More Iowa Retailers Carrying Biodiesel Blends

Cindy Zimmerman

BiodieselpumpKumGo1_0EFFDCA366A05Over half of Iowa’s fuel retailers carried biodiesel last year, up six percent from 2015 according to the Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB).

The Iowa Department of Revenue released the 2016 Retailers Fuel Gallons Annual Report this month. The report shows during 2016, the amount of on-road biodiesel sold equaled 344.8 million gallons, or 54.7 percent of total on-road diesel fuel sales reported. This is up from 308 million gallons, or 48.7 percent of total on-road (clear) diesel fuel sales the previous year.

Also of significance, the report showed twice as many gallons of 11 – 20 percent biodiesel (B11-B20) were sold than of lower blends. In addition, 471 on-road retailers now carry biodiesel in Iowa, up from 405 in 2015.

“These milestones at the retail level show that Iowa’s progressive biofuels policies are working as intended to increase production and consumption,” said Grant Kimberley, Iowa Biodiesel Board executive director. “This industry is a powerful economic driver, benefiting the rural economy and consumers alike.”

Iowa is the number one biodiesel producer in the country, with a record 305 million gallons produced by plants in the state last year.


USDA Predicts Record Soybean Acres, Less Corn

Cindy Zimmerman

The first estimate for crop plantings this year by USDA is calling for less corn but more soybeans.

According to the 2017 Prospective Plantings report, producers surveyed across the United States intend to plant an estimated 89.5 million acres of soybeans in 2017, up 7 percent from last year and a new record.
Planted acreage intentions for soybeans are up or unchanged in 27 of the 31 estimating states with the largest increase expected in Kansas with 5 million acres, an increase of 950,000 acres from 2016. Soybeans stored totaled 1.73 billion bushels, up 13 percent from March 1, 2016. On-farm soybean stocks were down 8 percent from a year ago, while off-farm stocks were up 33 percent.

Meanwhile, diminished returns for corn have growers intending to plant 90 million acres in 2017, four percent less than last year. Corn stocks totaled 8.62 billion bushels, up 10 percent from the same time last year. On-farm corn stocks were up 13 percent from a year ago, and off-farm stocks were up 6 percent.

The Prospective Plantings report provides the first official, survey based estimates of U.S. farmers’ 2017 planting intentions. NASS’s acreage estimates are based on surveys conducted during the first two weeks of March from a sample of approximately 83,300 farm operators across the United States.

corn, Soybeans, USDA

Crappie Masters is Big Target for Ethanol Message

Cindy Zimmerman

The ethanol industry is casting a wide net to hook anglers with the facts about using ten percent ethanol (E10) in boat engines by sponsoring the Crappie Masters All American Tournament Trail.

“There are over 18 million panfishing anglers in the United States and that’s just a base of what we touch,” says Crappie Masters owner Mike Vallentine, who bought the tournament in 2013 from previous owners who started it over a decade ago.

One of Vallentine’s first sponsors was the Missouri Corn Growers, which has now led to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) becoming a title sponsor of the tournament this year to expand the good news about ethanol even further. “With the power of the Renewable Fuels Association we continue to make that push and educate people,” said Vallentine. “We’ve taken this opportunity to bring the sport to a higher level.”

The next stop on the tournament trail is this Saturday, April 8, at Lake Fork in Emory, Texas. Learn more about Crappie Masters in this interview: Interview with Mike Vallentine, Crappie Masters

More interviews and photos from the Crappie Masters tournament

Audio, Boats, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

Ethanol Workforce Big on Military Vets

Cindy Zimmerman

A new Department of Energy (DOE) study shows that military veterans make up a significant share of America’s ethanol industry workforce which is not only larger than any other energy sector but more than twice the national average.

Nearly one in five ethanol industry employees is a veteran (18.9%), compared to a national average of 7% across all sectors of the workforce, according to the DOE study. The study also finds that the ethanol industry employs twice as many veterans as the oil and gas sector and nearly four times as many veterans as the coal and nuclear power generation sectors. Other renewable energy sectors, including advanced biofuels, wind and solar, also employ a relatively large share of military veterans.

These statistics confirm what veterans working in the ethanol industry have been saying recently, like East Kansas Agri-Energy (EKAE) CEO Jeff Oestmann, a former U.S. Marine who recently organized a letter from industry vets urging President Trump to include renewable fuels in his energy plan.

Nine of the 52 employees at EKAE are veterans, which is very close to the national average. “Working and investing in the ethanol industry allows us to continue honoring our commitment to making America stronger and more independent,” said Oestmann during the recent National Ethanol Conference.

Listen to Oestmann’s comments here: EKAE CEO Jeff Oestmann at #RFANEC

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

Butamax Acquires Kansas Ethanol Facility

Cindy Zimmerman

butamaxButamax Advanced Biofuels, a 50/50 joint venture between BP and DuPont, today announced the acquisition of Nesika Energy in Scandia, Kansas as the next step in the commercialization of bio-isobutanol.

“The Nesika facility will serve to demonstrate our technology at scale as well as validate process and biocatalyst improvements,” said Stuart Thomas, Butamax CEO. “Our plan is to broadly license our technology, and Nesika and the technology deployed at the site will play a key role in that activity.”

Bio-isobutanol is produced from renewable feedstocks and offers an option for growing the renewable content of gasoline and a lower carbon alternative to fossil-derived isobutanol in existing chemical applications. DuPont, BP and Butamax have partnered with the state of Kansas on economic incentives and job creation for this joint venture.

biobutanol, Ethanol, Ethanol News

US Coachways Donates $15K to Biodiesel Foundation

Cindy Zimmerman

US Coachways has been supporting sustainability and cleaner air by monthly contributions to biodiesel research and education which as of this month have totaled $15,000 provided to the National Biodiesel Foundation.

