Grains Council Working on Ethanol Exports

usgrainscouncil1The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is working on promoting exports of U.S. ethanol through a partnership between USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

“We’ve been working since late March, early April to determine which markets we’re going to do market assessments in and then next year we’ll shift into market development activities,” said Ashley Kongs, USGC manager of ethanol export program. The Grains Council is planning three regional market assessment programs this year, going to Japan and Korea in September, Latin America in November, and southeast Asia in early December.

Earlier this year, USGC participated in a trade mission to China with USDA Undersecretary Michael Scuse where they were able to discuss the possibility of ethanol exports to that country. “They visited with a Chinese ethanol plant and they had meetings with the National Energy Administration in China,” said Kongs. “Currently ethanol can only be sold in six designated markets in China for blending with fuel, but the group had discussions about the possibility of expanding ethanol use nationwide.” Kongs says while there are challenges in the Chinese market, the Grains Council sees great potential for the future to open the door for U.S. ethanol exports.

USGC continues to build on its success in promoting exports of the ethanol co-product distillers grains and will be again this year joining RFA in hosting the Export Exchange, an international trade conference focused on the export of U.S. coarse grains and ethanol co-products held every two years. Early registration for the event is open until July 31 and USGC and RFA members are eligible for discounted pricing.

Export Exchange 2014 Registration Open

2014-export-exchangeRegistration is now open for Export Exchange 2014™, an international trade conference focused on the export of U.S. coarse grains and ethanol co-products.

Approximately 300 U.S. suppliers and agribusiness representatives and more than 180 international buyers are expected to attend Export Exchange 2014. The conference is being held Oct. 20-22 at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel and is co-sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

“Export Exchange brings together a group of U.S. suppliers and international buyers in a unique event focused on the expansion of established export markets and the development of new markets for U.S. coarse grains, distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and other ethanol co-products,” said USGC Chairman Julius Schaaf.

“Over the past decade, the U.S. ethanol industry has emerged as a major producer of high quality animal feeds like DDGS and corn gluten feed,” said Bob Dinneen, RFA president and CEO. “Export Exchange is the premier forum for connecting the producers and marketers of those co-products with customers around the world.”

Export Exchange is held every two years. The 2012 event broke records in attendance and attracted buying teams from 33 countries, including all of the top U.S. international coarse grains and ethanol co-products markets. Attendance at this year’s event is expected to set a new record, creating more opportunities for U.S. merchandisers to connect with buyers and build business.

Early registration discounts end July 31. USGC and RFA members are eligible for discounted pricing and should identify themselves as such at the time of registration.

DF Cast: Finding Ways to Increase Ethanol Blends

While the ethanol industry awaits the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision on the amount of ethanol to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply, ethanol producers are looking at other ways to make sure the green fuel increases its blend amounts.

In this edition of the Domestic Fuel Cast, we hear from Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis, Dean Drake with the consulting company the Defour Group, Scott Zaremba, president of Zarco Incorporated, and Ken Parrent, the ethanol director for the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, as they give their thoughts on how consumer demand will be a bigger driver for higher ethanol blends after attending an Indiana Corn Growers Association ethanol forum that focused on marketing mid-level ethanol blends and ran following the recent 2014 Fuel Ethanol Workshop in Indianapolis.

Domestic Fuel Cast - Increasing Ethanol Blends

You can also subscribe to the DomesticFuel Cast here.

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.

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

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

Group Looks to Expand Ethanol By-Product’s Market

usgrainscouncil1A group representing grain producers’ interests is looking to expand the market for a popular ethanol by-product. The U.S. Grains Council says it is looking to the south, Middle East and Southeast Asia to expand on American distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), already chalking up 9.7 million metric tons – valued at $2.9 billion – exported in 2013 to more than 45 countries.

While Mexico is the third-largest market for U.S. DDGS, its southern region remains an underserved livestock sector with growth potential for U.S. exports. According to a 2012 Council assessment, the potential exists to more than double current exports by providing technical and practical education to local cattlemen. To further this effort the Council has conducted a feeding trial in the area.

