GRFA: UN Sustainable Goals Must Include Biofuels

This week the 12th session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals began at the United Nations in New York City. In response to the meeting, the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) is encouraging participants to include specific targets for biofuels developments as part of UN’s sustainability goals. In addition, GRFA stressed to delegates that the use of sustainable biofuels as a replacement for crude-based grfa_logo1transportation fuels significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions while diving investments in agriculture.

“As participants continue to set new UN Development Goals for the next fifteen years they must keep in mind the positive affects that the global biofuels industry has on agriculture, the environment and the energy sector,” said Bliss Baker, spokesperson for the GRFA.

According to GRFA, the global ethanol industry alone this year will produce 90.38 billion litres of ethanol which will help the environment by reducing GHG emissions by 106.4 million tonnes. This year’s production record will reduce global GHG emissions by over 291,000 tonnes per day. This is equal to 21,279,808 cars being removed from the world’s roads in 2014 OR removing more than all of the vehicles registered in Malaysia off the road each year.

“Global biofuel production and use leads to a more sustainable environment because ethanol use is the largest single contributor to GHG reductions in transportation and the only commercially available alternative to crude oil,” added Baker.

The agriculture sector has also benefited from biofuels production over the years as developing countries adopt biofuel-friendly policies, said Baker. According to a recent publication of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO), “Increased agricultural productivity and output has ensured that the global supply of crops available forUN FAO Biofuels and the Sustainability Challenge non-biofuel uses has continued to grow over the long term.” Additionally, for every tonne of cereals used for ethanol production, on average one-third re-enters the food chain as animal feed. The UN FAO confirmed this in its report “Biofuels and the Sustainability Challenge,” stating that “the by-products of biofuel production can be useful sources of food”.

“In short, the global biofuels industry has increased the amount of food available for human consumption and feed available to farmers for livestock around the world,” said Baker.

The creation of sustainable green jobs going forward has become a priority for governments around the world. In 2012 the GRFA released a report that found that in 2010, global ethanol production supported nearly 1.4 million jobs in all sectors worldwide and contributed over $273 million to the global economy. A recent IRENA commissioned report confirmed that the global biofuels industry has grown, finding that in 2013, 1.45 million jobs were supported by the global liquid biofuels industry.

“It’s clear that because of the global biofuel industry’s ability to reduce our reliance on crude oil, reduce GHG emissions, increase agricultural productivity and create millions of jobs, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals post 2015 must encourage further growth of the global biofuels industry,” concluded Baker.

Higher Ethanol Blends Campaign Expands

The 4th annual Alternative Fuel Road Show is kicking off in Georgia to educate consumers about the benefits of higher blends of ethanol. The FlexFuel Awareness Campaign is sponsored in part by Growth Energy, the Kansas and Nebraska Corn and Ethanol Boards along with several others. The roadshow is the largest clean fuel vehicle educational tour and is designed to reach fleet managers, civic leaders and state legislators to help them make informed decisions about transitioning to clean, alternative fuels.

Alternative Fuel Road ShowFlex Fuel Vehicles and ethanol blends are an option for fleet managers that we want to make sure they understand,” said Doug Durante, executive director of the Clean Fuels Development Coalition and manager of the Awareness Campaign. “On a cost per mile basis various ethanol blends can be very competitive and offer fleet managers true flexibility.”

The eight city tour kicks off in Georgia June 17, 2014 with the 2014 Georgia Alternative Fuel Road Show at the Georgia International Convention Center. Each event will include workshop events.

Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy noted that along with increasing the E15 market, high level ethanol blends are key to expanding the domestic ethanol market and breaking through the blend wall. “Flex fuel use in fleets can be an important piece of the puzzle as we continue to back out imported oil, create jobs, and improve air quality,” said Buis.

Durante added, “As part of an ‘all of the above’ approach, this Road Show showcases all the alternative fuels, and they all have their strengths and advantages in a given situation. We are pleased to be part of this successful effort and make sure biofuels like ethanol are in the mix.”

