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.

CNH Industrial, Fiat at First Ever ‘Biomethane Day’

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

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

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

Patriot Names Manager for New Biodiesel Plant

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

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

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

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

Dairy Waste-to-Fuel Digesters Open Cal Fuel Options

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

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

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

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

Clark to Discuss Ethanol at IA Renewable Fuels Summit

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

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

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

Novozymes Offers Enzyme for Waste Oil to Biodiesel

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

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

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

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

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

Oregon Ethanol Producers to Get Safety Seminars

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

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

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

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

To register and for more information, click here.

Oregon Aims to Cut Biomass Tax Incentives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.