ACE Panel Focuses on Int’l Ethanol Opportunities

The 27th Annual Ethanol Conference is fast approaching and this year a key focus will be examples of expanding international ethanol markets. American Coalition for Ethanol’s (ACE) conference will take place on August 4-6, 2014 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

ACElogoShannon Gustafson, ACE director of strategic projects, says the panel will focus on the international sales and marketing opportunities that are available to domestic ethanol producers who are looking to tap into foreign markets. The panel will include Gene Griffith of Patriot Renewable Fuels, Chad Martin of Eco-Energy and Clayton Haupt of CHS Inc.

“This panel will provide valuable perspectives from both the producer and marketing sides of the aisle. New developing markets for ethanol aren’t just here in the U.S. anymore. Consumer demand for ethanol is growing across the globe, and this panel will highlight the potential for domestic ethanol producers to develop new revenue streams and new markets for the ethanol industry,” said Gustafson.

The ACE Conference will also feature an Innovators panel of four domestic ethanol producers who are adding new processes and technologies to their existing ethanol plants to differentiate themselves from the pack, a Retailer Roundtable involving gas station owners who are making money and attracting new customers by selling higher blends of ethanol fuel, and other topics like the future of ethanol blended fuels, a look at the proposed regulations in the Food Safety Modernization Act, and an examination of rail regulations and possible long-term improvements of the domestic rail system.

More information on the 27th Annual Ethanol Conference can be found here. Click here to register.

Ethanol & Corn Production Up, Food & Gas Prices Down

Growth Energy is attacking the myth that ethanol production increases food prices.

Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy notes that time and again, Big Oil, big Food and special interests are attacking the ethanol industry and placing blame on them for rising food prices. “But when you look at the facts, nothing could be further from the truth. Recently, there has been a surge in ethanol production, while at the same time corn prices have been falling. Currently, corn is trading at $3.99, half the cost of Growth_Energy_logo-1what it traded for two years ago, yet food prices continue to rise because the cost of oil continues to climb. In fact, a recent World Bank study outlines how crude oil prices are responsible for 50 percent of the increase in food prices since 2004.”

Buis continued by noting that while Big Oil continues its “fear mongering” about the use of ethanol, American Consumers have just experienced a six year high in gas prices over the 4th of July weekend. In fact, he said, gas prices continue to stay at near record prices while ethanol is trading around one dollar per gallon below the cost of wholesale gas.

“Clearly global political unrest is once again responsible for driving consumer fuel prices higher, ” said Buis. “And, because of Big Oil’s monopoly over the fuels market, consumers currently have to pay more to drive to the store and the hits keep on coming when they check out at the grocery line! What I find interesting is that while Big Oil and Big Food continue to propagate the same old myths about food and renewable fuels, they are not as forthcoming when it comes to explaining to the public why they are making record profits on the backs of American consumers.”

“As President John Adams once said, ‘Facts are stubborn things.’” “Clearly,” said Buis, “this is the case for Big Oil, Big Food and their cronies, who are doing everything in their power to find a straw man to divert attention away from their excessive appetite for increased profit margins at the expense of hardworking American families.”

Brazil Airline Plans to Use Renewable Jet Fuel

gol-airBrazil’s GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes airline has signed a memorandum of understanding with Amyris that could pave the way for GOL commercial flights to soon use Amyris renewable jet fuel.

Amyris-logo (1)Under the memorandum of understanding, GOL and Amyris will work together to establish a framework for bringing Amyris renewable jet fuel produced from Brazilian sugarcane to GOL’s commercial flights following regulatory approvals and validation by standard-setting bodies, including ASTM International and Brazil’s Oil, Gas and Biofuels Agency (ANP).

The partnership, under of auspices of the Brazilian Biofuels Platform, an industry and government-supported initiative to encourage the use of renewable fuels in aviation, was announced at Brazilian Aviation Day celebration, which included participation of Brazil’s Secretary of Civil Aviation, Minister Moreira Franco, and a number of industry stakeholders including Brazilian Airlines Association (ABEAR), Brazilian Biodiesel and Biojet Association (UBRABIO), GE, and Boeing among others.

