Brazil Postpones Imposing Tariffs on US Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

A decision by Brazil’s Chamber of Foreign Trade (CAMEX) on whether to impose tariffs on U.S. ethanol has been postponed by until next month for further evaluation. Brazilian sugarcane and ethanol producer associations proposed to reinstate the ethanol import tariff in Brazil after a recent surge in shipments coming in from the United States. UNICA has proposed a 16% tariff on imported ethanol while other producer groups have requested a return to the 20% duty that was discontinued in 2010.

“This is a critically important issue that will impact Brazilian consumers and commodity markets across the globe. It demands very thoughtful consideration,” said the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Growth Energy and the U.S. Grains Council in a joint statement. “We strongly believe that re-imposing an import tariff on U.S. ethanol would only lead to increased fuel prices, and endanger the positive and hard-won cooperative trade relationship between our two countries concerning the production, use and global trade in ethanol.”

Brazil was the top destination for U.S. ethanol in March, according to RFA, with nearly 30% of total market share. However, shipments to Brazil were down 28% from February’s record. U.S. ethanol producers have already shipped a total of 146.4 mg to Brazil in the first quarter of 2017, meaning the country has accounted for almost 40% of total year-to-date exports.

RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen says they are concerned that Brazil is even considering this as an option. “It would be a step backwards for Brazilian consumers who would see higher prices at the pump because some sugarcane producers want to maximize profitability and keep out competition,” said Dinneen. “And it stands in stark contrast to decades of rhetoric from Brazil about the need for free trade when it comes to biofuels.”

Listen to Dinneen’s comments here: RFA CEO Bob Dinneen comments on Brazil considering ethanol tariffs

Audio, Brazil, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, RFA

Ag Secretary to Visit Iowa Cattle Producer and Ethanol Investor

Cindy Zimmerman

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will travel to Nevada, Iowa tomorrow to tour Couser Cattle Company, give his first major farm policy speech, and host a farmer’s town hall meeting.

Couser Cattle Co. is a diversified operation that annually feeds and finishes 5,000 to 6,000 head of cattle and farms 5,000 acres, producing both corn seed and soybean seed. Bill Couser is a fifth generation farmer and one of the founders of Lincolnway Energy, a 50 million-per-year-gallon ethanol plant. He is also past president of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and was co-chair of the America’s Renewable Future initiative during the presidential campaign.

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is encouraging members to attend the town hall meeting and encourage the Trump administration to take steps to help increase demand for renewable fuels like ethanol. ACE wants to thank him for USDA’s support of Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) grant funds which will help install nearly 5,000 new pumps for E15 and higher blends, and at the same time urge him to help convince EPA to provide regulatory relief (Reid vapor pressure) for E15 and flex fuels and to keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) on track.

ACE, Ethanol, Ethanol News, USDA

Propel Fuels Launches 105 Octane Tour in California

Cindy Zimmerman

Propel Fuels​ kicked off its “105 Octane Tour” this week in California, offering Flex Fuel E85 for $1.05 per gallon at several retail locations in the state to drive awareness of the fuel’s high octane rating.

“E85 is truly connecting with today’s smart, savvy drivers who want more value from their fuel than gasoline is giving them,” said Rob Elam, CEO of Propel. “Millennials are our fastest growth segment, as more drivers of high performance cars are seeking a powerful fuel to meet their needs.”

The 105 Octane Tour includes stops at five Propel stations around the greater Sacramento area. At each tour stop Propel will give away Propel ProShop swag including E85 decals, caps and mugs, register members to the elite Hi-Octane Society aficionado club, and have fuel experts on hand to answer questions.

Learn more from Propel.

E85, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Ethanol Production Continues to Decline

Cindy Zimmerman

U.S. ethanol production declined for the fifth straight week last week, but stocks have only dropped slightly, according the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) data and analysis by the Renewable Fuels Association.

Ethanol production averaged 986,000 barrels per day the week ending April 29, down 1,000 b/d from the week before. The current annualized rate is still over 15 billion gallons at this point. Stocks of ethanol decreased just 0.4% from the previous week to 23.2 million barrels, 7.4% higher than year-ago levels.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.77%, a full percentage point higher than one year ago.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

Branstad Touts Iowa Renewable Energy During China Hearing

Cindy Zimmerman

During his confirmation hearing Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to become U.S. Ambassador to China, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad had the opportunity to talk about his favorite subject – renewable energy.

“Thank you for bringing that up because I’m very proud of where we’ve come from,” Branstad said in response to Sen. Tim Kaine (VA-D) asking about Iowa’s leadership in renewable energy. Iowa will become the first state to generate over 40% of its electricity from wind by the year 2020, and “we produce more ethanol than we consume in gasoline,” said Branstad.

