REG Rings the Bell to Celebrate IPO

The Renewable Energy Group (REG) celebrated its recent initial public offering (IPO) at the NASDAQ, located in New York City, in a closing bell ceremony to recognize shareholders, the board of directors, employees and client service providers. The company officially became public on January 18, 2012 and on hand for the ringing of the bell yesterday was Chairman of the Board, Jeff Stroburg; President and CEO, Daniel J. Oh; and members of the Renewable Energy Group team.

“The biodiesel we produce is an important alternative as crude oil prices remain high and our nation works to meet energy security and cleaner air goals with lower carbon fuels,” Renewable Energy Group President & CEO in remarks today.  “We are proud to play a role in our nation’s energy complex as an industry-leading biorefining company offering rapid growth opportunities.”

Tracking Clean Energy Progress Report Released

Today, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its Tracking Clean Energy Progress report and in response, the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) said that it confirms government institutions are not doing enough to further the development of clean energy.

The report states that biofuels for transport are not on track to meet their share of CO2 reduction required to meet the agency’s goal of an average of 2 degree Celsius rise in global temperature by 202o. To achieve this goal, biofuel production will need to double and advanced biofuel production would need to quadruple over current capacity.

According to IEA, a key action is for governments to develop stronger policies to support the development of the advanced biofuels industry. Based on the climate 2 degree Celsius scenario posed by the agency, biofuel use will increase to nearly 240 billion litres in 2020, which if produced sustainably, will lead to an approximate 0.1 GT reduction of CO2 emissions.

“The GRFA applauds the IEA for putting the world on notice that it is falling behind with biofuels production,” said Bliss Baker, spokesperson for the organization. “With the threat of climate change growing, it is imperative that we reduce our CO2 emissions with alternatives to crude oil such as biofuels.”

Baker continued by stating that the report reaffirms GRFA’s call to develop biofuels policies that will reduce reliance on crude oil, and supports the need for biofuels as part of a clean energy future.

Electric Vehicle Standardization Needed

A Standardization Roadmap for Electric Vehicles – Version 1.0 has been released by the Electric Vehicles Standards Panel (EVSP), part of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The roadmap reviews standards, codes, regulations, conformance and training programs – elements critical to the facilitation of safe, mass deployment of electric vehicles (EV) and charging infrastructure.

“The roadmap delivers on its promise to pave a smoother road to the large-scale rollout of electric vehicle technology. And from the economic and environmental points of view, the timing couldn’t be better,” said Jim Matthews, EVSP co-chair and director of technical standards and standards policy at Corning Incorporated. “EVs offer the potential to significantly reduce our nation’s dependence on imported oil, create well-paying jobs through the establishment of a broad, domestic EV industry, and reduce on‐road vehicular emissions.”

Standardization Roadmap focuses on plug-in electric vehicles and the charging infrastructure paramount to helping adoption. The report was developed to facilitate the development of comprehensive, and streamlined standards and conformance landscape for EVs, and maximize the coordination of the standards worldwide. Some issues reviewed included EV safety, affordability, interoperability, performance, and environmental impact. The roadmap also focused on training and education programs.

S. Joe Bhatia, President and CEO of ANSI added, “The release of the Standardization Roadmap for Electric Vehicles – Version 1.0 is a critical step forward in facilitating mass EV deployment in the U.S. This effort relied upon the collaborative work of experts from the public and private sectors and across industries, all focused on the common priority of enabling the EV market to expand and thrive.”

Test Successful for Gasification Technology

Commercial demonstration testing of a new gasification technology has proven successful according to Covanta Energy Corporation. The technology gasifies unprocessed post-recycled municipal solid waste in a commercial setting while also reducing emissions and increasing energy efficiency.  The announcement was made during the North American Waste-to-Energy Conference and Covanta said this achievement makes way for the company to offer a 300 ton per day modular system called CLEERGAS (Covanta Low Emissions Energy Recovery Gasification).

“We are always working to stay on the cutting edge of technology to convert waste into clean energy,” said Anthony J. Orlando, Covanta’s president and chief executive officer. “This new gasification technology is truly exciting. Communities interested in emerging technologies can now partner with Covanta’s industry leading team to assure successful project execution.”

