Navy, Arizona State Work Together on Algae Biofuels

mcginn at asu1The U.S. Navy is working with Arizona State University to develop biofuels from algae. This article from the school says Dennis McGinn, U.S. Navy Assistant Secretary for Energy, Installations and Environment, visited the school’s Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AzCATI) to discuss how the Navy and civilian industry have some key overlapping issues, such as cost, sustainability, efficiency and energy security, and how the Navy wants to work with research institutions and industry to solve these problems for everyone.

“We are thinking about energy in three different ways: first in technology terms; biofuels, wind and solar energy storage, power grid systems and more,” McGinn said during a visit to Arizona State University. “But it takes two other critical elements to achieve our energy goals: partnerships and culture. This is why we’re interested in forging and strengthening relationships with outstanding organizations like ASU.”

While the Department of the Navy broadly funds energy research, another key aspect is its considerable influence in setting purchasing standards for their operations. The Navy is using its authority under the Defense Production Act, which allows the Navy, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to invest in industries that are determined critical to national security; in this case, biofuels. McGinn said that the Navy has already invested millions in projects with the DOE and USDA in order to bring down the cost of producing biofuel.

“The Navy wants to buy anywhere between 10 and 50 percent biofuel blends for our ships,” he said. “We want it to be a cost-competitive program. We are working specifically with the USDA to bring down biofuel costs to $3.50 a gallon or less at the commercial scale of 170 million gallons a year by 2016.”

McGinn went on to say that algae biofuels show great potential as an alternative transportation fuel for the nation’s fleets because of their sustainability and scalability.

Honor Troops with Renewable Energy

arlington1Today is a day when the nation pauses to remember those who have given their all to keep this country free. This opinion piece in the News & Observer from North Carolina features the words of Lt. Gen. Richard Zilmer, who retired from the U.S. Marine Corps after 36 years and says if we want to truly honor vets and those who died in wars, do what we can to cut down on the amount of fuel convoys on the battlefield and the amount of fossil fuels consumed at home.

In recent conflicts, fuel convoys have been among our enemies’ favorite targets. Transporting fuel to bases and troops in war zones has become an especially dangerous job.

As a commander in Iraq, I witnessed firsthand the toll in casualties imposed by our battlefield dependence on oil. And with other members of the CNA’s Military Advisory Board, a panel of retired three- and four-star generals and admirals, I have studied the intersection of energy and national security on a wider scale.

CNA’s Military Advisory Board has found that America’s over-dependence on fossil fuels makes us vulnerable on the battlefield. It is a national security threat – economically, militarily and diplomatically. Our oil dependence weakens us, constraining our options for action on the world stage and causing us to send money to regimes whose interests don’t always dovetail with ours.

There are also financial penalties attached to our armed forces’ dependence on fossil fuels. Every $10 increase in the price of a barrel of oil means a $1.3 billion increase in operating costs for the Pentagon. And the military allocates a tremendous amount of resources to ensuring the freedom of movement of oil shipments – an estimated $8 trillion protecting oil cargoes in the Persian Gulf since 1976, a 2010 study found.

The general goes on to point out that if troops on the battlefields are finding ways of using more renewable energy, then the folks back home should be able to do the same.

If our men and women in uniform can incorporate efficiency and renewable energy into their dangerous jobs, surely the rest of us can do our part on the homefront.

Transportation Biofuels to Hit Nearly $338 Bil by 2022

biofuelsfortransBiodiesel and ethanol for vehicles is expected to hit nearly $338 billion in sales by 2022. A new report from Navigant Research expects that over the next 8 years, biofuels for road transportation will more than double, growing from $166.5 billion annually in 2014 to $337.8 billion worldwide, making up 7.5 percent of liquid fuels consumed in the sector by 2022.

“Over the last 10 years, growth in the biofuels sector has been driven by the increase in ethanol production capacity in the United States and Brazil, and in biodiesel in Europe,” says Scott Shepard, research analyst with Navigant Research. “Today, the industry is on the verge of entering a new phase of development focused on advanced and drop-in biofuels.”