Syngenta & FFA Team Up for American Ethanol 200

Syngenta is joining forces with several Iowa FFA chapters during the upcoming American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen on Friday, July 11-12, 2014. The team will be helping to increase awareness of the benefits of American ethanol as well as raise funds to support flex-fuel availability. The funds raised by the FFA members will be matched by race-sponsor Syngenta.

Renewable fuels are an essential part of the American energy equation, benefiting American Ethanol 200 Presented by Enogenconsumers, farmers and American energy independence,” said David Witherspoon, head of Renewable Fuels at Syngenta. “Ethanol, whether from corn or other biomass sources, is an energy source for today and tomorrow driving economic growth and innovation.

According to Growth Energy, there are more than 16 million flex fuel vehicles on America’s highways today. There are also more than 2,800 E85 fueling stations across the country, with 450 having flex fuel pumps offering mid-level ethanol blends, and more than 80 locations in 14 states that offer E15. Investments in flex fuel pump infrastructure are needed to support continued growth and help to expand the market for ethanol.

Witherspoon added, “For more than 45 years, Syngenta has demonstrated its commitment to the future of agriculture through its partnership with the National FFA Organization. We are proud to be partnering with local FFA chapters in Iowa to tell the ethanol story – and to raise money to make flex fuels more widely available by investing in flex fuel pump infrastructure.”

DomesticFuel.com will be bringing readers live coverage from American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen. This is the second year Syngenta has sponsored the race.

Georgia State Fleet Looking to Ramp Up With Ethanol

The Georgia Alternative Fuel Road Rally has ended after two weeks of crisscrossing the state to promote alternative fuels. According to the FlexFuel Awareness Campaign, the success of the rally could increase the use of ethanol in FFVs.

Todd Sneller talks ethanolTodd Sneller, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board and a board member of the FlexFuel Awareness Campaign, spoke with government officials and fleet managers throughout the state and visited four cities last week. “Over the course of two weeks our team met with nearly three hundred fleet management personnel and local municipalities to provide them with information on the ethanol option,” said Sneller. “I am pleased to report that the Georgia state Government is preparing to energize the E85 initiative at the state level. The state has nearly five thousand FFVs in service but they need to facilitate more efficient fuel supply logistics. Several large county fleets are also moving toward E85 since we explained the potential cost savings.”

The Clean Fuels Development Coalition and the Clean Fuels Foundation, Growth Energy, the Kansas and Nebraska Corn Growers, and a number of agriculture and ethanol supporters were among the sponsors of the tour which is designed to increase consumer and fleet operator awareness for alternative fuels. The FlexFuel Awareness Campaign is focusing on the FFvmessage that high level ethanol blends and FFVs are an option for private and government fleets and that they can be very competitive among the family of legally defined alternative fuels.

Sneller noted that fleet managers are looking to use cleaner fuels within the tight budgets they are facing. Ethanol continues to offer attractive pricing but an inefficient fuel delivery system is subverting the potential price advantage to fleet managers and consumers. In addition, there is a great need for consumer awareness and to work with retail outlets that serve both fleets and individual consumers.

“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,” Sneller concluded.

Solutions to Threat Oil Poses for Armed Forces

A new video offers solutions to the threat oil poses for America’s armed forces and the nation’s security. The video was developed by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Truman National Security Project. The new video details the growing danger of oil use to the country’s national security. The U.S. Department of Defense is the world’s largest institutional oil consumer, using more than 100 million barrels every year to power ships, vehicles, aircraft, and ground operations. That’s enough oil to drive around the Earth more than 4 million times. According to the two organizations, this high use leads to greater unpredictability for missions, especially given oil’s vulnerability to price swings on the world market.

“Moving fuel on the battlefield is dangerous and expensive,” said Michael Breen, a former Army captain and executive director at Truman. “A ten dollar increase in the price of a barrel of oil costs the military $1.3 billion — money we can’t use to accomplish our mission and protect our troops.”

