Western Wind Energy to Power Turbine Generators in California

Western Wind EnergyWestern Wind Energy is supplying energy for new wind turbines that will be erected in Tehachapi, California. The energy company has announced that negotiations to deliver up to 120 MW of wind energy turbine generators in both the Mega watt and Multi Mega watt class are underway with several major wind turbine manufacturers.

Delivery is anticipated in late 2008 and commissioning is anticipated in early 2Q 2009. Windstar has received a construction permit number from Kern County and Western Wind has completed all archeological, biological, soils analysis and visual impact studies with a conclusion of “no significant impact”. Windstar is located within a project area of over 5,000 wind turbine generators delivering an annual output of 1.4 billion kilowatt hours from over 700 MW of nameplate capacity.

Renewable Fuels Now Fights for Alternative Energies

e-podcastThe first “official” action of the Renewable Fuels Now coalition was to determine where Americans stand on developing and using alternative energies. The coalition is a new umbrella organization of different associations that are working to provide accurate information about renewable fuels. Greg Krissek with ICM says opponents of alternative energies have swamped the public with misinformation about renewable fuels, particularly ethanol. But, Bob Dinneen, the president of a member organization the Renewable Fuels Association, says despite the barrage of misinformation, Americans are still strong supporters of alternative fueling options such as ethanol and biodiesel. He says the poll sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Now coalition affirms that 74 percent of Americans think the U.S. should be using more ethanol. Bob adds that 87 percent want the government to actively support the development of renewable fuels in the U.S. That’s why Greg says the next step for the new umbrella organization is to educate policy makers about the advantages of renewable fuels. He says the Renewable Fuels Now coalition wants to ensure policy makers have the correct information on alternative energies like ethanol and biodiesel as they debate the next Energy Bill and plan to expand the Renewable Fuels Standard developed in 2005.

This edition features comments from Renewable Fuels Now representatives RFA President Bob Dinneen and ICM’s Greg Krissek.

The “Fill up, Feel Good” podcast is available to download by subscription (see our sidebar link) or you can listen to it by clicking here (5:30 MP3 File):
epic-podcast-11-30-07.mp3

The Fill Up, Feel Good theme music is “Tribute to Joe Satriani” by Alan Renkl, thanks to the Podsafe Music Network.

“Fill up, Feel Good” is sponsored by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council.

Ethanol in the Midwest

Washington Group InternationalThe Midwest is getting three new ethanol production plants. Washington Group International has received $150 million worth of cost-reimbursable contracts from E85 Inc. for the construction of E85′s first three ethanol plants in the Midwest region.

E85 Inc.Washington Group will provide procurement, construction, commissioning, and start-up services for the facilities in Wahoo, Neb., and Red Oak and Council Bluffs, Iowa. Each of the facilities will be capable of producing 110 million gallons of ethanol per year. The corn-based ethanol will be blended with unleaded gasoline to create motor fuel, and the plant will produce commercially viable products in corn gluten feed and meal, corn germ, and wet and dry distiller grains with solubles.

Work on the Wahoo plant started in late September; work on the other two plants is planned to begin during the fourth quarter of 2007. A peak construction force of more than 300 is expected at each site. E85 will invest over $750 million in the three facilities.

Renewing Cheese Water for Renewable Fuels

thenorthwestern.comA Wisconsin entrepreneur says producers don´t have to rely on corn, or even cellulosic waste, to create ethanol. Joe Van Groll, Owner of Grand Meadow Energy, LLC, says he can create ethanol from cheese water waste. Joe says this new method for creating ethanol is a great alternative. He points out that the ethanol industry is the target of negative publicity because critics say the use of corn takes water out of the water table and the food supply and shifts it to the energy market. But, Joe says water
is already a waste byproduct of the cheese making process, with 75 percent or greater water. Joe says using that waste to create ethanol removes that water, purifies it and puts it back into the environment.

Joe also uses canola oil for the production of biodiesel. He says there is no one “silver bullet” for creating renewable fuels. You can read more about Joe´s alternative production of alternative fuels at thenorthwestern.com.

