- Green Fuels NZ Limited has purchased Biodiesel New Zealand’s Production Facilities. Officials say they will continue to produce Green Fuels’ popular Biogold™ branded biodiesel, made from 100 percent recycled vegetable oil and usable in most diesel fuel operations.
- SC Johnson has announced it will increase its use of wind power by 65 Percent at its Toluca, Mexico facility. The maker of household products, such as Glade and Pledge, says it will participate in the Comision Federal de Electricidad’s (CFE/Federal Electricity Commission) wind farm program, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions at the Toluca plant by more than half.
- The average American will have more opportunities to buy solar panels. Connecticut-based DCS Energy announced its “Buy A Panel Program” that allows individuals the chance to fund a solar energy project by purchasing a solar electric panel. At just $800, including installation and power equipment accessories, the energy production of the panel will provide a 3-4 percent annual average return payment for the panel purchaser over a 15-year period.
- The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the $100K ACC Clean Energy Challenge, a business plan competition encouraging students from universities throughout the southeast to develop business plans for new clean energy companies. Initial entries having an executive summary and video pitch, are due by March 1, 2013. The winning entry receives $100,000 and competes in the DOE National Clean Energy Business Plan Finals.
- Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners has acquired the remaining 50 percent stake of British Columbia-based Powell River Energy Inc. for CAD$33 million plus the assumption of some debt. The two hydropower generating stations have a total installed capacity of 83 MW producing an average of 546 GWh on an annual basis. Brookfield Renewable has hydropower operations on 69 river systems and 11 power markets in the United States, Canada and Brazil.
Kristy Moore, Vice President, Technical Services, Renewable Fuels Association moderated the panel and said the manufacturers are facing some real challenges.
“They are under significant pressure to create a vehicle that meets these regulatory requirements and meets a 54.5 fleet economy MPG by 2025,” adding that consumers don’t want to give up the size and convenience their SUVs are giving them now.
Coleman Jones, Biofuel Implementation Manager, General Motors, pointed to Brazil, where that country made the regulatory and tax changes in favor of E100 vehicles but faced some real challenges when oil prices fell dramatically, and consumers became worried whether they could get the high-blend fuels and use those vehicles. That’s when automakers recognized being flexible was the way to go. “In 2003, General Motors and Volkswagen introduced flex-fuel vehicles. These proved to be spectacularly successful in the marketplace. This is what the customer wanted.”
Matthew Kevnick, Senior Principal Engineer, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing N.A. talked about how his company will be incorporating E15 into its owners manuals. Honda North America’s Vice President of Government and Industry Relations, Ed Cohen, said they want electric and fuel cell vehicles. Stuart Johnson, Senior Manager, Volkswagen Group of America, told the gathering they are releasing a full line of gasoline engines and incorporating FFVs, while Bill Woebkenberg, U.S. Fuels Technical and Regulatory Affairs, Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc., said his company is interested in higher octane with higher level blends of ethanol.
Listen to the panel discussion here: NEC 13 Car Panel
Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “What did you think of Ram Trucks Super Bowl ad?”
Our poll results: The majority at forty-eight percent said All of the Above; twenty-eight percent said Great Exposure for Ag; twelve percent said Very Well Done; six percent were Not Impressed; four percent Hope to See More Like It; and two percent said Other. The Ram Truck super bowl ad could have been controversial within the ag community, but from the looks of our poll, most of you can look past the fact that Paul Harvey, the voice of the commercial, was an animal activist and enjoy the message that he conveyed.
Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “What grade would you give Ag Sec. Vilsack during his first term?” Vilsack has had an entire term under his belt, so how would you rate his performance as leader of the USDA? Let us know.
You graded him at mid term and the results were mixed. It will be interesting how you grade him at this point.
People are still talking about Chrysler Group’s Super Bowl ad that highlighted the importance of America’s farmers, and today more than 100 Iowans have signed a letter urging Chrysler to recommend the use of E15 in its new vehicles. According to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), higher blends of ethanol, such as E15, are necessary to maintain the farm prosperity that renewable fuels have created over the last seven years. The signatures were gathered during the 7th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit.
The letter stated, “E15 is playing an important role in growing the nation’s economy and providing fuel choice for consumers. Ford and General Motors have already approved E15 for their new cars. The undersigned Iowans ask Chrysler to also approve E15 for its new vehicles.”
