Growth Energy Formed

Growth EnergyAmerica’s ethanol producers have formed a new organization based out of Washington, DC. It’s called Growth Energy.

Growth Energy is a group committed to the promise of agriculture and growing America’s economy through cleaner, greener energy. Growth Energy members recognize America needs a new ethanol approach. Through smart policy reform and a proactive grassroots campaign, Growth Energy promotes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, expanding the use of ethanol in gasoline, decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, and creating American jobs at home.

The organization will be dedicated to promoting clean, green ethanol as America’s best renewable fuel that is high-tech and homegrown, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. In addition, the organization will release a new policy brief and announce a new advertising campaign focused on dispelling one of the major myths about ethanol production.

The new organization will have a press conference tomorrow which we’ll participate in and have more information to share then.

BBI Moving Headquarters

BBIBBI International is moving to bigger headquarters nearer to an international airport.

BBI has maintained its corporate headquarters in Salida and neighboring Cotopaxi, Colorado for nearly 15 years. Maintaining its operational hub in the geographically remote community became increasingly difficult for the 90-person international company, according to company president Mike Bryan, especially being three hours from Denver airport. The company headquarters will move to the Denver suburb of Lakewood, Colorado, by the end of the year.

The privately held media, events, consulting and engineering firm will also consolidate its event logistics, marketing and media operations in Grand Forks, North Dakota, effective immediately.

Mr. Ethanol Looks To Future

Jeff BroinMr. Ethanol, Jeff Broin, CEO, POET is looking to the future and a new organization that will help open new markets for the renewable fuel.

I spoke to Jeff at last week’s Project LIBERTY field day and asked him what he thinks about the results of our Presidential election. He says, “President-Elect Obama, is going to be I think very, very strong for ethanol.” In fact, Jeff says that POET had one of Obama’s top advisors on energy at their grand opening in Ohio just a couple weeks ago and she stated that he would like to see the RFS increase to 60 billion gallons which Jeff says, “is a great thing for farmers, it’s a great thing for agriculture, it’s a great thing for ethanol.”

An issue that Jeff says presents a challenge to the ethanol industry is the regulatory cap which limits ethanol to 10 percent of the fuel supply – and the industry is bumping up on it now. He says they need access to more markets. For that reason a new ethanol organization is being formed. “We actually are just in the process of working with many other ethanol producers and several ag companies to create a new organization that’s going to drive that agenda forward.” He says we’ll hear more about it shortly.

You can listen to my interview with Jeff here:

You can also download the interview with this link (mp3).

Project LIBERTY Field Day Photo Album

Former Ag Secretary on Ethanol Company Board

John R. BlockFormer Secretary of Agriculture John Block recently was named to the board of directors for California-based potential cellulosic ethanol company AE Biofuels, Inc.

AE Biofuels“AE Biofuels has a winning strategy and a strong management team. The company’s patent-pending cellulosic ethanol plant in Montana is producing ethanol from agricultural waste, and its 50 million gallon biodiesel facility in India is supplying large customers in a rapidly growing local and global market,” said Secretary Block.

Block served as agriculture secretary under President Reagen and then as an executive in the food industry. He is now a Senior Legislative Advisor to Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Bode Matz, P.C., an organization that represents the US food industry. Secretary Block was formerly a member of the Board of Directors of John Deere & Co. and Hormel Foods Corp.

Case IH Collecting Cobs

Sam AckerWhen it comes to harvesting equipment for Case IH, Scott Acker is who you want to talk to. He’s their Director, Harvesting Marketing. I spoke with him at POET’s Project LIBERTY field day right after he answered a bunch of questions from farmers who were attending.

Sam says POET approached them with the idea of collecting cobs to make ethanol about a year ago. They discussed the business opportunities and concluded that this was a promising venture. He says they need to provide farmers with incentive and options to harvest both the grain and cobs so POET can make more ethanol. They’re working on it.

The harvesting options Case IH is working on include CCM and a cart behind the combine that collects the cobs separately from the grain. He says it’s best then to just pile the cobs for later pickup.

You can listen to my interview with Sam here:

You can also download the interview with this link (mp3).

Project LIBERTY Field Day Photo Album

Farm OEM’s Developing New Equipment

Scott WeishaarThe Director of Business Development for POET is Scott Weishaar. He was the guy who told us about the various equipment options on display at their Project LIBERTY field day. That’s because he works directly with the farm OEM’s.

He says the response from the OEM’s is phenomenal. There are several systems already being tested and they should be available in the near future. He says one of the important elements of harvesting cobs for the farmer is being able to do it without “slowing them down.” He also says they’re targeting the collection of cobs to all sizes of farms too. Therefore, there are multiple options and costs for some of these solutions

Options to collect the cobs include CCM (corn cob mix) where the cobs are mixed with the grain during harvest and then separated afterward and towable solutions where the cobs are collected in separate bins during the harvest process.

