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.

GRFA: Sustainability Week Needs to Recognize Biofuels

GRFA1As attendees gather in the Middle East gather for the 8th Annual World Future Energy Summit (WFES), one group is telling them to bring biofuels to the top of the sustainability, economic and climate change agenda. The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) says the 30,000 delegates from 170 different countries need to be talking about the green fuels during the flagship event of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

“The economic, environmental, agricultural and social success story of biofuels is a natural fit for the World Futures Energy Summit’s series of panels and presentations and throughout the events as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week,” stated Bliss Baker, spokesperson for the GRFA.

“We need attendees to demand the inclusion of biofuels in this conversation because they create much needed rural jobs, significantly curb green house gas emissions, reduce our reliance on crude oil, and encourage energy diversity – all stated priorities of the Summit” concluded Baker.

GRFA says global biofuels production contributed $277.3 billion and supported nearly 1.4 million jobs in all sectors of the global economy in 2010, with job numbers forecasted to top 2.2 million by 2020. In addition, the International Energy Agency says biofuels, such as ethanol, will have to play an increased role in reducing greenhouse gases, already removing 106 million tonnes of the emissions from the environment, the equivalent of taking 21 million cars off the road.

FAO’s Chief Comments on Biofuels Welcomed by GRFA

GRFA1Comments by a key United Nations agency chief that biofuels should be part of the energy mix is being welcomed by renewable fuel advocates. Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva told attendees at the recent Global Forum for Food and Agriculture in Berlin that biofuels should be seen as a key part of the global agriculture complex, remarks welcomed by Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA).

Throughout his remarks, the Director-General praised biofuels for their social, agricultural and environmental benefits and the necessity for agriculture to accommodate both food and fuel.

“We applaud the FAO Director-General for stating what over 62 countries with biofuel-friendly policies have known for years — that biofuels deliver much needed rural jobs, significantly curb green house gas emissions, reduce our reliance on crude oil, and encourage energy diversity, “ stated Bliss Baker, spokesperson for the GRFA.

According to the GRFA, global biofuel production is making a significant contribution to the global economy, having contributed $277.3 billion and supported nearly 1.4 million jobs in all sectors of the global economy in 2010. By 2020 the global biofuel industry is forecasted to grow to support over 2.2 million jobs in all sectors of the global economy.

GRFA also cited numbers that showed global ethanol production hit nearly 25 billion gallons of the green fuel, removing the equivalent of 21 million cars worth of greenhouse gases, equal to all of the cars registered in Malaysia.

Local Information and Music on Biodiesel

theislandBiodiesel has been convincing folks of the environmental value it holds. Now, a radio station in Canada is using the green fuel to get out local information and music… and serving as one more success story. This story from the Sudbury (ON) Star says Manitoulin’s radio station, The Island, 100.7, is running 12 hours a day on biodiesel made from french fry grease.

KT [Timmermanns] tells me, “Back in 2012, after our Manitoulin Country Fest was over, Craig [Timmermanns, her husband] was shocked at how much waste vegetable oil was going into the landfill from all the vendors. He thought he could turn a negative into a positive. You know Craig: he began to research and develop a system to utilize this waste. You know Craig; his goal is always to use technology to help offset our always increasing energy costs “¦ in operating our radio station.”

KT tells me, “Several approvals were needed. Ontario Power Authority, (OPA) to put the excess energy on the grid, then from the Electrical Safety Authority,(ESA) and Hydro One. OPA approved all Craig’s technical information. Last up was ESA. The inspector was in last week and final approval was granted, with Hydro One coming in this week to install a new bi-directional meter.”

“Bi-directional allows for power to go back onto the grid when the biodiesel is running. We’ll receive a credit, which we use at night or regular power. Now, The Island 100.7 is now running on French fry oil daily from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.”

The Timmermanns are putting in a license for a new station at 50,000 watts. Let’s see if they can pull off that boost with some help from biodiesel.

Study: Animal Fat Biodiesel Cuts GHGs by 85%

cattle eating distillers grainsBiodiesel made from animal fat produces 85 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions. This news release from the European Fat Processors and Renderers Association says new finding from the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU) in Germany confirm a long-held belief that animal fat biodiesel would have significant positive effects on the environment.

The latest calculations carried out in the context of the ISCC sustainability certification process reveal that producing biodiesel from animal fat achieves a remarkable 85% saving in greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil diesel fuel…

Public health restrictions mean that animal by-products are subject to special disposal regulations and as a consequence have a negative market value. Therefore, according to the IFEU, all emissions relating to treatment necessary for compliance with public health requirements in sterilised preliminary products should not count towards the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated during production of the associated biofuel.

