GPRE Shenandoah Ethanol Plant Marks 5 Years

Green Plains Renewable Energy‘s (GRPE) ethanol plant in Shenandoah, Iowa is celebrating its 5th Anniversary. August 23 marks the first date of Shenandoah’s first grind. GPRE is excited about the achievement because this was their first of nine plants that they own and operate. In addition, this is the location of their partnership with BioProcess Algae, currently the only algae biorefinery using carbon dioxide directly from an industrial plant.

Since Shenandoah’s 1st grind on August 23, 2007:

  • Processed 108,665,339 bushels of corn
  • Produced 308,806,276 gallons of ethanol
  • Produced 625,000 tons of dried distillers grains
  • Produced 519,745 tons of modified distillers grains
  • Produced 6,900 tons of corn oil
  • Created 43 jobs in Shenandoah

GPRE held a celebration event for the local community that included a social hour, lunch and several presentations. Speakers included; Jim Stark, Vice President of Investor & Media Relations, Green Plains; Shenandoah Mayor Richard “Dick” Hunt; Gregg Connell, Executive Director, Shenandoah Chamber & Industry; Jeff Briggs, Chief Operating Officer, Green Plains; and Cory Scamman, General Manager – Green Plains Shenandoah.

Bioprocess Algae is in the final stage of construction of its Phase III Commercial Farm and it is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.

Republican Nat’l Convention Fueled with Natural Gas

The upcoming 2012 Republican National Convention being hosted by Tampa, Florida, shuttle buses will be fueled with compressed natural gas (CNG). The buses, coined GOP EZ Shuttles, will be transporting participants to hotels and local attractions. America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) is coordinating with local TECO Peoples Gas and Ultimate CNG to provide the CNG fuel for the shuttles. ANGA says CNG provides significant cost savings over diesel-fueled buses. When compared to diesel, CNG costs about $1.69 less per gallon equivalent.

“We are proud to have this opportunity to provide transportation to convention participants in Tampa and to give them a first-hand experience with natural gas vehicles,” said ANGA President and Chief Executive Office Regina Hopper. “Companies and local leaders across the country are embracing natural gas as a fuel choice and calling for more vehicle options and filling stations to help drive this change. Our message in Tampa and beyond is that this is an extraordinary opportunity for our nation, and it’s time to get on board with this American fuel choice.”

The city and surrounding areas such as St. Petersburg are not strangers to CNG. Some companies operating as part of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit use the fuel for airport transit vehicles. Florida is the second largest natural gas user in the U.S., and the country is the larget producer of natural gas, which can be used for transportation, electricity generation or industrial purposes.

“As mayor, I have seen firsthand the benefits that natural gas vehicles can bring in terms of lower fuel costs and clean air. I am pleased to welcome natural gas buses to the convention. These buses will not only provide a cleaner, cheaper method of transport but will also connect the thousands of guests here for various convention events to our local attractions,” said City of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

William Harris, CEO of the 2012 Republican National Convention Committee on Arrangements added, “We’re delighted that these 12 natural gas vehicles – what we call ‘the Clean Dozen’ – will be part of our convention. Energy independence is critical to Mitt Romney’s vision of a better future for all Americans, which is what this convention is all about.”

ANGA also will be providing buses for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.

California Releases 2012 Bioenergy Action Plan

California has released its 2012 Bioenergy Action Plan with the goal of improving the timeline to market of energy development, job creation and protection of public health and safety. The state defines bioenergy as energy produced from organic waste such as forest, urban and agricultural that would otherwise go into a landfill or be burned. The state is looking at Bioenergy to help create new jobs, protect the public from issues such as wildfires, landfill pollution, dairies, wastewater treatment facilities and other waste.

“Swift action on bioenergy will create jobs, increase local clean energy supplies, and help businesses grow in California,” said California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird. “Increasing bioenergy opportunities will also help California meet its climate change goals and protect public health and safety.”

The 2012 Bioenergy Action Plan was developed by a combination of state agencies and outside experts as directed by California Governor Brown. The plan contains more than 50 recommended actions to increase the use of organic waste, expand research and development, reduce permitting and regulatory challenges and address economic barriers to bioenergy development.

