Nebraska Corn Board Funding More Blender Pumps

John Davis

Retailers in Nebraska will get some help putting in pumps that give more choices when it comes to ethanol. The Nebraska Corn Board will give grants of $30,000 for acquisition and installation of the first blender pump at a location and $10,000 for a second pump to qualifying retailers:

Blender pumps allow retailers to more easily offer additional ethanol blended fuels, expand their fuel offerings and provide a point of distinction in the marketplace while serving the growing number of motorists driving flex fuel vehicles.

Such pumps also provide opportunities for stations to more easily offer E15, which is approved for use in all model year 2001 and newer cars, light-duty trucks and SUVs.

Grants are available on a first come, first served basis. Once funding is exhausted, retailers will be placed on a waiting list and awarded grant money in the order applications were received, if additional funding becomes available.

“We recognize the cost to install blender pumps can be a hurdle, and this grant program is designed to help station owners move forward and upgrade their system,” said Curt Friesen, a farmer from Henderson and secretary-treasurer of the Nebraska Corn Board. “We especially would like to see new pumps installed in larger cities where there are more drivers, which means more flex fuel vehicles capable of using ethanol blends beyond E10 and E15.”

Officials point out that while there are more than 120,000 (and growing) flex fuel vehicles in Nebraska, there are only about 20 blender pumps and an additional 40 pumps offering E85 across the state. They point out that stations that put in the new blender pumps will be in better positions for the higher demand for the higher blends.

More information is available through the Nebraska Corn Board’s website, www.nebraskacorn.org.

corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Corn Prices Shutter Another Valero Ethanol Plant

John Davis

It looks like there’s more trouble for Valero’s corn-based ethanol plants. In just more than a week, the company has shuttered a second ethanol plant. This Reuters article says this one is in Linden, Indiana, but the reasons are the same as last week’s closing of Valero’s Nebraska facility: high corn prices:

The 110-million-gallon-a-year (500-million-liter) Linden plant is the second plant Valero has idled this summer due to poor plant economics, but the company expects to return both to production before the fall corn harvest when corn supplies increase, said Valero spokesman Bill Day.

“We’ll watch market conditions at all of our plants,” Day said.

Valero idled production on Jun 19 at its 100-million-gallon-per-year in Albion, Nebraska, as high corn prices and lower gasoline demand destroyed profits.

Another Valero ethanol plant in Ft. Dodge, Iowa is closed for a planned overhaul.

corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Survey Finds Need for More Renewable Fueling Options

Ann Marie Edwards

Iowa RFA In a recent online survey of shareholders, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) sought input on the renewable fuels industry’s impact on individuals and communities. Nearly 500 renewable fuels supporters took part in the survey and provided some intriguing responses.

“There is a growing appreciation for fueling freedom – not just E85, but E15 and E30 as well,” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “While progress has been made, the lack of flexible fueling stations is holding us back.”

The survey found that:
• Despite the common use of the term “farmer-owned ethanol plant” only 37 percent of the respondents identified themselves as farmers.
• 39 percent of respondents have a friend or family member employed directly by an ethanol or biodiesel plant.
• 57 percent of those surveyed owned a flex-fuel vehicle (FFV), with an equal 57 percent of those stating they routinely purchase E85.
• Of the FFV owners, 68 percent said flexible fueling influenced the purchase of their vehicle.
• Of FFV owners, 67 percent stated they do not find E85 refueling stations adequate.
• 29 percent of those surveyed said they own a diesel pickup or passenger car, with 51 percent of those stating they routinely purchase biodiesel blends.
• 18 percent stated B20 compatibility influenced their decision to purchase the diesel vehicle.
• Of diesel vehicle owners, 71 percent stated they do not find biodiesel refueling sites adequate.

“Biodiesel blends are attractive to consumers today,” added Shaw. “But the lack of distribution infrastructure prevents many Iowans from having the choice of biodiesel at the pump. One of our top goals is to reverse this and some major improvements are on the way.”

IRFA will release additional survey results throughout the summer in conjunction with future 10th anniversary events.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, Flex Fuel Vehicles, Iowa RFA

Vatican Gets First Electric-Powered Vehicle

John Davis

While he might be known for his red shoes, Pope Benedict XVI also shows his affection for green as the Vatican has received its first electric car donated by Italian electric car company NWG. This Fox News article says this is just one of the measures “The Green Pope” has taken to reduce the Vatican’s carbon footprint:

A 2-seat electric city car with a top speed of 62 mph and a range of around 86 miles per charge, the tiny car has already received its papal blessing and will be used for official Papal business around the Vatican City.


