BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFThe Maryland Energy Administration is accepting applications for its Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Grant Program (EVIP). EVIP funds will facilitate the installation of Direct-Current (DC) Fast Charging Networks in Maryland. DC fast charging stations allow for speedy charging of electric cars, adding sixty to eighty miles of electric driving range in nearly twenty minutes. The program is intended to promote energy independence in the State by facilitating greater investment in clean fuel automobiles which can be produced in the United States. Widespread adoption of electric vehicles is also a critical tenet of Maryland Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council, which seeks to have 60,000 electric vehicles in Maryland by 2020.
  • On July 2, 2014 the EPA finalized the quality assurance program (QAP) rule for verifying the validity of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. To assist the renewable fuels community in navigating this final ruling, Genscape will host a free educational webinar, “The QAP Final Rule Frontier,” to explore the content of the newly finalized QAP rule at 2 p.m. ET on Thursday, July 17, 2014.
  • SeaRoc Group has successfully completed the first major maintenance visit to Forewind’s Dogger Bank meteorological (met) masts in the North Sea at the beginning of June. The East (DB-MME) and West (DB-MMW) masts have been installed for 15 and 8 months respectively and scheduled structural inspection, instrumentation and cleaning tasks were undertaken. The met masts are collecting valuable wind, wave, atmospheric and marine traffic data for the proposed wind farms on Dogger Bank. The data will be used to help assess the technical options and economic viability of the projects in the zone.
  • PSEG Solar Source announced today that it will acquire a 13 megawatt (MWdc) solar energy facility near El Paso, TX from juwi solar (JSI). The project was originally developed by JSI and has a 30-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with El Paso Electric Company. The plant, to be called the PSEG El Paso Solar Energy Center is located 14 miles north of El Paso, adjacent to the existing El Paso Electric Newman Generating Station. The $22 million acquisition will increase PSEG’s Solar Source’s portfolio capacity to 106 MWdc.

Many Still in the Heat of Hay

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Where are you in #hay14?”

It looks like farmers across the United States are all at different stages with this year’s hay crop. On our farm we started out with a bang. But were soon falling behind due to rain. No one is complaining about the rain though. I think I can easily speak for all involved in agriculture that we are very glad to be getting these early summer showers. Good luck to all those still in the heat of #hay14.

Our poll results:

  • Done – 25%
  • Right on schedule – 12.5%
  • Behind due to rain – 62.5%
  • Behind due to equipment – 0%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “What will be on your Independence Day grill?”

The 4th of July typically equals family and friends gathering for a barbecue and barbecue’s equals meat. The choices for your grill are limitless. Will you be having the traditional meal of hamburgers and hot dogs? Or will you be showing off your culinary genius and serving Venison Osso Buco, Beer Grilled Chops or Thai Grilled Shrimp?

EPA Establishes Quality Assurance for RINS

epaIn addition to the final rule approving crop residue as a cellulosic feedstock, the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday established a “voluntary quality assurance program” for renewable identification numbers, or RINs.

The program is designed to maintain liquidity in the market for RINs under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) providing a means for ensuring that RINs are properly gener­ated through audits of renewable fuel production conducted by independent third-parties using quality assurance plans (QAPs). According to EPA, the QAP is intended to improve RIN market liquidity and ef­ficiency and improve the ability of smaller renewable fuel producers to sell their RINs.

Other provisions in the final rule regarding RINs include modifications to the exporter provisions of the RFS program to help ensure that an appropriate number and type of RINs are retired whenever
renewable fuel is exported.

Read the entire rule from EPA here.

Ethanol Report on Energy Independence

ethanol-report-adAs we prepare to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, many of us will be out on the roads driving to see family, friends and fireworks. But, thanks to upheaval in a little country halfway across the world, gas prices are up again so we are going to be paying more at the pump, a stark reminder that we are not so independent when it comes to our energy sources.

dinneen-capitolIn this Independence Day Ethanol Report, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen reminds us that ethanol saves Americans money at the pump, stretches the fuel supply and is the perfect remedy for skyrocketing gas prices.

Dinneen talks about the new milestone reached this week in cellulosic ethanol production and why the government needs to be expanding the use of biofuels rather than contemplating scaling back our nation’s renewable energy policy and striking a blow for American energy independence.

Ethanol Report on Energy Independence

Subscribe to “The Ethanol Report” with this link.

