All posts by Megan Grimes

Clean Fuels Development Coalition Keynote at Nebraska Ethanol Board Meeting

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Ethanol Board will meet at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 18. The meeting will be held in Lincoln at the downtown Hyatt Place Hotel (600 Q St.).

Doug Durante, CFDC Executive Director

The board welcomes Doug Durante, executive director of Clean Fuels Development Coalition (CFDC), as the keynote speaker at the meeting. Durante will review 2017, and give an outlook on what the ethanol industry might expect from Capitol Hill in the coming year.

Durante’s national ethanol advocacy efforts and his relationship with the Nebraska ethanol industry span more than 35 years. He frequently consults on international biofuel projects including initiatives that focus on the use of biofuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

CFDC works closely with the Urban Air Initiative (UAI), which has conducted a significant body of research over the past several years showing how toxic compounds known as aromatics, which are added to gasoline to boost octane, are causing a host of respiratory illnesses in urban populations. Durante advocates for a cleaner alternative – ethanol – that is a natural octane enhancer and a clean, low-carbon fuel choice. CFDC and UAI have collaborated with the Nebraska Ethanol Board on fuel testing and analysis as well as public information programs in Nebraska.

Durante, a veteran of biofuel policy and ethanol market development, is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, and represents members of the Clean Fuels Development Coalition on Capitol Hill. Previously, he served as an ethanol advisor to members of Congress and as a technical and policy advisor to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Durante will speak at approximately 9 a.m. The meeting agenda is as follows:

  1. Call Meeting to Order
  2. Approval of Agenda
  3. Approval of Minutes
  4. Budget Report
  5. Keynote Presentation: Doug Durante
  6. Annual Membership Dues
  7. UNL Economic Impact Study Update
  8. Industrial Training: Dr. Hunter Flodman
  9. David & Associates
  10. Marketing Programs
  11. BIP Update
  12. State and Federal Legislation
  13. Ethanol Plant Reports
  14. Chair’s Report
  15. Administrator’s Report
  16. Working Lunch
  17. Travel Reports and Authorization
  18. Personnel
  19. Next Meeting Date
  20. Adjourn

This agenda contains all items to come before the Board except those items of an emergency nature.

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American Ethanol Sponsoring 2018 Lincoln National Guard Marathon/Half Marathon

LINCOLN, Neb. – American Ethanol will be the platinum sponsor of the 2018 Lincoln National Guard Marathon/Half Marathon, which will take place on May 6, 2018.

This is the first year the group has contributed to the event with funding coming from the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Ethanol Board and Green Plains Inc. With runners and spectators participating in the event from across the country, the three organizations understood the outreach and educational potential to reach consumers who are seeing increased choices at the pumps.

“The same logic and strategies runners use to condition their bodies to prepare for marathons can also be applied to motorists’ choices at the gas pumps,” said David Merrell, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Runners and motorists are looking for high quality products to help fuel their bodies and engines. Both groups care about things like maximized performance and breathing clean air.”

As part of the partnership between American Ethanol and the 2018 Lincoln National Guard Marathon/Half Marathon, representatives from the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Ethanol Board and Green Plains Inc., will have an opportunity to engage with attendees regarding the different choices available at the pump. With the event drawing a diverse group of runners plus spectators, the ethanol industry is excited about potential discussions.

“The ethanol industry is always looking for ways to reach out to consumers to explain the benefits of using home-grown American Ethanol,” said Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “We’re excited about this event because people usually attend from all over the country. We look forward to cheering on these runners while providing them with information they can take home with them and use the next time they are filling their tanks.”

May is typically designated as Renewable Fuels Month in Nebraska, and the 2018 Lincoln National Guard Marathon/Half Marathon is one of the signature events that will help kickoff the month-long campaign.

The 2018 Lincoln National Guard Marathon/Half Marathon is capped at 13,500 runners with registration opening Saturday, January 6, 2018 at 3:00 a.m. The race begins on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s downtown campus in Lincoln. The event is organized by the Lincoln Track Club. To register, or for more information, visit lincolnmarathon.org.

