EnterSolar Solar Project Completed in Delaware

Joanna Schroeder

EnterSolar has completed a 185 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system on the roof of Ultrachem Inc.’s corporate headquarters in New Castle, Deleware. Motech panels were used for the solar system that will generate approximately 200,000 kilowatt hours per year, enough energy to supply all the building’s yearly energy needs. ultrachem solar PV projectThe project is participating in the Delaware SREC Pilot Program and is interconnected to the New Castle Municipal Services Commission’s utility system.

“We are pleased to announce the completion of this major renewable energy project,” said Bob Whiting, President of Ultrachem. “Not only will the system improve the environment by reducing our reliance on traditional fossil fuels, it also relieves our energy burden from the electric grid during peak hours which benefits the community.”

The  solar photovoltaic system features Delaware-manufactured Motech solar panels, two central inverters and a string-level data acquisition system.

Derick Botha, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Motech Americas, said: “We are very pleased to be working with EnterSolar providing panels manufactured in Delaware.  It is encouraging to see responsible companies in our state taking initiative to support local manufacturing while helping the environment and creating value for themselves.”

“By installing their new solar PV system, Ultrachem has further established themselves as a community business leader while demonstrating how companies can ‘do well, by doing good’,” said Paul Ahern, President of EnterSolar, “In addition to supporting the environment, Ultrachem will also see a significant reduction in electricity costs while mitigating future power price increases.”

Alternative energy, Electricity, Energy, Renewable Energy, Solar

Ethanol Year in Review – 2012

Cindy Zimmerman

Ethanol Report PodcastIn this Ethanol Report, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen provides his naughty and nice list for Santa, talks about a new progress report on cellulosic biofuels, and promises 2013 will bring one of the biggest fights for the future of energy policy.

Dinneen says those who deserve coal include industries that have continued to relentlessly attack ethanol this year, while he puts the Obama administration on the nice list for upholding the Renewable Fuel Standard and finally allowing sales of 15% ethanol.

Listen to or download the Ethanol Report here: Ethanol Report on 2012 in Review

Subscribe to “The Ethanol Report” with this link.

advance biofuels, Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Ethanol Report, RFA

European Committee Proposes US Ethanol Tax

Joanna Schroeder

rfa-logo-09The Antidumping Advisory Committee, composed of representatives from member states of the European Union, has reportedly endorsed a 9.6 percent penalty on U.S. ethanol exports to Europe.

In response to the announcement, a joint Growth_Energy_logo (1)statement was released by Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association.

“This is simply one step in an ongoing process. While the Antidumping Advisory Committee has voted in favor of imposing an anti-subsidy duty on U.S. ethanol exports, this is one committee making a recommendation to a larger body and the matter is not final. While we are troubled by the Commission’s preliminary decision, we remain convinced that this matter lacks the merit necessary for imposing such a duty and that, when all the facts are considered, the European Union will rightly decide not to impose any antidumping duties on imports of ethanol produced in the United States.”

biofuels, Ethanol, Exports, Growth Energy, RFA

Alliance AutoGas Adds to Fueling Network

Joanna Schroeder

Wilsons Fuel Company, based in Canada, has become a partner with Alliance AutoGas. The partnership will bring propane fueling to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador. The two companies will also provide fleet vehicle conversions to propane autogas.

Alliance Autogas Propane Conversion“We joined Alliance AutoGas because it is the world’s most reliable program to help fleets switch to autogas,” said Gary Highfield, general manager at Wilsons. “Autogas is the most viable fuel on the market for fleets because it’s clean, it costs less than gasoline and installing autogas fueling stations is not expensive. As an Alliance partner, we’re now able to help fleets throughout Atlantic Canada start saving on fuel costs right away by running vehicles on autogas.”

With the joining of Wilsons Fuel to the network, the Alliance now offers services in 40 states and two countries. The program provides fleets vehicle conversions, fueling, on-site fuel station installation data integration training and ongoing technical support.