“We commend Chrysler for its outstanding Super Bowl ad showing support for the American farmer,” Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Now Chrysler needs to take concrete action and recommend E15 for use in its new vehicles. E15 contains 50 percent more farmer-made ethanol than today’s standard blend. Iowans want to be able to use homegrown fuels like E15 that reduce our dependence on imports and support our farmers.”
If you are looking for a little inspiration for biodiesel, look no further than Las Vegas, or now the city I have renamed Las BioVegas. A community group of innovators, known as the Las Vegas Biodiesel User Group, became early adopters of the fuel blend and were awarded the Eye on Biodiesel: Inspiration award during the 10th Annual National Biodiesel Conference and Expo aptly held in BioVegas.
Gary H. Weinberg, Western Sierra Services; Ron Corbett, City of North Las Vegas; Frank Giordano, Clark County School District; James Morwood, Las Vegas Valley Water District; Dan Hyde, City of Las Vegas (retired) were all part of the crew.
Listen to the interview with Gary Weinberg here: Weinberg on Innovation
As Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board rightly pointed out during the award ceremony, luckily for biodiesel, what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas. As Jobe explained, this group of biodiesel pioneers championed the alternative fuel against all odds in the 1990s to help it become the established fuel it is today. The Las Vegas Biodiesel User Group was among the first users of biodiesel in the nation. These fleets worked to overcome resistance, remove technical obstacles, and even successfully challenged large diesel equipment manufacturers to support biodiesel.
Listen to the interview with Frank Giordano here: Giordano on Biodiesel
“In the beginning, biodiesel had its struggles to gain support, like any new fuel,” said Ron Corbett, Clean Cities Coordinator for Las Vegas. “Those of us who were early champions are gratified to see biodiesel finally gaining the momentum it needs to become the fuel of choice.”
Listen to the interview with James Morwood here: Morwood on Leading the Pack
Listen to the interview with Russell Teall here: Teall on Developing Biodiesel Technology
Former North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan is truly an advocate for biofuels. While in office, Dorgan authored the first renewable fuel bill, requiring 8 billion gallons of biofuels. When President Bush took office, he asked Dorgan to help write the bill that today is the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
Dorgan gave an inspiring and funny presentation during the National Biodiesel Board’s 10th Annual Conference in Las Vegas. While he may have regaled the large crowd with funny stories, what he does not find funny is the attack on biodiesel and the RFS. He has dedicated himself to continuing the fight. He said, “It is very important we be relentless with this success story.”
After retiring from the Senate, Dorgan joined the Bipartisan Policy Center, where he along with several others, are continuing to focus on the role of renewable energy and that includes increasing the use of biodiesel.
Dorgan left the audience with three “lessons”. First, bad news travels half way around the world before good news gets its shoes on; the success of a rain dance depends a lot on the timing; and when you hit someone on the head with a book and get a hollow sound, it doesn’t mean the book is empty. The lesson behind the quotes? We have facts on our side. Don’t give up and continue to fight the good fight.We must be relentless
According to RINAlliance, RIN fraud is not an issue for clients due to a long-standing strategic partnership with EcoEngineers. Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) are used to track each gallon of a biofuel as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released proposed rules as part of the 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard that addresses potential RIN Fraud. EcoEngineers, is one company, of several, that validates and audits biofuels production facilities through a comprehensive quality insurance program developed by the company.
“While some industry stakeholders have incurred liability and liquidity problems due to the unfortunate production of fraudulent RINs, RINAlliance avoided such issues by moving swiftly to prevent risks through a partnership with EcoEngineers which audits production facilities,” said Dawn Carlson, president of RINAlliance and the not-for-profit association, Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa. “The Quality Assurance Plan (QAP) originally developed by EcoEngineers has become a foundation for the Environmental Protection Agency’s rulemaking efforts to address integrity in biodiesel RIN markets.”
As part of EcoEngineers program, the company validated RINs through in person, on-site audits and ongoing monitoring of feedstock, production, fuel quality, and overall mass-balance of facilities. RINAlliance, says it then utilizes this information to document RIN validity to obligated parties allowing RIN owners to receive top-tier pricing of RINs generated by small to medium sized biodiesel producers. With EPA’s current rulemaking, production facilities utilizing third party RIN QAP services are expected to provide blenders, and ultimately, obligated parties an affirmative defense against EPA presumptive liability policies if the RINs transacted come in question.
