Iowa Biodiesel Production Poised to Double

Iowa Biodiesel producers and supporters took to the Iowa State Capitol yesterday during the Iowa Biodiesel Board’s (IBB) annual Day on the Hill. While there they asked legislators for their support in fulfilling a bold new domestic energy goal. The Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB) is asking for expanded state policies that foster biodiesel growth and will be good for Iowans through increased economic activity, job growth and national energy prestige.

IBB leaders said Iowa biodiesel production could double by 2022 as a part of a new national goal. Last week, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) unveiled the new goal: “10 by 22,” which means biodiesel would make up 10 percent of the nation’s on-road diesel supply by 2022. According to NBB, reaching this goal depends upon continued technological and agricultural advancements, but is responsible and attainable.

IowaBiodieselBoardLogo“As the nation’s leading biodiesel producer, Iowa is poised to play a major role in this bold new effort, and would benefit from the increased production,” said Randy Olson, IBB executive director. “Under the 10 by 22 plan, we estimate Iowa could double its production, which would mean current plants would operate at or near full capacity. This would enhance Iowa’s economic development.”

Olson added that successful state policies, such as the current incentive for fuel retailers to blend biodiesel and a producer’s credit, help keep Iowa competitive with surrounding states.

Recent economic studies show Iowa biodiesel supported nearly 5,000 jobs in the state in 2012. The industry’s contribution to Iowa’s GDP was nearly $400 million in 2012. Also, corn, soybean and livestock producers all benefit from biodiesel production, according to economic analysis. IBB says the industry’s 10 x 22 goal envisions a more diversified future energy portfolio that would include biodiesel making up 10 percent of the diesel fuel supply. This goal is benchmarked to the on-road volumes but expected to be used in various blend levels in various applications.

NY Bioheat Honored With Industry Partership Award

The biodiesel industry has many to thank for efforts that have lead to greater adoption and support of biodiesel. One area that has been an early adopter is the Big Apple – New York City. Under the leadership of John D. Maniscalco, the CEO of the New York Oil Heating Association, New York City recently passed landmark registration: beginning in October 2012, all heating nbb-13-maniscalcooil sold in the city must contain at least two percent biodiesel.

This cleaner burning, domestic fuel blend known as Bioheat® will replace up to 20 million gallons of petroleum a year. The efforts of Maniscalco and the support provided by the New York Oil Heating Association made this unprecedented legislation possible.

It is these efforts, along with others, that led to his Eye on Biodiesel award from the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), during the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo this week in Las Vegas.

With the help of NBB and its dedicated Bioheat program, there is currently a Bioheat consumer education campaign running in the Big Apple. Maniscalco hopes this will increase awareness and support of biodiesel. His next two goals for this year are to increase the Bioheat legislation to the entire state of New York, as well as increase the Bioheat biodiesel blend of 2 percent to at least 5 percent.

Maniscalco is also giving back to the community as the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy continues. He is sponsoring a “NYC Proud 2B2 Renewable Warmup” campaign along with Midwest biodiesel producers. Through the campaign the biodiesel industry is offering a grant to three charities – $15,000, $10,000, $5,000 – but you must vote now to determine who will win.

Listen to my interview with John here: Next Steps for Bioheat in the Big Apple

Listen to John’s presentation during the 10th Annual National Biodiesel Board Conference here: Industry Engagement Critical

2013 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Chrysler’s Super Bowl Ad Garners Huge Response

People are still talking about Chrysler Group’s Super Bowl ad that highlighted the importance of America’s farmers, and today more than 100 Iowans have signed a letter urging Chrysler to recommend the use of E15 in its new vehicles. According to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), higher blends of ethanol, such as E15, are necessary to maintain the farm prosperity that renewable fuels have created over the last seven years. The signatures were gathered during the 7th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit.

The letter stated, “E15 is playing an important role in growing the nation’s economy and providing fuel choice for consumers. Ford and General Motors have already approved E15 for their new cars. The undersigned Iowans ask Chrysler to also approve E15 for its new vehicles.”

“We commend Chrysler for its outstanding Super Bowl ad showing support for the American farmer,” Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Now Chrysler needs to take concrete action and recommend E15 for use in its new vehicles. E15 contains 50 percent more farmer-made ethanol than today’s standard blend. Iowans want to be able to use homegrown fuels like E15 that reduce our dependence on imports and support our farmers.”