“Bioenergy is an exciting new frontier for agriculture,” said Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, one of the agencies that collaborated on the report. “It creates jobs, reduces energy costs and reduces pollution. Early adopters are already realizing these benefits and are blazing the path towards self-sufficiency for agriculture.”

Expanding bioenergy development benefits California agriculture by providing an onsite or local source of clean energy, either electricity or liquid fuels for farm and other vehicles. The state currently produces about 600 megawatts of electricity and 50 to 100 million gallon equivalents from organic waste each year. The state hopes to double these numbers through the execution of the plan recommendations.

Old Yellow House Gets Net Zero with Help of Solar

It may not be effective to be passive person but it is good to be a passive home. East Bay (California) general contractor Anthony Maramonte of Mara Construction has partnered with Jame P. Wright an architect with Net Zero Homes to restore the historic “The Old Yellow House” to be model of energy efficiency.

A passive home is an ultra efficient building standard that saves up to 85 percent on space heating and cooling. Although this is a concept dating back more than 20 years, it is now being adopted for all building types. Today, more than 20,000 projects have been completed using the “passive” style to achieve energy efficiency.

“We are very excited to be involved in a project with Net Zero Homes and this new avenue of energy efficient homes,” said Anthony Maramonte.

Does it take new expensive gadgets, lots of money and strange designs to make your building passive? No. The building is super insulated and gains heat by internal gains from people, electrical equipment and passive solar gains through windows and doors. It provides fresh air through an energy recovery system that recovers exiting conditioned air. In addition, by adding a properly sized solar array, any building can reach the level of net zero.

What do you gain? A cool, comfortable, energy bill free building.

NYSE Euronext Supports Wind Energy

The NYSE Euronext is a supporter of wind energy. The exchange purchased renewable energy certificates (RECs) from Green Mountain Energy Company for its 2011 electricity use. The RECs purposed were generated from 100 percent wind energy sources.

“We are making commitments across the board to operate sustainably, and our decision to choose 100% wind renewable energy certificates for our electricity usage is one more proof point of those efforts” said NYSE Euronext Chief Executive Officer Duncan L. Niederauer. “By working with Green Mountain we were not only able to deliver on our commitment but also partner with a company that was built on a mission to provide what we were after – a cleaner source of power.”

Over the course of 2011, NYSE Euronext used nearly 80 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of wind energy and so it purchased a like amount to cover its energy usage. The exchange’s electricity needs are fueled by trading floor activities and operational needs and by purchasing wind energy credits, avoided over 82 million pounds of carbon dioxide from being emitted. This is equivalent to the CO2 generated in one year by people taking over 33 million taxi rides in New York city.

Scott Hart, president of Commercial Services for Green Mountain added, “Our partnership with NYSE Euronext to choose clean energy sources makes a great fit for the environmental practices in place at both our companies. NYSE Euronext may do a lot of trading, but doesn’t make trade-offs when it comes to bettering the environment.”

Survey Shows Drought Spurs Need for Alt Energy

According to a recent ORC International survey, 81 percent of Americans are concerned about “increased drought” and other extreme weather conditions. Conducted on behalf of the Civil Society Institute (CSI), the poll results showed that concerns about drought, of which the many states have been severely affected, go hand in hand with worries about water shortages.

Three out of four Americans think that, “with all the current concern about severe drought and the risk of water shortages, America needs to start focusing more on alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar, that require less water.”

Other key findings include worry over shortages of safe drinking water due to drought and “the diversion of water for energy production” is the No. 1 overall concern in 10 drought-stricken states including, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri  Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Texas. Nationwide, 64 percent of respondents are “very concerned” about the prospect of  “possible shortages of safe drinking water” due to drought and diversion for energy production.

On average, 85 percent of Americans believe availability of ample clean water should be a top national priority for the country. In addition, 89 percent of respondents said that want an energy/water “road map” for the country. People believe that, “U.S. energy planning and decision making must be made with full knowledge and understanding about the availability of water regionally and locally, and the impact this water use from specific energy choices has on their economies, including agricultural production.”

