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.
Propel Fuels has opened their first publiclly accessed E85 facility in the Sacramento area. The Rocklin 76 station is located at 6700 Five Star Blvd. in the city of Rocklin. The station also offers gasoline and biodiesel under their canopy. It is located in a highly traveled shopping and highway area.
Propel builds, owns and operates a growing network of clean fueling points. The Rocklin facility is the first of theirs to offer E85 but the group has six additional sites that offer biodiesel. Seven fueling sites will open soon and will carry biofuels in the cities of Citrus Heights, Sacramento, Elk Grove, Roseville and Placerville. The group’s goal is to provide an easy access to high quality clean fuels, and quantify the positive impact of your fuel choice.
There are now about 13,000 flexible fuel vehicles registered in the Sacramento area.
GM-Holden will soon be offering its Commodore as E85 compatible in Australia. The group says that biofuels will become a leading alternative fuel for the company.
“We are committed to having locally built Holdens running E85 in the market by 2010,” said GM-Holden managing director, Mark Reuss. “Ethanol is a renewable fuel and the costs are relatively small to modify existing technologies to make it viable. It has great potential, particularly the ability to produce it from waste.”
The company is also in discussions with with biofuels company Coskata in the US to build the first local cellulosic ethanol plant in Australia.
“The key to success will be innovation and an eye for using less foreign oil by increasing efficiency or replacing it altogether with Australian energy alternatives,” Reuss added.
The Kum & Go #62 at 6130 NW 86th Street in Johnston, IA is the state’s 100th E85 facility to open to the public. On November 24, the station, which installed two dedicated E85 fuel dispensers, celebrated the occasion with a grand opening event hosted by the Clean Air Choice Team.
E85 sold for $1.00 per gallon during the four hour celebration. Consumers also had the chance to win several prizes including ethanol fuel gift cards. A ribbon cutting ceremony kicked off the event. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey was in attendance.
“[The event] had a good deal of interest,” said Lucy Norton, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association’s managing director. “Many attended the formal program and ribbon cutting ceremony.” According to Norton, grand opening events – such as this one – are part of an ongoing program sponsored through a partnership of the Clean Air Choice Team, which includes the IRFA, the American Lung Association, Iowa Corn Growers, General Motors Corp. and Kum & Go.
Fastrac Market on Route 481 in Fulton, NY now has E85. This is Oswego County’s first E85 fueling pump. The fuel is manufactured by Northeast Biofuels in the Town of Volney.
“Over the summer, Fastrac Markets was proud to purchase the first ethanol produced at Northeast Biofuels to blend as E10 for sale at our stations throughout upstate,” said Fastrac President Thomas Waddle. “And now, we are just as proud to sell Northeast Biofuels ethanol as part of an E85 blend at our newly expanded service station in Fulton.”
According to the Valley News, Northeast Biofuels General Manager Brian Roach said the E85 pump is another step in the continuation of the state’s biofuels industry. He also emphasized the importance of marketing ethanol through local retailers.
“Northeast Biofuels had made a commitment to do business with local supplies, and having a forward-looking retailer like Fastrac as a customer and partner will help us to do just that,” said Roach. “For Northeast Biofuels to be a success, we need to be able to market our ethanol as close to home as possible.”
There are now 32 E85 locations in the state of New York.
Although the fuel has been available at a couple locations already, Thailand has had no vehicles that could use E85. Now, however, Volvo Thailand has launched the first flexible fuel vehicle.
According to the Nation, the S80 2.5 FT is the first car available in Thailand, made locally, can use any fuel ranging from 91- and 95-octane fuel to E10, E20 and E85. The vehicle is expected to attract those who would like to not only ‘go-green’ but also lower their fuel costs. The C30 1.8 from Volvo is also E85 compatible but is fully imported. The C30 will be a cheaper option for those willing to go green.
It is anticipated that about 15 E85 stations will be open in Bangchak by next year. “Although having more E85 pumps will allow the user to take full advantage of the vehicle, it is important to remember that a flex-fuel vehicle can run on any blend of petrol and ethanol or even pure petrol, which makes it very versatile. The Volvo S80 2.5 FT is an option for companies that want to acknowledge their environmental responsibility, as E85 produces 60 to 70 per cent less greenhouse gas than petrol,” said Paul Stokes, president of Volvo Cars Thailand.
Twenty-nine E85 fueling stations will open in the Sacramento, California area by May 2009, thanks to a grant by the California Air Resource Board. The Sacramento air district received $3.5 million to assist in opening these facilities.
“There are not a tremendous amount of vehicles that can handle E85,” said Walt Dwelle, managing general partner of Nella Oil Co. who plans on adding E85 to his stations in North Highlands and Newcastle. “If there’s not a lot of demand, you don’t want to spend that kind of money and have just a few gallons going through.” There are about 388,000 registered FFVs in the state of California.
