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.

Gen 1.5 – Corn Fiber to Ethanol

scott-kohlSomewhere between corn ethanol and cellulosic ethanol is a midpoint that can be found in the corn kernel.

“Generation one is starch to ethanol and generation two is corn stover and grasses but there is cellulose in the corn kernel,” explained ICM, Inc. technical director Scott Kohl during a session last week at the Corn Utilization and Technology Conference. “That’s the Generation 1.5 – the fiber in the corn kernel.”

Kohl says ICM is developing processes to separate that fiber from the rest of the kernel to make more ethanol so that the yield from a single bushel of corn will increase. “We’ve run nearly 2,000 hours of pilot runs on that system,” he said. “We are now in the process of getting the financing arranged to have the first plant running by the middle of 2015.” Interview with Scott Kohl, ICM

It was just announced last week that Patriot Renewable Fuels of Annawan, Illinois will be one of the first to use Gen 1.5 with ICM’s patent-pending Fiber Separation Technology (FST). “ICM’s ethanol technology is a logical platform on which to build our business as a bio refinery” said Patriot’s VP/GM Rick Vondra. “There are many new product and growth possibilities using corn as our feedstock, and we have identified these as two high potential processes that we can adopt now.”

2014 CUTC Photo Album

Patriot Hires Leifmark for Cellulosic Ethanol Plant

patriot1Patriot Renewable Fuels has hired Leifmark to plan the first stage of its cellulosic ethanol plant in Illinois. This news release from Patriot says the Inbicon Biomass Refinery technology will be the centerpiece of the platform on the site of Patriot’s 130 million gallon per year grain ethanol plant.

“Leifmark’s analysis will give us a clear picture of the overall technical and economic factors,” says [Gene Griffith, Co-Founder & President of Patriot]. “Their study will provide a sound basis for deciding whether Patriot should go ahead with the engineering phase of the project.”

Paul Kamp, Leifmark co-founding partner in Chicago, says, “Patriot has a history of innovation since its Annawan plant opened in 2008. Adding cellulosic ethanol production is a natural next step.”

At the centerpiece of the technology platform is the Inbicon biomass conversion technology, which Denmark’s DONG Energy began developing in the late 1990s and has demonstrated for over 15,000 hours at its Inbicon Biomass Refinery in Kalundborg, where it typically processes 4.4 tons an hour of wheat straw.

About 1320 tons per day of corn stover will be turned into cellulosic ethanol using the Inbicon’s technology.

Cold Winter Challenges Ethanol Plant Logistics

nec14-rail-bobAt the National Ethanol Conference last week, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen had a discussion with Ed Hamberger, President and CEO, Association of American Railroads, on Regulatory Crackdown on Rail Transport. They discussed current government proposals focused on rail cars.

Hamberger kicked off the discussion by noting that ethanol has been one of the fastest growing commodity segments for the railroads growing from 40,000 rail cars of ethanol in 2000 to 330,000 in 2011- an 800 percent increase. While he said there were some challenges, new routes, new track, new employees, he said that over the years, the ethanol industry and the rail industry have become good partners for America. Rail Transportation conversation

nec14-patriot-vondraOne ethanol plant of many that is using the railroads to transport its ethanol and byproducts such as dried distillers grains (DDGs) is Patriot Renewable Fuels, located just off I-80 in Annawan, Illinois.  Using rail and trucks involves a lot of logistics and Patriot’s Rick Vondra has noted that with the cold weather over the last couple months they, along with other ethanol plants, have had challenges in moving their product, in particular rail movement.

“It’s been a tremendous challenge and we’ve had to find alternative ways to move our product,” explained Vondra. He said they are using more trucks but so are other plants and on top of the increased demand from their plant and the ethanol industry, the trucks still have other products to deliver.

So how is the weather affecting the railroad industry? Vondra said snow and ice have been a big factor because rail workers have to go and move switches that can get frozen. They have to remove ice from lines and with temperatures getting as cold as 20 below zero, workers can’t be outside long.

With the goal of increased use of E15 and other higher blends of ethanol being a recurring theme during the conference, I asked Vondra what some of his takeaways of this conversation were. He noted that Patriot is working closely with retailers, wholesalers, distributors and car dealers in their local community to educate people on the benefits of ethanol, but also to encourage more adoption and use of ethanol in the community.