Commercial-scale production of cellulosic feedstock biofuels is just getting underway, according to the report, and recent developments in drop-in biofuels propelled by the aviation industry and the U.S. Department of Defense are driving down the costs of these advanced biofuels, enabling commercial-scale drop-in biofuels production. Meanwhile, large oil-consuming nations concerned about energy security, climate change, and economic stagnation are driving global biofuels markets through a number of policy platforms, principally biofuels mandates.

The report, “Biofuels for Transportation Markets,” looks at what emerging markets will bring for biodiesel and ethanol, as well as future growth opportunities for biofuels. Vehicle sales, as well as technologies in producing the fuels, are also examined.

Ethanol Groups Participate in China Trade Mission

RFANewlogoU.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse led a mission to promote U.S. agricultural exports in northeast China May 5-13. The mission is part of President Obama’s “Made in Rural America” export and investment initiative, designed to help rural businesses and leaders take advantage of new investment opportunities and access new customers and markets abroad.

growth-energy-logoTaking part in the mission to promote U.S. biofuels and co-product exports was Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Director of Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis and Jim Miller with Growth Energy.

During a press conference Tuesday to talk about the trade mission, Davis said it was her first trip to China and she was astounded by the number of cars on the roads and sees a great need for both biofuels and distillers grains for livestock feed in that country. Miller added that China provides an excellent market opportunity for the U.S. ethanol industry.

Also taking part in the trip and the press conference was Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmer’s Union. Ethanol Press Conference Opening Remarks

Asia Key for Ethanol Producer Aemetis’ Profits

aemetislogo1A California-based ethanol producer is reporting a big turnaround in profits, thanks to its business in Asia. Aemetis, Inc., the largest U.S.-owned biofuels producer in Asia, reports a $7.7 million net profit for the first quarter of this year… quite an improvement from a nearly $10 Million net loss from the same quarter a year ago.

“We’re very pleased with our record financial and operational performance in the first quarter,” said Eric McAfee, Chairman and CEO of Aemetis, Inc. “These results build upon the very strong results we posted in Q4 of 2013, and with available capacity and attractive international markets for our India products, the company is well positioned for additional growth in the remainder of 2014,” added McAfee.

Financial Results for the Three Months Ended March 31, 2014
Revenues were a record $60.7 million for the first quarter of 2014, compared to $19.4 million for the first quarter of 2013. Gross profit was a record $15.6 million for the first quarter of 2014, compared to a gross profit of $0.2 million in the first quarter of 2013. The increases in revenues and gross profit were primarily attributable to a full quarter of operations during the period from January 1, 2014 through March 31, 2014 as compared to the period from January 15, 2013 through March 31, 2013 when the Keyes plant was idle.

Aemetis also set a record with its adjusted EBITDA for the first quarter of 2014 at $14.2 million.

Iowa Gov Says Biofuels Cure for Climate Change

IA Gov Branstad at Hearing in the Heartland Jan 23 2013As members of a federal task force visit Iowa and say that “climate change is here and now,” that state’s governor says biofuels, which are also here and now, are at least one way to fight the changes in climate. This article in the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier says this is the third meeting of the White House task force and comes on the heels of the recent Obama Administration’s National Climate Assessment that says climate change could bring disastrous results for agricultural areas, such as Iowa, “including prolonged periods of heat, heavy downpours, and in some regions, floods and droughts.” Branstad makes the case that if the government followed the law on the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), many of these issues would be dealt with.

“Climate change is here and now,” said Mike Boots, acting chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

He ran down a list of some of the effects of climate change being experienced in the Midwest, such as poorer crop yields because of heat and torrential rains that overfill river banks and wash away topsoil.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad did not attend the event as he was traveling the state for a series of community tours, Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers wrote in an e-mail.

“Gov. Branstad believes that as government officials travel to Des Moines they should focus on reducing transportation emissions and our dependence on overseas oil, diversifying our nation’s energy portfolio and supporting the growth of the Midwest economy through a strengthened Renewable Fuel Standard,” Centers wrote.

