About John Davis

Domestic Fuel welcomes our newest blogger, John Davis. John is a 20 years+ veteran of traditional news and is getting his first taste of this "new media." We've known John since Chuck hired him to work at the Brownfield Network in January, 2000 after he served an 11 year stint in the U.S. Air Force as a broadcast journalist. John lives in Jefferson City, Missouri with his wife, two sons, two dogs, a cat, a mouse, and a fish! You can read more about him and his thoughts at his own website John C. Davis Online.

Innovating Biodiesel By-Product Wins Award

nbb-advancedResearch that has turned a glut of a biodiesel by-product into high value products has earned its innovator an award. This National Biodiesel Board news release says the French researcher’s work was honored at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS).

Dr. Franck Dumeignil, Full Professor at Lille University and Deputy Director of the School’s Unit of Catalysis and Solid State Chemistry, is the winner of the 2015 Glycerine Innovation Award, sponsored by the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).

The ACI/NBB Glycerine Innovation Award recognizes outstanding achievement for research into new applications for glycerine, with particular emphasis on commercial viability.

Prof. Dumeignil undertook his research in the context of the rapid growth of the biodiesel industry worldwide creating an urgent need to quickly and effectively convert crude glycerine into value-added chemical products. The research has enhanced the value of glycerine by successfully tackling many bottlenecking problems, with his research showing the potential to mass produce high value products from glycerine.

“The use of crude glycerine, much less costly than purified glycerol, is still a problem as its impurities are detrimental to the whole process efficiency,” said Prof. Dumeignil.

The award includes a plaque and a $5,000 honorarium.

Brazil Ethanol Group Moves Summit Dates

unica1A group representing sugarcane ethanol producers in Brazil is rescheduling its biennial meeting. The Union of Sugar Cane Industry Association (UNICA) has moved its Ethanol Summit 2015 to July 6-7, 2015 at the Golden Hall of World Trade Center to accomodate Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who will be in Washington, D.C., on the original dates at the end of June.

The meeting brings together businessmen from various levels of government authorities, researchers, investors, suppliers and academics in Brazil and abroad.They are expected about 1,500 participants to follow nearly a hundred lectures, presentations, discussions and debates that will take place in large plenary sessions, thematic panels and opening and closing ceremonies as well as parallel events.

“This is a significant year for the sugarcane industry. Key decisions and very important measures that can contribute to a better future of agribusiness, are underway, both in Brazil and on the world stage, increasing the importance of the Summit as the main forum for discussions on the most relevant topics for the energies and products renewable coming from sugarcane “said the president of UNICA, Elizabeth Farina.

Registration for the event opens in the coming days.

Aemetis Starts India Biodiesel Manufacturers Assoc.

aemetislogo1India is getting a biodiesel makers association. With a little help from California-based Aemetis (which also runs a biodiesel plant on the east coast of India), the Biodiesel Manufacturers Association (BEMA) has been launched with Sanjeev Gupta, President of Aemetis International, as the new group’s chairman and president.

The BEMA group was launched as an eight-member association with a focus on expanding the biodiesel market in India, decreasing air pollution and reducing India’s dependence on foreign oil. The organization will serve to further the interests of biodiesel manufacturers by removing regulatory hurdles while educating India corporate and retail consumers about the environmental and cost benefits of biodiesel.

“With the deregulation of the diesel market in India and ending of diesel subsidies last October, India is a new frontier for Aemetis to grow in a large 25 billion gallon diesel market,” said Sanjeev Gupta, President of Aemetis International. “With the recent approval of direct sales to bulk customers, we have launched direct delivery of biodiesel to customers and are moving rapidly to expand production at our 50 million gallon per year capacity East Coast plant in Kakinada to supply the domestic India market,” added Gupta.

“Sanjeev’s chairmanship of the newly formed organization for biodiesel producers in India recognizes the leadership position held by our Univeral Biofuels subsidiary in one of the fastest growing biofuels markets in the world,” said Eric McAfee, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aemetis. “Biodiesel is now a less expensive fuel than diesel in India, with the removal of the large diesel subsidy that had blocked sales of biodiesel in India until recently. The formation of BEMA is an important milestone expanding the biodiesel market in India to replace diesel with a healthier and lower cost alternative,” added McAfee.

Retailers Tout E15 in New Video

A new video has retailers extolling the virtues of E15. Clear the Air Chicago, a coalition advocating to make the higher blend of ethanol available citywide, is behind the video in which the retailers credit E15 with boosting business, improving customer satisfaction, and providing reliable service, while saving drivers 5 to 15 cents per gallon.

“It’s been a windfall for us,” said Roger Green, Station Owner from South St. Paul, Minnesota. “It’s been a huge increase in our inside store sales and our volume sales.”

The City of Chicago is considering a proposal that will bring E15 to Chicago gas stations.

