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.

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.

Give to Biodiesel Foundation for ‘Giving Tuesday”

NBF1Today is “Giving Tuesday,” a day when people are encouraged to get out of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday buying frenzies and give something back to charity. Our friends at the National Biodiesel Board suggest you consider the National Biodiesel Foundation, a non-profit organization that works closely with NBB for the advancement of biodiesel, with the goal of raising $100,000 today.

“Despite the clear benefits of biodiesel, its continued use is threatened. Biofuel opponents are backed by deep pockets and unsubstantiated messages,” stated Executive Director Tom Verry. “We need to work together to assist scientists in providing irrefutable data to show that biodiesel is improving the air we breathe, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and safeguarding our environment.”

You can be a part of a better tomorrow by supporting NBF in their mission by making a donation at www.biodieselfoundation.org.

NBB also reminds people that how much biodiesel already gives back to them: a cleaner environment, 60,000 domestic jobs and less dependence on foreign oil.

Group Debunks ‘Food-vs-Fuel’ and Other RFS Myths

As we wait (and wait and wait and wait) for the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision regarding the amount of ethanol and biodiesel to be mixed into the nation’s fuel supply, one group is taking the time to debunk some myths that might be giving the EPA a reason to hesitate. Media Matters has issued a report debunking the “food-versus-fuel” myth, along with several possible Renewable Fuel Standard-stopping myths.

MYTH: Renewable Fuel Standards Raise Food Prices…

FACT: Ethanol Production Does Not Divert Food Or Raise Prices

CBO Report: RFS Will Not Significantly Alter Food Prices. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analyzed how the RFS will impact the economy beyond 2014 and determined that it will have no significant impact on food prices. The CBO also stated that if the standards were increased to meet the initially proposed requirements by 2017, it would result in increased spending on food by just one-quarter of 1 percent…

MYTH: Ethanol Will Harm Your Vehicle…

FACT: Rigorous Studies Show That Ethanol Does Not Harm Engines

DOE: Industry-Funded Study Claiming Ethanol Hurts Engines Is “Significantly Flawed.” Patrick B. Davis, the manager of the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program, published an article critiquing the CRC study that found E15 and E20 (a gasoline blend with 20 percent ethanol) hurt auto engines. The DOE concluded that the study was “significantly flawed” because it did not establish a proper control group and that it cherry-picked vehicles “already known to have durability issues”

The report also presents plenty more facts debunking myths about how ethanol is supposed to actually be bad for the environment and how biofuels are heavily subsidized, among others.

Low Fuel Prompts Reminder Biodiesel Stretches Supply

IowaRFAlogoA sudden drop in temperatures is putting the squeeze on what is an already low fuel supply in some parts of the country, and that’s prompting a group to remind folks biodiesel can make fuel supplies last longer. On the heels of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s emergency declaration that cold weather, coupled with pipeline and refining outages, is putting his state dangerously low on fuel, necessitating some short-term changes to shipping rules in Iowa, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) is reminding the governor and all consumers that biodiesel could stretch tight diesel supplies being able to be blended at 5 to 20 percent levels.

“Given Gov. Branstad’s emergency proclamation, one of the best ways to help alleviate tight diesel supplies is to blend it with high-quality, homegrown biodiesel,” stated IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “High-quality biodiesel blends ranging from B5 to B20 can be used and treated just as No. 2 diesel throughout the winter. Several Iowa biodiesel producers have supplies that can be shipped to a fuel terminal or jobber today.”

“I’m currently using B20 to push snow and keep my farm operation moving throughout the colder months,” stated Denny Mauser, a farmer from Early, Iowa and board member of Western Iowa Energy in Wall Lake, Iowa.

IRFA goes on to point out that not only will using biodiesel right now help alleviate the tight supply issues, but it will also support American jobs, energy security and a cleaner environment.

Biodiesel By-Product Gets Into Sticky Situation

A by-product of biodiesel production is getting into a sticky situation… but in a good way. This story from Iowa State University says researchers at the school are turning glycerin into a commercially viable bioplastic adhesive.

grewell1“The basic feedstock is glycerin, a byproduct of the biodiesel industry,” said David Grewell, a professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering. “We’re turning waste into a co-product stream.”

