Illinois Biodiesel Plant Looking at New Investors

bunge.gifThere could be some new investors taking over the biodiesel operations of an Illinois soybean miller.

This story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Bunge’s Danville, Illinois operation, just recently finished, will have new investors in the biodiesel production plant:

Deb Seidel, director of communications for Bunge North America, based in Maryland Heights, said an asset purchase agreement is being worked out between Biofuels Company of America LLC and Blackhawk Biofuels, a group of about 600 investors, including farmers and businessmen.

If the deal closes, Seidel said, Bunge would lease the property where the biodiesel plant stands to Blackhawk and would supply feedstock, such as soybean oil, to the operation. Soybean oil is a byproduct of Bunge’s milling operation and can be used to make biodiesel, a non-petroleum-based diesel fuel made from vegetable oils and animal fats. It can be used alone or as a blend in unmodified diesel engines.

Greenest Bands Running on Biodiesel

As the summer rock concert series are about to start across the country, Billboard Magazine is releasing its top 10 list of the greenest artists.

Some of the more notables include major acts, such as Jack Johnson, Willie Nelson, the Dave Matthews Band, and Pearl Jam.

According to Billboard’s article (advance copy posted on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s blog), at the top of the list is Johnson who has a solar-powered recording studio:

In addition, the tour’s trucks and coaches will run on biodiesel, while catering will emphasize locally grown and organic foods.

2. Willie Nelson:

bio_willie_pic1.JPGWillie Nelson’s BioWillie biodiesel fuel, which is already sold in Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana, California and Tennessee, will add a key location when Willie’s Place at Carl’s Corner, Texas, opens this summer. The truck stop, built on the site of the first outlet to carry BioWillie, is located just off busy truck route I-35, which runs from the Mexican to the Canadian border. Billed as the biggest green truck stop in the United States, the facility will include 13 islands and 26 pumps, and all fuel sold there will have some percentage of biofuel, ranging from 5% to 85%.

Other bands are using biodiesel-powered buses and generators, as well as trying to make their shows as ecologically-friendly as possible.

So if you’re wondering who to go see on tour this year, keep the green artists in mind.

Ethanol Maker Eyes Biodiesel Biz

goldenbest.jpgEthanol producer Golden Grain Energy of Mason City, Iowa is looking at getting into the biodiesel business by the end of the year.

This story in the Mason City Globe Gazette says company president Walt Wendland announced his company, which has been producing ethanol in the northern Iowa community since December of 2004, will work with BEST BioDiesel Inc. of Madison, Wisconsin to put together a “first-of-its kind” partnership using BEST’s technology to take the corn oil from Golden Grain’s ethanol process and make it into biodiesel:

The partnership, called Corn Oil Bio-Solutions LLC, would employ 11 people in Mason City at an average pay of about $18 an hour.

Tony Janowiec, vice president of BEST BioDiesel, described the arrangement to Golden Grain employees in a recent company newsletter.

He said, “BEST’s vision is to integrate technologies within existing ethanol plants to create a real competitive advantage for our ethanol partners.

“Our proprietary ethanol-integrated biodiesel process is the first of many technologies that we plan to bring to our partnership with Golden Grain.

“It’s maximizing existing resources and getting more value out of the same acre of land and same kernel of corn.”

Last week, the Mason City Council gave the plant a $125,000 tax abatement for 10 years. In addition, Corn Oil Bi-Solutions is trying to get some additional financial help from the Iowa Department of Economic Development.

Update From NEVC

Phil LampertAt the recent Ethanol 2008: Emerging Issues Forum I spoke with Phil Lampert, Executive Director, National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition. Phil was a panelist on the subject of ethanol marketing.

One of the points he made in his presentation had to do with pushing for more flex fuel vehicles on the road. In an interview I did with him afterward he says that NEVC isn’t trying to have every vehicle in America run on E85 but get more FFV’s on the road since they can run on any blend up to E85, reducing the challenge of having different blend levels available.

Phil says that NEVC will continue to focus on high level blends of ethanol since that’s what the organization does better than anyone. He’s hoping the industry will embrace them and what they’re trying to accomplish. He encourages people to go to their website to learn more.

I also want to thank Phil for his very nice comments about Domestic Fuel!

You can listen to my interview with Phil here:

Ethanol Reducing Gas Prices

The availability of ethanol is currently reducing the cost of gasoline by between 6 and 9 cents per gallon, according to data collected by the American Coalition for Ethanol.

