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.

Montana Group Turning Waste into Biodiesel

fullcirclebiofuelsA group from Montana is turning waste into biodiesel. This story from KBZK-TV in Bozeman says Full Circle Biofuels in that city is making the used cooking grease from restaurants into the green fuel.

“Restaurants will have this and they will dump their used fryer oil into here. And then we’ll come and pump it out of this little hole on top whenever they’re full,” Full Circle Biofuels director Jesse Therien said.

Therien turns that waste into something people can use: biodiesel. It’s an alternative to petroleum-based diesel, with some added benefits like reduced emissions.

“It’s biodegradable, it’s nontoxic, it’s renewable and ours in particular is made from recycled materials,” Therein said.

Therien collects used fryer oil from more than 60 restaurants in Bozeman and Belgrade. “Right now we’re bringing in about 4,000 gallons a month but that is likely to double in the next little while. We have all the Walmarts in the state and then Cody, Wyoming as well,” he said.

The company says a school district and the city there have approached it to make biodiesel to go into buses and snow plows.

Murphy USA E15 Expansion Brings Call for Law

beale1The announcement by Murphy USA to offer a 15 percent blend of ethanol, E15, at more locations in Chicago is prompting a city councilman calling for an ordinance to support renewable fuel efforts in the city. Alderman Anthony Beale has been working for some time now to get an E15 ordinance on the book.

“While I welcome E15 to our region, it pains me that due to our 7-month process of debate, Chicago retailers have not had the ability to offer E15 first and therefore to more ably compete with suburban sellers. This news, as welcome as it is, underscores the need to make sure the market is similarly open to retailers in the city, where Big Oil currently has the ability to block this choice of fuels from the market.

“As a national distributor and retailer, Murphy USA can offer whatever products they like. Chicago retailers, on the other hand, are at the mercy of the Big Oil companies, who as we have seen through the thousands of dollars they’ve spent on ads, will go to any lengths to keep drivers dependent on fossil fuel, whatever the consequences for the health of our air and residents.

“It’s time to end the monopoly and stranglehold of the oil companies – who keep us dependent on foreign oil and give us high prices and petcoke in return. It’s time – for the good of Chicago’s air, for the good of Chicago’s health, for the good of Chicago’s beleaguered filling-station owners – to pass the Clean the Air with E15 ordinance.”

Beale’s ordinance has enjoys some pretty widespread support, including backers from the American Council on Renewable Energy, American Lung Association in Illinois, Chicago gas station owner Luke Casson, as well as several other biofuel, agribusiness and environmental groups.

Biodiesel’s Role in Meeting California’s AB 32 Goals

calbiodieselallianceBiodiesel is playing a critical role in helping California meet its goals under the state’s clean air legislation, known as AB 32. The California Biodiesel Alliance says that during the recent Fourth Annual California Biodiesel Conference, attendees heard from a variety of speakers who talked about how the green fuel is making a difference.

Don Scott, Director of Sustainability at the National Biodiesel Board, kicked off the first panel with several important statistics about biodiesel benefits relative to petroleum diesel: biodiesel reduces GHGs by 50 – 80%; decreases wastewater by 79% and hazardous waste by 96%; and its use prevents hundreds of premature deaths in California from reduced PM2.5 exposure. Making the same comparison with petroleum diesel, panel moderator Lisa Mortenson, Co-Founder and CEO of Community Fuels, presented U.S. EPA data on biodiesel’s health benefits showing significant reductions in emissions associated with smog, cancer causing compounds, and respiratory illness, and made an insightful observation: “Imagine if . . . biodiesel were the standard and petroleum diesel were trying to gain approval.”

High-level California regulatory officials presented at the conference. Richard Corey, Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board (ARB), reported on progress toward the adoption California’s groundbreaking carbon reduction strategies by other states and Canada. Adding to ARB’s well-known acknowledgement of the value of biodiesel’s GHG-lowering emissions profile (biodiesel generated 13% of LCFS credits through Q3 2014), Mr. Corey referenced the state’s reliance on biodiesel for “future reductions of toxic diesel particulate matter.”

Janea A. Scott, Commissioner at the California Energy Commission (CEC), gave an update on funding under the agency’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, citing that biodiesel is making tremendous gains and showcasing four biodiesel production projects with construction or expansion underway using agency grants.

The principal consultant for AB 32 author Senator Fran Pavley, Henry Stern, encouraged industry participants to keep coming back to tell positive biodiesel stories.

