POET to Open Two More Ethanol Plants

The largest ethanol producer in the world just keeps getting bigger.

POETPOET is scheduled to open two more ethanol plants in the next four weeks – both in Ohio. That will bring the total number of POET plants to 26 as of October 24, with a total capacity of 1.54 billion gallons per year.

The grand opening for POET Biorefining – Fostoria will be held September 30 featuring Buckeye Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Mike Wagner, Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Robert Boggs, Ohio Congressman Bob Latta, and Team Ethanol Indy car driver Ryan Hunter-Reay.

POET Biorefining – Marion will open on October 24 with special guests U.S. Senators George Voinovich (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). This will be POET’s third plant in Ohio.

National Alternative Fuel Odyssey Day in Bismarck, ND

The Cenex E85 fueling location at 1160 W. Divide Avenue in Bismarck, North Dakota will be celebrating National Alternative Fuel Odyssey Day on October 2. The station will offer E85 for 85 cents a gallon from 4 – 7 p.m. The National Alternative Fuel Odyssey Day is an event that will be celebrated across the country recognizing cleaner-burning alternatives to traditional fuels.

“What I like about this national event is that it is not an attack on the petroleum industry, which is very important to our state and our nation, but rather a celebration of some of the new clean air choice options available to drivers today,” said Valerie Kummer, coordinator of the Red River Valley Clean Cities Coalition. “Even oil company executives are now saying America needs more fuel diversity, and North Dakota-made biofuels can help us offer more choices at the pump that help to reduce air pollution.”

This event is being sponsored by Cenex, Blue Flint Ethanol, General Motors Corporation, North Dakota Corn Growers Association, North Dakota Department of Commerce, North Dakota Ethanol Producers Association, National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition, US Department of Energy-Clean Cities and the American Lung Association of North Dakota.

There are currently about 29,000 flexible fuel vehicles and 27 E85 stations in the state of North Dakota.

VeraSun Offers E85 in Germantown, Maryland

A grand opening was held at the Town Center Chevron in Germantown, Maryland celebrating their new E85 pump. The opening of the seventh E85 station by Mid-Atlantic Petroleum Properties now offers VE85®, VeraSun Energy’s branded E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. A ribbon cutting and fuel promotion of VE85® for $1.85 per gallon kicked off the celebration.

“We are pleased to be part of a partnership to expand VE85® in Maryland and the Washington, D.C. area,” said Rick Eggebrecht, VeraSun’s vice president, market development. “Expanding the availability of ethanol, in particular higher blends of ethanol, to American drivers throughout the country is critical as we work to reduce dependence on foreign oil while investing in our domestic economy.”

U.S. DOE supplied a grant to the Maryland Energy Administration, administered by the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, which assisted in making this new E85 facility possible. Other support was provided by Mid-Atlantic Petroleum Properties, Maryland Department of Agriculture, Fitzgerald Auto Malls, Clean Fuels Development Coalition, Flexible Fuels Vehicle Club of America, General Motors, and VeraSun.

There are currently twelve E85 stations in the state of Maryland.

Bill Would Promote Biofuels Cooperation With Brazil

While most of Congress was working on a bailout for the financial crisis last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a bill that would strengthen energy cooperation between the United States and Brazil to promote the production and use of sustainable biofuels throughout Latin America.

Richard LugarThe legislation, authored by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Dick Lugar, would promote accelerated development of sustainable biofuels and other renewable energy production, help establish voluntary carbon trading markets, leverage private investment in new energy, promote research, and further integrate the Hemisphere’s energy infrastructure.

“The United States and Brazil are the region’s biofuels leaders, but more countries in the region can and should get into the business of producing domestic biofuels to increase employment, boost rural incomes, improve trade balances, as well as gain protection from the whims of the international oil market whose gyrations have wiped out many nations’ recent gains in poverty reduction,” Lugar said.

Sections of the bill would expand and codify a Memorandum of Understanding signed in March of 2007 by Presidents George W. Bush of the United States and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil.

Debate Thin On Renewable Energy Talk

The first presidential debate between Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama just wrapped up, and I have to say I was a little disappointed in how little renewable energy was part of the conversation. I know that it was a debate on foreign policy, but what could be bigger on our foreign policy than reducing our dependence on foreign oil?

