A Canadian biofuels and green technology company has announced plans to build a second-generation ethanol production facility in Mississippi using wood residue and municipal waste as feedstocks.
Enerkem Inc. of Montreal plans to build the plan in Pontotoc, Mississippi and has contracted with Three Rivers Solid Waste Management Authority to supply approximately 189,000 tons of unsorted municipal solid waste (MSW) per year as feedstock.
The plant is expected to cost $250 million and produce 20 million gallons per year of next-generation ethanol made from wood residues from regional forest and agricultural operations, as well as urban biomass such as municipal solid waste, construction and demolition debris, and treated wood. In addition to the biofuels production facility, the investment includes an upstream municipal solid waste recycling and pre-treatment center.
When the dust finally settled yesterday, oil company Valero came out with the winning bid of $477 million for seven ethanol plants owned by bankrupt producer VeraSun Energy.
According to a release from VeraSun, Valero Renewable Fuels was selected as the successful bidder for assets contained in the “VSE Group”, in addition to ethanol production facilities in Albion, Neb., and Albert City, Iowa, following an auction in Wilmington, Del. The VSE Group consists of production facilities in Aurora, S.D.; Charles City, Fort Dodge and Hartley, Iowa, and Welcome, Minn., and a development site in Reynolds, Ind.
The auction began Monday but ended up continuing into Tuesday because a number of other bidders ended up participating in the process, including Archer Daniels Midland, although they did not acquire any assets.
The secured lenders for nine other VeraSun facilities submitted successful credit bids. The company hopes to close the deals in April. VeraSun had filed to reorganize under Chapter 11 of federal bankruptcy law late in October.
Indiana Senate lawmakers today approved a bill that would allow schools to receive grants to install E85 dispensing units. House Bill 1193 was sponsored by State Senator Ron Alting (shown right).
“Currently, retailers and local governments can receive grants to invest in E85 pumps and fuel tanks,” Alting said. “This legislation would allow school corporations and universities to also receive grants so they can install E85 fuel tanks on campuses.” Alting said since grants became available last year, more than $135,000 has been provided to various retailers.
Along with a Federal income tax credit for E85 infrastructure, Indiana also offers tax breaks and incentives for those who produce and/or use biofuels. Funding for these grants comes from corn check-off funds and has no cost to Indiana taxpayers.
There are currently 116 E85 fueling locations within the state of Indiana.
The Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM), headquarters for the Navy’s worldwide Navy Exchange stores, held a ribbon cutting ceremony today for Hampton Roads’ first E85 pump. The station is located at the Navy Exchange Gas Station, NAS Oceana, Virginia Beach.
Rear Adm. Robert Bianchi, Commander, NEXCOM, and Captain Markham Rich, Commanding Officer, NAS Oceana hosted the ceremony with principal guests and speakers Congressman Glenn Nye, D-VA 2nd District and Bob Dinneen, President and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association.
NEXCOM awarded a public private venture (PPV) contract in April 2008 to Protec Fuels for the infrastructure development and supply of the E85. NEX Oceana is the first location developed under this contract.
With this grand opening, there will be three public access E85 stations in Virginia. The Navy Exchange Oceana facility will be the second public access E85 fuel facility in Virginia operated by the U.S. Navy/NEX.
The Navy is a leader in the use of alternative fuels, including ethanol and biodiesel, and operates the largest fleet of vehicles using alternative fuels in the state of Virginia. This venture will provide the needed access to E85 fuel for the Navy’s fleet of flex-fuel vehicles as well as to the general public.
Many fuel retailers have begun offering blends between 10 percent and 85 percent ethanol for flexible fuel vehicles. The National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC) now has available E20, E30 and E40 labels for retailers to use for their blending pumps.
These labels are offered at a member rate and non-member rate. The coalition also offers the mandatory pump labeling for these blends. Besides blend pump labels, the NEVC offers a complete “pump imaging package” for E85 fueling stations. A listing of all items offered for pump labeling can be found by clicking here.
In 2006, Tennesse Governor Phil Bredesen allocated $1.5 million to the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) to develop a Biofuel Green Island Corridor network along Tennessee’s interstate system and major highways. TDOT has recently opened a solicitation for grant funding to assist in converting or installing fuel storage tanks and equipment to dispense B20 and E85 to the public.
The goal of the Green Island program is to help establish readily available “green island” refueling stations for B20 biodiesel and E85 ethanol no more than 100 miles apart along these corridors. This competitive grant program seeks to identify partner retail stations in areas where reasonably accessible and convenient retail biofuel stations are not in place. A minimum of 20 percent in nonfederal matching funds is required.
