Biodiesel Production Remains Strong

Joanna Schroeder

Biodiesel production in the U.S. remained strong in June. According to a report published by the Environmental Production Agency (EPA), 112 million gallons of biodiesel were produced in June. Total gallons for the first six months of the year is 557 million setting the pace to meet 2012 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) mandates. The EPA has set yearly production of biomass-based diesel (biodiesel is included in this category) at 1 billion gallons.

The EPA reports that 117.5 million gallons of biomass-based diesel were produced in June but this figure also includes production of renewable diesel. Biodiesel is the only EPA-designated advanced biofuel that is produced at commercial scale.

In 2011, the biodiesel industry set a production record of producing nearly 1.1 billion gallons. This achievement was accomplished through the support of more than 39,000 employees.


‘Houses’ Furnished by IKEA Now Include Solar

Joanna Schroeder

IKEA has made a name for itself through the sale of neat, affordable household items. A trendsetter in home fashion, IKEA is now on the path to become a trendsetter when it comes to integrating solar into a home’s decor, but maybe not in the way you would think. Over the past few weeks, IKEA has installed solar energy systems at stores in Draper Utah, as well as two area stores in Chicago, Illinois.

Yesterday the company installed solar rooftop arrays on two Philadelphia area stores as well as its U.S. Service Office in Conshohocken, PA. The three solar arrays scale 286,300 square feet, comprise 9,198 solar panels and generate 2,208 kW. The systems were developed, designed and installed by Gehrlicher Solar America Corp.

To date IKEA has completed 29 U.S. solar projects that combined produce 38 megawatts of energy. In addition, 10 more locations are currently in the process of installing PV solar systems. IKEA owns and operates all of each solar PV energy systems and has allocated €590 million to invest in renewable energy over the next three years with a focus on solar and wind energy.

“This solar installation is another example of how we build on our ongoing sustainability commitment,” said Conshohocken store manager Kevin Bohon.

“A solar energy system atop the store reduces our carbon footprint and improves what we do today for a better tomorrow,” added Lisa Christensen, store manager in South Philadelphia.

Electricity, Energy, Solar

Are Calls For RFS Waiver Premature?

Chuck Zimmerman

Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “How will drought impact the Renewable Fuel Standard?” We’re certainly in a major drought at this point and we know it will have an impact on the corn crop. Of course who knows how significant that will be? The next crop report ought to be very interesting.

Our results show that 39 percent think we should Modify for lower ethanol production, 31 percent think No change and 30 percent chose Eliminate entirely. What do you think? Is it a little premature to call for a change?

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “Will you use the cloud to store your data?” We’re now seeing cloud based data storage specifically designed for the ag industry and there are a growing number of options to store and handle all those records, field maps, photos and more. Is the infrastructure and the services available up to the task? Your data is fast becoming one of your most valuable assets. How are you planning to handle that growth?

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

RFS, ZimmPoll

DF Cast: House’s Turn at Biofuels in Farm Bill

John Davis

During the last Domestic Fuel Cast, we talked about the U.S. Senate’s work on the renewable energy provisions of the Farm Bill. In this edition, we follow the debate over to the House, where not much funding in the energy title of the bill moved out of the Agriculture Committee.

Listen to what some key lawmakers, as well as leaders from the renewable energy sector, farm groups, and government officials had to say as the discussion spilled over into another House committee considering changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

You can listen to the Domestic Fuel Cast here: Domestic Fuel Cast

You can also subscribe to the DomesticFuel Cast here.

Audio, Biodiesel, biofuels, Domestic Fuel Cast, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Farm Bureau, Government, Iowa RFA, USDA

BP Promotes Biofuels During 2012 Olympics

Joanna Schroeder

The Olympics are in full swing in London and while the athletes are showcasing their talents, so are biofuels. BP selected Wayne, a GE Energy Business, as the official fuel dispenser of BP’s “Fueling the Future” Showcase in London during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. BP, who is the official oil and gas partner, is providing advanced fuels for a fleet exceeding 5,000 vehicles and is capitalizing on the opportunity to show Olympic fans from around the world the Helix dispenser, representing the fueling station of the future.

“Being selected by BP as the featured dispenser for its London 2012 biofuels showcase speaks to the commitment Wayne has made to elevate the standard for the modern fuelling experience,” said Neil Thomas, Wayne Global President. “We created this dispenser for an increasingly globalized world, with significant input from our customers and from motorists worldwide. It’s a product line that will be the same for all Wayne customers in all regions.”

The Helix fuel dispenser will be positioned to offer global consumers increased levels of biofuels including both biodiesel and ethanol. It was designed to meet the standards of both ATEX and UL, global regulatory governing bodies for safety and offers cutting edge payment-security platform. Additional features such as enhanced displays with high-contrast, ergonomic design as well as expanded branding and signage areas visible from multiple angles.

