UK Prepares for E10 Petrol

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The United Kingdom is gearing up for greener fuel starting in September with a national awareness campaign introducing E10 petrol which is blended with up to 10% renewable ethanol, double the current standard petrol blend E5.

UK Transport Minister Rachel Maclean says the campaign “will not only make drivers aware of the changes we’re making, but will also show millions of motorists how E10 introduction plays a part in helping reduce carbon emissions and build back greener with every tank of petrol.”

The Renewable Fuels Association welcomed news that the UK is making preparations to welcome E10 ethanol blends in September, but the organization is concerned that 10 percent could mean considerably less.

Currently, the UK Department of Transport draft regulation allows fuel providers to comply with the E10 standard by supplying gasoline containing as little as 5.5% ethanol, which as RFA notes in comments submitted to the agency, “contains only 0.5% more ethanol than the current E5 grade.”

“Allowing petrol with as a little as 5.5% ethanol to be characterized as E10 could cause consumer confusion and undermine the Department of Transport’s GHG reduction goals,” wrote RFA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis. “While we understand the U.K. government’s desire to provide ‘maximum flexibility’ to fuel suppliers, we believe a higher minimum ethanol content is necessary to ensure the U.K. fully reaps the benefits of a transition to higher ethanol content.”

Davis noted that too low a minimum content would allow refiners and blenders to meet the new regulation while “increasing their use of toxic aromatics and other hydrocarbons to achieve the 95 RON octane minimum.”

Ethanol, Ethanol News, International, RFA

Chief Ethanol Joins Carbon Capture Effort in Nebraska

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Chief Ethanol is joining the effort to develop carbon capture and permanent sequestration (CCS) in Nebraska.

Chief Industries, Inc. is partnering with Catahoula, one of the largest investors in midstream infrastructure in North America, on carbon capture and sequestration projects at ethanol plants in Hastings and Lexington, with the goal to reduce the carbon intensity (CI) of each facility significantly.

“Chief Ethanol Fuels, Inc. is eager to explore the tremendous potential that this partnership in carbon sequestration can create to enhance the environmental and sustainability benefits of our current renewable fuels production,” said Duane Kristensen, General Manager and Vice President of Operations for Chief Ethanol and past board president for the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE).

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts recently signed legislation to establish the legal and regulatory process for ethanol plants in the state to move forward with carbon capture and storage projects. “These CCS projects will improve the CI score of each Chief facility while increasing the value of their ethanol, supporting area Nebraska communities, and helping the nation reach ambitious carbon emissions goals by mid-century,” said ACE CEO Brian Jennings. “Chief is one of many ACE members involved with CCS projects, reinforcing the fact that our members intend to play a significant and proactive role in tackling climate change.”

ACE, carbon capture, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Support for RFS and Ethanol Grows in Latest Poll

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A new poll finds that voter support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has hit its highest levels in at least five years and support for the use of biofuels like ethanol remains consistently high, with a bipartisan majority of voters expressing a favorable opinion. The benchmark poll was conducted at the end of May by Morning Consult, a Washington polling and news site, on behalf of the Renewable Fuels Association.

The poll found that 64 percent of respondents support the Renewable Fuel Standard, with 29 percent expressing “strong support.” This is the highest level of “strong support” for the RFS recorded since RFA began the tracking poll in 2016. It also marks the second-highest level of total support for the RFS, trailing only the two most recent polls (May 2020 and February 2021) that both found 66 percent support for the program.

“Even in times of political division and polarization, the need for cleaner, greener American-made fuels is a uniting issue,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “A bipartisan majority of voters support the RFS specifically and ethanol generally, and it is apparent that they want their elected officials to protect the integrity and longevity of the RFS program. Renewable fuels clearly are an area where we can find common ground and bridge broad divides.”

More respondents reported a very favorable opinion of ethanol compared to last year, up to 23 percent from 13 percent in May 2020. Among voters who have a favorable opinion of ethanol, being made in America was the attribute that contributed most to their favorable opinion of the fuel, of the options tested. Ethanol’s lower carbon footprint and affordability were the second and third most important attributes, respectively, according to the poll.

The poll was conducted from May 27 to 31, 2021, among a sample of 1,988 registered voters.