White House officials say the RFS was not discussed during the symposium. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommended reducing the amount of ethanol and biodiesel to be mixed into the Nation’s fuel supply. Farm-state governors, such as Branstad, have blasted the agency for that recommendation and hope to get it reversed before it is due to be finalized within about a month.

Another Day, Another Oil Spill

An oil pipeline ruptured in Los Angeles on LA Street yesterday and in response Americans United For Change said, “Like oil spills? You’ll love what happens after dismantling the Renewable Fuel Standard. 50,000 gallons of crude oil spilled out onto the streets and in some areas the crude oil was knee-high.

Photo: LA Times

Photo: LA Times

Jeremy Funk, spokesperson for pro renewable energy and pro Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) group Americans United for Change, said of the crude oil spill, “Whether you live in the Gulf Coast community, near a railroad in Lynchburg, VA, a farm in North Dakota, or in the middle of a major metropolis like Los Angeles, it seems nowhere in America is out of reach from the messes big oil leaves behind.”

“Headlines about oil industry spills and explosions and derailments have become a ‘dog bites man’ story,” Funk continued who stressed that the alarming rate of environmental disasters associated with oil should give the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) serious pause before deciding whether or not to roll back the RFS. The EPA is expected to publish its final 2014 RFS rules around June 1 and there is concern they will move forward with lower renewable fuel gallons than what is called for in legislation.

“Consider that ethanol makes up 10% of the U.S. gasoline supply, and that for every gallon of ethanol produced domestically it means one less gallon sold of gasoline derived from dirty crude oil from unstable regions. That’s why the oil industry wants the EPA to help put out of business their safer, cleaner, cheaper renewable fuels competition. But if the EPA give big oil what they want and drastically cuts down the amount ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply, there’s no way to avoid a corresponding increase in demand for crude oil and an increase in the number of disasters related to transporting it.” Funk added, “So if you like oil spills — you’ll love what happens if the RFS is watered down.”

Biofuels Industry Urges VP Biden to Stand RFS Strong

The Iowa biofuels industry is asking United State Vice President Joe Biden to stand “RFS Strong”.

A recent Reuters article claimed that Vice President Biden played a major role in attempting to get the Obama administration to gut the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The article detailed an exchange between Vice President Biden and Philadelphia Congressman Robert Brady, US VP Joe Bidenwho contacted Biden on behalf of the Carlyle Group, an alternative asset management firm which had previously purchased two oil refineries in Brady’s district that were struggling due to lower profit margins. Biden reportedly told Brady he could fix the issue.

“If accurate, this report would confirm our worst suspicions—that Vice President Biden and the Administration have done an about-face on their support for cleaner fuels, consumer choice and cutting oil dependence,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Iowans and all Americans deserve to know where the Vice President stands on the RFS. Does he really want to walk away from the only federal policy allowing market access for renewable fuels in the face of a century of policy preferences for petroleum? Abandoning the RFS would result in less competition, less consumer fuel choice and higher fuel prices, while strengthening the oil industry’s near monopoly over the transportation fuel sector.”

If the claim is true, IRFA points out that the move to advocate for oil companies to the detriment of renewable fuels would represent a sharp break from Vice President Biden’s track record of supporting the RFS and decreasing America’s dependence on foreign oil. The alleged exchange would also be a departure from the Administration’s commitment to innovative American renewables and pursuit of energy independence, more American jobs, and a brighter climate future.

In response to the claims, IRFA joined dozens of biofuel and ag leaders in submitting a letter to VP Biden requesting a meeting and urging him to revisit the issues he has around the RFS. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is rumored to be releasing its final 2014 renewable fuel volumes (RVO) on or around June 1, 2014.

The letter reminds the Veep that he “campaigned in Iowa in 2007 and 2008 as a strong champion of the bipartisan, common sense Renewable Fuel Standard”. The authors urge: “Please do not be fooled by the crocodile tears coming from the oil industry, who claim to be concerned about rising gasoline prices. Their argument is preposterous on its face”.