Elsewhere, the Council in August 2011 successfully achieved the inclusion of DDGS and other U.S. commodities on the Saudi Arabian import subsidy list. Inclusion on this list is essential in eliciting interest from Saudi importers of these products…

And in Southeast Asia, imports of U.S. DDGS have increased again this year, growing from 252,548 tons in January to March 2013 to 352,674 tons in the same period this year, an increase of almost 140 percent.

The council is using educational seminars and feeding trails to help educate end-users around the world.

Evolving Distillers Grains: Take the Survey

Iowa State University is looking at how the use of distillers grains have changed in the United States over the past several years. Interested growers are invited to participate in a survey currently being conducted by Iowa State University Assistant Professor Dr. Kurt Rosentrater. The survey findings will create a better overall picture of the roll distillers grains play in the livestock industry today and provide important insight into possible points of improvement in the future.

The survey is funded, ddgsin part, by the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Ethanol Committee as part of the team’s efforts to increase understanding of how this ethanol co-product benefits farmers, ranchers and ethanol producers alike.

“I encourage anyone who might be able to provide information on how they use distillers grains on their operation to take a few minutes and complete this survey,” said NCGA Ethanol Committee Chair Jeff Sandborn, a Michigan farmer. “As the use of distillers grains continues to grow and evolve, data gained through this survey will enable producers to improve their offerings and thus will benefit the very livestock producers that we would like to participate. Using corn to produce fuel and feed is already a win-win-win situation. Now, we want to make it that much better.”

To take the survey, click here.

New Record Distillers Grains Exports

Distillers grains exports set a new monthly record in March, while U.S. ethanol exports rebounded from the previous month, according to the latest numbers.

distillers-grainsThe Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) reports that March exports of U.S. distillers grains, which is the animal feed co-product from dry mill ethanol plants, were a record 1.16 million metric tons. March shipments were up 28% from February and topped the one million mark for just the fourth time in history. China accounted for half of the export shipments, with Mexico and South Korea taking the second and third place slots. Year-to-date, distillers grains exports as of March totaled 2.97 million metric tons, a 65% increase over the same period a year ago, putting the U.S. on pace to export a record 11.9 million metric tons this year.

At the same time, total U.S. ethanol exports, including both denatured and undenatured, were 84.0 million gallons in March, up 25% over February and just slightly below the January total of 86.2 million gallons. Canada and Brazil were top destinations in March, with both the Philippines and Nigeria re-entering the market. Meanwhile, U.S. ethanol imports totaled just 5.3 million gallons in March, making the United States a net exporter by a wide margin for the seventh straight month.

POET Nutrition’s Mike Skuodas Honored by DoD

Mike Skuodas, Director of Sales for Dakota Gold at POET Nutrition was honored with a Patriot Award in recognition of his support of team members serving in the South Dakota Guard and Reserve. The award was given by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESCR), a Department of Defense (DoD) operational committee.

5.2.14 ESGR GroupThe Patriot Award was created by ESGR to publicly recognize individuals who provide outstanding patriotic support and cooperation to their employees, who like the citizen warriors before them, have answered their nation’s call to serve,” said Ron Mielke, South Dakota ESGR State Chair. “Supportive supervisors are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units.”

Skuodas was nominated by Justin Schnieders, 114th Fighter Wing Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and Abby Roberts, 1742nd Transportation Company for being highly supportive of the Army and Air National Guard. Schnieders and Roberts currently work at POET Nutrition and nominated Skuodas for his support of their National Guard duties, including the availability of flexible schedules, time off for inspections and training time, and additional time to care for their Guard family as well as their own families at home.

“I am truly humbled to receive this award and accept this honor on behalf of everyone at POET and POET Nutrition,” said Skuodas. “Supporting the National Guard is part of the culture we embody here at POET. Abby and Justin have stepped up to serve our state and country, as have many other POET team members, and we will continue to do all we can to support them and their families.”