“We now understand all too well the harsh realities of the current drought and its relationship to changes in the climate from global warming. America’s ‘all of the above’ non-solution for electricity generation is a dead-end path – one requiring vast amounts of water for coal-fired power plants, nuclear reactors and the fracking extraction of natural gas,” said Pam Solo, president, Civil Society Institute. Continue reading

Propel Fuels Jumps Onto Inc. 500 List

Propel Fuels has been named to Inc. Magazine’s annual “Inc. 500” list of American’s fastest growing private companies. During the past three years, the company has grown more than 1,000 percent making them the 17th fastest growing company in the energy sector and 352nd overall. Today Propel operates 28 fueling locations along the west coast with plans for at least another 200 more stations to be opened over the next two years.

“This recognition is a tribute to our thousands of loyal customers and fleet partners that choose to fill with clean, renewable, domestically-produced fuels,” said Matt Horton, CEO of Propel. “This honor is just a start for Propel. As we continue to build our network of stations, we’re making progress toward our nation’s energy goals and providing choice at the pump for consumers seeking cleaner mobility options.”

Today, Propel offers fuels such as ethanol, E85 and biodiesel. In the future, the company has positioned itself and its stations to grow as fuel flexibility grows. Looking forward, stations may offer fuels such as natural gas or the ability to charge electric vehicles.

What is the Impact of US Drought on Global Ethanol Supply?

With the ongoing drought in the United States, the ethanol industry is learning how to adjust in unforeseen conditions.  While the industry is facing much criticism for being a cause of rising food prices affecting livestock producers and food manufactures alike, the industry needs to be armed with the right information to fight back. One place to get this information is during the upcoming  F.O. Licht’s World Ethanol & Biofuels event that is taking place in Munich, Germany on November 5-8, 2012.

Topics that will be discussed include:

  • What impact will this have on your business?
  • How high are corn prices expected to rise to?
  • What is expected to happen with sugar, wheat and molasses prices?
  • Globally, what impact will the drought have on ethanol trade flows, production and policy?
  • How can the biofuels industry better protect itself from this renewed negative onslaught from the media and the food and feed lobby groups?
There will be more than 700 attendees and 70 speakers from around the world. Some key presentations will be given by:
  • Bob Dinneen , President and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), USA
  • Simon Mitchell, Director Strategy and Business Development Sugar and Ethanol, Bunge, UK
  • Michael Schmidt, CEO, BP Europa SE & Head of Country, BP Deutschland
  • Hans van Steen Head of Unit, DG Energy EU Commission
  • Yue Guojun Assistant President COFCO, China
  • Mike Dwyer, Director, Global Policy Analysis Division, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Claudiu Covrig, Analyst – Ethanol & Feedstock, Sucden Geneva S.A., Switzerland
  • Frank Seyfried, Head of Group Research, Battery and Fuels, Volkswagen AG, Germany
  • Siegfried Knecht, Chairman of the Board, aireg – Aviation Initiative for Renewable Energy in Germany e.V.

For more information about the conference click here.

Chemtex to Build US Advanced Biofuels Plant

Chemtex have received word from the USDA that they will receive $99 million to help build an advanced biofuels plant in the United States. The plant will be located in Sampson County, North Carolina and once operational, will produce 20 million gallons of biofuels a years from energy crops. Construction is slated to begin this year. Chemtex has selected Novozymes as its enzymes partner.

“Novozymes is excited to partner with Chemtex to convert energy crops into cellulosic ethanol in North Carolina. It is a great step forward for the U.S. biofuels industry and an endorsement of the technologies Chemtex and Novozymes have each developed. I am confident our collaboration will become a benchmark for the advanced biofuels industry in the U.S.,” said Peder Holk Nielsen, Executive Vice President, Novozymes.

The biorefinery is targeted to go online in 2014 and will employ around 65 employees. The feedstocks used will be grown locally on marginal land that is in part currently being used as “spray fields” for the hog farming industry.