Anyway, alternative energy did get a couple of mentions. Just a few minutes ago, Obama voiced his support for renewable energy sources in this country, mentioning solar, wind and biodiesel by name. He also went on the attack against McCain, pointing out that the Arizona senator has voted against alternative energy 23 times in his 26 years in Congress.

McCain countered that no one who is from Arizona is against solar power.

Earlier, McCain said, if elected president he would end ethanol subsidies… but then pledged his support for alternative energy. Obama said he voted in favor of the current energy proposal, which has lots of incentives for renewable energy… but tax breaks for big oil companies… while McCain proclaimed his opposition to those tax breaks to Big Oil… and thus, his opposition to the renewable energy incentives.

Hope you heard what you need to know to make your decision in November. We’ll keep listening and pass along what we hear as it pertains to Domestic Fuel.

Aviation Giants Look to Sustainable Biofuels

Some heavy hitters in the aviation industry are joining ranks to develop and to make more available sustainable biofuels.

This story from Biomass Magazine says the Boeing Co. and UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, are at the heart of this effort:

With support and advice from two environmental groups, the World Wildlife Fund and Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group wants to make commercial aviation the first global transportation sector to voluntarily drive sustainability practices into its fuel supply chain.

The sustainable aviation group’s charter is to enable the commercial use of renewable fuel sources that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while lessening commercial aviation’s exposure to oil price volatility and dependence on fossil fuels. The sustainability pledge signed by each of the participants (available on Boeing’s Web site) lists four points as the minimum criteria for sustainable aviation fuels:

1. Jet fuel plant sources should be developed in a manner which is non-competitive with food and where biodiversity impacts are minimized; in addition, the cultivation of those plant sources should not jeopardize drinking water supplies.

2. Total lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from plant growth, harvesting, processing, and end-use should be significantly reduced compared to those associated with jet fuels from fossil sources.

3. In developing economies, development projects should include provisions or outcomes that improve socio-economic conditions for small-scale farmers who rely on agriculture to feed them and their families, and that do not require the involuntary displacement of local populations.

4. High conservation value areas and native ecosystems should not be cleared and converted for jet fuel plant source development.

The companies in the group, which includes Air France, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Cargolux, Gulf Air, Japan Airlines, KLM, SAS and Virgin Atlantic Airways, account for about 15 percent of commercial jet fuel use. The pledge commits the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group to work with the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels “Version Zero” report, a document outlining the first draft of criteria for sustainable biofuels developed by a diverse group of international stakeholders.

Ethanol Gets Mention During Debate

Just about half an hour into the presidential debate and ethanol has received its first mention, as Republican Sen. John McCain has declared that he would end current ethanol subsidies, if he’s elected president.

Not exactly what the folks who produce and use the green fuel would like to hear. I was a bit surprised that Democratic Sen. Barack Obama didn’t respond to that… but he did point out that McCain had supported tax cuts for the big oil companies. McCain countered that Obama had supported the current energy bill before Congress with those Big Oil tax breaks… which also contains important renewable energy provisions. So, on the surface, it certainly looks like that he who supports Big Oil would also be supporting renewable energy (kind of ironic, ain’t it?).

McCain also clarified that he is in favor of alternative energy… solar, wind and hybrid vehicles… but with the caveat that we need to have more nuclear energy to have those.

So, not a lot of talk so far about renewable energy. Although this was billed as a foreign policy debate, I would have thought that our domestic fuel sources should have been a bigger player in that foreign policy discussion.

I’ll keep watching and update you when they say something that might interest you.

Biodiesel Keeps Buses Rolling

While some motorists are fretting over the possibility of gas shortages… not to mention skyrocketing fuel prices, the folks who operate the school buses in Gaston County, North Carolina are sitting pretty with plenty of fuel at cheap prices… thanks to homemade biodiesel!

This story from WSOC-TV says the Gaston County Bus Depot (as you might remember from my post back on Nov. 5, 2007) has five weeks worth of reserve fuel and is making more:

The director of transportation, Baxter Starr, said five years ago the department began making biodiesel to protect the environment.

“We are still in awe of what we have been able to accomplish,” Starr said.