Eric Cochran, an associate professor of chemical and biological engineering who also works on the project, said glycerin sells for around 17 cents a pound, much cheaper than the components of traditional acrylic adhesives.

“It’s almost free by comparison,” Cochran said. “And it comes from Iowa crops.”

The project recently received a grant of about $1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to show that the technology can be competitive in the marketplace. The third and final year of the grant will see the researchers begin production at a pilot plant currently under construction at the ISU BioCentury Research Farm. The pilot plant will be able to produce up to a ton of adhesives per day, Grewell said.

The ISU research team is developing products for three primary markets: construction, pressure-sensitive adhesives and water-based rubber cement.

Biodiesel Board Gives Thanks for the Green Fuel

nbb-logoOur friends at the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) are grateful for many things, but above all… biodiesel! And they’ve put together a top 10 list of how you can show your gratitude to those who support America’s advanced biofuel this Thanksgiving:

10. Clean your house for the big day with Method products. The company “set out to change the world by creating beautiful cleaning products that are as kind to the planet as they are tough on dirt.” Method uses biodiesel to power more than one-third of its U.S. truck shipments.

9. Serve Kettle chips as a pre-feast snack. All of the waste vegetable oil from the Kettle Brand® production process is converted into biodiesel. The company chips into the environment by fueling its fleet with biodiesel, too.

8. Stock the fridge with Sierra Nevada. This craft brewing company uses a blend of up to 20 percent biodiesel (B20) in its delivery trucks. The Chico, Calif. company grows eight acres of hops, also fueling its tractors with biodiesel.

Other items include driving over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house in a truck powered by biodiesel, cheering on your favorite football team to the Super Bowl, which has used biodiesel blends in its generators, and heating your home with a blend of biodiesel and heating oil, Bioheat® fuel.

And of course the top way to show your gratitude for America’s biodiesel makers is probably the easiest one of all:

1. Eat turkey! We’re confident millions of Americans will assist with this biodiesel-supporting directive! Biodiesel can be made from any fat or vegetable oil, including poultry fat, or leftover frying oil. In Arizona, Tucson Clean Cities will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its Day-After-Thanksgiving Grease Collection event, with other cities hosting similar programs to keep grease out of the sewers and recycle it to make biodiesel.

Biodiesel Benefits Livestock Producers

nafb14-nbb-weberWhile some have tried to pit the biofuels industry against livestock producers, the folks at the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) explain their green fuel is actually helping those producers.

“The livestock industry is a strong stakeholder. That’s how we view animal agriculture in terms of biodiesel production,” said Alan Weber, economic consultant for the NBB, during a recent interview with Cindy at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters convention.

Alan said that while soy oil still remains the main feedstock for biodiesel, the fuel is making inroads using animal tallow. In fact, he said that 25 percent of animal fat from livestock production now goes into biodiesel. He pointed out that while European demand has dropped for animal fats, biodiesel has helped maintain the market and keep money in farmers’ pockets. Alan also reiterated a point made many times before that with the crush of soybeans for biodiesel, it is actually helping keep feed for livestock plentiful.

“Every time we crush an additional bushel of soybeans, we also get more meal,” actually keeping down feed costs, he said. “It’s been a nice relationship, and we look forward to continuing that in the future.”

Listen to more of Cindy’s interview with Alan here: Interview with Alan Weber, economic consultant for the NBB

2014 NAFB Convention Photos

Coverage of the NAFB convention is sponsored by
NAFB Convention is sponsored by FMC

Kansas State Teaches Sustainability Through Biodiesel

kstateBiodieselStudents from Kansas State University are learning about sustainability through biodiesel. This article from the school talks about the Biodiesel Initiative, which includes converting waste oil on campus into the green fuel and using it to power equipment and trucks, in particular a truck that picks up the waste oil.

“We have a number of diesel trucks on campus that consume our biodiesel, and other smaller engines can use it as well,” said Ron Madl, K-State emeritus research professor of grain science and a leader of the Biodiesel Initiative…

Madl wanted to get students more involved in research centered on sustainability when he served as co-director for K-State’s Center for Sustainable Energy. The K-State 2025 visionary plan also emphasizes sustainability planning as a way to help K-State become a top-50 public research university.

“All universities need to teach our young people how we can have a smaller footprint going forward,” Madl said. “Getting them involved in recycling—how we do it chemically and how we do it economically—is important.”

