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.

Factory Fresh with Biodiesel Blend

Jeep Cherokee According to the National Biodiesel Board, Chrysler Group has announced that the first diesel-powered, full-size sport utility vehicle offered in the United States will be shipped from the factory with B5, a blend containing 5 percent biodiesel. The Jeep® Grand Cherokee CRD’s B5 factory fueling builds on a similar program implemented with the company’s Jeep Liberty CRD.

The 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee features a 3.0 liter common rail turbo diesel (CRD) engine built by Mercedes-Benz. Clean diesel technology improves fuel economy by an average of 30 percent and reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up to 20 percent. The Grand Cherokee CRD will be manufactured at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit and will arrive at Jeep dealerships in the first quarter of 2007. Peter Cremer North America of Cincinnati, OH – certified through the industry’s BQ-9000 quality control program – will supply the biodiesel fuel.

Premier Groundbreaking

Broin Companies The Broin Companies is holding a ground breaking ceremony August 3 for Premier Ethanol, LLC, a 60 million gallon per year ethanol plant to be constructed near Portland, Indiana.

According to a company release, invited speakers for the program include Indiana Lt. Governor Becky Skillman, State Representative Bill Davis, Portland Mayor Bruce Hosier, Ron Lamberty from the American Coalition for Ethanol, and Matt Hartwig of the Renewable Fuels Association. Jeff Broin, CEO of the Broin Companies, will also address the audience. The public is invited.

MN Gov Goes to Bat for E85 Conversion Kits

MN Gov Gov. Tim Pawlenty is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to approve the testing of E-85 conversion kits in Minnesota. According to an EarthToys press release, Pawlenty sent a letter this week to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson to approve the FlexTek conversion kit (see previous post) which is already being used in Brazil.

The EPA currently prohibits a company or individual from converting a gasoline vehicle to E-85 operation.

However, conversions could result in emissions benefits and help reduce the nation’s addiction to fossil fuels, said Pawlenty.

Pawlenty said his staff would contact EPA officials to further discuss testing the equipment in Minnesota.

Pretty New Pumps

E85 I wish everyone would send me press releases with nice pictures attached like this one from Dresser Wayne, “an industry pioneer for the retail fueling industry” whose motto is “Fueling the Future.”

They sent me a release about these pretty new E85 pumps just installed at 18 Kroger fuel stations in Dallas and Houston. The Dresser Wayne Vista 387 E85 dispenser contains components specifically designed to be tolerant to alcohol, making the dispenser more durable and resistant to corrosion. To bring the first industry-approved E85 retail fuel dispenser to the market, Dresser Wayne is partnering with CleanFUEL USA, recognized as a leader in the alternative fuels industry.

We might be seeing more of those pumps around. The U.S. House this week voted 355 to nine in favor of legislation to expand the infrastructure required for increased availability of alternative fuels at U.S. gas stations. The measure – HR 5534 – establishes a program for independent gas stations to apply for assistance to install infrastructure like E-85 pumps.

Peachy Bioenergy Conference

Georgia A three-day conference in Tifton, Georgia next week will cover everything anyone would ever want to know about bioenergy – from research and production to marketing and legislation. The Georgia Bioenergy Conference is “not just about grain and beans,” as it focuses heavily on the use of alternative feed-stocks such as wood byproducts, grasses, and byproducts from peanut, cotton, and municipal wastes to generate energy.

The dates are August 1-3. More info is available on the website.

Plans Delayed for One Florida Ethanol Plant

US EnviroFuels One of two ethanol plants being built by U.S. EnviroFuels has run into a snag due to a land issue. The company is planning facilities at both Port Manatee and the Port of Tampa, but according to the Bradenton Herald, the Manatee county site is on hold “until they can work out an agreement with Port Manatee tenant TransMontaigne Inc. to lease 16.5 acres of land.”

Meanwhile, the Tampa plant continues to moving forward and is close to groundbreaking, according to company officials.

Kansas Ethanol Plant Announced

ICM ICM Inc. of Colwich, Kan., will design an ethanol plant in Rice County, KS between Lyons and Sterling. The plant will be capable of producing 55 million gallons per year and is being funded by an investment group that includes former Kansas Senate President Dave Kerr.

According to an article in the Hutchinson (KS) News, construction of the plant should begin in December. “We’ve worked very closely with ICM, and we’re extremely pleased to have been given a favorable start date,” Kerr said.

Getting to Know 25x’25

25x25 logo The alliance known as 25X’25 is gaining more visibility with its goal to have 25 percent of the nation’s energy supply come from renewable resources by the year 2025. Major organizations, congressional leaders and companies are backing the coalition and the momentum is growing.