“The growing availability of ethanol across the United States is reducing the cost of gasoline by up to nine cents a gallon,” said Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President of ACE. “While gas prices are still causing pain at the pump, ethanol is alleviating some of the pressure of hundred-dollar oil. Without ethanol, gas prices would likely be even higher.”

ACEAccording to recent price reports by Axxis Petroleum and the Oil Price Information Service, ethanol for blending is selling for as much as 10 to 35 cents lower than gasoline, depending on the market. Factoring in the blender’s tax credit, this means that the wholesale cost of E10 is between 6 and 9 cents less per gallon than gasoline.

“The price of gasoline isn’t rising as quickly as the price of diesel, partly due to the fact that there’s an alternative to gasoline – ethanol – that’s adding more than 2 million gallons a day to our nation’s fuel supply,” noted Ron Lamberty, ACE’s Vice President / Market Development.

According to today’s AAA fuel price report, the national average price of diesel reached $4.029 a gallon, while the national average price of gasoline remains at $3.26 for regular and $3.587 for premium.

NBB Offers Vehicle for Updates

bio_ab.gifLots of information came out of last month’s National Biodiesel Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida, and trust me, we did all we could to make sure you knew about the events through the conference blog. The National Biodiesel Board wants to ensure you stay up-to-date with all of the issues from that event, as well as the biodiesel industry as well.

That’s why the group is offering free membership to its Biodiesel Alliance and Biodiesel Backer programs:

The Alliance is a diverse coalition of almost than 2,400 organizations, agencies and businesses from across the nation who find common ground in their support for biodiesel fuel. Founded and managed by the National Biodiesel Board, Biodiesel Alliance members receive timely updates on important happenings in the biodiesel industry.

The Biodiesel Backers program is like the Alliance, except instead of organizations and businesses, its members are individuals who support biodiesel. There are currently more than 7,300 Biodiesel Backers.

No policy positions are taken by the Biodiesel Alliance or Backers and there is no charge for membership. Joining is simply a great way to support information sharing and opportunities to help advance the use biodiesel.

HERE’S WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU AND YOUR ORGANIZATION

In addition to the Biodiesel Bulletin, members receive concise alerts containing new and timely information on biodiesel developments that may be of interest to you, your employees and/or your customers. For example:

* Remain abreast of key industry issues that were discussed the National Biodiesel conference including: sustainability; feedstock development; fuel quality and more.
* Get news about local biodiesel-related events happening in your community;
* Receive important updates like the December, 2007 “Biodiesel Beats the Cold” alert and news release with important information about how to successfully use biodiesel blends year-round in the coldest climates;
* Or the February, 2008 alert and news release about NBB’s Sustainability Task Force.
* Get the latest OEM biodiesel announcements;
* And much more!

If you’re interested, just click here.

Study Finds Biodiesel Safe for Underground Tanks

steeltankinst.JPGA new study finds that biodiesel is safe for underground steel tanks.

The study, conducted by the Steel Tank Institute, says typical low carbon steel used for underground storage tanks hold up well against corrosion to the green fuel, according to this story in Wisconsin Ag Connection:

According to Wayne Geyer of the Steel Tank Institute, the low carbon steel test samples exposed to biodiesel and biodiesel blends had excellent resistance to corrosion. “In most cases, the amount of surface rusting was slightly higher in 100 percent Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel than in biodiesel or biodiesel blends,” said Geyer. Corrosion rates for biodiesel and biodiesel blends were so low that it could not be measured.

The findings of the biodiesel and steel compatibility study, which was co-sponsored by the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) and the National Biodiesel Board, were consistent with years of in-field use.

“In nearly a decade of experience covering hundreds of millions of gallons of biodiesel being used, we have not experienced any problems with the compatibility of biodiesel blends in underground storage tanks,” said Don Scott a technical engineer with NBB. “Biodiesel is non-toxic and biodegradable, and we are committed to promoting and encouraging environmentally safe storage and handling procedures.”

The results were announced yesterday (March 23rd) at 20th Annual National Tanks Conference and Expo in Atlanta, GA. In addition, makers of fiberglass tanks gave biodiesel the thumbs up for their tanks.

Georgia Innovations Focus on Bioenergy

Georgia’s Agriculture Innovation Center (AgIC) recently received nearly $200,000 for matching research grants to help support six agricultural-based businesses. Five of those six are focused on bioenergy.

