Driving Forward Agenda Announced

Joanna Schroeder

Next year’s 18th Annual National Ethanol Conference (NEC): Driving Forward, sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) will help the ethanol industry continue to lead the nation to a stronger, more energy independent America. With an agenda supporting this goal, the event will highlight many regulatory, marketing and policy issues including:

  • Perspectives on the Future of the RFS
  • Expanding Renewable Fuels Globally
  • Washington Legislative Roundtable
  • The Reality of Distributing and Dispensing 36 BG of Renewable Fuels
  • Future Fuels and Higher Octane
  • Dispelling the Myth of the Phantom Fuel
  • E15: Measuring Success

The event will kick off on February 5, 2013 and on the 6th, RFA President Bob Dinneen will deliver that State of the Industry address. Other sessions include: Perspectives on the Future of the RFS; Expanding Renewable Fuels Globally; Washington Legislative Roundtable; Panel Discussion: The Reality of Distributing and Dispensing 36 BG of Renewable Fuels; and more.

To see the full agenda and register, visit the Driving Forward website.

biofuels, Cellulosic, Ethanol, RFA

REG Reports 3rd Quarter Financial Results

Joanna Schroeder

The Renewable Energy Group (REG) has reported its third quarter financial results. Revenues were $322.9 million, an increase of 26 percent compared to revenues of $256.5 million for the same period in 2011. Third quarter 2012 adjusted EBITDA was a loss of $2.3 million, a decrease of 105 percent compared to $46.7 million for the same period in 2011. A few other third quarter highlights:
  • 2 million gallons sold, up 40 percent year-over-year
  • Cash flow from operations of $6.2 million
  • Adjusted EBITDA loss of $2.3 million due to risk management transactions and RIN price declines
  • Distribution expanded with new terminal locations in New Mexico and California
  • Acquired a 15 million gallon-per-year multi-feedstock plant in New Boston, Texas, after the close of the quarter

“REG achieved meaningful success in the quarter, even with the adjusted EBITDA loss that was caused by accounting for risk management positions and RIN price declines,” said Daniel J. Oh, President and Chief Executive Officer of REG. “Our revenues continued to increase, our gallons sold were up 40 percent compared to third quarter 2011, we acquired additional production capacity at an attractive price, and we expanded distribution.”

Oh continued, “We remain optimistic about the growing biodiesel industry and are especially pleased with EPA’s formalized 2013 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO). With an RVO that is 28 percent above this year’s, the industry demand outlook is solid. Our acquisition of the New Boston, Texas facility is evidence of our long-term confidence and our commitment to remain a leader in the industry.”

advance biofuels, Alternative energy, Biodiesel, REG

Students Rock Ethanol

Joanna Schroeder

High school senior Jason Girouard from Brimfield, Massachusetts has won the Ethanol Rocks video contest sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association. Girouard was awarded $1,500. Freshman Emily Yue from Gilford, Connecticut and senior Lewis Kloster of Minneapolis, Minnesota were both awarded second-place honor and $500 a piece.

“The purpose of the contest was to get youth interested in learning about renewable fuel while having fun,” said NCGA Ethanol Committee Chair Chad Willis. “However, I think we may have turned a few of the more inquisitive kids into ethanol evangelists. The enthusiasm about their learning experience was the biggest payoff of the project.”

Students from across the U.S. submitted entries and learned a bit more about ethanol along the way. Many focused on co-products produced during the ethanol production process such as distillers grains and CO2 used to carbonated beverages. Yet what judges found most intriguing was seeing the experiences of an urban American who walked into a corn field for the first time.

Agribusiness, corn, Education, Ethanol, NCGA, Video

Agri-Pulse Poll Favors Romney and RFS

Cindy Zimmerman

A new poll of farmers and ranchers out today finds that a vast majority say they will vote Romney for president and believe continuation of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is important.