Listen to his comments here: Iowa Gov. Branstad confirmation hearing, renewable energy

The U.S. ethanol industry is looking forward to Gov. Branstad supporting their interests in China with his good friend President Xi Jinping, especially when it comes to expanding the market for ethanol and distiller’s grains. “China has been a top export destination for U.S. ethanol and distillers dried grains, and we look forward to what Branstad can accomplish with China and its people to further develop this marketplace,” said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE).

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw calls Gov. Branstad the “best choice” for ambassador to China. “While we are sad to say goodbye to the longest serving governor in U.S. history and a lifetime champion of renewable fuels, we look forward to working with him to expand trade between the U.S. and China in his new role,” said Shaw.

ACE, Audio, Biodiesel, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government, International, Wind

French Researcher Honored With Glycerine Innovation Award

Cindy Zimmerman

The 2017 Glycerine Innovation Award was presented this week to Prof. Dr. Christophe Len with the Université de Technologie Compiègne France. The annual honor is sponsored by the American Cleaning Institute® (ACI) and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and is presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS). It recognizes outstanding achievement for research into new applications for glycerine, with particular emphasis on commercial viability.

Prof. Dr. Len developed his research in the context of the increased production of biodiesel worldwide. In order to make biodiesel production more economically viable and valuable, the conversion of the crude glycerine by-product to value-added commodities was studied.

“Crude glycerol, available at low cost compared with pure glycerol, has purity of 15-80 percent and contains a large amount of contaminants. These impurities, in this renewable carbon source, create certain challenges for the conversion process,” said Prof. Dr. Len.

Read more.

Biodiesel, NBB

ACE Urges Ethanol Regulatory Comments

Cindy Zimmerman

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) was among the first in line to submit regulatory reform comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – now they are urging other ethanol advocates to do so.

Among the topics ACE is urging ethanol advocates to address include Reid vapor pressure (RVP) relief for E15 and higher ethanol blends, updating the lifecycle analysis of corn ethanol and streamline the approval process for high-octane fuels such as E25-40 blends.

“It’s imperative for advocates of this industry to take advantage of the opportunity to provide input to the Trump Administration on the kind of regulations that are limiting ethanol’s ability to grow in the marketplace,” said Brian Jennings, ACE executive vice president. “This is a golden opportunity for the Trump EPA to hear directly from those in rural communities—farmers, ethanol producers, retailers and others—who can share their personal experiences on how certain regulations are holding them back.”

EPA is reviewing regulations under a newly established Regulatory Reform Task Force formed in response to an Executive Order by President Trump to evaluate existing regulations and make recommendations regarding those that can be repealed, replaced and modified to make them less burdensome.

ACE has a Call to Action portal to help industry members with comment submissions. The comment period is open through May 15.

ACE, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Biodiesel Interests Pleased with Senate Bill

Cindy Zimmerman

The National Biodiesel Board and the American Soybean Association applauded the introduction of a Senate bill this week that would convert the blender’s credit for biodiesel to a $1-per-gallon production credit for fuels produced in the United States for three years and provide an additional 10-cent-per-gallon credit for small producers.

“Well-crafted and efficient tax incentives can be powerful policy mechanisms to achieve the nation’s energy objectives and to create jobs. But subsidizing foreign manufacturing and hurting U.S. workers were not Congress’ intent. We applaud the senators’ bill to close this loophole by reforming the credit as a domestic production credit,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board.

“This bill allows producers the security they need to grow their operations and will help to continue biodiesel’s success in diversifying the fuel market,” said ASA president and Illinois soybean farmer Ron Moore. “This tax credit and extension is vital to the industry’s continued growth, and will maximize the added value of domestic production of biofuels.”

The bill was introduced by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and 14 other senators.

Biodiesel, Government, NBB, Soybeans

RFA Pushes EPA on E15 RVP

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) took to The Hill this week to push the Environmental Protection Agency to allow year round sales of 15 percent ethanol blended fuel across the nation.

In an op-ed published this week in The Hill, RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen urged EPA to “eliminate an irrational summertime regulation that hurts both farmers and millions of Americans who drive a car.”

This double whammy is the result of EPA fuel rules that effectively prohibit the sale of gasoline blends containing 15 percent ethanol (E15) from June 1 to Sept. 15 every year even though E15 is cheaper, cleaner and carries a higher-octane rating than other fuels.

Allowing the sale of E15 during the summer would reduce harmful emissions as well as prices at the pump. It would also increase demand for the value-added market farmers need to avoid higher farm program spending. It’s a win-win.

RFA also ran ads in The Hill this week asking EPA to eliminate the restrictions on E15.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, RFS