Ethanol Advocates Unite for RFS

Eight ethanol-advocating organizations joined together to champion the success of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) in a letter to Congressional leaders this week.

The letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker John Boehner(R-OH) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) highlighted “ethanol’s proven ability to lower gas prices and reduce this country’s dependence upon foreign oil” and pointed out that any changes to the RFS “could dampen investment in the development of next generation biofuels.”

The groups signing the letter were the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), the Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC), Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the Energy Future Coalition, Growth Energy, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), and the 25×25 Alliance.

“Today, ethanol is approximately $1 cheaper than gasoline and blending ethanol into U.S. gasoline saves consumers at the pump,” the letter noted. “Thanks in part to the RFS, U.S. oil imports fell below 50 percent in 2010 for the first time since 1997, and, oil imports stand at just 45 percent today. Ethanol accounts for 81 percent of all new domestic fuel production since 2005.”

Ethanol advocates are also meeting with Congressional representatives this week on Capitol Hill to talk about the importance of renewable, domestic fuels. “This week, I am with a number of other corn growers and leaders in the biofuels industry in Washington to drive home the message that the ethanol industry is an important part of the rural economy and that it plays an important role in moving our nation’s energy independence forward,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer, a corn grower from Illinois. “The Renewable Fuel Standard is an important tool to help decrease our reliance on foreign oil by supporting jobs here at home.”

More than 60 grassroots members of the American Coalition for Ethanol are in Washington this week for the annual “Biofuels Beltway March.”

Dates for 2012 Process Optimization Seminar Announced

It may seem like only yesterday the last Process Optimization Seminar took place but the next seminar is right around the corner. You do not want to miss out; every past seminar has been sold out well before the deadline. This year’s conference will be taking place on July 17-18, 2012 at the Hilton President Kansas City.  The seminar is targeted for operators of ethanol plants and is focused on helping a plant achieve its highest level of profitability from its fermentation process.

The seminar features four separate areas of education:

  • Antimicrobials – This session will focus on solutions for and preventing infection and is sponsored by Phibro Ethanol Performance Group.
  • Water Treatment – This session will build on the basic of proper water treatment and is sponsored by Fremont Industries.
  • Yeast Management – This session will address the specific needs of the bioethanol producer in terms of fermentation performance and is sponsored by Fermentis.
  • Enzyme Management – This session will address optimization needs from an enzyme perspective in bioethanol processing facilities and is sponsored by Novozymes.

Attendees will be broken into groups and during the two-day seminar will attend each in-depth session. The knowledge gained by the operator will be able to be put to immediate use in the plant.

The Process Optimization Seminar is not just all about hard work and invaluable information, it is also about fun. All attendees will also have the opportunity to attend a Kansas City Royals versus Seattle Mariners game on July 17th and will watch the game in a suite at Kauffman Stadium. So don’t miss out! Early registration is now open for the investment of $325 and ends on July 6th. Registration after July 6th is $375 based on availability. You can register at

Death Tax Unwelcome

Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “What do you think is a fair “death tax” rate?” It is no surprise that common sense and fair thinking respondents said Zero – 66%; 35% over $5 million – 0% under (current) – 21%; Other – 8 % and 55% over $1 million – 0% under (pre 2001) – 5%. This really is one of the most unfair taxes we’ve got and in my opinion there should not be any tax on a person’s estate after death. What are your thoughts?

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “Should ABC News be Liable for Job Losses due to Lean Beef Trimmings Story?” This is one of the worst examples of supposed “news” reporting I’ve seen lately. It shows how a desperate for ratings news network will not just distort facts but publish erroneous information. They have no credibility. However, a gullible public has embraced their misinformation. The result? Job layoffs for people with families to feed who were making a very safe and nutritious product. That’s twisted. Do you think ABC News should be held liable? Should the media be held accountable for the financial impact inaccurate news stories have on jobs and businesses? Another likely outcome of this debacle will be higher beef prices. Nice, huh?

If for some reason you don’t know what this is all about, here’s a link to the ABC News story and here’s where you can get the truth –

ZimmPoll is sponsored by Rhea+Kaiser, a full-service advertising/public relations agency.

Senators Urged to Extend Advanced Ethanol Initiatives

Advanced ethanol producers are urging a Senate subcommittee to extend key cellulosic ethanol tax provisions set to expire at the end of 2012.

RFA AECWith the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure holding a hearing this week on expired and expiring energy tax incentives, the Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC) sent a letter to Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Ranking Member John Cornyn (R-TX) outlining the importance of two critical tax incentives.

