Springboard Biodiesel Offers New Equipment

springboardbiodiesel2A California-based biodiesel equipment manufacturer is offering a new line of automated equipment that it says will further improve the performance and efficiency of small-scale biodiesel producers. Springboard Biodiesel announced the equipment will recover methanol and treat glycerin better.

The GL95/MC12/BD380 trio will recover more than 99% of the excess methanol that is mixed in with the glycerin by-product produced while making biodiesel. After the methanol is recovered at a purity of approximately 98%, the equipment will then eject a quickly cooling block of glycerin soap.

This trio of equipment will also remove and recover excess methanol from biodiesel that rates too high for sale, based on methanol content. This can be a factor for groups that are using a drywash system to filter and clean their raw biodiesel after it has been produced.

“In the biodiesel production world, some groups struggle to manage their glycerin disposal, others struggle to meet ASTM-grade when using a drywash system,” says Springboard CEO Mark Roberts. “Recognizing this, we have turned their struggle into an opportunity with the elegant and automated GL95/MC12/BD380 trio. Not only will a biodiesel producer recover the vast majority of the extra methanol used in the reactions, but the equipment will also cast the remaining material into a large block of soap and glycerin, giving a small scale producer more options for revenue.”

Springboard is best known for its small-scale biodiesel processing equipment under the trademarks of BioPro™ and SpringPro™. The BioPro™.

Iowa Biodiesel Board Optimistic on Election Results

iowabiodieselboardA group representing one of the largest biodiesel producing states in the country is optimistic about Tuesday’s election results. The Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB) congratulated those in the Hawkeye State winning, in particular Joni Ernst winning the U.S. Senate seat and David Young winning the U.S. House seat. And IBB is optimistic about what the election means for biodiesel nationally.

Grant Kimberley, IBB executive director, issued the following statement:

“We congratulate Iowa’s election winners, and look forward to working with all of them in the effort to diversify our nation’s fuel supply with biodiesel, America’s Advanced Biofuel. We are confident the new Senate and House winners will support biodiesel and biofuel issues. Having hosted Senator Joni Ernst at a biodiesel plant during the campaign, we were pleased to hear her declare strong support for biodiesel and the Renewable Fuel Standard to IBB members. IBB will continue to be a resource for her and all of our elected officials.

“Sen. Ernst and Rep. David Young in particular have strong ties to Governor Terry Branstad and Senator Chuck Grassley, who have been tireless champions for biofuel and agriculture issues. We’re confident these newly elected officials will be just as supportive in providing leadership on these important issues. We also look forward to working with Rep. Rod Blum. Likewise, we believe the House incumbents, Reps. Dave Loebsack and Steve King, will continue to support biodiesel and our nation’s drive for smart, consistent federal energy policy. The economic and energy security benefits biodiesel provides are second to none, making the RFS one of the most effective policies we have.”

IBB was also thankful to defeated Senate candidate Democrat Bruce Braley for his efforts on behalf of the green fuel while in the U.S. House, as well as retiring Senator Tom Harkin.

Iowa RFA Pleased with Election Results

branstad-ernstThe Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) is pleased with the results of Tuesday’s election in the state and the strong support for renewable fuels among the winning candidates.

“It’s not surprising that ethanol and biodiesel enjoy broad, bipartisan support in Iowa,” stated IRFA PAC Treasurer Walt Wendland. “It’s also encouraging to see that renewable fuels will remain in good hands in Iowa. We look forward to working with all of the 2014 election winners for state and federal offices to continue to preserve and advance Iowa’s leadership in renewable fuels production, agriculture and environmental stewardship.”

In the races for federal office, Iowa elected Joni Ernst to the U.S. Senate, and David Young and Rod Blum to the U.S. House. Iowans also re-elected Governor Terry Branstad, and Reps. Steve King and Dave Loebsack. Each winning candidate reported strong support for renewable fuels and the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in IRFA’s renewable fuels candidate survey.

Register Now for 9th IRFA Summit

2015 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit crowdsRegistration is now open for the 9th annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit and Trade Show. The event will take place January 27, 2015 at The Meadows Conference Center located at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa and is free and open to the public. Click here for registration and sponsorship information.

With ongoing discussion over renewable fuels policy, the 2015 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit will discuss state and national issues impacting the renewable fuels industry, including the future of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the impacts of the mid-term elections on U.S. energy policy, and emerging opportunities for cellulosic ethanol, E15, and biodiesel. Featured speakers will be announced leading up to the Summit.

“The Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit provides a great opportunity to listen to experts address state and national issues impacting the future of renewable fuels, as well as network with biofuels professionals and business leaders from throughout the Midwest,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Taking into account the unclear impacts of mid-term elections and the uncertain future of the RFS, there’s a no shortage of interest in the 2015 Summit that will bring together industry leaders, decision makers and the general public to shape Iowa’s energy future.”

