Merle was Biodiesel Supporter

merle-1Back in the early years of the biodiesel industry, Merle Haggard was one of the stars who came out in support of the American-made biofuel.

The country music legend who died last week at the age of 79 made a legendary appearance at the 2007 National Biodiesel Conference, holding a press conference and performing for those in attendance. During the press conference Merle said that he was learning about the benefits of biodiesel. When asked what attracted him to the renewable fuel source his answer was “the smell.” He also he was happy about how the development of biodiesel was helping American farmers.

Listen to the legend talk about biodiesel with NBB CEO Joe Jobe here: 2007 Biodiesel press conference with Merle Haggard

Check out the photo album from the 2007 biodiesel conference for more photos of Merle.

A Degree in Agriculture

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Do you have a degree in agriculture?”

Our latest poll solidifies what we already knew – there are plenty of careers for those interested in agriculture. We had an overwhelming response to this question and an overwhelming majority were proud to say they have a degree in agriculture and honored to work in the industry.

Here are the poll results:

  • Yes and work in agriculture – 59%
  • Yes, but work in other field – 5%
  • No, yet work in agriculture – 15%
  • No and work in other field – 9%
  • No college degree and work in agriculture – 12%

Media statistics used to be simple to calculate. We had Arbitron surveys for radio and television and basic subscription statistics for print. It was all so easy.

Then social media came along and it’s just not so simple anymore. Companies and agencies understandably still want to know if their advertising and messages are being seen and heard, but with the myriad of different ways that information is shared across the various social media platforms the task is daunting.

With the 2016 National Agri-Marketing Conference coming up, our new ZimmPoll asks the question – What do you do about statistics? This is a question for media, agri-marketers, companies and agencies – it impacts all of us!

2015 Sets Global Renewable Energy Record

According to new data released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), renewable generation capacity increased by 152 GW of 8.3 percent during 2015. This marks the highest global growth ever. Renewable Capacity Statistics 2016 finds that as of the end of 2015, 1,985 GW of renewable generation capacity existed globally.

RE Capacity Highlight_Infographic“Renewable energy deployment continues to surge in markets around the globe, even in an era of low oil and gas prices. Falling costs for renewable energy technologies, and a host of economic, social and environmental drivers are favoring renewables over conventional power sources,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “This impressive growth, coupled with a record $286 billion invested in renewables in 2015, sends a strong signal to investors and policymakers that renewable energy is now the preferred option for new power generation capacity around the world.”

The report finds 2015 was a record year for solar and wind energy in large part due to a continued decline in technology costs. Wind power grew 63 GW (17%) driven by declines in onshore turbine prices of up to 45 percent since 2010. Solar capacity increased 47 GW (37%) thanks to price drops of up to 80 percent for solar photovoltaic modules in the same time period. Hydropower capacity increased by 35 GW (3%), while both bioenergy and geothermal energy capacity increased 5% each (5 GW and 1 GW respectively).

Overall, the study reports capacity has increased by roughly one-third over the last five years, with most of this growth coming from new installations of wind and solar energy.

The fastest growth in renewable generation capacity came in developing countries, in terms of regional power generation. Central America and the Caribbean expanded at a rate of 14.5 percent while in Asia, where additions accounted for 58 percent of new global renewable power generation capacity in 2015, capacity expanded at a rate of 12.4 percent. Capacity increased by 24 GW (5.2%) in Europe and 20 GW (6.3%) in North America. Continue reading

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1The nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) has announced that Google is providing foundational support through a seed grant to establish a coalition of stakeholders that will support expansion of renewable energy market infrastructure throughout Asia, with initial efforts focused on advancing renewable energy purchasing options in Taiwan. The aim of this collaborative effort, led by CRS, is to explore opportunities to establish robust voluntary renewable energy options that will allow individuals and businesses to buy credible and impactful renewable energy.
  • The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) has announced that Europe’s largest cluster of bioeconomy companies, IAR, will be a top supporting organization of BIO’s 13th Annual World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology. IAR represents more than 300 innovative companies and technology developers who produce biofuels and biobased products from agricultural residue and biomass. At this year’s conference, IAR will sponsor 400 square feet of Exhibit Space and panel a Breakout Session. The world’s largest industrial biotechnology event will be held April 17-20, 2016 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, CA.
  • H2 Logic has entered into a contract for the purchase of a facility in Herning, Denmark for the development of a new large-scale production plant for hydrogen refuelling stations. The factory will have an annual capacity to manufacture hydrogen refuelling stations sufficient to support 200 000 new Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) annually.
  • Verdezyne, Inc., a synthetic biology company producing biobased chemicals, has been named a winner of the Bloomberg New Energy Pioneer Award 2016. Michael Wilshire, selection committee chair and head of analysis and transformation at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said, “This year, we were impressed by the very strong set of candidates we received for the New Energy Pioneers program, and the range of activities that they cover – including solar, wind, storage, transport, bioenergy, energy smart technologies and machine learning.” The 10 winners were recognized at the ninth annual Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit.