“Thanks to donations from companies such as US Coachways, the Foundation has been able to administer and support valuable education and research projects,” said Foundation president Jeff Lynn. “Over the past year we have trained hundreds of mechanics, improved the greenhouse gas emission profile of biodiesel, provided scholarships to next generation scientists, and educated key stakeholders and Congressional staff about the merits of biodiesel.”

“We contribute because we want to see the motorcoach industry become cleaner and more sustainable, and we’d also like to encourage other companies to put their commitment to sustainability into action by making donations to this foundation,” said Joseph Lucci, President of National Sales for US Coachways and its affiliates.

Headquartered in Staten Island, New York, US Coachways is a family owned and operated charter bus company that specializes in ground transportation for events such as school outings, religious retreats, camp transportation, team travel, weddings & other private events, and corporate client needs. With access to over 150 bus depots nationwide, US Coachways can help you move groups of people safely, efficiently and affordably anywhere in the United States. The nationwide company has made regular monthly contributions to the foundation since 2012.

The NBF is an inclusive, non-discriminatory 501(c) 3 organization working across the United States to create markets and expand support for biodiesel as an alternative, renewable fuel source.

Biodiesel, Education

Ag Secretary Closer to Confirmation

Cindy Zimmerman

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Thursday moved the Trump Administration one step closer to a full cabinet by voting to favorably report nominee Sonny Perdue to serve as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, which means he will now be considered by the full Senate for confirmation.

Committee chairman Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) is pleased Perdue’s nomination is closer to the finish line. “Our farmers and ranchers have been waiting too long for this important position to be filled,” said Roberts. “We need to get Governor Perdue down to USDA to get to work.”

Governor Perdue has the bipartisan support of six past agriculture secretaries and more than 650 agriculture groups. He also has the support of biofuels organizations including the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

“Gov. Perdue appreciates the challenge facing farmers today, knows that building demand will be essential to rural economic stability, and certainly understands the importance of value-added markets like ethanol,” said RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen. “We look forward to Governor Perdue receiving full Senate approval and will work with him and others in the administration to continue the growth and evolution of the U.S. biofuels industry.”

There is no vote scheduled yet for the full senate. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) was the only member of the committee to vote against Perdue, due to her concerns about how he might unfavorably impact food assistance programs at USDA.

Ethanol News, Government, RFA, USDA

Ethanol Helping Crappie Masters Grow

Cindy Zimmerman

Grenada Lake, Mississippi was host last weekend for the Mississippi State Championship, one stop on the 2017 Crappie Masters All American Tournament Trail. The Renewable Fuels Association is a title sponsor of the tournament, along with Bass Pro Shops, and it has the support of Missouri Corn Growers and American Ethanol as well.

Brian Sowers is co-host of Crappie Masters TV and very involved in the increasingly popular family sport of crappie or pan fishing. He says they started working with Missouri Corn first about three years ago as a way to educate recreational boaters about the use of ten percent ethanol fuel in boats. “Every major engine manufacturer for outboard motors approves E10 fuel in a boat,” said Sowers. “Not only is it a better choice when it comes to fuel, it supports America’s farmers, it supports America and that’s a win-win.”

Sowers says they encourage all tournament tour participants to use E10 by offering an incentive to the winning team that can prove they filled up with E10. “On a one day tournament they win $250 extra on top of their tournament winnings,” said Sowers. Add another $250 if its a two day tournament and Sowers says every tournament so far has been won by a team using E10 in their boat.

Learn more about how Crappie Masters is educating anglers about ethanol in this pocast: ZimmCast with Brian Sowers, Crappie Masters

More interviews and photos from the Crappie Masters tournament

Audio, Boats, corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

RFA, TRANSCAER Hosting Second Ethanol Safety Webinar

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and TRANSCAER® are jointly hosting this year’s second ethanol safety webinar for ethanol emergency response teams on Tuesday, April 11.

The “Train the Trainer” webinars are funded through a Federal Railroad Administration/ TRANSCAER® grant and are designed to provide entire communities with the knowledge to respond to any potential ethanol-related emergency. The program is based on the Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition (EERC) Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response.

The webinar, led by national hazardous materials trainer Joel Hendelman, is open to all professional individuals above the technical level of training who are interested in learning how to teach ethanol emergency response. These professional individuals must also have an awareness level of hazardous material storage, handing and emergency response. The webinar is intended to develop instructors to lead operations-level training.

Future webinars will be held June 14 and Aug. 2. All webinars will be held from noon to 2 p.m. ET. Registration is free, but is limited to the first 100 attendees per webinar. Certificates of attendance will be awarded following the completion of the safety seminar.

For more information or to register, visit

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, safety

Quad County Corn Processors to Evaluate XyloFerm®

Cindy Zimmerman

Quad County Corn Processors of Galva, Iowa will soon be helping to evaluate the XyloFerm® yeast strain in the Cellerate™ process on an industrial scale. XyloFerm® is a Gen 2 yeast platform from Taurus Energy AB of Sweden distributed in United States by Lallemand Biofuels & Distilled Spirits.

Now that XyloFerm has obtained GRAS status for distillers grains produced using the XyloFerm strains when consumed as animal feed, the three companies will be performing a series of tests in 385,000 gallon fermentation vessels. The trials will begin in April and will investigate the scale-up effects on technical and economic factors. Lallemand will supply XyloFerm in the form of Stabilized Liquid Yeast (SLY) and dosing system to Quad County Corn Processors for the trial, as well as on-site support.

XyloFerm® is robust prototrophic yeast strain for producing ethanol from C6 and xylose streams which offers minimal byproduct formation with a high tolerance for inhibitors common with cellulosic substrates.

Cellulosic, Distillers Grains, enzymes, Ethanol, Ethanol News