Listen to my interview with Rick where he talks about cold logistic challenges as well as their work on ethanol education. Interview with Rick Vondra, Patriot Renewable Fuels

2014 National Ethanol Conference Photo Album

NEC Coverage sponsored by Patriot Renewable Fuels LLC

Patriot Out Front with Ethanol

nec14-patriot-darryllPatriot Renewable Fuels wants to be the “poster child” for other ethanol plants when it comes to marketing higher blends in their own communities.

You might remember Darrell Rakestraw as the veteran we interviewed last fall about the EPA proposal to lower the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). When we spoke to him last week at his first National Ethanol Conference, Rakestraw was three months into his job as market development manager for Patriot. “I’ve learned a lot in three months,” he said. “The one thing I got out of (the conference) is that we have to help ourselves, we have to put the funds in to do the educational piece because no one else is going to do it.”

Listen to my interview with Darrell here: Interview with Darrell Rakestraw, Patriot Renewable Fuels

2014 National Ethanol Conference Photo Album

NEC Coverage sponsored by Patriot Renewable Fuels LLC

Ethanol Exports Important to Industry

nec14-patriot-juddExports of both ethanol and the animal feed co-product distillers dried grains (DDGs) are important for Patriot Renewable Fuels, located near the Quad Cities and not far from Chicago.

Patriot commodity manager Judd Hulting attended a trade mission with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) to Brazil last fall. “It’s just another outlet for our 200 or so investors,” he says. “We are actually close to 100% dependent on the export market for our distillers grains so branching out both in the ethanol and the DDG market is very important for our profitability going ahead.” Interview with Judd Hulting, Patriot Renewable Fuels

nec14-hubbardRFA General Counsel Ed Hubbard led that mission to Brazil last fall and talked about it during a panel at the National Ethanol Conference on Expanding the Global Marketplace for U.S. Ethanol.

“We had a very successful mission opening new business for individuals that participated,” said Hubbard. “We are the global leader in ethanol production, producing 57% of the world’s output.”

Hubbard noted that U.S. ethanol exports surged to 82.4 million gallons 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. Ethanol exports totaled 621.5 million gallons in 2013, the third-highest annual total on record. Comments from RFA General Counsel Ed Hubbard

Also on the export panel were:

Eco-Energy CEO Chad Martin – Comments from Chad Martin, Eco-Energy
DATAGRO Consulting president Plinio Nastari – Comments from Plinio Nastari, DATAGRO
U.S. Department of Commerce trade specialist Cora Dickson – Comments from Cora Dickson, US Commerce Dept.

2014 National Ethanol Conference Photo Album

NEC Coverage sponsored by Patriot Renewable Fuels LLC

American Made Message Delivered to Drivers on I-80

Patriot Renewable Fuels is delivering the message of the benefits of American made products with their new LED sign on Interstate 80 that was installed on December 20, 2013. The biorefinery is located just off I-80 and drivers can see the facility as they drive by, but Gene Griffith, president of Patriot notes that most drivers have no idea that the plant was producing the fuel -ethanol- they were using in their car.

So the Patriot team came up with a solution. To install and LED billboard along I-80 near their biorefinery that gives drivers simple messages about the benefits of ethanol. When the construction of Patriots biodiesel facility is complete, they will incorporate messages about the benefits of biodiesel as well.

Patriot Renewable Fuels American Made“Patriot is very visible to drivers on I-80 but the sign we had was not easily viewable, and we often received questions “what is that plant?”, is it a power company?,” explained Griffith. “In addition to the permanent sign at the top that identifies Patriot Renewable Fuels, LLC, the bottom sign is an LED message sign that we will use to highlight some of the important Patriot and Industry messages.”

The one shown is in this photo says “American Made”. Others will include “Producing Feed and Fuel,” with photos of the DDGS pile and rail cars of ethanol.

“Visibility is good 24 hours a day, but it is impossible to miss at night. We’ve had a great reception to its installation,” added Griffith.

Ethanol Brings People Home

Patriot Renewable Fuels‘ General Manager Rick Vondra came home seven years ago when he began working with the biorefinery. He grew up about 80 miles north of Annawan, Illinois on the Illinois-Wisconsin border. Since high school he has been working in the agriculture industry and has traveled around the world in his various roles with ag companies.

