USDA Loan Guarantee For Electric Plant Using Waste Wood

Chuck Zimmerman

USDAThis may be a little different but, hey, it’s an alternative to what we think of as traditional fuel. How about using “waste wood” as a biomass fuel source?

Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Thomas Dorr today announced a $16 million loan guarantee to help finance construction of an electrical generating plant in rural Arizona that will use wildfire-damaged timber along with waste wood and paper fiber from a nearby paper mill as a fuel source. The announcement marks the first time that USDA has made a loan guarantee through its Rural Development Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency program.

“This project supports President Bush’s comprehensive national energy policy,” said Dorr. “Renewable energy is a top priority for the nation and for USDA. As we expand generating capacity through projects like this one, we not only convert into electricity a fuel source that would otherwise go to waste, we broaden our energy options and through construction of this plant, provide a source of new jobs to Arizona.”

Rural Development funds will guarantee a $16 million loan to Snowflake White Mountain Power, LLC of Snowflake, Arizona. The company will build a 20-megawatt biomass electrical generating plant 17 miles from the community. The $23 million generating plant will use wildfire-damaged timber from the 450,000 acre Rodeo-Chediski fire, along with waste from the nearby Abitibi Paper Mill as a fuel source. The timber that was damaged by wildfire will be sold to the company under contracts with the U.S. Forest Service as part of its Healthy Forest Initiative.

Facilities, Government

New Energy Capital Invests In Ethanol Plant

Chuck Zimmerman

New Energy CapitalMore and more is being invested into renewable energy alternatives like ethanol. In fact, it’s almost hard to keep up with all of it. Here’s another announcement that a significant investment is being made by some savvy investors.

New Energy Capital Corp. has announced its investment in a 55 million gallon per year ethanol production facility currently under construction in Albion, Michigan. The plant, adjacent to a grain terminal owned by The Andersons, Inc., will produce ethanol from corn grown by local farmers and will also produce distillers grains, a high quality feed supplement ideal for the region’s growing dairy industry. Ethanol from the plant will be blended with gasoline for use in the transportation sector. The use of ethanol as a replacement for gasoline cuts U.S. oil dependence, stimulates the nation’s farm economy, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

The facility, which will be managed by The Andersons, is expected to be completed by September 2006, and will involve an aggregate investment of approximately $86 million. The designer and general contractor will be ICM, Inc. of Colwich, KS, an industry leader in ethanol technology and plant construction. The Andersons and New Energy Capital are joined by three other equity investors, and CoBank of Omaha, Nebraska will lead a consortium of farm credit banks to provide construction and term financing. Plant construction will involve approximately 250 new jobs and operations will require approximately 30 full time equivalent staff.

Ethanol, Production

IndyCar Pit Stop Pump Tour

Chuck Zimmerman

Indy Racing LeagueI wish these folks would do this in Missouri! The Indy Racing League teamed up with 7-11 stores in California today to pump some gas (with ethanol). The price was right at $2.20/gallon. It’s hard to believe anyone would think that a bargain but times have certainly changed. So here’s the details of the promotion they put together today:

IndyCar Celebrities –will be on hand to pump gas, answer questions, sign autographs and get their picture taken with lucky drivers who stop by.

Gas promotion – Gas will be discounted to $2.20 per gallon of ethanol-enriched mid-grade fuel during each1 1/2-hour pit-stop, a tie-in to race cars performing at 220 miles per hour – now you can fill up and feel good at $2.20 per gallon! THIS IS AN AVERAGE OF .80 CENTS OFF OF CURRENT MID-GRADE GAS PRICES.

Giveaways – 220 Team Ethanol and Team 7-Eleven T-shirts along with IRL merchandise will be given away.

Promotional offering – 7-Eleven will offer FREE fresh food samplings during the pit-stops, featuring donuts, pastries and sandwiches – all a part of the pit-stop treatment!

Pit Crew – A team of ethanol and IRL professionals will create a genuine pit-stop experience with the full treatment…window washing, pumping fuel and engaging the customer in ethanol-enriched fuel and the IRL race in Fontana.

Like I said, too bad they couldn’t do this everywhere. Let’s roll across the country with this tour! Actually these guys will be racing this weekend at the Toyota Indy 400.

Ethanol, Indy Racing, Production

91 Ethanol Plants In 20 States

Chuck Zimmerman

Illinois Corn GrowersThis is a very interesting tidbit from the Illinois Corn Growers:

If you are keeping a scorecard, the U.S. ethanol industry now has 91 plants operation in more than 20 states. Together, they have a production capacity of about 4.1 billion gallons. There is nearly 1.2 billion or another 21 plants in additional capacity under construction. Now after taking the time to read this I hope you didn’t try to memorize the numbers because they will change again before you put your combine in the shed.


USDA And DOE Announce Biomass Project Grants

Chuck Zimmerman

USDAAs a show of how much the current administration is putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to encouraging the development of renewable fuel sources, USDA just announced grants to 11 projects totalling over $12 million dollars.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced that 11 biomass research, development and demonstration projects were selected to receive $12.6 million for the Biomass Research and Development Initiative, a joint effort of USDA and the Department of Energy (DOE). The total value of the projects is nearly $19 million, including cost sharing of the private-sector partners.

“This cooperative conservation partnership benefits our nation with enhanced energy security, a cleaner environment and revitalized rural economies,” said Johanns. “The selected projects support President Bush’s goal to enhance renewable energy supplies. The grants will help to develop additional renewable energy resources and expand markets for agricultural products.”

The Biomass Research and Development Act of 2000 and the 2002 Farm Bill set the framework for interagency cooperation and joint solicitations.

