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.

Biodiesel, Ethanol & Wind Lead Energy Jobs in Iowa

advancedenergyeconomy1Biodiesel, ethanol, wind and energy efficiency are the leaders in a survey on job growth in advanced energy in Iowa. This news release from the Advanced Energy Economy Institute says those industries employ more than 22,000 people.

Prepared by BW Research Partnership, a leading workforce and economic development research firm, the Iowa Advanced Energy Employment Survey report is available at http://info.aee.net/ia-jobs-report-14. The AEE Institute published a similar report on California’s advanced energy industry, California Advanced Energy Employment Survey, last week, which is available at http://info.aee.net/ca-jobs-report-14.

Advanced energy comprises a significant part of Iowa’s economy, employing 1.3 percent of Iowa’s total workforce. Employment in advanced energy-related businesses is greater than employment reported for crop production, general freight trucking, and animal production in Iowa.

“In states from coast to coast and in between, the advanced energy industry is substantial and growing,” said Graham Richard, CEO of AEE and the AEE Institute. “This first-ever survey of advanced energy firms in Iowa shows that energy efficiency, biofuels, wind power, and other advanced businesses are creating jobs and contributing to the Iowa economy.”

While advanced energy jobs in Iowa dropped by 4 percent from 2013, the survey shows advanced energy employment is expected to rise 6 percent in the coming year.

Pacific Biodiesel Cheapest Diesel in Hawaii

pacificbiodieselAs Pacific Biodiesel celebrates its deal to provide biodiesel to power generators for the state utility Hawaiian Electric Co., the Maui-based green fuel provider is also celebrating the cheapest diesel available at the pump in Hawaii. This article from Maui Now says Pacific Biodiesel’s Hobron fueling station is selling biodiesel for $3.79 per gallon.

Company officials attribute the drop to the falling price of petroleum worldwide.

Representatives with the company say biodiesel is safe for all diesel engines and is registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency as both a fuel and a fuel additive.

Biodiesel is marketed as a cleaner-burning, renewable alternative fuel. The Pacific Biodiesel brand is produced at Big Island Biodiesel from recycled waste vegetable oil.

“A 20% blend of biodiesel offers significant greenhouse gas emission reductions compared with straight fossil diesel,” company officials said in the announcement.

Neste’s Renewable Diesel to Power Finnish Ferries

Tallink Star1Neste Oil’s renewable diesel will soon be powering ferries in Finland. This company news release says Neste agreed to provide its low sulfur marine diesel oil to Tallink Grupp’s ferries making port calls in Finland.

“We are eager to partner with Tallink Grupp as it is a well-known brand in the Nordic countries and the Baltic States and a major player in the cruising industry. Tallink Grupp shares our vision of cleaner traffic fuels and our low sulfur marine fuel delivers clear environmental benefits.” says Olli Vesamo, Director in Neste Oil’s Direct Sales.

“This collaboration opens up new market potential for Neste Oil. We are already a major player in the Baltic Sea region on petroleum products used on land and in the air. The new EU Sulfur Directive with its stringent environmental requirements and our capability to produce cleaner traffic solutions now enables us to take foothold also in the marine sector,” he continues.

“Neste Oil’s marine fuel solution meets our needs. The environmental and technical quality of the product and the reliability of Neste Oil as a supplier, as well as Neste Oil’s expertise in logistics convinced us of the benefits of this partnership. The new marine diesel oil will clearly reduce sulfur and particle emissions in our marine traffic. Our customers will benefit a cleaner environment that we as the leading and preferred shipping company in the region can provide,” says Mr. Tarvi-Carlos Tuulik, the Head of Ship Management of AS Tallink Grupp.

The company says this new low sulfur marine diesel oil meets requirements of the EU Sulfur Directive, which will come into force at the beginning of 2015.

Sprague Buys Deepwater NYC Port for Biodiesel

sprague-logoNew York City will have a little easier time shipping in biodiesel and other fuel products, as Sprague Operating Resources LLC, completes the purchase of Castle Oil Corporation and its Port Morris terminal. Sprague says the deal is worth $56 million in cash and SRLP units, plus payments for Castle’s inventory as of closing.