Following the Georgia road show the program will move to the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC Metropolitan area with numerous events planned throughout the region. In addition to the FlexFuel Awareness Campaign, other sponsors and contributing organizations include the Atlanta Clean Cities Program, the Georgia Public Service Commission, Nissan Motors, and many others.

$14.5M in Bioenergy, Biomass Funding From USDA

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development (RD) has announced up to $14.5 million in funding to two program funding through the 2014 Farm Bill. RD is accepting applications for companies seeking to offset the costs associated with converting fossil fuel systems to renewable biomass fuel systems. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is offering $2.5 million in grants designed to improve national energy security through the development of bio-based transportation fuels (biodiesel or ethanol, etc.) biopower and new bio-based products.

USDA Biomass Energy MapAs part of the programs, the USDA is also offering assistance to individuals, or companies interested in starting a bio-energy business called the Bioeconomy Tool Shed. The Tool Shed is a free portal offering users access to a complement of web-based tools and information, statistical data and other resources related to the sustainable production and conversion of biomass into products and fuel, a process often referred to as the bioeconomy.

“These USDA investments are part of the Obama Administration’s ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy, and they benefit our economy as well as the environment,” said Tom Vilsack, USDA Ag Secretary. “USDA’s support for bio-based technologies is good for the climate, and enhances rural economic development while it decreases our dependence on foreign sources of oil. These and other USDA efforts will create new products out of homegrown agriculture from this and future generations of American farmers and foresters.”

USDA plans to make up to $12 million in payments for eligible biorefineries through RD’s Repowering Assistance Program, which was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Biorefineries in existence on or before June 18, 2008 are eligible for payments to replace fossil fuels used to produce heat or power with renewable biomass. Since President Obama took office, USDA has provided $6.9 million to help biorefineries transition from fossil fuels to renewable biomass systems. Applications, deadlines and details will be published in the Federal Register on Monday, June 16, 2014.

USDA is also seeking applications for NIFA’s Sun Grants program that encourages bioenergy and biomass research collaboration between government agencies, land-grant colleges and universities, and the private sector. Congress authorized the Sun Grant program in the 2008 Farm Bill and reauthorized the program in 2014. The program provides grants to five grant centers and one subcenter, which then will make competitive grants to projects that contribute to research, education and outreach for the regional production and sustainability of possible biobased feedstocks. The project period will not exceed five years.

New Biofuel Station Coming to Inwood, Iowa

A new biofuel station will soon be coming to Inwood, Iowa. Oak Street Station, when completed, will offer higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel to motorists. More specifically, the station will offer ethanol blends E10, E15, E30 and E85, as well as biodiesel blends B5 and B99.9 for independent jobbers and special use customers.

Flex Fuel pump “We’re excited to have received a ‘Fueling Our Future’ grant that will enable us to grow our business and offer unique, locally-produced, clean-burning renewable fuels to Inwood motorists,” said Oak Street Station Accountant Lisa Van Regenmorter. “This funding will allow us to put in the infrastructure to offer higher blends of renewable fuels that are not currently available in the area.”

Oak Street Station was selected to receive $125,000 in funding for the new site from Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s “Fueling Our Future” program, administered by the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS).

“We congratulate Oak Street Station on becoming a center for renewable fuels by offering some of the highest levels of ethanol and biodiesel available in Northwest Iowa,” added Iowa Renewable Fuel Association (IRFA) Managing Director Lucy Norton. “This innovative approach will keep Iowa in the forefront of the biofuels revolution and provide motorists with greater access to the cleanest, lowest-cost fuels available.”

The new fueling site will feature three ethanol blender pumps and five biodiesel fueling positions, in addition to a vehicle service center and convenience store. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer, with completion expected in January 2015.

Biofuels Veteran Joins Advisory Firm

campbellBiofuels veteran and former Deputy Undersecretary of Agriculture John Campbell has joined Ocean Park Advisors (OPA), a corporate finance advisory firm for biofuels and other agribusiness companies. Campbell will serve as managing director based in Omaha, Nebraska and will serve to broaden the company’s relationships, develop new business and help execute transactions.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the principals at Ocean Park,” said Campbell. “This is a unique firm that brings senior-level attention to transactions in renewable energy, food processing and other agriculture sectors.”