“The Cellulosic Biofuels Producer Tax Credit (PTC) and the Special Depreciation Allowance for Cellulosic Biofuel Plant Property are vital to the ongoing development of the domestic advanced ethanol industry,” wrote Brooke Coleman, Executive Director of the AEC. “With gas prices soaring, it is increasingly important to diversify U.S. motor fuel markets with viable and competitive alternatives to gasoline, such as advanced ethanol, that will offer American consumers greater choice at the pump.”

Coleman notes that several billion dollars have already been invested in the development of advanced biofuels “with the expectation that Congress will stay the course with regard to its commitment to the industry” and that “allowing the PTC and accelerated depreciation allowance to expire runs counter to the goals set forth by Congress to foster the development of advanced biofuels under the Renewable Fuels Standard.”

Low Carbon Fuel Standard Could Double Gas Prices

A new study released today by the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) indicates that a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states could result in doubling gasoline prices and other negative economic impacts.

The study, “Analysis of the Economic Impact of a Regional Low Carbon Fuel Standard on Northeast/Mid-Atlantic States,” estimates that an LCFS over ten years would result in the loss of 147,000 jobs, decrease disposable income by $28.8 billion, and result in a combined negative economic impact of $306 billion.

Eleven Northeast and Mid-Atlantic (NE/MA) states have been evaluating the implementation of a LCFS through an initiative coordinated by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), which released a final report in August of last year – an analysis that CEA believes was “lacking in depth, methodology and analysis, and failed to account for the region’s energy needs.”

CEA Executive Vice President Michael Whatley said their study found that “NESCAUM relied on flawed assumptions about the market’s ability to secure an adequate supply of biofuels, the infrastructure needed to support that demand, and the projected replacement of existing vehicles. These findings further support an analysis conducted by IHS-CERA in October 2011 that found NESCAUM’s economic analysis to be deeply flawed and riddled with unrealistic assumptions regarding the availability and price of advanced biofuels, electric and natural gas powered vehicles during the timeframe of the potential LCFS mandate.”

Listen to or download comments from Whatley during a press conference this morning: CEA's Michael Whatley
Read the study here.

All-Florida Ag Show Announced

April 25-26, 2012 is the date for the new All-Florida Ag Show sponsored by Florida Grower and the Highland County Farm Bureau. The event will take place at the Highlands County Fair Convention Center in Sebring, Florida and will bring together a diverse group of agribusiness leaders ranging from fruits to vegetables to livestock to biofuels. There will also be a wide array of topics discussed during the show including labor, water, alternative energy, crop opportunities and more.

“The All Florida Ag Show is an important event to support as it provides a unique opportunity to anyone who has interest in Florida’s agriculture to meet under one roof and learn about new opportunities, as well as common challenges that our industry faces today and in the future,” stated Scott Kirouac, president of Highlands County Farm Bureau.

Several speakers have confirmed including Rich Budell, FDACS Water Policy Chief and Jack Payne, senior vice-president, UF/IFAS, John Hoblick, president, Florida Farm Bureau. In addition, Adam Putnam, Florida Agriculture Commissioner has been invited along with many other agricultural experts. There is also an expansive trade show area planned for the event.

For more information visit:

New Funding For Biomass Research & Development

Yesterday in conjunction with Presidenta Obama’s visit to Ohio State University to discuss the administration’s strategy for American energy, he announced $35 million in new federal funding over the next three years for biomass research and development. The project is funded by the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) and will focus on the development of advanced biofuels, bioenergy and high-value biobased products. The effort, aimed at reducing America’s use of oil while at the same time embracing a more environmental friendly fuel source, is joint initiative between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Energy Department (DOE).

In support of the program, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “USDA’s partnership with the Department of Energy aims to improve our country’s energy security and provide sustainable jobs in communities across the country.” Vilsack is a large supporter of homegrown renewable energy and biobased products that can be developed and produced by rural Americans.

The renewable energy industry advocates that green energy will bring green jobs to America and save Americans money. Secretary Chu said that these advanced technologies will both help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and save money for American consumers. He also stated, “Investing in next-generation biofuels helps boost the competitiveness of the U.S. biofuels industry, supports economic development in rural communities, and creates skilled jobs for American workers.”

The funding is allocated For fiscal year 2012 and applicants seeking BRDI funds must propose projects that integrate science and engineering research. Three technical areas will be considered and all projects must demonstrate technological advances in at least one category: feedstock development, biofuels and biobased products development and biofuels development analysis.

Subject to annual appropriations, the USDA and DOE have allocated $35 million over three years for the BRDI project. It is anticipated that the funding will support five to seven projects over the timeframe. Applications are being taken now and are due April 23, 2012 and must be submitted electronically. Winning projects will be announced by June 15, 2012. A description of the requirements, instructions and the application is available at or under Reference Number DE-FOA-0000657.