Niels Leth Nielsen, EFPRA president, commented: “Biodiesel made from animal fat not only conserves resources, it also achieves very high savings in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. That means we already have access to an advanced biofuel.”

Boeing, Embraer Open Biofuel Research Center

boeing1A new research center will look to establish the aviation biofuels industry in Brazil. Aviation manufacturers Boeing and Embraer opened a joint sustainable aviation biofuel research center in the South American country.

At the Boeing-Embraer Joint Research Center in the São José dos Campos Technology Park, the companies will coordinate and co-fund research with Brazilian universities and other institutions. The research will focus on technologies that address gaps in creating a sustainable aviation biofuel industry in Brazil, such as feedstock production, techno-economic analysis, economic viability studies and processing technologies.

“Boeing and Embraer, two of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers, are partnering in an unprecedented way to make more progress on sustainable aviation biofuel than one company can do alone,” said Donna Hrinak, president, Boeing Brazil and Boeing Latin America. “Brazil, a pioneer in the sustainable fuels industry, will play a leading role in establishing the biofuels industry and helping meet aviation’s environmental goals.”

“Our purpose is to support work on developing and maturing the knowledge and technologies needed to establish a sustainable aviation biofuel industry in Brazil with global reach,” said Mauro Kern, executive vice president, Engineering and Technology, Embraer. “Brazil has shown its potential and is already a benchmark for the clean-energy industry, having created very successful ethanol and biodiesel industries.”

This joint research center is the latest in a series of collaborative efforts by Boeing and Embraer, and Brazilian partners on sustainable aviation biofuel.

The Andersons Launches Campaign on Diveristy

TheAndersonLogoGrain, ethanol, and plant nutrient company The Andersons is emphasizing the diversity it brings to agribusiness. This news release from the Ohio-based company says its new brand campaign “And Beyond” includes a refresh to the corporate website www.andersonsinc.com and associated promotional materials.

“The ‘And Beyond’ campaign builds on the equity of the previous ‘And’ theme that we’ve had in place for about six years,” says Tom Waggoner, Vice President, Marketing and Operations Services. “This campaign provides a fresh perspective that keeps our brand moving forward. The theme highlights that The Andersons goes beyond the ordinary with our market expertise and beyond expectations in the strong relationships we form.”

With various business groups operating in 21 states across the country, the “And Beyond” campaign reflects The Andersons as a diversified, yet united, company. Although serving diversified industries, the business groups share a strong commitment to grow enduring relationships through extraordinary service, a deep knowledge of the market and a knack for finding new ways to add value as the company has done for nearly 70 years.

In addition to the ag sector businesses, The Andersons is also involved in railcar leasing, turf and cob products, and consumer retailing.

Policy Uncertainty Shrinks US Biodiesel Market

nbb-advancedThe U.S. biodiesel market was a bit smaller in 2014, and policy uncertainty in Washington is being blamed for the decrease. The National Biodiesel Board says the destabilization of the industry, including the Obama Administration’s failure to finalize biodiesel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and Congress allowing the biodiesel tax incentive to lapse at the beginning of 2014, caused many biodiesel plants to shut down or reduce production, dropping total U.S. biodiesel consumption to 1.75 billion gallons for the year, down slightly from nearly 1.8 billion gallons in 2013.

“These numbers reflect the consequences of policy inaction,” said Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), the industry trade association. “The drop in production represents lost jobs and economic activity. It represents a lost opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. And it represents another year in which we fail to tackle our dangerous dependence on oil in the fuels sector.”

“The numbers would have been even lower had the EPA not signaled throughout the year that it will strengthen the RFS proposal and finalize it promptly,” Jobe said. “But companies can operate on faith for only so long. We have already seen many producers close their doors, and many others are struggling to stay open as we enter a New Year with continued uncertainty.”

Jobe went on to say that it’s frustrating because it is completely unnecessary and urged the Obama administration and Congress to put smart policies back in place.

Regulators Urged to Rethink Corn Ethanol’s Carbon Value

ace logoRegulators are being urged to re-think corn ethanol’s carbon value. In a news release from the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), the group’s President of its board of directors, Ron Alverson, reveals in a white paper how corn ethanol’s carbon footprint is decreasing, thanks to technology innovations by farmers and ethanol facilities to improve the accuracy of carbon intensity modeling for biofuels.

“ANL scientists have documented significant reductions in corn ethanol’s CI since 2008. Through updates to the Greenhouse gases Regulated Emissions and Energy use in Transportation (GREET version 2.0, 2013) model, ANL recently determined that average ethanol manufacturing energy use has decreased 25%, corn farming energy use decreased 24%, corn fertilizer and chemical use decreased by 3%, and that ethanol facilities are extracting 3% more ethanol from each bushel of corn. ANL has also updated their Land Use Change (LUC) calculations with recent data and now estimate LUC of just 7.6 grams of CI, a 75% reduction from the widely used and outdated estimate of 30 grams CI. A significant portion of this reduction resulted from soil carbon modeling which predicts soil carbon sequestration from corn,” Alverson notes in the White Paper.