ICM to Increase Efficiency of Nebraska Ethanol Plant

icm_logo1ICM, Inc. is partnering with E Energy Adams LLC to upgrade a Nebraska ethanol plant. This news release from ICM says the company’s patent-pending Selective Milling Technology (SMT) and patent-pending Fiber Separation Technology (FST) will allow E Energy Adams to increase throughput, decrease cost per gallon, and create the ability to produce high-value streams from their traditional DGS, all while increasing ethanol yield and increasing distiller’s corn oil recovery.

David VanderGriend, CEO for ICM, Inc., said, “ICM is pleased to partner with E Energy Adams as they fully adopt the next-generation “biorefinery” concept, allowing them to accomplish their mission of supporting the local economy while delivering profits to their investor owners, area grain producers, and livestock producers. E Energy is a leader in the ethanol industry, and we are proud to support them in their vision for continually improving operations and profitability.

Carl Sitzmann, CEO for E Energy Adams LLC, said, “We’ve been focused on the development of this project for the last two years, and we are pleased to be partnering with ICM. Their 20 years of experience in the ethanol industry, world-class research and development, and long-term vision of the future are perfect complements to our strategic vision involving competitiveness and new technologies. This project will not only give us the low-cost, energy-efficient base that we need to be an efficient producer, but also provide a platform for future development of cellulosic ethanol and differentiated co-products.”

ICM’s SMT™ is the industry leader in ‘fine grind’ technology, with 20 current or pending installations, representing over 1.4 billion gallons of annual ethanol production. FST is the next step in ICM’s EPA-approved pathway to cellulosic ethanol. It separates the corn kernel fiber for use in generating products with higher margin opportunities, or further processing it (using pre-treatment provided as a separate option by ICM) to produce cellulosic ethanol in an existing plant.

Procter & Gamble to Build 50 MW Biomass Plant

P&GProcter & Gamble (P&G) has announced a deal with retail power supplier Constellation to build a 50-megawatt biomass plant that will help run one of P&G’s largest U.S. facilities, as well as provide electricity for the local utility. This company news release says the facility will be built near P&G’s Albany, Georgia paper manufacturing facility and help the company come closer to its 2020 goal of obtaining 30 percent of its total energy from renewable sources.

For more than 30 years, the Albany facility has successfully used a smaller onsite biomass boiler to convert wood scraps into renewable steam, providing about 30 percent of the total energy. The new facility will replace P&G’s aging boiler with a highly efficient combined heat and power biomass unit. Incoming biomass will provide 100 percent of the steam, and up to 60-70 percent of the total energy used to manufacture Bounty paper towels and Charmin toilet tissue.

“At P&G, we are committed to improving the environmental sustainability of our products across all aspects of their life cycle – from manufacturing, packaging, delivery and consumer use,” said Martin Riant, P&G Executive Sponsor of Sustainability and Group President, Global Baby and Feminine & Family Care. “As this project enables us to operate one of our largest global plants with a renewable energy source, it will reduce the environmental footprint of two leading brands, Bounty and Charmin. We see this as a win for our business, consumers, partners and the environment.”

Construction is already underway at the site and is expected to begin commercial operation in June 2017.

Indiana City Debates Sludge-to-Biodiesel Deal

powerdyneAn Indiana city is debating the merits of a contract with a company turning sludge into biodiesel. This story from TV station WTHI in Terre Haute says the city council there discussed the contract the city good have with Powerdyne.

Powerdyne’s CEO Geoff Hirson faced the music Thursday night. He answered plenty of questions from the City Council, from a pair of engineers who question his project, and News 10. What we learned is he’s confident in is project, he wants to locate in Terre Haute, but time is of the essence.

It was standing room only at Thursday’s City Council meeting. Hirson made a brief presentation outlining the process his company will use to turn sludge and other carbon sources into biofuels.

“Everything is ready to go,” said Hirson. “It’s in the city’s hands now to decide whether they want us or don’t want us.”

Hirson said he wants to have the plant in Terre Haute, but the process has been dragging on for too long. And with the plant being a $300 million investment that Powerdyne has had to finance, every day its delayed is costing the company money.

Once finished, the plant is expected to produce 12 million gallons of biodiesel each year.