The groups argue that despite oil industry advertising championing new domestic production, so called “new oil and gas” resources aren’t really new at all. And they are only available because the oil industry is now desperate enough to go after dirtier, more difficult and expensive oil than they were before. They they said is neither a sustainable solution for our armed forces or our country.

“As the era of cheap and easy oil comes to an end, the oil industry’s desperation for continuing profits has led to more and more destructive practices that are not solving the problems associated with oil use,Hybrid Humvee” said Siv Balachandran, an engineer and oil analyst at UCS. “The real solution is to use less oil.”

Balachandran and Breen noted that the armed forces are adopting new, innovative technologies to reduce oil use while creating a stronger, more effective fighting force. For example, the Navy uses biofuels made from algae and other advanced sources, while the Army is powering Humvees with hybrid-electric engines. These technologies could benefit civilians too.

“The country is already making progress on this front, with federal and state policies helping cars go farther on each gallon of gas and putting thousands of hybrid and electric vehicles on the road — saving the country money while reducing emissions and creating jobs, but the work is not done,” said Balachandran. “By supporting policies that cut oil use even further, we’ll keep America healthier, wealthier, and more secure.”

Breen added, “As the largest institutional consumer of fuel in the world, the U.S. military is leading the way in reducing oil use and investing in renewable options. That’s good for America’s budget and for national security. Our communities – the veterans and national security leaders of Operation Free, and the scientists of UCS – are united in supporting the military’s innovative clean energy solutions.”

Corn Interns Educate About E85 Cost

Illinois CornLet’s put those interns to work. That’s what Illinois Corn is doing. Interns Tim Marten, a student at SIU-Edwardsville, and Elizabeth O’Reilly, a student at ISU, have been tasked with creating short videos that promote corn. The internships are funded by two communications scholarships from the Illinois Corn Marketing Board. Here’s an example of one of them below. You can find others here.

The first video highlights how gas prices are determined, illustrating the cost that E85 SHOULD be at the pump when priced appropriately.

Nebraska Ethanol Sector Leads Manufacturing Wages

Nebraska Ethanol Economic ImpactAccording to Nebraska Department of Labor’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages Program, over the last decade, Nebraska’s ethanol production sector outpaced all other manufacturing groups in the state in terms of wages earned. For example, in 2013 the average annual wage in the ethanol sector was $59,541 while the average for all other manufacturing sectors was $39,966.

“Nebraska’s ethanol industry now has twenty-four operating plants located across the state with the capacity to produce more than two billion gallons annually,” said to Todd Sneller, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “The impact of ethanol production goes far beyond rural Nebraska. Virtually every sector of the state’s economy benefits from ethanol’s growth. Economic benefits accrue to technology and manufacturing sectors that provide software and sophisticated equipment to the agricultural sector that provides the raw materials processed in the plants.

Sneller added, “A vibrant agricultural economy is a major component of Nebraska’s economic success and the growing importance of ethanol is particularly notable. The ethanol industry generates 7,700 jobs, increases Nebraska’s annual economic base by $5.8 billion, and pays more than $38 million in local and state tax revenues each year.”

Industry Highlights Flaws in CBO Report

In an update to a story posted last week regarding the new CBO report, “Renewable Fuel Standard: Issues for 2014 and Beyond,” more renewable energy industry representatives are speaking out regarding what they say are flaws in the report.

Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy said of the report, “This report looks at unrealistic scenarios and completely ignores the very goals of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which are to decrease our nation’s dangerous dependence on foreign oil, create jobs and spur economic growth and investment, and improve our environment, all while offering consumers a choice and savings at the pump. The CBO report simply shrugs off these critical policy goals contained in the RFS by noting that, ‘CBO did not account for that effect in this analysis.’

