Latest to Have E15

Cindy Zimmerman

Sundstop owner Joshua Sundstrom

Back in 1978, Clarence, Iowa was one of first towns to introduce a new fuel that contained 10 percent ethanol, now called E10. Nearly 40 years later, that same town is getting its first 15% ethanol pump at the Sundstop, which has become Iowa’s 102nd E15 site. The station also offers E85, E30, and biodiesel blends.

“As a retailer in a heavy corn-producing state, we see renewable fuels as a way to give back to the community for supporting our business,” said Sundstop owner Joshua Sundstrom, who opened the store in 2015 as his third location.

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw credits Iowa’s biofuels tax credits which were renewed by the Iowa Legislature last year for seven years with increasing availability of higher blends in the state. “The certainty that 7-year extension created enabled retailers like Sundstop to invest in the necessary infrastructure to offer higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel and make it possible for retailers to pass savings on to consumers,” said Shaw.

blends, E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Iowa RFA

D3MAX Reports Better Than Expected Pilot Test

Cindy Zimmerman

D3MAX cellulosic ethanol technology is showing better than expected results in pilot test data at ACE Ethanol in Stanley, Wisconsin which began in February.

According to the company, the pilot test results indicate that “the yield of xylose sugar from the xylan in corn fiber routinely exceeds 90% of the theoretical maximum yield, and overall sugar production in the pilot plant is better than the target yields.”

“We’ve always been excited about developing the D3MAX technology based on our original projections,” says Mark Yancey, Chief Technology Officer for D3MAX. “Now that we’ve seen the actual pilot facility begin to exceed our expectations, we’ve become even more confident that the D3MAX process can produce higher yields from corn fiber at lower costs.”

“I am very encouraged by preliminary results of the pilot test,” says Neal Kemmet, president and general manager at ACE Ethanol, LLC. “Based upon the testing we have done to date, D3MAX may very well be the best option available for dry mill ethanol plants and will be able to be installed without significant downtime or interruption of ethanol production.”

D3MAX now intends to begin designing the first commercial scale D3MAX plant this summer with construction expected to begin by Fall 2017.

Cellulosic, corn, Distillers Grains, Ethanol, Ethanol News, technology

ACE Founder Honored for Service by NFU

Cindy Zimmerman

ACE founder Merle Anderson receives NFU Meritorious Service Award

The National Farmers Union honored American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) founder Merle Anderson with the Meritorious Service Award in a special presentation last week in Grand Forks, ND.

Anderson was given the award for “the many years he spent advocating for family farmers and the advancement of the American ethanol industry to support local agricultural communities.” The award was announced at NFU’s annual meeting last month in San Diego but because Anderson was unable to travel, they planned this special ceremony for him.

ACE executive vice president Brian Jennings attended the event to honor Anderson, along with ACE’s current board president Ron Alverson and two former presidents of the board, Scott Parsley and Bob Scott.

“Merle and Farmers Union share a philosophy that when family farmers do well the entire country benefits from it,” Jennings expressed in his remarks at the awards ceremony. “That’s what Merle saw in ethanol 30 years ago. Merle lit the match to ignite grassroots support for ethanol because he had the vision to understand what it would mean for agriculture and rural communities.”

Anderson founded ACE in 1987 in the Dakotas and Minnesota as a grassroots movement to promote ethanol ownership and use. Today ACE is a nation-wide coalition of 500 members around the country and the 95-year-old founder still sits on the board and has attended nearly every annual meeting.

ACE, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Farming, NFU

Four Ethanol Safety Seminars in SD Next Week

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), in partnership with BNSF, the International Association of Fire Chiefs and TRANSCAER®, is hosting four ethanol safety seminars in South Dakota next week.

The goal of these seminars is for attendees to gain ethanol emergency response training experience that can be put to use in the field, as well as pass along to other first response teams. A majority of the training is based on the “Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response,” a training package.

“BNSF is pleased to partner with RFA on these important ethanol safety seminars,” said Derek Lampkin, manager of Hazardous Materials, Field Operations and Emergency Response for BNSF. “Safety is always our top priority and we want to make sure attendees have the tools they need in case of an emergency.”

Attendees will receive in-depth information on proper training techniques that first responders and hazmat personnel need to effectively respond to an ethanol-related emergency. While primarily targeting first responders, hazmat teams, safety managers, and local emergency planning committees, it is also open to the general public.