Stuart Weidie, president of Alliance AutoGas and founder of Autogas for America added, “The addition of Canadian partners like Wilsons plays a key role in the continuing international expansion of the Alliance AutoGas network. It only makes sense that such a well-established company, which generations of customers have come to know and trust, now provides local fleets with the most affordable, dependable transportation fuel on the market.”


BlendStar Completes Construction

Joanna Schroeder

GPRE logoGreen Plains Renewable Energy (GPRE)’s subsidiary BlendStar LLC has completed construction and begun operations at its 96-car unit train terminal in Birmingham, Alabama. BNSF Railway, who will serve the terminal, has a throughput capacity of 300 million gallons ethanol annually.

“We are pleased to announce the start-up of operations at the Birmingham terminal, which will provide more efficient distribution of ethanol to underserved markets in the southeastern U.S.,” said Todd Becker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Green Plains. “We have unloaded the first unit train of ethanol and expect the terminal to be at full capacity in January 2013. This facility expands our geographic footprint consistent with our strategy to expand our downstream distribution capabilities.”

The Birmingham terminal currently has 160,000 barrels of storage and a four-lane covered truck rack, both with expansion capabilities.

biofuels, Ethanol, Renewable Energy

Most Travelling By Car This Holiday

Melissa Sandfort

Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, ”How do you plan to travel this holiday?”

Our poll results: Fifty-seven percent said car; twenty percent said people are coming to my house; nine percent said I’m boycotting the holidays; six percent said other; three percent said plane, bus and walk; and no one is taking the train. Looks like the roads will be full of travelers this holiday season so be safe as they’re talking about the possibility of a white Christmas!


Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “What kind of Christmas tree do you have?” If you have family at your house that are similar to mine, they’re allergic to real trees so ours is, and has to be, artificial. Let us know!

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


Cellulosic Biofuels Progress Report

Cindy Zimmerman

RFA AECThe Advanced Ethanol Council has just released a detailed look at the progress made towards the commercial deployment of advanced cellulosic biofuels.

The Cellulosic Biofuels Industry Progress Report profiles production facilities and projects across the country and producing nations around the world. According to the report, all countries that were profiled are working toward developing production capacity in the U.S. to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The new data includes each facility’s path to commercial deployment, capacity, feedstock and more, demonstrating that notwithstanding the global recession, the cellulosic biofuel industry is coming on line.

“It was just five years ago that Congress called for the aggressive deployment of cellulosic biofuels to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. We are pleased to report that the industry is breaking through at commercial scale, and is well on its way to becoming a major player in the American fuel mix,” said Brooke Coleman, Executive Director of the Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC). “This rapid progress is due to the Renewable Fuel Standard and to Secretary Vilsack’s and the Obama Administration’s leadership on the issue, ensuring the policy has remained stable and allowing investors to feel confident about committing the capital necessary to take the industry to scale.”

“Much has been made about the slow development of cellulosic ethanol,” added Bill Brady, CEO of Mascoma Corporation and Chairman of the AEC. “This report should put all that to rest. This is the cleanest, most innovative liquid fuel in the world, and the United States is poised to lead the development of this game-changing industry.”

The report points to the industry’s enormous potential. According to the Sandia National Lab, the U.S. could produce 75 billion gallons per year of cellulosic biofuels without displacing food and feed crops, or more than half of the 134 billion gallons of gasoline consumed by the U.S. in 2011. Read More

advance biofuels, AEC, Cellulosic, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

USDA Supports Sustainable Bioenergy Production

Joanna Schroeder

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $10 million in research grants to help develop production of bioenergy and biobased products. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement while visiting Michigan State University, one of the grant winners.

Ford Concept Car with Biobased materialsWhile there, Vilsack mentioned the growth potential of biobased products as detailed in a recent study by Iowa State University (funded by USDA) that found that while biobased products in automobile manufacturing is increasing, there are still many parts that can be replaced with biobased materials.