A statewide network of biofuel stations will encourage and expand the use of biofuels in Tennessee, which in turn will stimulate rural economic development, increase farm income, reduce vehicle emissions, help protect public health, and reduce dependence on petroleum.
Potential E85 and B20 retailers can view the solicitation by clicking here. Sumission is due by April 17, 2009.
An ethanol plant in Lima, Ohio has been granted a new lease on life with the approved sale of the bankrupt facility to a new owner.
According to a story from the Lima News, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio gave final approval this week for the sale of Greater Ohio (GO) Ethanol to Paladin Capital Group. The company reportedly intends to re-open the closed facility and operate it as a working ethanol plant.
Greater Ohio Ethanol began production last July and filed for bankruptcy protection less than five months later.
The economic stimulus package, signed by President Obama, includes an increase in the federal income tax credit for alternative fuel infrastructure. The National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC) played a lead role in the inclusion of this incentive and is confident this will lead to a more prominent position of high blends of ethanol in the marketplace.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or H.R. 1, increases the existing Federal alternative fuel infrastructure tax credit of $30,000 or 30 percent of the incremental cost, to $50,000 or 50 percent of the incremental cost. The NEVC began encouraging the inclusion of this additional tax incentive in November of 2008 by forwarding a letter to the Speaker of the House with nearly ninety industry leader signatures. The original infrastructure development provision was part of the 2005 Energy Policy Act.
More than seven million E85 compatible or flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) are currently driving on American roads. To date, only 1,958 E85 stations exist to fuel these FFVs. Furthermore, Chrysler, Ford Motor Company and General Motors all have promised to increase their flexible fuel model year availability in a few short years. The additional tax credit will assist those struggling fuel retailers to include this clean burning, alternative fuel to their stations.
According to Bernie Punt, chairman of the NEVC and general manager of Siouxland Energy and Livestock Coop., the increased federal income tax credit should be instrumental in the establishment of new fueling systems across the nation. Punt stated, “The NEVC has been focusing on the lack of E85 fueling infrastructure for the past several years. We lead the effort to establish the tax credit in 2005 and to increase the credit in the stimulus bill. The lack of fueling infrastructure remains the major impediment to using high-level blends of ethanol.”
Also included in the recently signed Stimulus Bill is a grant program providing $300 million to the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program to implement section 721 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The NEVC will be closely monitoring the planned distribution of these funds to encourage DOE to allocate significant portions of the monies to advance E85 fueling systems and educational/marketing efforts.
A free webinar sponsored by the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute (AFVI) called Bottom of the Barrel: Maximizing Your Bottom Line
in the Transition to Alternative Fuels will take place Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 1:30 p.m. ET.
The webinar will feature leading national experts in who are slated to present at the Alternative Fuels & Vehicles Conference + Expo in Orlando, Florida in April including: Mike Marshall, JD Power & Associates; Leo Thomason, Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute; and Robert White, Renewable Fuels Association. Each will tackle one of the above questions and participants will have a chance to ask questions of the subject experts.
The webinar will answer the following:
• What accounts for the dramatic growth in the vehicle conversion market?
• Is it possible for biofuels to be a key driver in displacing U.S. dependence on imported oil?
• How will vehicle options change for fleet decision makers in the coming years?
The webinar is free but space is limited to 250 participants. Information regarding registration can be found by clicking here.
In addition to Federal tax credits, Michigan fueling station owners can now receive 30 percent up to $20,000 to install E85 or biodiesel. Rep. Joel Sheltrown introduced House bill 5878’08 in March 2008, and it was signed into law on December 30 of last year.
This tax credit will be available from January 1, 2009 until December 31, 2012. A certificate of approval from the Energy Office of Michigan must first be obtained prior to taking the credit. One million dollars can be distributed each year through this credit. A station must sell the alternative fuel product for at least three years or the entire credit must be repaid.
Josh Clayton, owner of H & H Mobil in East Lansing, Michigan installed E85 in 2007. He admits that he and other station owners across the state have been underwhelmed by the profits being brought in by E85 and biodiesel fuel pumps, but he still counts himself as a “huge advocate of ethanol” and thinks its development is positive for Michigan.
There are currently 92 E85 stations throughout the state of Michigan.
The Stop In Food Store #67 at 1220 Seminole Trail in Charlottesville, Virginia is the 1,900th E85 station in the U.S.! The facility held its ribbon cutting ceremony just this week where Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (shown left) pumped the first tank of E85.