Clean Cities Coalitions Promoting Propane Autogas

Clean Cities Coalitions around the U.S. have been promoting the use of propane autogas to lower tailpipe emissions. Just around the corner, the Alliance AutoGas converted F-150 will set out on its 5,500 mile 12-city “Alliance AutoGas Coast-to-Coast Clean Air Ride”. The tour kicks off in Kansas City on May 2, 2016 and will be hauling a propane autogas 2013 Exmark Lazer Z Ultra Cut 60 mower. powered by a 25.5 horsepower Kawasaki FX801 V-Twin gasoline engine, converted to propane by Alliance Small Engines.

Indianapolis F-150 Coast to CoastThe F-150 conversion to propane autogas recently broke a conversion record. The Alliance AutoGas Engineered Fuel System features a single plug wiring connector and a 21-gallon underbody autogas tank. The wiring is “plug and play,” and everything is bracketed and designed to be installed without any drilling or fabrication. By deploying these features, Alliance Autogas reports labor times and conversion costs are significantly reduced.

Once leaving Kansas City, the tour will travel to Seattle, WA, and complete its journey in Jacksonville, FL, on May 18, 2016. There will be an additional “homecoming” event scheduled on May 23 in Asheville, NC. Several Clean Cities Coalitions are planning events and activities during the refueling stops of the trip. The goal of the F-150’s trip, according to Alliance Autogas, is to underscore the importance and impact of reducing CO2 emissions through the use of propane autogas.

“We want people to see first-hand, how simple and easy it is to convert a vehicle, how well it runs, and a how it gives the fleet manager a well-documented return,” noted Ed Hoffman, president of Blossman Services, Inc., a propane gas dealer.

Stuart Weidie, president and CEO or Blossman Gas and president of Alliance AutoGas added, “The cross country trip in Alliance Autogas’ Ford F150 will be a great opportunity to demonstrate why propane Autogas is the world’s #1 alternative fuel.  We hope to educate citizens across the country about the extended range of autogas vehicles as well as the benefits of real costs savings and emissions reductions.”

EU/Argentina Biodiesel Anti-Dumping Case Resolved

There has been a resolution in the European Union’s (EU) Anti-Dumping Measures on Biodiesel from Argentina. A World Trade Organization dispute panel has ruled in favor of Argentina on several of its complaints against the EU. Back in 2013, EU sanctioned anti-dumping duties on imports from biodiesel from Argentina, which served to all but shut down biodiesel trade. The charge against Argentina was that the country was selling the biodiesel at prices below the cost of production.

Flag_of_Argentina.svgArgentina countered that EU’s actions were protectionist, and EU countered back that domestic tax breaks allowed Argentina producers to sell their biodiesel at below market value putting European biodiesel producers at an unfair disadvantage. The panel sided with Argentina citing that the EU acted inconsistently with the Anti-Dumping Agreement by failing to calculate the cost of production of biodiesel on the basis of the records kept by the producers under investigation. In other words, how much it cost each individual Argentine biodiesel producer to produce the biodiesel.

The panel also upheld Argentina’s claim that the EU imposed anti‑dumping duties in excess of the margin of dumping that should have been established. However, other claims made by Argentina were dismissed and ruled in favor of the EU including the profit margin analysis used by the EU. The panel ruled, “The profit margin used by EU authorities was the result of a reasoned analysis that was rationally directed at approximating what the Argentine producers’ profit margin for the like product would have been if the like product had been sold in the ordinary course of trade in the domestic market of the exporting country.”

“NBB has for years maintained that Argentina’s distorted biodiesel market and export tax schemes lead to high volumes of below-market biodiesel imports from Argentina, including to the United States,” said Anne Steckel, VP of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). The WTO has largely affirmed the EU’s determination that such market distortion resulted in dumped and injurious imports from Argentina. NBB remains concerned about the impact of Argentinian imports in the US and will continue to assess options for addressing these imports.”

E15 Fuels More Than 150 Million Miles

According to Growth Energy, a major E15 milestone has been reached – drivers have driven more than 150 million miles using E15. The data came from gasoline retailers who work with Growth Energy who also said there have been no negative effects. Several retailers who offer E15 include Sheetz, Kum & Go, MAPCO, Minnoco, Murphy USA and Protec.

E15 at the pump“I have been using E15 for the last three years at Minnoco and have noticed no mileage loss, better engine performance and great savings at the pump,” said Mark Foudray, an E15 consumer from Shakopee, Minnesota.