During the pilot phase, the technology processed 350 tons per day of municipal solid waste that did not need to be pretreated. The waste was subjected to high temperatures and reduced air on the gasification platform, where it underwent a chemical reaction that created synthesis gas or syngas. Next, the syngas was combusted and then processed through an energy recovery system that utilizes an emissions control system.

John Klett, the company’s executive vice president and CTO added, “Successfully completing this commercial demonstration was a major step in developing new facilities capable of gasifying unprocessed post-recycled municipal waste. Moving forward, our research and development efforts will continue to improve the syngas quality created in the gasification process.  One day, we anticipate this syngas will be utilized as a fuel in a combined cycle facility and potentially, in the production of liquid fuel.”

Virdia Opens New Pilot Facility

A new cellulosic demonstration facility has opened in Danville, Virginia. Virdia, a company focused on developing cellulosic sugars,  located the facility on the campus for the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR). The facility will prove out Virdia’s CASE process in pilot scale and the resulting  cellulosic sugars and lignin will be designed for use in commercial applications.

Philippe Lavielle, Virdia CEO said, “Siting our technology center and our demonstration facility in Virginia is the next key step towards commercial production for us. Virdia’s products are cost-competitive, and are setting new standards for industrial uses of cellulosic sugars and lignin.”

Lavielle also said that the company looks forward to demonstrating the technology on a larger scale, and when they are ready, plan on locating the larger facility near sustainable sources of biomass.  The CASE process converts biomass to fermentable sugars and lignin. The resulting sugars can be used to produce renewable chemicals, materials, nutritional additives for the feed industry and renewable fuels. The company is currently working with Virent who is using the sugars to produce drop-in jet fuels.

The company held a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 25th.  “Virdia is making huge strides in the emerging bioeconomy, and I am pleased the company has decided to site its new technology center in Virginia,” said Bob McDonnell, the Governor of Virginia. “The development of sustainable and clean sources of energy is a necessary component of our all the above energy strategy, and Virginia is proud to welcome Virdia to the state in pursuance of cleaner energy, scientific innovation and economic stimulus.”

Bob Casper Named Chief Commercial Officer of POET

Bob Casper, President of POET Ethanol Products, was named Chief Commercial Officer of POET. In this newly created position, Casper will oversee the marketing and distribution of all products as well as risk management for POET.

Since 2000, Casper has led POET Ethanol Products, which markets all of the ethanol and carbon dioxide for POET’s network of 27 biorefineries. Before serving as president of POET Ethanol Products, Casper spent 21 years leading several energy-related divisions for Wichita, Kan.-based Koch Industries. Casper serves on the Board of Directors of POET, LLC and Growth Energy, the advocacy group representing producers and supporters of ethanol. He graduated from Trinity University in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology.

“Under Bob’s 12 years of leadership, POET ethanol products has become one of the largest and most successful marketers of ethanol in the world,” said POET CEO Jeff Lautt. “Bob has been instrumental in building the market for ethanol to where it is now in over 90 percent of the gasoline gallons sold in the U.S. In the past few years, Bob has successfully managed numerous challenges from the blend wall and expanding export markets to the expiration of ethanol tax credits and the introduction of E15.”

In this new role, Casper will continue to lead POET Ethanol Products, which markets ethanol, carbon dioxide and denaturant. He will also oversee POET Risk Management and POET Nutrition. POET Risk Management provides commodity futures risk management, corn and natural gas derivatives trading and corn and natural gas procurement services for the network of biorefineries. POET Nutrition markets POET’s branded products: Dakota Gold® high protein animal feed, Voila American Corn Oil and Inviz™ natural zein.

“After working for over 20 years in the oil industry, I am passionate about the role that renewable products can play in our world. That’s why I got into this business and am excited about this expanded role,” Casper said. “We have excellent teams in product marketing and risk management, and I’m looking forward to working with them to develop markets for our growing portfolio of products and manage the company’s risk.”

RFA Adds Three Board Member Companies

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has added three new board member companies including Aemetis, Inc., Bushmills Ethanol Inc., and E Energy Adams, LLC.