South Dakota is home to ten ethanol plants and the seminars will be held April 23 in Worthing, April 24 in Redfield, April 25 in Brookings, and April 26 in Watertown.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, safety

U.S. Initiating Biodiesel Anti-Dumping Investigation

Cindy Zimmerman

As the U.S. Commerce Department last week initiated formal antidumping and countervailing duty investigations of biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia, the biodiesel industry was giving testimony to the International Trade Commission on how those countries are violating trade laws and injuring American manufacturers and workers. Biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia surged by 464 percent from 2014 to 2016, which has taken 18.3 percentage points of U.S. market share.

“Make no mistake, 2016 should have been a banner year for U.S. biodiesel producers with demand growth, stable feedstock prices, and regulatory certainty that should have led to profitability and reinvestment in their businesses, but unfortunately that didn’t happen,” said Anne Steckel, National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Vice President of Federal Affairs. “Instead, dumped and subsidized biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia entered the United States in record volumes, capturing greater market share at the expense of U.S. producers.”

Steckel testified at the ITC preliminary hearing along with U.S. biodiesel producer members of the National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition.

“Negative margins within our industry due to low-priced imports have had a major impact on our company, with a disproportionately greater impact on smaller producers,” said Robert Morton, co-founder of Newport Biodiesel, a small biodiesel producer from Rhode Island. “We have halted several plant modification projects as a result of reduced working capital, even for modest projects.”

“When we see biodiesel from Argentina selling at a discount to the market price of soyoil, the main input into biodiesel, we know we are facing dumped pricing,” said Paul Soanes, CEO and President of Renewable Biofuels (RBF). “The United States is a key market for these exporters, and without a remedy, these unfairly traded imports are likely to continue unabated”

According to the Commerce Department’s notice of initiation, there is evidence that dumping margins could be as high as 26.54 percent for Argentina and 28.11 percent for Indonesia.

Biodiesel, International, NBB

DFA, Vanguard Renewables Partner On Renewable Energy

Lizzy Schultz

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and Vanguard Renewables have announced a strategic partnership to help bring anaerobic digestion technology to more farms across the country.

Although renewable energy methods, like anaerobic digesters that convert manure to energy, offer solutions to the waste management and sustainability challenges facing the dairy industry, they are not broadly used on American dairy farms. The major capital expense requirements and the significant expertise and time commitment needed to manage them keep many farmers reluctant to invest in the technology.

“Dairy farmers have always been great stewards of the land. But, like any business, farmers must continue to innovate and evolve,” said David Darr, president of farm services at DFA. “With this partnership, we hope to make anaerobic digestion more available to more farmers, which is not only good for the environment, but will also help our farmer families run their businesses more efficiently, and that’s a win-win.”

DFA and Vanguard Renewables will develop resilient business models using anaerobic digestion systems and work with farmers, government agencies, dairy processors and retailer customers to build business cases for innovative systems. Vanguard Renewables will also provide capital investment for anaerobic digestion systems on DFA member farms that cannot make the financial commitment on their own.

“Truth is, anaerobic digesters are extremely complex systems and could easily become a full-time job for a farmer to manage,” said John Hanselman, Executive Chairman at Vanguard Renewables. “We want to help farms by streamlining the development process and by providing professional operation. DFA is the perfect partner to make anaerobic digestion accessible as a mainstream technology on dairy farms across the country, addressing DFA member needs in a sustainable economy.”

Ag group, biogas, dairy, Waste-to-Energy

ACE Submits Regulatory Reform Comments to EPA

Cindy Zimmerman

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) was one of the first in line to submit comments to the Environmental Protection Agency on regulatory reform.

Last month, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt established a Regulatory Reform Task Force to evaluate how existing regulations might be repealed or modified and the agency formerly began a 30 day public comment period April 11.

ACE provided the EPA with recommendations on a number of regulatory burdens which “unnecessarily limit the production and use of ethanol and stall job creation and economic growth in rural America,” including:
– Allow Reid vapor pressure (RVP) relief to E15 and higher ethanol blends.
– Update the lifecycle analysis of corn ethanol.
– Streamline the approval process for high-octane fuels such as E25-40 blends.
– Adjust CAFE compliance to allow incentives for flex fuel vehicles

During the recent ACE DC Fly-in, Iowa feedlot operator and ethanol plant investor Bill Couser visited with officials at EPA – something he does every year. “I’ve working with EPA the last ten years and I’ve never been more optimistic leaving the EPA building,” said Couser. “The staff person we met with was an Iowa person, it was like preaching to the choir.”

Couser also comments on the Trump administration roll back of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule in this interview: Interview with Bill Couser, Lincolnway Energy

ACE DC 2017 Fly-in Photo Album

ACE, Audio, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News