GROWMARK Shows Off New Propane Terminal

growmarkcantonGROWMARK showed off its newest propane terminal in South Dakota. This company news release says the April 28 open house at the Canton terminal attracted about 70 people to the event.

GROWMARK, headquartered in Bloomington, Ill., acquired the Magellan Pipeline Company, L.P. in 2013 and added rail capacity. Facility upgrades were complete and the terminal was operational in January 2015.

“This opportunity made strategic sense for us,” said Kevin Carroll, GROWMARK VP Energy & Logistics. “Our retail division, STAR Energy, acquired Siouxland Propane in 2013, expanding our footprint into the South Dakota geography. This terminal will support the expanded footprint and enhance our supply for other areas of our System.”

The upgraded GROWMARK terminal provides storage capacity of more than 300,000 gallons and the capability to fill two semi-truck tanks simultaneously, each loading at a rate of approximately 570 gallons per minute. The terminal is adjacent to the BNSF railroad, and GROWMARK has upgraded the facility to allow for six railcars to unload at one time, with the opportunity to expand that to eight cars in the future.

Yukon Seeks Input on Biomass Energy Strategy

yukonA Canadian territory is seeking the public’s input on a biomass energy strategy. This news release from the Yukon government says wood is at the heart of the proposal.

“A biomass energy strategy will guide the development of an emerging sector that can offer yet another much-needed solution to deliver adequate energy during our long, cold winter months,” Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources Scott Kent said. “The adoption of modern, clean-burning wood-heating technology will increase demand for wood products and create new jobs in the forestry and the heating industries.”

Six key action areas are being proposed:

Using biomass energy for government infrastructure.
Developing regulations, policies and programs for a biomass energy industry.
Managing air quality to protect public and environmental health and safety.
Facilitating the development of a biomass energy industry in Yukon.
Ensuring a sustainable timber supply.
Ensuring biomass fuel quality and security.

“Using biomass for heat is a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable solution for heating in the territory,” Kent added. “The proposed action items are a clear path forward for achieving a viable, safe and clean industry that will be good for Yukon’s economy and environment. We look forward to receiving feedback from the public.”

Comments will be accepted until June 26.

Nebraska Biodiesel Plant On Schedule for Opening

The retrofitting of a Nebraska biodiesel plant is right on schedule. This article from the Lincoln Journal Star says Duonix Beatrice, bought by Flint Hills Resources and Benefuel Inc. in 2011, has never been in service since it was constructed in 2007.

“There are quite a few contractors on site at 70-100 daily with a total head count increasing to 200-250 around May or July,” [Michael Harris, Flint Hills Resources venture manager for the project] said. “We are still targeting to start up the second half of 2015 and intend to produce 50 million gallons of biodiesel.”

For two years, the company has been retrofitting the plant to be feedstock-flexible and to use ENSEL technology.

The ENSEL process is supposed to streamline production, eliminate waste and by-products, and expand product capabilities to produce a biodiesel with enhanced cold-weather properties.

It also allows the use of cheaper feed stocks high in free fatty acids, such as distillers corn oil from ethanol refining, waste vegetable oils, animal fats and unrefined oils.

The plant will employ about 50 workers when it goes into operation.

EIA: Ethanol Production, Stocks Down

Weekly ethanol production numbers, as well as stocks are down. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports ethanol production averaged 921,000 barrels per day (b/d), about 38.68 million gallons daily. That is down 9,000 b/d from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 928,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 14.23 billion gallons. Stocks of ethanol were down 2.6 percent from a week earlier at 20.8 million barrels.
ethanolsupply24apr1

The Renewable Fuels Association added that ethanol production is accounting for a good amount of corn usage in the country.

Ethanol producers were using 13.965 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 102,786 metric tons of livestock feed, 91,635 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 5.42 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

Solenis’ Antibiotic-Free Fermentation Aids for Ethanol

Solenis-Fuel-Ethanol-Workshop1Specialty chemical company Solenis will soon introduce a new line of antibiotic-free fermentation aids and a new scale inhibitor for ethanol. This company news release says the debut happens during the 2015 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo (FEW) to be held June 1-4 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

On Tuesday, June 2 at 1:20 p.m. Allen Ziegler, global biorefining marketing director for Solenis, will provide an overview of the new fermentation aids on the Innovation Stage on the Expo floor at the FEW. In addition, Robert Yule, platform launch manager for Solenis, will deliver a presentation on the new scale inhibitor during the FEW Production and Operations seminars on Tuesday, June 2, 3:30-5:00 p.m. in room 200 DEFG.

Antibiotic-free Fermentation Aids: The Solenis™ family of fermentation aids provides better yeast propagation while simultaneously reducing bacterial growth without the use of antibiotics in both high pH and standard pH fermentation processes. The company’s offering of patented and patent-pending antibiotic-free fermentation aids can help fuel ethanol producers improve efficiency and address regulatory and consumer concerns about antibiotics in the food chain.