GeorgiaBill Boone, director of the AgIC, says the focus on bioenergy is not surprising. “Georgia is among the leaders in the bioenergy revolution. In order to stay in the forefront, we must continue to expand our bioenergy research, especially in the areas of alternative feedstocks.”

Companies receiving the grants include Alterra Bioenergy, a biodiesel manufacturer headquartered in Macon which is researching the dry land weed, camelina as an alternative biodiesel feedstock.
Also researching an alternative biofuel feedstock is AgStrong, a small, family-owned agricultural engineering firm in Watkinsville.

US Ethanol, a company that currently uses the waste sugars from recycled cola products to commercially produce ethanol in its Cordele plant, wants to expand its feedstocks by using waste sugars from Florida and Louisiana sugar plants.

Fram Renewable Fuels, headquartered in Savannah, is studying the use of wood pellets to heat poultry houses.

Finally, Synergy Parametrics, an Athens-based engineering firm, will use the grant to identify a more efficient fermentation process for cellulosic ethanol while simultaneously reducing the amount of acetic acid from the process.

Listen to an interview with Bill Boone by Randall Weiseman of Southeast AgNet:

POET Plant Increases Capacity

POETPOET Biorefining – Chancellor started producing ethanol last week at its expanded capacity of 100 million gallons per year.

The company reports that it took the South Dakota-based plant less than 24 hours to achieve its new nameplate capacity. The $100 million construction project started 12 months ago and doubled the plant’s production capacity. With the expansion completed, the annual production capacity of POET’s 22 ethanol plants is 1.25 billion gallons per year.

Construction continues at the plant on a solid waste fuel boiler, which will burn waste wood to produce more than half of the expanded plant’s power needs Waste wood from pallets, construction sites and area landfills will be the primary fuel source for the solid waste fuel boiler.

POET Biorefining – Chancellor started operations in March, 2003.

Biodiesel from Tropical Paradise

Abundant Biofuels CorporationAmericans might soon be fueling up with biodiesel from the Phillipines. Abundant Biofuels Corporation has received the green light for developing 300 million gallons of biodiesel fuel from the island of Mindanao each year.

The Supreme Council of Datus Alimaong has reached agreement with Monterey, CA-based Abundant Biofuels Corporation to develop more than 1.2 million acres of ancestral domain for production of biodiesel from Jatropha curcas in underused Lumad lands on the island of Mindanao.

Dr. Rene Q. Lacsina, president of Abundant Biofuels Philippines, Inc. and an agronomist-scientist, sees this jatropha or tubatuba global venture as a golden opportunity for indigenous Filipinos to show the rest of the nation ” … the way to be productive citizens contributing to genuine freedom essential for restoring the nation into justice, righteousness and peace while participating in the lucrative global biofuel industry.”

Abundant Biofuels CEO Dr. Charles Fishel stated, “Jatropha is the only biodiesel feedstock that does not divert agricultural land from food production. It has the added advantage of producing 20 times more energy than the energy required to produce it.” Fishel adds that, “Most other feedstock consumes almost as much energy in production as the energy it is supposed to supply as fuel.”

Under its groundbreaking agreement, Abundant Biofuels will deploy part of its profits for infrastructure development on the island of Mindanao, including improved housing, medical care programs, better schoolroom facilities and resources for people to affirm cultural identities such as music, dance, food, attire and drama.

London Slated to Fuel Up on Hydrogen

Air ProductsLondon roadways could be supporting hydrogen fuel technology soon. Air Products and Transport for London have signed an agreement to introduce hydrogen to London drivers and passengers by 2010.

This agreement includes the supply of hydrogen fuel and a dedicated fueling station for the 10 hydrogen powered buses, which form a central part of London’s hydrogen transport program. The hydrogen powered buses will be operating on London’s roads by 2010.

Air Products will provide Transport for London and the bus operator with access to the latest technology in hydrogen production, transportation, storage, compression and vehicle dispensing technology.

Air Products is the world’s largest supplier of merchant hydrogen, including distributing and handling hydrogen at Air Products’ own facilities, on the road, transported via pipeline, and at customer facilities. The company safely operates over 60 gaseous and liquid hydrogen production plants and seven hydrogen pipeline systems totaling over 300 miles. Air Products provides all modes of hydrogen supply — gaseous, liquid and onsite generation, as well as providing engineering expertise in hydrogen application integration.

