President Trump Sends Greetings to #RFANEC

Cindy Zimmerman

President Donald Trump sent greetings to National Ethanol Conference attendees this week and his regrets that he could not attend.

In a letter to the NEC read by Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen, President Trump reiterated his unwavering support for ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“Rest assured that your president and this administration values the importance of renewable fuels to America’s economy and to our energy independence. As I emphasized throughout my campaign, renewable fuels are essential to America’s energy strategy,” Trump wrote.

“As important as ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard are to rural economies, I also know that your industry has suffered from overzealous, job-killing regulation. I am committed to reducing the regulatory burden on all businesses, and my team is looking forward to working with the Renewable Fuels Association, and many others, to identify and reform those regulations that impede growth, increase consumer costs, and eliminate good-paying jobs without providing sufficient environmental or public health benefit,” Trump added.

Listen to Dinneen read Trump’s letter: Trump letter to #RFANEC

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Reporters Curious About #Ethanol Issues

Cindy Zimmerman

Reporters covering the National Ethanol Conference in San Diego had questions about a number of topics when given the opportunity to have a press “scrum” with Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen.

The first questions centered on the discussion Dinneen had on stage at the NEC with petroleum industry representatives and how the industries can work together. “I’ve been trying to move the dialogue to a different plane where we’re talking about the future growth and certainty for both our industries,” he said.

One issue Dinneen ran out of time to discuss with the panel was the point of obligation change requested by the petroleum industry under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which was requested by the petroleum industry. “Our view is that it should not change, I think it would create a lot of uncertainty in the program that would not be healthy,” said Dinneen. “What happens with that issue I can’t judge.”

Listen to the reporter Q&A here: RFA CEO Bob Dinneen press questions

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#RFANEC Future of Fuels Policy Panel

Cindy Zimmerman

RFA CEO Bob Dinneen; AFPM CEO Chet Thompson; and Marty Durbin, API Executive Vice President

Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen reached across the aisle to invite his friends from the petroleum industry to join him on stage at the National Ethanol Conference to discuss the future of fuels policy and find areas of agreement.
American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers president and CEO Chet Thompson and American Petroleum Institute Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer Marty Durbin both expressed optimism about working with the Trump administration especially when it comes to regulatory reform and the America First Energy plan.

Topics of discussion included potential for high octane/low carbon fuels, state low carbon fuel programs, electric vehicles, CAFE standards, global climate initiatives, and the regulatory landscape for petroleum and gas extraction.

Always an interesting conversation when Bob Dinneen engages with sometimes competing stakeholders in the fuel production and marketing sectors. Listen here: #RFANEC Future of Fuels Policy Panel

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“State of U.S. #Ethanol Industry is Strong”

Cindy Zimmerman

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen gave his annual State of the Industry address at the National Ethanol Conference today, addressing more than 1,000 attendees in San Diego.

Last year was “a record year for production, a record year for net exports, a record year for domestic demand, and a record year for E15 sales and infrastructure build-out. It was, in short, a pretty darn good year,” said Dinneen. “Thus, I can once again say with great confidence and respect for what you have been able to accomplish that the state of the U.S. ethanol industry is strong, poised for continued growth, steeled for the challenges we know will persist, but resolute in our commitment to consumers seeking relief and choice at the pump, farmers in need of value-added markets for their commodities, and Americans all across the country concerned about the air we breathe and the national security threat posed by our stubborn dependence on imported energy.”

Read Dinneen’s remarks as prepared for delivery

Listen to the full state of the industry speech or watch the video below:
2017 State of the Ethanol Industry Address

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Global #Ethanol Production Stable

Cindy Zimmerman

The latest Global Ethanol Production Forecast from the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) and F.O. Licht predicts the global ethanol sector will remain strong in 2017, with total production peaking at 97.80 billion litres this year.

The forecast shows a stable global outlook for ethanol production as a whole, “with some fluctuations in major ethanol producing regions as a result of evolving government policies and varied domestic growing conditions,” according to GRFA president Bliss Baker.“Ethanol’s value as an immediately dispatchable transport fuel alternative to fossil fuels represents a key policy option with enormous growth potential,” said Baker.

The global transport sector has the lowest renewable energy share of any sector, while representing 25-30% of global emissions. Recent reports have concluded that current national policies aimed at reducing CO2 emissions from global transport activity will not achieve climate targets and that governments will have to redouble efforts to meet steeper targets in coming years.

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New Enzyme From Novozymes Can Boost Ethanol Yields

Cindy Zimmerman

Novozymes is launching a new line of advanced enzymes to increase ethanol yields by converting sugar that would otherwise be wasted.

The Spirizyme® T Portfolio is an advanced suite of glucoamylase enzymes with trehalase and other yield enhancing activities for increased sugar conversion in the industry. Trehalase is an enzyme that converts trehalose, a type of sugar that cannot be fermented to ethanol, to glucose, which is easily fermentable. Trehalose makes up a significant part of the so-called DP2 peak, a measure of residual sugar in an ethanol plant. The more DP2 an ethanol plant can convert; the more ethanol it will produce.