According to the Agri-Pulse Farm and Rural Poll, 78 percent of farmers polled are voting for Mitt Romney in the presidential election, and 76% said continuation of the RFS is very or somewhat important to the future profitability of agriculture in the U.S. Only 12 percent indicated the RFS was “not very important” or “not at all important,” while 12 percent said they are “not sure.” Significantly, half of those surveyed who raise only livestock answered that continuing the RFS is “very important.”

On November 1, 2012, Pulse Opinion Research conducted a telephone survey of 319 farmers and ranchers who are likely voters. Questions covered the presidential election, farm bill priorities, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s job performance rating, the Renewable Fuels Standard, and other topics.

The telephone survey found that 71 percent of respondents strongly disapprove of President Obama’s job performance while 12 percent strongly approve. Of all farmers polled, 51 percent labeled themselves Republican, 26 percent Democrat.

Poll results available here.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, farm bill, politics, RFS

Time to Vote

Chuck Zimmerman

I voted. Have you?

It really is a civic duty and I hope you’ll take the time today to get it done. I’m not writing this to encourage you to vote for a certain person or issue. Hopefully you will have become familiar with the issues in your state and know what to do. As far as the Presidential race, you’ve got a clear choice. I can’t see how anyone can be undecided.

So, let’s get out there and get it done. The results will have a major impact on how we run our businesses in this country and you folks involved in the renewable fuels industry will not be unaffected. If you want to know my vote I’ll be happy to tell you. If you know me well you already know!

I don’t know if you use FourSquare but if you check in from your voting location using the #IVoted hashtag you’ll show up on their voting map.


Renewable Energy Lobbyists Make The Hill List

Cindy Zimmerman

Several advocates for renewable fuels and alternative energy made the annual list of top lobbyists in Washington D.C. compiled by “The Hill.”

Among those recognized by The Hill were the heads of both the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy. The publication called RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen a “Capitol Hill mainstay for the biofuels industry, Dinneen has been an integral player in many of the renewable fuels sector’s policy victories.” Noting that Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis was formally head of the National Farmers Union, The Hill noted that he “is pressing lawmakers to maintain renewable fuels policies that are popular in rural America.”

The Hill also recognized Denise Bode and Rob Gramlich with American Wind Energy Association. “Bode’s fluency in tax policy has been a godsend for wind companies as they push Congress to extend an industry incentive,” said The Hill. “Gramlich has been with AWEA since 2005, a seven-year stretch that has seen explosive growth in wind power.” On the corporate side for wind energy, The Hill gave a nod to Rich Glick of Iberdrola Renewables, the nation’s second-largest wind power operator. Glick served in Bill Clinton’s Energy Department.

Traditional energy sources were also represented in the top lobbyists listing, including “unflappable” Jack Gerard of the American Petroleum Institute.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Growth Energy, RFA, Wind

Pacific Ethanol to use Corn Oil Technology at 2nd Plant

Cindy Zimmerman

Pacific Ethanol has announced the implementation of corn oil separation technology at a second plant.

Pacific EthanolThe company is planning to install the technology, which recovers corn oil as a co-product from the ethanol production process, at its Stockton, California plant. The company has awarded Edeniq with a contract for its patented OilPlus(TM) technology, which is expected to be implemented at the Stockton plant by the second quarter of 2013. In June 2012, the company announced the implementation of corn oil separation technology at its Magic Valley, Idaho facilty.

“Corn oil is a high value co-product for the Pacific Ethanol plants, provides us with further diversification of our revenue streams and contributes additional operating income to the plants,” said company president Neil Koehler. “Our Stockton plant is the second of our facilities to implement corn oil separation technology, and we expect to soon award contracts for our two other Pacific Ethanol plants.”

ICM Inc. was awarded the Magic Valley installation contract for its patented Advanced Oil Separation System™, which was scheduled to be complete by the end of this year to begin generating revenue for the company in the first quarter of 2013. Pacific Ethanol estimates that the plant could produce as much as 12 million pounds of corn oil per year.

corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, technology

DuPont Pioneer Economist Talks Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

At last week’s American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA) Annual Meeting and AgroNomics conference in Indianapolis, the Economics Director for DuPont Pioneer gave an overview on the outlook for global agriculture and part of that discussion included a look at ethanol and what might happen if the Environmental Protection Agency decides to waive the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“We’ll find out on November 14,” Steve Elmore told the conference. “What they EPA says in that waiver and what it is going forward is going to make a big difference on how the markets view it and everything else…that will be a big guiding factor in the markets and in acres for 2013.”