Don Dietrich, President of POET Nutrition, signed a Statement of Support to declare POET Nutrition’s support of service members employed by the organization.

Ethanol Exports Start 2014 Higher

Exports of U.S. ethanol started 2014 at the highest level seen in over two years.

rfa-annAccording to U.S. Census Bureau data, ethanol exports in January totaled 86 million gallons, which is the highest monthly volume since December 2011. “Exports were up a third from December 2013, while imports remained sparse, meaning the United States was a net ethanol exporter by the widest margin in over two years,” according to Renewable Fuels Association research analyst Ann Lewis, writing on the E-xchange blog.

Brazil was the top customer for U.S. ethanol, beating out Canada for the number one spot, importing nearly 23.9 million gallons, the largest monthly volume to Brazil in two years. Exports to Canada dropped 36% from December to 18.8 million gallons (mg). Rounding out the top destinations were the United Arab Emirates (12.4 mg), India (10.7 mg), the Philippines (5.5 mg), and Mexico (3.3 mg).

Meanwhile, exports of the ethanol co-product distillers dried grains (DDGs) were lower in January, down 9% to 903,827 metric tons (mt). Lewis notes that China was again the leading destination with 344,147 mt. “However, China’s market share scaled back to 38%, in contrast with its majority stake (56%) of U.S. DDGs exports averaged over the second half of 2013,” writes Lewis. Mexico (140,664 mt), South Korea (77,977 mt), Vietnam (48,514 mt), and Japan (44,505 mt) rounded out the top five DDGS markets in January.

Distilers Grains Exports Record High in 2013

Patriot Renewable Fuels DDGsU.S. exports of the ethanol co-product distillers grains set a new record last year and exports of ethanol were lower but still strong.

According to the latest government statistics, exports of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) totaled a record 9.7 million metric tons (mmt) last year, up 31% from 2012 and well above the previous record of 9.0 mmt set in 2010. China was the leading destination for U.S. distillers grains, taking 46% of the total, with Mexico and Canada a distant second and third.

ethanol-tankerU.S. exports of ethanol totaled 621.5 million gallons in 2013, down from the previous year but still the third-highest annual total on record. Canada was by far the leading export market for the year, receiving 52% of the total. The Philippines ranked second, followed by Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, and Mexico. Meanwhile, U.S. ethanol imports were down 27% from 2012, making the United States a net exporter of 226.3 mg in 2013, roughly a 24% increase over 2012 net exports.

“U.S. produced ethanol is the world’s lowest cost liquid transportation fuel. As such, we anticipate that export opportunities will continue to grow as countries across the globe recognize the air quality, high octane and superior performance of renewable ethanol,” said Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association.

U.S. Ethanol Export Opportunities Abound

According to U.S. government data, U.S. ethanol exports surged to 82.4 million gallons (mg) in November, with large volumes finding their way into new or emerging markets such as China and India, as well as the Philippines, Tunisia, Panama, and Mexico.

Total exports were up 54 percent from October, reaching the highest monthly level since March 2012. Canada was once again the leading importer of U.S. product, receiving 28.5 mg in November. The Philippines followed with an annual high of 14.0 mg, while India (8.1 mg), U.S. Ethanol Exports 2013.11Brazil (4.3 mg), and Norway (4.3 mg) were other top destinations. For the first time since 2002, a sizable volume of fuel ethanol was exported to China (3.5 mg). Similarly, Panama imported meaningful volumes of U.S. fuel ethanol (2.0 mg) for the first time since 1992. Tunisia (2.3 mg) and Mexico (1.7 mg) are other relatively new markets that imported U.S. product in November.

Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFS), noted that the uptick of exports to China and India is a huge opportunity for the ethanol industry and an indicator that ethanol demand is continuing to expand and grow overseas.