While many Gaston County residents are paying $3.99 a gallon, it only costs the depot about a dollar a gallon to make fuel, Starr said.

He said the county saved $100,000 in gas last year, and they don’t have to wait on refineries. Workers use the cooking oil from school cafeterias, restaurants and the Lance Corporation in Charlotte.

They get the oil, clean it up, and drive more than 10,000 miles a day with it.

The county was pretty innovative by buying half a million dollars worth of biodiesel-making equipment for only about $78,000… thanks to eBay and army surplus stores. Considering the $100,000 in fuel savings the district had last year, I’d say that’s a pretty good investment.

Canada Growing Beyond Oil

“Growing Beyond Oil” is the theme of this year’s Canadian Renewable Fuels Summit scheduled for December 1-3 in Quebec.

Canadian Renewable Fuels SummitSessions at the summit will include Sustainability, Low Carbon Fuel Standards, Environment and Economy, Advanced Biofuel Technologies.

The two major ethanol and biodiesel organizations from the United States will be featured at the summit in Canada on the first day. Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen and National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe will be the presenters on a US Biofuels Industry panel. Dr. Robert Zubrin, author of Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil, will be the keynote luncheon speaker.

Ethanol Produces Tons of Livestock Feed

America’s ethanol plants produced enough livestock feed last year to provide for all the cattle in the nation’s four largest feedlot states.

That is one of the findings in a new report from the Renewable Fuels Association on the role of the U.S. ethanol industry in food and feed production. According to their analysis, America’s ethanol producers delivered 23 million metric tons of livestock and poultry feed to the world last year, or nearly three times the amount of wheat, sorghum, barley and oats fed to U.S. livestock in the 2007/08 marketing year. That is roughly equivalent to the combined total amount of feed consumed by cattle on feed last year in Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado – the nation’s four largest feedlot states.

Only two-thirds of every bushel of grain processed by an ethanol plant is actually used for fuel production. The remaining one-third of the bushel is enhanced and returned to the animal feed market, most often in the form of distillers grains, corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal.

“The livestock feed co-products of ethanol production are the best kept secret of this industry,” said RFA President Bob Dinneen. “The focus of the public has been on the industry’s production of fuel ethanol as a renewable alternative to imported oil. But the production of a high quality livestock feed is equally important. Our industry is truly in the business of producing both feed and fuel.”

The report backs up RFA’s new television spots that highlight ethanol production in Hereford, Texas – the beef capital of the world.

Read the report here.

Domestic Fuel on Twitter

TwitterBesides subscribing to the RSS feed of Domestic Fuel we’ve now got another option for you. Domestic Fuel has its own Twitter feed.

If you’re not familiar with Twitter then you can learn more here. Basically, the news feed from Domestic Fuel will post updates to the Twitter feed. Additionally, we’ll use the Twitter feed for custom special text posts when we have breaking information or are on-location at an event.

So here’s the links for each way to subscribe:

RSS Feed

Twitter Feed

U.S. Renewable Energy Grows By 5%

Renewable energy made up just more than 10 percent of all the domestically-produced energy in the U.S. in the first half of this year and about 7 percent of that energy used in the country.

This story from the Greentech Media web site says the information comes from a U.S. Energy Information Administration report released this week:

According to the report, renewable energy accounted for 3.61 quadrillion British thermal units of the 34.16 quadrillion Btu domestically produced energy the country used from January to June.

That represents a 5 percent growth from 3.44 quadrillion Btu of renewable-energy production in the first half of last year. Most of that growth came from wind power, which increased production by nearly 49 percent from the year-ago quarter to 244 trillion Btu.

Biofuels and biomass energy make up the largest portion of U.S. renewable-energy generation, producing 1.88 quadrillion Btu in the first half of 2008, followed by hydropower, which accounted for 1.38 quadrillion Btu. Geothermal power made up 17 trillion Btu and solar made up only 41 million Btu.

“The significant contribution being made by renewable energy sources to the nation’s energy supply documented by the U.S. Energy Information Administration is far greater than most Americans realize,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the Sun Day Campaign, a nonprofit that promotes renewable energy. “Repeated statements by nuclear and fossil fuel interests that renewables contribute only a tiny fraction of the nation’s energy supply are not only misleading but flatly wrong.”