What Happens in Vegas, Doesn’t Stay in Vegas

nbb-13-inspirationawardIf you are looking for a little inspiration for biodiesel, look no further than Las Vegas, or now the city I have renamed Las BioVegas. A community group of innovators, known as the Las Vegas Biodiesel User Group, became early adopters of the fuel blend and were awarded the Eye on Biodiesel: Inspiration award during the 10th Annual National Biodiesel Conference and Expo aptly held in BioVegas.

Gary H. Weinberg, Western Sierra Services; Ron Corbett, City of North Las Vegas; Frank Giordano, Clark County School District; James Morwood, Las Vegas Valley Water District; Dan Hyde, City of Las Vegas (retired) were all part of the crew.

Listen to the interview with Gary Weinberg here: Weinberg on Innovation

nbb-13-teallAs Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board rightly pointed out during the award ceremony, luckily for biodiesel, what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas. As Jobe explained, this group of biodiesel pioneers championed the alternative fuel against all odds in the 1990s to help it become the established fuel it is today. The Las Vegas Biodiesel User Group was among the first users of biodiesel in the nation. These fleets worked to overcome resistance, remove technical obstacles, and even successfully challenged large diesel equipment manufacturers to support biodiesel.

Listen to the interview with Frank Giordano here: Giordano on Biodiesel

“In the beginning, biodiesel had its struggles to gain support, like any new fuel,” said Ron Corbett, Clean Cities Coordinator for Las Vegas. “Those of us who were early champions are gratified to see biodiesel finally gaining the momentum it needs to become the fuel of choice.”

Listen to the interview with James Morwood here: Morwood on Leading the Pack

Listen to the interview with Russell Teall here: Teall on Developing Biodiesel Technology

2013 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Senator Dorgan: We Must Be Relentless

Former North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan is truly an advocate for biofuels. While in office, Dorgan authored the first renewable fuel bill, requiring 8 billion gallons of biofuels. When President Bush took office, he asked Dorgan to help write nbb-13-byronthe bill that today is the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Dorgan gave an inspiring and funny presentation during the National Biodiesel Board’s 10th Annual Conference in Las Vegas. While he may have regaled the large crowd with funny stories, what he does not find funny is the attack on biodiesel and the RFS. He has dedicated himself to continuing the fight. He said, “It is very important we be relentless with this success story.”

After retiring from the Senate, Dorgan joined the Bipartisan Policy Center, where he along with several others, are continuing to focus on the role of renewable energy and that includes increasing the use of biodiesel.

Dorgan left the audience with three “lessons”. First, bad news travels half way around the world before good news gets its shoes on; the success of a rain dance depends a lot on the timing; and when you hit someone on the head with a book and get a hollow sound, it doesn’t mean the book is empty. The lesson behind the quotes? We have facts on our side. Don’t give up and continue to fight the good fight.

2013 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

We must be relentless

RIN Fraud Not an Issue

According to RINAlliance, RIN fraud is not an issue for clients due to a long-standing strategic partnership with EcoEngineers. Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) are used to track each gallon of a biofuel as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released proposed rules as part of the 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard that addresses potential RIN Fraud.  EcoEngineers, is one company, of several, that validates and audits biofuels production facilities through a comprehensive quality insurance program developed by the company.

RINAlliance logo“While some industry stakeholders have incurred liability and liquidity problems due to the unfortunate production of fraudulent RINs, RINAlliance avoided such issues by moving swiftly to prevent risks through a partnership with EcoEngineers which audits production facilities,” said Dawn Carlson, president of RINAlliance and the not-for-profit association, Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa. “The Quality Assurance Plan (QAP) originally developed by EcoEngineers has become a foundation for the Environmental Protection Agency’s rulemaking efforts to address integrity in biodiesel RIN markets.”

As part of EcoEngineers program, the company validated RINs through in person, on-site audits and ongoing monitoring of feedstock, production, fuel quality, and overall mass-balance of facilities. RINAlliance, says it then utilizes this information to document RIN validity to obligated parties allowing RIN owners to receive top-tier pricing of RINs generated by small to medium sized biodiesel producers. With EPA’s current rulemaking, production facilities utilizing third party RIN QAP services are expected to provide blenders, and ultimately, obligated parties an affirmative defense against EPA presumptive liability policies if the RINs transacted come in question.