Campbell spent 21 years with Ag Processing Inc (AGP), a $5 billion cooperative, where he was an executive vice president responsible for leading the industrial products division. He launched it with biofuels and later expanded it to include green chemistry applications of soy oil products to plant protection, industrial cleaning, personal care and environmental remediation sectors. He is credited as being one of the driving forces behind the creation of the U.S. biodiesel industry. Under Campbell’s leadership, AGP constructed the first commercial scale biodiesel plant in North America followed by numerous other expansions, projects and acquisitions. He was also engaged in the ethanol industry starting in the 1990s, and served as president of the Nebraska Association of Ethanol Producers.

Campbell served as Deputy Undersecretary of Agriculture in 1988, engaged in legislative and regulatory activities related to commodity programs, conservation efforts and trade.

FEW Panel Looks Back and to Future of Ethanol

Lucy Norton IRFAAttendees of this week’s 30th Annual Fuel Ethanol Workshop (FEW) heard a discussion of 30 years of past and the next five years ahead for ethanol.

“I think one of the opportunities we missed 30 years ago was developing a national brand for ethanol,” says Lucy Norton with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA). “We let the industry that didn’t like the fact we were taking away 10 percent of their market name it, label it, sell it the way they wanted to,” missing out on a huge opportunity to create an image for ethanol of a high-performance, low-cost fuel.

But, she’s not just about looking back. Lucy credits their new efforts to market and brand ethanol to the high-performance vehicles of NASCAR as a way to correct that image. Fans are able to see ethanol’s performance in their favorite racers’ vehicles and realize they too can have ethanol in their tanks. She says as they build that demand for the green fuel, they also need to make sure the infrastructure is in place so consumers are able to access ethanol.

Moving forward, Lucy says they are looking to higher blends of ethanol, such as E15, as the way to increase the amount of ethanol sold and used in this country.

“We need a way to sell unhindered higher blends of ethanol and convince marketers and petroleum refiners that there is market for low-vapor pressure gasoline in the Midwest and other parts of the country. If they would just ship it here, we would find them the customers.”

You can listen to Leah’s interview with Lucy here:Interview with Lucy Norton, Iowa RFA

Check out the 2014 Fuel Ethanol Workshop photo album.

Patriot Renewable Fuels is an Innovation Leader

Last week Patriot Renewable Fuels announced the news that the biofuels plant is making plans, and hopes to add, ICM’s Fiber Separation Technology as well as their Generation 1.5 cellulosic technology to their biorefinery facility located Annawan, Illinois. Patriot is one of the first ethanol plants in the country to adopt both technologies together. During 2014 FEW this week Gene Patriot Renewable Fuels Gene GriffithGriffith, co-founder and president of Patriot updated DomesticFuel on the project. It should be noted that this is just one of several major value-added projects Patriot has announced in less than a year making them one of, if not the most innovative ethanol plant/biorefinery in the U.S.

Griffith said they are pretty excited about the projects and after spending several months doing due-diligence on ICM’s technologies as well as other technologies, they felt that this was the right time to begin the project.

“If we get it implemented, we’ll be one of the earlier, maybe one of the earliest independent ethanol producers to this form of cellulosic ethanol, and we’re really excited about it,” said Griffith.

Griffith said being at FEW is a great networking opportunity because the the people Patriot works with are entrenched and have a lost of useful information and they are able to learn information they wouldn’t be able to generate on their own.

Last December, Patriot added another ICM platform, Select Milling Technology, and the Fiber Separation Technology builds upon this platform. “The Select Milling Technology is a separate mill that further processes the starch in the corn kernel as its ground before it goes into the fermentation process, explained Griffith. “The platforms we’re adding will be the Fiber Separation Technology which separates the fiber from the starch. Essentially, by removing the fiber from the starch, it improves our ethanol production efficiency so we get more ethanol from the corn,” explained Griffith.