“Reducing residual sugar is key to raise profitability at an ethanol plant. Don’t leave your sugar behind,” says Peter Halling, Vice President – Biofuel, at Novozymes. “The Spirizyme T portfolio provides significant DP2 reduction across the board and offers our customers choice. There are options for plants with specific operating conditions, and plants looking to achieve particular goals, such as shorter fermentation or increasing total yield.”

Novozymes is at the National Ethanol Conference this week and will be sponsoring a presentation on “The Buzz on Big Data: Driving Plant Profitability through Better Data Management” today so stay tuned for our coverage from that event.

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Industry Comments on Pruitt Confirmation

Cindy Zimmerman

The biofuels industry welcomed Senate approval last week of Scott Pruitt to be the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“As Mr. Pruitt said during his confirmation hearing last month, ‘To honor the intent and the expression of the Renewable Fuel Standard statute is very, very important.’ We could not agree more,” said Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen. “While the RFS remains our priority, we will also continue advocating for the removal of unnecessary volatility restrictions that have discouraged market acceptance of higher level ethanol blends like E15.”

“We look forward to working with Mr. Pruitt and the EPA as they continue to carry out the Renewable Fuel Standard as enacted by a bi-partisan Congress,” said National Biodiesel Board Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel. “The RFS is working as intended to deliver jobs and American made energy, a major point of emphasis of the Trump Administration. American-made biodiesel continues to be the fastest growing advanced biofuel in the country and a large portion of that success can be attributed to the success of the RFS.”

“We congratulate Mr. Pruitt on his confirmation and are eager to work with him to help EPA keep the promises that President Trump made about ethanol during the campaign,” said American Coalition for Ethanol Executive Vice President Brian Jennings. “It is imperative that Administrator Pruitt work to help ensure the successful implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard to drive the use of higher ethanol blends, to maintain the RFS point-of-obligation with refiners and importers, and to lift unnecessary restrictions on ethanol use such as the Reid vapor pressure limit.”

Immediately after his approval, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and four other senators sent a letter to Pruitt asking him to address EPA’s volatility regulation that makes it more difficult to sell ethanol blends above 10% year round. The senators asked the administrator to extend the 1-psi RVP waiver to E15 and other higher ethanol blends, “to eliminate this needless obstacle to consumer choice.”

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Ace Ethanol to Install D3MAX Cellulosic Pilot Plant

Cindy Zimmerman

D3MAX has announced its pilot facility employing the patented D3MAX cellulosic ethanol technology will be installed at ACE Ethanol in Stanley, Wisconsin this month with startup and testing at the facility taking place over the next two months.

“We are very excited to take this next step in developing the D3MAX technology,” says Mark Yancey, chief technology officer for D3MAX. “ACE (Ethanol LLC) has been an excellent partner in the lead up to the installation and running of the pilot facility.”

“We see this type of bolt-on technology as a clear path forward for cellulosic ethanol,” says Neal Kemmet, president and general manager at ACE Ethanol, LLC. “Of course, much will be determined during the next phase of pilot testing. However, if successful, we feel the D3MAX process will be key in allowing current producers to lead the way for the next generation of ethanol production.”

Once the pilot testing and data collection and data collection is successful, D3MAX intends to complete the full detailed commercial design and license the technology across the United States and Canada.

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Iowa Tells Pruitt to Leave RFS Alone

Cindy Zimmerman

With the Senate poised to confirm Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Iowa has a message for him – Don’t Mess with the RFS.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) and other state organizations urged Pruitt to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by rejecting a petition to change the program’s point of obligation, which would change the RFS obligated parties from mostly large petroleum refiners to many fuel retailers. “We have a slogan in the renewable fuels family that says ‘Don’t mess with the RFS,’” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Let me make this perfectly clear: changing the point of obligation is most definitely messing with the RFS in a significantly harmful manner. Iowa’s ethanol and biodiesel producers oppose it and will fight hard to defeat it.”

Under the Obama Administration, the EPA proposed to reject the request, but the public comment period on the proposed rejection is still open meaning the final decision will be up to President Donald Trump’s EPA. Iowa entities urging Pruitt to finalize the pending rejection include Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA), Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa (PMCI), Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB), Truckstops of Iowa, and Kum & Go.

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RFA Suggests Retool for REGS

Cindy Zimmerman

In comments submitted this week on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support (REGS) rule, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) said the proposal fails to address key regulatory barriers that are constraining growth in ethanol production and use.

“In fact, we are concerned some elements of the REGS proposal may actually serve to add complexity and create new barriers to renewable fuel market expansion, an effect that would be the opposite of the rule’s stated purpose,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen in the comments. He suggests that instead of proceeding with the current rulemaking, EPA should “initiate a far more comprehensive process to reform existing fuel regulations in a way that levels the playing field for renewable fuels and genuinely removes regulatory barriers to growth.”

RFA recommends a number of actions EPA should take to reform existing fuel regulations, including establishing regulatory parity in the volatility limits; simplifying the petition process for new certification fuels and eliminating unreasonable criteria for approval; eliminating unnecessarily burdensome and costly requirements related to the fuel and fuel additive registration process; and updating the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) analysis of corn ethanol conducted for RFS2.

Read RFA’s full comments to EPA.

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