Dinneen commented, “U.S. produced ethanol continues to be the lowest cost liquid transportation fuel on the planet. The fact that rapidly developing countries like China and India are turning to the U.S. for fuel supply is both a reflection of that economic reality and the effort of U.S. producers to look beyond our borders to build demand. The RFA will continue working hard on behalf of American ethanol producers to grow and strengthen our export relationships with these emerging countries even as we continue to expand ethanol usage domestically.”

He also pointed out that there is also a huge overseas market emerging.

RFA has worked with the U.S. government and U.S. ethanol producers to expand trade abroad. Most recently, Ed Hubbard, RFA’s general counsel, led a trade mission to Brazil through the Brazil-U.S. Business Council connecting U.S. ethanol companies with business opportunities in the northern regions of the country.

Additionally, Kelly Davis, RFA’s director of regulatory affairs, joined the U.S. Grains Council on a trade mission last May to South Korea and Japan. She visited Seoul and Tokyo, where she had the opportunity to discuss and promote the trade of ethanol and its co-products, specifically distillers dried grains (DDGS), overseas.

New Facility to Turn Ethanol Byproduct into Bio-Resin

bio-res1A Nebraska-based company has expanded its operation to turn an ethanol byproduct into a bio-based resin additive. Composites World reports Laurel BioComposite LLC held an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony for its new 20,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, which will crank out 7 million pounds annually of its trademarked Bio-Res PE.

Tim Bearnes, CEO of Laurel BioComposite, was on hand to welcome special guests Gov. Dave Heineman, Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul, USDA Rural Development and Mayor Mark Patefield. “We held the event to celebrate some important milestones,” says Bearnes. “It also gave us the chance to thank a lot of people that supported our project from its inception and believe in our future.”

Laurel BioComposite’s mission Bearnes explains is to produce Bio-Res PE products from a renewable resource. “Our product replaces a portion of traditional plastic resins and creates a positive environmental impact by reducing the industry’s reliance on crude oil,” he says. “It remains our goal to cost-effectively manufacture a quality bio-based product. We don’t make the plastic. We make the plastic greener.”

The new production line converts feedstock into a powder for thermoset applications or master batch pellets for use in thermoplastics applications such as injection molding.

A second phase currently underway will expand the company’s annual output to 48 million pounds. The products made from Bio-Res include shipping materials, lawn and garden, agricultural and automotive products.

Quad County Breaks Ground on “ACE” Project

quadcounty13-johnsonQuad County Corn Processors officially broke ground today in Galva, Iowa on its Adding Cellulosic Ethanol “ACE” project. Dozens of local community members joined ethanol industry reps and local politicians to celebrate the milestone that ethanol plant General Manager Delayne Johnson said was four years in the making in the R&D lab.

Delayne explained during his remarks, “With the addition of this new cellulosic process, we will stretch the production capacity of each and every corn kernel that passes through our plant. We will increase our ethanol yields by 6 percent, increase our corn oil extraction three times over, while also creating a higher protein livestock feed. This is value-added agriculture at its best.”

quadcounty13-groundbreakingAs a result of the new process, Johnson noted, the DDGs will be much more similar to a corn gluten meal. It will increase the protein content by about 40 percent.

“The greatest benefactors will be the Galva community, our shareholders, the ethanol industry, and the consumer,” added Johnson. “Investing $8.5 million in our new process will add several jobs here at the plant, allow us to produce more ethanol from the same amount of corn, help us contribute to the nation’s supply of cellulosic ethanol, and will continue to lower prices at the pump for consumers.”

You can listen to Delayne Johnson’s comments here: Delayne Johnson's Opening Remarks

You can view Sandy O’Brien’s reading of Senator Tom Harkin’s comments here or listen to her comments here: Senator Tom Harkin Remarks

You can listen to Delayne’s reading of Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey’s comments here: Iowa Ag Secy Bill Northey Remarks

Visit the Quad County Corn Processors “ACE” Groundbreaking photo album here.