First Gallons of Street Legal E15 Sold in Kansas

Cindy Zimmerman

Kansas barely makes the top ten in ethanol production by state, but it now ranks number one in selling the first gallons of legal 15% ethanol-blended gasoline (E15) under the Environmental Protection Agency waiver.

The nation’s first E15 gallons were pumped at the Zarco 66 “Oasis” station in Lawrence, Kansas on Tuesday and, not coincidentally, the first customer to buy it was Jere White, Executive Director of the Kansas Corn Commission. “We were there when the last sticker went on,” said White. “We wanted to be there to pump the first gallons into a non-flex-fuel car under the waiver.” White fueled up a 2010 Chevy Camaro with E15 priced two cents a gallon less than E10.

Listen to interview with White here: Jere White with KS Corn Commission

Scott Zaremba is owner of Zarco 66 stations and pleased to be the first to offer consumers real choice at the pump in the form of E15 ethanol fuel. “We just whole-heartedly believe that alternatives are what we need to be moving toward to lessen our dependence on foreign oil and also being able to have cleaner burning product,” said Zaremba. He is offering the E15 as one of the choices at the station’s blender pump, which was one of the first installed in the state in 2008.

Zaremba also plans to offer E15 at a second Zarco 66 in Ottawa, and an announcement on that is expected soon. A formal grand opening for the pumps is planned for Wednesday, July 18.

Listen to interview with Zaremba here: Zarco CEO Scott Zaremba

“Thankfully we do have a marketer in the great state of Kansas who is willing to offer E15 for his customers,” said Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen. “He believes in providing consumers with options that might lower the price of gasoline.”

Dinneen says Zarco had to overcome the issue of getting the proper blendstock for E15 shipped in for the summer months. “It’s not ideal but it’s important to get E15 out there in some form or fashion and we’re excited about it.”

It has been just over a month since the EPA gave final approval for the sale and use of E15 ethanol blends in light duty vehicles made since 2001, and over three years since the waiver was first requested.

Listen to an interview with Bob Dinneen here where he also talks about yesterday’s House panel on the Renewable Fuel Standard and how he remains optimistic about the American farmer being able to grow enough corn to meet all demands. RFA CEO Bob Dinneen

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

Renewable Fuels Backers, Others Testify Before House

John Davis

The U.S. House Energy and Power Subcommittee hearing today attracted several advocates of renewable fuels, as well as those who are also in the conventional fuels business. Among those giving testimony today was Joseph Petrowski, CEO of Cumberland Gulf Group; Jack Gerard, President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute; Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association; Thomas Tanton, Executive Director and Director, Science and Technology Assessment at the American Tradition Institute; Michael McAdams, President, Advanced Biofuels Association; Michael Breen, Vice President, Truman National Security Project; Dr. Richard A. Bajura, Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Director, National Research Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University; and Felice Stadler, Director of the Dirty Fuels Campaign at the National Wildlife Federation.

Breen, whose group sponsors Operation Free, a nationwide coalition of veterans and national security experts dedicated to clean energy, told the panel how much of a threat dependence on oil as the sole source for energy can be to this nation’s security. “Global supply and global demand set the market and drive the price… not American supply and American demand alone. This has crucial implications for policy.” He went on to say it’s highly unlikely enough oil can be drilled domestically to meet our needs, American consumers would be vulnerable to price swings… even if more oil is found domestically, and global demand continues to grow at an alarming rate. Breen pointed to the U.S. military’s efforts to get away from petroleum because of the threat it poses to our forces, especially those serving overseas.

Listen to Breen’s opening statement here: Michael Breen, Vice President, Truman National Security Project

McAdams’ Advanced Biofuels Association, which represents more than 45 companies in the green energy business, strongly defended the Renewable Fuels Standard under attack for much of the hearing. “The [RFS] is the bedrock of our nation’s renewable transportation fuels policy, and it is directly responsible for the progress made in the advanced biofuels sector.” He added that the RFS has brought certainty to companies and investors and has created jobs and REAL energy sources … not just theoretical concepts of alternative fuels … all across the country in the few short years it has been implemented. “It’s only been five years since you passed RFS2, the RFS is fundamentally working, and we are just getting started.”