Castle’s Port Morris terminal is the largest deepwater petroleum products terminal in New York City, with a total storage capacity of 907,000 barrels, handling distillates, residual fuel, asphalt and biodiesel. The acquisition increases Sprague’s number of owned and/or controlled petroleum terminals to eighteen and its total in-service liquid petroleum product storage capacity to 10.9 million barrels.

“We are excited to welcome the Castle brand and the Port Morris terminal into our strategic network of waterborne assets and look forward to strengthening Sprague’s service to customers in New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area,” said David Glendon, President and CEO of Sprague. “As a result of the transaction, Castle customers will now benefit from a larger storage network and have access to an extensive portfolio of petroleum, natural gas and electricity products catering to commercial property management needs. Sprague is now the only New York City energy supplier with capabilities this robust.”

Sprague says the deal raises the company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) for 2014 to between $80 and $90 million.

CT Biomass Pellet Maker Looks for Expansion Space

frogcityfuelA Connecticut-based biomass pellet maker is looking for room to grow. Engineered Carbon Solutions (ECS), the maker of Frog City Fuel, says it is still gaining commitments towards a mid-size manufacturing facility located in the southeast part of the state.

[T]hree entities have stepped forward and offered in excess of $1M in property, grant / loans and property tax abatement. We are in discussions with a confidential private company regarding a well-maintained facility in SE CT. This building facility would make an ideal location for our proposed manufacturing facility and if completed, would cement their position as an equity partner. The host town has, in turn, offered a tax abatement program which further reduces projected operating costs. Lastly, CT state officials have begun a process of committing as much as $400 thousand in grant / loans and are very excited about the prospect of a new manufacturing startup in state.

Frog City Fuel is made from local, waste stream post-consumer materials.

Georgia Biomass Plant to be Built

albanyboilerThe approval of a nearly quarter billion dollar biomass energy is closer to fruition. This article from the Albany (GA) Herald says the Albany-Dougherty Payroll Development Authority approved a $250 million bond issuance for the project to be built next to the local Procter & Gamble campus.

“It does appear (P&G, in conjunction with Albany Green Energy, which will manage the plant) is going through with this project,” PDA attorney Jay Reynolds said. “They’ve asked that we approve this bond resolution so that the tax abatements you previously approved will be in place by the first of the year.

“This is the culmination of something this board has been working on for a long time.”

The biomass plant will create steam energy that will be used to power P&G-Albany facilities, allowing the world’s largest home products manufacturer to realize global green initiatives it has established for its plants. Another vital cog in the construction and management of the plant is a plan that will allow Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany to utilize the plant for energy as well.

Not only will the plant provide power for the P&G facilities, it will allow the U.S. Marine Corps base at Albany to be the first Department of Defense installation in the country to realize net-zero energy consumption.

Boeing Burns Neste’s Renewable Diesel in Test Flight

nesteboeing1Aircraft maker Boeing has made a successful test flight using Neste Oil’s NEXBTL renewable diesel fuel. This Neste news release says the Boeing 787 Dreamliner flew as part of the ecoDemonstrator program on a 15 percent blend of the green fuel for the first time in history.

“The airplane performed as designed with the green diesel blend, just as it does with conventional jet fuel,” said Capt. Mike Carriker, Chief Pilot Boeing Product Development and 777X. “This is exactly what we want to see in flight tests with a new type of fuel.”

“Aviation is one of our target markets, and we were happy to be involved in this test. NEXBTL has already been used on approximately 1,200 regular flights, but the fuel was specifically manufactured as aviation fuel. The successful test flight was carried out using renewable diesel as a 15% component of fossil kerosene. The objective is that low blends of high-quality renewable diesel will be used in aviation fuels in the future,” says Kaisa Hietala, Neste Oil’s Executive Vice President of Renewable Products Business Area.

Pacific Biodiesel Inks Deal with Hawaiian Electric

pacificbiodieselFolks in the Aloha State will be keeping cool and the lights on late greener as the state’s electric utility signs a deal to use biodiesel to power generators on Oahu. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports Hawaiian Electric Co. and Maui-based Pacific Biodiesel Technologies have signed a two-year contract starting in just under a year.

Pacific Biodiesel Technologies will provide waste cooking oil and other local feedstocks to be used at the 110-megawatt power plant at Campbell Industrial Park as well as other Oahu power plants if needed.

Pacific Biodiesel Technologies will provide a minimum of 2 million and up to 3 million gallons per year to HECO. The contract is waiting approval from the Public Utilities Commission.