In part, the letter reads: “This has already become a full-blown campaign issue in Iowa in 2014, and it will be a major issue for every candidate who visits Iowa in 2016. This is a crucial juncture for America’s renewable fuel industry, and we cannot allow the oil industry to dominate the debate or bully our political leaders into backtracking to greater foreign oil dependence.”

Rep Conaway Re-Introduces Anti-Biofuel Amendents

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) has reintroduced his anti-biofuels amendments and they have been passed. The amendments have been included in the House version of the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act. One amendment, H.R. 4435 prohibits the Department of Defense from purchasing biofuels unless the biofuels until certain date requirements are met:

Except as provided in subsection 3 (b), none of the amounts authorized to be appropriated by this Act or otherwise made available for the Department of Defense may be used to purchase or produce biofuels until the earlier of the following dates: ( 1) The elate on which the cost of the biofuel IS equal to the cost of conventional fuels purchased by the Department. (2) The date on which the Budget Control Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-25), and the sequestration in effect by reason of such Act, are no longer in effect. (b) EXCEPTIONS. the limitation under subsection (a) shall not apply to biofuels purchased ( 1) in limited quantities necessary to complete test and certification; or (2) for the biofuel research and development efforts of the Department.

Navy Blue Angels flying on biofuelsRep. Conaway said of the passage of his amendments, “It is foolish to require the military to purchase biofuels that are far more expensive than traditional petroleum products, which is why I offered an amendment that would allow the Department of Defense to only produce and procure biofuels if the cost is equal to conventional fuels or sequestration is replaced with an exemption for research and development.”

He continued, “I also offered an amendment that would prohibit the Department of Defense from developing their own biofuel refineries. Allowing the Pentagon to subsidize and develop its own biofuels industry is an abuse of the Defense Production Act. These amendments are necessary at a time when our military is already facing enormous budget constraints.

“It is not the job of the Department of Defense to develop the biofuel industry,” added Conaway. “As the bill moves forward, I will continue to fight to reverse these efforts to use the Department of Defense to prop up the biofuels industry.”

Truman National Security Project Executive Director Michael Breen responded to the amendments proposed by Rep. Conaway to the House’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act that would constrain the Department of Defense (DoD) from investing in energy security initiatives.

Breen, a former U.S. Army officer and leader of the clean energy campaign, Operation Free, said: “This is Déjà vu all over again. In what has become an annual tradition, Congressman Michael Conaway has proposed amendments that would limit the Pentagon’s use of advanced biofuels, directly affecting the mission capability of our deployed forces. Our military leaders have been crystal clear: developing next generation fuels and using energy smarter are national security imperatives.”

“The military is investing in renewable and energy efficient technologies that are promoting energy security for our troops abroad and here at home,” Breen added. “Congress needs to stop prioritizing politics over national security and listen to our military leaders who have stated over and over again that these investments are crucial for strengthening our national and economic security.”

RFA Offers Updated Ethanol Emergency Response Guide

There is an updated version of “The Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response,” prepared by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFS) available for use. The resource was developed to give first responders, hazmat teams, and safety personnel in-depth and accurate information on proper training techniques when responding to an ethanol-related emergency.

Ethanol Safety GuideThe training guide has been used at Ethanol Safety Seminars and distributed to more than 10,000 responders worldwide. RFA and TRANSCAER® began offering Ethanol Safety Seminars in 2010 and have since held more than 100 Safety Seminars in 21 states. RFA is a national sponsor of TRANSCAER®, a national outreach effort focused on helping communities prepare and respond to possible incidents involving the transportation of hazardous materials.

Kristy Moore, the Renewable Fuels Association’s vice president of technical services and a recent recipient of the TRANSCAER Individual Achievement Award, said, “RFA’s commitment to safety is unwavering. There is no reason that a first responder should have to go into a potentially dangerous scenario unprepared. That is why the Renewable Fuels Association took the initiative by first creating, and now updating, the ‘Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response’.”

