US Farms Studies

US Farms US Farms, Inc. and Imperial Ethanol, Inc. are doing a feasibility study for an ethanol plant to be located in Imperial Valley, Ca. BBI International will be doing the study.

According to a US Farms press release, US Farms president Yan K. Skwara said, “BBI will be targeting at utilizing sugar cane and corn as feed stocks for Ethanol in this study. Corn was chosen since the distillers grain by product produced from the process is consumed by the beef and dairy industry. This would be an asset to the project due to the amount of cattle currently in the Imperial Valley. The demand for Ethanol in California alone will outpace our production capabilities, leaving enormous potential for future growth.”

Imperial Ethanol intends to break ground next year on a facility that will have the capacity to produce 35-50 million gallons initially with capabilities of expanding to double the production of 70-100 million gallons per year.

Read more here.

SD Plants Merge With MN Company

Adv BioE Advanced BioEnergy LLC of Minneapolis and Heartland Grain Fuels of Dakota Fuels Inc. are joining forces. With the agreement, two ethanol plants in South Dakota will merge with the Minnesota company.

Under the transaction, Heartland owners will invest in Advanced BioEnergy and, for that investment, will receive about $16.8 million in cash and about 2.6 million newly issued share units in Advanced BioEnergy.

Read more from Aberdeen News or Sioux City Journal.

Biomass Potential

Biocognito As cellulosic ethanol looms on the horizon with the goal of producing ethanol from biomass, the questions are how much biomass is there and how much will it cost to convert to ethanol?

Nathan Danielson of Biocognito addresses those questions in a recent Ethanol Technical Update for the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC). Danielson cites a Department of Energy report that characterizes those biomass sources that are capable of producing one billion tons per year.

This study indicates that the largest single source of biomass in the united states is forestlands. Forestlands in the 48 states can produce 368 million dry tons of biomass annually.

The study also finds that agricultural lands could contribute 194 million tons of dry biomass in the form of corn stover, wheat straw, manures and other residues. So, they figure that we can come up with a good 500 million tons of biomass a year.

How much will it cost to make the ethanol out of it? Assuming a production level of 60 million gallons of ethanol per ton of biomass, the DOE report concluded that even if the feedstock cost $50/ton, ethanol could still be produced at a competitive level of about 83 cents a gallon.

Danielson concludes:

Clearly there is a great deal of biomass available at a rate that is competitive to corn, however we need to determine the best way to convert it to ethanol. The big question now is what is the best technology to convert it? Will it be a fermentation route as DuPont and Broin, honda and Iogen are considering or will it be the syngas to ethanol route that abengoa is developing? The winning technologies have the potential to produce billions of gallons of ethanol per year and generate billions of revenue.

Biofuels Could Complicate WTO

WTO The International Food and Agricultural Policy Trade Council has conducted the first comprehensive assessment of how World Trade Organization disciplines may apply to the rapidly expanding biofuels sector.

The study sets out key WTO issues that need to be clarified, such as the classification of biofuels and their feedstocks and whether they are to be considered industrial, agricultural or environmental goods. It also examines how subsidies to promote the production of biofuels might be evaluated in a WTO context, including the issue of possible cross-subsidization of by products. Lastly, it examines the WTO consistency of certain domestic regulations and standards, such as mandates, fuel content requirements, or sustainability import criteria.

Read the paper here.

Listen to a report from USDA Radio News reporter Brenda Curtis here: Listen To MP3 Brenda (1:30 min MP3)

Domestic Fuel on I-65

From the Birmingham (AL) News – The installation of the first ethanol-and-biodiesel-blended-fuel pumps along Interstate 65 in Alabama should begin in early 2007, state officials said Thursday.

State officials are talking with interested gasoline-selling convenience store operators and working quickly to make alternative-fuel purchase an option for drivers, said Kathy Hornsby of the Alabama Department of Economic and Development Affairs.

Read more.

Less Corn at Higher Prices Means Farmers Will Likely Plant More

The US Department of Agriculture lowered its corn production forecast Thursday by one percent from last month to 10.7 billion bushels, but that’s still the second largest crop on record. Meanwhile, the corn price forecast rose 40 cents to $2.80 to $3.20 a bushel as demand remains brisk.

Expected corn use for ethanol this year was left unchanged at 2.15 billion bushels but farmers are likely to plant more acres in corn next year because of greated demand for ethanol, according to Keith Collins, chief economist for USDA.

Read more from AP.

Domestic Fuels Power Transportation Expansion

Increased demand for E85, biodiesel products brings need for more trains, trucks and storage. Story by David Pitt of the Associated Press.

With new ethanol and biodiesel plants going online, transportation companies are scurrying to provide the needed trains, trucks and storage tanks to keep up.

The fuel-additive industry is growing from regional to national distribution, driven by a federal renewable-fuels standard beginning in 2006 that is expected to double the use of ethanol and biodiesel by 2012.

Read AP story here.

Renova to Supply Ethanol for IRL

Renova Ethanol for the 2007 IndyCar Series will be supplied by Renova Energy of Wyoming.