The contract with the local firm comes with a reduced price, said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO.

“This new contract accomplishes our goal of using locally produced biofuel to the greatest extent possible,” Oshima said. “Biodiesel for the Campbell Industrial Park plant will come from Pacific Biodiesel’s recently commissioned Hawaii Island refinery at a lower price than we now pay for mainland supplied biodiesel.”

The utility will save about 13 percent under this new contract. Pacific Biodiesel officials say the contract will use up about half of the company’s current production volume.

CNH Industrial, Fiat at First Ever ‘Biomethane Day’

CNHiAg and construction equipment maker CNH Industrial and Italy’s Fiat Chrysler Automobiles were part of the first ever “Biomethane Day.” This CNH news release says the two attended the meeting organized by the Italian Biogas Consortium (CIB), Assogasmetano and NGV Italy in partnership with CNH Industrial and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, near Verona, Italy to highlight the potential of biomethane in terms of reducing CO2 emissions.

Biomethane enhances the industrial sector’s expertise in natural gas, a field in which Italy is one of the world leaders. It is obtained by a process of “upgrading” biogas and can be produced from animal waste, agro-industrial by-products and crop integration. It possesses similar characteristics to natural gas and enables similar operation. Furthermore, biomethane could be inserted into the natural gas network and used as an advanced form of biofuel for transport and agricultural machinery.

Biomethane is seen as part of a larger European strategy that the continent get at least 10 percent of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.

Patriot Names Manager for New Biodiesel Plant

Audie-Sturtewagen1Patriot Renewable Fuels has named Audie Sturtewagen as manager of its new 5-million gallon per year biodiesel plant expected to come on line in Illinois in the first quarter of 2015. This company news release says Sturtewagen has worked for the company since 2008 when the ethanol plant started production.

Audie Sturtewagen said “I’m excited to have the opportunity to manage this important new Patriot subsidiary. We believe this new plant will be one of the most cost efficient biodiesel plants in the country. I am proud to be part of this new plant in my hometown, Annawan, IL. It’s great to see Patriot grow and diversify its business here, and I can’t wait to work with the new employees that will be brought on to operate the plant”.

Rick Vondra said “Patriot Fuels Biodiesel, LLC will use a new “Super Critical” production process that involves high pressure and heat. It will use less chemicals than many other processes. Feedstock will be corn oil extracted from the corn/ethanol process, but if we want to expand production, we can use any of the other feedstocks such as soy oil, brown grease, or yellow grease as well”. The plant has been designed by Jatro Diesel, Miamisburg, Ohio. Patriot is acting as general contractor for the project. Construction Manager, Joe Lillion is coordinating and supervising all the engineering, procurement and subcontractor activities.

Biodiesel at the plant will be made from corn oil, making it the first advanced biofuel produced by Patriot.

Dairy Waste-to-Fuel Digesters Open Cal Fuel Options

dairycaresRenewable energy production in California is getting another boost as dairy biogas digester development is turning waste into fuel. This article from Dairy Cares says the development of the waste-to-fuel converters is being helped by new programs, incentives and partnerships.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture recently announced the creation of a new Dairy Digester Research and Development Program, an important front-end boost for expanding the number of dairy digesters. With funding from the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (cap-and-trade program), $11.1 million in competitive grants will be awarded for the construction of new dairy digester projects in California. These grants can provide up to 50 percent of the total cost of a new project, with a $3 million grant cap. An additional $500,000 will be made available for research and demonstration projects that improve the economic performance of dairy digesters in California.

Another key to achieving economic viability of dairy digesters is the price paid for green, renewable electricity generated on the farm. Today’s dairy bioenergy market is new and underdeveloped. However, 2015 should see significant market maturation for dairy bioenergy with the expected full implementation of the California Public Utilities Commission’s bioenergy feed-in tariff mandated by SB 1122. This law requires that California’s three large investor owned utilities collectively procure 90 megawatts of bioenergy from dairy and other agricultural sources.

The article goes on to point out that national partnerships with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and new opportunities on the horizon should make the California dairy community “optimistic about the potential to develop more cost-effective, environmentally friendly dairy digesters to our state.”

