Cellulosic Ethanol Company Goes Public

A South Dakota-based cellulosic ethanol company has gone public and changed its name.

KL EnergyKL Process Design Group is now KL Energy Corp, a move that will help the company generate funding to develop its second commercial scale cellulosic ethanol production facility.

Since January of 2008, the KL has been producing cellulosic ethanol using waste wood as feedstock, at a commercial scale facility near Upton, Wyoming. The plant has been supplying fuel grade ethanol this year for the American LeMans Series.

FEMA Buys Biodiesel Buses for New Orleans

New Orleans is getting some biodiesel buses… thanks to some money from the federal government.

This press release from Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has given the city the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) $44 million to replace… and to upgrade… 204 buses and 31 vans that were destroyed by flooding during Hurricane Katrina:

The standing FEMA policy would have resulted in RTA receiving 204 buses that were 12 years old, to match the age of the vehicles they were replacing. Instead, FEMA has agreed to obligate the money for as many as 115 new biodiesel buses, which cost about $380,000 each…

“I am so glad that FEMA has agreed to replace the RTA fleet with the type of buses that are needed,” Sen. Landrieu said. “The existing FEMA policy was not designed to handle the loss of an entire transit fleet, and putting forward millions of taxpayer dollars to find and purchase 10-year-old buses that would have required combined maintenance and replacement within a couple of years would not have been an effective use of government funds.

Landrieu had been a longtime advocate of changing the FEMA policy.

Ethanol in Focus at AEM Ag Executive Forum

Ethanol and biofuels in general were in the spotlight at a forum for agribusiness executives held this week in St. Louis by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

About 100 executives of farm equipment companies and other agribusinesses attended the one day event, which featured a number of presentations that focused on biofuels. Even those speakers who were addressing other topics ended up discussing ethanol and its impact on the agriculture industry.

Association of Equipment Manufacturers AgExec Forum Ed SchaferSecretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer started the forum off by discussing agriculture issues of today and the future, with the top two being trade and biofuels. “The continued development of the renewable fuels industry is critically important to the future growth of American agriculture,” Schafer said.

He talked about the release this week of the Biofuels Action Plan, which he calls “an essential road map that points out how we are going to meet the Renewable Fuels Standard.” He says the plan points out the way to use different feedstocks, what needs to be done to commercialize second generation biofuels, and the infrastructure needed.

Also talking about biofuels during the forum were Dr. Jay Lehr of The Heartland Institute, Terry Francl of the American Farm Bureau Federation, Allen Rider with 25x’25 and a panel of commodity organization representatives.

Ethanol Across America Paper Focuses on Higher Grain Prices

Recently, the Ethanol Across America education program released a White Paper titled: Ethanol Economics from Ranch to Restaurant, authored by Chairman of the Nebraska Ethanol Board (NEB) Jim Jenkins. Jenkins is also cattleman and a restaurant owner. This White Paper presents a unique perspective on the impact of increased grain prices on his two businesses and how it may drive industry to more efficiency and greater profitability.

“A number of factors have led to the recent historic increase in commodity prices, but market forces are kicking in—creating stability, and profit opportunities for livestock producers, biofuels producers and the rural communities in which they live and do business,” noted Jenkins in the paper. “The advent of the biofuel industry is helping lead America out of decades of stagnant commodity prices—while, for the first time, providing consumers with a viable fuel choice for their vehicles.”

Ethanol Across America is a non-profit, non-partisan education campaign of the Clean Fuels Foundation and is sponsored by industry, government, and private interests. U.S. Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), Co-Chairmen.

Ethanol Supports Oil for Music Tour

Bartering musical talent will result in more than just entertainment for more than 3.2 million Americans; it will turn into free fuel.

Music is OilOn Saturday, October 11 at 11 am eastern time, the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC), along with 2020 Vision, 3 Kingdoms Entertainment, Exxon, Lehigh Gas, International Reciprocal Trade Association, Pennsylvania Gasoline Retailers and Allied Trades, will stand together at an Exxon gas station in Philadelphia to announce a revolutionary world tour and film titled, Music is Our Oil (MIO).

The MIO world tour is scheduled to kick off in June 2009, and will send America’s greatest hip-hop and rock artists to oil producing countries to barter their musical talent for 20 million barrels of oil. The 20 million oil barrels will transform into 125-gallon MIO gas cards, which will be distributed to 3.2 million Americans through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF) program.

“The rising cost of energy has created a strain on all consumers across the country. Through the Music is Our Oil program we will not only be dispensing gas cards, but we’ll also be encouraging consumers to fill up with E10,” said Toni Nuernberg, executive director of EPIC.

Following the press conference a free concert titled BETA TEST will be held at 3 p.m. EST at the Exxon gas station, which is being dubbed Rock & Roll Exxon for the day. The free concert will feature 10 indie rock bands and hip-hop artists bartering for a full tank of gas that will be turned into a 25-gallon MIO gas card to be given to low-income families through the TANF program.