Air Products has placed over 75 fueling stations on-stream in 12 countries, including for mass transit fueling in Beijing, China for buses to be used to shuttle athletes and visitors for the 2008 Olympic Games. In Europe, Air Products supplies hydrogen fueling equipment to various automotive companies as well as the Hellenic and German navies to regularly fuel their submarines.

Wind to Power Entire School District

eriehs.jpgThe Erie School District in Illinois is set to become the first school district in that state, and possibly the nation, to be powered entirely by wind energy.

This story on the Quad-Cities Online web site says construction could start next week after nearly two years of delays:

The most recent delay came last fall from a property owner who didn’t want the wind turbine blades traveling over his farm’s airspace.

The school district decided to move the location for its wind turbine. Mr. Ryan said it’s about 60 to 70 feet away from the original site. It remains on the middle school property.

“Progress is being made,” Mr. Ryan said. “They started digging a new foundation just the other day. The rebar and foundation material is scheduled to be in next week sometime.”

Mr. Ryan said the 230-foot tower will have 95-foot blades. He said Johnson Controls, Moline, is still overseeing the project. He said Johnson Controls agreed to assume the costs of moving the turbine. Once the turbine is up and running, officials estimate it will save the district an estimated $4.5 to $5.5 million in energy costs over the next 30 years.

Florida Keys Hosting Biodiesel Rally, Green Expo

glee_logo_2.gifFlorida is once again the focal point for alternative fuels and green living.

Tomorrow (March 22nd), the Florida Keys Green Living & Energy Education (GLEE) group hosts a rally that runs throughout the Keys:

gleerally.pngStarting in Key Largo and ending at the BioDiesel facility at Key West High School, the Biodiesel Rally will make 5 total stops to show local individuals, businesses and policy makers how easy, affordable and self-sufficient it is to use BioDiesel over Dino-Diesel.

The day has been set, but the details need your help. All diesel vehicles and vessels are invited to help determine where the rally should stop in the following communities.

Then, on May 9th-11th, the area will have the third GLEE Expo at Marathon High School:

GLEE is a three-day event offering practical solutions for people to learn about sustainable living, water and energy conservation, renewable energy, and green building, so they can lead healthier lifestyles, reduce business costs, improve their community and save energy, water and the earth.

The expo will include continuing education classes for professionals, as well as information for consumers and an exhibits (what would an expo be without exhibits?) area.

CaseStack Running on 99% Biodiesel

casestack.jpgCalifornia-based CaseStack, which offers logistics and supply shipping to small companies, is offering their services running on 99 percent biodiesel.

The company explains it’s part of their Green Initiative, put together because over-the-road trucks account for 5 percent of the country’s greenhouse emissions:

CaseStack founder and CEO Dan Sanker has made it his personal mission to help contribute to making the supply chain a little greener. Offering trucks running on ninety- nine percent biodiesel fuel (made from vegetable oils or animal fats) and building his business on diesel fuel-saving truckload consolidation programs, CaseStack is taking steps toward building a sustainable supply chain.

The company estimates that its retailer-driven consolidation program, which combines as many as 2-3 separate deliveries heading to the same distribution center into one truck, helps drastically reduce CO2 emmissions, road congestion and dock congestion. The consolidation program:

* Saves 5,800 pounds, per truck of CO2 from entering the atmosphere
* Cuts 268 gallons of diesel usage per consolidated truck
* Eliminates more than $536 in diesel fuel costs per consolidated truck

The company’s efforts are being recognized. Its Green Consolidation Program was a finalist in the 2007 American Business Awards.

Florida Plant Seeks Zoning Change

A Florida sugar company is seeking a zoning change in Palm Beach county to allow it to produce cellulosic ethanol.

Florida CrystalsAccording to an article in the Palm Beach Post, Florida Crystals Corp needs a zoning change that would allow cellulosic-ethanol plants – factories that produce ethanol from plant waste rather than corn – to be built in areas already zoned for industry.

“There’s an ethanol train coming,” said Gaston Cantens, vice president of sugar producer Florida Crystals Corp.

“Without language in the county’s zoning code that allows ethanol to be an end product, we are not even in the game,” Cantens said Tuesday during a meeting with the Palm Beach Post editorial board.

A demonstration cellulosic-ethanol plant is slated to be built by the University of Florida at Florida Crystals’ Okeelanta mill and refinery south of South Bay. That doesn’t require a zoning change, Cantens said. The plant, which is expected to produce 1 million to 2 million gallons a year, is being funded by a $20 million state grant awarded to the University of Florida this past June.