Minnesota “Spills Beans About Biodiesel”

saintsbaseballWhat could be more All-American this time of year than baseball… and biodiesel! This article from the Minnesota Farm Guide says the folks at the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) are combining the two truly patriotic loves during their “Spilling the Beans About Biodiesel” night at the St. Paul, Minnesota Saints baseball game at Midway Stadium on Tuesday, July 8.

Fans at tailgating can receive a free biodiesel t-shirt when they post a photo of themselves with the Saints’ cow mascots on social media, using the hashtag #BreatheBetterMN. Other events at tailgating include additional giveaways, a super hybrid Metro Transit bus that runs on biodiesel and more consumer-friendly information about biodiesel.

Prior to the Saints game on July 8, Minnesota Soybean will promote a coupon on their social media sites that could get game-goers a free $10 gas gift card. The first 50 people to bring the biodiesel coupon to their tailgating booth will receive a gas card.

Local media are being welcomed to the event with a chance to meet with and interview Minnesota soybean farmers who grow the feedstock for biodiesel. Contact Abby Bastian at abastian@wideopenthinking.com or 507-766-1038 for more information.

Springboard Biodiesel Offers Restaurants Incentive

springboardbiodiesel2Small biodiesel processor maker Springboard Biodiesel wants more restaurants to get into the act of brewing up their own biodiesel from their used cooking oil and grease. The company has declared July “Green Restaurant Month” and is offering $1,000 cash back to any restaurant in the U.S. that recycles the waste into biodiesel using one of their BioPro™ appliances.

Springboard Biodiesel’s CEO Mark Roberts explains, “Making biodiesel out of used cooking oil is not only profitable, it is possibly the single ‘greenest’ step a restaurant can take to improve air quality and reduce CO2 output.”

“We make an automated appliance that enables any business that cooks for large groups of people to convert their used cooking oil into premium grade fuel for 95 cents per gallon. Currently, the National average price of diesel hovers around $4.00 per gallon and will go higher. The fuel made in a BioPro™ runs in any diesel engine and costs one-quarter of the price.”

Over the last 6 years, Springboard Biodiesel has built a strong reputation within the green dining movement and is endorsed by the Green Restaurant Association, a national non-profit organization that assists member restaurants to become more environmentally responsible. The company also earned a prestigious “Kitchen Innovations” award from the National Restaurant Association in May of 2012 for the release of it’s BioPro™ EX.

Springboard Biodiesel has put nearly 1,000 of its biodiesel brewers in restaurants and breweries all across the U.S. and about two dozen other countries. Not only do the restaurant owners and brewers save the environment, but they also save the cost of paying someone else to pick up their old cooking oil, as well as having a great fuel source of their own to run in vehicles, such as delivery trucks.

RINs Around the Rosy

Renewable Identification Numbers, better known in the renewable energy world as RINs, are serious business, but there’s actually an app on the market to make them a bit more fun.

rins-appThe Energy Policy Research Foundation, Inc. (EPRINC) introduced the RFS compliance calculator earlier this year as a free download on Apple’s App Store, allowing you to “model various RFS and refined product market scenarios until your thumbs fall off.”

RINs Around the Rosy enables you to take on a variety of roles, from EPA Administrator to gasoline blender, in an attempt to guide the refined products market through the Renewable Fuels Standard whilst avoiding a crash into the blendwall. Think of it as an RFS compliance calculator.

This app serves as a model of the RFS and refined products (gasoline and diesel) market. It gives you control over nearly two dozen variables, enabling you to set an infinite number of volumetric mandates and product demand forecasts, measure RIN carryover, test various gasoline and diesel blending options, and examine the impact of custom waiver scenarios. RINs Around the Rosy will track your inputs and assumptions and let you know if you have met the mandate you set or if and how you fell short.

To download the app, just search in the app store for RINS Around the Rosy.

Corn Fiber Approved as Cellulosic Feedstock

epaThe Environmental Protection Agency issued final rules Wednesday to qualify additional fuel pathways for the production of cellulosic biofuel, including crop residue such as corn fiber.

EPA has now determined that crop residue does meet the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction requirements for cellulosic biofuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) provided that “producers include in their registration specific information about the types of residues which will be used, and record and report to EPA the quantities and specific types of residues used.”

corn-cobsThe final rule comes just as the first gallons of cellulosic ethanol are being produced this week from corn fiber in Galva, Iowa. “As demonstrated by Quad County Corn Processors—which produced its first commercial gallon of cellulosic ethanol from corn fiber just yesterday—this feedstock holds tremendous potential to contribute meaningful volumes toward compliance with the RFS cellulosic biofuels standard,” said Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen.