The updated “Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response” includes former goodies along with new resources.

  • Eight PowerPoint sections covering topics ranging from ethanol’s physical properties to ethanol’s transport and use
  • Instructor manuals and participant guides that work in conjunction with the PowerPoint
  • Two training videos: “Emergency Response Considerations” and “Responding to Ethanol Incidents”
  • RFA’s “Fuel Ethanol Guidelines for Release Prevention,” which explains environmental response techniques
  • Rail Car 101, a PowerPoint showing critical safety equipment on non-pressure railroad tank cars
  • 2012 U.S. Department of Transportation Emergency Response Guidebook
  • Association of American Railroad’s “Pamphlet 34 – Recommended Methods for the Safe Loading and Unloading of Non-Pressure (General Service) and Pressure Tank Cars”
  • Association of American Railroad’s “Tank Car Loading and Unloading” video

Training materials can be found here.

Biofuel Groups Welcome Court’s RFS Decision

Biofuel groups are happy today with the decision handed down by the District of Columbia Circuit Court rejecting a petition filed by Monroe Energy, LLC that challenged the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2013 Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS). Several biofuel organizations intervened in the case including the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

logo-dc-circuit-of-appealsAfter EPA reduced the cellulosic biofuel volume for 2013, Monroe Energy challenged EPA’s decision not to reduce the renewable fuel and advanced biofuel volumes by the same or a lesser amount. The Court rejected Monroe Energy’s argument that EPA’s decision served no “statutory purpose,” and reaffirmed Congress’s directive that EPA ensure that U.S. transportation fuel contains at least the volumes provided in the statute. The Court also rejected Monroe Energy’s attempts to revisit decisions about the RFS program that EPA made in earlier years, stating that “the time to challenge that decision has passed.”

The biofuel groups said that today’s decision is a victory for American consumers, renewable fuel advocates, and the RFS program. Once again, they note, the Court has rejected attempts of the anti-biofuel parties to undermine the RFS in court. The RFS is arguably the nation’s most effective energy policy. It has spurred the development of a domestic biofuels industry that is creating hundreds of thousands of jobs that cannot be outsourced. In addition, it is providing environmental benefits, helping to decrease the nation’s reliance on imported oil, and reducing prices at the pump, as Congress intended.

Iowans Increase Use of Higher Blends of Renewables

New data from the Iowa Department of Revenue shows major growth in the use of Iowa Dept of Revenue Logohigher-level blends of ethanol and biodiesel in 2013. The report showed 2013 sales of pure biodiesel (B100) increased 24 percent over 2012, setting a new record of 28.9 million gallons. Biodiesel also saw a 21 percent increase in blended gallons sold, with immense growth in B10 (a fuel blend containing 10 percent biodiesel). Sales of B10 increased by nearly 121 percent, from 32.8 million gallons sold in 2012 to more than 72.4 million gallons sold in 2013. Nearly half of the diesel sold in Iowa is now blended with biodiesel.

The report also showed sales of mid-level ethanol blends, from E15 to E69, increased more than 158 percent in 2013, totaling more than 5.4 million gallons sold. Sales of E85 also hit an all-time high with more than 11.1 million gallons sold, an increase of 18 percent over 2012.

“Iowa motorists and retailers showed a serious commitment to higher-level ethanol and biodiesel blends in 2013,” said Monte Shaw, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) executive director. “The biodiesel sector realized the most growth, with retail locations moving away from low-level blends like B2 to offer consumers B5, B10, and B20. This shows biodiesel is a proven, high-quality fuel and consumers will choose it when offered.”

Shaw added, “Across the board increases in the use of ethanol blends above E10 prove, despite the petroleum industry’s well-funded scare campaign, consumers prefer low-cost, homegrown ethanol. The EPA’s proposal to slash 2014 targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard would be detrimental to the great progress we’ve made improving air quality and increasing our energy security through domestically produced, less expensive ethanol and biodiesel blends.”

