Atlanta Now Has 12 E85 Pumps

protectlogoThe Atlanta metro area now offers a dozen E85 locations for drivers of flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) as Ruby Shell & Protec Fuel joined forces to launch a new E85 station last week in Doraville, Georgia.

protec-e85This is the first E85 station for owner Maruf (Mike) Khan, but he also has a station in Buford, Ga. “I wanted to provide a choice for my customers and hopefully gain new customers looking to use the environmentally friendlier fuel made from U.S. resources,” said Khan.

“Many cars have flex-fuel capability, whether the drivers know it or not,” said Steve Walk, a VP of Protec Fuel. “Alternative fuels like this in any blend also benefit air quality in a sensitive area such as big cities like Atlanta. This station is another stepping stone for the use of ethanol blends in any gas vehicle, like E15.”

Ruby Shell is located at 5020 Winters Chapel Rd., Doraville, GA.

Protec Fuel, based in Florida, has partnered to help manage the E85 installation and provide fuel for the location’s new cleaner burning fuel offering of E85. Protec is a turnkey E85 company specializing in station conversions and fuel distribution.

EPA Establishes Quality Assurance for RINS

epaIn addition to the final rule approving crop residue as a cellulosic feedstock, the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday established a “voluntary quality assurance program” for renewable identification numbers, or RINs.

The program is designed to maintain liquidity in the market for RINs under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) providing a means for ensuring that RINs are properly gener­ated through audits of renewable fuel production conducted by independent third-parties using quality assurance plans (QAPs). According to EPA, the QAP is intended to improve RIN market liquidity and ef­ficiency and improve the ability of smaller renewable fuel producers to sell their RINs.

Other provisions in the final rule regarding RINs include modifications to the exporter provisions of the RFS program to help ensure that an appropriate number and type of RINs are retired whenever
renewable fuel is exported.

Read the entire rule from EPA here.

Ethanol Report on Energy Independence

ethanol-report-adAs we prepare to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, many of us will be out on the roads driving to see family, friends and fireworks. But, thanks to upheaval in a little country halfway across the world, gas prices are up again so we are going to be paying more at the pump, a stark reminder that we are not so independent when it comes to our energy sources.

dinneen-capitolIn this Independence Day Ethanol Report, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen reminds us that ethanol saves Americans money at the pump, stretches the fuel supply and is the perfect remedy for skyrocketing gas prices.

Dinneen talks about the new milestone reached this week in cellulosic ethanol production and why the government needs to be expanding the use of biofuels rather than contemplating scaling back our nation’s renewable energy policy and striking a blow for American energy independence.

Ethanol Report on Energy Independence

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RINs Around the Rosy

Renewable Identification Numbers, better known in the renewable energy world as RINs, are serious business, but there’s actually an app on the market to make them a bit more fun.

rins-appThe Energy Policy Research Foundation, Inc. (EPRINC) introduced the RFS compliance calculator earlier this year as a free download on Apple’s App Store, allowing you to “model various RFS and refined product market scenarios until your thumbs fall off.”

RINs Around the Rosy enables you to take on a variety of roles, from EPA Administrator to gasoline blender, in an attempt to guide the refined products market through the Renewable Fuels Standard whilst avoiding a crash into the blendwall. Think of it as an RFS compliance calculator.

This app serves as a model of the RFS and refined products (gasoline and diesel) market. It gives you control over nearly two dozen variables, enabling you to set an infinite number of volumetric mandates and product demand forecasts, measure RIN carryover, test various gasoline and diesel blending options, and examine the impact of custom waiver scenarios. RINs Around the Rosy will track your inputs and assumptions and let you know if you have met the mandate you set or if and how you fell short.

To download the app, just search in the app store for RINS Around the Rosy.

Corn Fiber Approved as Cellulosic Feedstock

epaThe Environmental Protection Agency issued final rules Wednesday to qualify additional fuel pathways for the production of cellulosic biofuel, including crop residue such as corn fiber.

EPA has now determined that crop residue does meet the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction requirements for cellulosic biofuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) provided that “producers include in their registration specific information about the types of residues which will be used, and record and report to EPA the quantities and specific types of residues used.”

corn-cobsThe final rule comes just as the first gallons of cellulosic ethanol are being produced this week from corn fiber in Galva, Iowa. “As demonstrated by Quad County Corn Processors—which produced its first commercial gallon of cellulosic ethanol from corn fiber just yesterday—this feedstock holds tremendous potential to contribute meaningful volumes toward compliance with the RFS cellulosic biofuels standard,” said Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen.

