Growth’s Manning Talks #E15 Market Access

Joanna Schroeder

The Growth Energy team has been working hard on expanding market access for ethanol across the country. To learn more about their efforts, I sat down with Kelly Manning during the Farm Progress Show and we kicked off the interview with talking about the roll out of E15 and the Prime the Pump program. Manning said the retailers have been phenomenal to work with. Today there are over 300 retail stations offering E15 in 25 states and by the end of 2017 there will be a 1,000 retailers offering E15. This will mean, says Manning, there will be around 5,000 pumps offering E15.

One of the keys, says Manning, is when retailers understand that offering higher ethanol blends give them an economic leg up over their competitors, they come on board.

Last year Growth Energy's Kelly Manning brought out the "big guns" for ethanol. This year, I've added my guns to Kelly's for ethanol during the 2016 Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa.

Last year Growth Energy’s Kelly Manning brought out the “big guns” for ethanol. This year, I’ve added my guns to Kelly’s for ethanol during the 2016 Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa.

I asked Manning what the tipping point was for the first set of retailers to come on board and then the others follow. He said that is what Prime the Pump is doing. He says that when retailers put that first E15 pump in and consumers purchase the fuel – E15 is outselling other blends at most stations – then as they build out new stations they put E15 in on their own.

But there are still some challenges to greater adoption that we discussed. One is that states such as California whose regulations do not allow retailers to sell E15. To date, we’re seeing the majority of E15 going in at stations in the Eastern 2/3 of the country. Manning says they need to do a better job of opening the West. “We’ve earmarked the top retailers out west and are starting to have discussion with them- much better discussions than we would have had two years ago when no one was offering E15. So the fact that others are out there offering E15 and know that it’s been a success, it’s making the discussion a little more exciting for some of these retailers in the Western states.

One is the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) issues that keeps E15 from legally being sold during summer months to non-flex fuel cars. Thus, says Manning, retailers have to re-brand all their pumps for sale to FFVs only. “But retailers are so passionate they are doing visits on their own to their local districts to find out how E5 can be offered all year long,” says Manning. He also notes that its an archaic ruling that keeps E15 from being sold year round dating back to the early 1900s and that RVP is actually less with higher ethanol blends. Manning adds this isn’t just an issue for the ethanol industry – retailers are doing a lot of the work. Manning also notes that Growth will look at opportunities with the new administration to help open up the market, and he is also calling on the industry, retailers and consumers to tell ethanol’s success story to the coasts.

To learn more market access, listen to my interview with Kelly Manning: Interview with Kelly Manning, Growth Energy

2016 Farm Progress Show Photos

Audio, E15, Ethanol, Farm Progress Show, Growth Energy, Retailers

#FlexFuel Roadmap for Retailers Now Online

Cindy Zimmerman

flexfuel-roadmapA new tool developed by the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) for gasoline and ethanol retailers is now available online.

The online tool is an interactive version of the E15 and FFV Retailer Roadmap released last month in print form at the ACE annual meeting. It features an interactive calculator that retailers can use to compare current sales and revenue to results achieved by their peers currently offering higher blends of ethanol, according to ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty.

“Our Roadmap website is similar to the guide we’ve just published for retailers, since both provide state-by-state laws, programs, statistics, and “back-of-the-napkin” examples of the profit potential of selling higher ethanol blends for an average retail store in their state. Those examples aren’t predictions, they simply show what a fictional ‘average’ store in that state could do if its sales increased at the level of current mid-tier or top-performing E15 & flex fuel retailers,” said Lamberty. “The Roadmap isn’t meant to be a ‘how-to,” it’s more of a “maybe you can.” On this website, we’ve added a feature that station owners or managers can use to plug in their own numbers – actual current gasoline volume, and different fuel and inside sales margins – to see the potential of higher blends, and help them decide if they want to take a closer look at offering their customers some new fuel choices.”

Lamberty notes that the website’s state-by-state profiles feature important stats for c-store owners and operators including the number of flex-fuel stations, flex-fuel and total vehicles registered in the state and a comparison of those numbers to show the potential demand per state for E15 and E85 volume and stations.

Lamberty will be handing out copies of the Roadmap publication and demonstrating the new website during the Pacific Oil Conference this week.

ACE, E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Flex Fuel Vehicles, Retailers

American #Ethanol Boat Smashes Speed Record

Cindy Zimmerman

american-ethanol-boatAmerican Ethanol boats have been making waves across the country this summer. Competitors from around the country participated in two recent powerboat racing competitions – the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Missouri, and the Mentor Superboat Grand Prix in Ohio – and many of the top performing boats at each event ran on high-ethanol blends, with over 30 performing at their peak with higher blends at the event in Missouri, including a world record-setting performance.