“Unfortunately, low carbon fuel market regulators, such as the U.S. EPA and the California Air Resources Board, have yet to acknowledge these improvements and update their models with this new science,” continues Alverson. “Because fossil fuel CI is getting worse and corn ethanol CI is improving, failure to account for these trends unfairly penalizes biofuels in low carbon markets.”

Alverson, a farmer and founding board member of an ethanol facility in South Dakota cited new research and improved modeling by the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. He argues that “corn farmers have responded to market signals and rapidly adopted precision application technology to reduced fertilizer application rates,” new realities those regulators need to now consider.

Nat. Gas Inventories Up, Wind to Lead Renewables in 2015

eiaNatural gas inventories are up dramatically from last winter, and wind is expected to lead renewable energy capacity additions in the coming year. Those are just a couple of findings in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest Short-Term Energy Outlook. EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski says those prices for natural gas have also dropped to two-year lows as growing domestic natural gas production has bolstered the inventories.

“Natural gas inventories at the end of the winter heating season in late March should be about 9 billion cubic feet above the five-year average, much higher than the same time last year when inventories were approaching 1 trillion cubic feet below normal.”

Sieminski adds that following nearly two years of relatively moderate generation capacity growth for renewables, wind power will be the clear leader in utility-scale renewable capacity additions in 2015.

“About 11 gigawatts of wind capacity is expected to enter service in 2015, the second-highest level of generating capacity that the wind industry has ever added in a given year.”

The EIA report goes on to say that petroleum producers continue to see dropping prices for crude oil and many oil companies have cut back on their exploration drilling in response. However, petroleum production is still expected to climb in 2015, as those producers concentrate drilling activities in established areas that already have productive wells.

Iowa Biodiesel, Ethanol Marketers Recognized

iowaag3The Iowa Department of Agriculture honors some ethanol and biodiesel marketers in the state. Mark McKinley and Galen Barker from Fuel Time in St. Ansgar and Steve Neuendorf from Farmers Win Cooperative in Fredericksburg are the 2015 winners of the Secretary’s Ethanol and Biodiesel Marketing Awards, recognizing fuel marketers who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to promote and sell renewable fuels.

“Fuel Time in St. Ansgar and Farmers Win Cooperative in Fredericksburg have made it a priority to make biodiesel and ethanol more available to Iowa drivers and promote these home-grown fuels,” [Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill] Northey said.

The Secretary’s Ethanol and Biodiesel Marketing Awards were designed to recognize businesses that market the renewable fuels they have available through creative efforts including, but not limited to: hosting special events highlighting their renewable fuels, development of creative signage, initiation of new advertisements or marketing efforts, and dramatically increase renewable fuel availability…

Fuel Time sources its ethanol from the local ethanol plant and passes the saving on to customers, and the result has been that on several occasion it offered the lowest priced fuel in the country.

The facilities at the Fuel Time station were recently remodeled and they have had a number of events promoting E15 and higher blends of ethanol at the site. In response to their aggressive promotion and competitive pricing of renewable fuels, monthly sales show that E85 sales are typically equal to or greater than E10 sales…

Farmers Win Cooperative, under Neuendorf’s leadership, has made it a priority to give customers a choice at the pump, including access to higher blends of biodiesel. Farmers Win has installed a biodiesel blender pump that in spring thru fall offers a clear #2 diesel as well as blends of 10 percent (B10), 20 percent (B20), 30 percent (B30), and 50 percent (B50). They now offer these products in Burr Oak and Fredericksburg.

The winners were announced and recognized during the Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Stores of Iowa Annual Meeting in Des Moines on Jan. 13th.

Hydro Dynamics’ 98% Ethanol Race Car Featured on PBS

HDIusethanolcar1A race car that runs on a 98 percent blend of ethanol was recently featured on the PBS TV show Farm Connections. The US Ethanol Race Car is sponsored by Hydro Dynamics, Inc. of Rome, Georgia, the developer of a patented cavitation process intensification technology called the ShockWave Power Reactor (SPR), enabling customers to solve critical mixing and heating problems.

Beginning this year HDI sponsored the US Ethanol car by Olmscheid Racing. Olmscheid Racing, based in Elrosa, MN, competes in the Midwest. The HDI logo is prominently displayed on the hood and provides excellent brand awareness in the heart of the ethanol industry of the Shock Wave Power Reactor (SPR) cavitation technology.