Madl’s biodiesel biodiesel conversion lab gets some of its funding the Kansas Soybean Commission and attracts students representing many different majors, including grain science, biological and agricultural engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry and biochemistry, getting hands-on experience in making biodiesel safely.

Brazilian Ethanol Producers Praise EPA Delay

unica1International ethanol interests are weighing in on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to delay finalizing 2014 volume standards under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) until next year. Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) President Elizabeth Farina is glad to see the EPA step back from proposed advanced biofuel targets, a large portion of that fulfilled by sugarcane ethanol.

“In 2013, 15 percent of America’s advanced biofuels – 435 million gallons – came from Brazil, delivering at least a 50 percent reduction in emissions compared to gasoline. Slashing the 2014 renewable fuels standard target would have fundamentally threatened both America’s supply of low-carbon fuel and the Obama Administration’s emissions reduction goals.

The Brazilian sugarcane ethanol industry has collaboratively worked with the U.S. to lower emissions through the RFS for over seven years, and while we’re relieved this decision doesn’t roll back environmental gains made over that time, EPA has missed a golden opportunity to increase the volume of cleaner fuel flowing to American drivers.”

Farina went on to say she still encourages the EPA to publish the 2015 RFS targets as soon as possible so advanced biofuel producers have clarity on production targets before the season starts.

Donaldson Launches New Line of Filters for Biodiesel

donaldsonFilter maker Donaldson has launched a new line of fuel filters that could be especially good for biodiesel operations. This article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune says the company has landed $50 million in fuel filter contracts and is jumping into a market could grow to billions.

The company is developing long-lasting fuel-filters for large trucks and farm, construction and mining vehicles…

Donaldson also introduced its new Select Fuel Filter and won $50 million in annual contracts from makers of “off road” construction vehicles and farm tractors and combines. It partnered with two state universities to study diesel fuels and launched a new website called MyCleanDiesel.

Over time, the fresh focus on fuel filtration is expected to add hundreds of millions to Donaldson’s sales, which amounted to $2.4 billion last year.

Trucking association leaders say that stricter biodiesel and low-sulfur-diesel fuel mandates created by Minnesota or the U.S. environmental agencies in 2008, 2010 and 2014 have successfully slashed smog and soot emissions. But they also say that some fuel mandates led to redesigned engines that needed extra time and technology to work out the kinks.

Without regular intervention, some truck engines clog with debris, mix water into the fuel or they stall because diesel and biodiesel tend to thicken in frigid temperatures, truckers have said at industry conferences and forums.

Donaldson will compete with Fleetguard Cummins, Dahl-Baldwin Filters and Parker Hannifin Corp. Research firm MarketsAndMarkets in the diesel and biodiesel filtration markets.

Iowans Weigh in on EPA’s RFS Delay

With Iowa being one of the nation’s leaders in ethanol and biodiesel production, it’s no wonder state officials and industry groups joined the national chorus weighing in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision to once again delay a final decision on the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) until next year.

Northey, 2014Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said while he’s glad the EPA seems to be responding to public sentiment against what was proposed, he’s also worried about the uncertainty the renewable fuels industry in the state face:

“The past year has been an exciting time in the renewable fuels industry with the first commercial scale cellulosic ethanol plants coming online. However, we have missed opportunities for even more growth in the industry due to the uncertainty created by EPA’s initial RFS proposal. Hopefully the withdrawal of this rule signals a larger change in course within EPA where they will be less adversarial and more responsive to the concerns of rural America.”

Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board, is also optimistic the delay means the proposal will be revised more favorably to his group’s fuel, he shares Northey’s concerns over uncertainty:

GrantKimberley“An increased RVO for biomass-based diesel would mean good news for Iowa, the number one biodiesel-producing state. Uncertainty has hurt the biodiesel industry and created a ripple effect through the farming community, major ag suppliers and equipment companies. But the EPA has the chance to reverse this.

“The Proposed Rule as it stood would have taken biodiesel backwards from the volumes produced in 2013. The Administration has a chance to make it right by finalizing a 2014 rule that sets the Renewable Fuel Standard’s biomass-based diesel volumes at or above the nearly 1.8 billion gallons consumed in 2013. We also urge them to fix the RVO process so we don’t have to face this disruptive uncertainty every year. We need to put biodiesel back on the course of diversifying America’s fuel supply, supporting green jobs and boosting economic development.”

