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.

Students Recognized for Biodiesel, Ethanol Videos

Students from Iowa have been recognized for their efforts to promote biodiesel and ethanol. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) awarded prizes in its “Fuel the Future” Iowa High School Video Contest.

Anna Steenson of Des Moines won first place in the contest for Iowa high school students. The IRFA awarded the senior from Central Campus a $1,000 grand prize for her creative and informative video titled “E15: Powering the Future.”

Karly Lent of Bettendorf, Iowa won the $600 second place prize for her video entitled, “Let’s Fuel the Future.” Karly is a junior at Bettendorf High School.

Jacquelyn Huynh, Dakota Karthan, Maria Babcock and Jordan Bacon won the $400 third place prize for their video entitled, “Good for Your Car, Better for Iowa.” This group of girls is a collection of juniors and seniors from Ankeny High School.

“First, I want to thank all of the Iowa high school students who took on the challenge of entering this year’s contest and learning about the benefits of using renewable fuels,” stated IRFA Communications Director T.J. Page. “This year’s video contest winners all created highly imaginative, entertaining, and informative videos that do a great job of explaining the benefits of using cleaner-burning biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel.”

The top three videos were featured at the 9th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit.

New Propane Autogas Nozzle to Modernize Refueling

nozzle plus connector1A new nozzle for fueling propane vehicles is being touted as being able to “brings autogas refueling into the modern age at the fuel pump.” Staubli‘s new Autogas Nozzle is suited for new installations, as well as being able to be retrofitted for existing autogas vehicles.

Developed by Cavagna Group, the nozzle accessories feature Euro Nozzle-Acme adaptors as well as the current ACME Nozzle-Euro Fill valves. Adapters allow the transition to happen between the ACME nozzle and the new Euro Fill Nozzle and the old Acme fill valve that might be on the vehicle…

The Staubli nozzle is available from industry equipment distributors such as Superior Energy Systems, Bergquist Distributors, and others within the industry. Plans are for the distribution of the nozzle and accessory components are to begin this month. The Alliance AutoGas network will begin installing the new connector and using the new nozzle for all new autogas installations. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, there are 2,700 fueling stations in the U.S. alone, in addition to the Alliance’s 460 fleet locations.

Tucker Perkins, chief business development officer for the Propane Education & Research Council notes, “We want to move forward promoting this [European] connection to industry customers, and that means getting manufacturers of connectors and adapters involved such as Cavagna Group, as well as the propane industry’s equipment distributors in the United States and Canada.”

Biodiesel Pioneer Honored at Conference

Eye on Biodiesel PioneerLast year the biodiesel industry lost a pioneer who has had a huge impact. He was honored with this year’s Eye on Biodiesel – Pioneer Award. On stage at the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo to honor him were several people for whom he had a very personal impact and accepting the award was his brother Scott Hanks.

Dallas Hanks.

The biodiesel industry lost a true pioneer with the passing of Utah State University’s Dr. Dallas Hanks last June when he succumbed to cancer. For those that knew him, Dallas was a brilliant scientist, educator, humanitarian, entrepreneur, and all around good person. He spearheaded the visionary feedstock program Freeways to Fuels, was a huge supporter and contributor to NBB’s Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel program, and had a hand in numerous oilseed test plots, biodiesel laboratories, and technology start-up business at the university and around the region. The respect he had from his peers was second to none, and he has left a truly lasting legacy in the biodiesel world.

You can listen to the remarks in honor of Dallas here: Remarks in Honor of Dallas Hanks

2015 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

John Deere Green Goes Well with Green Biodiesel

nbc-15-greg-grevingA Nebraska farmer who proudly admits he bleeds John Deere green also admits a pretty high affection for the green fuel, biodiesel. Greg Greving, who farms in Central Nebraska and is a board member of the Nebraska Soybean Board, told attendees of the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo that biodiesel is what powers his equipment.

“This fall, my two boys, two hired men and myself, harvested 11,000 acres in 56 days [all running on biodiesel], and the only time we shut down was when we were tired,” he said. “We have not had any trouble running biodiesel.”