CBO 2014 RFS reportBuis also pointed out the ethanol is currently trading a dollar less than gasoline on the Chicago Board of Trade, which the CBO fails to acknowledge. The report also fails to consider, said Buis, the 40 year history of volatile gas prices and also ignores the effect the current turmoil in Iraq. However, Buis points out, increased domestic fuel production of fuels such as ethanol and a decrease on dependence of foreign oil would help provide stability and reduce the price hikes in gas prices at the pump.

“Clearly, this report is agenda driven and ignores the facts. Wild and statically unrealistic conclusions such as these show just how flawed the majority of this report is, and why it should not be taken with any level of seriousness,” added Buis. “It seems to me that the CBO got only one thing right in this assessment, and that is with regards to the production of ethanol from corn and how it has virtually no impact on the price of food. Yet, again it is flawed as it fails to highlight that the true driver of food costs is the price of oil.

The National Farmers Union (NFU) was also unhappy with the report and said that CBO’s claim that repealing the RFS would reduce gasoline prices is “simply false”. “The RFS has reduced consumer demand for oil, and the study fails to take that into account. It is unfortunate that CBO, which is supposed to be objective, released such a flawed study that does not take into account the reality of fuel markets,” said NFU Senior Vice President of Programs Chandler Goule.

“Study after study show that the RFS is saving consumers money. E85prices.com recently released data showing that consumers filling up with E85 can save an average of $0.61 less per gallon,” Goule continued. “The RFS is a successful policy tool that decreases our nation’s reliance on foreign oil, creates economic opportunities in rural America, and effectively decreases the greenhouse gas footprint of the transportation sector. CBO should have taken all of these benefits to consumers into consideration when performing the study.”

Biofuels and Wind Waiting on Action

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy said earlier this year that they planned to issue a final rule on the proposed volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in “late spring or early summer” but spring is gone and summer is here and there’s been no word yet.

grassley-headSenator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said last week that he thought the decision was delayed now until fall. “The fact that they’ve delayed it is a little bit of good news,” he said during an interview on June 19. “The bad aspect of it is that it retards investment in ethanol … and it doesn’t just effect ethanol but biodiesel too.” Grassley said he really doesn’t know when the EPA will announce the final rule, although he does believe it will be better than the proposal released in November. “I don’t think they’ll be that bad, but whatever is less than present law is going to be bad anyway, maybe just less bad.”

Meanwhile, Grassley says the wind energy industry, which is huge in Iowa, is still waiting on Congressional action to extend tax credits. “As a father of the wind energy tax credit, I want to get it renewed,” he said. “It’s part of a package of 53 renewals that have to be passed by the Senate and it’s up to Reid when he brings it up … we don’t get any indication from him on it.” Grassley says he will continue to push to make that happen.

Don’t Turn Your Back on the RFS

With no end in sight on the turmoil in Iraq and oil prices and gas prices on the rise as a result, Americans United for Change (AUFC) have launched a new ad campaign encouraging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stay the course and not turn its back on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

‘Control’ will being airing on national cable stations including MSNBC, CNN and Fox News June 3, 2014 just head of the 4th of July weekend. The strategy is one designed to let people know that preserving the RFS and cheaper choices at the pump for Americans means more stability in gas prices even during times of turmoil in other countries.

The bottom line, says AUFC, now is not the time for the U.S. to slip further into dependency on foreign oil by discouraging ethanol and biodiesel production, which boosts our nation’s economy, rural communities, national security and environment.

Jeremy Funk, communications Director for Americans United for Change said of the new TV campaign, “If anything should give the EPA pause before deciding to roll back the Renewable Fuel Standard, it’s the bubbling turmoil in Iraq. While the escalating violence has yet to significantly disrupt oil production in the region, just speculation that it will has already sent oil prices on their way to a 6-year high heading into the 4th of July weekend.”

Funk continued, “Any time there is unrest in oil-producing regions overseas, it’s a recipe for jittery markets and inflated oil prices back home. It’s the price American consumers pay at the pump again and again living in a nation so reliant on foreign oil. It’s the reason why the nation can’t afford to scale back the RFS now and put all of our eggs in Big Oil’s basket. Big Oil says ‘don’t worry, we’re producing more domestic oil than ever’, but they don’t mention it only amounts to a third of what Americans consume each day. Big Oil doesn’t mention they’re actively trying to widen the domestic supply vs demand gap by spending millions of dollars campaigning to put out of business their cheaper, cleaner renewable fuels competition that accounts for 10 percent of the nation’s gas supply.”