But now because of the ethanol boon, he is home.

Rick VondraVondra is one of the key Patriot team members who recognized the need for the ethanol plant to become more diversified. When they first began operations five years ago, they produced ethanol and dried distillers grains (DDGs). Then they added corn oil production. And now they are constructing a biodiesel facility using JatroDiesel’s flexible feedstock technology that will also produce high quality glycerin as well. In just over five years, Patriot has gone from an ethanol plant to a true renewable biorefinery.

He noted that with each additional product, Patriot is adding more value to the kernel of corn, more value to their local communities, more value to their investors, and more value to Americans.

Vondra is really excited about the addition of their biodiesel facility. They currently employ 50 people and will be adding nine more good paying jobs when the facility begins operations this fall. And he believes they have a great market for biodiesel not only because the biorefinery is located on highway I-80 but also because Illinois has a very good program to promote biodiesel. He is confident this addition will create additional benefits for the community.

“I don’t see how you develop the cellulosic industry if the ethanol market is going to be capped at 13 billion gallons,” said Vondra when asked about the 2014 proposed renewable fuel volumes by the Environmental Protection Agency for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). “This been a lot of talk from the government and even the media that we have to get cellulosic. This year there are going to be three or four decent sized plants coming online. So just as we’re getting to the point where we’re starting to make some real progress with industrial sized plants, they are proposing cutting back ethanol into the marketplace.”

“It’s very baffling to me.”

Listen to my interview with Rick Vondra here: Ethanol Brings People Home

Check out the Patriot Renewable Fuels photo album.

IL State Rep Moffit: Ethanol is Still Exciting

Illinois State Representative Donald Moffitt knows agriculture. He grew up on a family farm, on which his son still farms (and Don occasionally helps). This has been a huge asset for him in his role because agriculture is the number one industry in both the 74th District as well as the state of Illinois.

Rep Moffitt was serving in this role seven years ago when Patriot Renewable Fuels broke ground on their ethanol plant (and in November they broke ground on a biodiesel plant) and I asked him what IL State Rep Donald Moffittthe feelings were like about ethanol during that time. He said there was a lot of excitement and there still is a lot of excitement.

“But finally, we’d been hearing about ethanol. We knew as farmers and producers we wanted to encourage the use of ethanol,” said Rep. Moffitt. “We were trying to get acceptance of ethanol years ago and finally one comes to our area with the construction of Patriot Renewable Fuels. So it was genuine excitement.”

The excitement went way beyond agriculture, explained Moffitt. First there were the construction jobs to build the plant and that brought a lot of jobs and economic activity to the area. Once the plant was running, there are the permanent jobs and then he noted there is the benefit to the community such as value added benefits to corn, for example. Producers are now able to get a higher price for their corn. The economic activity of Patriot brings more people to the restaurants, to the gas stations and other local businesses.

“So it’s a win-win for our state, for our community, for agriculture and we need to have this type of diversity,” said Rep. Moffitt.

He noted that biofuels help our entire nation by creating a more diversified fuel supply, and they reduce our dependence on foreign oil. “And I’m old enough to remember oil embargoes that occurred in the past, and long lines at gas stations when OPEC embargoed shipments to the U.S.,” said Rep. Moffitt. “It put us in a real bind. With a domestic supply that is also a renewable supply it helps relieve that problem; it helps prevent it from happening. We’d be better off, safer as a nation, if our fuel was all domestic IL Rep Moffit groundbreakingand renewable. So ethanol and biodiesel help make that happen. It’s a trend in the right direction.”

Moffitt continued, “The production of biofuels is actually a national security issue. Because we don’t want to be dependent on foreign countries for our energy supply. Not all of them are friendly to the United States. But the American farmer is always going to be our friend.”

“For the distractors from biofuels, if they want to depend on foreign oil for energy supplies they can do that,” said Rep. Moffitt. “They’re wrong and its not a safe concept to have. We must have as much of our energy, and I hope all of our energy eventually, produced right here.”

Listen to my interview with IL State Rep Donald Moffitt here: IL State Rep Moffitt: Ethanol is Still Exciting

Check out the Patriot Renewable Fuels photo album.