At the recent Lake of the Ozark’s shootout, Don Onken’s American Ethanol Mystic Powerboats Catamaran broke its own previous record of 208 mph, and took home “Top Gun” honors with a record setting speed of 217 mph while running on a high-ethanol fuel blend. Onken’s speed was the fastest ever recorded for a piston-powered boat at the event. Meanwhile, Garth Tagge and his team came in second place to Onken’s boat at the Shootout in their 36-foot Skater Classic Deck, with a top speed of 194 mph. Garth and crew increased their speed, power and performance this year after they made the switch to a cleaner burning, high ethanol blend.

In Ohio, Keith Holmes claimed a victory in his American Ethanol Cat Can Do Catamaran, earning his sixth victory in 11 starts. “Running ethanol has given us a huge gain in torque with these supercharged Sterling engines which gives us a great advantage coming out of the turns,” said Holmes. “We also have had awesome durability with over 2,000 miles of racing over the last two racing seasons on our first set of these ethanol built engines….We run ethanol because it works.”

American Ethanol, Boats, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Growth Energy

RFA Foundation Hosting 4th Octane Webinar

Cindy Zimmerman

rfalogo1The Renewable Fuels Foundation, the education and research arm of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), is hosting the fourth of five webinars Thursday focused on ethanol’s unique octane properties, its importance as a blend component in today’s gasoline supply, and its potential role as the low-carbon octane source of choice in future fuels.

The Sept. 8 webinar will focus on future fuel economy standards, using advanced engine technologies to improve fuel economy and how turbocharged and high-compression ratio engines benefit from high-octane, mid-level ethanol blends.

The webinar, which is being conducted by MathPro, Inc., a firm specializing in technical and economic analysis of the petroleum refining sector, will be held from 11 a.m. – noon CT and is free for RFA members. The fee for non-members is $250 per session. To reserve your spot, please contact Missy Ruff at or 202-446-1944.

Karen Anderson-Schank of RFA member company CHS has said these webinars “present an excellent opportunity to learn more about the tremendous octane benefits provided by ethanol….After participating in the first webinar, I would strongly recommend this series to colleagues in the industry.”

Following Thursday’s session, there is one more webinar in the series on Sept. 29. The final webinar will focus on the economics of high octane fuels. More information on all five webinars is available here.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Octane, RFA

Iowa RFA PAC Honors State Legislators

Cindy Zimmerman

irfa-logo-newThe Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) PAC announced 19 state legislators have been designated as “Champions of Renewable Fuels.” The IRFA PAC Board awarded state legislators seeking reelection who maintained a clear voting record supporting renewable fuels and displayed leadership for renewable fuels in the Iowa Legislature. This is the fourth election cycle the IRFA PAC has given such recognition.

“The IRFA PAC is proud to support these state legislators who have been consistent leaders and supporters of important renewable fuels issues,” stated IRFA PAC Treasurer Denny Mauser. “These ‘Champions of Renewable Fuels’ helped grow Iowa’s leadership in renewable fuels production and use by working tirelessly to strengthen Iowa’s economy, air quality and rural communities by improving opportunities for ethanol and biodiesel.”

Check here for a list of all legislators honored by IRFA.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Iowa RFA

Biofuels & Carbon Study Continues to be Debunked

Joanna Schroeder

FullSizeRender (1)Responses to the recent study by John DeCicco on biofuels and carbon continue with many coming from researchers including Dr. Steffen Mueller, principal economist with the Energy Resources Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In a published retort, he wrote that the study, “…fails to establish a correlation between existing biofuels policies and net carbon uptake and it neglects several important carbon pools in its assessment.”

Mueller wrote in his response that he, along with other researchers, reviewed both the publication and supplemental information including the spreadsheet with calculation details. He states, “We support the notion that valuable insights can be gained from tracking both carbon inflows and outflows (emissions and uptake) within consistent modeling boundaries. However, in this case the boundaries are set to include largely unrelated agricultural carbon flows.”

The CeCicco paper, funded by oil industry, made biofuels production responsible for a net gain in “net ecosystem production” (NEP) and argues a correlation between biofuels production and crop mix development. However, Mueller argues that this relationship is weak and pointed out that in many instances, corn acres planted were reduced even though ethanol production increased. Mueller continued, “However, the paper’s general approach to assess to what degree ethanol emissions match with changes in NEP is questionable.

Ultimately, Mueller writes that, “…the ABC methodology fails to establish a correlation between existing biofuels policies and net carbon uptake and it neglects several important carbon pools in its assessment. Further research in this area is required.