The SPR has several ethanol applications including yield enhancement, increased production of corn oil, cellulosic ethanol and the conversion of extracted corn oil to biodiesel. HDI’s extensive renewable energy portfolio also includes biogas, conventional biodiesel and algae oil extraction. The sponsorship has been a great way to draw attention to our ethanol initiatives including our new bolt-on biodiesel plants to convert corn oil to biodiesel.

More information about the process is available at www.hydrodynamics.com.

TruMarx Offers Biodiesel and RINs Transactions on COMET

COMETTruMarx Data Partners is now offering biodiesel and renewable identification numbers (RINs) transactions on COMET, the energy industry’s on-demand platform for custom bilateral OTC transactions.

COMET now supports direct bilateral transactions for biodiesel and assigned RINs, separated D4 RINs, and RIN-less biodiesel (wet gallons). This new capability allows users to:

• Electronically and confidentially structure their transaction to include important product details such as quality, certification, blend, facility info, delivery details, Q-RIN designation, QAP provider, etc.
• Publish the structure to any pre-screened COMET counterparts via a one-to-many request for price.
• Negotiate the terms of the transaction via multiple one-to-one confidential negotiations until the originator accepts or rejects a particular transaction.
• Receive an automated transaction confirmation with full transaction details.
• Generate a comprehensive transaction audit trail to help meet a variety of audit and regulatory compliance standards.

“We are excited to introduce this new biodiesel transaction capability for COMET. It will allow active traders in this important energy category to enjoy the tremendous benefits that COMET provides”, said Jon Olson, Founder, President and CEO. “Our customers have asked for this platform and we are excited to deliver”, said Mr. Olson.

TruMarx says this new biodiesel/RINs capability will offer many benefits for users, including reducing fraudulent transaction concerns, increasing market transparency and scope, allowing self-service price discovery, and making it overall easier for users with on-line and on-demand access.

First Biodiesel Testing Lab in Southeast to Open

ABTechThe first lab for testing biodiesel in the Southeastern United States is set to open in Asheville, North Carolina. This article from the Asheville Citizen-Times says it is opening at the Enka campus of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.

Researchers at the lab “will provide convenient, cost-effective testing of biodiesel to assure quality products are going to market,” said Sam Brake, of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture Bioenergy Research Initiative in Oxford.

“Consumers will be assured they’re getting high-quality product,” said Brake, who added that the state Department of Agriculture awarded the project a $150,000 grant. “Long-term, it should help boost demand and help boost production.”

“Having a lab here decreases the testing-turnaround time so it increases biofuel companies’ ability to release batches (of fuel for customers),” said Sarah Schober, senior director of A-B Tech’s BioNetwork, a program throughout the North Carolina community college system that focuses on biotechnology and life sciences.

The school donated $60,000 to the project.

World’s First Wood-to-Biodiesel Plant Running

UPMlogoThe world’s first biorefinery to turn wood into renewable diesel has opened in Finland. UPM says its Lappeenranta biorefinery is now in commercial production, turning out about 30 million gallons of the green fuel a year.

“Lappeenranta Biorefinery is the first significant investment in a new and innovative production facility in Finland during the ongoing transformation of the forest industry. It is also a focal part in the implementation of our company’s Biofore transformation strategy,” saysHeikki Vappula, Executive Vice President, UPM Biorefining.

“The production process works as planned and the high quality end product, UPM BioVerno diesel, fulfils customer specifications. The start-up phase of the biorefinery began in early autumn, and it has included customary new process and production related challenges. The biorefinery is first of its kind in the world. We are now happy to move forward from start-up phase and be able to concentrate on regular production process”, says Petri Kukkonen, Head of UPM Biofuels business.

A lot of the feedstock, a residue of wood pulp production, is produced at UPM’s own pulp mills in Finland. UPM says its BioVerno renewable diesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 80 per cent compared to traditional diesel.

New Biodiesel Plant Owner Wants to Re-Open It

glb-logoSpeculation over the new owner of the Great Lakes Biodiesel plant in Welland, Ontario, Canada is over, as Luxembourg-based Heridge SARL has been announced as the winner of a bidding process. And the Welland Tribune reports the new owner is vowing to re-open the $50 million refinery.

“The big message that came out is that they’re not buying this operation in order to take it apart and sell it. They’re not interesting in scrapping it,” [Welland Mayor Frank] Campion said. “They want to make it work. They have money invested in it and they will invest more money in it.”

In early October, the plant went into receivership as a result of court action by Heridge, which said in court it was only repaid half of a $20-million loan used to get the Welland plant off the ground in 2012.

According to court documents and a former employee, Great Lakes Biodiesel was unable to become financially viable largely because it couldn’t secure $65 million in federal funding it was expected to get through Natural Resource Canada.

The new owners are saying that federal funding will be critical in order for them to make the plant successful.