Two-Thirds of New Vehicles Approved for E15

E15-americasAuto manufacturers explicitly approve the use of E15 (15 percent ethanol blend fuel) in approximately two-thirds of new vehicles, according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

RFA’s analysis of model year (MY) 2015 warranty statements and owner’s manuals finds that nearly 63 percent of MY 2015 vehicles will have E15 approval from their manufacturers. E15 is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for all 2001 and newer vehicles — accounting for roughly 80 percent of the vehicles on the road today. When coupled with expected MY 2015 flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) production, it is estimated that E15 will be allowed in close to 70 percent of MY 2015 vehicles. Manufacturers approve the use of up to 85 percent ethanol blends in FFVs.

The RFA analysis revealed several interesting trends:

After approving the use of E15 in some of its 2014 Honda and Acura models, Honda Motor Company has extended E15 warranty coverage to all models in 2015.

All Toyota models in 2015 include explicit E15 approval, up from just a fraction of Toyota models in 2014. Just as in 2014, E15 is approved for use in most, but not all, 2015 Lexus models.

For the fourth year in a row, General Motors approves the use of E15 in all models. Similarly, E15 is approved in all Ford models for the third year in a row. Vehicles from these two automakers alone account for roughly one-third of sales in the United States.

Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover, Porsche, and Volkswagen also expressly approved the use of E15 in their 2015 models.

The analysis also found that the Chrysler Group failed for the fourth year in a row to approve the use of E15 in owners’ manuals for its models. Despite that, a significant share of Chrysler output is expected to be FFV-capable, meaning E15 is approved for use in those vehicles.

Hawaiian Utility to Ink Biodiesel Deal

hawaiianelectricHawaii’s largest utility says it will sign a deal to buy up to five million gallons of biodiesel to use. This article from Pacific Business News says Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO) told the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission that the supply from the developer could come as early as November 2015.

Proposals from several firms were received by HECO, although it redacted the section of the letter naming the firms. The deadline for proposals was July 31.

The locations where the biodiesel would be used includes HECO’s 110-megawatt West Oahu Campbell Industrial Park generating station and the 8-megawatt Honolulu International Airport Emergency Power Facility.

In late May, HECO issued the request for proposals for a contract term of three years.

Solenis Receives Corn Oil Extraction Patent

Solenis has received a U.S. patent (Patent No. US 8,841,469 B2) for the use of chemical additives to improve the separation of corn oil. In addition to yielding more corn oil, the company says its corn oil extraction aids, which are marketed as Dimension corn oil extraction aids, also reduce solids in the oil, resulting in a cleaner, higher-quality oil. The extraction aids, which are easily introduced into the process, also have been shown to reduce system deposition, resulting in less downtime for system cleaning and maintenance according to Solenis.

Solenis logo“Our goal is always to drive the profitability of the companies we do business with – and our extraction aids do just that,” said Allen Ziegler, global marketing director of biorefining at Solenis. “We’re not a one-trick product company. We have a full line of products that can benefit our customers – from reducing costs to increasing productivity. On top of that, our process experts are always looking for innovative ways to further build efficiencies. It’s inherent in everything we do.”

Previously known as Ashland Water Technologies, Solenis was part of Ashland Inc. until earlier this year when it became a stand-alone company. In addition to its corn oil extraction technologies, the company’s product portfolio includes a broad array of process, functional and water treatment chemistries as well as monitoring and control systems.

“The reality is that we were first to market with this technology and we have hard data to demonstrate its value, whereas with competitor products there can be significant variances in product performance,” said Ziegler. “Whether customers have a specially blended product or want validation that our technology works the same or better than what they’re currently using, we’ll work with them to get the product they need and the performance they expect.”

“We’re seeking to bring greater value to fuel ethanol plants with our patented and proven technology. But just as important, we want to establish good relationships with those companies,” Zeigler added.

REG Biodiesel Sales Up, But Revenues Down

reg-logoBiodiesel behemoth Renewable Energy Group (REG) reports an increase in the amount of biodiesel it sold, but revenues for the Iowa-based company are down. The latest financial report from REG shows the company sold 14.4 percent more gallons of biomass-based diesel, while revenues decreased by 16.2 percent and Adjusted EBITDA decreased by 77.7 percent.

“Our third quarter results reflect a very solid financial performance despite weak market conditions, while we worked to bring REG Geismar online and continued to invest in product development,” said Daniel J. Oh, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our traditional biodiesel business saw double digit volume growth of gallons sold and produced, compared to the third quarter of last year. The Mason City upgrades, which now allow that biorefinery to use lower cost feedstocks, were completed on time and within budget, and reflect our continued investment and focus on the biomass-based diesel business.”