Click here to read Dr. Mueller’s full academic response to the biofuels and carbon study.

biofuels, Carbon Dioxide, Climate Change, Ethanol

IA Sen Ernst Visits Quad County Corn Processors

Joanna Schroeder

Last week Iowa Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) took some time to learn more about ethanol production and the benefits of the biofuel when she visited Quad County Corn Processors along with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. On hand for the tour included reps from Syngenta, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and the Iowa Corn Growers Association. One of Quad County’s claim to fame is their Cellerate technology – developed by members of the plant itself – that produces cellulosic ethanol from the corn kernel. The biorefinery was the first in the country to do so.

Ponsi Trivisvavet, president of Syngenta Seeds LLC (left); Delayne Johnson, CEO of Quad County Corn Processors; Sen. Joni Ernst; and Gov. Terry Branstad.

Ponsi Trivisvavet, president of Syngenta Seeds LLC (left); Delayne Johnson, CEO of Quad County Corn Processors; Sen. Joni Ernst; and Gov. Terry Branstad.

While onsite, the groups discussed the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the need for high compression engines to be manufactured by the autos and the need for a Reid Vapor Pressure Waiver for E15 that would allow the fuel to be sold year-round to conventional vehicles model year 2001 or newer.

According to Branstad, renewable fuels are key to the state’s economic development, as well as the country’s energy independence. Renewable fuel is something I’m very passionate about. Renewable fuels are important for Iowa and they are important for America. A robust renewable fuel standard (RFS) will continue to diversify our nation’s transportation fuels, add value to commodities grown in rural America, reduce emissions, and provide consumers low-cost choices at the pump.

Ernst noted that Iowa leads the nation in ethanol production, producing enough E85 each year to drive a pickup truck around the Earth’s equator 2.4 million times. “The RFS ensures our national fuel supply provides increased consumer choice, decreases dependence on foreign oil, improves the environment, and creates jobs for those in Iowa—and across the country.

Quad County’s CEO Delayne Johnson said he hopes that other ethanol plants add the Cellerate technology, marketed by Syngenta along with the Enogen corn enzyme technology. He noted, “Adding corn fiber-to-cellulosic ethanol technology at every existing dry mill ethanol plant across the U.S. would have a significant effect on greenhouse gas reductions. The potential reduction would be equivalent to removing as many as 2.98 million passenger cars from the road, or 4.1 average coal-fired plants, or the amount of carbon sequestered by as many as 13.3 million acres of forest.”

Jack Bernens, head of Enogen at Syngenta, agreed with Johnson and added, “Ethanol is helping America reduce its dependence on foreign oil, improve the environment, lower prices at the pump and grow the economy with jobs that can’t be outsourced. QCCP helped kick off a new era for the biofuels industry when it opened its commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facility. By helping to squeeze more ethanol from the same kernel of corn, Cellerate technology enhanced by Enogen corn can help make ethanol even more sustainable.”

To date, Quad County Corn Processors has produced 5 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol, which represents 90 percent of total U.S. cellulosic ethanol production (D3 RINs) in the last three years.

advance biofuels, Cellulosic, Enogen, Ethanol, RFS

#Ethanol, DDG Exports Jump in July

Joanna Schroeder

The month of July saw a jump in ethanol and distillers grains with solubles (DDGs) exports. According to Geoff Coooper, Senior Vice President of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), total U.S. exports for the month were 69.3 million gallons (mg), a 49 percent increase from June and the highest since April. Top destinations included Canada (19.9 mg), Brazil (15.2 mg) and India (11.2 mg). For the second straight month, China was absent from the market. Export totals for the year to date are 516.4 mg with total export totals for 2016 predicted to be around 885.3 mg.

July 2016 monthly ethanol exportsExports of denatured fuel ethanol tallied at 22.0 mg, up 7 percent from June. Canada remained the top market for denatured product for fuel use, taking in 19.9 mg. Peru was the only other major customer for denatured fuel ethanol exports, receiving 2.1 mg.

Undenatured fuel ethanol exports increased to 44.1 mg, nearly double the 23.6 mg shipped in June. At 15.2 mg, Brazil was again the leading destination for undenatured fuel exports. For the first time in three months, India was seen importing U.S. undenatured product for fuel use, bringing in 11.2 mg. The Philippines imported 10.3 mg, its largest monthly total of the year. Mexico (2.2 mg), South Korea (1.8 mg) and Saudi Arabia (1.5 mg) were other notable destinations in July. Exports of denatured and undenatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage use were 3.2 mg in July, with Canada receiving the lion’s share at 2.7 mg.

The U.S. imported 10.5 mg of ethanol from Brazil in July—identical to the June total. Year-to-date ethanol imports stood at 23.0 mg through July, suggesting annual imports of 39.4 mg.