NJ Gov Looks to Triple Offshore Wind Power

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine has announced he wants to triple the goal for the amount of offshore wind power the state will produce by 2020.

Corzine called for the higher amount as he announced the selection of Garden State Offshore Energy (GSOE) as the recipient of a grant incentive to build New Jersey’s first offshore wind pilot:

“Our draft Energy Master Plan identified a goal of 1,000 MW of offshore wind by 2020,” said Governor Corzine. “We listened closely to our stakeholders, considered current economic conditions and the dynamic state of offshore wind technology, and we knew we had to go a lot further.

“Today, I am announcing that we’re not just doubling our commitment, we’re tripling it. New Jersey will support and encourage the development of 3,000 MW of wind power off its coast by 2020, which will be 13 percent of its total electricity. And we will get to 1,000 MW by 2012.”

Garden State Offshore Energy, a joint venture of PSEG Renewable Generation and Deepwater Wind, was the firm selected through a competitive grant solicitation process. That process concluded last Friday when the NJ Board of Public Utilities voted to award a $4 million grant to Garden State Offshore Energy (GSOE).

The GSOE project will be a $1-billion, 345MW wind farm southeast of Atlantic City, 16 miles from the coast. When completed, it would power approximately 125,000 homes annually.

Developing an Ethanol-Biodiesel Pipeline

An Iowa-based ethanol company is working to develop a pipeline that is capable of carrying both ethanol and biodiesel, as well as some other key liquids.

This press release from ALL Fuels & Energy (AFSE) says the company has entered into agreements with two privately-held infrastructure technology firms, which will provide proprietary, patent-pending technologies to help build the multi-purpose pipelines:

The technology embodied in this alliance allows the pipeline to be kept “clean” and capable of moving various fuel types: ethanol, biodiesel, liquid nitrogen, and other industrial/agricultural liquids. AFSE believes the use of a multi-purpose pipeline can dramatically reduce transportation costs currently associated with bringing alternative fuels to market.

“The multipurpose pipeline brings transportation cost savings and improved channels to market for biofuels. The three-company alliance has begun the process of securing the capital needed to begin the first of five planned phases of operations, for which ALL Fuels & Energy and its alliance partners have engaged Trinity Capital LLC,” said Dean Sukowatey, President/CEO, ALL Fuels & Energy.

ALL Fuels & Energy wants to become a leader in ethanol production, hoping to make and to acquire 500 million gallons of capacity in the near future.

GM Works with the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest

According to the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest (ALAUM) Summer 2008 BetterFuels Newsletter, General Motors (GM) has expanded its partnership with the ALAUM to include several new states. This partnership, along with their “from gas-friendly to gas-free” campaign, underscores GM’s ongoing commitment to E85 ethanol and flex fuel technology, and to serving a rapidly changing market seeking smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles.

In addition to working with the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest Clean Air Choice Teams in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, GM is also working with local American Lung Association offices in Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Ohio. GM and ALAUM staff conducted a training session in July to familiarize new staff with the program, and share some models that have been successful in the upper Midwest.

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to building a retail network of E85 outlets or raising public awareness and acceptance of this cleaner-burning fuel,” said Kelly Marczak, director of the Clean Air Choice program. “That said, there are many plans, tactics and promotions we have field-tested and know are proven methods to help expand the use of E85.”

Marczak hopes that each state can eventually build its own “Clean Air Choice Team,” a model that has proven to be successful in other states. “When fuel retailers, farmers, private industry, nonprofits and government agencies come together with a common goal, good things happen,” she said. “By forming these strong partnerships, we can better provide the public accurate and factual information on biofuels and their role in reducing air pollution.”

Delaware PSC Approves Wind Contracts.

Delaware’s Public Service Commission has given the OK on some land-based wind contracts between Delmarva Power and two developers.

This story in the News Journal says the 20-year deal between Delmarva and Synergics will produce a maximum of 100 megawatts of wind power from two wind farms in western Maryland:

Commissioners also voted unanimously to approve a 15-year deal with AES for a wind farm in north-central Pennsylvania that would produce up to 70 megawatts.

The contracts help Delmarva fulfill its “renewable portfolio standard” — a state law requiring it to buy from clean sources.

Workers will start building two of the wind farms next year.

Fill ‘er Up with Biodiesel & Ethanol on I-65

You can now travel from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast, entirely on biodiesel and ethanol.

This story from WSMV-TV in Nashville, Tenn. says officials from Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee, along with representatives from the federal Department of Energy, joined together to dedicate Interstate 65 as America’s first biofuels corridor:

“Tennessee has already been working to make these clean, renewable biofuels available to more motorists traveling in our state,” said Gov. Phil Bredesen. “I’m pleased to see us join forces with other states to make Interstate 65 the first corridor in the country to make biofuels widely available.”

“In this environment, it is imperative that the state look at other energy options, such as biofuels. Today, through the governor’s BioTenn Initiative and grants like these from the U.S. Department of Energy, we are well on our way toward making biofuels a real option for Tennesseans,” said [Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner Gerald] Nicely.