Ag Subcommittee Hears Pros and Cons of RFS

glauber1The food versus fuel debate arose once again in front of Congress. At last week’s U.S. House Ag Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., opponents and proponents of the Renewable Fuels Standard presented their arguments on the RFS and its impact on the livestock industry.

One of the biggest opponents of the RFS is the poultry industry. Their members argued that ethanol has forced up feed prices that keeps them from expanding operations and fulfilling consumers’ needs to have a cheaper alternative to beef and pork, calling the RFS “broken beyond repair.” But the chief economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dr. Joseph Glauber, said while ethanol initially did have an impact much bigger factors forced up the price of feed.

“Certainly, the ramp up [in ethanol production] we saw from 2005 to 2010 had a big impact on corn prices, but we also saw a big increase in energy prices, so it’s not the only thing going on,” he told the committee.

In fact, during that same ramp-up period, petroleum prices shot up to record levels, and RFS proponent, Roger Johnson, President of the National Farmers Union, said the agriculture industry should be united for renewable fuels.

“The World Bank found that crude oil is the number one determinant of global food prices. We should reduce our dependance on oil consumption in order to be more food secure, and biofuel production is an excellent way to do that,” adding that pitting the biofuels industry against the livestock growers is counter-productive.

The bottom line, according to Glauber, is that biofuels are important, and they’re here to stay.

“Corn-based ethanol is a vibrant industry and is competitively priced against gasoline, and producers will continue to produce ethanol from corn as long as profit margins are there. And profit margins have been there.”

Farmers Co-op Breaks Ground on Renewable Fuels Station

Farmers Cooperative Company has broken ground on the future site of its new Mount Ayr, Iowa renewable fuels retail location. The station will offer consumers higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel including ethanol blends E10, E15 as a registered fuel, E30 and E85, as well as biodiesel blends B10, B20 and B99 for jobbers and special use customers.

Groundbreaking-Group.2“The price of [E10] in Iowa is 17-30 cents below gasoline, so the savings is even greater with higher ethanol blends,” Iowa Governor Terry Branstad told the audience at the groundbreaking ceremony. “I’ve told the EPA, if E15 is offered to give consumers a choice, they will choose cheaper renewable fuels.”

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey told attendees, “For this project, we have a great partnership with [Iowa State University] who will be conducting a study to find out why motorists choose the fuels they do. This is a great opportunity to convince others to make the same type of investment.”

Farmers Cooperative Company 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). In addition, Farmers Cooperative will receive $100,000 in funding from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program. Construction will begin later this year.

“We congratulate Farmers Cooperative Company on this great event to celebrate the groundbreaking on a true renewable fuels retail location that will provide consumers with greater access to clean, locally-produced ethanol and biodiesel,” added Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Managing Director Lucy Norton. “With the help of Gov. Branstad’s ‘Fueling Our Future’ program and the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program, Iowans will continue to benefit from fuel choice at locations like this one.”

CHS to Aquire Illinois River Energy

Sinav Limited, based in London, England has signed an agreement with CHS to sell 100 percent of their stock that includes Illinois River Energy. The ethanol plant is based in Rochelle, Illinois and produces 133 million gallons of ethanol per year. Providing all conditions are met, the transaction is expected to close in June.

Illinois River EnergyIllinois River Energy is a top-tier ethanol plant, well-situated in a strategic growth area that will add value to our farmer-owners through expanded grain origination, additional renewable fuels gallons and distillers grain by-products,” said Mark Palmquist, CHS executive vice president and chief operating officer, Ag Business.

CHS markets renewable fuels to energy customers across the U.S. and through 1,400 Cenex- branded retail petroleum outlets, including more than 1,000 Cenex convenience stores, and markets dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) globally on behalf of more than 20 ethanol plants across the United States.

“We have enjoyed a strong business relationship with CHS as they have been our ethanol marketer since the start of Illinois River Energy operations in 2006. Today, we look forward to formally joining CHS and adding value to the global cooperative as an ethanol, DDGS, and distillers corn oil producer,” added Richard Ruebe, CEO, Illinois River Energy.