Dismantling the RFS, says Funk, would take away what protection American consumers do have from supply shortages, market whims and Middle East instability. He also notes that not continuing forward with the RFS would undermine America’s national security by requiring more imports from regions whose policies and interests often clash with our own.

This TV ad follows on the heels of several others all focused on keeping the RFS in place including ‘The Kingdom’, ‘Bottom Line’, ‘Simple Choice’, and ‘Why Mess With Success’.

Murphy USA Offering E15, E85 in Indianola, IA

Murphy USA is now offering E15 and E85 in Indianola, Iowa location. This station is the first one to begin selling the ethanol fuel blends in Iowa, with six more locations coming online over the next few months. By the end of the summer, E15 and E85 will be available at Murphy USA locations in Clinton, Davenport, Fort Dodge, Mason City, Newton, and Sioux City, Iowa. Murphy USA made a major announcement several months ago that it would begin offering E15 and higher level ethanol blends to consumers at its retail stations throughout the country.

logo-murphy-usa“We are very proud Murphy USA chose to expand its offerings of cleaner-burning ethanol blends in Iowa,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Managing Director Lucy Norton. “There is strong collaboration in Iowa for servicing the E15 market, making it an ideal place to offer E15 at multiple locations. When the conversion is complete, motorists in seven large Iowa cities will have easy access to lower-cost, more locally-produced ethanol blends.”

In accordance with summertime fuel regulations, E15 will only be sold to flex-fuel vehicles throughout the summer driving season at Murphy USA locations. In mid-September, E15 will be available to all consumers driving 2001 and or newer vehicle. In addition, Iowa motorists will soon have greater access to biodiesel at Murphy USA’s Clinton, Davenport, Fort Dodge, Mason City, and Sioux City locations.

“We’re happy to see a major retailer like Murphy USA move their E15 and E85 efforts into Iowa,” added Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Director of Market Development Robert White. “This should demonstrate to others that the business case for these fuels exists, and that more chains will follow Murphy USA’s lead.”

The Murphy USA Indianola fueling site is located at 1502 N. Jefferson Street. Of Murphy USA’s 1,200 stations in 23 states, the Indianola location will be the second Murphy USA station to offer E15, and the third Murphy USA station to offer E85. In addition to higher ethanol blends, Murphy USA’s Iowa locations will offer three grades of gasoline blended with 10 percent ethanol.

Iowa Sets New Record for First Quarter E85 Sales

Iowa flex-fuel drivers (FFVs) have set a new E85 record with the purchase of 2,707,231 gallons of E85 in the first quarter of 2014, according to data released by the Iowa Department of Revenue. The more than 2.7 million gallons of E85 sold is a new first quarter record, and nearly a 48 percent increase over the first quarter of 2013.

Flex Fuel Pump at Hy-Vee Mills Civic Parkway in Des Moines IA 6-16-14“As the EPA debates slashing 2014 requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the cost-savings of ethanol-blended fuels continues to grow and Iowans are purchasing E85 at a record rate,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “When you follow-up a record year for E85 sales in 2013 with record E85 sales in the first quarter of 2014, it’s further proof that when given the choice, consumers will choose cleaner-burning, lower-cost ethanol blends.”

Yesterday, IRFA also reported the largest wholesale price spread between E85 and regular gasoline since it began tracking prices through its Weekly Iowa E85 Wholesale Price Listing Service. On Monday, June 23, the average price of regular 87-octane gasoline without ethanol was $3.23 per gallon at the Des Moines Terminal, according to OPIS. Meanwhile, Absolute Energy, an ethanol plant in St. Ansgar, Iowa, was selling E85 for $1.64 per gallon.