Steve Anderson, an AAA approved and ASE certified service consultant and owner/operator of Marshall Cretin Minnoco from St. Paul, Minnesota, said of E15, “We have a loyal following for the E15 product. Approaching 1,000,000 gallons pumped we have nothing but positive results. E15 has higher octane and burns cleaner —the interior of the engines are cleaner and the tailpipe makes more air, and less pollution. E15 has been widely tested and is safe for all vehicles model year 2001 and newer. We see over 50 percent of our customers purchasing E15 on a daily basis. The statistics don’t lie. It is a great product and we are pleased to offer it as a choice to our fueling customers.”

Joel Hennen, a third generation owner/operator of Hennen’s Auto Service from Shakopee, Minnesota who also sells E15 said, “I have been selling E15 to our customers since the fall of 2013. Since I introduced it, there has not been one complaint due to mileage loss or engine performance. I hear only positive comments with drivability and the lower cost at the pump. Today’s cars are designed to utilize the higher octane to improve performance through different computer management systems. I see higher-level blends of ethanol, like E15, being the next fuel of future.”

IRFA Testifies at Senate Ag Subcommittee Hearing

irfa-shaw-hearingIowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw recently testified before the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy. The hearing focused on USDA Rural Development Programs and their economic impact across the country. Shaw said during his testimony that properly supporting renewable fuels programs are vital to the well-being of rural America.

“I think it can be fairly stated that no other effort to improve rural economies made the impact that renewable fuels did,” Shaw testified. “Then, in late 2013, the Obama Administration proposed Renewable Fuel Standard levels far below statutory levels. The economic fallout was predictable and painful. The last two years have seen a dramatic downturn in the health of rural America. Corn prices plummeted, land values fell, farm income plunged, and agribusinesses laid off workers by the thousands.”

Shaw highlighted several Energy Title programs under the Farm Bill, including the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, the Renewable Energy for America Program and others, that have provided strong returns on investment. “However, the effectiveness of these programs is reduced by a lack of consistent and timely funding.”

Shaw also asked the Senate leaders to support other programs outside the Farm Bill that can boost rural economies. “The Renewable Fuel Standard, the USDA’s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership, and equalizing vapor pressure treatment for E10 and E15 are all additional programs you can support that are vital to the well-being of rural America.”

Air Canada Joins Biojet Initiative

Air Canada is joining in Canada’s Biojet Supply Chain Initiative (CBSCI), a three year project with multiple partners to assimilate 400,000 litres of sustainable aviation into the shared fuel system. This is not the first entree of Air Canada in terms of biojet fuel. The airline has flown several biojet flights but the aviation fuel was segregated and loaded separately into an aircraft via tanker truck. However the CBSCI initiative will build a framework that will allow the biojet fuel to be blended into aviation fuel used at the airport.

AirCanada plane“We are pleased to support this important initiative by facilitating the logistics involved in the introduction of biojet to an airport’s shared fuel system,” said Teresa Ehman, Director – Environmental Affairs at Air Canada. “In doing our part towards responsible growth and environmental sustainability, Air Canada has invested billions of dollars in fleet renewal to reduce our fuel consumption and meet our current emission reduction goals.”

Ehman added, “Biojet holds the potential to be an important part of our strategy for achieving our longer-term industry goals of carbon neutral growth from 2020 and a 50 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050, relative to 2005 levels. The CBSCI project will contribute significantly to advancing a biojet supply chain in this country.”

The CBSCI project, the first of its kind in Canada, is aimed at creating a sustainable Canadian supply chain of biojet using renewable feedstocks. Canada has abundant agricultural and forestry biomass resources, with globally recognized sustainable production and harvesting practices. The biojet fuel used in this project will be sourced from commercially available, certifiably sustainable Canadian oleochemical feedstocks using the Hydroprocessed Esters and a Fatty Acids (HEFA) conversion process. The biojet fuel will be blended with petroleum jet fuel to meet all technical quality specifications before being introduced into a shared fuel tank at a Canadian airport, yet to be determined. The CBSCI project will also identify and help solve supply logistic barriers that arise when aviation biofuels are introduced at major Canadian airports.

EIA Hosting Ethanol & Biodiesel Rail Webinar

eia logoIn conjunction with the release of the first monthly report that tracks ethanol and biodiesel movement via rail, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is hosting a webinar, “Learn about ethanol and biodiesel movements by rail added to EIA’s Petroleum Supply Monthly report,” on April 7, 2016 from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm EDT.

The webinar will review data for January 2016 included in the March Petroleum Supply Monthly as well as will discuss the historical data on monthly rail movements of ethanol and biodiesel back to January 2014.

The webinar is presented by Mindi Farber-DeAnda, Supervisor of EIA’s Biofuels & Emerging Technologies Team; and Arup Mallik, Member of EIA’s Biofuels & Emerging Technologies Team. Click here to register.