Branding E85

EPIC Director of Operations Robert White explaining the market for E85 There are a lot of pluses about operating vehicles with a blend of E85 fuel and the Director of Operations with the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council mapped out just as many ways to promote consumer use of the renewable fuel. That’s precisely what today’s educational forum at the Holiday Inn in Overland Park was all about: how to boost the marketing landscape for E85 in the Kansas City area. Robert White says the best strategy basically boils down to getting more flex-fuel vehicles out on the road and getting more E85 in their tanks. For Robert, it’s up to the automakers, local fuel retailers and local auto dealerships to make that happen through a united effort to brand ethanol.

I spoke with Robert about some of the many ideas EPIC shares with the ethanol industry nationwide. You can listen to my interview with Robert here:

White_Robert.mp3

Mid-Missouri MFA Oil Trucks and Pumps E85 throughout the Midwest

David Perkins, Manager of Special Projects for MFA Oil talking with EPIC Alternative Blends Coordinator Michelle GibiliscoE85 “just makes sense” for the Manager of Special Projects at MFA Oil. David Perkins was one of two MFA Oil representatives at today’s educational forum on E85 fuel. The forum was sponsored by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council. David says MFA Oil is the company responsible for introducing ethanol to the mid-Missouri region when the company invested in a small ethanol plant in Marshal, MO in 1973 and first began selling an E10 blend of ethanol in 1980. MFA offered E85 fuel blends at one of its Missouri filling stations for the first time in November of 2003. The oil company now has 44 retail locations that offer ethanol fuel blends at the pump. E85 sales for MFA amount to more than 3 million gallons per year. For David, just offering a blend of ethanol fuel at the pumps will ultimately help drive E85 sales. David also stressed the importance of ethanol producers, retailers and car dealers working together to promote E85.

David and I discussed the importance of generating a dialogue about ethanol and E85. You can listen to my interview with David here:

Perkins_David.mp3

Growing E85 in Kansas

Sue Schulte, Director of Communications for the Kansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Associations Good news if you’re a fuel retailer in Kansas. The state offers a 40 percent tax credit to retailers who invest in E85 fuel. Couple that with the 30 percent tax credit the federal government offers, and fuel retailers in Kansas can take advantage of a 70 percent return on their E85 investments. That’s one of the key points Sue Schulte, the Director of Communications of the Kansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Associations, drove home to attendees at today’s educational forum on E85 fuel. The forum was hosted by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council to help direct local members of the ethanol industry in Kansas City on how to get online with E85.

Sue clued participants in on where the ethanol industry stands in Kansas, so producers and retailers could get a feel for what the state already has to offer and determine where and how the local industry can grow. Sue says there are 10 dry mill ethanol plants in operation in Kansas. These plants have a capacity to produce over 329 mill gallons of ethanol. Sue says that current Kansas production creates a market for over 116 million bushels of sorghum and corn. She adds that more expansion is on the way, with ethanol plants that are either under construction or nearing construction having projected production capabilities of about 330 more million gallons of ethanol each year. The state’s fuel industry is beginning to respond. Sue says just five filling stations offered ethanol in 2005. Now, there are 24 stations throughout the state that pump the alternative fuel.

I caught up with Sue and asked her about her thoughts on what today’s educational forum on E85 offered local industry members. You can listen to my interview with Sue here:

Schulte_Sue.mp3

Getting the facts on E85

Ethan Taylor, E85 Coordinator for the Missouri Corn Growers Association talking with EPIC Alternative Blends Coordinator Michelle Gibilisco Missouri can boast 93 E85 filling stations that are either up and running or soon to open. Ethan Taylor, the E85 Coordinator for the Missouri Corn Growers Association says that each E85 filling station pumps about 300 gallons a day. That equates to 27,900 gallons of E85 fuel being sold each day in Missouri, or more than 10 million gallons sold each year. The Show-Me-State certainly has a jump start on the ethanol industry, but there’s obviously room for more growth.