Scale Inhibitor to Improve Evaporator Efficiency: Solenis’ Polystabil™ AS4535 scale inhibitor is specifically designed to help fuel ethanol producers reduce scale, improve heat transfer and reduce downtime in their evaporators. This patent-pending blended product starts working at a dosage level below traditional polyacrylate chemistries and allows higher dosages, up to 20 ppm, while still meeting regulatory requirements ‒ making it significantly more effective than conventional technologies.

During FEW, Solenis will also talk about new cooling water treatments, FDA-approved corn oil extraction aids for both disk-stack and tricanter systems, and a proprietary control system that allows for around-the-clock surveillance and control of process and water treatment programs.

Canadian Canola Growers Want More Biodiesel

ward-tomaCanola growers in Canada want politicians to prove they are truly dedicated to addressing climate change – by voting for biodiesel. This article from the Alberta Farmer Express says Ward Toma, the general manager of Alberta Canola Producers Commission, wants them to start by hiking Alberta’s biodiesel mandate.

“In their election platforms, almost all political parties talk about climate change and greenhouse gas reduction,” said Ward Toma. “Biodiesel is a low-carbon fuel, compared with some of the other ones, so it does help with greenhouse gas and carbon emissions.”

And Toma is quite specific about what government should do: Hike the percentage of biodiesel blended with regular diesel to five per cent (up from the current two per cent) by 2020; set tougher greenhouse gas reduction and biomass production targets; and extend the bioenergy producer credit program (set to expire in March 2016).

Those changes would be a win-win for both the province and growers, he said.

“One of the things biodiesels can do is create another demand stream for the crop sector, but we can also help with greenhouse gas target reductions and have a sustainable biomass,” said Toma.

Toma says that they’ll have to see where the politicians truly stand on biodiesel… after the elections are over.

Kum & Go to Offer E15

kum-and-go1Iowa-based convenience stores Kum & Go will begin offering E15 as a fuel option. The first station will be in Windsor Heights, Iowa on April 30 with 65 stores in Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Dakota planning to offer the higher blend within the next two years.

“We have a strong tradition in our company to implement sustainability within our business and at our locations. From our 100 LEED-certified stores, to our selection of alternative fuels, E15 was a natural addition to our fuel offering,” said Jim Pirolli, Vice President of Fuels, Kum & Go. “Having E15 in our portfolio allows Kum & Go to offer our customers a quality product at a great value.”

The news was welcomed by the ethanol industry.

Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, issued the following statement:

growth-energy-logo1“We are thrilled to hear that Kum & Go will be offering E15, providing motorists with a choice and savings at the pump. Kum & Go prides themselves on their exemplary service and a drive to give the customer more than what they expect, and this latest announcement underscores their role as an innovator and leader in the convenience store marketplace. Furthermore, this announcement shows that customer demand for higher blends of homegrown, renewable fuels, such as E15, is growing and Kum & Go is taking the necessary steps to deliver what the marketplace demands and what the consumer wants.”

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) pointed out that that this action will bring the total number of states offering E15 to 20.

rfalogo1“RFA would like to thank Kum & Go for their continued leadership in ethanol,” said Robert White, vice president of industry relations at the Renewable Fuels Association. “They have been offering E85 to consumers for years, and this addition of E15 in these seven states just makes sense. These continued E15 announcements demonstrate that the business case is solid for higher blends, and should lead other retailers to explore their options.”

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty offered congratulations and thanks to Kum & Go for making E15 more widely available.

ACElogo“Kum & Go has been a leader in offering E85 as a fuel choice at most of the locations they’ve built in the last several years – it seems fitting that they would now be the first large Midwest retailer to announce the addition of E15 as a fuel option. In the c-store business, everyone “wants to be first to be second,” so other retailers will take notice when a chain like Kum & Go is added to the list of E15 retailers that includes Mapco, Murphy Oil, Protec, Sheetz, and other smaller chains and single stores that have been offering E15 for two years or more. E15 is real, and with the number of vehicles built and warrantied for E15 growing by 10 million or more a year, it’s a smart option for stations to offer in the future,” said Lamberty.

Biodiesel to Tackle South Pole

zerosouthhummer2A group planning a drive to the South Pole is choosing biodiesel to get it there. According to this article in Green Car Reports, Zero South‘s goal is to be the first to reach the South Pole without using any fossil fuels.

“We shall draft a symbol of military defense for the front lines of environmental defense,” expedition organizer Nick Baggarly declared.

Each Hummer is equipped with a 3.2-liter six-cylinder turbodiesel engine that will run on biofuel during the expedition.