Dinneen says EPA should be commended for using a straightforward approach to accounting for the cellulosic content of biofuel feedstocks. “The ‘cellulosic content threshold’ method finalized in today’s rule is a common sense approach that minimizes administrative and accounting burdens for commercial producers, but upholds the spirit and intent of the RFS,” Dinneen said.

The EPA also finalized some minor amendments related to survey requirements associated with the ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) program and misfueling mitigation regulations for 15 volume percent
ethanol blends (E15) in announcements made on Wednesday.

Georgia State Fleet Looking to Ramp Up With Ethanol

The Georgia Alternative Fuel Road Rally has ended after two weeks of crisscrossing the state to promote alternative fuels. According to the FlexFuel Awareness Campaign, the success of the rally could increase the use of ethanol in FFVs.

Todd Sneller talks ethanolTodd Sneller, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board and a board member of the FlexFuel Awareness Campaign, spoke with government officials and fleet managers throughout the state and visited four cities last week. “Over the course of two weeks our team met with nearly three hundred fleet management personnel and local municipalities to provide them with information on the ethanol option,” said Sneller. “I am pleased to report that the Georgia state Government is preparing to energize the E85 initiative at the state level. The state has nearly five thousand FFVs in service but they need to facilitate more efficient fuel supply logistics. Several large county fleets are also moving toward E85 since we explained the potential cost savings.”

The Clean Fuels Development Coalition and the Clean Fuels Foundation, Growth Energy, the Kansas and Nebraska Corn Growers, and a number of agriculture and ethanol supporters were among the sponsors of the tour which is designed to increase consumer and fleet operator awareness for alternative fuels. The FlexFuel Awareness Campaign is focusing on the FFvmessage that high level ethanol blends and FFVs are an option for private and government fleets and that they can be very competitive among the family of legally defined alternative fuels.

Sneller noted that fleet managers are looking to use cleaner fuels within the tight budgets they are facing. Ethanol continues to offer attractive pricing but an inefficient fuel delivery system is subverting the potential price advantage to fleet managers and consumers. In addition, there is a great need for consumer awareness and to work with retail outlets that serve both fleets and individual consumers.

“As part of an ‘all of the above’ approach, this Road Show showcases all the alternative fuels, and they all have their strengths and advantages in a given situation. We are pleased to be part of this successful effort and make sure biofuels like ethanol are in the mix,” Sneller concluded.

Solutions to Threat Oil Poses for Armed Forces

A new video offers solutions to the threat oil poses for America’s armed forces and the nation’s security. The video was developed by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Truman National Security Project. The new video details the growing danger of oil use to the country’s national security. The U.S. Department of Defense is the world’s largest institutional oil consumer, using more than 100 million barrels every year to power ships, vehicles, aircraft, and ground operations. That’s enough oil to drive around the Earth more than 4 million times. According to the two organizations, this high use leads to greater unpredictability for missions, especially given oil’s vulnerability to price swings on the world market.

“Moving fuel on the battlefield is dangerous and expensive,” said Michael Breen, a former Army captain and executive director at Truman. “A ten dollar increase in the price of a barrel of oil costs the military $1.3 billion — money we can’t use to accomplish our mission and protect our troops.”

The groups argue that despite oil industry advertising championing new domestic production, so called “new oil and gas” resources aren’t really new at all. And they are only available because the oil industry is now desperate enough to go after dirtier, more difficult and expensive oil than they were before. They they said is neither a sustainable solution for our armed forces or our country.

“As the era of cheap and easy oil comes to an end, the oil industry’s desperation for continuing profits has led to more and more destructive practices that are not solving the problems associated with oil use,Hybrid Humvee” said Siv Balachandran, an engineer and oil analyst at UCS. “The real solution is to use less oil.”

Balachandran and Breen noted that the armed forces are adopting new, innovative technologies to reduce oil use while creating a stronger, more effective fighting force. For example, the Navy uses biofuels made from algae and other advanced sources, while the Army is powering Humvees with hybrid-electric engines. These technologies could benefit civilians too.

“The country is already making progress on this front, with federal and state policies helping cars go farther on each gallon of gas and putting thousands of hybrid and electric vehicles on the road — saving the country money while reducing emissions and creating jobs, but the work is not done,” said Balachandran. “By supporting policies that cut oil use even further, we’ll keep America healthier, wealthier, and more secure.”

