About Cindy Zimmerman

Cindy has been reporting about agricultural topics since 1980 when she graduated with a degree in broadcasting from the University of Florida. She is an emeritus member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters and 1991 Oscar in Agriculture winner. She and her husband Chuck started ZimmComm New Media in 2003. They have three beautiful daughters and live near white sand beaches of Pensacola, Florida.

Getting Revved Up For Indy

e-podcastThe latest “Fill up, Feel Good” podcast features several people who took part in last week’s “Ethanol Day” at the Indianapolis Speedway. Among them are Indy Car drivers Danica Patrick and Jeff Simmons, U.S. Secretary of Energy Sam Bodman, ethanol hot rod racer Mark Thomas, and EPIC president Tom Branham.

The “Fill up, Feel Good” podcast is available to download by subscription (see our sidebar link) or you can listen to it by clicking here. 4:00 MP3 File)

Green Star Plans BioRefineries

Green Star Products Green Star Products, Inc. has announced plans to construct facilities for the production of both biodiesel and biomass ethanol, according to a press release. The first facility is planned for North Carolina, the second location is yet to be announced but the company says it will be somewhere in the northwestern US.
Each GSPI-designed Bio-Refinery will have a start-up production of between 10 or 20 million gallons per year with quick expansion capabilities. The facility infrastructure will be capable of expanding to 60 million gallons per year (and further expansion capabilities could reach 100-million gallons per year), ranking them among the largest fuel production facilities in the world.

Biodiesel Update

NBBThe University of Georgia is holding a Southeastern Biodiesel Workshop this week in Athens featuring a number of interesting speakers and perspectives on the fuel. Although the National Biodiesel Board was not able to be a part of this event, you might be interested in hearing a update from NBB Executive Director Joe Jobe on what is happening with this domestic fuel industry.
Jobe reports that in the last 18 months, the number of biodiesel plants in the US has grown from 22 to 65 and there are another 50 under construction. He notes that if biodiesel could replace “just five percent of the on-road diesel market, that would be the same amount of diesel fuel refined from crude oil that we get from the country of Iraq each year” – about 1.85 billion gallons.
Listen to Chuck’s interview with Joe Jobe from the Clean Cities Congress last week. Listen To MP3 Joe Jobe (5 min MP3)

Home Stills Selling Like Hot Cakes

Dogwood We got a couple of comments about this company when I did the post about The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) warning not to make ethanol at home (see previous post). Dogwood Energy claims that it is “perfectly legal to own and operate an ethanol still on your property, provided that you are using it ONLY to make fuel and you are not reselling it.” An Associated Press article says the company is now building four or five stills a day and has sold 45 in recent weeks, more than 125 since September, to meet the demand from customers ranging from small businesses to thrifty individuals. The company website also gives directions on how to build your own still and how to make your own diesel.

Calls For New Farm Policy

AFT Some sectors of agriculture are calling for a new direction to farm policy. At a press conference last week, the American Farmland Trust unveiled its vision of a new farm policy called Agenda 2007. AFT President Ralph Grossi says this vision includes renewable energy. “Much more can be done to unleash producer innovation and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Grossi, including expanding the production of renewable fuels, “especially in developing technologies to convert cellulose to biofuels.”

Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former U.S. Congressman Dan Glickman, who endorses the AFT framework, is most excited about “the very significant role that farmers may have in producing big chunks of energy needed to produce electricity, but particularly liquid fuels, motor fuels, transportation fuels – in addition to providing environmental benefits.”

The AFT website details Agenda 2007 and includes a video webcast of last week’s press conference.

Coast to Coast Ethanol Plant News

US BioEnergy and Big River Resources of West Burlington, IA are joining forces to build a 100 million gallon per year (mgy) dry grind ethanol facility near Grinnell, Iowa, according to a company release.

A proposed Florida ethanol plant is facing opposition, according to an article on Gainesville.com. The proposed $80 million plant, a project of Gate Petroleum in Jacksonville, would use corn from the midwest.

A 40 million gallon a year plant is opening this week near Kodak, Colorado. According to this article in The Coloradoan, the plant will rely on corn delivered by rail.

Here’s an article from Fort Wayne.com about the race to build ethanol plants in Indiana. According to the story, at least nine more ethanol plants could join the two already operating and six under construction in Indiana.

Pacific Ethanol is moving ahead with plans to build its second West coast plant in Oregon. The 35 million gallon per year ethanol facility will be located on the Columbia River near Boardman, Oregon.

News Briefs

I have been letting Chuck do the talking this week covering Clean Cities and Ethanol Day. Now it’s time to catch up on some Domestic Fuel news:

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced a new biofuels policy in the Senate, while House Ag Democrats unveiled a comprenesive biodiesel energy package.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest price forecast for corn predicts that ethanol will contribute to higher prices this year. USDA officials expect corn prices to average $2.45 per bushel in the coming marketing year, up more than 22 percent from last year. Lots of stories out there about it, here’s a link to the Des Moines Register piece.