EIA: Ethanol, Biodiesel, Renewables to Grow in 2015

The latest government numbers show the amount of ethanol and biodiesel, as well as energy produced from wind and solar will increase in 2015. The latest Short-Term Energy Outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows growth for the biofuels, while total renewables used for electricity and heat generation will grow by 3.8 percent this year.
EIA11feb2015
Ethanol production averaged 933,000 bbl/d in 2014, and EIA expects it to average 938,000 bbl/d in 2015 and 936,000 bbl/d in 2016. Biodiesel production averaged an estimated 80,000 bbl/d in 2014 and is forecast to average 84,000 bbl/d in both 2015 and 2016.

In 2013, the electricity generation shares were 6.6% and 6.2% from hydropower and nonhydropower renewables, respectively. Wind is the largest source of nonhydropower renewable generation, and it is projected to contribute 5.2% of total electricity generation in 2016. Wind capacity, which grew by 7.7% in 2014, is forecast to increase by 16.1% in 2015 and by another 6.5% in 2016. Because wind is starting from a much larger base than solar, even though the growth rate is lower, the absolute amount of the increase in capacity is more than twice that of solar: 15 GW of wind versus 6 GW of utility-scale solar between 2014 and 2016.

EIA expects continued growth in utility-scale solar power generation, which is projected to average almost 80 gigawatthours (GWh) per day in 2016. Despite this growth, solar power averages only 0.7% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2016.

Bill Proposes to Up NYC’s Biodiesel Use for Heat

BioHeatSome New York City residents could be using more biodiesel for heating their workplaces. This article from the New York Daily News says a bill just introduced before the city council would up the biodiesel percentage in heating oil for city buildings to 5 percent next year and up to 20 percent by 2030.

“It’s the equivalent of taking 45,000 cars off the road,” [bill sponsor Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Queens)] said. “Buildings are a huge source of emissions, and we have to find a way of dealing with buildings.”

Current city law requires 2% of heating oil to come from biofuel.

The average household burns 600 gallons of heating oil a year.

The proposal would graduate in the increase – 10 percent blends in 2020, 15 percent by 2025 and 20 percent by 2030.

Anchors Aweigh with Biodiesel

boat and bladder2Biodiesel is making more inroads in the marine industry. This article from the nautical magazine, The Triton, says that while it’s still not that common to see biodiesel fueling a boat motor, it is gaining popularity.

Cummins, which manufactures marine engines up to about 700 hp, approves the use of B20 biodiesel on many of its high horsepower products that are fitted with common rail fuel injection systems. For larger engines with the horsepower needed for superyachts, manufacturers such as MTU allow their engines to be run on a maximum of B07 (7 percent biodiesel). MTU’s intention is to have its newer engine designs run on B100.

Caterpillar engines, on the other hand, can now operate with B20 on its complete line of marine engines. In Europe, MAN common rail engines are certified to run on B05. However, in the United States MAN will not approve the use of biodiesel blends on its common rail engines. Stateside, its engineers will only allow the use of these blends in older, non-common rail engines. The reason? MAN believes the quality of biodiesel manufactured in Europe is more consistent than in the U.S., but they do believe that will change.

Biodiesel blends, which are approved for use in marine engines, have at least one advantage over petrodiesel. Biodiesel has a higher lubricity, which results in less wear to parts such as fuel injectors. Traditional diesel fuel uses sulfur for lubrication, and much of that component has been removed from the refined fuel to reduce emissions and the resulting air pollution.

The author does caution about a couple of possible pitfalls with biodiesel. First, it will degrade three times faster than petroleum-based diesel, so proper fuel handling and storage techniques must be followed. Second, since it is since a clean-running fuel, it will dissolve and loosen many of the gum and tar deposits in the fuel system, leading to potential fuel filter clogging. Boat owners converting from pertoleum-based diesel to biodiesel are just encouraged to change fuel filters a bit more frequently.

Biomass Could Make Western US Carbon Neutral

berkleybiomasscarbon1A new study says that using biomass to make electricity could make the Western United States carbon-neutral. This article from the University of California-Berkley says researchers there have shown that if biomass electricity production is combined with carbon capture and sequestration, power generators could actually store more carbon than they emit.

By capturing carbon from burning biomass – termed bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration (BECCS) – power generators could become carbon-negative even while retaining gas- or coal-burning plants with carbon capture technology. The carbon reduction might even offset the emissions from fossil fuel used in transportation, said study leader Daniel Sanchez, a graduate student in UC Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group.

“There are a lot of commercial uncertainties about carbon capture and sequestration technologies,” Sanchez admitted. “Nevertheless, we’re taking this technology and showing that in the Western United States 35 years from now, BECCS doesn’t merely let you reduce emissions by 80 percent – the current 2050 goal in California – but gets the power system to negative carbon emissions: you store more carbon than you create.”