REG officials say the revenue decline comes as the average sales price has been reduced and lower Renewable Identification Number (RIN) prices, more than offsetting the approximately 14 percent increase in gallons sold. The average price per gallon of biodiesel sold during the third quarter was $3.54, nearly 30 percent lower than in the same quarter of 2013.

U.S. Bank & Microgrid Solar Aid Nonprofits

More than 50 nonprofits in and around St. Louis, Missouri now have access to renewable energy due to the help of U.S. Bank and Microgrid Solar. The two companies (U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation- USBCDC is the actual funder) are financing the installation and operation of up to 120 solar PV U.S. Bank and Microgrid Solar nonprofit solar installationprojects to benefit 56 nonprofit organizations. Each 25 kilowatt solar installation will produce approximately 30,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, enough to save these nonprofits tens of thousands of dollars in reduced utility bills according to Microgrid Solar.

“This project totals 3 megawatts (MW) of solar power capacity that is being installed at some of the most well-known nonprofit organizations and schools in the St. Louis area,” said Rick Hunter, CEO of Microgrid Solar. “We think this will have a major impact, not only for the organizations, but for improving awareness and education around solar in the St. Louis area generally. This is a unique financing program that is really a first nationally, and which essentially provides solar to a nonprofit organization at zero budgetary cost.”

USBCDC works with solar system installation firms around the nation to help businesses and homeowners add PV systems to their offices and homes, saving utility costs and reducing pollution and U.S. dependence on foreign petroleum. “Reliable solar is a great investment for businesses, communities, and financiers alike,” said Dan Siegel, vice president of USBCDC. “We’re proud to leverage our renewable energy expertise and support to create opportunities for sustainability in St. Louis.”

Last year, USBCDC also partnered with Microgrid to install solar on several of its U.S. Bank branches.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFVirent and the PlantPET Technology Collaborative (PTC) announced that the parties have signed an Expression of Interest that provides individual members of the PTC an option on preferred access to Virent’s 100% plant-based BioFormPX paraxylene (PX) to be produced at the company’s first industrial manufacturing facility. The plant-based PX, when combined with existing PET technology, allows manufacturers to offer customers 100% renewable, recyclable, PET packaging and polyester fibers.
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced proposed new actions to include new forest products in the BioPreferred program. The proposal also includes other traditional biobased products and other mature market products, which have been produced in innovative ways. USDA seeks public comment for 60 days on the proposed rules published in the Federal Register.
  • The Second International Ocean Research Conference will take place November 17-21, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. The event will give the scientific community an opportunity to take stock of global research and determine a roadmap for the years to come. The purpose of the event is also to help secure recognition for the important role of the ocean in the international political agenda. Close to 600 scientists from more than 70 countries are scheduled to take part in the conference which is co-organized by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (COI), Fundació Navegació Oceànica Barcelona (Spain) and the Oceanography Society (USA).
  • CBD Energy Limited has announced that it has fully erected 6 wind turbines on its Taralga Wind Farm site in New South Wales, Australia, with a further 17 nearing completion. When construction is complete, the Taralga Wind Farm will have 51 operating wind turbines. The initial generation from constructed wind turbines is planned for December 2014. When completed, the approximately US$265 million project is forecasted to generate on average US$25 million of revenues each year for its investors. The project’s off-take customer is Energy Australia, one of Australia’s largest utilities.

OnForce Solar Completes Solar Landfill Project

OnForce Solar has completed what the company says is the first of its kind solar landfill project in the state of New York. The 2.364 MW solar array was built on 13 acres of decommissioned, capped landfill in West Nyack for the Town of Clarkstown. The solar farm will generate 2,800,000 kilowatt hours of clean energy per year and is expected to save taxpayers as much as $4M over the lifetime of the system according to OnForce Solar.

OnforceSolar.ClarkstownClarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack said of the project, “We are very proud to be the first municipality in New York to install a solar field on a capped landfill. Councilman Hoehmann, who first proposed this idea in 2009, town officials, our consultants H2M architects + engineers, and I have been working on this project for several years and we are excited to see it finally come to fruition.”

The project is owned in full by OnForce Solar. The company invested $6M to install, operate, and maintain the solar installation pursuant to a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Additionally, the town was reimbursed $100,000 by OnForce Solar to cover any out-of-pocket expenses making the project ultimately cost-free for the Clarkstown. The solar system installation was made possible, in part, through support that the Town of Clarkstown received from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) through Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative.

The solar system integrates Orange and Rockland Utilities’ supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) monitoring system that allows the utility to remotely monitor and control the solar system. The SCADA monitoring system, part of the the utility industry’s Smart Grid Pilot Program, adds an enhanced level of resiliency to Orange and Rockland Utilities’ grid, helping to protect the utility’s customers from catastrophic power outages according to OnForce Solar.