Adam Monroe, President of Novozymes North America said, “Advanced biofuels are commercializing because the Renewable Fuel Standard is working. With public and private investment, we are adding to America’s mix of domestic energy, reducing prices for consumers and freeing us from our dependence on oil.”

Chemtex will use Beta Renewables’ PROESA technology to produce cost-competitive ethanol focusing on energy grasses and agricultural waste as the main source of feedstocks. Continue reading

Smart Forvision Concept Vehicle Unveiled

Daimler, in conjunction with BASF and the American Chemistry Council (ACC), have unveiled a new smart forvision concept vehicle that was designed to save energy and enhance sustainability through vehicle efficiency. One of the energy-efficiency features is a light-transmitting roof with solar cells designed to generate energy and power the vehicle’s climate control system. In addition, the car features an infrared-reflective film developed by BASF, affixed in the windscreen and side windows. The technology protects the car interior from heating up in the summer.

“We are proud to have developed a holistic concept for sustainable urban mobility in cooperation with Daimler,” said Dr. Martin Jung, BASF’s automotive research spokesperson. “Together we are presenting a pioneering vehicle which is without parallel.”

Part of the goal of the project is to demonstrate “Chemistry to Energy”. Chemistry has the power to increase energy efficiency while also reducing the amount of energy consumed. According to an ACC study, chemistry in energy-saving products and technologies have the capability to save upwards of 10.9 quadrillion Btus of energy each year. This is staggering: this amount of energy can power up to 56 million average sized homes or enough to power 135 million cars each year. This level of energy savings could also save $85 billion in energy costs per year.

During the next several weeks, ACC is featuring a series that spotlights how chemistry is aiding in energy efficiency technologies. You can learn more at the “From Chemistry to Energy” website.

CGE Offers Wind Energy Grants

Schools, governments, public facilities and public school sectors have the opportunity to apply for a wind energy grant that will help institutions reduce their energy bills for five years. Sponsored by Clean Green Energy (CGE), the “Wind for a Better Community Grant” will be awarded to up to 25 institutions for five years. The grant recipients’ buildings will be powered by the new WIND e20 wind turbine.

Once the WIND e20 begins producing energy, the institution will begin to see lower utility bills. CGE will pay for the electricity created by the turbine with the hope that the grant winners will reinvest their savings back into their community.

Those representing a school, municipality or public facility can take advantage of this opportunity by submitting an online application.  Submissions are due no later than October 6, 2012.

New Study to Assess GHG Impact of Ethanol

A new study will come out this fall that found that supplementing cattle feed with corn stover decreases the amount of greenhouse gases created during corn ethanol production. The research was designed to assess the impact on the carbon intensity level of a corn ethanol pathway when factoring in the replacement portion of corn grain for feed with corn stover. The study was conducted by Life Cycle Associates and supported by the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA).

“It only makes sense that farmers place an incredible priority of caring for the environment,” said NCGA Ethanol Committee Chair Chad Willis, a grower from Willmar, Minn. “Natural resources, such as healthy soil and clean air and water, enable us not only to make a living but also  to continue what, for most, is a family tradition.”

“Today’s farmers take an active role in ensuring that we adopt farm practices that have been scientifically shown to raise the largest crop possible using the fewest resources, be they nutrients, land or water,” continued Willis. “NCGA supports our efforts by making the solid, scientific information necessary to act as good stewards is readily available.”

One of the criticisms of life cycle analysis is where to begin and where to end. Researchers can choose different starting and stopping points, for example from cradle-to-grave, cradle-to-gate, cradle-to-cradle and well-to-wheel. When selecting when the life cycle analysis evaluation process begins and ends, it allows researchers to more accurately model the full greenhouse gas impact based on the current situation, or how it would be affected if a variable were changed.

Another advantage of conducting lifecycle analyses is that it can be determined where in the corn or ethanol processes resources are consumed or conserved. This enables the agricultural or biofuels industry to adopt technologies and processes that conserve resources while developing ways to improve the processes that consume the most resources. This also can help both industries save resources and costs.

