Iowa Biodiesel Board Applauds Peck Motorsports

NASCAR driver Todd Peck of Peck Motorsports made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at the Iowa Speedway in Newton this past weekend.

The day before the race, Peck filled up with B15 at Love’s Travel Center near the track and took part in a pump promotion there. Area fans came to the event to learn about biodiesel and meet Todd Peck (center) who signed autographs. Peck is pictured with Grant Kimberly of the Iowa Soybean Association (left) and Randy Olson of the Iowa Biodiesel Board (right).

“Peck Motorsports is dedicated to be environmentally clean leaders in NASCAR,” said Peck. “Fueling our team transporter full of biodiesel has been a part of that process. We can’t thank the Iowa Biodiesel Board enough for joining our efforts in Iowa this race weekend in making our journey as ‘green’ as possible.”

Based in Pennsylvania, Peck Motorsports, with help from Renewable Engineered Systems, has outfitted its race hauler with solar panels on the roof, which power the newly installed LED lights and equipment. The team’s goal is to drive to and from races using biodiesel blends. He has has used up to 50 percent biodiesel when filling up.

“We commend Peck Motorsports for taking the initiative to use biodiesel, and would be thrilled to see more NASCAR teams follow suit,” said Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. “NASCAR’s popularity as a spectator sport presents a great opportunity to raise public awareness on biodiesel, and I’m proud that Iowa biodiesel is helping to kick off this team’s racing series.”

Latest Soil Research Supports Biomass Harvesting

Good news is emerging from the most recent soil data of the Project LIBERTY biomass harvesting research in northwest Iowa. Harvesting crop residue can be a responsible part of good farm management.

Project LIBERTY is a commercial-scale, cellulosic ethanol plant that is scheduled to begin operations in Emmetsburg, Iowa in late 2013. The plant will use corncobs, leaves, husk, and some stalk and is expected to produce 20 million gallons of ethanol growing to approximately 25 million gallons per year. It is the first project of the POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels Joint Venture.

For the last four years, Project LIBERTY has commissioned soil sustainability work from researchers with Iowa State University and the USDA. They have studied six different harvest methods in an effort to provide area farmers with data to help them make decisions about biomass harvesting.

“Basically, at the removal level that POET-DSM recommends, there is no reduction in yield, and removal rates are well within the sustainability limits,” said Dr. Stuart Birrell with Iowa State University.

Birrell and Dr. Douglas Karlen of USDA-ARS led the research.

The most recent data is consistent with previous years. Birrell said nutrient replacement is minimal, with no evidence of a need to replace nitrogen. Based on the research, POET-DSM recommends to farmers the addition of 10-15 pounds of potash when soil tests indicate it is needed. The effects of biomass harvesting on soil carbon have also proven to be minimal according to measurements of soil organic carbon, Birrell said, more an effect of yield and tillage intensity than biomass removal.

POET-DSM contracts for about 1 ton of biomass per acre with participating farmers. That’s less than 25 percent of the available above-ground biomass. They are contracting for 85,000 tons this year, and once operational, Project LIBERTY will require about 285,000 tons per year.

Fill Up on Biodiesel & Meet NASCAR Truck Driver Today

Fill up on biodiesel and meet a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver today in Newton, Iowa at 4 p.m. at Love’s Travel Stop, 4400 S 22nd Ave. East, (I-80/East 44th St. South).

Meet driver Todd Peck of Peck Motorsports. Peck, a NASCAR racing team from Pennsylvania, is committed to going green. The Peck race hauler has been outfitted with solar panels on the roof which power the newly installed LED lights and equipment, and the goal is to drive to and from races using biodiesel blends. The hauler runs on up to B50, 50 percent biodiesel.

Today, Peck will fill up the race hauler with 15 percent blend biodiesel and sign autographs for local fans. The team makes its NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at the Iowa Speedway on July 14.

Survey Finds Need for More Renewable Fueling Options

Iowa RFA In a recent online survey of shareholders, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) sought input on the renewable fuels industry’s impact on individuals and communities. Nearly 500 renewable fuels supporters took part in the survey and provided some intriguing responses.

“There is a growing appreciation for fueling freedom – not just E85, but E15 and E30 as well,” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “While progress has been made, the lack of flexible fueling stations is holding us back.”