“We are very excited to commission the very first PV on landfill project in the state of New York,” added Charles Feit, CEO of OnForce Solar. “Our gratitude goes out to Governor Cuomo, NYSERDA, The Town of Clarkstown and the other stakeholders that came together to make this project a reality. OnForce Solar is honored to have been an integral part of the process and we’re working on many more projects like this one across the state.”

Italy Binds Biofuel Targets

Italy has passed a law that will set the way for national binding targets. The news comes on the heels of talks by the European Union (EU) on what, if any, binding renewable energy targets should be in place. The official degree as published in the “Gazzetta Ufficiale” states that fuel suppliers will be obligated to blend fuel:

  • at least 0.6% advanced biofuels in petrol and diesel beginning January 1, 2018;
  • 0.8% beginning January 1, 2020; and
  • 1% beginning January 1, 2022.

The passage of Italy’s law comes at the same time the European Council released its 2030 Energy and Climate Package where the transportation sector has seen the most positive changes when compared to the first proposal. The law now puts Italy as the lead in Europe on mandating advanced biofuels from waste and residues.

The Italian decree comes six months after the Italian Ministry of Economic Development announced in May the intention to fund the construction of three advanced biofuels EU 2030 Climate Targetsfacilities in Southern Italy and is part of the country’s initiatives to boost competitiveness.

In the fall of 2013, Novozymes, together with Italian company Biochemtex opened the world’s first commercial-scale advanced biofuels refinery in Italy – using agricultural waste as input. When asked by DomesticFuel what message Italy’s mandate sends to other countries, Novozymes’ Vice President for Biomass Conversion, Sebastian Søderberg answered, “In general, it will send a very positive signal to the other European countries and outside Europe. Italy and a number of other member states have been pushing for a mandate for advanced biofuels at EU level for more than 2 years and Italy’s move will support this process.” Continue reading

Ethanol Coalition: Auto Engineers Expose EPA’s Oil Bias

ACElogoA new paper from automotive engineers shows how the federal government has a bias toward Big Oil. Officials from the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) praised a new Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) paper authored by experts from Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company, and AVL Powertrain Engineering Inc. that concludes that emissions from higher ethanol blends are cleaner than gasoline, and the approach used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to estimate exhaust emissions, the Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES) model, is biased in favor of oil.

“We applaud these Ford, General Motors, and AVL Powertrain engineers for exposing that EPA’s MOVES model is biased in favor of a result oil companies prefer and ignores the way gasoline is blended with ethanol in the real-world,” said [ACE Executive Vice President Brian] Jennings. “This is just the latest example of how Big Oil is twisting EPA’s arm to limit ethanol use. First, it appears EPA is about to completely rewrite the Renewable Fuel Standard to help oil companies avoid their legal responsibility to blend fuels, like E15 and E85, which reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Now, EPA is relying on a biased approach for estimating tailpipe emissions, remarkably making gasoline appear cleaner than ethanol.” Continue reading

CHS Co-Op to Open Wisc. Propane Rail Terminal

CHSpropane1The nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a leading energy, grains and foods company is opening a new propane rail terminal in Wisconsin. CHS announced the opening of the new terminal in Hixton, just in time to meet demand for the upcoming heating season.

The new terminal is owned by CHS and operated by Federation Cooperative of Black River Falls, Wis. Served by the CN railroad, the terminal will initially have 360,000 gallons of storage, the ability to unload six railcars every 4.5 hours, and two truck loading bays capable of loading six trucks per hour. The secure terminal, which uses modern automation and safety technologies, will be completed in mid-November.

“CHS invested in this terminal as part of a broader $24 million investment to develop a robust supply network for propane marketers in the Northern Tier region affected by the Cochin pipeline reversal,” according to Drew Combs, CHS vice president of propane. “Our goal is to help marketers serve homeowners, farms and businesses with a safe, reliable supply of propane, and to position our customers for future growth while adding value for our member owners,” says Combs.

State officials on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony said the new terminal will be a major asset for the state.

Growth Energy Staffer on Advisory Committee

growth-energy-logoU.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker has appointed Jim Miller, Growth Energy’s Vice President and Chief Economist, to a position on the Department of Commerce’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee. The departmental committee was established to advise the Secretary on programs and policies to expand U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency exports.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to help increase awareness of the importance of renewable fuels as well as expand markets across the globe to help export clean, sustainable energy that will help create jobs right here at home, while improving the environment around the globe and reducing the world’s dependence on fossil fuels,” said Miller.

Miller previously served as the Senior Policy Advisor on the Budget Committee under Senator Kent Conrad (D-N.D.). Prior to his service on Capitol Hill, Miller was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Also appointed to the committee was Kelly Davis of the Renewable Fuels Association.