More importantly, says RINAlliance, the steps above have created a broad supply of biodiesel and advanced renewable fuels from small to large facilities. This process yields increased competition that, in turn, keeps costs down for consumers and incentives high for those blending with biofuels.

GM Adds B20 Chevy Cruze to Lineup

The 2013 National Automobile Dealers Association and American Truck Dealers convention kicks off this week in Orlando, Florida and heading into the event General Motors has announced it new 2014 Chevy Cruze light-duty diesel passenger car is approved for use with B20 (20 percent biodiesel).

2014-cruze-clean-turbo-diesel“We applaud General Motors for its foresight in approving the new diesel Chevy Cruze for use with B20 biodiesel blends,” said Steve Howell, Technical Director for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).  “Many people do not realize that today’s new technology diesel engines powered by ultra-low sulfur biodiesel blends provide tailpipe emissions as clean or cleaner than natural gas or gasoline, while providing superior fuel economy, horsepower, and durability.”

“In addition,” said Howell, “when you combine the increased efficiency diesel engines with the low carbon nature of an Advanced Biofuel like biodiesel, new technology diesel engines are positioned to become the clean-and green-technology of the future, and we’re proud to see GM leading the way with its support for B20.”

The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel features an advanced 2.0L clean diesel engine that will offer an estimated 42 mpg highway with an automatic transmission and based on GM testing. According to NBB, clean diesels using modern diesel exhaust technology and ultra low sulfur fuel are over 90 percent cleaner than older models, and the Chevy Cruze is the cleanest diesel passenger car model ever produced by General Motors.

Other automakers are adding biodiesel-approved vehicles to their line-up as well including Ford and Chrysler.

More B For Me Please

More B For MeMore biodiesel please. If you were on the look out for biodiesel it could definitely be seen during the 10th Annual National Biodiesel Conference in Las Vegas. Last year was a roller coaster year for the industry but some good things happened, one of which was the $1 per gallon tax credit coming back. Another – increasing the volume of biodiesel as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Biodiesel can be a good tool in a farm business but Alicia Clancy, Manager of Corporate Affairs for the Renewable Energy Group (REG) said that biodiesel can play a bigger role than it currently is. What does she mean? Biodiesel can be used in farm equipment such as tractors and trucks and many use B2 blends. But, said Clancy, equipment and many trucks are approved to use up to B20.

Choose BiodieselIt is this fact that spurred the biodiesel promotion, More B for Me. Clancy said the goal of the promotion is to increase awareness of biodiesel use in farming equipment. As part of the campaign, farmers (or consumers) are encouraged go to their local co-op or gas station and ask them to offer higher blends of biodiesel and then use blends up to B20.

Here is how it works. Go to www.morebforme.com to register. You must be a farmer in Iowa (although everyone should ask for more biodiesel). REG, along with all the sponsors of the program including the Iowa Soybean Association and the soybean checkoff, Iowa Biodiesel Board and the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, is giving away 10 – $1,000 dollar certificates at the end of March, just in time for planting season.

Listen to my interview with Alicia here: More B For Me

2013 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

USDA Releases Climate Change & Ag Study

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released a comprehensive report that synthesize the scientific literature on climate change effects and adaptation strategies for U.S. agriculture. The report, “Climate Change and Agriculture in the United States: Effects and Adaptation,” was created a an input to the National Climate Assessment with scientists from the federal service, universities, non-governmental organizations, industry, tribal lands and private sectors contributing to the peer-reviewed study. It is open for public comment until

“These reports present the challenges that U.S. agriculture and forests will face in this century from global climate change,” said William Hohenstein, director of the Climate Change Program Office in USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist. “They give us a framework for understanding the implications of climate change, in order to meet our future demands for food, feed, fiber, and fuel.”

The reports indicate how climate change is affecting U.S. farms, forests, grasslands, and rural communities. The report finds that while U.S. agriculture and resource management have long histories of successful adaptation to climate variability, the accelerating pace and intensity of climate change presents new challenges to be addressed.

nbb-13-vilsack1For example, the report indicates increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, rising temperatures, and altered precipitation patterns will affect agricultural productivity. Climate change will exacerbate the stresses already occurring from weeds, insects, and disease. The report finds that increases in the incidence of extreme weather events will have a greater influence on agricultural productivity. 