That’s one of the reason’s why the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council sponsored an educational forum in Kansas City today to allow local ethanol industry members, or those interested in becoming involved in the industry, learn more about how they can grow ethanol, and, more specifically, how they can ramp up the production and sale of E85 fuel. During the forum, Ethan stressed that the biggest necessity for industry producers and retailers is to educate consumers on the truth about ethanol. He says much of the public is misinformed about how and when to run their vehicles on E85 fuel blends, how much mileage they’re getting compared to gasoline and how much money they’re spending to get from A to B.

Ethan reminds industry members that virtually any vehicle manufactured since 1980 can use an E10 blend of fuel. He says consumers do need a flex-fuel vehicle in order to use E85 fuel or any other fuel blend greater than 10 percent ethanol. When it comes to energy efficiency, Ethan explains that a gallon of ethanol has an energy content of about 72,000 BTU. When compared to gasoline’s energy content of about 115,000 BTU, that means consumers get about 28 percent less energy from burning E85. Ethan says that equates to about a 10 to 20 percent mileage loss when using E85. But, he says when you factor in the cost of E85 fuel – which typically runs 20 percent lower than the going rate for gasoline – at worst, consumers are spending the same amount of money. At best, they’re saving 10 percent on fuel.

For Ethan, spending the same amount of cash, or less, on a renewable fuel that’s domestically produced, that reduces emissions and that results in cleaner engines is a smart idea.

I spoke with Ethan about the importance of today’s educational forum on E85 and about how the Missouri Corn Growers Association is getting involved in the ethanol industry. You can listen to my interview with Ethan here:

Taylor_Ethan.mp3

Driving an E85 Market in Kansas City

EPIC forum on E85 fuelThere’s a growing market for E85 fuel blends in Kansas City and the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council wants to make sure local producers, ethanol retailers and flex-fuel vehicle car dealers are equipped with the infrastructure, knowledge and marketing tools they need to sell an E85 product. EPIC is sponsoring two educational forums about the high-grade alternative fuel today at the Holiday Inn and Suites in Overland Park. This morning, industry leaders came together to discuss and learn about promoting what EPIC calls “part of the solution for the future.” The forum is also meeting this afternoon.

Oregon Setting Standards for Ethanol Production

Do you know what is one of the best things about blog-style news sites? It gives the editors the freedom to not only spark feedback from readers, but to share that feedback with the rest of the site’s subscribers. One subscriber, Tim, pointed out the how ethanol is moving forward in Oregon. I thought that both what he found and what he had to say are every bit of post worthy:

What do democratic Oregon Governor Kulongoski, republican Congressman Greg Walden, an Eastern Oregon Wheat farmer and a barge operator have in common? They were all among the 500 people in Boardman, Oregon on October 5th celebrating the grand opening of Pacific Ethanol’s state-of-the-art biorefinery, Oregon’s first opportunity to produce its own motor fuel. This video shows how renewable fuels are breaking down old political barriers between urban and rural America.

Oregon is doing renewable fuels right–having passed a landmark legislative package that ensures market access; creates incentives for local feedstocks; and encourages efficient production and investment in new technology. The policy is already translating into on-the-ground investment. Oregon provides a great model for other states across the country looking to reap the economic and environmental benefits of renewable fuels.

Technology Management Develops World’s First Soybean-Powered Fuel Cell

Technology ManagementOhio has a lot of it, and now, one company has a breakthrough way of using it. Technology Management Inc., based in Cleveland, Ohio, says it’s committed to “creating clean technology solutions for the emerging energy shortfalls of the 21st century.” That commitment has paid off as TMI offers a first in fuel cell systems technology worldwide, using Ohio’s largest cash crop to generate electricity.

Technology Management, Inc. (TMI)  has successfully demonstrated the world’s first kilowatt-scale solid oxide fuel cell system that generates electricity using vegetable oil from soybeans.

“We believe this is the first time a complete farm scale fuel cell system has ever been shown to convert unblended soybean oil into renewable electricity outside the laboratory,” said Benson Lee, president and CEO of Technology Management, Inc.