(Video courtesy of Romereports.com)

Back in 2010, the Vatican disclosed that His Holiness The Pope was keen to bless electric cars for Vatican use, but later admitted that it felt that electric cars couldn’t cope with the high amount of armor now standard on every Papal car.

Instead, it promised, a plug-in hybrid Popemobile was on the way.

Built by Mercedes-Benz, the new Popemobile combines an M-Class SUV with the plug-in hybrid technology found inside the Mercedes Vision S500 plug-in hybrid shown at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Now, we won’t see His Holiness zipping around Rome in the little car, but as mentioned in the story, the hybrid Popemobile is on the way.

Electric Vehicles, International

USDA, GE Combine Efforts for Biofuels for Jets in Ohio

John Davis

The USDA and General Electric are a couple of the key collaborators on a biofuels for jets program at GE Aviation’s Cincinnati-area facilities. During remarks at an event today, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack highlighted the work, along with the Ohio Aerospace Institute, air carriers and producer groups, to develop a Midwest-regional strategy to provide renewable-jet fuel in Ohio:

“We have an incredible opportunity to create thousands of new jobs and drive economic development in rural communities across America by developing innovative ways to use agricultural products to help reduce our reliance on foreign oil,” said Vilsack. “USDA’s collaboration with General Electric Aviation will bring together multiple sectors of Ohio’s economy, including agricultural producers, to foster new innovations in the field of renewable fuels while bolstering new economic opportunities in the Midwest. USDA is proud to work alongside private and public institutions to support the research, creation and distribution of next generation energy solutions.”

USDA is also working with the Ohio Soybean Council by awarding the group a Value Added Producer Grant for a pilot project through Ohio State University’s Bioproducts Innovation Center to refine bio-jet fuel from soybean oil, as well as the Farm Service Agency working with producers in northeastern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania through the agency’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). Other efforts include working with the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of the Navy and the Federal Aviation Administration for renewable fuels.

GE Aviation expects to buy up to 5 million gallons of renewable-jet fuel beginning in 2015.

biojet fuel, Government, USDA

Solazyme & Bunge Break Ground on Facility in Brazil

John Davis

Renewable oil producer Solazyme, Inc. and agribusiness and food company Bunge Limited broke ground on a 100,000 metric ton renewable oil facility right next to Bunge’s Moema sugarcane mill in Brazil. This press release says that the companies have also brought on as general manager Hildo Henz, an experienced engineer who has led major refinery projects during his career, to run the joint venture known as Solazyme Bunge Produtos Renováveis Ltda.

Mr. Henz brings over 20 years of experience in operations and management to his new role. Previously, he was the engineering director at Brenco, a Brazilian renewable energy company, where he led greenfield projects in excess of US$ 500 million. Prior to Brenco, Mr. Henz was CEO of Alberto Pasqualini – REFAP S/A, a Petrobras/Repsol joint-venture refinery in Brazil, where he led its US$ 1.3 billion expansion. He had previously served as a strategic planning manager at Petrobras in Rio de Janeiro, where he implemented new refining technologies.

“Our joint venture with Solazyme is off to a strong start and we continue to build excitement about the renewable oil product opportunities that will emerge from the partnership. Breaking ground at Moema and adding Hildo as General Manager are great indications of our joint commitment to the sugar-to-oils platform and we look forward to continued progress,” said Ben Pearcy, Managing Director of Sugar & Bioenergy and Chief Development Officer, Bunge Limited.

“We are very happy to have broken ground on our Solazyme-Bunge joint venture facility on schedule and are also greatly pleased to have brought Hildo on board to run the JV. Hildo brings an unparalleled level of expertise that will enable successful plant commissioning and operations,” said Jonathan Wolfson, CEO, Solazyme. “He is a top-tier seasoned executive who has built, overseen and launched large manufacturing businesses and we are fortunate to have him as the General Manager.

Construction is expected to be complete late next year.

biofuels, Brazil, International

Edeniq Producing Cellulosic Ethanol in California

Cindy Zimmerman

A California-based biofuels company officially launched its Corn to Cellulosic Migration (CCM) pilot biorefinery this week. The CCM biorefinery is located at the headquarters of Edeniq in Visalia, California.

According to the company, the pilot plant’s technologies can be used as bolt-on technology to existing facilities to allow the use of other feedstocks such as corn stover, switchgrass, sugarcane bagasse, and woodchips.