At the Ag Media Summit in Portland this week, Chuck sat down with Mike Bowman, one of the 25x’25 Steering Committee members, and talked about their goals and how they hope to attain them.
Listen to Chuck’s interview here Listen to MP3 25×25 Interview (8 min MP3)

Ethanol Prices Stabilizing

All the complaining about high ethanol prices may soon come to an end. Reports are that ethanol prices appear to be leveling out and should start falling. An article in the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier today quotes Tami Foster, an energy data analyst with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Foster said high ethanol demand on the east and west coasts has stabilized. At the same time more ethanol production capacity is coming on line in Iowa and elsewhere.

That means several months of rising ethanol prices may be at an end, Foster said. And she predicts in a week or so ethanol’s price at the pump will fall back below regular unleaded.

Team Ethanol at the Milwaukee Mile

Indy Car Series Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol car driver Jeff Simmons finished in the top ten again Sunday at the Milwaukee Mile, starting in his highest pole position at sixth and finishing ninth.

Simmons commented, “The Team Ethanol crew did a great job preparing the car this weekend. We had over best qualifying run of the year and we scored our third straight top ten despite the pit problem. I think we are working well together as a team and I feel will continue the improvement.”

Meanwhile, RLR team member Danica Patrick finished fourth in the race, amid rumors that she will bolt at the end of this season and join another team. Tony Kanaan won the race.

Maryland’s Commitment to Domestic Fuel

Maryland The state of Maryland is not towing the “Old Line” when it comes to new fuels.

Last week, the first E85 station opened in Baltimore – although it’s only for state vehicles and non-profits, according to an article in the Examiner. State officials want motorists to start thinking about using alternative fuels, said Michael Li, chief of staff at the Maryland Energy Administration.

Last month, the first biodiesel plant opened in Berlin, MD, operated by Maryland Biodiesel and earlier this month Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., outlined his plans to increase Maryland’s access to renewable energy sources and decrease its reliance on fossil fuels and natural gas.

The plan “will boost Maryland’s use of biofuels and biomass, such as animal manure and underutilized wood resources, and provide incentives for the use of renewable electricity, including solar and wind resources.”

Diversified in the Heart of Ethanol Country

Diversified Diversified Ethanol is establishing corporate headquarters in the “heart of ethanol country: Iowa,” according to a Business Wire release.

“We needed to be right in the middle of the Midwest ethanol plants. As we work on ethanol mergers and acquisitions, it is a significant advantage to be established within the ethanol community. Being in Iowa, it will give us first hand knowledge and information about the key players and producers within the industry. Therefore we can prepare for future trends in the ethanol industry, even before the crop reports come out. The company anticipates this strategy will enhance the company’s competitiveness within the market,” stated Taylor Moffitt, CEO.

Diversified Ethanol is a division of Chicago-based of James Monroe Capital Corporation.

Red Birds Make Flight Plans

Cardinal Indiana-based Cardinal Ethanol has a 24-member board of directors in place and is holding public equity-drive meetings to secure the funds needed to finance an ethanol plant in Randolph County. The natural gas-fired plant is anticipated to produce 100 million gallons of ethanol per year, using 36 million bushels of corn. A total of 49 meetings are planned – if needed – to raise up to $82 million of the $150 million estimated cost of the project. Meeting dates and times at locations around Indiana and Ohio can be found on the website, as well as a prospectus and IPO information.

Nebraska Groundbreaking

Midwest Ethanol The governor of Nebraska and representatives from the Renewable Fuels Association and the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council will be in “the Irish capital of Nebraska” this Friday for the groundbreaking of Holt County Ethanol, a subsidiary of Midwest Ethanol Producers. O'Neill

The O’Neill plant will produce more than 100 million gallons of ethanol each year, along with 350,000 tons of dry distillers grain and will consume more than 37 million bushels of corn annually.

Midwest Ethanol has another plant in Holdrege, NE and is planning to build two other plants in the state at sites yet to be announced.

Austin City Biodiesel

Austin Biofuels Austin, Texas now holds the distinction of being the number one city in the nation for retail biodiesel. According to the National Biodiesel Board, 19 Shell stations in the Austin area recently opened pumps that carry a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent diesel (B20).

Austin Biofuels, a biodiesel distributor and marketer, teamed up with Triple S Petroleum, a local petroleum distributor, to bring B20 to the Shell-branded “Signature Austin” convenience stores.

“It’s an exciting time in Austin,” said Jeff Plowman, president of Austin Biofuels. “As the city is pushing to become the Clean Energy Capital of the World, being a part of the clean energy growth is very fulfilling.”