Aventine Enters Into Restructuring Agreement

Aventine Renewable Energy has announced the company has entered into a Restructuring Agreement with 100% of its term loan lenders. Under the terms of this agreement the company will convert the majority of its outstanding term loan debt into newly issued common equity, representing, on a fully diluted basis, approximately 92.5 percent of the issued and outstanding common stock after the issuance.

The company’s board of directors have approved the agreement and 60 percent of the stock holders have also approved the agreement. If the agreement is fully executed, Aventine’s existing debt should be reduced by nearly $135 million. In addition, the agreement would not affect unsecured creditors and trade creditors will continue to receive payments. The transactions are targeted to close sometime in the 3rd quarter of this year.

“The Company would like to thank its lenders and significant stakeholders for supporting its business and operations. These are difficult times for the industry and the consummation of these transactions is expected to result in a much stronger balance sheet for the Company,” said John Castle, Aventine’s Chief Executive Officer.

Kansas Drivers Have New E15 Retail Station

Drivers who live and travel through Ottawa, Kansas now have access to E15. The Zarco 66 station located at 2518 E. Logan (intersection of I-35 & HWY 68) has become the second retail gas station to offer E15 in the U.S. Earlier this summer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave final approval for the sale of E15 and customers are already showing great support for the higher blend of ethanol. On July 8, 2012 Zarco 66 began offering E15 to drivers in Lawrence, Kansas and the fuel sales are hitting high speeds.

“We are excited to add a high octane renewable fuel choice for our customers on the go in Ottawa, Kansas as we will continue to reduce our dependency on foreign oil through the use of renewable energy sources,” said Scott Zaremba, owner of Zarco 66 stations.

While ethanol has many advantages, one is that it has the ability to help motorists save money at the pump. According to an updated study authored by professors at the University of Wisconsin and Iowa State University, ethanol savings in the Midwest in 2011 were $1.69 per gallon while average savings across the county was $1.09 per gallon.

“American consumers are looking for a choice when it comes to fueling their vehicles, and they now have one more domestic, renewable fuel option with E15 becoming more commercially available,” said Renewable Fuels Association RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Ethanol continues to help consumers during these difficult economic times by lowering prices at the pump and supporting more than 400,000 jobs across the country that can’t be outsourced.”

RFA is working with retailers as well as automakers and consumers to ensure E15 is used properly. Vehicles and light duty trucks manufactured after 2001 can take advantage of E15.

The association, along with the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) have been working together through their BYO Ethanol program to help interested gas retailers install pumps to sell higher blends of ethanol including E15 and E85. Those interested retailers can review the E15 Retailer Handbook for free to learn more about how to make additional revenue through the sale of E15.

POET & Agrivida Sign Technology Deal

POET Research has signed a technology collaboration joint development agreement for cellulosic ethanol with Agrivida, a developer of biotechnology platforms for feedstock and feedstock processing. As part of the four-year agreement, POET and Agrivida will develop Agrivida’s technology platforms as a means of reducing capital and operating costs of commercialized cellulosic ethanol biorefineries.

The first feedstock of focus will be corn stover, the key feedstock that POET has been focusing on to develop cellulosic ethanol at its plant under construction in Emmetsburg, Iowa known as Project Liberty. Agrivida is helping POET to develop traits engineered to improve the pretreatment of corn stover and make it easier to break down cellulose while reducing the cost of enzymatic application. These are key areas that need to be refined to help cellulosic ethanol reach price parity per gallon with other forms of first generation biofuels and traditional transportation fuels.

“POET is committed to working with new and innovative technologies that will improve the cost and value of cellulosic ethanol production,” said Dr. Wade Robey, POET Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “If successful, Agrivida’s novel approach to increase the functionality and value delivery of corn stover will work well with other technologies being developed by POET.”

POET will evaluate and test Agrivida’s proprietary, low-severity corn stover feedstock processing technology, which is targeted to provide significant capital and operating cost savings at commercial facilities.

Mark Wong, Agrivida CEO said, “We are excited to be working with POET to improve the economics of advanced biofuels production. POET has one of the most advanced commercial cellulosic programs in the world with strong research, development and commercial deployment capabilities. POET will be a great partner as Agrivida transitions its technology from research and development to a commercialization phase.”