But Greg was doing more than just bragging about his Deere equipment and biodiesel. He was invited to the showcase to show off his 1980 Oldsmobile 98 Regency with a 5.7 GM diesel engine, in which he also uses biodiesel. Whether it’s his car or the farm equipment he runs, fuel quality is of the utmost importance. That’s important to hear, as the National Biodiesel Board announced its new BQ-9000 Retailer Program to make sure consumers get the appropriate industry specifications when it finally goes into their fuel tanks.

You can hear to Greg’s remarks here: Greg Greving, Nebraska Soybean Board at Vehicle Showcase

2015 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Biodiesel & Vehicles On Display at NBB Conference

nbc-15-steve-howellOne of the highlights of this year’s National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, as it is every year, was the Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase Event, where vehicle makers gave us a sneak peek at what’s coming from them that runs on biodiesel. Steve Howell, the National Biodiesel Board’s (NBB) senior technical advisor, said when the industry started more than 20 years ago, they had a very modest goal of producing 30 million gallons of biodiesel nationwide annually. Now, an average plant cranks out that much each. He credits working with partners in the automaking industry for the increase.

“We’ve done the work necessary to answer the questions that they have about biodiesel in the engines of vehicles,” he said. “Because if we answer their questions, we know we’ve answered customers’ questions.”

Steve said that close, working relationship is highlighted by the biodiesel industry’s constant outreach to the vehicle makers and the fuel industry to ask what can biodiesel do for them next, such as oxidation stability and metals content. “So that these new technology diesel engines that have better fuel economy and cleaner emissions work with biodiesel blends.”

He thanked the partners participating in not only this showcase, but the biodiesel industry, including John Deere, Ford, Volkswagen, Hino Trucks, General Motors, Peterbilt, and the Diesel Technology Forum, as well as funding they’ve received from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, United Soybean Board and state soybean boards.

“We’re doing efforts to educate engine companies, to educate dealers, and all that’s possible through that funding and the work done by NBB so we can all enjoy the benefits of biodiesel in our vehicles.”

You can hear to Steve’s remarks here: Steve Howell at Vehicle Showcase

2015 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

First RFS Education Ad in Des Moines

AmRenewFuture adAfter kicking off the new America’s Renewable Future campaign on Thursday last week, the first ads starting appearing in the Des Moines Register on Friday as potential Republican presidential candidates began to gather for the Iowa Freedom Summit.

“We want to send an unmistakable message to both parties about the remarkable, bipartisan success story of the Renewable Fuel Standard in creating jobs and making America more energy independent,” said Eric Branstad, Executive Director for America’s Renewable Future. “Iowa’s renewable fuel production has more than doubled under the RFS, and now supports more jobs and families than ever before. Candidates who support the RFS has always done well in Iowa, but it will be an even bigger issue in 2015 and 2016.”

The Des Moines Register ad noted the RFS supports 73,000 Iowa jobs, more than 50 ethanol biodiesel refineries across Iowa and has helped put foreign oil imports at a 20-year low. It’s call to action is a pretty straightforward message to candidates and caucus goers alike: “Don’t put Iowa out of business. Support the Renewable Fuel Stand… Take a stand.”

New Quality Program Talk of Biodiesel Conference

nbc-15-scott-fenwickIt’s fuel quality that has brought the biodiesel industry to where it is today, and that standard looks to be extended all the way to consumers’ fuel tanks. Scott Fenwick, the National Biodiesel Board’s technical director told attendees of the recent National Biodiesel Conference & Expo that the National Biodiesel Accreditation Program (NBAC), better known as BQ-9000, a cooperative and voluntary program for the accreditation of companies that produce, test, and supply biodiesel fuel, serves as a key link between the industry, the producers, the blenders and marketers with the consumers.

“Up until today, we’ve had programs in place for producers, marketers and independent labs doing that testing. Today, a new program for BQ-9000 retailers will be the last remaining cog to that continuum of fuel quality,” Scott said.

He added that more than 90 percent of the biodiesel produced comes from BQ-9000 producers. NBB’s partners in the biodiesel industry wanted this new BQ-9000 Retailer Program to make sure consumers get the appropriate industry specifications when it finally goes into their fuel tanks.

The program will be forwarded to all NBB member companies for comments for 30 days, with a final review and release of the findings later in March.