The rub is the country used 50.67 quadrillion Btu of energy, and about 16 1/2 quadrillion Btu were imported. While progress has been made in the field of renewables, the bottom line is we’re still just too dependent on non-renewable, foreign energy sources… but it’s getting better.

Cross-Country Trip Proves Biodiesel’s Worth

It took them a little longer than they hoped, and it did involve one pit stop for fuel, but two ad men turned biodiesel advocates did finish a coast-to-coast run, entirely on biodiesel.

This post from the Wired.com blog says Nik Bristow and Brian Pierce rolled into Los Angeles at just more than 38 1/2 hours after they left New York… retracing the route of the famous Cannonball Run. Traffic delays and a slight miscalculation on how full they filled some jerry cans of biodiesel to fill up their car along the way kept them from making their 36-hour goal… although they still averaged 75 mph:

“We could have planned a better arrival time than morning rush hour in Los Angeles,” Bristow told Wired.com. “We spent the last hour and a half in stop-and-go traffic. It was a little anti-climactic after driving across the country.”

The biodiesel evangelists set out to spread the gospel behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Jetta TDI loaded with jerrycans brimming with Willie Nelson’s own BioWillie fuel. They were about halfway across the country when they realized they were carrying less fuel than they thought and were gonna need more.

The guys got suspicious when they discovered they weren’t getting the fuel economy they were expecting. They were somewhere in Oklahoma when Pierce discovered why. “All our jugs had just four gallons instead of five,” Bristow says. “None of them was full. We were 15 gallons shy.” Realizing that might not be enough to finish the trip, they put out a call for help.

“A BioWillie fan drove up from Flagstaff to Phoenix with 15 gallons,” Bristow says. “He was a really cool old guy who showed up in an old Cadillac. I think he wanted to talk and take pictures. We jumped out, said “Hi nice to meet you,” Brian handed him some money and we jumped back in the car and drove off.”

It was the only stop they made… didn’t even take bathroom breaks (condom catheters… that’s how). Even when the wheels stopped moving and the boys changed seats, they kept the engine running.

But more importantly, they proved just how good biodiesel is, covering nearly 3,000 miles on 82 gallons of the green fuel… great mileage and fantastic performance… for 38 hours, 37 minutes and 41 seconds… from coast to coast.

Alabama Governor to Add More E85 Stations to Corridor

Alabama Governor Bob Riley will soon increase the public’s access to E85 and biodiesel. Tomorrow, a grand opening celebration will be held at two fueling stations in Mobile. Riley and others will open the stations at 11:00 a.m.

On October 3rd, 2006 Governor Bob Riley announced a federal grant awarded by the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) to provide Alabama with funds to add pumps for E85 ethanol fuel and five pumps for B20 biodiesel fuel along I-65. When finalized, owners of flexible fuel vehicles and diesel vehicles will never be farther than a ¼ of a tank away from an E85 or biodiesel pump along I-65.

To kickoff the openings, Fords Fuel will offer E85 for 85 cents a gallon from 11:00 a.m. to noon. The rest of the day motorists will pay only $2.85 for a gallon of the alternative fuel.

Ethanol-Producing Sugar Beet Wins Award

SyngentaSyngenta has received the 2008 World Business and Development Award (WBDA) for the development and successful introduction of a new sugar beet that can be grown under tropical climate conditions and brings significant advantages to farmers, the environment, the sugar and ethanol industries and the economy.

SyngentaThe WBDA, presented by the United Nations Development Program, the International Chamber of Commerce and the International Business Leaders Forum, acknowledge the contribution of the private sector to help achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals. The award recognized Syngenta’s tropical sugar beet as “an example of technological innovation that helps increase sustainable agricultural productivity to meet the world’s growing demand for food, feed and fuel.”

It took Syngenta 11 years to develop the tropical sugar beet. In 2007, the beet was successfully introduced in India, where it is shown here being offloaded in a Syngenta press photo. In the State of Maharashtra, Syngenta helped a cooperative of more than 12,000 small farmers to build and operate plant that produces ethanol from Syngenta tropical beets. In Colombia, construction has started on two beet-to-ethanol plants, which are expected to start operations in 2009.