Listen to McAdams’ opening statement here: Michael McAdams, President, Advanced Biofuels Association

Audio, biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government, Legislation

Kansas Congressman Blasts Higher Ethanol Blends

Cindy Zimmerman

A freshman Republican representative from Kansas today blasted higher ethanol blends during a House subcommittee hearing that focused on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“Why don’t I hear my constituents screaming for E15 and E85 if it’s such a good thing to lower consumer prices?” Congressman Mike Pompeo asked Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen during the hearing. “I’ve only been here 18 months, I’ll concede that, but I don’t hear it.”

Rep. Pompeo’s district of Wichita and surrounding areas encompasses Colwich, where ethanol plant engineering company ICM was founded in 1995 by industry pioneer Dave Vander Griend, who has been an active proponent of higher ethanol blends. It is also home to one of Abengoa Bioenergy’s ethanol plants, which is currently idled due to the market conditions. Abengoa has a total of six ethanol plants in the United States with two cellulosic ethanol facilities being developed, including one in Kansas.

Pompeo also ridiculed the cellulosic ethanol requirement in the RFS. Listen to his five minutes of questioning during the hearing here: Rep. Mike Pompeo

advance biofuels, Audio, Cellulosic, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government, RFA

House Hearing on Future of Renewable Fuels Now

John Davis

Just a quick note to let you all know we are listening in on the House Energy and Power Subcommittee Hearing on Renewable Fuels. I’ll have more details later, but I can tell you that there is some differences in opinion between those testifying today.

Jack Gerard, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Petroleum Institute is making the argument that the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is unrealistic and a threat to consumers. He calls for an overhaul of the RFS.

Meanwhile, Bob Dinneen, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Renewable Fuels Association, strongly argues that the RFS does not need such overhauling. He points out that ethanol is lowering the price of gas to the tune of about $1.09 a gallon, and the the next generation of biofuels is happening today.

I’ll have more details and some audio later on, but we just wanted to update as the hearing is going on. You can listen and watch it here.

*POST UPDATE*
Hearing opening statements from Gerard and Dinneen: Jack Gerard and Bob Dinneen

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government, Legislation

Farm Group Opposes Bill that Would Weaken RFS

Cindy Zimmerman

afbfThe American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is opposed to a bill introduced by Congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ) that they claim would weaken the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by requiring fuel companies to blend only the amount of cellulosic ethanol currently being produced into gasoline.

“Basically any weakening of the RFS is not a good thing for the country going forward. When you look at the ambitious goals that have been set to wean ourselves off foreign sources of oil and create a domestic biofuels industry, that’s a threat when you’re trying to undermine that,” said AFBF energy specialist Andrew Walmsley, noting that pulling back on the requirement will reduce the incentive for investment in advanced biofuels.

Walmsley says investment and increased production of cellulosic biofuels could open up new markets for farmers. “Those producers that may not grow corn and have had the opportunity to benefit from the growth of corn ethanol – the advanced biofuels and cellulosic ethanol is where they can break in. There’s crops that fit into southern rotation for southern growers between peanuts and cotton or you could look at perennials. There’s crops that grow year after year that you plant and have a dedicated source of income.”

advance biofuels, Cellulosic, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Farm Bureau, Government

RFA Refutes RFS Rumors

Cindy Zimmerman

In an effort to shut down the rumor mill, the Renewable Fuels Association is setting the record straight on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

RFAThere have been rumors that EPA might attempt to scale back the RFS by 20% due to the deteriorating condition of the U.S. corn crop, but RFA officials say the statutory process relating to RFS waiver provisions make that unlikely to happen.

“In order for EPA to waive RFS requirements, the agency must find that the program is causing economic “harm.” The agency can reach such a finding on its own, or it can be asked to examine the question of “harm” via petition from the public. EPA must provide a public comment period and consult with other relevant agencies before making any final decisions regarding a waiver request,” according to RFA. “In short, EPA cannot waive the overall RFS targets on a whim – there is a well-defined process for waivers.”

The organization notes that ethanol stocks currently stand at about a billion gallons of ethanol in the market, at least enough for the rest of the summer. Despite the fact that production dropped to the lowest of the year last week, the industry remains on pace to easily satisfy this year’s RFS target of 13.2 billion gallons. Year-to-date monthly EIA production data shows annualized ethanol production of 13.9 billion gallons.

RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen will testify before a House subcommittee hearing this morning to underscore the importance of the RFS and ethanol. The House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Power is holding a hearing on “The American Energy Initiative: A Focus on Alternative Fuels and Vehicles, Both the Challenges and the Opportunities” beginning at 10 am Eastern.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government, RFA

KBR to Engineer DuPont’s Iowa Cellulosic Ethanol Plant

John Davis

Oil and construction giant KBR will provide engineering and procurement services for DuPont’s first cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa.

KBR will provide front-end engineering, detailed engineering and procurement services to DuPont’s Industrial Biosciences Group for this first-of-a-kind plant to be constructed in the Midwest United States. The ethanol facility is designed to process 1,300 tons per day of corn stover and produce 27.5 million gallons of ethanol per year. The cellulosic ethanol product will be used as a blending component in gasoline by fuel manufacturers and will enable them to meet U.S. EPA-mandated requirements for ethanol derived from cellulosic sources.

Company officials went on to say this contract solidifies KBR’s more than 20 year partnership with DuPont.

Cellulosic, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Growth Energy Applauds Governors’ Calls for E15

John Davis

Three governors call for their colleagues in the Midwestern Governors Association to support an E15 action plan on the state level. Gov. Terry Brandstad (R-Iowa), Gov. Pat Quinn (D-Ill.) and Gov. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) sent the letter, coming on the heels of federal approval of E15, to 11 of their fellow Midwestern governors, and that has won the praise of Growth Energy:

“I would like to commend Governors Brandstad, Quinn and Brownback for their unyielding support of the ethanol industry,” stated Tom Buis CEO of Growth Energy. “They understand that the ethanol industry is integral to their state’s economic growth, now and in the future. The ethanol industry already supports more than 500,000 good paying jobs, promoting economic growth and opportunities in rural America. State regulations are the final hurdle for E15, and these governors understand the proactive measures they must take to bring E15 to retailers in their state.”

The governors recognize the importance of diversifying our nation’s transportation fuel and providing consumers a choice at the pump. The governors stress that use of E15 is optional, but note the financial benefits of a home-grown, lower-cost fuel, particularly for consumers who are working to make each dollar count during troubling economic times and high gas prices.

“This letter exemplifies the kind of leadership necessary to bring E15 to the commercial marketplace,” Buis continued. “By calling on their fellow governors to bring all of the stakeholders to the table and establish an E15 action plan, they will be ahead of the curve, ready for the seamless integration of E15.”

The three governors have called for streamlining state regulations and providing short-term infrastructure support to ensure the future of the green fuel.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Growth Energy

Canadian, US RFAs Praise Joint Clean Energy Plan

John Davis

A plan by the United States and Canada to develop jointly clean energy technologies, including biofuels, garners praise from each country’s leading advocates for the green fuels. The Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA) and the U.S. Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) sent a letter to leaders commending both governments for the United States – Canada Clean Energy Dialogue Action Plan II released in Rio de Janeiro in June:

“On behalf of the biofuels industry in both the United States and Canada, we commend you for continuing the vital partnership between our nations in developing and deploying clean energy technologies,” wrote CRFA President W. Scott Thurlow and RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “These technologies will be critical in solving the energy and environmental challenges of the future while creating exciting new career opportunities for hundreds of thousands of our citizens.”

The letter went to Canadian Ministers Peter Kent of Environment Canada and Joe Oliver of Natural Resources Canada and their American counterparts Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson. RFA and CRFA went on to point out that no other clean energy technology can match biofuels in reducing dependence on oil, cleaning up the environment, and creating jobs… 100,000 jobs in North America.

Both groups say collaboration between the two governments will only help with better technologies and innovations in biofuels development.

You can read the full text of the letter here.

biofuels, Government, International, RFA

Some Still Optimistic About a Farm Bill

Melissa Sandfort

Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, ” When do you think Congress will complete a Farm Bill?”

Our poll results: Twenty-two percent were optimistic and said before Sept. 30, 2012; twenty-eight percent were a bit more hesitant but said before the end of this calendar year; and twenty-five percent said both next year and maybe never.

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, ” How will Obamacare affect you and your business?” Some of the farm groups are split on the ruling, just as was the Supreme Court. But on a more personal/business level, how will this ruling affect you?

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

ZimmPoll