“We are pleased to own the first public E85 retail location in Virginia and proud to offer a clean alternative transportation fuel,” noted Tom Turner of Stop In Food Stores. The facility was assisted with funds granted through the Virginia Clean Cities Coalition.
The location has twelve gasoline, two E85 and two biodiesel fueling nozzles. A 10,000 gallon compartment tank is used and holds 4,000 gallons of biodiesel and 6,000 gallons of E85. The station is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and offers a 2,400 square foot convenience store which includes a Subway restaurant.
“It’s encouraging to see the number of E85 stations continue to grow even as we deal with issues relating to testing lab certifications and low price of gasoline,” noted National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC) Executive Director, Phil Lampert. “We are excited to be able to achieve this significant milestone of 1,900 E85 fueling facilities! The NEVC and all our national partners look forward to working with the Obama Administration and Congress to continue advance the role of ethanol in reducing our nation’s dependence on imported petroleum.”
At this time last year, there were a total of 1,430 E85 stations across the U.S. For a complete listing of E85 fueling locations, visit www.E85Refueling.com.
Shakopee Dakota Convenience Stores will be hosting E85 promotions at two of their facilities on Friday, December 19. These stations will sell the alternative fuel $0.60 off per gallon.
The first E85 promotion on December 19 will be from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Shakopee Dakota Convenience Store #1 at 15035 Mystic Lake Dr NW in Prior Lake, Minnesota. The second will be from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. at Shakopee Dakota Convenience Store #2 at 14160 Wilds Path NW in Prior Lake, Minnesota. With each E85 fill-up customers will receive a free “silver carwash”.
Event Supporters for the events include: Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Scott County Corn Growers, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, General Motors Corp., National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition, US Dept of Energy Clean Cities, American Lung Assoc. of MN & The MN Clean Air Choice Team.
Currently, there are more 356 E85 fueling locations throughout the state of Minnesota; more than any other state.
E85 is now available at the Mobil On the Run in the city of Wildwood, Missouri. A 6,000 gallon E85 tank services two fueling pumps for E85 compatible vehicles. The station is located at 16509 Old Manchester Road.
Nearly eighty postal vehicles will be using the E85 at the Mobil on the Run in Wildwood. Unfortunately, these vehicles have been forced to use gasoline since the closing of a previous E85 site.
A grand opening celebration is reportedly going to be scheduled some time in January 2009.
Wallis Oil Company will be installing E85 at three additional facilities in the St. Louis region in months to come. These sites include a BP facility at Chesterfield Airport Road and Long Road, in Chesterfield; a Mobil On the Run on Brentwood Boulevard in Brentwood; and a Mobil On the Run at Highways K & N in O’Fallon.
Evansville, Indiana drivers are about to have another option when it comes to filling their Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs). It’s E85 and it’s made from U.S. corn. It’s great for your car, better for the environment and when you burn it you’re doing your part to lessen our dependence on foreign oil.
This CountryMark fueling site will mark Vanderburgh County’s first E85 pump. A grand opening celebration will take place on Thursday, December 18 at 11 a.m. at the station located at 5015 N. St. Joseph Avenue. Speakers at the event will include: Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel; Rick Madden of Superior Ag Resources Cooperative; CountryMark Vice President of Marketing Jon Lantz; and Executive Director of the Central Indiana Clean Cities Alliance Kellie Walsh.
Currently, there are over 115 E85 fueling locations in the state of Indiana.
Despite the tough economic climate for all industries, including ethanol, there are still some plants moving toward production.
BioFuel Energy Corp. of Denver has reached a debt repayment plan with Cargill and two other debt holders to help the company get two plants on-line in Nebraska and Minnesota. According to a release from BioFuel Energy, “Despite the significant hedging losses incurred and announced in August, the Company’s operating subsidiaries have remained financially sound and continued to meet all their obligations” with the exception of Cargill and the two holders of its subordinated debt. The company hopes to have its Wood River, Nebraska and Fairmont, Minnesota plants certified and running at capacity by year-end.
The first ethanol plant under construction in Pennsylvania opened its doors to state officials and members of the media this week. Construction of the BioEnergy International plant in Clearfield is set to be complete late next year and once online it will produce 100 million gallons of ethanol annually.
Finally, a Missouri state appeals court upheld a judge’s ruling in favor of a company with plans to build an ethanol plant in southern Webster County. The Appeals Court ruling agreed that a group claiming that construction of the plant by Gulfstream Bioflex Energy (GBE) would reduce groundwater supplies in the region and harm property values failed to prove their case. However, it is not yet known whether GBE will continue on with the project which has been delayed more than two years by legal challenges.