Ag, Biofuel Industries Dealt a Blow From EPA

The agriculture and biofuel industry has been dealt a blow according to Adam Nielsen, director of legislation and policy development for the Illinois Farm Bureau. Nielsen, who spends a significant amount of time promoting the agricultural industry in Washington, D.C., said the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed 2014 reduction of the amount of corn ethanol blended as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is of great concern.

Adam Nielsen Illinois Farm BureauNielsen expressed his concern to Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL) during her recent visit to Patriot Renewable Fuels located in Annawan, Illinois. As Nielsen aptly points out, agriculture is the number one industry in the state of Illinois.

“We’re hoping to see an upward revision,” said Nielsen, “and we’re going to try to activate our members over the next couple of months and try to get as many comments as we can into the Federal Register.” He stressed that his organization is going to participate in as many forums and areas they can to try to get the proposed rule changed.

“It’s a blow to the renewable fuels industry and a blow to agriculture. There are so many things attached to the Renewable Fuel Standard,” explained Nielsen. “It’s been so significant in recent years that we need to do whatever we can to protect it.”

As a policy Nielsen said the RFS has done a lot to improve the lives of those in the agriculture industry and especially in the area around Patriot Renewable Fuels. He noted that biofuels and agriculture are completely intertwined. “It’s provided a market where there wasn’t one prior to the Renewable Fuels Standard,” he said.

“It is so intertwined right now that any time you make decisions like this it’s going to have wide ramifications. So that’s the message we need to get through to the U.S. EPA in the next couple of months,” added Nielsen.

Listen to my interview with Adam Nielsen here where he discusses both the RFS as well as the need for a Farm Bill and how the two bills are intertwined: Ag, Biofuel Industries Dealt a Blow from EPA

Check out the Patriot Renewable Fuels photo album.

IL Sen. Todd Sieben “Retired To” Working for Ethanol

IL Farm Bureau Adam Nielsen and former IL State Sen Todd Sieben

Left to right: Adam Nielsen, Illinois Farm Bureau and former IL State Senator Todd Sieben

A good friend once told Todd Sieben, Chairman Central Bank and retired state senator, that when you get ready to retire, don’t retire from something, but retire to something. After 21 years as a state legislator, Sieben did just that and he “retired to” working on projects in his local community including helping to bring the idea of Patriot Renewable Fuels to reality.

Sieben is currently working with the Illinois General Assembly on passing legislation that would incentivize the use of E15 in Illinois. He explained that for many years there has been a sales tax incentive for E10 that enables consumers to purchase the biofuel at a lower cost. Now, says Sieben, they would like to see that tax incentive shifted to E15 and use some of the funds to help retailers build the infrastructure, such as blender pumps, needed to offer consumers E15.

In addition to this work, he is also working with Patriot to get their story out to consumers so they have a better understanding of the positive benefits of ethanol. Sieben noted that there are two stories. One is the local story focused on the economic benefits – the benefits they provide to the local producer. The second is the national story.

Patriot Renewable Fuel ethanol benefits“There is a need to tell a national story to go up against the false claims that are made by Big Oil companies or the food industry that talks about the negative things they believe in an effort to hurt the industry,” said Sieben. “So we’ve got to talk about the value of ethanol or our economy. The value of ethanol to our environment. The value of ethanol in improving our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. That’s the national picture – the big picture.”

He said that Patriot is now getting the message out in social media (Twitter, Facebook, website, etc.) and encourages other ethanol plants and biofuel plants and companies to do the same.

When asked how biofuels affects every single person in the country, he answered the number one positive effect is clean air. He said the second benefit is bringing the price of fuel down at the pump.

Sieben stressed, “We need everyone to step up and listen to this message and stand up for our agricultural industry. To stand up for corn. To stand up for ethanol. We need people to speak up and speak out.”

Listen to my interview with Todd Sieben here: IL State Sen. Todd Sieben 'Retired To' Working for Ethanol

Check out the Patriot Renewable Fuels photo album.

Tips from Patriot’s Dave Gerhart on Improving Efficiency

When you want to learn about ethanol, you go to an industry veteran and I did just that when I spoke with Patriot Renewable Fuels Plant Manager Dave Gerhart who began his career in the early 80s at is what is now known as Nebraska-based Chief Ethanol Fuels. At the time, they were the largest dry mill ethanol plant in the United States. Back then corn was less than $2 a bushel so the ethanol plant was something the local community supported to help the local farmer.