 

 

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EPA Announces Final RFS Volumes for 2018

LINCOLN, NEB. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set the 2018 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The administration will require refiners to mix 19.29 billion gallons of biofuels into the U.S. gasoline and diesel supply next year.

This blending requirement includes conventional biofuels such as corn-based ethanol at 15 billion gallons, advanced biofuels at 4.29 billion gallons and biodiesel at 2.1 billion gallons for 2018. In July, the EPA had proposed an overall 19.25 billion gallon blending target, which included cuts to biodiesel. This final announcement abandons that proposed decrease, and instead upholds the RVO levels relative to 2017.

Although oil refiners pushed the EPA to reduce volume requirements – the amount of biofuels that must be blended with the nation’s fuel supply – the administration kept the levels steady. In an already depressed farm economy, this reflects a positive step forward for the renewable fuels industry.

“Setting the conventional biofuel target consistent with statutory levels helps to ensure that biofuels like corn-based ethanol will continue to play an important role in meeting demand for less-expensive, cleaner-burning transportation fuels,” said Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator.

“The RFS is an important floor for biofuel demand in the U.S., but producers also continue efforts to expand domestic and international markets,” Sneller said. “Successfully expanding biofuel demand will generate additional opportunities for investment in new technologies and increased production capacity.”

Many domestic fuel marketers are adding infrastructure that accommodates a growing slate of ethanol products including E15 and higher blends. Biofuel producers are also making headway in international markets with recent announcements from Japan, Mexico and China.

  • Mexico announced they would start using 10 percent ethanol blends nationwide excluding three cities – Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City. Ethanol fuels may soon be allowed to expand into these cities pending government approval.
  • Japan announced they would allow gasoline blenders to use ethanol sourced from the U.S., which is significantly less expensive than the Brazilian sugarcane ethanol Japan has been using.
  • China also announced that it will start using 10 percent ethanol blends, as well as exempt a value-added tax on imports of U.S. dried distillers grains.

Domestically, the Renewable Fuel Standard is an important cornerstone for consumer demand, but industry experts are looking to eliminate barriers like reid vapor pressure on E15 and working with fuel marketers to expand ethanol blend options via additional infrastructure improvements, Sneller added.

“Next-generation biofuels continue to evolve, but the new processes, productions, technology deployment and jobs will not be realized if demand for biofuels stagnates,” Sneller said. “Biofuels make an increasingly important contribution to public health and the environment by displacing toxic compounds and harmful emissions from traditional fossil fuels.”

Many improvements in ethanol feedstocks and production have dramatically reduced ethanol’s carbon intensity. With increasing fuel economy standards, higher-octane gasoline blended with ethanol reduces the carbon impact of fuels while allowing automakers to achieve higher efficiency, further adding to ethanol’s low carbon footprint.

“It is critical that ethanol not only participate in federal programs but also in low carbon fuel standards at the state level,” Sneller said. “Omaha is close to exceeding the EPA’s level of acceptable ground-level ozone, but Nebraskans can take steps now to lower vehicle emissions by simply using more biofuels when they fill their tanks.”

 

 

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Holiday Travel Easier on the Wallet Thanks to Ethanol

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA — From September 2016 through August 2017, Nebraska motorists and businesses saved an estimated $158 million dollars by using ethanol-blended gasoline. The total is based on the difference in cost between ethanol-free fuel and E10 – fuel containing 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline.

According to the Nebraska Department of Revenue’s Monthly Motor Fuel Consumption report, 87 percent of the 911 million gallons of motor fuel sold in Nebraska contained ethanol. The cost of E10 at the pump was at least 20 cents per gallon below ethanol-free blends from U.S. refiners during that time.