Breen added, “As the largest institutional consumer of fuel in the world, the U.S. military is leading the way in reducing oil use and investing in renewable options. That’s good for America’s budget and for national security. Our communities – the veterans and national security leaders of Operation Free, and the scientists of UCS – are united in supporting the military’s innovative clean energy solutions.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFPOET Biorefining – Coon Rapids hosted Jeb Burton, a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver, to highlight the benefits of ethanol for drivers. General Manager Bill Howell took Burton on a tour of the plant and also hosted a meet and greet with area producers. Howell discussed the economic and environmental benefits of ethanol for consumers, local businesses and rural economies.
  • IKEA has plugged-in an expansion of the solar array completed last April atop its Perryville, Maryland distribution center, the state’s largest such solar energy system. The 467,618-square-foot solar addition consists of a 2.2-MW system, built with 7,337 modules, and will produce 2,695,355 kWh of electricity annually. Including the existing system, this distribution center’s total 4.9-MW solar installation of 25,913 panels now will generate 6,092,533 kWh of clean electricity yearly, the equivalent of reducing 4,299 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 896 cars or powering 591 homes.
  • Geothermal Energy Association’s fourth annual National Geothermal Summit will be held on Tuesday, August 5 and Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at the Grand Sierra Resort & Casino in Reno, Nevada. California focused topics at the Summit include: utility perspective on renewable portfolio standards and geothermal energy; the future of the RPS; and achieving the potential of the Salton Sea and the Salton Sea Restoration Initiative.
  • Omnitek Engineering Corp. has announced it has received an order for a 250 kilowatt diesel-to-biogas converted power generator from National Raisin Company, Inc., based in Fowler, California that incorporates Omnitek’s technology for stationary engine applications and provides a clean and economical solution to the agricultural industry in the San Joaquin Valley region of California. Terms were not disclosed.

Heliae Partners with Sincere for Algae Project

Algae production technology company Heliae is partnering with Japan-based Sincere Corporation, a waste management and recycling company, to form a joint venture to develop a commercial scale algae production facility in Saga City Japan called Alvita Corporation. The partnership will combine Sincere Corporation’s operational skill, distribution networks and knowledge of the Japanese market with Heliia’s proprietary algae production technology to supply natural astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant with broad health benefits, to the growing health and wellness market in the region.

heliae logo“As we investigated technology partners for algae production in Japan, Heliae offered a truly complete package,” said Yukihiro Matsuzaka, President of Sincere Corporation. “From their algae technology platform, their experience at scale, and their extensive  traction in multiple industries, Heliae is clearly a world-class player and we look forward to building upon this joint venture with them and bringing algae production to Japan.”

Construction of the Saga City facility is planned to begin in 2015 and Alvita’s astaxanthin product should bScreen Shot 2014-07-02 at 9.49.27 AMe available on the market in Japan by 2016. The Saga City facility will be designed based on Heliae’s first algae production facility in Gilbert, Arizona. This original facility has been operational since 2013 and produces astaxanthin for the North American market.

“Local support for the project has been significant and we’re proud that the new algae production facility will bring significant community development for the Saga City area through job creation and tax revenue,” said Dan Simon, President and CEO of Heliae.

“We choose our partners carefully, and the Sincere Corporation has a complimentary culture combined with a long track record of success in Japan,” continued Simon. “This is just the beginning of what we believe will become a long-term partnership to deliver high quality algae products to multiple markets throughout the country. We are honored to have been chosen by Sincere and excited about the potential. Now the real work begins.”

NBB Touts Minnesota’s New 10% Biodiesel Mandate

mnAs Minnesota becomes the first in the nation to require all diesel this summer have at least a 10 percent biodiesel blend, the National Biodiesel Board is touting the move… and the green fuel’s benefits.

“Minnesota has been a pioneer, first demonstrating success with a five percent biodiesel blend. Moving to B10 continues the state’s role as a leader for our energy future, a future that includes diverse options like America’s Advanced Biofuel, biodiesel” said Steven Levy, Chairman for the National Biodiesel Board.

According to the American Lung Association of Minnesota, the state’s current B5 standard reduces emissions equal to removing nearly 35,000 vehicles from the road, which equates to 644 million pounds of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Increasing the blend from B5 to B10 will mean an additional demand of 20 million gallons of biodiesel each year on top of the current usage of 40 million gallons. Minnesota’s current operating production capacity is over 60 million gallons per year. Plants are currently operating in Isanti, Brewster and Albert Lea.