Then he noted that they are able to take the fiber and do two-three things with it. One, they could add it back to the distiller’s grain (DDGs) and sell it has a high fiber form of distillers grain protein. Two, they could keep the fiber separate and sell a higher protein feed for a premium that is better for monogastric animals (such as pigs). The third option, which is what Patriot would like to do, is to ferment the fiber for additional ethanol.

Corn delivery to Patriot Renewable FuelsPresently Patriot is producing around 130 million gallons of ethanol per year and Griffith thinks they can produce another 10-12 percent ethanol production from the same kernel of corn. Griffith hopes that they can have all their permits by the end of the year and implement the two new technologies by 2015.

Griffith said many producers are doing similar things with different company’s technologies but they spent a lot of time with him learning about the technologies they implemented. He also said other producers will be watching their progress to help them decide if and when the technologies might be a good addition to their plants.

Learn more Patriot’s ethanol innovations by listening to Gene Griffith: Interview with Patriot's Gene Griffith

Check out the 2014 Fuel Ethanol Workshop photo album.

Tom Buis Discusses Ethanol Challenges at FEW

The 30th Annual Fuel Ethanol Workshop (FEW) kicked off this week with an annual ethanol industry update from Growth Energy’s CEO Tom Buis. Leah Guffey was able to catch up with Buis after his presentation and asked him what some of the biggest challenges facing the ethanol industry are right now.

growth energy Tom Buis 2014 FEW“The most immediate challenge confronting us is what the EPA and the administration is going to with the 2014 renewable fuel volume obligations (RVOs),” answered Buis. This is in essence what the industry calls the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard.

The rule, noted Buis, should have been finalized by January 1, 2014. He said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is late and the proposed rule is a very controversial rule. “The proposed rule really missed the mark in our opinion,” said Buis. “We don’t think they based it upon the facts. We’ve spent the last six months trying to convince them they got it wrong and they’ve got to move it forward not backwards.”

When asked when he thought the final rule would come out Buis answered, “Pick your rumor.” He said there were over 300,000 comments about the proposed rule and he believes EPA is working as fast as they can.

While there are many steps that have to be taken before the rule can be finalized, Buis said, “Hopefully they get it right. I’ll take it late if it’s right as opposed to early and wrong.”

Learn more about some of the challenges facing the ethanol industry in Leah’s interview with Tom Buis:Interview with Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis

Check out the 2014 Fuel Ethanol Workshop photo album.

Argonne Scientists Blast EWG Corn Ethanol GHG Report

A recent Environmental Work Group corn ethanol greenhouse gas report has caused lifecycle analysis experts and economist from Argonne National Laboratory and three universities to lash out and what they call “erroneous conclusions”.

The experts isEWG report Ethanols broken promisesued a scathing 13-page response to EWG’s May report titled “Ethanol’s Broken Promise.” EWG “confused parameters” and “misunderstood” previous modeling results, according to experts from Argonne, North Carolina State University, Purdue University and University of Illinois-Chicago. “…based on an analysis of the methodology EWG used and a comparison of their results to those in the literature, from models, and from other data sets, EWG appears to have overestimated the amount of land converted for corn farming between 2008 and 2012. Second, EWG used emission factors that appear too high.”

More specifically, the experts found the following problems—among many others—with EWG’s report:

  • “EWG confused parameters in GREET with those in an economic model, the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP).”
  • “EWG misunderstood EPA’s GHG emissions for years 2012 and 2017.”
  • “In their report, EWG picked the EPA 2012 GHG emissions for corn ethanol and applied them to the EPA-proposed reduced volume for corn ethanol in 2014 to make the erroneous conclusion that the proposal resulted in 3 million tonnes of CO2 reduction in 2014.”
  • “…the emission factors they applied are high compared to those in other reports and studies that take into account important variations in initial and final land states.”
  • The satellite data set used by EWG is “…explicitly not designed to be used for pixel-by-pixel or localized analyses.”
  • The land use change data used by EWG is “…based on data that is decades old, reflecting wetland conversion over a much longer time horizon.”
  • The report “…overestimated wetland conversion, especially for the conversion of wetlands to corn farms.” Wetlands and grasslands conversion estimates are “…too high when compared with estimates in other studies and data sources.”