Pearson Fuels Inc. in San Diego opened the first E85 fueling station in the state in 2003. They also sell the alternative fuel in Concord, Hayward, Carlsbad, and Oceanside and plans to add additional facilities in the near future.
“The market for E85 depends on the price of gasoline,” said Michael Lewis, general manager of Pearson Fuels. “In June at our station down in San Diego, we were selling 1,000 gallons per day or better. But it was $1 per gallon less than gasoline.”
There are currently 13 E85 stations within the state of California.
The Federal Government’s plan of building their fleet as alternative fuel may be in jeopardy. According to the Washington Post, for the past 16 years they’ve acquired about 112,000 vehicles that can burn something other than fossil fuels. The vehicles are purchased, however, the fuel is difficult for them to find.
“I call it the ‘Field of Dreams’ plan. If you buy them, they will come,” said Wayne Corey, vehicle operations manager with the U.S. Postal Service. “It hasn’t happened.”
Congress has mandated that Federal agencies increase their number of alternative fuel vehicles. Many of the vehicles which have been purchased are E85 compatible, but many of the vehicles were sent to locations in which the fuel is not available. By law, the vehicles must use the alternative fuel should the fuel be available within five miles or 15 minutes from the pump. At this time, 92 percent of the vehicles are not using these such fuels.
The National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC) assists in locating the appropriate location for E85 fueling stations. NEVC Executive Director Phil Lampert added, “While the preceding article is factually correct, the NEVC has successfully worked with a number of regional offices of the USPS, Dept. of Defense, and General Services Administration to locate FFVs in areas where fueling infrastructure exists. Certainly much can be done to increase the use of E85 in FFVs, but it should be noted that some federal agencies, (particularly regional offices) have been successful in placement of FFVs in areas with fuel.”
The first green “E-station” is slated to open in Destiny, Florida soon. The 6,000 square-foot will offer a wide array of traditional and non-traditional fuels for the motoring public. E85 and biodiesel are planned to be included.
“Destiny’s E-Station will introduce solar, renewable energy and new sustainable practices into the lives of residents of Osceola County while also educating consumers on how clean technology and carbon reduction can be implemented,” said Randy Johnson, chief operating officer for Destiny. “The E-Station will be a proving ground for technologies and practices of the future and is a testament to our commitment to create a truly eco-sustainable community in the state.”
Mid-State Energy Inc. of Lake Wales, Florida, had purchased the former site known as Key Stop, and had planned on merely updating the facility. They were approached by Destiny with the E-Station idea.
“We are thrilled to be at the forefront of the creation of one of the country’s first E-stations and are excited to work with Destiny to turn their vision into reality,” said Ken Allen Jr., president of Mid-State Energy. “We believe the E-Station offers a remarkable opportunity to be part of the transition of change from fossil to alternative fuels and a platform for educating the public on new green technologies, and the latest in energy efficient systems which is long overdue in our traditional industry.”
Debuting in early May of this year, the South Dakota ethanol blender pump program has grown to 34 stations across the state. According to the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC), 45 stations have filed applications to receive grants to install these blender pumps which give flexible fuel vehicle owners the choice of filling up with E20, E30, E40 or E85.
“Higher blends of ethanol are the ultimate goal. South Dakota consumers can now reap the benefits of higher blends by being able to access blender pumps across the state,” said Reid Jensen, president of the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council. “South Dakota was first to raise the bar and offer the next generation of fuel to consumers. This is only the starting point. Flex-fuel drivers are discovering that mid-level blends are a better option for them, offering better fuel efficiency, lower emissions and lessening our dependence on foreign oil.”
A state-wide consumer radio and print campaign began on November 5, 2008 to educate consumers about mid-level blends, blender pumps and blender pumps locations.
The National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition is pleased to add our congratulations to President Elect Obama on his victory in the 2008 Presidential election. As a non-partisan organization, we do not and did not support any political candidate from President down to the local County Commissioners. We are however, unapologetic advocates of the use of ethanol and other forms of renewable transportation fuels and look forward to working with President Elect Obama and his administration in advancing the use of renewable fuels.
After his inauguration on January 20, 2009, President Elect Obama will immediately be facing a myriad of critical issues. The recent “credit crunch”; 186,000 U.S. military service men and women engaged in two wars; the continued threat of international terrorism; and loss of jobs in the U.S. are but a few of the central concerns he will be dealing with……..and while the price of gasoline at our nation’s pumps is now some 50% less than the cost in July of this year, we are certain that the goal of domestic energy independence will remain in the top tier of his priorities.
