Celebrate Biodiesel Day

Cindy Zimmerman

There’s a reason to celebrate green both today and tomorrow – since tomorrow is National Biodiesel Day.

March 18 is the birthday of Rudolf Diesel, who invented the engine that bears his name, ran early models on peanut oil, and was an ardent believer in vegetable oil-based fuel, which is why the industry chose this day to celebrate biodiesel.

“For National Biodiesel Day, we’re highlighting the people who make this industry great. American biodiesel has infused jobs and prosperity in communities throughout the nation,” said Donnell Rehagen, National Biodiesel Board CEO. “Rudolph Diesel would be proud.”

Read a few biodiesel success stories from NBB and remember to wear your green tomorrow, too!

Biodiesel, NBB

Saudi Arabia Buying More US DDGs

Cindy Zimmerman

Delegation from Saudia Arabia at the 2016 Export Exchange

Saudi Arabia is ramping up its purchases of the ethanol co-product distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) from the United States, according to the U.S. Grains Council.

Last month, Saudi buyers purchased 18,000 metric tons of U.S. DDGS, a relatively large amount and a dramatic increase from total sales of just 8,400 metric tons in 2014.

While the dairy and poultry sectors in Saudi Arabia are large and modern with an estimated annual compound feed demand of 6.9 million metric tons, the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) progress in persuading the Saudi industry to utilize DDGS has been limited by shipping distance and local subsidies that did not incentivize use of the product.

Now, those policies are changing, and DDGS is priced well in the market. As a result, Saudi buyers – and others in the region including in Egypt, Turkey, Morocco and Pakistan – are taking a closer look at U.S. DDGS.

Read more from USGC

Distillers Grains, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, USGC

Vets in #Ethanol Industry Send Letter to Trump

Cindy Zimmerman

EKAE CEO Jeff Oestmann in American Coalition for Ethanol ad

Over 100 military veterans who work in the ethanol industry sent a letter to President Donald Trump this week urging him to include a prominent role for ethanol and the RFS in his “America First Energy Plan.”

East Kansas Agri-Energy CEO Jeff Oestmann, a Marine Corps vet, started the effort at the recent National Ethanol Conference. “After serving our country in uniform, we have chosen to work in the renewable fuels industry because it allows us to continue honoring a commitment to make America stronger and more independent,” Oestmann said in an op-ed Thursday. “Our letter thanks Mr. Trump for his stated commitment to renewable fuels, and encourages him to ensure ethanol and the RFS continue to play a key role in our nation’s energy policy moving forward.”

Read more from Morning Consult.

ACE, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, RFS

Celebrating Minnesota Biodiesel Day

Cindy Zimmerman

March 15 was Biodiesel Day in Minnesota, proclaimed by Gov. Mark Dayton in recognition of the 15 year anniversary of Minnesota’s biodiesel mandate becoming law in 2002.

The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) was celebrating yesterday because they helped design that legislation which made Minnesota the first state in the nation to require 10 percent biodiesel, or B10, in diesel blends sold during the summer months. The state moves to a B20 summer blend in May 2018, which will equate to removing 201,100 vehicles from the state’s roads annually.

“It’s really encouraging to see the governor and the state of Minnesota recognizing the value and benefits of biodiesel,” said MSGA president Theresia Gillie. “Biodiesel has been a big winner for Minnesota farmers and renewable fuels, and we’re very honored to receive this proclamation.”

Minnesota got a head start on the rest of the country in celebrating biodiesel. Saturday, March 18, is National Biodiesel Day, observed annually on the birthday of Rudolph Diesel, inventor of the diesel engine.

Biodiesel, Soybeans

Ethanol Groups Praise Emissions Rules Review

Cindy Zimmerman

President Trump announced Wednesday that the administration is reinstating the Midterm Evaluation of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) standards for the automotive industry, which is good news for the ethanol industry.

“Today’s actions allow the opportunity for EPA to slow down, remove politics from the process, and take a more comprehensive approach to fuel economy standards,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen. He charges that the previous administration only did “a cursory review to finalize a rule before the transition” and did not fully consider all comments.

Dinneen says EPA failed to consider fuels that will enable technologies to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases. “High octane, low carbon fuels can play a significant role in helping to meet fuel economy targets in the future,” said Dinneen.

“Now that the review of MY 2022-2025 standards will return to the original schedule, we will also be able to make the case that EPA and NHTSA need to provide meaningful incentives for flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) and engines designed to operate most efficiently on high-octane, high-ethanol blends,” said American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) executive vice president Brian Jennings. “Currently, the standards are biased in favor of electric vehicles and ignore the role that FFVs and engines optimized to run on blends in the range of E25-40 can play in meeting fuel economy and GHG reduction goals.”

President Trump announced the actions Wednesday during meetings with auto executives and workers in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

ACE, Car Makers, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

2016 Propane Autogas Vehicle Sales Increase

Kelly Marshall

Figures from 2016 show sales in propane autogas vehicles have increased nearly 8 percent over 2015, according to the Propane Education & Research Council. The more than 14,000 light, medium and heavy duty propane autogas trucks sold last year is the most in a single year since 2012. The data shows that there are almost 200,000 such vehicles being used in public and private fleets in the U.S. as of 2016.