“It is encouraging to see leaders implement consistently strong biofuels policy; this is obviously in sharp contrast to the mixed messages sent from Washington, DC,” said Levy. “Minnesota’s move to B10 shows the impressive potential for renewable energy when policy and entrepreneurship work hand in hand to support real benefits that impact us all. Hopefully those at the national level will see the success in Minnesota and follow up with a strong federal energy policy and strong renewable fuel standard.”

Minnesota was supposed to move to B10 two years ago, but delays to make sure adequate blending infrastructure was in place put it off until now. Starting next year, B10 will be sold from April through September. The rest of the time, a 5 percent blend requirement is in place.

Cellana Deal Could Have Implications for Biodiesel

cellanaA new deal between Cellana, a California-based maker of algae-based products, and Israel’s Galil Algae Cooperative Agriculture Society Limited could have implications for biodiesel. This Cellana news release says the partnership looks to combine the industrial qualities of Cellana’s ReNew™ Algae – high-value algae biomass rich in Omega-3 nutritional oils, proteins, fuel-grade oils, cosmetic-grade oils, acids, and polysaccharides, as well as other valuable micronutrients – with Galil Algae’s whole-algae products that are rich in Omega-3s for aquaculture applications at a new joint algae research center in northern Israel.

“This newly-established relationship with Galil Algae is an extension and validation of Cellana’s core competencies in minimizing contamination in large-scale outdoor algae biomass production and in growing algae strains that naturally produce high-value Omega-3 oils,” stated Martin A. Sabarsky, Chief Executive Officer of Cellana. “Many of the same strains that can be grown for aquaculture hatchery applications can also be good sources of crude oil for fuel applications, proteins for animal feed and food applications, and oils and polysaccharides for cosmetic applications,” continued Mr. Sabarsky. “Galil Algae’s algae strains for aquaculture hatchery applications are qualitatively better than competing products based on their Omega-3 profile and other qualities. We look forward to finalizing the definitive agreements with Galil Algae and working closely with Galil Algae to expand commercial-scale production of these high-value products.”

Galil Algae officials see the deal as a way for them to partner their high-performing, high-Omega-3 algae strains with Cellana’s approach to commercial strain development and market focus within the nutraceutical and aquaculture sectors.

Iowa Plant Produces First Cellulosic Ethanol

qccp-cellulosic-gallonThe very first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol gallons produced in Iowa flowed from the Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP) distillation unit Tuesday, bringing smiles to the faces of the plant team members who posed with a bottle of the historic fuel.

The event marks the official commissioning of the farmer-owned ethanol plant’s Adding Cellulosic Ethanol (ACE) project, which broke ground in Galva, Iowa not quite a year ago. The new “bolt-on” process adds the capability to convert the kernel’s corn fiber into cellulosic ethanol, in addition to traditional corn starch ethanol.

quad-county “Our Adding Cellulosic Ethanol (ACE) project will not only increase our plant’s production capacity by 6 percent, but it will also continue to boost energy security and provide consumers with more low-cost, cleaner-burning ethanol without adding any additional corn to the production process,” said QCCP CEO Delayne Johnson, who also noted the new technology will improve the plant’s distillers grains (DDGs) co-product. “As a result of the new process, the DDGs will be much more similar to a corn gluten meal. It will increase the protein content of the livestock feed by about 40 percent, and we also expect to see a boost in corn oil extraction by about 300 percent,” he said.

Listen to Johnson explain the process at the 2014 National Ethanol Conference: Remarks by Delayne Johnson, Quad Council Corn Processors

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) offered congratulations to the QCCP team for becoming the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol producer in Iowa. “While the EPA continues to debate the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2014 and beyond, renewable fuels producers like Quad County Corn Processors remain committed to pioneering new technologies that increase plant productivity and accomplish the goals set forth by the RFS,” said IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw, adding that the state has other cellulosic ethanol projects nearing completion.

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen says the first gallon of cellulosic ethanol represents just the beginning of a long, promising future. “It is worth noting that Quad County is the perfect demonstration of first and second generation ethanol being produced side-by-side to bring more choice to America in the form of low-cost, high-octane, renewable fuel,” said Dinneen.

Syngenta recently partnered with QCCP to license the ACE technology, which is used in combination with the Enogen corn trait.