There’s also an electric motor for each axle, retaining the Hummer’s four-wheel drive capability.

Electricity is supplied by a 24-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, mounted in an insulated battery box to maintain consistent temperature.

The whole trip will cover 1,200 miles, and the group plans to document its journey and produce a 10-episode television miniseries and feature-length film.

Illinois Could Cut Carbon Pollution with More E15

chicagoe15A new study shows that Illinois could cut its carbon pollution if the state adopted higher blends of ethanol, such as E15. The report from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s principal research economist, Dr. Steffen Mueller, and backed by a group pushing for Chicago’s adoption of the E15 Clean Air Ordinance, says carbon could be cut by up to 663,646 tons per year, the equivalent of taking 139,715 passenger vehicles off the road in Illinois every year.

Key Findings:

Illinois motorists consume about 1.5 billion gallons of gasoline per year, nearly all of which is E10. The analysis shows that if consumers in Illinois had access to and chose to fill up with E15 gasoline, emissions of carbon dioxide pollution across the state would be reduced by 663,646 tons each year. These savings are equivalent to taking about 139,715 passenger vehicles off the road in Illinois every year.

The report shows that a gallon of E15 saves 1.26 g of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) per megajoule compared with E10 (gasoline with 10 percent ethanol blend). CO2e includes carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane.

Dr. Mueller’s conclusions demonstrate that switching to a motor fuel with a greater quantity of homegrown renewable fuels would result in significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The 15 Clean Air Ordinance — which would give consumers a choice of higher-blend motor fuels — would create a better future for our climate while protecting American jobs and our energy security.

The group points out that because it improves engine performance and burns with fewer emissions, E15 has been adopted throughout professional auto racing, as well as creating jobs and lowering dependence on foreign oil.

Alt Energy Consultant Lee Enterprises Expands

leeenterprisesThe world’s largest renewable fuels consulting group is expanding its team. Lee Enterprises Consulting has added five new engineers and two additional Ph.D’s to its worldwide team of experts. The company says it is also dividing itself into four internal teams to handle biodiesel, ethanol, emerging technologies and solar/wind projects.

“As the world’s largest consulting group of its kind, we have experts in virtually every area of alternative and renewable fuels”, says CEO Wayne Lee. He notes that the company has now grown to over fifty consultants, and has reached a point where each of these core businesses needed its own dedicated leadership. “[Dr. Gerald Kutney, who will lead the Emerging Technologies Team] is an imminently qualified expert, and his knowledge in the fields of pyrolysis, waste-to-energy (WTE), forestry bioenery/bioproducts, gasification and emerging technologies made him the perfect choice to lead the Emerging Technologies Team,” said Lee. “Likewise, [new Solar/Wind Team lead] Bob Parkins is a Civil Engineer and renowned solar expert, making him the perfect selection to lead our Solar/Wind Team”.

The group also owns National Business Brokerage, Inc., a full service business brokerage firm specializing in the buying and selling of alternative and renewable fuels plants.

Bipartisan Group of Senators Call for Strong RFS

US Capitol at dusk photo Joanna SchroederA bipartisan group of senators is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reverse its current course and strengthen the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Led by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Thune (R-SD), Al Franken (D-MN), and Mark Kirk (R-IL), the 37 in the group say the EPA’s latest proposal would create uncertainty for ethanol and biodiesel producers and undermine job creation.

“The RFS has already proven to be an effective driver of alternative fuels and economic development,” the senators wrote. “The biofuels volume requirements for 2014 and beyond have serious implications for our economy and energy security. We encourage you to ensure a final proposal continues to work toward achieving the RFS’s long-term economic and renewable energy goals.”

The ethanol industry praised the senators for their action.

“It is encouraging to see such broad, bipartisan, and geographically diverse support for the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen. “It’s leadership like this that will move America’s energy future forward. Farmers, entrepreneurs, and innovators across the country will applaud these 37 visionaries.”

“Convincing Senators to sign the RFS to Administrator McCarthy was a key part of our grassroots fly-in last month so we’re glad ACE members could play such an instrumental role in securing so many signatures,” said American Coalition for Ethanol Executive Vice President Brian Jennings. “We are also grateful for the strong bipartisan support conveyed by Senators that EPA must get the RFS back on track for implementation by reversing course from their ill-advised proposal which would have limited renewable fuel use at ten percent of gasoline consumption.”

Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, says the letter is a clear message to the EPA. “In no uncertain terms this strong bipartisan coalition of Senators have indicated that they are closely watching the EPA as they seek to finalize this rule and that any changes which would undercut the congressional intent or role of the RFS will be met with intense scrutiny and strong objection,” said Buis.

EPA recently announced it will propose volume requirements by June 1 for 2015 and 2016 and will re-propose volume requirements for 2014 that reflect the volumes of renewable fuel that were actually used in 2014.