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Ethanol Report – RFA 40th Anniversary Feature on Bruce Heine

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The Renewable Fuels Association was born in 1981 and RFA is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year by spotlighting some of the pioneers in the ethanol industry who were there at the beginning.

Like Ron Miller in our first feature, Bruce Heine is another oil guy who started to see the potential of ethanol during the 1970s oil embargo and went to work in marketing at one of the original RFA member companies. New Energy Co., now known as South Bend Ethanol, brought Heine into the ethanol policy arena on keeping the excise tax exemption and educating lawmakers on the benefits of domestic ethanol production from a national security and environmental standpoint.

Today, Heine is vice president for government and media affairs at Magellan Midstream Partners in Tulsa, which has nearly 80 petroleum terminals in over 20 states, and those that handle gasoline also have ethanol blending capabilities.

Listen to Bruce Heine’s reflections on 40 years of the RFA in this edition of The Ethanol Report.

Ethanol Report 6-10-21 (17:35)

The Ethanol Report is a podcast about the latest news and information in the ethanol industry that has been sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association since 2008.

Choose an option to subscribe

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RFA Updates Best Practices Manual for Ethanol Rail Transport

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At the request of the National Transportation Safety Board, the Renewable Fuels Association has published an update to its Best Practices for Rail Transport of Ethanol manual which helps promote regulatory compliance for the safe transport of ethanol via rail.

“More than two-thirds of ethanol travels to the marketplace by rail, and rail transport plays a significant role in the everyday operations of most ethanol production facilities,” said Kelly Davis, RFA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs. “Rail transport of ethanol has established an impeccable safety record over the years, thanks in large part to the best practices the industry has developed and put into place. We are pleased to continue offering our members—and the industry at large—the information and tools they need to stay safe.”

Davis noted that an ethanol plant situated on a rail line can easily expect to receive and ship an average of three dozen railcars per day. This includes the reception of raw materials and process inputs, as well as the shipment of output products—fuel ethanol and co-products like distillers grains—to customers. Rail transport often represents the third-highest expense for a typical ethanol facility, following only expenditures on feedstock and direct energy costs.

Among the important updated practices is to place the older DOT-111 tank cars toward the back in high-hazard flammable trains, to minimize the risk of derailment and tank car breach, and the newer DOT-117s in front of them. RFA and its members encourage the continuing rapid pace of the replacement of the DOT-111 fleet with DOT-117 cars to eliminate the need to sort and arrange cars.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA, safety

E15 Soon to be Welcome in Nevada

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Nevada drivers will soon be able to fill up with 15 percent ethanol-blended fuel.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has signed legislation to allow sales of E15, which passed the Nevada legislature in May with overwhelming support in both the Assembly and Senate. The bill requires the State Board of Agriculture to adopt rules governing sales of E15 by July 2022.

The bill (AB411) was brought by the Nevada State Assembly Committee on Growth and Infrastructure and Assemblywoman Tracy Brown-May, a Democrat representing Las Vegas, who pointed out the environmental and economic benefits of ethanol. “A reduction of one-half to two-thirds of emissions from motor vehicles could result in a substantial step toward meeting Nevada’s climate strategy goals,” said Brown-May. “In addition, E15 fuel costs and average of 5-15 cents less a gallon.”

A recent study by Air Improvement Resource, Inc estimates that the use of E15 in Nevada has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 148,000 metric tons annually.

Brooke Coleman, Executive Director for the Advanced Biofuels Business Council, testified on behalf of the legislation when the bill was considered in committee. “The bottom line is that (this bill) will bring Nevada into alignment with most of the country and open the door for a cleaner and cheaper fuel blend,” said Coleman.

Nevada will join 30 other states in allowing the sale of E15, which is available today in more than 2,000 stations nationwide.

Listen to the comments from Brown-May and Coleman in support of this legislation and what it would mean for Nevada.
Nevada E15 legislation (6:52)

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Golden Grain Energy Holds Big Bin Bash

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Golden Grain Energy (GGE) in Mason City, Iowa is now home to the world’s largest grain bin, built by Sukup Manufacturing Co. The bin measures 165 feet in diameter with a peak height of 155 feet, 7 inches and boasts a capacity of 2.2 million bushels.