BECCS may be one of the few cost-effective carbon-negative opportunities available to mitigate the worst effects of anthropogenic climate change, said energy expert Daniel Kammen, who directed the research. This strategy will be particularly important should climate change be worse than anticipated, or emissions reductions in other portions of the economy prove particularly difficult to achieve.

“Biomass, if managed sustainably can provide the ‘sink’ for carbon that, if utilized in concert with low-carbon generation technologies, can enable us to reduce carbon in the atmosphere,” said Kammen, a Professor of Energy in UC Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group and director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) in which the work was conducted.

The findings are published in the online journal Nature Climate Change.

American Coalition for Ethanol Elects New Officers

ACElogoThe American Coalition for Ethanol has elected its board officers for 2015:

* President – Ron Alverson, representing Dakota Ethanol, LLC
* Vice President – Duane Kristensen, representing Chief Ethanol Fuels Inc.
* Secretary – Dave Sovereign, representing Golden Grain Energy, LLC
* Treasurer – Owen Jones, representing Full Circle Ag Cooperative

Alverson is a corn and soybean farmer and was the founding chairman of Lake Area Corn Processors, LLC (Dakota Ethanol), a 60 mgy ethanol plant and South Dakota’s first farmer-owned ethanol facility. He served on the Board of the National Corn Growers Association and is an agronomic expert who recently authored a White Paper entitled “Re-thinking the Carbon Reduction Value of Corn Ethanol.”

Kristensen has nearly 30 years of experience in the ethanol industry and since 2004 has served as General Manager of Chief Ethanol Fuels Inc., a 62 mgy plant near Hastings, Nebraska, which is the state’s first dry-mill ethanol production facility. He also serves on the U.S. Grains Council Ethanol “A-team” which develops export demand for U.S. ethanol.

Sovereign farms and is the founding chairman of Golden Grain Energy, LLC, a 120 mgy ethanol plant in Mason City, Iowa. He also owns Cresco Fast Stop, a convenience store that offers E15, E30 and E85. Sovereign was instrumental in developing the Biofuels Mobile Education Center, a 45-foot traveling trailer designed to educate the public about biofuels. He also serves on the board of Absolute Energy, a 115 mgy ethanol plant in Lyle, Minnesota.

Jones is a farmer, rancher, and cooperative business leader who was the driving force behind the installation of the first blender pump in the nation in 2006 at Four Seasons Cooperative (later renamed Full Circle Ag) in Britton, South Dakota.

ACE also elected South Dakota farmer and rancher Lars Herseth and East River Electric Cooperative representative Scott Parsley as two additional representatives to serve the ACE Executive Committee.

Atlantic Biodiesel to Re-Open Ontario Plant

canadaflagA Canadian biodiesel plant has officially been taken over by a New Hampshire maker of the green fuel. This story from the Pelham News says Atlantic Biodiesel, a new subsidiary of Luxembourg-based Heridge SARL, which won Great Lakes Biodesel’s assets in a recent bankruptcy auction, has begun managerial operations of the $50-million facility.

Michael Paszti has assumed the role of chief operating officer of the subsidiary struck to operate the Welland plant.

“We are strongly committed to the facility’s success and Michael will be an integral, on-the-ground team member whose priority will be to quickly get operations up and running to full capacity,” the company said in a news release issued Wednesday.

“Welland is our home, and Atlantic Biodiesel is focused on continued engagement with local elected and community officials as we work to renew discussions with the federal government. With the support of the community and various levels of government, Atlantic Biodiesel will fulfil its goal of becoming a world-class producer of biodiesel fuel targeting the unique needs of the Canadian fuels complex, and play a critical part in provincial and federal greenhouse gas reduction efforts.”

The plant is capable of producing about 40 million gallons of biodiesel per year. Local officials plan to pressure the federal Canadian government to reinstate some funding that helps keep the refinery afloat.

Illinois Soybean Growers Launch 20% Biodiesel Club

B20clubSoybean growers in Illinois are recognizing fleets in the state that run on a 20 percent blend of biodiesel, B20. This news release from the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) says the group has partnered with the American Lung Association in Illinois to launch the B20 Club.

“B20 offers economic and environmental benefits to the fleets that use it, so we wanted to bring these leading fleets together and recognize them for taking the initiative to move up to B20,” says Rebecca Richardson, ISA biodiesel lead. “We’ll also provide resources for our B20 Club members, and others in the state, who have questions about how to use biodiesel in their fleets.”