You can listen to my interview with Scott here:

You can also download the interview with this link (mp3).

I also recorded Scott’s stage presentation in which he talks about the whole cob collection process which you can watch here:

Project LIBERTY Field Day Photo Album

Big Equipment Finance Options

Farmers and EquipmentSomeone had to provide assistance to get all this big machinery to the POET Project LIBERTY field day last week. That someone was MachineryLink, represented by Landon Morris, Vice President, Marketing.

Landon says they’re in the business of leasing late model combines and that they heard about the project a year ago. So what they’re doing is leasing machines directly to POET. He says they’ve used them in their research this summer to test their cob wagons. He thinks that it’s interesting that ethanol companies are now thinking about farm equipment.

You can listen to my interview with Landon here:

You can also download the interview with this link (mp3).

Project LIBERTY Field Day Photo Album

Conoco to Offer Propane at CleanFuel Pumps

Alternative fuels might be getting a boost as a major fuel retailer will help make propane more available.

This story from Greentech Media has details:

Today, for instance, ConocoPhillips said it will help with CleanFuel USA to install propane dispensers over the next three years at 76 stations. Conoco will supply the propane and CleanFuel will put in the pumps. How many will get installed? Who knows, but it does signify some effort on Conoco’s part.

Propane has lower greenhouse gas emissions, wheel-to-well, than gas or diesel and it’s comparatively cheap — it costs about $2.30 a gallon and you get federal tax credits on top of that. There’s a lot of it too. It’s not as clean as cellulosic ethanol, but it is available now.

To date, propane cars are largely only owned by fleets. Thus, some, if not most, of these pumps will be found at places where buses and truck congregate. Still, it could expand and both Ford and General Motors have signaled they will expand their propane programs.

There’s an estimated 10 million propane-fueled vehicles worldwide, but look for that number to rise if the fuel is available. CleanFuel officials say 1.5 billion gallons a year of propane could be put into the market immediately without hurting supplies.

REG Opens Large-Scale Biodiesel Pump in Utah

Iowa-based Renewable Energy Group (REG) has announced the availability of their brand of biodiesel at a large-volume biodiesel terminal in Ogden, Utah.

This company press release says this terminal is part of the company’s national infrastructure plan.

REG has a strategic agreement with Kellerstrass Oil Co., a petroleum company and owner of the Ogden terminal, to offer blending of petroleum diesel with REG-9000 biodiesel at the site.

Company officials cite the upcoming Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) as one driver of biodiesel demand. “The RFS calls for 500 million gallons of biodiesel to be used in the U.S. in 2009. This biodiesel blending facility allows petroleum distributors in the Greater Salt Lake area and beyond to start now in preparation for this legislation implementation,” explained Gary Haer, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Renewable Energy Group.

Haer noted that the Utah terminal is just one piece of Renewable Energy Group’s strategic plan to increase biodiesel availability. “We are committed to meeting U.S. demand for biodiesel through infrastructure creation,” explained Haer. “REG currently markets biodiesel to all 48 continental states, and with this and other strategic terminal locations, REG is able to extend our biodiesel product offering. We aim to help our petroleum distribution customers more quickly access high quality biodiesel to meet their customers’ demands.”

REG sells biodiesel at to wholesalers at more than 20 other locations nationwide.

Games Feature Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles

Hydrogen is the fuel of choice at the non-profit HHO Games & Exposition this coming Tuesday, Nov. 11th at the Manatee County Fairgrounds, in Palmetto, Fla.

This press release says inventors will be testing hydrogen-powered devices for cars, trucks, boats, campers, motorcycles and generators during the four-day round of seminars and the world’s first large-scale display of water-powered vehicles:

“The Games are a national Veterans Day effort to reduce dependence on foreign fuel and save U.S. soldiers who fight and die to secure the nation’s oil lifeline to the Middle East,” organizer Joe Shea said. “We hope to reduce hunger and suffering tied to the high cost of fuel.”

“Thousands of construction jobs have been lost, and three local banks in the country have collapsed in the region’s housing meltdown, he said. With hydrogen a national cottage industry can be created to quickly convert gas-guzzlers to gas-savers with hydrogen kits.

The event would mark a significant transition in public acceptance of hybrid fuels. The attraction is the low-cost, low-tech nature of the kits, substantial gas savings and rapid engine-performance improvement. They are safe because no gas is stored in the kits, which only produce hydrogen on demand for instant use with gas or diesel fuel.

Inventors and thousands of the simply curious will attend seminars by people like ZeroFossilFuels, a Connecticut man, or Nevada-based SmartScarecrow, who have independently produced hundreds of the more than 17,300 videos on YouTube showing a year-long process of building, testing, installing and using HHO kits the size of a small blender. With that vast cross-pollination of ideas, innovations occur almost daily.