Dinneen says EPA should be commended for using a straightforward approach to accounting for the cellulosic content of biofuel feedstocks. “The ‘cellulosic content threshold’ method finalized in today’s rule is a common sense approach that minimizes administrative and accounting burdens for commercial producers, but upholds the spirit and intent of the RFS,” Dinneen said.

The EPA also finalized some minor amendments related to survey requirements associated with the ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) program and misfueling mitigation regulations for 15 volume percent
ethanol blends (E15) in announcements made on Wednesday.

Iowa Plant Produces First Cellulosic Ethanol

qccp-cellulosic-gallonThe very first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol gallons produced in Iowa flowed from the Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP) distillation unit Tuesday, bringing smiles to the faces of the plant team members who posed with a bottle of the historic fuel.

The event marks the official commissioning of the farmer-owned ethanol plant’s Adding Cellulosic Ethanol (ACE) project, which broke ground in Galva, Iowa not quite a year ago. The new “bolt-on” process adds the capability to convert the kernel’s corn fiber into cellulosic ethanol, in addition to traditional corn starch ethanol.

quad-county “Our Adding Cellulosic Ethanol (ACE) project will not only increase our plant’s production capacity by 6 percent, but it will also continue to boost energy security and provide consumers with more low-cost, cleaner-burning ethanol without adding any additional corn to the production process,” said QCCP CEO Delayne Johnson, who also noted the new technology will improve the plant’s distillers grains (DDGs) co-product. “As a result of the new process, the DDGs will be much more similar to a corn gluten meal. It will increase the protein content of the livestock feed by about 40 percent, and we also expect to see a boost in corn oil extraction by about 300 percent,” he said.

Listen to Johnson explain the process at the 2014 National Ethanol Conference: Remarks by Delayne Johnson, Quad Council Corn Processors

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) offered congratulations to the QCCP team for becoming the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol producer in Iowa. “While the EPA continues to debate the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2014 and beyond, renewable fuels producers like Quad County Corn Processors remain committed to pioneering new technologies that increase plant productivity and accomplish the goals set forth by the RFS,” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw, adding that the state has other cellulosic ethanol projects nearing completion.

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen says the first gallon of cellulosic ethanol represents just the beginning of a long, promising future. “It is worth noting that Quad County is the perfect demonstration of first and second generation ethanol being produced side-by-side to bring more choice to America in the form of low-cost, high-octane, renewable fuel,” said Dinneen.

Syngenta recently partnered with QCCP to license the ACE technology, which is used in combination with the Enogen corn trait.

Ethanol Report on Advanced Ethanol Concerns

ethanol-report-adAdvanced Ethanol Council (AEC) executive director Brooke Coleman commented last week on a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on the impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) so we got him on the phone for this edition of “The Ethanol Report.”

colemanIn this interview, Coleman talks about his take on the CBO report, as well as Phantom Fuels legislation in Congress, and the delay on EPA issuing a final rule for 2014 volume obligations under the RFS.

You may recall that EPA officials said earlier this year that they expected to have a final rule by the end of spring, or at least the end of June, but that has not happened yet and Coleman explains they now have until the end of September. “They were saying the end of June because they had to get it done by July 1st because they had extended the RFS compliance year through June,” he said. “They then extended it again through September.

Ethanol Report with Brooke Coleman, Advanced Ethanol Council

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Supreme Court Turns Down California LCFS Case

supreme-courtIn the flurry of decisions by the Supreme Court released the morning, justices declined to review California’s low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) decision.

A federal trial judge ruled against the LCFS in 2011 but the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that ruling last year and denied rehearing the case in January.

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy issued a joint statement regarding the decision.

“We are extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court has declined to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision, despite the broad support for the petition – including 21 states. We will continue our efforts to protect the American biofuel industry and the national interest and will continue to ensure that all consumers have access to low-priced, American-made biofuels.”

The ethanol industry was joined in challenging the California law by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). “The Supreme Court’s decision not to review this case is disappointing and leaves in place a state regulation that discriminates against fuels and other products produced outside of California,” said AFPM General Counsel Richard Moskowitz. “California’s efforts to dictate how fuel is produced outside of its borders ignores Constitutional safeguards that have long protected against one state controlling the conduct of private parties beyond their borders.”

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.

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.

CBO Releases RFS Report

The Congressional Budget Office has released a new report, “Renewable Fuel Standard: Issues for 2014 and Beyond“. The evaluates how much the supply of various types of renewable fuels would have to increase over the next several years to comply with the CBO RFS report June 2014Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has yet to finalize its 2014 proposed rule, that if finalized based on initial numbers, would set the growth of biofuels backwards. The report also examines how other issues, such as fuel prices and emissions would vary by 2017, under three RFS scenarios:

  • The EISA volumes scenario, in which fuel suppliers would have to meet the total requirement for renewable fuels, the requirement for advanced biofuels, and the cap on corn ethanol that are stated in EISA for 2017—but not the requirement for cellulosic biofuels, because the capacity to produce enough of those fuels is unlikely to exist by 2017;
  • The 2014 volumes scenario, in which the EPA—which has some discretion to modify the mandates of EISA—would keep the RFS requirements for the next several years at the same amounts it has proposed for 2014; and
  • The repeal scenario, in which lawmakers would immediately abolish the RFS.