You can hear to Scott’s remarks here: Scott Fenwick at Biodiesel Vehicle Showcase

2015 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Grain Demand for Biofuels Expected to Stagnate

afbf15-westhoffA bumper crop has helped lower feedstock prices for grain-based biofuels, but the industry is still expected to stagnate. Patrick Westhoff, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, told attendees of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 96th Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show that this year’s bumper crop and low prices is good news for those buying the green fuels’ feedstocks, but lower expected demand for biofuels will still hurt.

“We’ll have significantly smaller corn yields in 2015/16 caused in part by the low demand for ethanol. Yield numbers will change.”

Due to corn prices dropping to levels not seen in years, Westhoff said that farmers will plant less corn in the next two years. More than 90 million acres were planted in 2014 and he projected that only 87.9 million acres will be planted in 2015 and 89.7 million acres in 2016.

Westhoff said large corn and soybean crops will weigh on grain and oilseed prices in the short run, and that although average corn prices remain low by 2007-2012 standards, they are still above pre-2007 levels.

Livestock producers are expected to benefit from the big crop with lower prices for their animal feed. But we’ll need to see what happens to that industry if those smaller grain crops sizes driven by lower biofuels demand come to fruition.

2015 AFBF Convention photo album

Corn Growers: Not the Time to Cut RFS

ncga-logo-newTwo record corn crops and low prices for the grain – that’s not the time the U.S. should be cutting the amount of ethanol to be mixed into the nation’s fuel supply. That’s the message coming from the National Corn Growers Association, as the group laments the fact that altering the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) couldn’t come at a worse time.

“Corn ending stocks – the amount above and beyond current demand – are estimated at nearly 2 billion bushels this year, thanks to two back-to-back record harvests,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a corn farmer in Maryland. “And with corn selling at low prices, any legislative attempt to cut one of our key markets will drive prices even further below cost of production. We have a policy that works well not just for the environment and energy security – but for the rural economy. We need to support farmers, not bankrupt them.”

NCGA also shot back at an attempt in the U.S. Senate to attach an anti-ethanol amendment to the Keystone XL pipeline legislation, pointing out the many benefits ethanol brings and why it’s an important part of the fuel supply.

“Corn ethanol is better for the environment than fossil fuels and has historically lowered the cost of filling our tanks by nearly a dollar,” said NCGA Director of Public Policy Beth Elliott. “It has been proven that ethanol does not have an impact on the price of food. The Renewable Fuel Standard is working – creating clean, renewable, American-grown energy and good American jobs.”

NCGA says it wants to work with the new Congress to support the RFS.

Caucuses, Higher Blends, Policy All Talk of IRFA Summit

irfaThe Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) is gearing up for its big annual meeting next week just outside of Des Moines. The group says the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit in Altoona on January 27th is free and open to the public and will feature a variety of conversations, including how energy policy might impact the 2016 Iowa caucuses and general elections, as well as discussions on higher ethanol blends and the future of energy policy in this country.

“The Iowa caucuses kick off the 2016 election cycle and we’ve already seen potential candidates swarming to Iowa,” stated IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “In addition, Iowa is one of only a handful of states that will be truly ‘in play’ during the general election. We saw energy policy play a major role in Iowa’s 2014 senate race. This panel will discuss how energy policy may impact the 2016 elections.”

A panel of fuel retailers and marketers who will talk about the benefits and opportunities of offering E15 includes panelists Lance Klatt of the Minnesota Service Station & Convenience Stores Association, Jason Stauffer of STAR Energy, and Todd Garner of Protec Fuel Management:

“Each of these well-qualified panelists has years of experience with higher ethanol blends, and can provide a unique perspective on the benefits of offering E15 to 2001 and newer vehicles,” stated IRFA Managing Director Lucy Norton. “Summit attendees will not only learn a great deal about consumer choice and cracking the oil monopoly, but they’ll also learn about the benefits of using E15 from this expert panel.”

U.S. energy policy experts at the summit will include James Massie of The Alpine Group, Aaron Whitesel of DuPont, and Catharine Ransom of the Glover Park Group to discuss the future of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the Farm Bill, tax policy as it relates to energy, and much more.

“The 2015 Summit will have a great group of well-qualified energy experts take center stage to shine a spotlight on the RFS and other policies impacting renewable fuels,” stated Shaw. “Each one of these experts brings years of federal policy experience to the table to evaluate how the latest political changes could impact the future of US energy policy.”

More information is available here.

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.