Here’ s a list of the 2005 projects:

University of Idaho (Moscow, Idaho) – Increasing the Potential for the Utilization of Cellulose from Straw for Biofuel and Bioproduct Production – $693,285

The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc. (Ardmore, Okla.) – Development of Low-Lignin Switchgrass for Improved Ethanol Production – $670,166

The Tampa Bay Area Ethanol Consortium (Florida) – Implementation of a Scale-Up Pilot Plant Demonstration Facility toward the Commercialization of Florida Biomass Feedstocks for Ethanol Production – $1,920,000

University of Montana, College of Technology (Missoula, Mont.) – Biopower Demonstration and Educational Outreach – $990,500

North Carolina State University, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (Raleigh, N.C.) – Conversion of BioDiesel Derived Glycerol to Glycidol, Glycerol Carbonate and C-3 Oxygenates by Catalytic and Biocatalytic Pathways – $1,606, 265

Iowa State University (Ames, Iowa) – Environmental Enhancement through Corn Stover Utilization – $1,853,996

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) – Carbon Fiber from Biomass Lignins – $1,083,770

Clarkson University – (Potsdam, N.Y.) – Environmental and Economic Performance of an Integrated, Digester-Cogeneration-Value-Added Process – $805,938

University of Minnesota, Morris (Morris, Minn.) – Biomass Gasification: A Comprehensive Demonstration of a Community-Scale Biomass Energy System – $1,896,493

University of Florida (Gainesville, Fla.) – Bioenergy: Optimum Incentives and Sustainability of Non-Industrial Private Forests in the U.S. South – $656,525

Environmental Resources Trust (Washington, D.C.) – Incentives for Biomass Commercialization: Pioneering Markets for Biomass Using Renewable Energy Certificates, Emission Reduction Credits and Incentive Programs for Ammonia, PM10 and PM2.5 Reductions – $449,993

Government, Research

ReFuel America Branded E-Diesel On The Way

Chuck Zimmerman

NewGen TechnologiesNow here’s a company that’s really into the domestic fuel business. Why not combine biodiesel and ethanol? No good reason obviously.

NewGen Technologies, Inc. announced today that in addition to the acquisition of three terminals for distribution of ReFuel America biofuels in the Southeast United States, the company will also launch its own ReFuel America branded and proprietary E-Diesel early next year.

NewGen’s E-Diesel is a blend of standard diesel fuel and ethanol that utilizes proprietary NewGen technology to maintain blend stability and increase certain fuel properties. City buses, stationary equipment and other vehicles currently running on standard diesel fuel account for a large portion of the world’s air pollution. The optimum blend of ethanol, diesel and other NewGen innovations can replace straight diesel fuel in these engines. Some American cities have already converted their bus fleets to E-Diesel on a test basis.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, Facilities, Production, Promotion

Broin Breaking Ground Again In South Dakota

Chuck Zimmerman

Broin CompaniesBroin Companies is a celebrating the groundbreaking of the 8th ethanol plant they’ve designed and built in South Dakota tomorrow. This one is for Prairie Ethanol, LLC. The groundbreaking will be conducted after a program in Lechter, SD that includes speeches by U.S. Senators Tim Johnson and John Thune. Then the official ceremony will take place at the plant’s construction site near Loomis, SD.

Prairie Ethanol will be the eighth ethanol plant the Broin Companies of Sioux Falls, SD have built in the state of South Dakota and the 24th plant built since its inception. Annually, Prairie Ethanol will produce 60 million gallons of ethanol by consuming over 21 million bushels of corn from the regional area. The plant will employ approximately 40 people, most from the local area. Prairie Ethanol will also help improve the local corn basis while providing an environmentally friendly fuel and premium Dakota Gold Enhanced Nutrition Distillers Products™ for regional, national and international markets.

Facilities, Production

Governors Trading Down To A Hybrid

Chuck Zimmerman

There’s an interesting story that summarizes how many state governors are parking their sports utility vehicles in favor of new hybrid vehicles that run on alternative fuels. You can find it in the Belleville NewsDemocrat. I think it’s interesting to see public officials actually practicing what they preach for a change. Of course, it makes you wonder if they sneak out at night and drive around in their big SUV’s!


Renewable Energy Momentum In Hawaii

Chuck Zimmerman

It looks like even Hawaii is joining in the momentum to look at renewable fuel alternatives. An article in the Pacific Business News says that “The commission also explored renewable energy as a way to combat high gas and electricity prices. Proposals include expanding Hawaii’s goal of using 20 percent renewable energy by 2020 to include transportation fuels and increasing support for solar energy.

You can see Governor Lingle’s news release on her website. You can learn more about the Economic Momenum Commission on their website.


New Communications Director For RFA

Chuck Zimmerman

Renewable Fuels AssociationThe Renewable Fuels Association is one of the main groups advocating the use of ethanol and other fuels. They just announced a new communications director on their staff. He would be a great source of information about the industry.

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is pleased to announce that Matt Hartwig has been hired as Communications Director. Matt will be taking over for Monte Shaw, who has served the RFA in that role for the past five and a half years.

RFA President Bob Dinneen stated: “The U.S. ethanol industry is growing at an unprecedented rate and the issues the industry faces every day demand a broad understanding of a number of complex topics. But with his agriculture and consumer advocacy background, Matt will be able to hit the ground running. As an Iowan, Matt understands first hand the impact ethanol can have on rural economies, and his experience with consumers will be helpful in educating the public about the benefits of ethanol as gasoline prices reach record levels across the country. We are delighted to have Matt on the RFA team.”