Missouri Corn Growers have their ethanol bill. Governor Matt Blunt is expected to sign a statewide ethanol standard that mandates gasoline sold in Missouri contain 10 percent ethanol. The bill passed overwhelmingly in both houses.

Ethanol Flood

The World Bank is being “flooded” with requests to fund ethanol projects worldwide, according to a report from Reuters. The article says that requests are coming from countries such as “Mali, Guatemala, Honduras, the Philippines, Colombia, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Mozambique, Tanzania, Egypt and Turkey,” and that “inquiries have increased since President Bush last week called on the U.S. Congress to reconsider tariffs on imports of ethanol, as crude oil prices traded near the mid-$70s per barrel.”

Pineapple Ethanol

Biomass ResourcesPineapple A Florida-based company is working to make ethanol from pineapples. Biomass Resources Corporation of Boca Raton reportedly has “achieved initial success at extracting Ethanol from pineapple fruit and pineapple plant waste,” according to a news release. Initially, the company is focusing on the pineapple industry for its production, and has established a 5,000 sq. ft. R&D and production facility outside of Cali, Colombia, in South America, in the heart of the pineapple industry. According to the company website, they can derive several valuable by-products from pineapple separation technology besides cellulose for ethanol, including bromelain, xylitol, lignin and protein-laden plant waste.
I just wonder if pineapple ethanol would make a good pina colada.

Catalytic Conversion Could Make Ethanol Cheaper

Syngas Lowering the cost of ethanol production is the goal of Syngas International, a Canadian alternative energy technology corporation. The company hopes to do that by by replacing corn with less-expensive cellulose-based feed stocks and using its “M2 gasifier and PyStR system,” with is catalytic conversion as opposed to fermentation. According to a news release, “cellulosic feed stocks include agricultural wastes, grasses and woods, and other low value biomass such as municipal waste.”

Green Grand Prix

Green Grand Prix Increased awareness of domestic fuel alternatives is helping organizers of the 2nd Annual Green Grand Prix to be held in Watkins Glen, NY on June 2.

The Green Grand Prix features a road rally of Hybrid and Alternative Fueled Vehicles held on an 84-mile course following the perimeter of beautiful Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. The event is designed to benefit the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association and executive director Carol Fitzgerald says they are getting all kinds of sponsorships and media attention.

“This started out as a regional event to emphasize energy independence and a cleaner environment, it has now started to take on a life of it’s own,” she says. “We have sponsorship from Toyota, Lexus, GM, Honda and Ford. The IRL is sponsoring us and is sending their pace car a Honda Civic Hybrid and are getting back to me on other involvement. The Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) just phoned me last week and they are interested in a large involvement and sponsorship. They sponsor the Rahal/Letterman IRL race team and are checking on the availability of the Ethanol Indy Show Car and are sending their new IRL driver Jeff Simmons for an autograph session.”

The Green Grand Prix is the brainchild of Robert Gillespie an area artist who is a hybrid car owner and is very passionate about increasing awareness about the vehicles. Last year’s event was a huge success and very well received.

Ethanol Plants in NY, LA and IA

Governor George E. Pataki announced nearly $6 million in State funding to assist Western New York Energy in the development of the first state-of-the-art dry mill ethanol plant in New York State. The $87.4 million facility is to be located on 144 acres in the Town of Shelby, Orleans County.

BioEnergy International, a privately held, biotechnology company headquartered in Norwell, Massachusetts, announced that it has commenced site work on its first biorefinery, a 108 million gallon per year ethanol plant located on land leased from the Lake Providence Port Commission in East Carroll Parish, Louisiana.

VeraSun Energy broke ground on its third ethanol biorefinery in Charles City, Iowa over the weekend. When complete, the biorefinery will produce 110 million gallons of ethanol and 353,000 tons of distillers dried grains (DDGs) annually from 39 million bushels of corn.

Good Time For Ethanol

60 Minutes The folks at the Clean Cities Congress must be loving CBS.

The ethanol industry could hardly have written a better story for itself than “60 Minutes” did tonight. Amazingly, it was all positive – not a discouraging word was heard. Maybe it was because Dan would rather make “Big Oil” look bad than Iowa ethanol farmers. Rather seemed to take particular pleasure in grilling Red Cavaney, the head of the American Petroleum Institute about the cost of switching to E-85, which the oil industry estimates will be $200,000 per station, while Daniel Kammen with the Renewable Energy Lab at the University of California-Berkeley says it’s more like $30-40,000.

“Why shouldn’t I think, well, this is just a way for the oil companies to slow or snuff out the growth of ethanol, and other alternatives?” Rather asked.
“We think we’ve shown that we’re strong supporters for ethanol where it’s appropriate,” Cavaney answered.
But what the oil industry considers “appropriate” is limiting ethanol to an additive and not moving quickly to something like E-85.

Read the whole report or watch the video here.