The survey found that:
• Despite the common use of the term “farmer-owned ethanol plant” only 37 percent of the respondents identified themselves as farmers.
• 39 percent of respondents have a friend or family member employed directly by an ethanol or biodiesel plant.
• 57 percent of those surveyed owned a flex-fuel vehicle (FFV), with an equal 57 percent of those stating they routinely purchase E85.
• Of the FFV owners, 68 percent said flexible fueling influenced the purchase of their vehicle.
• Of FFV owners, 67 percent stated they do not find E85 refueling stations adequate.
• 29 percent of those surveyed said they own a diesel pickup or passenger car, with 51 percent of those stating they routinely purchase biodiesel blends.
• 18 percent stated B20 compatibility influenced their decision to purchase the diesel vehicle.
• Of diesel vehicle owners, 71 percent stated they do not find biodiesel refueling sites adequate.

“Biodiesel blends are attractive to consumers today,” added Shaw. “But the lack of distribution infrastructure prevents many Iowans from having the choice of biodiesel at the pump. One of our top goals is to reverse this and some major improvements are on the way.”

IRFA will release additional survey results throughout the summer in conjunction with future 10th anniversary events.

New Energy Farms Announces Development of CEEDS

New Energy Farms (NEF) has developed a revolutionary new method of propagating energy grasses that will reduce farmer establishment costs by 50 percent or more.

Cost effective scaling of perennial energy grasses such as Miscanthus, Arundo donax and energy cane has previously inhibited expansion. NEF has developed a new planting product for vegetative energy crops called CEEDS. These are small capsules that are established using automatic min till or no-till planters, like seed. The process applies to a number of energy grasses and is currently being evaluated by companies in the U.S. and Canada. The existing range of NEF energy crops will be available in the CEEDS format commencing from 2013 to 2014 depending on the cultivar and region.

“The focus was to make establishing vegetative energy crops as easy as other arable crops, to do this we started to look how to reverse engineer a seed, and the result was CEEDS,” says Dean Tiessen, president of New Energy Farms.

“CEEDS represents a step forward in energy crop establishment; that has been many years in the development, but solves all the issues that have previously made scaling energy crops difficult,” adds Dr. Paul Carver, CEO New Energy Farms.

The CEEDS planting system works alongside the NEF energy crop plantation management system, Biomass Direct to provide a farm to end user service for our customers.

The main advantages of CEEDS are
• New cultivars can be bulked up to market volumes 3 times faster.
• Establishment cost for crops like Miscanthus can be reduced by over 50 percent.
• Min / No till, fully automatic precision planting (no planting staff required).
• Substantially lower cost of planting, less ground cultivation.
• Reduction by up to 80% in transport logistics for planting material.
• Greater vigor after planting, more shoots produced.
• This system delivers the maximum yield from a cultivar.
• Makes planting energy grasses as simple as drilling conventional arable crops.

Ethanol Discussed at Clinton Global Initiative

Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis recently participated in a working group on clean fuels and transportation, emphasizing the important role of ethanol as a domestically produced energy. This occurred as leaders from across the United States gathered at the Clinton Global Initiative to discuss some of today’s most challenging problems.

During the working group, Buis highlighted the importance of American ethanol and the multifaceted benefits of a clean burning, domestically produced renewable fuel.

“Ethanol is not a political issue, it is an American one,” Buis said. “Ethanol is a true American success story and we must continue to educate the public about the tremendous benefits of ethanol. This is a domestically produced American fuel that creates jobs, stimulates our economy, revitalizes rural areas and reduces our dependence on foreign oil, and I am proud to share that message with the leaders gathered here at the Clinton Global Initiative.”

Currently, the ethanol industry supports more than 500,000 jobs, and in 2011 alone, contributed approximately $50 billion to our national gross domestic product. Today, ethanol makes up 10 percent of our nation’s fuel supply, with the ability to contribute more. As the industry awaits final clearance to introduce E15, a 15 percent blend of ethanol, into to the marketplace for consumers, estimates show an additional 136,000 jobs would be created when E15 becomes commercially available.

“We have the ability to greatly reduce our addiction to foreign oil and create jobs right here in America that cannot be outsourced,” said Buis. “By adding Flex Pumps and Flex Fuel vehicles, Americans can fill up their tanks and know that they are supporting the American economy, instead of sending their hard earned dollars overseas.”

Buis also highlighted the critical role the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) plays in the continued success of the ethanol industry. The RFS is the first major American energy policy implemented since the first OPEC oil embargos. In 2005, the year the RFS was first implemented, the U.S. was importing 60.3 percent of its oil, and in 2011 that number had dramatically dropped to 45 percent.