Ethanol Promotion and Information Council executive director Tom Slunecka made that announcement during a press conference Thursday announcing the new team for Rahal-Letterman Racing.

“Of course all of our member plants are producing the same high quality product,” said Slunecka. “But Renova Energy will actually be fueling the Indy Car Series with product coming out of their plant in Torrington, Wyoming.”

Slunecka says Renova has proven to be able to be a “strong technical partner in making sure that this fuel supply is safe and fast.”

The IndyCar Series needs to have a single consistent fuel supplier to guarantee that all cars in the league are using the same quality and grade of fuel.

Read more from the IRL.

Rahal Letterman Powered by Alcohol

RLR Alcohol will be powering the 2007 Rahal-Letterman Racing team in more ways than one.

The number 17 Team Ethanol car will be driven once again by Jeff Simmons and sponsored, of course, by the ethanol industry. The second car in the RLR stable will be Number 8, piloted by veteran IndyCar Series driver Scott Sharp and sponsored by Patrón Spirits Company premium brand tequila.Patron

During a press conference Thursday, Rahal-Letterman co-owner Bobby Rahal praised Jeff Simmons’ efforts this year, coming on board after the tragic death of driver Paul Dana before the first race of the season. “It was some difficult shoes to fill and he came in and with each race gained more and more confidence,” Rahal said. “And with Jeff we are fortunate to have the relationship with the ethanol industry.”

The IndyCar Series is making the switch to 100 percent ethanol in 2007 and Rahal said they have been very pleased with the results of the fuel. “Any myths that were associated with lack of performance (regarding ethanol) have been shattered.”E

Driver Jeff Simmons is looking forward to his first full year with the IndyCar Series and Rahal-Letterman and said his goals for 2007 are simple, “To win races and be a good spokesman for ethanol.”

Tom Slunecka, executive director of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council, said the ethanol industry’s partnership with Rahal-Letterman and the Indy Racing League has taken ethanol to new heights. “The ‘e’ on the side of that car is starting to represent more than just a brand for a commodity product. It really is a movement that has been strengthening, letting consumers know the performance in that Indy Car can be purchased locally at their gas station.”

Read more from EPIC.

Ethanol Business Stoked Up With Democrat Win

Shares of Archer Daniels Midland Co. and VeraSun Energy Corp., the two biggest U.S. ethanol producers, soared on speculation that Democratic control of the U.S. House of Representatives will boost demand.

“A Democrat-led House is likely to amount to a political net plus for the ethanol industry,” Stanford Group Co. analyst Mark McMinimy wrote today in a report to clients. “The political climate for ethanol in the Congress will shift from an environment that was already favorable to one that is promising for ethanol-friendly legislation over the coming two years.”

Read more from Bloomberg.

ADM Plans Global Lead in Biofuels

ADM Archer Daniels Midland Company made presentations to financial analysts in Chicago Wednesday outlining plans to be the global leader in ethanol and biodiesel production, while expanding its top position in the agricultural processing value chain.

“ADM is uniquely positioned at the intersection of the world’s increasing demands for both food and fuel,” said Patricia Woertz, ADM CEO and President. “As one of the largest agricultural processors in the world and the largest biofuels producer in the world, ADM is in a category of one to capitalize on the exceptional opportunity ahead.”

Read more from ADM press release,
and Reuters report one and two.

ISU Researching Potential Cellulose Breakdown Compound

ISU Discovery A 40-year-old discovery is showing promise as a chemical pre-treatment that breaks down plant fiber. That could release the simple sugars in corn stalks or switchgrass so they can be fermented into ethanol. And that could add value to Iowa’s crops or the fibrous co-products of ethanol production. John Verkade, left, a University Professor of chemistry at Iowa State, and Reed Oshel, a graduate student in biorenewable resources and technology, are studying the compound which they are not identifying as they explore patent options.

Read more here from ISU.

UL Reports Progress on E85 Pumps

UL Underwriters Laboratories reports progress toward developing safety requirements for E85 ethanol dispensers after a two-day forum at headquarters in Chicago last week. Concern over the safety of pumps for 85 percent ethanol was brought into question after a notice Oct. 23 that UL had suspended authorization of E85 dispenser components and that it would be updating its requirements.

The technical forum, co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, featured 32 national experts discussing E85 fuel-dispensing system materials and the development of safety standards for E85 dispensers. Participants included automobile and petroleum company representatives, ethanol producers, dispenser and component manufacturers, industry associations, government agencies and researchers.

UL, North America’s leading safety testing and certification organization, said additional technical data is necessary from forum participants to assist in the standards development process. Forum participants agreed to provide UL with requested technical data no later than Nov. 15.

Read more.

Ford Goes Back to Ethanol Roots

Ford AgriNews of Minnesota reports that Ford is “returning to its origins with its interest in ethanol.”

In 1907, ethanol was the primary fuel for Ford vehicles because it was the most widely available fuel, said Ron Westby, director of public policy for Ford Motor Company, speaking at last week’s Agri-Growth Council annual meeting.

Ford switched to gasoline after the Volstad Act outlawed alcohol in 1918, Westby said, because then gasoline was more readily available.

Read the story here.