More importantly, says RINAlliance, the steps above have created a broad supply of biodiesel and advanced renewable fuels from small to large facilities. This process yields increased competition that, in turn, keeps costs down for consumers and incentives high for those blending with biofuels.
Citing a need for increasing jobs and combating climate change, President Obama pledged to do more to “speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy” during his 2013 State of the Union address.
Four years ago, other countries dominated the clean energy market and the jobs that came with it. And we’ve begun to change that. Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let’s generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year — let’s drive down costs even further. As long as countries like China keep going all in on clean energy, so must we.
Now, in the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that. And that’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. That’s got to be part of an all-of-the-above plan. But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and our water.
Although there was no mention of biofuels in the speech, both ethanol and biodiesel organizations issued statements stressing their importance for the nation in achieving the president’s goals. “Biofuels can provide the eco-boost the U.S. economy needs,” said Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen. ““I am pleased that President Obama will continue to pursue policies that increase the use of cleaner, renewable energy, which is better for our environment and the air we breathe,” Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis said. Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board, added that the biodiesel industry is poised to play a growing role in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. “Biodiesel is a practical, cost-effective and bipartisan solution that’s here today to address this problem,” Steckel said.
As always, the Global Perspectives and Washington Insiders panels at the National Ethanol Conference were as entertaining as ever. The panels routinely feature representatives from other organizations that may not share the same viewpoint of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), allowing the opportunity for some interesting dialogue.
Global Renewable Fuels Alliance spokesperson Bliss Baker served as the moderator/referee for the global panel which featured RFA CEO Bob Dinneen; Canadian Renewable Fuels Association president Scott Thurlow; Rob Vierhout, Secretary General of ePURE; UNICA CEO Elizabeth Farina; and Poul Ruben Andersen with Novozymes A/S.
Noting the panel placement of Canadian Thurlow between Dinneen and Vierhout, Baker commented, “Some of you may be familiar with Canada’s tradition of peacekeeping,” he said. “Scott may have to assume that role of peacekeeper when we talk about our first issue” which was Europe’s trade challenge to U.S. ethanol imports. “I find it a little bizarre that we are in this spat that we are in today, attacking one another,” Baker said, throwing the floor open to Veirhout to explain “what were you thinking?”
Listen to the panel here: NEC 13 Global Panel
This year’s Washington Insiders panel included (L to R) – Marty Durbin, Executive Vice President, American Petroleum Institute; Shane Karr, Vice President, Federal Government Affairs, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers; Louis Finkel, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs, Grocery Manufacturers Association; and James Massie, Principal, The Alpine Group (the “insider’s insider”).
Interesting exchange on the panel came between Dinneen and GMA’s Finkel regarding the impact of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Challenging Finkel’s claim that the production of corn ethanol under the RFS has had a “significant” impact on food costs, Dinneen asked if he would say that oil prices also have a significant impact on the price of food. “I don’t think it has a significant impact,” Finkel replied. “I think it has an impact on the cost of transporting our food.”
“You’re a good advocate for your industry,” Dinneen responded.
The 2013 National Automobile Dealers Association and American Truck Dealers convention kicks off this week in Orlando, Florida and heading into the event General Motors has announced it new 2014 Chevy Cruze light-duty diesel passenger car is approved for use with B20 (20 percent biodiesel).
“We applaud General Motors for its foresight in approving the new diesel Chevy Cruze for use with B20 biodiesel blends,” said Steve Howell, Technical Director for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). “Many people do not realize that today’s new technology diesel engines powered by ultra-low sulfur biodiesel blends provide tailpipe emissions as clean or cleaner than natural gas or gasoline, while providing superior fuel economy, horsepower, and durability.”
“In addition,” said Howell, “when you combine the increased efficiency diesel engines with the low carbon nature of an Advanced Biofuel like biodiesel, new technology diesel engines are positioned to become the clean-and green-technology of the future, and we’re proud to see GM leading the way with its support for B20.”
The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel features an advanced 2.0L clean diesel engine that will offer an estimated 42 mpg highway with an automatic transmission and based on GM testing. According to NBB, clean diesels using modern diesel exhaust technology and ultra low sulfur fuel are over 90 percent cleaner than older models, and the Chevy Cruze is the cleanest diesel passenger car model ever produced by General Motors.
Other automakers are adding biodiesel-approved vehicles to their line-up as well including Ford and Chrysler.