The report finds that food prices would be similar in all scenarios, including the dismantling of the RFS. However, the report finds that advanced biofuels must increase substantially to meet requirements, and that the increased use of all biofuels would increase the price of fuel at the pump.

In response to the report, Brooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC) noted that the report fails to take into account basic realities when it comes to assessing the program.

“Some reports are simply not worth reading, and this is one of them. You cannot assess the impacts of the RFS without looking at the benefits of reducing consumer demand for gasoline and diesel fuel,” said Caeclogooleman. “That’s the entire point of the RFS and the CBO simply states that ‘it did not account for that effect in this analysis.’ To put that omission in perspective, an oil economist recently concluded that the RFS saved motorists at least hundreds of billions of dollars in 2013 by adding the equivalent of an additional OPEC country to U.S. gasoline supplies during times of extreme tightness between supply and demand.”

“Whatever the savings are, an analysis of a foreign oil displacement program that does not look at the benefits of displacing foreign oil demand should be dismissed out of hand. The gas price claims are really strange as well,” continued Coleman. “A cornerstone assumption in the report has RFS-RIN prices so high that gasoline retailers could give renewable fuel blends away for free and still make a profit. Needless to say, this is never going to happen. CBO reports are supposed to be impartial and objective, and therefore informative.”

Coleman concluded, “This particular report appears to detail a fantasy world that does not inform the current debate.”

Ethanol Boat Races Ride Into Garnett

Love to race? Love to boat? Then consider attending the Garnett Ethanol Hydroplane Shootout in Garnett, Kansas July 12-13, 2014. The competition, sponsored by the National Boat Racing Association (NBRA, pits drivers of hydroplanes and roundabouts against each other. The race is sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), East Kansas Agri-Energy, and the Kansas Corn Commission. Admission is free and earplugs or noise reducing devices are suggested.

rfa-nbra-3The NBRA, host of the event and representing more than 250 drivers in 30 states, has a long history of using E10. They broke speed records on the high-octane ethanol blend. According to Vernon Barfield, tech chairman and vice president of the NBRA, he has had no issues using E10 in their more than 20 years of racing. He has also won more than 35 national championships.

“The Garnett Ethanol Hydroplane Shootout is a popular, family-friendly event where people of all ages can enjoy high-stakes action while learning about the environmental benefits and high-octane power boost of ethanol-blended fuel,” said Robert White, RFA’s director of market development. “There is a lot of misinformation out there about ethanol’s impact on boats, but E10 is safe and approved for use in all marine engines. The Lake Garnett event gives us an opportunity to educate boat owners and non-boat owners, and set the record straight.”

Jeff Oestmann, president and CEO of East Kansas Agri-Energy, touted the race as a unique opportunity to highlight the benefits of ethanol. He noted, “It is exciting to see a national organization select Garnett for this event. It allows us to further promote the benefits of ethanol, not only in marine engines, but in all engines. We are proud to be a sponsor, and look forward to the races.”

E10 (10 percent ethanol, 90 percent gasoline) is approved for use in marine engines, including two-stroke powered engines, motorboats, outboard motors, and inboard motors. However, E15 (15 percent ethanol) is not approved for use in marine engines. Boat owners should always follow the Ethanol Fuel With Pridemanufacturer’s recommendations, check the owner’s manual before filling their engine with fuel, and read labeling at the pump.

Popular names in boating have embraced the use of ethanol. The NBRA uses E10 in all two-stroke motor races. Additionally, respected names in marine motor manufacturing allow ethanol blended fuel in their engines, including Honda, Kawasaki, Mercury Marine, OMC (Johnson/Evinrude), Pleasurecraft, Tigershark (Artco), Tracker and Yamaha.

Greg Krissek, head of the Kansas Corn Commission, added, “The Garnett Ethanol Hydroplane Shootout is a great opportunity to spotlight Kansas agriculture and ethanol. We are excited to sponsor this year’s race and hope everyone will join us to cheer on the competitors.”

RFA staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide education on ethanol use in marine engines. Additionally, RFA’s “Fueled with Pride” logo will be displayed on uniforms, course buoys and flags, t-shirts sold at the races by NBRA, trophies, near refueling areas of all boats, and on signs placed throughout the viewing area.

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.