However, Elmore says the RFS “doesn’t matter as much as people think.” What matters more is the inclusion rates for ethanol in fuel. “We’re producing more than the 10% inclusion rate right now,” he said. “We need to worry about the inclusion rates and agriculture will have to work with the auto industry and Big Oil to make it happen.”

Elmore says Brazil is coming back on line with its sugar crop which will impact the export market for U.S. ethanol which has been up in recent years.

Listen to Elmore’s comments here: Ethanol Comments from Steve Elmore

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Pioneer

Ethanol Fuels Successful ASRW

Cindy Zimmerman

The 2012 Automotive Service & Repair Week (ASRW) was a great success in New Orleans last month, in part due to new sponsors and exhibitors like the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

Automotive Service Association (ASA) president Ron Pyle reports that ASRW featured 237 exhibiting companies, with 43 new exhibitors and 16,652 attendees this year. “By all standards and measurements, ASRW 2012 was a successful event,” said Pyle. “We continue to adjust the content and activities to best meet the needs of today’s repair professional. And we’re pleased with the recent news that our Orlando event earned ASRW a spot on TSNN’s “Fastest 50” list of trade shows. The industry continues to support our decision to rotate the show around the country, and we look forward to delivering an even stronger show next fall in Las Vegas.”

Bobby Likis, nationally syndicated car-talk host of “Bobby Likis Car Clinic,” was very pleased to be part of this year’s event with other new exhibitors for the show. “ASRW is a must-attend for automotive service technicians and shop owners who want to proactively deliver best-of practices and products to their customers,” said Likis. “Car Clinic, Ricardo Engineering (designers of the Extreme Boost Direct Injection [EBDI] engine) and the Renewable Fuels Association (the voice of American ethanol producers) were all first-time exhibitors at CARS 2012.”

ASRW 2013 is scheduled for Oct. 16-19 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev.

CARS, Ethanol, Ethanol News

More Accurate ILUC Carbon Accounting

Joanna Schroeder

Dr. Jesper Hedal Kløverpris and Dr. Steffen Mueller have proposed a new approach to measuring the climate impact of biofuels related land-use changes (ILUC) as opposed to other land use changes: “Baseline Time Accounting Concept” and believe it should become an integrated part of future ILUC studies. According to the researchers, this model incorporates baseline time accounting into ILUC models, leading to a more accurate assessment of global warming impact. The peer reviewed study was published in the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment.

Jesper and Mueller explain that climate impact estimates are more precise when indirect land use emissions from the conversion of land at the agricultural frontier are compared with emissions resulting from the baseline conversion the same land. Historically, ILUC models assume a static land baseline although land use trend regionally differ.

“As many others, I have always been uncomfortable with the annualization method applied for time accounting in most previous ILUC studies because it is basically arbitrary,” said Kløverpris. “A more sophisticated approach was required to assess the actual climate impact of indirect land use change. Baseline time accounting is our proposal for a more scientifically rigorous way of dealing with the time issue in ILUC studies as the science is refined.”

More specifically, the approach incorporates two agricultural land use dynamics that they say is missing from previous time accounting models. The first is accelerated expansion which occurs in regions such as Latin America where agriculture area is expanding. Biofuel production may move up by a year or more the ongoing conversion of land to agriculture.

Globally, explain the researchers, the agricultural area will continue to expand for some decades, so a piece of land converted as an indirect result of biofuels production today would have come into production at some point regardless. That may not continue to be the case but one of the points with baseline time accounting is to assess biofuels production under the conditions prevailing when the biofuels are produced. If global land use dynamics change, so does the climate impact of ILUC.

The second dynamic is delayed reversion Read More

advance biofuels, Carbon Dioxide, Indirect Land Use