Energy Vision Hands Out Leadership Awards

energyvisionSome real energy leaders have been recognized for their innovations in scaling up renewable natural gas (RNG) vehicle fuel made from organic waste such as food, farm and yard waste and wastewater treatment products. This news release from Energy Vision, a national non-profit analyzing and promoting clean, renewable, petroleum-free transportation fuels, says the group gave out its 2014 Leadership Awards during a gala event in Manhattan.

RNG has ultra-low emissions and is growing fast. It has the potential to power many of America’s 10 million heavy trucks and buses. Converting 25% of them could displace more than 9 billion gallons of diesel fuel and cut GHG emissions over 89 million tons annually.

The award winners included:

· Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY), the world’s largest sanitation department, which will be implementing mandatory commercial organic waste recycling in addition to its current voluntary residential organic waste recycling program;

· Richard M. DiGia, President/CEO, Aria Energy and Harrison Clay, President, Clean Energy Renewables, whose joint project works with the Seneca Meadows Landfill in Seneca Falls, the first New York State operation converting landfill biogas into vehicle fuel, to ship its RNG to California, where Clean Energy Renewables distributes it to vehicle fleets.

· Mel Kurtz, President, quasar energy group, the largest U.S. operator of “complete mix” anaerobic digesters, with 14 facilities in Ohio, Massachusetts and New York. The company has the capacity to annually convert over 700,000 tons of municipal and commercial organic waste into renewable electricity, heat and fuel.

Energy Vision officials said during the ceremony that renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions have emerged as central issues of deep concern to people and really could change the way we live.

Biodiesel Board Picks Leadership

nbb-logoThe National Biodiesel Board (NBB) has picked five returning governing board members and two new members to serve in leadership roles.

“Biodiesel has faced many challenges but with strong leadership from among all sectors of the industry we are in a position as an organization to face those challenges head on,” said NBB CEO Joe Jobe. “This industry has produced more than a billion gallons of advanced biofuels each of the last three years and will continue to grow into the future under the direction of the board.”

Officers elected to lead the board are:

Steven J. Levy, chairman, Sprague Operating Resources
Ron Marr, vice chair, Minnesota Soybean Processors
Mike Cunningham, treasurer, American Soybean Association
Greg Anderson, secretary, Nebraska Soybean Board

NBB members also voted to fill seven board member spots. Members elected to the Governing Board included officers Steven J. Levy, Greg Anderson, and Mike Cunningham along with:

Jennifer Case, New Leaf Biofuel
Tim Keaveney, HERO BX
Robert Morton, Newport Biodiesel
Ben Wootton, World Energy

Ron Marr, Gary Haer, Todd Ellis, Kent Engelbrecht, Ed Hegland, Bob Metz, Robert Stobaugh, and Ed Ulch will continue serving on the Governing Board.

REG Cuts Ribbon on Louisiana Renewable Diesel Plant

reg-logoIowa-based Renewable Energy Group celebrated this week the grand opening of its renewable diesel plant in Louisiana. This company news release says the Geismar biorefinery is now producing renewable hydrocarbon diesel (RHD) in commercial-scale quantities.

The event marked the successful start-up of the 75-million gallon nameplate capacity plant that REG acquired in June. Beginning production on October 14, REG Geismar, LLC has already produced more than 4.7 million gallons of renewable fuel. REG-9000™/RHD produced at the plant meet or exceed ASTM D975 standards.

“REG Geismar strengthens our core biomass-based diesel business, allowing us to further expand our product offering to our customers,” said Daniel J. Oh, REG President and CEO. “It reinforces our commitment to advanced biofuels and demonstrates our confidence in this market.”

The Geismar biorefinery, REG’s largest, is the company’s first plant to produce RHD using Bio-Synfining™ technology developed by REG Synthetic Fuels, LLC in Tulsa, Okla. The process converts a wide range of feedstocks, such as animal fat, inedible corn oil, used cooking oil and vegetable oils, into renewable fuel.

REG officials say their teams in Iowa, Louisiana and Oklahoma worked hard to get the plant online, producing near its nameplate capacity already.