GGE held a Big Bin Bash this week to celebrate completion of the bin with a choir performing a concert in the empty interior. GGE board chairman Dave Sovereign, who also serves as president of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), hosted the celebration for the new addition which will increase the amount of corn the plant is able to store onsite for its ethanol production.

GGE documented construction of the big bin, which began in December, on its YouTube channel.

ACE, corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Flawed Land Use Change Study Results Corrected

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A review by researchers at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) have found that two recent studies examining purported cropland expansion in the Midwest are based on a flawed methodology that “suffers from accuracy and certainty issues.” The SIUE authors found that the inherent defects in the methodology of studies by Zhang et al. and Lark et al., “severely hinder its use for estimating land use change over time.”

In their paper, Joshua Pritsolas and Randall Pearson of SIUE’s GeoSpatial Mapping, Applications, and Research Center pointed out that both studies relied on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cropland Data Layer (CDL) tool to estimate the conversion of grassland to cropland, a use for which the tool was not intended and is poorly suited. As the USDA itself has noted, “Unfortunately, the pasture and grass-related land cover categories have traditionally had very low classification accuracy in the CDL,” meaning grassland is often confused with cropland in the CDL dataset.

The reliance of Zhang et al. and Lark et al. on USDA’s CDL tool renders the results of both studies highly questionable. “Given these issues, policy makers should exercise caution in referencing studies that have performed or integrated land cover/use change analysis that relies on the CDL,” according to Pritsolas and Pearson.

According to the SIUE analysis, it is likely that Zhang et al. and Lark et al. grossly overstated the amount of cropland expansion between 2008 and 2016 because the CDL tool frequently misclassified cropland as grassland in the early part of this time period. “The cropland expansion claimed by Lark et al. (2020) and adopted by Zhang et al. (2021) has a high potential of being false change due to poor classification certainty in the earlier CDL,” the authors found.

Read more from RFA.

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POET Acquires Flint Hills Resources’ Biofuel Business

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POET has acquired the bioethanol assets of Flint Hills Resources’, expanding the company’s production capacity by 40 percent.

The acquisition includes six bioprocessing facilities located in Iowa and Nebraska and two terminals in Texas and Georgia. POET will now operate 33 bioprocessing facilities across eight states with a combined annual capacity of 3 billion gallons.

“This acquisition will increase POET’s ability to bring even more high-quality, plant-based biofuels and bioproducts to the world—allowing us to have an even bigger impact on fighting climate change and cleaning our air,” said POET Founder and CEO Jeff Broin.

Ethanol, Ethanol News

RFA Ethanol Days of Summer Contest is Back

Cindy Zimmerman

It’s time for the Renewable Fuels Association to roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy Ethanol Days of Summer contest again.

The contest, which begins Memorial Day, encourages consumers to submit pump prices for flex fuels like E85 and ethanol blends like E15 to the popular E85prices.com website or through its mobile app. Simply submitting your fuel prices this summer enters you in a random weekly drawing for a $100 fuel gift card.

To enter, contest participants must have or create an account on E85prices.com or on the E85Prices.com app, where they can submit pricing for a chance to win. Pricing on the crowd-sourced website is updated routinely and gives consumers instant access to fuel prices that nearby drivers have reported. Winners will be chosen weekly until Labor Day and users can submit prices for multiple stations each day. No purchase is necessary to participate, and more information can be found at EthanolRFA.org/summer-contest.

More than 5,100 stations are now selling E85 across more than 2,700 cities, and roughly 2,100 stations in 30 states offer E15. Among other information, E85prices.com contains a nationwide map of E85 and E15 stations and historical pricing, along with a public forum to allow consumers to pose questions and have discussions. An ethanol savings calculator is also featured, allowing users to see how much money they can save by using higher ethanol blends.

Because of the pandemic, RFA skipped the annual contest last year, but in 2019 more than 4,000 new users registered at E85prices.com, with 98 different contest winners who collectively received $5,000 in free fuel.

“We are excited to bring back our summer contest as more drivers return to the open road. This contest has been popular with existing users of higher blends and recruiting new consumers,” said RFA Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White. “Ethanol lowers the price that consumers pay at the pump, lowers the amount of carbon in their fuel and their greenhouse gas emissions. We have more stations offering higher blends each week and we want consumers to find those stations and have some fun doing it.”

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