Exports of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product from dry mill ethanol production—surged to a nine-month high of 1.094 million metric tons (mt) in July, up 9 percent from June. China was the top market for U.S. exports for the third month in a row, receiving 358,985 mt. Mexico (147,779 mt), Vietnam (116,180 mt), South Korea (80,460 mt) and Thailand (61,744 mt) were other leading DDGS importers. Shipments to both Vietnam and Thailand were the highest of the year to those countries. Year-to-date DDGS exports tallied at 6.45 million mt, indicating an annualized total of 11.07 million mt.

Distillers Grains, Ethanol, Exports, RFA

Report Says #Biofuels Can Help Fight Climate Change

Joanna Schroeder

Dion McBay, Monsanto, unveils the results of the new report, "“Charting a Path to Carbon Neutral Agriculture: Mitigation Potential for Crop Based Strategies," during the 2016 Farm Progress Show.

Dion McBay, Monsanto, unveils the results of the new report, “Charting a Path to Carbon Neutral Agriculture: Mitigation Potential for Crop Based Strategies,” during the 2016 Farm Progress Show.

According to a new report from the 2016 Farm Progress Show biofuels can help combat climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). ICF International conducted the research entitled, “Charting a Path to Carbon Neutral Agriculture: Mitigation Potential for Crop Based Strategies,” and found that widespread adoption of recommended practices could potentially result in more than 100 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent emission reductions in the U.S. alone.

The report focused on three near term strategies including cover crops, conservation tillage and precision nutrient management. The study also identified several long-term strategies that can also help reduce carbon emissions, but will require more research and time to scale-up. These strategies include:

  • Ethanol production from corn stover. Corn stover (the stalks, leaves and cobs left in the field after corn harvest) represents a sizeable renewable source of biomass to augment ethanol production. This material could help reduce emissions from fossil fuels while sustainably managing excess crop residues in the field.
  • Utilize crop material left in the field after harvest. There also is a possibility that available excess corn stover could be burned alongside coal in coal-fired power plants, which would reduce the amount of fossil fuel used through the use of this renewable source of energy. Available corn stover also could be processed into plant-based charcoal (biochar) that could be incorporated into the soil to increase soil health and store carbon in the soil not in the atmosphere.

This report shows promising results and helps confirm the significant impact farmers can make when they adopt and maintain the practices noted in the report,” said Michael Lohuis, Ph.D., Lead Scientist for Environmental Strategy for Agriculture for Monsanto who commissioned the report as part of the company’s commitment to achieve a carbon neutrality by 2021.

Debbie Reed, Executive Director with the Coalition for Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, added, “Agriculture has the potential to play a critical role in addressing climate change. This report adds another critical set of data points to help quantify and demonstrate how the agriculture community can take actionable steps, both in the near-term and long-term that will have a substantial and positive impact on our planet.”

Listen to the Combating Climate Change with Ag press conference here: Combating Climate Change Report Presser

2016 Farm Progress Show Photos

advance biofuels, Biodiesel, Climate Change, Ethanol, Farm Progress Show

New York Proposes Move to #E15

Joanna Schroeder

One of the challenges to full-scale adoption of E15 is rules and regulations in some states that keep E15 from being offered at the pump. The state of New York is one of these (as is California) but this could be changing. The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets has proposed a rule to update the state’s fuel regulations to allow the sale of E15. Should the rule be approved, retailers can begin offering consumers a new choice at the pump. New Yorkers consume more than 5.5 billion gallons of gas each year, making the state the fourth largest gas market in the U.S.

Growth Energy says for the past two years they have been working with the state to update the regulation to allow the sale of E15.

growth-energy-logo1“This proposal marks a major victory for consumers, who would gain access to cleaner, more affordable choices at the pump. Biofuel blends, like E15, are already used on the racetrack at Watkins Glen, and if the proposal is approved, drivers will be able to experience the same economic, environmental and performance-enhancing benefits,” responded Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor upon hearing the news. “We appreciate the Department’s work on this regulation to reflect federal approval of E15 and we look forward to working with retailers across the Empire State to quickly get E15 into the market.

Timothy Winters, CFO of Western New York Energy, an ethanol plant, added, “E15 represents an exciting opportunity for New Yorkers to select affordable, clean-burning biofuels produced at plants like ours. Back in 2004, we set out with a mission to harness the power of Western New York’s renewable resources to provide consumers with a high-octane, earth-friendly option at the pump. With higher blends like E15 in the marketplace, we can continue to help drivers save money and improve the quality of the air we all breathe, all while creating jobs and growing our local economy.

E15, Ethanol, Growth Energy