ImagineSolar CEO Speaks on Industry Careers

Speaking on the opening day of the 38th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), Austin Solar Day, Michael Kuhn, CEO of ImagineSolar, said the solar and smart grid industries are launching an expanding wave of new technologies and business models that are disruptive to the traditional energy industry.

The IEEE PVSC is the premier technical conference covering all aspects of PV technology from basic material science to installed system performance. Kuhn presented what is happening in the solar and smart grid industries, what is creating their growth, and what career opportunities are available now. He gave an overview of several solar career pathways. He also spoke about diverse career opportunities being created as the smart grid is implemented across the nation.

“There is a need for specialized training and continuing education to stay on top of this wave,” Kuhn said. “Career opportunities in this field are available to everyone including engineers, electricians, entrepreneurs, and other professionals.”

The solar industry has grown significantly over the past decade as the shift from nonrenewables is ugmented by the vision of a sustainable future in the U.S. The solar industry boasts a job growth rate of 6.8% annually, compared to the national employment growth rate of 0.7% (Source: The National Solar Jobs Census 2011).

Solar career opportunities include installation, production, design, sales, marketing and more. The smart grid offers new career avenues for those in information technologies, software, energy, wireless/telecom, finance, contracting, and consumer products. A CABA research study projects that by 2015, the smart grid will be approaching a $10 billion industry in North America. In 2010 it was worth only $5.6 billion. High-tech training in these clean energy careers is paramount.

View Michael Kuhn’s entire presentation.

Biodiesel Leaders Call on Congress and Administration

More than 120 biodiesel leaders are in Washington D.C. this week to call on Congress to extend the expired biodiesel tax incentive and to urge the Obama Administration to quickly finalize the EPA’s proposal to grow biodiesel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard next year.

Industry leaders met with White House officials and members of Congress. They will specifically be calling for the Obama Administration to follow through with the EPA’s proposal to increase the biodiesel volume requirement under the RFS to 1.28 billion gallons in 2013 – up from 1 billion gallons this year. Late last year, the Obama Administration delayed the decision.

“Washington’s failure to act on these two issues has effectively halted the momentum our industry built last year in producing a record of nearly 1.1 billion gallons,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board. “It is locking up millions of dollars in investments that could be creating jobs, purchasing equipment and feedstock, and driving economic growth.”

The Administration’s delay on the RFS rule has come as Congress allowed the biodiesel tax incentive to expire on Dec. 31. The tax incentive has broad bipartisan support, and biodiesel leaders will be urging lawmakers on Capitol Hill to pass an extension as soon as possible.

“This is a proposal that has strong support from the EPA and USDA, and yet it has been caught up in a bureaucratic delay for nearly a year, without any explanation or justification,” Steckel said. “It is blocking significant investment and hiring, so we are pleading with the Obama Administration to follow through with its ‘all of the above’ energy rhetoric by finalizing this proposal. It is something the Administration can do tomorrow, without waiting on Congress.”

Marco Andretti Pumps Ethanol Across Iowa Today

Fans of Marco Andretti, the 2011 Iowa Corn Indy 250 winner, have the opportunity to meet him today (Mon., June 4) at E85 pump promotions across Iowa. Andretti will be pumping fuel and signing autographs with fans at the locations listed below. E85 will also be sold for 85 cents per gallon during the promotional times. Limit 30 gallons per customer.

Locations include:
Cedar Rapids- Kum & Go, 30 SW Four Oaks Drive,
from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
Mason City- Kum & Go, 1920 Federal,
from 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
Sioux City- Kum & Go, 1925 South Lakeport, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Council Bluffs- Kum & Go, 4443 S. 84th St., from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The pay it forward statewide pump promotions are a way to celebrate the IZOD IndyCar shift to E85, a fuel that Iowans can find at more than 170 flex fuel pumps across the state. Plus, Iowa Corn is partnering with Marco Andretti and Andretti Autosport™ in advance of the 2012 Iowa Corn Indy 250 race that will be held on Saturday, June 23 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton.

“It’s an awesome track and an awesome event,” said Marco Andretti. “Last year, I started 17th and was able to work my way to the front, which was a lot of fun. This year, we have one goal at Iowa: win again. This time, we’ll do it with the Iowa Corn logo on the No. 26 RC Cola car.”

In 2012, the Series will be showcasing E-85 at top-notch speeds and at professional venues across the world.

Danish Company First To Achieve WindMade Status

Widex, a Danish hearing-aid manufacturer, is the first company in the world to receive the recently established WindMade designation, a new global consumer label for companies that use wind energy.