The authors also point out that EWG is stuck in the past when it comes to lifecycle analysis. They write, “Since 2009, when EPA conducted corn ethanol LUC GHG modeling…, significant efforts have been made to improve economic models and soil carbon models to better estimate biofuel LUC GHG emissions. EPA and other federal agencies should consider updating RFS LUC modeling so that up-to-date LUC results can be used for biofuel policy making.”

Don’t Miss the Innovators Panel at ACE’s Conference

The American Coalition for Ethanol’s (ACE) 27th annual Ethanol Conference is set for August 4-6, 2014 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the line-up of great speakers and sessions is already being unveiled. The Innovators Panel on August 5th will include: Ron Alverson from Dakota Ethanol; Ray Baker with Adkins Energy; Delayne Johnson with Quad County Corn Processors; and Mike Erhart with Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy.

Some of the topics panelists will cover include projects to add biodiesel or renewable diesel to existing ethanol plants, progress with conversion of corn kernel fiber to cellulosic biofuel, and steps to reduce the carbon footprint of ethanol.

“The people who make ethanol are always looking forward, they are never satisfied with the same old, same old. This panel discussion will be an outstanding example of the type of product and process technology innovations being developed by ACE members to create new revenue streams and improve efficiency,” said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of ACE.

Power_by_people_bannerThe ACE Conference will also feature a Retailer Roundtable, involving gas station owners who are making money and attracting new customers by selling higher blends of ethanol fuel. Other topics to be covered at the event include a discussion of the octane and high performance potential of ethanol in automobiles, a look at proposed regulations based upon the Food Safety Modernization Act, overseas opportunities for ethanol producers and an examination of rail regulations and possible long-term improvements of the domestic rail system.

Click here to register to attend the upcoming ACE Conference.

Green Plains Purchases Supreme Cattle Feeders

Green Plains (GPRE) has acquired the assets of Supreme Cattle feeders from Agri Beef Co. The deal includes the feed yard doing business as Supreme Cattle Feeders and the Cimarron Grain Storage facility located near Kismet, Kansas.

“Supreme Cattle Feeders is one of the premier cattle feed yards in the U.S. and this operation is an ideal adjacent business for Green Plains,” said Todd Becker, president and CEO. “The green_plainscustom cattle-feeding business gives us the ability to further process our distillers grains and corn oil, and extend our corn origination network. We also believe that this transaction will be accretive to 2014 earnings.”

Becker said Supreme Cattle Feeders will remain a custom cattle-feeding business -a great asset to their portfolio of value-added processing facilities. He notes that GPRE’s focus is to ensure that current customers continue to be served at the highest level. In addition, Becker said they plan on retaining all of the current employees at the facilities.

Robert Rebholtz, Jr., President/CEO of Agri Beef Co. said, “The key to our decision to sell Supreme Cattle Feeders was Green Plains’ financial strength, commitment to operational excellence and risk management capabilities. We are thrilled by the great opportunities this combination will provide Supreme’s long-time customers and employees. We look forward to continuing our own cattle-feeding relationship as a Green Plains customer for years to come.”

GPRE said Supreme Cattle Feeders will remain a custom cattle-feeding business and will continue to operate under its current name. Supreme Cattle Feeders financial results will be reported as a part of Green Plains’ agribusiness segment. The operation consists of approximately 2,600 acres of land with 800 acres allocated to the feedlot operation that has the capacity to support 70,000 head of cattle. Supreme’s current corn storage capacity, including the Cimarron Grain facilities, is approximately 3.8 million bushels. Supreme Cattle Feeders will continue to be directed by its current management team, with transition support from Agri Beef Co. Agri Beef Co will continue its relationship as a cattle-feeding customer of Supreme. Agri Beef Co. has owned and operated Supreme Cattle Feeders for the past 19 years.

Where do Iowa Candidates Stand on the RFS?