Patriot Plant Manager Dave GerhartFrom there, Gerhart changed gears slightly and joined the ICM team where he worked with them on their first 5 design and build ethanol plants. This was in the early 2000s before the major industry boom. Next he began the plant manager at Kaapa Ethanol and today he has brought his 30 years of experience to Patriot to help them grow.

One of Gerhart’s areas of expertise is his ability to identify things in the plant that can be modified to help improve efficiency – a key factor in increasing profitability. I asked him for those that are newbies to the industry, some areas plant managers can’t look at to increase efficiency.

“One you would look at your energy balance and see where you could actually put variable frequency drives rather than an automatic control valve. So that would reduce electricity,” explained Gerhart. “If you can reduce water usage, this helps you out in the energy balance as well. There is different trains of thoughts on fermentation and what you can do there. Sometimes people take the path of least resistance and in doing so they short circuit the energy efficiency they can actually get out of there plant.”

I asked Gerhart what he would really like consumers to know about biofuels. “Hopefully they all realize that ethanol is probably the cleanest thing they can put into your gas tank,” said Gerhart. “Gasoline is not. Alcohol is very safe. It’s homegrown. It’s renewable. It’s not something that we have to go foreign to get.”

I also asked him why consumers needed to care about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFs). They need to care because ethanol has such an impact on middle America,” said Gerhart. “We’ve done so much to build up the farm incomes and the trucking industry and the fuel distribution. So every plant no matter where it’s at has an economic impact, at a minimum of 70 miles around it.”

Gerhart added, “This needs to stay.”

Listen to my interview with Dave Gerhart here: Tips from Patriot's Dave Gerhart on Improving Efficiency

Check out the Patriot Renewable Fuels photo album.

A Q&A with JatroDiesel

JatroDiesel’s technology has been selected by Patriot Renewable Fuels for its 4-5 million biodiesel facility under construction next to its ethanol plant in Annawan, Illinois. The biodiesel plant, when it goes into operation in September 2014 will use the corn oil produced during the ethanol process for its primary feedstock. To learn more about the multi-feedstock biodiesel technology, I spoke with Raj Mosali, CEO of Jatro Diesel.

Jatro Biodiesel TeamHow did you get into the biodiesel industry?
“I would say it was serendipity,” said Mosali. We wanted to do something in the industry. We began developing the technology in the garage. The first iteration was a bad system that could only use soy. Today, they have developed the technology for a fully continuous plant that produces biodiesel from multi-feedstocks.

What types of technologies did you develop?
We have two types of technologies, answered Mosali. One is traditional (catalysts, acid and methanol) and one is super critical methanol-based technologies that is being used for Patriot’s biodiesel facility. When using super critical technology, they are eliminating the use of both catalysts and acid in the process. They achieve the same results by using temperature and pressure. Also with super critical technology the glycerin produced is 95 percent pure or higher and this brings in additional revenue.

Are issues surrounding free fatty acids (FFA) a thing of the past?
Masali said that super critical processing can utilize any feedstock up to 100 percent FFA. Due to this ability, there is no restriction on what the technology can do and no restrictions on what kinds of feedstocks they can use as well as no restrictions on what kinds of FFA’s they come in with. In addition, there is about 5 percent of FFAs that until now no one can use, but this technology can such as yellow grease.

JatroDiesel logoWhy it is a good idea to co-locate the biodiesel facility next to an ethanol plant?
It is a huge, huge advantage whenever you vertically integrate a biodiesel plant with the source of the feedstock, explained Mosali. The savings come from the trucking and other economics that typically go into transporting the feedstock. He believes pretty soon most ethanol plants will follow the lead of what Patriot is doing.

What type of project is best suited for your technology?
Mosali said that the best type of project for their technology is a greenfield project because of all the elements needed for this technology, but it’s not out of the question to convert a shuttered biodiesel plant to use their technology.

Listen to my full interview with Raj Mosali here: A Q&A with JatroDiesel

Check out the Patriot Renewable Fuels photo album.

Annawan Mayor Kennard B Franks Applauds Patriot

Annawan Mayor Kennard B Franks applauds Patriot Renewable Fuels for how much their ethanol plant (and soon to be biodiesel facility) has done for the local community. “Patriot has helped us immensely,” said Mayor Franks.