Clark to Discuss Ethanol at IA Renewable Fuels Summit

IowaRFAlogoThe Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) is bringing retired Four-Star General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark to its next big conference. The group says Clark will talk about ethanol and energy security during the at the 9th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit and Trade Show on January 27, 2015 at Prairie Meadows near Des Moines.

“The IRFA is excited to have retired Four-Star General Wesley Clark address the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit to provide attendees with a unique perspective on biofuels and their impacts on national security,” stated IRFA President Steve Bleyl. “With discussion over renewable fuels policy at fever-pitch, the 2015 Summit will be a great place to hear the latest and greatest on the future of renewable fuels.”

The meeting is free to the public. More information and registration are available here.

Novozymes Offers Enzyme for Waste Oil to Biodiesel

novozymesWaste cooking oil-to-biodiesel operations are getting some help as biotech company Novozymes introduces a new enzyme just for that kind of operation. This company news release says Novozymes Eversa® is the first commercially available enzymatic solution to make biodiesel from waste oils and gives producers more feedstock selection at lower costs.

Growing demand for vegetable oil in the food industry has resulted in increased prices, causing biodiesel producers to search for alternative – and more sustainable – feedstocks. Most of the oils currently used are sourced from soybeans, palm or rapeseed, and typically contain less than 0.5% free fatty acids (FFA). Existing biodiesel process designs have difficulty handling oils containing more than 0.5% FFA, meaning that waste oils with high FFAs have not been a viable feedstock option until now.

“The idea of enzymatic biodiesel is not new, but the costs involved have been too high for commercial viability,” says Frederik Mejlby, marketing director for Novozymes’ Grain Processing division. “Eversa changes this and enables biodiesel producers to finally work with waste oils and enjoy feedstock flexibility to avoid the pinch of volatile pricing.”

Novozymes officials say Eversa will work with a broad range of fatty materials as feedstock, although initially intended for used cooking oil, DDGS corn oil and fatty acid distillates. They do say most biodiesel producers would have to convert their plants to an enzymatic process.

“The enzymatic process uses less energy, and the cost of waste oil as a feedstock is significantly lower than refined oils,” says Frederik Mejlby. “A small number of plants have been producing biodiesel from waste oils using existing technologies. But this has not been cost-efficient until now, broadly speaking, as the waste oils have had to be refined before being processed using chemicals. We hope that our technology can unleash more of the potential in these lower grade feedstocks.”

Oregon Ethanol Producers to Get Safety Seminars

RFA-logo-13Ethanol producers in Oregon will be getting some safety help. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is co-hosting free safety seminars Dec. 10–12 at the Portland Fire and Rescue Training Center in Portland, Oregon. The training is aimed toward first responders, hazmat teams, safety managers, and local emergency planning committees, as well as being open to the general public.

The goal of this seminar is for attendees to gain full ethanol emergency response training experience that they can put to use immediately in the field and pass along to other first response teams. A majority of this training is based on the “Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response,” a training package created by the Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition (EERC) that has been distributed throughout the United States and to several countries worldwide.

“The Office of State Fire Marshal is pleased to offer the Ethanol Safety Seminar, funded through the Hazardous Material Emergency Preparedness grant,” said Sue Otjen of Oregon’s State Emergency Response Commission. “This training will provide first responders with the knowledge and resources needed to be prepared to safely respond to ethanol and other fuel related incidents in their community.”

“2014 has been a very successful year for the RFA and its partners in educating and training communities across the nation on swift and efficient responses to ethanol emergencies,” said Kristy Moore, vice president of technical services at RFA. “We are proud to continue this indispensable program in Portland as the year comes to a close.”

To register and for more information, click here.

Oregon Aims to Cut Biomass Tax Incentives

OregonFlagBiomass producers in Oregon could lose out on some production tax credits, if the state gets its way. This story from Oregon Public Broadcasting says the state’s Department of Energy proposed a change that reduces tax incentives for biomass facilities.

Matt Krumenauer, a senior policy analyst with the agency, said the tax program was intended to offset the costs of producing, collecting and transporting biomass.

“We’ve analyzed the program and found that those costs for animal manure are much less than similar production or collection costs for other types of biomass,” he said.

Krumenauer said the tax credit provides incentives that are sometimes 10-times higher for animal manure than for other types of biomass, such as wood.

The losses could total up to nearly $5 million a year, based on current credits being handed out. The change would have to be made by the state legislature and signed off by the governor.