In addition the report finds that over the next 25 years, the effects of climate change on agricultural production and economic outcomes for both producers and consumers in the United States are expected to be mixed, depending on regional conditions. Beyond 2050, changes are expected to include shifts in crop production areas, increases in pest control expenses, and greater disease prevalence.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack gave a few remarks about the study during the 10th Annual National Biodiesel Board Conference & Expo. Listen to his remarks on climate change here: USDA Climate Change & Ag Study

2013 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Ag Secy Vilsack Wins Nat’l Energy Leadership Award

nbb-13-vilsackjobeThe National Biodiesel Board praised Sec. Vilsack as one of the strongest advocates for renewable fuels in the nation, and presented him with the National Energy Leadership Award during the final day of the 10th Annual National Biodiesel Board Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.

“I’ve witnessed the beginning of a rural renaissance that is remarkable, and you, sir, have presided over it,” said Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board. “You went to bat for us in the successful expansion of the RFS, and for an issue like ours to go all the way to the top is extraordinary. We can’t thank you enough for your leadership.”

Rather than a typical award, this one was embossed on a glass plate, apropos for the leader of American agriculture.

“You have the power to make us more energy secure, and still create enough food and fiber for the world. That’s an amazing opportunity worth fighting for,” said Vilsack. “You also have the ability to respond as a generation to climate change. You’ve got to keep up the fight because the stakes are extraordinarily high.”

Listen to Jobe’s and Vilsack’s remarks here: National Energy Leadership Award

2013 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Methanol Institute Releases Biodiesel Primer

A Biodiesel PrimerThe Methanol Institute released a report on the worldwide use of production of biodiesel during the 10th Annual Biodiesel Conference & Expo held in Las Vegas. Methanol is one of the products used to make biodiesel. “A Biodiesel Primer: Market & Policy Development, Quality, Standards and Handling,” provides the latest information on the role of methanol in biodiesel production an global policy issues and was prepared by the Global Biofuels Center.

“The methanol and biodiesel industries are partners in a critical effort to bring safe, reliable and affordable alternative fuels to the world’s transportation market,” said Gregory Dolan, acting CEO of the Methanol Institute.

Today there are 124 biodiesel production facilities in the U.S. and another 28 that are in the development stages.

Eastern Winds Report Released

Eastern Winds ReportAccording to a new report, “Eastern Winds,” analyzing the emerging wind power markets in Central and Eastern European countries, plus Turkey, Ukraine and Russia, wind power will become a significant source of electricity production by 2020. In addition, Turkey’s wind power generation capacity will grow even faster as long as there is a stable legal framework in place. The report was published by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

“Wind energy in Central and Eastern Europe, including Turkey, will substantially reduce the fossil fuel dependency of the power sectors, “said Christian Kjaer, Chief Executive Officer at EWEA. “But some countries – such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Bulgaria – are without stable renewable energy legislation, and investors and banks will withdraw unless governments put in place long-term renewable energy policies.”

According to EWEA 12 newer EU Member States in Central and Eastern Europe plan to increase wind power capacity from the 6.4 gigawatts installed at end of 2012 to 16 gigawatts by 2020. This is equivalent to the electricity supply of 9 million households. Turkey wants to increase wind power capacity from its current 2.3 gigawatts to 20 gigawatts by 2023.

In 2012, Poland and Romania almost doubled their annual installed wind power capacity in 2012: Poland had 2.5 gigawatts, Romania 1.9 gigawatts, and Bulgaria 0.7 gigawatts of wind power capacity installed.

DOE Research: RFS a Proven Economic Success

According to a new article published in the journal Biofuels, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), is producing significant positive economic effects in the U.S. According to the paper, authored by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the RFS is reducing crude oil prices, decreasing crude oil imports, increasing gross domestic product (GDP) and having only minimal impacts on global food markets and land use. The study also found that in the future, full implementation of the RFS’ advanced biofuels requirements will amplify these benefits.

Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 12.59.45 PMCommenting on the ORNL findings, Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) said, “As Congress returns and hearings are scheduled, Big Oil and Big Food will undoubtedly ramp up their multi-million dollar campaign to smear the RFS. Rather than listening to well-heeled oil lobbyists or giving credence to sham ‘studies’ funded by grocery manufacturers, let’s allow independently funded, unbiased, third-party research — like this study from ORNL — to guide the debate.”