The project received contributions from the USDA Biomass Initiative Program, the Ohio Soybean Council and Ohio’s Third Frontier Project.

The new fuel system technology is a touted success born out of TMI’s partnership with Ohio State University’s Biomass to Energy Program to create localized energy and marketable biofuels from examining the conversion of various biomass waste and organic matter.

Biofuels Council offers Biofuel Bio

The biofuels industry is rapidly picking up steam and the fast track growth is spurring a demand for professionals who are educated in biodiesel, ethanol and other alternative fuels. The American Biofuels Council wants to meet that demand wtih a new biofuels educator program.

The American Biofuels Council (ABC), a national grassroots communications network for the advancement of biofuels adoption, has announced that it has launched the Certified Biofuels Educator (CBE) program to train and certify government, corporate, and school staff as well as community volunteers in providing accurate and comprehensive biofuels information.

Sean O’Hanlon, Founder and Executive Director of the ABC, said, “There is enormous demand for this type of program. Government departments, corporations, schools and community groups want to talk to someone who combines local community knowledge with up-to-the-minute awareness of biofuels. Too many people who talk to them have little knowledge, or an axe to grind. This program will solve that problem.”

The CBE course consists of a home-study reading program followed by a weekend of live instruction covering eight modules. CBE candidates will receive training on each type of biofuel including advantages and disadvantages of each, regional considerations, availability of fuels, transition plan development, and community group communications skills. They will also receive comprehensive training on biofuel feedstocks. The course is capped by a proctored examination, and successful candidates will receive the CBE designation. CBE holders will be required to take continuing education courses to retain their Certificate.
Continue reading

Dario Franchitti Peak 300 and Indy Series Champ

Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 and IndyCar Series Champion Canadian Club Driver Dario Franchitti Just one word is fitting for Canadian Club Driver Dario Franchitti: Champion. Dario cinched the the 2007 Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 after Scott Dixon fell behind the Scottish driver in the last few hundred feet of the race after racing with Dario neck and neck. The win also secured Dario the 2007 IndyCar Series Title. The Andretti Green Racing teammate also won the Indy 500, the Iowa Indy 250 and the Richmond Indy Challenge, where he set both a track record and an IRL record. Rumor has it Dario will be switching to stock cars next season. A report on Yahoo.com confirms that sources say Canadian Club will replace Coors Light as the sponsor for Ganassi’s No. 40 Dodge in NASCAR and Dario will make the switch with Canadian Club. After winning the Championship Sunday, Dario consistently dodged questions about the move.

Listen to a clip of Dario’s comments at Victory Lane here:

Franchitti_Dario2.mp3

Listen to Dario’s comments about the race here:

Franchitti_Dario.mp3

Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 Photo Album

Team Ethanol To Be Featured On TV

Team Ethanol Driver Ryan Hunter-Reay discussing the first of two practices at the Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 with the pit crew While I was out shooting Team Ethanol Driver Ryan Hunter-Reay during the first practice run I got into a friendly competition for the best shots with the production crew working with John Basset. John clued me into to exciting news that Ryan Hunter-Reay is being featured on RushHD TV, a television channel that focuses on sports around the world and broadcasts in high-def. John says the hour-long feature will air later this fall.

Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 Photo Album

VeraSun Production Feeds EPIC Promotion

EPIC Marketing Director Melissa UllerichVeraSun Energy, one of the country’s largest producers of ethanol, aims to expand its business as consumers become more educated about the fuel. Marketing Director Melissa Ullerich said VeraSun Energy supplies E85 fuel to more than 90 locations. Melissa said with plants in Aurora, SD, Fort Dodge, IA and Charles City, IA the company produces about 340 million gallons of ethanol. She adds that the company has three more plants under development in Welcome, MN, Heartly IA and Reynolds, IN – or, she said, otherwise known as BioTown.

Chuck caught up with Melissa at the 91st Indianapolis 500. She was attending “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” as a board member of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council. She tells Chuck why EPIC is important to VeraSun Energy:

indy-07-ullerich.mp3 2:07 mp3