The plant was constructed in partnership with Logos Technologies Inc. under a $25 million program funded 80% by the Integrated Biorefinery Initiative Program of the U.S. Department of Energy. The pilot plant has the capacity to convert two dry tons per day of feedstock into cellulosic sugars and 50,000 gallons per year cellulosic ethanol. According to the Department of Energy, ethanol produced from cellulosic materials has the potential to cut life cycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 86% relative to gasoline.

“Reducing our dependency on foreign oil with minimal effect on the environment is a goal that Edeniq shares with all Americans,” said Brian Thome, President and CEO of Edeniq. “We are working towards this goal by demonstrating, in our pilot plant, advanced technologies and methods to convert non-food cellulosic feedstocks into ethanol in an economically and environmentally compelling way.”

The ethanol process equipment for the pilot plant was skid mounted and shop manufactured in Michigan and then shipped to California for assembling into the integrated plant. Edeniq is gathering metrics from the pilot plant for construction and scale-up opportunities at commercial-sized facilities.

With a new logo and website, Edeniq celebrated the launch of the pilot plant this week with a new logo and website and an industry event at company headquarters.

advance biofuels, Cellulosic, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

Most Favor Choice at the Pump

Melissa Sandfort

Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Will you buy E15 for your MY2001 or later car if it’s offered?”

Our poll results: Nearly half, forty-nine percent, said Yes; twenty-nine percent said No; and twenty-two percent said it depends on price. Looks like consumers are in favor of having a choice at the pump, and are fans of ethanol!

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, ” When do you think Congress will complete a Farm Bill?” On June 20, the Senate voted 64 to 35 to pass the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012. When do you think — given that it’s an election year and amidst all other “big” news items — we will have a new “Farm Bill?”

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

ZimmPoll

Ethanol Production Expected to Grow this Year

John Davis

New numbers show that, globally, ethanol production will be up just slightly this year. In the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance’s Global Annual Ethanol Production Forecast, the group that represents about two-thirds of the world’s ethanol production in 44 countries says production of the green fuel should hit 85.2 billion litres in 2012. This comes despite the worries about the world’s economy:

“While the world’s financial health continues to preoccupy policy makers and governments, the global ethanol industry continues to be a bright spot in the world economy. It continues to grow, supporting nearly 1.4 million jobs and contributing $277.3 billion to the global economy in 2010,” said Global Renewable Fuels Alliance spokesperson, Bliss Baker.

“The GRFA’s 2012 production forecast sees global ethanol production continuing to displace the need for hundreds of millions of barrels of imported crude oil, further reducing our crippling reliance on foreign oil,” said Baker. “Policy makers and governments must recognize the significant contribution biofuels are making to the global economy while reducing the world’s foreign oil consumption,” added Mr. Baker.

The United States and Brazil continue to be the largest producers of ethanol with production continuing at a steady pace in 2012.

The report highlights that Africa will see a 36 percent increase in ethanol production, although the continent remains relatively low compared to the big producers of ethanol. Europe is expected to see an 11 percent increase in ethanol production.

Ethanol, Ethanol News

Car Drives on Primus’ New Biomass & Natural Gas Fuel

John Davis

To show off their new $7 million demonstration plant in Hillsborough, New Jersey, the folks at Primus Green Energy’s took out for a spin a car fueled with the company’s 93-octane gasoline made from natural gas and biomass.

Primus offcials were joined by several federal, state and local officials, including former N.J. Gov. James J. Florio:

The speakers’ remarks centered on Primus’ landmark achievement, which marks a milestone in the transition from a fuel economy based on petroleum to one based on domestically produced alternative fuels. This theme was sounded by Gov. Florio when he reminded the audience in his keynote address that they will some day be able to look back and “take pride at being here at the beginning.”

The construction of our new demonstration plant is a tremendous achievement that showcases our ability to scale our technology,” said Robert J. Johnsen, Primus’ chief executive officer. “We have gone from the concept stage to the demonstration stage in only five years and now, with the demo plant, we can further refine our technology with the goal of commercializing our technology next year.”

Primus Green Energy has been funded since its inception by a single investor, IC Green Energy, which is the alternative energy investment arm of Israel Corp., Israel’s largest publicly traded corporation.

IC Green Energy’s president and CEO, Dr. Yom-Tov Samia reminded government officials of the importance of committing funds for research and development to an industry that is vital to the energy security of the United States and Israel.

The new plant is expected to be completed late this year.

biomass, Natural Gas