Volkswagen Partners to Promote Renewable Fuels

In a collaborative partnership to promote the use of renewable diesel in its current and next-generation clean diesel passenger vehicles, Volkswagen of America Inc. is partnering with Amyris Inc. and Solazyme Inc., two of the world’s leaders in renewable fuels, to evaluate emissions reductions and demonstrate the performance of Volkswagen’s TDI Clean Diesel technology.

Under the agreements, Volkswagen will provide each company with two products—a new 2012 Passat TDI and a 2012 Jetta TDI—in order to closely examine the effects that the fuels produced by Amyris and Solazyme will have on Volkswagen clean diesel technology and the environment.

“Partnering with two leaders in advanced biofuel technology supports Volkswagen’s goal of offering a competitive suite of technologies that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve fuel efficiency and fit the diverse needs of our customers,” said Jurgen Leohold, head of Volkswagen Group Research. “In order to achieve our long-term desire of bringing CO2-neutral mobility to the market, advanced gasoline and diesel engines like TDI Clean Diesel technology must play a major role; and renewable energies to power these advanced powertrains are needed on a large scale.”

During the year-long evaluation, Volkswagen will measure the environmental impacts from the use of cleaner burning renewable diesel formulas. Initial analysis indicates that while advanced biofuels are comparable to standard diesel blends in terms of performance, there are tremendous opportunities to reduce vehicle emissions.

“Amyris’ renewable diesel’s proven superior cold weather performance, high cetane and comparable energy density to petroleum diesel have enabled us to obtain one of the highest blending registrations certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” said Mario Portela, Chief Operating Officer, Amyris. “Our partnership with Volkswagen, like our work in Brazil, where nearly 200 buses are running on various blends of Amyris diesel, is another important milestone in expanding OEM acceptance by showing our fuels eliminate the performance challenges of first generation biofuels while still enabling significant reductions in greenhouse gas and tailpipe emissions.”

“Volkswagen has continually been at the forefront of automotive innovation providing safe, quality, and environmentally sound vehicles to consumers,” said Rogerio Manso, Chief Commercialization Officer, Solazyme. “Solazyme’s 100 percent drop-in renewable diesel is compatible with existing infrastructure and vehicles, and provides the world-class engine manufacturer with an advanced diesel replacement that drives significant Greenhouse Gases (GHG) as well as ground-level emission reductions.”

More Dairy Production Benefits Ethanol Industry

Like a rising tide that floats all boats, rising milk production helps many sectors of agriculture, including ethanol, according to the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA).

The latest USDA estimate released earlier this week shows milk production in the United States continues to expand, with February 2012 production up 8% compared to a year ago thanks to a one percent expansion in the dairy cow herd and a seven percent productivity increase, as measured by milk produced per cow.

“As an agricultural community, we certainly look at growth and gains across the industry favorably,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “This trend benefits corn farmers, like myself, directly also though as increased milk production often translates into increased demand for feed, including corn and ethanol co-product distillers dried grains. I see it as a win-win-win as consumers benefit from a larger milk supply, dairy and corn farmers benefit from increased production and the ethanol industry benefits from the increased demand for the high quality feed ingredients produced along with fuel.”

During the current corn marketing year, estimates are that the nation’s dairy cattle will consume nearly 800 million bushels of corn, or about six percent of total corn usage. The market for DDGs also continues to expand as demand from the dairy sector rises due to increasing awareness and understanding of their quality, affordability and other benefits.

Hydropower Favored in Africa, Latin America

Africa and Latin America are taking great leaps to hydropower according to a new report by GBI Research.  Today, hydropower leads the renewable category for the generation of power and is expected to remain in the lead globally despite investments in other renewable resources.  Around the world, hydropower has large support in the form of financial policies and incentives. This had made it gain interest as a viable way to meet increasing electricity demand.

The report predicts that Africa will have become a leading hydropower market by 2020 due to the large amount of water in the country, especially in Mozambique and Ethiopia.  Develop has gone further yet because of the lack of proper infrastructure and investment, which hinders both maintenance of current plants as well as the development of new hydropower plants. Yet there is increasing demand for energy and as a result governments are putting policies and incentives in place to secure industry investments.

In addition to Africa, South and Central America also hold high levels of untapped hydropower energy.  In 2009-2010, Venezuela suffered through a national electricity crisis while ironically it has large amounts of unexploited hydropower energy. Once realized, the government changed it focus towards the development of the industry and several hydropower projects are already underway in the country and being executed by Corpoelec.

In 2005-2010 the global hydropower capacity increased at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.2% for an increase of 601.1 Giga Watts (GW) in 2005 to 739.2 GW in 2010. The report estimates that installed capacity will grow to 1,051.1 GW by 2020.

You can read the report abstract,  Hydro Power Market to 2020 – Energy Management Strategies and Green Funds to Drive Emerging Markets in Latin America and Africa, here.