“We’re thrilled to see so many new fleets take advantage of all propane autogas has to offer,” said Michael Taylor, director of autogas business development for PERC. “We don’t expect propane autogas sales to slow down in the future, especially as more fleet owners and managers experience the lower cost of ownership of the fuel compared to other options out there.”

Approximately one third of sales were for OEM dedicated vehicles while the other two thirds were aftermarket conversions. PERC forecasts another 79,900 propane autogas vehicles to be added to the highways in the next three years.

autogas, PERC, Propane

More Retail Stations Selling Higher #Ethanol Blends

Cindy Zimmerman

Last week, Iowa celebrated the opening of the state’s 100th retail station selling 15 percent ethanol blended fuel.

Crossroads Convenience Store in Spencer is one of six stations owned by Wessels Oil Company, which has been in business since 1938 and has been offering higher blends of biofuels at their stores since 2014. The Spencer store is the retailer’s first location to offer E15.

“With the capability to offer E15 to all 2001 and newer vehicles, it made good business sense to get on board with offering another option to our customers,” said Lisa Wessels, Secretary of Wessels Oil Company. “E15 offers higher octane and is a cleaner fuel with less toxic chemicals that cause cancer, plus it supports jobs in the state’s ethanol industry. It’s a win-win situation because it also increases demand for Iowa agriculture.”

Click to enlarge map courtesy of Growth Energy

Growth Energy reports that there are now 672 retail locations in 29 states offer E15 as a choice for consumers, with Louisiana becoming the latest state to have a station opening.

A map from Growth Energy shows where E15 is currently sold, with the top states being Iowa, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida and Georgia. Major retailers currently selling E15 including RaceTrac, Sheetz, Kum and Go, Thorntons, Minnoco, Murphy USA, MAPCO, Family Express, Cenex, and Protec Fuels.

E15, Ethanol, Growth Energy, Iowa RFA

AEM Study Shows Ag Economy Matters to Many

Cindy Zimmerman

A new study shows that 27 percent of manufacturing in the U.S. is for farm equipment, employing more than 114,000 people and contributing 21 billion to the overall economy.

“A lot of people forget that agriculture matters to folks who don’t live on farms,” said Nick Tindall with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) during a press conference at the recent Commodity Classic. He added that AEM will be sharing that message with lawmakers in discussions about the next farm bill. “I think that being from the heavy industry, heavy manufacturing sector we have the opportunity to go into offices and interject the angle that farm economy is very important to hundreds of thousands of people, as the economic study points out, who work in the agriculture manufacturing sector.”

AEM is also interested in ensuring wireless access comes to rural communities. As equipment becomes more and more complex, access to wireless affects a machine’s ability to function at its fullest extent.

Learn more about AEM’s plans for the future here: Association of Equipment Manufacturers Press Conference

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Agribusiness, Audio

Co-op Aiming to Boost Farmer Biodiesel Use

Cindy Zimmerman

An Iowa farm cooperative wants to convince more farmers in the state to use biodiesel by showing just how well it performs.

United Farmers Cooperative of Afton, Iowa compared the performance of two trucks with blends of 5 and 20 percent biodiesel (B5 and B20) performed and the B20 truck won.

The four-month trial in 2016 had identical company automatic 18-wheelers with Volvo engines fill up from United Farmers Cooperative blender pumps. Darin Schlapia, the cooperative’s energy operations manager, kept meticulous records on differences in miles-per-gallon between the trucks. At the end of the trial, the B5 truck averaged 5.19 mpg. The B20 truck averaged 5.84 mpg.

“By using B20, our truck averaged .65 mpg better fuel economy, saved $.10 per gallon on fuel costs, benefited our agricultural economy, and reduced our dependence on foreign oil,” Schlapia said.

The total fuel cost savings for the B20 truck amounted to $1,960 during the trial period, he said. This included cost savings from B20, which last year sold for a lower price than diesel or B5, thanks to strong federal and state incentives.

“We want to get the good word of biodiesel out there and encourage more farmers to use it,” Schlapia said.
Read more from the Iowa Biodiesel Board.

Biodiesel

Soy Growers Honor Jobe for Service

Cindy Zimmerman

ASA president Ron Moore presents award to Joe Jobe

The American Soybean Association (ASA) recognized former National Biodiesel Board (NBB) CEO Joe Jobe with its Special Meritorious Service Award during the recent 2017 Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas.

“Joe’s commitment and dedication helped build and grow a biodiesel industry that has benefited U.S. soybean farmers and many other agricultural stakeholders,” said ASA President Ron Moore, a soybean farmer from Roseville, Ill. The award honors individuals who served the soybean industry “above and beyond the ordinary.”

Jobe, president of Rock House Advisors, is a recognized leader in the areas of energy, agriculture and environment who served 17 years as CEO of NBB. Jobe has testified multiple times before Congress and given speeches in 10 countries. He’s appeared on national television and radio programs and been interviewed by major newspapers across the country, including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times and Washington Post.

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Biodiesel, Commodity Classic, Soybeans