President Elect Obama has been a strong supporter of the use of E85 as a form of renewable fuels. I first met then Senator Obama at the Grand Opening of a new E85 fueling facility in Springfield, Illinois, in June of 2004. At that time it was clear he possessed a tremendous knowledge of agriculture and renewable fuels and how renewable fuels could advance agricultural profitability and U.S. energy security. NEVC staff and contractors worked closely with Senator Obama and his staff to secure the federal income tax credit available to offset some of the costs of new fueling facilities. We have worked together to address matters relating to incentives that are provided to automakers to offset some of the costs of producing FFVs, and other matters of similar importance.
During the campaign, President Elect Obama frequently reiterated his support for biofuels, the massive production of flexible fuel vehicles, and the establishment of the infrastructure necessary to fuel new and existing FFVs.
On behalf of the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition, we look forward to working with the president elect and his team to continue to advance the use of renewable fuels, break the nation’s addiction to oil, and promote rural economic development.
Illinois’ newest ethanol plant adds to a growing list of facilities that are part of the Monsanto Processor Preferred Network.
Patriot Renewable Fuels CEO Gene Griffith says they hope to use as much corn as possible from local farmers to produce ethanol at the new 100 million gallon per year plant. “We will need approximately 215,000 acres worth of corn every year to keep the plant at capacity,” Griffith says. “We hope to buy as much corn as we can from area producers and provide a new market opportunity for them.”
In special demand will be Monsanto’s Processor Preferred® High Fermentable Corn (HFC) hybrids, which can produce 2 percent to 4 percent more ethanol per bushel than commodity corn. Patriot joins approximately 70 ethanol plants in 16 states that are participating in the Processor Preferred Network.
“High-fermentable corn is a win-win for both corn growers and Patriot Renewable Fuels,” says Rob Elliott, Processor Preferred Market Manager for Monsanto. “Farmers have a new corn market, and the ethanol producer has a more productive and efficient local source of corn. We are very pleased to have Patriot Renewable Fuels as part of our initiative.”
Patriotically, the new plant in northwest Illinois held open houses on Wednesday and Thursday this week, right after election day. Patriot is one of the largest locally owned and operated dry grind ethanol plants in the state, made possible by the investment of farmers and businesses located in Annawan, Kewanee, Geneseo and the surrounding communities in Henry, Bureau and Rock Island counties.
A grand opening event was held today to celebrate the introduction of the first E85 fueling facility in the Buffalo, NY area. The pump is located in North Tonawanda, at a Wilson Farms store at 1060 Niagara Falls Blvd., near Ruie Road. According to the Buffalo News, this new site is a result of a joint effort by the convenience store chain and Reid Petroleum.
“We will have E85 in additional locations as customer demand grows for this product,” said Richard Hall, senior fuel manager for Wilson Farms.
Scott Sterry, Reid’s fuels marketing manager, stated that this specific location installed E85 because of the surplus of flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) in the area. There are presently just over 900 FFVs in North Tonawanda and about 8,450 FFVs in Buffalo, NY.
Currently, there are 30 E85 stations throughout the state of New York.
Gulf Oil, LP has opened the second E85 fueling location in the state of Massachusetts. The facility will be servicing flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) that travel to and from Logan Airport at 100 Service Road in Boston.
“We are proud to be among the first to open this alternative fueling location, and we look forward to the day when many more choices — from e85, biodiesel and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) from primarily domestic sources form the foundation of a new energy future,” said Gulf Oil CEO Joseph Petrowski. “We look forward to remaining a market leader in alternate fuel development and are proud that our home of Boston and the Northeast are in the forefront of this transformation.”
The opening of this E85 site is the result of a partnership between Gulf Oil and the station’s operator Energy North and its President Mr. Ken Black who is committed to broaden its fuel options from traditional petroleum to a more varied and secure domestic source of biofuel. The second partnership is between the public and private sectors.
Petrowski went on, “The partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy and the leadership of Massachusetts Representative Delahunt, Governor Deval Patrick, and Energy Secretary Ian Bowles is an important example to the nation of how the public and private sectors can work constructively to solve one of the most important issues of the 21st century: our nation’s energy security.”
A Southeast ethanol company has formally announced the locations for four plants to be built around the sunbelt.
East Coast Ethanol intends to construct plants in Northampton Co., NC; Chester Co., SC; Wayne Co., GA; and Jackson Co., FL.
With a nameplate production capacity of 440 million gallons of ethanol per year, the four plants in operation would make ECE will become the sixth largest ethanol producer in the nation and the leading producer of ethanol and its co-products on the East Coast. According to the latest figures released by the Energy Information Administration, the Southeast ethanol market demand is estimated at 2.1 billion gallons per year.