Americans United For Change want Iowans to know where their candidates for U.S. Senate stand: with Iowa farmers or Big Oil. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), legislation that mandates the U.S. transportation sector blend 36 billion gallons of alternative fuels into our fuel by 2022. With more than 30,000 comments sent to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on their proposed 2014 required volume obligations, aka, how many gallons of biofuels will be blended into fuel in 2014, there has still been no word on the final 2014 rule out of D.C.

In Iowa, primary elections took place last week and newly nominated Republican Joni Ernst, who currently serves as an Iowa Legislator, has not taken a firm stand on the RFS. According to Americans United for Change, she claims to be pro-RFS but often in the same breath admits she is “philosophically opposed” to all subsidies and that she “want[s] people to choose products that work for them and not have them mandated by the United States government.”

Americans United for Change Des Moines Register pro-RFS adToday, Americans Unite for Change, in an effort to get a straight answer, has taken out a full page ad in the Des Moines Register and Cedar Rapids Gazette that asks the questions whether the tens of thousands of dollars Ernst’s campaign has already taken from the billionaire oilmen Koch Brothers is the reason why she is so hesitant to go to the mat for renewable fuels. The biofuels industry accounts for $5.5 billion of Iowa Gross Domestic Product (GDP, generates $4 billion of income for Iowa households, and supports 60,000 jobs throughout the state.

Jeremy Funk, Comm. Dir., Americans United for Change, said of the ad, “As the candidates from opposing parties interview to be the next Senator from Iowa, there are many issues like raising the minimum wage that will present a clear contrast for voters. The Renewable Fuel Standard should not be one of those issues in the state that leads the nation in renewable fuel production with 41 ethanol plants and 18 biodiesel plants.”

“And yet,” continued Funk, “Tea Party-favorite Joni Ernst is going out of her way to complicate the simple and flip-flopping all around the issue. Talking out both sides of the mouth is something we’ve come to expect from politicians, just not politicians from Iowa on the issue of supporting renewable fuels. A strong and clear voice of support for ethanol and biodiesel is needed now more than ever in Washington with Big Oil spending millions of dollars to try to put out of business their cheaper, cleaner competition so they can gouge consumers at the pump with impunity.”

But it seems the more money Joni Ernst’s campaign rakes in from big oil interests like the billionaire Koch Brothers, the weaker and murkier her position becomes.” Funk concluded, “You can tell a lot about how a politician would actually govern by the friends they keep.”

I-75 Green Corridor Project Adds 17 New Biofuel Stations

I-75 Corridor StationThe I-75 Green Corridor Project took a huge step forward this week with the addition of 17 new biofuel stations between Chattanooga, Tennessee all the way to southwestern Florida. This week marks the 5th year of the project that began in Knoxville, TN through a grant funded by the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program. The goal of the project is for drivers to traverse the entirety of I-75 running on biofuels including ethanol as E85 or biodiesel in a B20 blend. In all Interstate 75 is 1,786 miles from Canada to the Caribbean. The ultimate goal is to have an ethanol/biodiesel station no more than 200 miles apart.

Since the project’s inception, over 3.3 million gallons of biofuels have been sold from stations associated with the project, and 2.6 million gallons of petroleum have been displaced. The project has now displaced over 61,000 barrels of oil, or alternatively, the U.S. has now produced over 61,000 additional barrels of renewable, American fuel.

Specifically in Tennessee, five E85 stations are now open in Cleveland and Chattanooga and nearby neighborhoods of Wildwood and Ft. Oglethorpe and one station is set to open in Knoxville this summer. Jonathan Overly, executive director of the lead organization for the project, the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition, said, “We could not have had the development of this many stations or otherwise success we have had in the project without Protec as a partner. Steve (Walk, of Protec) was great to work with and helped us achieve the project goals.”

I-75 Clean Fuels CorridorThus far along the corridor, E85 has been installed at 26 fuel stations, and B20 has been installed at nine. These numbers are expected to increase in the coming months with another six stations coming online this summer. The project is now in its final year and has resulted in the 1,786-mile interstate becoming the planet’s longest biofuels corridor.