“USDA and President Obama are committed to producing clean energy right here at home, to not only break our dependence on foreign oil, but also boost rural economies,” said Vilsack. “These projects will give us the scientific information needed to support biofuel production and create co-products that will enhance the overall value of a biobased economy. Today, with a strong and diversified U.S. agricultural sector, the American automobile industry has a greater incentive for expanding use of biobased products while supporting good-paying jobs here in the United States.”

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded the grants through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). AFRI’s sustainable bioenergy challenge area targets the development of regional systems for the sustainable production of bioenergy and biobased products that: contribute significantly to reducing dependence on foreign oil; have net positive social, environmental, and rural economic impacts; and are compatible with existing agricultural systems.

Projects were awarded in four areas: 1) policy options for and impacts on regional biofuels production systems, 2) impacts of regional bioenergy feedstock production systems on wildlife and pollinators, 3) socioeconomic impacts of biofuels on rural communities, and 4) environmental implications of direct and indirect land use change. Click here to view a full list of the winners.

advance biofuels, Agribusiness, bioenergy, biomaterials, Research

Spring Valley Wins Wind Project of Year

Joanna Schroeder

POWER-GEN International has awarded Spring Valley Wind facility in Ely, Nevada Wind Project of the Year Award. Owned by Pattern Energy Group, the 151.8 MW project is the first wind project on public land and also the first wind project in the state of Nevada.

“We are honored that Spring Valley has received the prestigious Wind Project of the Year Award; this project was spring_valley_wind_farma tremendous collaboration that would not have been possible without the help of so many in Nevada,” said MikeGarland, CEO of Pattern Energy. “Spring Valley received support from Senator Reid, Senator Heller, Secretary Salazar, and local government officials, as well as the great people of Ely. We collaborated on this project with White Pine County, the State of Nevada, Bureau of Land Management, NV Energy, and several Federal agencies and environmental groups, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nevada Department of Wildlife, local Native American tribes, and the Sierra Club.”

The Spring Valley Wind project features 66 Siemens 2.3 MW wind turbines, which can power approximately 45,000 homes. Mortenson Construction was the prime construction contractor on the project.  Pattern has a 20-year power purchase agreement with NV Energy for the sale of energy produce by the wind farm.

“Pattern was proud to bring its environmental leadership to Spring Valley Wind with groundbreaking mitigation measures that minimize impacts on the environment, including the preservation of cultural resources, funding for sage grouse, curtailment standards, modified electrical lines to reduce risks to birds, and an advanced radar system designed to protect birds and bats,” added Garland. “The project also provided a strong economic boost to the region and significant benefits to the community and school system for decades to come.”

Alternative energy, Electricity, Energy, Renewable Energy, Wind

Student Transportation Wins Propane Bus Contract

Joanna Schroeder

Student Transportation has been awarded a contract with Omaha and Milliard Public Schools in Nebraska to transport students with propane autogas school buses. The company will provide nearly 300 buses with more than 400 to be fueled with propane. The contract will begin in August 2013.

To best serve the schools, Student Transportation will open at least three facilities in the Omaha metro area. Blue BlueBird Propane Fueled School BusBird Corporation will manufacture the propane autogas buses equipped with ROUSH CleanTech liquid propane autogas fuel system technology. The remaining buses in the fleet will be provided by IC Bus, a division of Navistar.

STI Chairman and CEO Denis J. Gallagher said, “Domestically-produced, clean-burning propane autogas is a perfect fit for school fleets with up to 30 percent less greenhouse emissions. By running propane-powered buses, Omaha Public Schools can reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 2,310,469 lbs. per year, significantly lowering the school district’s carbon footprint, which was its goal for the coming year.”

According to Student Transportation, propane sales currently contribute more than $122 million to Nebraska’s economy.

“This large deployment is the catalyst that alternate fuels needed to become a viable and reliable fuel source for school transportation,” said Gallagher. “We have been leaders in this area and have been pushing and working with our manufacturers to have a final product that can lower greenhouse emissions and lower costs at the same time. We wanted a large project to roll out our initiative in this area so school districts around the country can see there is a better way to transport children to school with a lower cost of operation. “