Inaugural members include:

The Fleet Services Division of Public Works Department in the City of Evanston, Ill., which operates 366 units that include all diesel police and fire vehicles, heavy equipment, utilities and forestry departments and pool vehicles and parks and recreation buses.
Cook-Illinois Corporation; Kickert School Bus Lines, Inc., one of their leading subsidiaries which also is one of the largest family-owned and -operated school bus contractors in the country, runs more than 2,100 school buses every day.
Peoria CityLink operates 58 buses and 35 Paratransit vans that carry three million passengers annually.
R&N Trucking LLC, with 17 trucks that together travel more than a million miles a year.
S.K. Davison, a family-run business specializing in local and regional hauls with 18 trucks travelling approximately 800,000 miles per year.
G&D Integrated, serving central Illinois for more than 100 years with transportation, freight transfer and storage services, and currently more than 400 long-haul trucks.

The six members of the B20 Club run more than 2,700 vehicles burning more than 2.2 million gallons of biodiesel. That cuts carbon dioxide emissions of more than 253 tons — a reduction the equivalent of taking 48 cars off the roadway.

RFA: Ethanol Exports Hit Near-Record Levels in 2014

ethanolexports2014Exports of American ethanol hit near-record levels in 2014. This news release from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) says U.S. producers sent 836 million gallons of ethanol worth $2.1 billion to international markets. The information is in the RFA’s new publication, “2014 U.S. Ethanol Exports and Imports: Statistical Summary.”

The report finds that U.S. ethanol has made its way to all inhabited continents of the world, reaching more than 50 countries. The top five countries importing U.S. ethanol last year included Canada, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines, and India. Meanwhile, exports to the European Union remain down due to a punitive trade tariff it chooses to impose on U.S. produced ethanol.

Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, noted, “Last year U.S. ethanol producers produced a whopping 14.3 billion gallons of ethanol and nearly 6 percent was exported globally. We are working diligently to increase demand for this product abroad. It has been rewarding to see countries all over the world embrace the U.S. produced, high-octane fuel, which has also been the lowest-cost liquid transportation fuel found anywhere in the world.”

Dinneen continued, “U.S. ethanol is now exported to 51 countries across the globe, including regions that once seemed far-fetched as renewable fuel destinations such as the Middle East and North Africa. But, we will not stop here. We will keep working with others in the industry and the U.S. government to keep exploring new regions that would benefit from U.S. ethanol. Last year, RFA participated in trade missions to Panama, China, Peru, Japan, and South Korea and we will keep at it until all countries understand the value of U.S produced ethanol.”

The report also shows ethanol imports into the U.S. are down, reaching the second-lowest levels.

SRS, Biodiesel Experts Develop Enzyme Catalyst

srsintlbiodieselA pair of biodiesel experts have teamed up to develop an enzyme catalyst for biodiesel. SRS International‘s and Biodiesel Experts‘ transesterification system for biodiesel production uses enzymes to produce efficiently quality biodiesel on any scale, allowing SRS to supply turnkey enzymatic biodiesel production facilities.

While using high-FFA feedstock, the primary job of the enzyme becomes the conversion of FFA to FAME. The enzymes are able to convert high-FFA feedstock with reaction chemistry into FAME by performing both transesterification and esterification simultaneously. This occurs in two steps. (1) The glycerides are first hydrolyzed to FFA (2) The FFA and methanol are esterified to produce FAME. Careful monitoring during the reaction of methanol, water and enzymes, temperature, and rate of conversion are critical to ensure high-quality finished biodiesel and optimize the number of enzyme reuses.

“We are excited to be working with Biodiesel Experts. Incorporating their enzymatic technology into our biodiesel refinery processes is an important milestone to add to our current technologies,” said George Hawranik, Senior Engineer of SRS International. “The hurdle of making enzyme catalyzed transesterification economically viable on a commercial scale has been overcome.” “The enzymatic process works at a production cost per gallon that is comparable to that of traditional biodiesel, requires lower capital investment, allows the use of less expensive, more varied feedstocks with free fatty acid content as high as 100 percent and the enzymes are immobilized so they can be used for long periods without replenishing, making it economically feasible.”

Biodiesel Experts officials say this enzymatic process knowledge will revolutionize the biodiesel industry by allowing producers to cut production costs and allow them to use up to 100 percent FFA feedstock.