Protec was instrumental is helping the project come to fruition. The company specializes in stations conversions and fuel distribution. “We are honored to be a major partner, fuel station installer and fuel provider for this important project,” said Steve Walk, an executive director of Protec Fuel. “This project can prove biofuels are accessible, and hopefully turn new users onto renewable fuels.”

The significance of this project lies not only in the extensive length of American interstate involved, but also the six-state, multi-partner coordination that has taken place. There is also significance in the fact that American drivers now have a greater number of fueling options, as well as alt-fuel vehicles. There are nearly 100 flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) models on the market today than can run on E85. Coupled with the fact that, by conservative estimates, there are over 10 million FFVs on the road, there is strong need for more stations offering E85.

FEW Kicks off with Record Crowd

The 30th annual Fuel Ethanol Workshop (FEW) has official kicked off with a record-breaking number of ethanol producers from around the world attending. The attendees represent more than 500 producers from 194 facilities representing more than 15 billion gallons of ethanol produced per year. Producers represent traditional and advanced ethanol facilities from the U.S., Canada, Argentina, Norway and Hungary.

30th Annual FEWEthanol enthusiasts may note the significance of the 15 gallons of ethanol produced per year – the amount called for in the first-gen ethanol category of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). A hot topic for the past few months and sure to be a hot topic during FEW, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has yet to finalize the 2014 RFS rules and announced yesterday that they were delaying compliance for 2013 obligated parties until September 30, 2014.

The host of this year’s FEW is Indianapolis, Indiana. “The record level of ethanol producers at this year’s event has created an unprecedented opportunity for industry suppliers and supporters to network with ethanol producers and share their products or services,” said John Nelson, marketing director at BBI International. “We have 520 ethanol producers representing 194 ethanol production facilities already registered and we are expecting that number to grow.”

Drawing nearly 2,000 attendees, there will be at least 25 countries represented, 43 U.S. states represented and six Canadian provinces. During the course of the event, attendees will discuss issues categorized into four tracks:

  • Track 1: Production and Operations
  • Track 2: Leadership and Financial Management
  • Track 3: Coproducts and Product Diversification
  • Track 4: Cellulosic and Advanced Ethanol

DomesticFuel.com will be bringing you coverage of FEW throughout the week.

Increases In Ethanol Efficiences Will Decrease Land Use

A study done by researchers at the University of Illinois’ College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences, has found that several factors will lower the need for land used to produced corn-based ethanol to as little as 11 percent of the corn acres by 2026 when adhering to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 15 billion gallon ceiling on domestic ethanol production.

The researchers note that a too common error made in reporting land used for domestic Disposition among major uses of no 2 yellow cornproduction is to measure the amount of grain shipped to ethanol manufacturers, compute the number of acres required to produce the grain and then end the analysis. However, the researchers say this is a gross oversimplification that leads to incorrectly concluding that 40 percent or more of U.S. corn acres are used for ethanol production. The real number, according to the research team is less than 25%. The reason is that most studies don’t account for the grain being used as high-value animal feed (distillers grains or DDGs).

The new study, conducted by Professors Rita H. Mumm, Peter D. Goldsmith, Kent D. Rausch and Hans H. Stein, explores the impact of technological improvements on corn grain production, ethanol production, and their interrelated effect on land use through a variety of scenarios over a 15 year period beginning in 2011, the year used to establish the base case. The researchers found that land area attributed to corn ethanol will consistently drop because plant breeding improvements and new technologies will result in significantly higher yields.

In addition, over the next decade, corn yields will improve significantly which will greatly reduce land use attributed to ethanol manufacturing. On the higher end of the spectrum, the study finds yields will increase by almost 100 bushels per acre, which represents 66 percent growth. The majority of this contribution will come from conventional breeding, with advanced breeding technology, biotechnology and agronomic improvements together contributing almost half.

“It’s no surprise to the agriculture industry that yield improvements will drive down land used for ethanol,” said Dr. Rita Mumm, coauthor of the study. “However, the mechanisms within the production complex, especially their effects on one another, were not fully understood. This work provides a clear picture on current land use and provides an approach for evaluating future land use.” Continue reading