The WindMade label requires participating companies to obtain at least 25 percent of their electricity from wind power. A wind turbine at Widex’ new global headquarters in Denmark covers 95 percent of its energy needs, including production, the company says.

The WindMade label was created to allow companies to communicate their commitment to renewable energy while providing consumers with the choice to favour companies and products using wind power.

“We congratulate Widex for becoming the first-ever WindMade-certified company,” says Henrik Kuffner, CEO of WindMade. “By committing to renewable energy and using the WindMade label, Widex has set a great example that will inspire companies and consumers all over the world.”

“Being a high tech company, we have an uncompromising approach to innovation and we always strive to find the best solution. By completely eliminating the use of fossil fuels, we believe that we have created the best possible foundation for the future – both for our company and for society,” says Richard Tøpholm, manager at Widex and member of the Board.

Other major companies – including Becton Dickinson, Motorola, Deutsche Bank and PricewaterhouseCoopers Denmark – have expressed their commitment to the initiative and will be certified in the coming months.

Sky Factory Switches to Net-Zero Solar Power

The Sky Factory, a global fine art and technology company based in Fairfield, Iowa, will “flip the switch” to become Iowa’s first net-zero solar powered business June 7.

Designed and installed by Fairfield’s Ideal Energy, the 3,500 square foot photovoltaic panel array, generating 54 kilowatts, is the largest private installation in the state and will generate 104 percent of Sky Factory’s power needs.

The Sky Factory creates virtual skylights and windows with nature scenes. Products are designed and manufactured in Fairfield and distributed globally. The company founded the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) in 2008 with a mission to initiate and support the development, research and implementation of sustainable systems that are locally and globally relevant.

Inspired by Jack Eastman, long-time Sierra Club leader and Sky Factory’s own eco-conscience, the company began to investigate and implement sustainable practices. Sky Factory total recycling, a new energy conserving building, and implementation of a renewable energy system are the results of their dedication to eco-centric living.

The public is invited to celebrate the launch of this renewable energy system on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. until noon. Presentations and tours will take place at 801 N. 18th St., Fairfield, Iowa 52556.

Big River Resources Becomes Growth Energy Member

Big River Resources, LLC has become the 66th associate member of Growth Energy, the leading coalition of U.S. ethanol supporters. Big River adds its three plants, located in Galva, Ill., Dyersville, Iowa and Boyceville, Wisc., to Growth Energy’s plant membership, making a total of 79.

“Being able to add the three Big River Resources plants to our coalition is a great accomplishment,” said Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis. “This group represents a large market share across the Midwest, and is directly responsible for producing a significant quantity of ethanol. Their membership further enhances our ability to raise awareness of the benefits of ethanol as a fuel source, as well as better educates Americans on the importance of diversifying our energy basket with home-grown products.”

Big River Resources, which began producing ethanol in 2004, now has the capacity to produce approximately 400 million gallons of ethanol per year, and purchases approximately 138 million bushels of locally-grown corn. In total, the company owns four separate ethanol, feed and corn oil producing facilities across three states, employing more than 230 people and earning revenues in excess of $1 billion. The addition of the three plants greatly increases Growth Energy’s reach and visibility across a key market.

“We are enthusiastic in promoting our company’s original goals and feel that Growth Energy is an effective means for promoting these goals,” said Big River Resources President and CEO Raymond Defenbaugh.

Novozymes to Supply Biofuels Factory in Brazil

In December 2013, Brazilian bioenergy company GraalBio will start producing 82 million liters (22 million gallons) of advanced biofuels per year at a new factory in the Brazilian state of Alagoas. The plant will produce cellulosic ethanol from sugarcane bagasse and straw, and Novozymes will supply the necessary enzyme technology while Beta Renewables and Chemtex, both part of Italian chemical group Mossi & Ghisolfi (M&G), will provide other process technologies and engineering. Novozymes

“This announcement from GraalBio is fantastic news for the ethanol industry and for Brazil and it clearly signals the continuation of the green path Brazil has taken on biofuels,” says Peder Holk Nielsen, Executive Vice President of Novozymes. “We are thrilled to supply the enzymes to the first advanced biofuels facility in Brazil and proud to help GraalBio succeed.”

Advanced biofuels in the form of cellulosic ethanol is produced from biomass such as energy crops, agricultural residues or industrial and household waste. Enzymes are a key component of the production process, turning the biomass into sugar which can be fermented into ethanol.