Dinneen continued, “The facts from the ORNL study are: the RFS is reducing oil prices, decreasing oil imports, and creating jobs and economic benefits without the rumored catastrophic effects on food prices and land use. In fact, as the study shows, the RFS barely affects food and land markets. The bottom line is the RFS is an unrivaled American success story. We can’t let profit-protecting fear mongers in the oil and snack food industries scare Congress into changing a flexible policy that is making important contributions to the American economy and environment every day.”

Click here to review the study’s key conclusions.

During the National Ethanol Conference that kicks off tonight in Las Vegas, presenters will discuss in depth various aspects of the RFS along with other key issues facing the ethanol industry.

Big Oil Continues Attack on RFS

Big Oil is continuing its attack on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), with continued efforts to end the mandate. The biofuels industry had been hopeful after the Super Bowl (the Baltimore Ravens won in case you missed it) that fans who saw the ad by Dodge about American’s farmers would help them realize how important these providers of fuel are to our nation. However, Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) notes that is it no surprise that Big Oil, held a “Cheap Corn Coalition” press event a day later.

mess-rfsJennings notes that the RFS is working and has been the most effective policy enacted by Congress to reduce foreign oil imports. When the RFS went into effect in 2006, said Jennings, oil imports stood at 60 percent. In 2012, net oil imports fell to less than 40 percent. Jennings also points out that unlike oil, ethanol is not subsidized and wholesale prices of ethanol are still 40 to 50 cents per gallon less expensive than unleaded gasoline. Consumers, said Jennings, would pay more at the pump if the RFS is repealed, and the U.S. would return to relying on the rest of the world for more expensive forms of fossil fuel.

“Big Oil built the “blend wall,” by refusing to take any steps toward meeting the RFS while they instead spent millions of dollars on lawsuits and PR efforts like the one they staged again today,” said Jennings. “Even reporters ask if there is anything new in their message. There isn’t – because big oil continues to spend its considerable financial and political capital to block the use of ethanol in gasoline. The RFS was enacted in-part to help break through the blend wall by enabling consumers to have access to more affordable and cleaner choices at the pump.

Jennings says there also continues to be considerable rhetoric and time spent discussing E15 and small engines. “It is illegal for small engines to use E15,” explained Jennings. “EPA approved E15 for the majority of motor vehicles on the road today but did not approve the fuel for non-road engines in part because these engines are not advanced enough to take advantage of ethanol-blends. Small engine owners, including marine equipment owners, should not use E15.”

Jennings added that corn production has expanded and become more efficient since enactment of the RFS. Even with last year’s drought, global grain production still reached one of the largest production totals ever, and ethanol is slated to use about three percent of that total on a gross basis, returning one-third of the corn we process to livestock producers as a valuable feed.

“While these ethanol opponents continue to cast themselves as being concerned about all sorts of different issues, they simply want to eliminate competition for their products. The Cheap Corn Coalition lives to spread even more misinformation,” concluded Jennings.

RES Completes Wind Farm in PA

Renewable Energy Systems Americas (RES Americas) has completed the Twin Ridges Wind Farm  located in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The 139.4 MW wind farm was completed in December 2012 and is now fully operational.

Twin Ridges Wind FarmRES Americas served as the Balance of Plant Contractor for the project, which was developed and is owned by EverPower.  The Twin Ridges Wind Farm consists of 68 2.05 MW REpower MM 92 turbines that will interconnect to PJM through the Potomac Edison affiliate of FirstEnergy Corporation.

“RES Americas is pleased to have completed construction on the Twin Ridges Wind Farm for our valued client Everpower,” said Andrew Fowler, Chief Operating Officer.  “The continued development of Pennsylvania’s renewable energy resources will bring additional capital investment, jobs and tax revenue to the state.  We are proud to be a member of this community and look forward to continuing our operations in the area.”

RES Americas has now constructed 381 MW of wind projects in Pennsylvania. The 101 MW Armenia Mountain Wind project was completed in 2009 and is located in Tioga and Bradford Counties, and the 140.8 MW Mehoopany Wind Farm, located in Wyoming County, was also completed in 2012.