He noted that they knew they were in a great spot on Interstate 80 along with the railroad routes and two natural gas pipelines running east and south of town. Yet they didn’t have the money to build the infrastructure needed to prepare the area for an ethanol plant. Enter @Patriot Fuels (Patriot Renewable Fuels). With the taxes that Patriot paid, Annawan was able to do $12 million in infrastructure and equipment upgrades without raising tax rates.

Annawan Mayor Kennard B FranksMayor Franks said that for many small communities across the country, they can’t afford to make the appropriate updates but when an ethanol plant comes to town, these improvements are made. Not only that, but local businesses see a boost and in the case of Annawan, population 986, their school system was saved in part because the state of Illinois has not been able to keep up with payments. In addition a new bank came to town and their local hotel has seen a significant increase in business as have the local restaurants. And the local Shell station added a truck stop to cater to all the trucks delivering corn and picking up ethanol and by products at the plant.

But maybe most important, said Mayor Franks, they have helped to develop 600 acres along the Interstate that is ready for business. He thinks two perfect businesses would be a tilapia fish farm where the fish could eat distillers grains produced at the plant, and a greenhouse where the CO2 from the plant would be used to as nutrients for the vegetables in the greenhouse.

I asked Mayor Franks what would happen if worst case scenario next year I drove down Patriot Way and Patriot Renewable Fuels was not operating because the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has been crippled by the effort of Big Oil. It would have a tremendous impact on the city said Mayor Franks.

“Between 2000 and 2012 total sales increased in Annawan 123 percent when during that same time period the Illinois retail sales increased by 24 percent,” explained Mayor Franks. “Those numbers would probably reverse.” He added that the town would survive but it would no longer be the town that people wanted to live in as it is today.

I also asked Mayor Franks what the EPA and the Obama Administration and America needed to know about the RFS. “I guess what they need to know is that they should increase the mandate to 20 percent rather than decreasing it,” answered Mayor Franks. “Plus they don’t know the economic impact not just here in Annawan but all over Illinois and Iowa and Nebraska. If all these ethanol plants went away, what the impact would have on the farmers. I just don’t think people realize that a big impact that would be if it happened.”

Listen to my interview with Mayor Kennard B. Franks here and learn about the benefits of Patriot to the community and the negative ripple effect that would tear through the town and throughout the country if the RFS goes away: Annawan Mayor Kennard B Franks Applauds Patriot

Check out the Patriot Renewable Fuels photo album.

Rep. Cheri Bustos Loves Ethanol

Representative Cheri BustosDid you know that Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL) loves ethanol? Those in attendance at Patriot Renewable Fuels roundtable and RFS rally learned this when hearing from Rep. Bustos about her support of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

A little over two weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its proposed renewable fuel volumes for the 2014 RFS. However much to the surprise of the biofuel industry, the EPA proposed lower volumes that in 2013 and even lower volumes when taking into account what the statute outlines for growth of biofuel use. That every day, Rep. Bustos along with Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) wrote a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy expressing concern over the proposed rule.

During the roundtable, Rep. Bustos made several comments in support of biofuels including the need for more legislators to learn about biofuels from people on the ground in the industry such as she was doing during her visit with Patriot. She also noted that she liked the buttons that the dozens of attendees were wearing saying: I love ethanol. “I love ethanol too,” she said.

“I will do everything I can to keep fighting for that. I’m very happy to be here and Gene [Griffith with Patriot] has a success story that he shared with you already and the fact that there is going to be a groundbreaking for an additional $10 million biodiesel and nine new jobs, those are things we have to foster through our legislation and make sure that we’re doing everything we can to fight for ethanol. That we’re doing everything we can to fight for biofuels,” said Rep. Bustos. “It is so critical to the state of Illinois and to our country and I’ll speak very specifically to the 17th Congressional District. We have three ethanol plants, Galva, Lena and Annawan so we’re talking a major economic impact.”

Rep. Bustos is a member of the Ag Committee and she is committed to being a positive voice about biofuels in her role.

“We can’t take a step back,” stressed Rep. Bustos. “At worse we want to stay status quo but we want to make improvements. And it’s very clear on why we want to make sure we’re fighting for this.”

“We have time to fight this.”

Listen to Rep. Cheri Bustos full remarks here: Rep. Cheri Bustos Loves Ethanol Continue reading