“At the wholesale level, E85 is being sold for nearly half the price of regular gasoline – that’s right, it’s nearly 50 percent cheaper,” added Shaw. “With Fourth of July travel just around the corner, it will literally pay for flex-fuel vehicle owners to find E85 along their route.”

Missouri Corn: Market Instability Reinforces Need for Ethanol

With the continued turmoil in Iraq causing instability in worldwide oil markets, Missouri Corn Growers Association (MCGA) is calling for increased ethanol access in the marketplace. Ethanol is trading more than a dollar lower than conventional gasoline according to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

The cost savings from blending competitively priced ethanol are being kept from consumers,” said MCGA CEO Gary Marshall. “To pay upwards of $3.50 or $4 per gallon when the top five 1205379-Moil companies profited a combined 93 billion dollars is unacceptable. Drivers are sick and tired of shelling out an arm and a leg for gas – and they have every right to be.”

Missouri drivers are currently using 10 percent ethanol (E10) in most gasoline sold across the state. Recently E15 (15 percent ethanol, 85 percent gasoline) was approved for use in the state in vehicles 2001 and newer. However, noted MCGA, the fuel blendstock provided by oil refineries during summer months limits blending higher than 10 percent ethanol, keeping customers from the price benefit of higher ethanol blends.

“The refusal by oil companies and refineries to provide a quality, cost-effective fuel when consumers are facing increasing costs at the pump is an outrage,” said Marshall. “Drivers could see immediate savings from E15, yet fuel marketers’ hands are tied until the summer regulation is lifted and winter blendstock is reintroduced this fall.”

While prices at the pump have reached their highest levels since 2008, they would be even higher without the inclusion of ethanol to the country’s fuel supply said MCGA. Last year alone, U.S. ethanol production displaced an amount of gasoline refined from 462 million barrels of imported crude oil, which is equivalent to that imported annually from Venezuela and Iraq combined.

“The latest energy issues in Iraq are a stark reminder why ethanol is important. As a country, we need to be looking at a long-term energy plan and not be held hostage any time militants take over a refinery in a foreign land,” concluded Marshall.

U.S. Mayors Expand Climate Protection Agreement

U.S. Mayors have signed a revised climate protection agreement that for the first time focuses on local actions to adapt cities to changing climate conditions. The agreement is also aims to build grassroots support for local conversation efforts. The action took place during the 82nd Annual U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) meeting where one area of focus was climate change and the role energy efficiency and renewable energy could play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon.

14307537950_ca123598fd_zThe Agreement also urges federal and state governments to enact bipartisan legislation, policies and programs to assist mayors in their efforts to lead the nation toward energy independence. Following the signing ceremony, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Environmental Protection Administrator Gina McCarthy congratulated the Conference on their work and engaged in an interactive discussion with mayors from the audience.

USCM President Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said mayors have been leaders on climate protection, whether it’s cutting carbon emissions or preparing their communities for the effects of climate change. “In the 3.0 era, mayors are innovating, working with the best and the brightest, to lead on climate. Mayors are getting smart about sustainability. We’re moving from fossil fuels to alternative fuels, from waste to reuse. Mayors are using technology and innovation to do what we couldn’t do ten years ago. We’re boosting our economies and protecting our climate at the same time.”

The climate initiative was first launched 10 years ago in February of 2005 and at the time the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement was a landmark pledge by mayors from all across the country to take local action to reduce carbon emissions from city operation and by the community at large, consistent with the goals of the Kyoto Protocol. More than 1060 mayors signed the Agreement, mostly representing larger cities. Since then, USCM has been recognizing mayors for their successful efforts through its annual Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards.

USCM Energy independence and Climate Protection Task Force Co-Chair and Bridgeport, CT Mayor Bill Finch noted, “This is not a cause for mayors. This is a pragmatic problem that requires pragmatic solutions. Mayors across the country are investing in the future by tackling climate change head on. And, those who have signed onto the U.S. Conference of Mayors agreement have made more progress on beating back climate change in their cities than those who have not. Continue reading