Aemetis, Inc. operates a 55 million gallon per year facility in Keyes, CA. Bushmills Ethanol Inc. is a cooperative made up of 415 farmers that produces 65 million gallons of ethanol per year. E Energy Adams is a locally owned company consisting of nearly 800 investor owners that produces 50 million gallons annually at their dry mill facility. Contributing a combined 170 million gallons of ethanol annually to U.S., these three production refineries individually and collectively are providing jobs, stimulating the economy and helping reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

“We are pleased to welcome these new members to the RFA,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “The strength of our industry is the involvement of individual companies in working to expand the marketplace for ethanol through thoughtful policies and strategic market development. These new voices will bring important new perspectives to the RFA and further enhance the dynamic initiatives the association is undertaking.”

With the addition of Aemetis, Inc., Bushmills Ethanol Inc., and E Energy Adams LLC, the RFA Board of Directors consists of 50 companies. Every producing member of the RFA receives one vote on the Board of Directors. The RFA is the largest trade association for ethanol producers in the world.

Houston to Host National Advanced Biofuels Conference

The 2012 National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo will be held at the Hilton Americas in Houston, Texas, Nov. 27-29, 2012.

Organized by BBI International, the event brings together advanced biofuels producers, strategic petrochemical and agribusiness partners, government officials, investors and project finance professionals, technology and biomass supply-chain service companies.

The conference was successfully launched in 2011 as the International Biorefining Conference & Trade Show. In consultation with sponsors and supporting organizations, BBI changed the name of the event to highlight its critical role in helping the U.S. bioenergy and refining industries meet America’s explicit advanced biofuels quest.

The National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo will continue to focus on the scale-up, commercialization and market development of both advanced biofuels and biobased chemicals. Presentations will focus predominantly on domestic (U.S.) production, R&D, and project development. International industry issues, such as exports and imports, foreign biofuels production and policy, and feedstock issues, will be covered from a domestic viewpoint. The two-day agenda will answer critical questions facing the industry and will offer conference attendees an unparalleled opportunity to gain a broad understanding of where the U.S. advanced biofuels industry is, what challenges it faces, and where it is headed.

“RFS2 requires 21 billion gallons of advanced biofuels to be blended into the U.S. transportation fuel supply by 2022,” says Joe Bryan, CEO of BBI International. “We have now aligned the conference and expo with that national mission.”

What Are Corn Growing Plans

Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Would you be willing to donate the proceeds from one acre of your farm to help your local food bank?” Apparently we have some very generous farmers out there since 61% said Yes and 39% said No. Of course they may be many areas that don’t even have a local food bank too. I don’t know. But we sure appreciate everyone who participated!

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “With all of the discussion on projected corn acres this year, how many acres of corn do you expect to plant this year?” So how about it corn growers. I wonder how many will grow corn for the first time this year too. Should be interesting. Let your corn growing friends and neighbors to know we’d like to know what they plan and remember this is an anonymous poll! Use this link to share.

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

Butamax & Fagen Cement Colloboration

Butamax has entered into a partnership with Fagen Inc. The pair will work together to introduce commercial scale biobutanol using Butamax technology.  Fagen, an engineering company, has designed and or built more than 85 ethanol plants totaling nearly 6 billion gallons of ethanol production per year.  The goal of the two companies is to ramp up production of biobutanol.

“We are delighted to partner with Fagen on our path to commercialize biobutanol,” said Paul Beckwith, Butamax CEO. “Fagen is simply the world leader when it comes to project execution in the biofuels industry, with leading standards for safety and quality. Our shared commitment to renewable energy makes Fagen a natural partner for Butamax and our shareholders.”

Last December Butamax announced the formation of an Early Adopters Group (EAG), a group of international production companies looking to become the first to adopt Butamax biobutanal technology.  The company has several pilot projects underway to convert various feedstocks including corn and sugarcane to biobutanol.

Aaron Fagen, CEO of Fagen, added,  “Butamax offers an exciting opportunity for ethanol facilities to leverage their existing assets to produce the next generation biofuel. We look forward to working with Butamax in the deployment of their commercial strategy and their first retrofit project starting in 2013.”