You can find out more at the games web site:

This Farmer Likes Idea of Corn Cob Ethanol

FarmersWhen you’re attending a farm event it’s always nice to get a farmer’s perspective on things. That’s what I did at the POET Project LIBERTY field day when I spoke with Todd Mathisen who farms just east of Emmetsburg, IA. I asked him what he thought of POET’s idea to harvest corn cobs for cellulosic ethanol production. He said, “I think it’s a great idea. I think we’re definitely going to add value to corn. Anything that produces more revenue, it’s going to take more work but I think open-minded farmers will grab hold of this and I think it’ll be a good deal.”

Now that sounds positive. Todd says the cobs are basically a waste product that isn’t even that good for the ground and he likes the idea of turning them into energy. Seems to make sense to me too. He’s a little apprehensive of the equipment that’s being developed and the labor involved but he’s sure that improvements will be made over the next couple years.

I also asked him about President-Elect Obama. He likes the fact that the Illinois Senator has always been supportive of renewable fuels. He’s interested to see what will happen.

Todd says he just finished his harvesting. He worked it wet, planted it wet but thinks he still got a good crop and he seems pretty happy about it.

You can listen to my interview with Todd here:

You can also download the interview with this link (mp3).

Project LIBERTY Field Day Photo Album

Ethanol Conversations

EPIC ToniThe executive director of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) recently unveiled her new blog, Ethanol Conversations.

Toni Nuernberg’s site focuses on spurring conversations and debates on the continued growth of ethanol in the United States and around the world.

EPIC is also utilizing new media in other ways, including a page on Facebook, and a YouTube channel featuring seven videos.

Corn Cob Harvesting Will Be Economical

James SturdevantThe Director of Project LIBERTY for POET is Jim Sturdevant. He oversees all the activities across the company that are “pulling together to transform this ethanol plant into one of the nation’s first cellulosic ethanol plants.” The plant he’s referring to is POET’s Emmetsburg facility where they held a field day yesterday. He says they intend to replicate what they’re doing with the local plant at their other facilities. Jim was very happy with the turnout at their field day even though the weather was not very cooperative.

Jim says they’ve been doing research on corn cob harvesting as well as the economic viability of doing it. He says, “We will not move forward unless this is economical.” Their models show that it will be although there is no pricing on the prototype equipment that was on display at the event.

I think it was interesting to hear him talk about the research into how to store the cobs. It looks like all you have to do is pile them up at the edge of the field for POET to pick them up.

You can listen to my interview with Jim here:

You can also download the interview with this link (mp3).

Project LIBERTY Field Day Photo Album

Deere Designing Corn Cob Harvest Equipment

John Deere CombineThere are several farm equipment manufacturers working with POET on corn cob harvesting solutions. One of them is John Deere. Of the current options for harvesting/collecting the cobs, Deere is working on the corn cob mix kit (CCM) option. It’s basically an attachment to the combine according to John Deere’s Barry Nelson, who was attending the POET Project LIBERTY field day.

Barry says that this will allow farmers to produce up to 11 percent more ethanol per acre. That’s a pretty good gain in efficiency. He says they’re also looking at other equipment options including a special cart or new combine.

You can listen to my interview with Barry here:

You can also download the interview with this link (mp3).

Project LIBERTY Field Day Photo Album

Patriot Ethanol is Processor Preferred

Illinois’ newest ethanol plant adds to a growing list of facilities that are part of the Monsanto Processor Preferred Network.

Patriot Renewable FuelsPatriot Renewable Fuels CEO Gene Griffith says they hope to use as much corn as possible from local farmers to produce ethanol at the new 100 million gallon per year plant. “We will need approximately 215,000 acres worth of corn every year to keep the plant at capacity,” Griffith says. “We hope to buy as much corn as we can from area producers and provide a new market opportunity for them.”

MonsantoIn special demand will be Monsanto’s Processor Preferred® High Fermentable Corn (HFC) hybrids, which can produce 2 percent to 4 percent more ethanol per bushel than commodity corn. Patriot joins approximately 70 ethanol plants in 16 states that are participating in the Processor Preferred Network.

“High-fermentable corn is a win-win for both corn growers and Patriot Renewable Fuels,” says Rob Elliott, Processor Preferred Market Manager for Monsanto. “Farmers have a new corn market, and the ethanol producer has a more productive and efficient local source of corn. We are very pleased to have Patriot Renewable Fuels as part of our initiative.”

Patriotically, the new plant in northwest Illinois held open houses on Wednesday and Thursday this week, right after election day. Patriot is one of the largest locally owned and operated dry grind ethanol plants in the state, made possible by the investment of farmers and businesses located in Annawan, Kewanee, Geneseo and the surrounding communities in Henry, Bureau and Rock Island counties.