The estimated $158 million does not include the additional savings consumers pocket when using higher blends of ethanol. E15, a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, is typically priced 5 to 10 cents lower than E10, and has an octane rating of 88. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved E15 for use in all vehicles 2001 and newer, and it is currently available at 40 stations across Nebraska.

“Higher octane fuel reduces ‘engine knocking’ and provides better vehicle performance,” said Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “Adding ethanol to boost octane reduces the toxicity of gasoline. The more ethanol, the higher the octane and the fewer toxic chemicals in our fuel. It’s a win-win for consumers and the environment.”

With a flex fuel vehicle, drivers have the ultimate choice at the pump and can take advantage of the biggest price differences by choosing ethanol blends as high as E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline). Nebraska has seen some of the lowest E85 prices in the Midwest. Jackson Express in Jackson, Nebraska, is currently selling E85 for $1.25/gallon – a savings of almost 50 percent over their E10 price of $2.45.

“We buy our ethanol directly from the Siouxland Ethanol plant one mile east of our fuel station,” said Taylor Nelson, Jackson Express owner and Nebraska Ethanol Board member. “The corn is grown here, processed into ethanol and used at our station, so it’s a super local product. It allows us to pass those great savings on to consumers.”

Nebraska is the nation’s second largest producer of ethanol with 25 plants permitted for a combined capacity of 2.2 billion gallons annually. The ethanol industry has a $5 billion annual economic impact in the state.

“Using higher blends of ethanol is a good decision for all Nebraskans,” Sneller said. “It helps the state’s economy, consumers’ wallets, vehicle engines and the environment. Ethanol’s impact across the country and the globe continues to grow, but it starts right here at home.”

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Renewable Fuels Nebraska Selects Troy Bredenkamp as Next Executive Director

RFN Press Release: October 25, 2017

Renewable Fuels Nebraska (RFN), the trade organization for Nebraska’s ethanol industry, announced today that they have selected Troy Bredenkamp to be the organization’s next executive director. Bredenkamp, who most recently served as the General Manager of the Nebraska Rural Electric Association (NREA), will begin his role with RFN on Nov. 1.

“We are excited to have Troy and his extensive association experiences leading our organization into the future,” said Ted Free, general manager of Bridgeport Ethanol and president of Renewable Fuels Nebraska.

“We face a lot of challenges and opportunities in Nebraska’s ethanol industry. Troy possesses the background, the expertise and the vision to help our members navigate those challenges while helping to propel our organization and industry forward”.

Prior to his last position, Bredenkamp served as CEO of the Colorado Farm Bureau, Director of Congressional Relations with American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, DC and Vice President of Technical Services with Nebraska Cattlemen.

“As the second largest ethanol producing state in the US, this is a tremendous opportunity to serve as RFN’s next executive director, getting in on the ground floor and helping build an organization worthy of the significant economic role that the ethanol industry plays here in Nebraska,” Bredenkamp said. “Agriculture and rural prosperity have always been passions of mine, and RFN represents ethanol – one of the greatest value-added agricultural products and one with substantial economic significance to this state. I am excited to get started representing this vital industry.”

A native of Nebraska, Bredenkamp was raised on a small family farm near Waco. He holds a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Bredenkamp serves on the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry State Board of Directors and as the Public Affairs Council Chair for the State Chamber. Bredenkamp also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for The Hope Venture, a Lincoln-based charity helping to improve lives in Africa, India and here in the U.S. He resides with his family in Lincoln.

About Renewable Fuels Nebraska

Renewable Fuels Nebraska (RFN) is a member-based trade organization representing Nebraska’s ethanol industry. Nebraska’s 25 ethanol plants produce more than 2.1 billion gallons of ethanol annually, ranking Nebraska second in ethanol production in the United States, and has a significant positive impact on Nebraska’s economy.

RFN serves as a resource to the public, legislative leaders as well as members on ethanol-related matters and strives to ensure growth and expansion of the renewable fuels industry in Nebraska through advocacy, market access and public awareness.

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