“Being selected by BP as the featured dispenser for its London 2012 biofuels showcase speaks to the commitment Wayne has made to elevate the standard for the modern fuelling experience,” added Thomas. “We created this dispenser for an increasingly globalized world, with significant input from our customers and from motorists worldwide. It’s a product line that will be the same for all Wayne customers in all regions.”

biofuels, International

Blue Earth Secures Solar PV Project in Hawaii

Joanna Schroeder

Blue Earth has acquired the rights to build a $2 million, ground mounted, 497 kilowatt solar PV project in Hawaii. The company has created a Special Purpose Entity, Waianae PV-2, for the project. The subsidiary will engineer, construct, own, operate and maintain the solar PV plant. Blue Earth has a power purchase agreement with Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO).

Hawaii has passed legislation, a Renewable Portfolio Standard, requiring 40 percent of the state’s energy be supplied by renewable energy by 2030. HECO has a Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) program designed to encourage more renewable energy projects throughout the state and will be “purchasing” renewable energy credits when the solar PV project goes online.

“This project is just one of several planned projects in Hawaii for us,” said D. Jason Davis, CEO of Xnergy, Inc. who merged with Blue Earth. “It represents our expansion into other markets and shows the kind of success we will enjoy by implementing our expansion plans into a key renewable energy market.”

The Waianae PV-2 ground mounted solar power system construction is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2012 and to be completed in the first quarter of 2013.

Electricity, Energy, Solar

Radio Ads Featuring President Obama Air in Iowa

Joanna Schroeder

Iowans driving to work, or typing away on computers, and listening to the radio, may hear some new advertisements featuring President Obama. Although the biodiesel and ethanol industries have been under serious attack the last few weeks, the Obama Administration has continued to show its support for the growth of the American-based industry. U.S. biofuels production is currently led by Iowa.

“When an industry is under attack, it’s admirable to see elected officials stand up for the ethanol and biodiesel producers that create American jobs, enhance America’s energy security, and improve our environment,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) President Brad Albin. “We commend President Barack Obama and his team for their continued public support for growing our renewable fuels industry, especially as it faces harsh criticisms. The 10,000 Iowa households employed by or invested in Iowa’s ethanol and biodiesel plants will take notice.”

For those of you living, or not living in Iowa and would like a list of the stations the ads are running, or to hear the ads, click here.

Audio, Biodiesel, biofuels, Ethanol, Iowa RFA

Sweetwater Energy Exceeds Funding Expectations

Joanna Schroeder

Sweetwater Energy has exceeded its goals for Series A funding raising $9 million, $4 million over its original goal. The New York-based company is developing a process to produce cellulosic sugar that can be used to produce biofuels, biochemicals and bioplastics. The company’s primary target is is refineries.

“As anyone trying to start a business today knows, the economic climate is very difficult for fundraising right now, but we received an incredible response,” says Keith Wilson, Sweetwater’s Chief Financial Officer. “This funding is already launching us into our next stage of development, which includes Sweetwater’s first commercial contracts and the design and fabrication of the first wave of facilities for 2013.”

The company raised $1.2 million in its first round on funding back in 2010 and also secured a grant from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. In addition, Sweetwater generated some revenue from the sale of cellulosic sugar to the Department of Defense to test for jet fuel production. Today the company is leveraging its work in its pilot scale facility to build a commercial scale facility.

Chesonis concluded, “Ultimately, it’s the economic and cost drivers for lower-cost petroleum substitutes that are fueling the remarkable demand for Sweetwater’s technology. We’re excited to raise this capital and move into the next stage of growth; commercial contracts to fulfill that remarkable demand.”

advance biofuels, biochemicals, bioplastics, Cellulosic

Ethanol Industry Responds to RFS Waiver Request

Cindy Zimmerman

Ethanol Report PodcastThe Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) expects the waiver requested by livestock and poultry groups of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) will be denied by the Environmental Protection Agency, despite the impact one of the worst droughts in history is having on the nation’s corn crop.

In this edition of “The Ethanol Report,” RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen explains how a waiver will not help livestock producers and why the RFS should remain, even though corn ethanol production is likely to drop below the requirement this year.

Listen to or download the Ethanol Report here: Ethanol Report on RFS Waiver Request

Subscribe to The Ethanol Report with this link.

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Ethanol Report, RFA

Government May Be Key to Solar Success

Joanna Schroeder

According to a new report by GBI Research, “Solar Thermal Power Market to 2020,” it will take worldwide government support to have a major impact on the renewable energy industry. Government attitudes to solar thermal power, or concentrated solar power (CSP), will be a key determinant to the future success of the market, which today, has a high cost of power generation while the technology achieves economies of scale.

The report comes to the conclusion that government provisions can push forward technological advances and boost installations. These moves will then lower the expense of the technology thus lowering the amount needed for project investments and power generation.

The U.S. and Spain are currently benefiting from Feed-In Tariffs (FIT), says the report. A FIT system offers a financial incentive to producers in various forms that can take the shape of premium tariffs, per kwH, over a fixed amount of time. In America, a regulatory framework among some states establishes mandates requiring utility companies to purchase alternatively generated electricity. In Spain, renewable energy investments are rewarded with tax rebates. Today, Spain and the U.S. hold the greatest share of the global CSP market.

The global CSP market is expected to grow by 2011 installed capacity of 1,546 MW to 47,462.9 MW in 2020, climbing at a Compound Annual Interest Rate (CAGR) of 44%.

Electricity, Energy, Solar