Officials say you can drive the entire 886 miles of I-65 and never be more than a quarter tank of gas from the nearest E85 station. In addition, along the way there’s 29 public refueling stations: 19 E85 in Indiana, 1 E85 in Kentucky, 3 E85 in Tennessee and 7 B20 and 6 E85 in Alabama.

You can read more about I-65: America’s Biofuels Corridor by clicking here.

Animal Fat Biodiesel Plant Breaks Ground

A biodiesel plant that will make biodiesel from animal fats has broken ground in Louisiana.

This story from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette says that Tyson Foods, Inc. of Springdale, Arkansas and Syntroleum Corp. of Tulsa, Ok. have formed a joint venture called Dynamic Fuels with the biodiesel plant expected to open late next year in Geismar, La., just outside Baton Rouge:

The plant will use a patent-pending technology developed by Syntroleum to make high-grade biodiesel and jet fuels from Tyson-produced nonfood grade animal fats such as beef tallow, pork lard, chicken fat and greases, a news release from Tyson stated.

Jeff Webster, senior vice president and general manager of Tyson Foods’ renewable products group, said the demand for biofuels should remain steady despite recent reductions in the price of crude oil and refined gasoline.

Jeffrey Bigger, director of the Dynamic Fuels LLC management committee, said the plant is the first such fuel production facility in the United States.

The plant is expected to produce 75 million gallons of biodiesel a year., the news release states.

Ethanol a Big Topic at Recent PEI/NACS Show

The National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC) attended the recent National Association of Convenience Store (NACS)/Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI) Conference recently held in Chicago, IL where ethanol was a big topic of discussion. The event brought more than 30,000 attendees and exibitors together to learn about petroleum and alternative fuel equipment among much more.

Many convenience store owners visited the NEVC booth inquiring about E85 and how to obtain additional information on installing E85 infrastructure. CleanFUEL USA, Gilbarco Veeder Root and Dresser Wayne were a few of the exhibitors at the show that promoted their E85 dispensing units and also answered retailers’ questions.

Next years NACS/PEI show will be held October 20-23, 2009 at the Las Vegas Convention Center
in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Solving Global Warming Gets Debaters Going

Just when I thought we would not get much on renewable energy in tonight’s presidential debate from Belmont University in Nashville, a question from the crowd has started the conversation in earnest. A lady asked if the candidates would take the same quick call-to-action approach to solve the looming global warming crisis as we saw in the recent financial crisis.

Republican Sen. John McCain says he supports the development of cleaner-burning vehicles, such as hydrogen-powered cars as part of the solution to solve the climate crisis.

Democrat Sen. Barack Obama says this country has the potential to create five million green jobs in the near future, if we development the alternative energy sources available. He compares what renewable energy could do for the economy with what the computer did for it. Obama reiterates his commitment to solar, wind, geothermal and nuclear power as well.

Obama has taken a direct shot at McCain’s renewable energy record by pointing out that McCain has voted against alternative fuels 23 times. McCain countered that some of those included votes against big tax breaks for Big Oil.

Both men have touched on the issue of a resurgent Russia, fueled by petro dollars… which comes back to the issue of how they are going to make that a non-issue by freeing us from foreign oil.

That’s it for the night. We’ll get together again in about a week when the third and final presidential debate comes on.

McCain, Obama Call for More Renewable Energy

Presidential candidates Republican Sen. John McCain and Democrat Sen. Barack Obama are back at this evening, debating from the campus of Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn… and I’m here on my couch watching and listening carefully to what they say, paying special attention to what they say about renewable energy.

Both have just touched on the renewable energy issue, mostly from the standpoint of weaning America from foreign sources of non-renewable petroleum. McCain says we need to take an “all of the above” approach that includes biofuels, wind and solar energy, as well as nuclear and domestic petroleum. Obama counters that we need to have an energy plan that frees us from foreign oil in 10 years time, once again, through renewable energy.

Obama says we each need to think about how we use energy and how we gather more petroleum and alternative energy sources. He says incentives and tax breaks for people who buy American-made, fuel-efficient vehicles are very important, as are home conservation efforts.

Pretty light on any specifics on either side on renewable energy… or any other issue for that matter.

I’ll keep my eye on them and update again if something comes up. Stay tuned…

USDA Studies Ethanol From Farm Waste

Leftovers from fields, orchards, and vineyards could be combined with other household garbage to make ethanol and other kinds of bioenergy.

USDA ARS Biomass Research USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists are investigating the possibilities at the agency’s Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif.

Agricultural wastes like rice straw, almond hulls, and the oversize outer leaves of iceberg lettuce – as well as municipal solid waste – would have to be pretreated before being used as a bioenergy resource. The pretreated agricultural waste could then be transferred to a biofermenter where yeasts and enzymes would be added to make ethanol.

Engineering technician David Bozzi and microbiologist Diana Franqui, (both pictured) along with research chemist Kevin Holtman are working on determining the best ways to use just water and heat to pretreat the farm wastes to keep the biorefining process as environmentally friendly as possible.

Read more from USDA ARS.