As the advanced biofuels industry in Brazil scales up over the coming years, demand for enzymes is expected to follow and Novozymes has therefore begun searching for locations for new enzyme manufacturing plants in Brazil.

“The advanced biofuels industry is taking off in Brazil and we remain confident that cellulosic ethanol will play a significant role in Brazil’s energy future,” says Peder Holk Nielsen. “To support this, we are looking to establish new enzyme production facilities in Brazil, dedicated to making enzymes for the biofuels industry. The location of new plants will, among other things, depend on where the industry is expected to scale up, where Novozymes’ partners are located, and where the best framework conditions exist.”

Demand for ethanol is growing in Brazil and globally. Brazil expects to double its output of ethanol by 2020 to meet the growing demand from both domestic and export markets.Global production capacity of advanced biofuels is expected to reach 57 million liters (15 million gallons) in 2012 and for 2014, 945 million liters (250 million gallons) are under planned construction. A recent study from Bloomberg new Energy Finance estimates that the advanced biofuels industry has the potential to create jobs, economic growth, and energy security.

IRFA Asks President Obama to Take Action on Biodiesel

President Obama will visit TPI Composites, a wind manufacturer, in Newton, Iowa today as he urges Congress to act on the “To Do List,” specifically highlighting the need to invest in clean energy by passing legislation that will extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) to support American jobs and manufacturing in the wind industry alongside an expansion of the 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit that supports American-made clean energy manufacturing.

In addition, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) is urging Obama to take action on reducing U.S. foreign oil dependence by announcing his Administration’s approval of the EPA-recommended 1.28 billion gallon biodiesel volume requirement for 2013 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2).Iowa RFA

In a letter sent to the White House, IRFA reminded President Obama that his visit to a Newton wind blade facility will take him right next door to another renewable energy employer in Newton, the biodiesel plant owned and operated by REG (REG Newton), and encouraged the President to expand the focus of his visit to include specific steps to strengthen the U.S. biodiesel industry.

“Approving the 1.28 billion gallon RFS2 biodiesel volumes for 2013 is one specific action that you can take to promote the continued growth of domestic advanced biofuels production and green jobs without having to wait for Congressional approval,” said IRFA President Brad Albin. “The RFS2 is one of the most effective energy policies in American history, and your Administration can lead the way by showing its support for EPA’s modest proposal at a time when the biodiesel industry is poised for success.”

In June 2011, EPA proposed raising the RFS2 volume requirement for biodiesel from 1 billion gallons in 2012 to 1.28 billion gallons in 2013 after rigorous review demonstrating that the requirement is achievable in a sustainable manner. Nonetheless, in December 2011, the Obama Administration announced it was delaying the final 2013 RFS2 volume requirement, arguing the proposal need further review. Nearly six months later, the U.S. biodiesel industry is still waiting on the Obama Administration’s approval. A recent economic analysis by Cardno ENTRIX shows that increasing the biodiesel volumes to 1.28 billion gallons has the potential to add more than 10,000 jobs to the U.S. economy.

State Tax Credit Helps Iowa Biodiesel Production

Biodiesel production in Iowa has remained strong during the first quarter of 2012 despite the expiration of the federal biodiesel tax credit. According to figures released by the Iowa Department of Revenue (DOR), 10 Iowa biodiesel plants produced 41.9 million gallons from January through March.Iowa RFA

In 2011, the Iowa Legislature enacted a short-term, modest biodiesel production tax credit to help Iowa’s biodiesel community compete against states that provide large biodiesel incentives. The Iowa program went into effect on January 1, 2012 – the same day the federal biodiesel program expired.

“Despite losing the federal tax credit, biodiesel production in Iowa remains on pace with 2011 production, although down from year-end levels,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “This is a clear sign that Iowa’s new biodiesel production tax credit is having a positive impact. With additional production set to come on line in Iowa, we hope to see these numbers increase throughout the year.

“We knew there would be a transition period in 2012 and it was important to give the 7,000-plus jobs tied to Iowa biodiesel production a chance to survive and thrive,” added Shaw. “The initial DOR biodiesel numbers are a sign Iowa is headed in the right direction. Tax credits are only earned if biodiesel is produced –meaning jobs are sustained and the economy is strengthened.”

A study released earlier this year by economist John Urbanchuk, technical director of Cardno ENTRIX, found that biodiesel production supported 7,350 Iowa jobs; boosted Iowa GDP by nearly $600 million and generated $350 million in additional Iowa household income.

For more details, read the complete study.