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.”



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.”

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.

Pink Fuel Pumps Popping up in NE Nebraska for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Pink pumps are popping up at gas stations across northeast Nebraska thanks to Husker Ag. The ethanol plant located in Plainview, Nebraska, and partnering gas stations are promoting Breast Cancer Awareness Month with donations based on ethanol fuel sales through Thanksgiving.

“Breast cancer is an issue that touches all of our lives,” said Bernie Wrede, Husker Ag board member. “Our ethanol plant and retail partners thought this was a great opportunity to contribute by using renewable, locally-produced fuel.”

Husker Ag and participating stations will donate three cents for every gallon of Husker Fuel (E15) sold to breast cancer research. These stations include: Stop N Go in Hartington; Speedee Mart in Norfolk; Osmond Mini Mart in Osmond; One Stop and Tom’s Service in Pierce; and Roadrunner in Plainview.

For stations that do not currently sell Husker Fuel, Husker Ag and participating stations with higher ethanol blends will donate five cents for every gallon of straight ethanol blended with gasoline, including E10 (10 percent ethanol). These stations include: Creighton 59 in Creighton; Lewis & Clark Mini Mart in Crofton; Pilger Pride in Pilger; and The Fox Stop in Yankton, South Dakota.

“Everyone driving a vehicle will be able to participate by choosing ethanol at the pink pump,” Wrede said. “This is a simple way for drivers to support breast cancer research with an errand they complete each week – filling their gas tank.”

Husker Fuel (E15) contains 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, and is approved for use in all vehicles 2001 or newer. Ethanol blends higher than 15 percent are for use in flex fuel vehicles only. One in seven Nebraskans are driving a flex fuel vehicle, which can run on any blend of American Ethanol up to E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline). Drivers can check their owner’s manual to see if they’re driving a flex fuel vehicle. The vehicle might also have a flex fuel badge on the trunk or tailgate — or have a yellow gas cap.

American Ethanol is a clean-burning, non-toxic, renewable source of octane. Using homegrown, locally-produced ethanol reduces the levels of harmful chemicals in our fuel — and in the air we breathe.

To learn more about ethanol blends, visit www.AmericanEthanolNE.org and www.HuskerFuel.com.

Husker Ag, LLC is an ethanol production facility built by Fagen Inc. of Granite Falls, Minnesota, and designed by ICM of Colwich, Kansas. With the expansions, Husker Ag now utilizes more than 29 million bushels of corn per year to produce about 85 million gallons of denatured ethanol, expected to be at 90 million gallons by the end of 2017. Husker Ag also produces about 475,000 tons of modified wet distillers grain per year, which is fed by area cattle feeders. Currently, Husker Ag employs 51 full-time employees from several surrounding Nebraska communities including: Norfolk, Pierce, Randolph, Osmond, Plainview, Creighton, Bloomfield, Brunswick, Elgin and Tilden.



Flex Fuel Grand Opening in Gothenburg

Blue Heron Renewable Flex Fuel Plaza

GOTHENBURG, NE – Flex fuel vehicle drivers can take advantage of huge savings on E85 for just $0.85 a gallon at the Gothenburg Blue Heron Renewable Flex Fuel Plaza (1102 S. Lake Ave.) Thursday, Sept. 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Consumers will be limited to 30 gallons and no containers are allowed.

Lt. Governor Mike Foley, state officials and the Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce will kick off the ribbon cutting at 9:30 a.m. to mark the grand opening of the new flex fuel pumps. Complimentary refreshments will be available to customers throughout the promotion. Nebraska Ethanol Board, Nebraska Corn Board and local corn growers will be on site greeting drivers, pumping fuel, and providing giveaways.

Blue Heron is the only fuel station in Gothenburg with flex fuel pumps offering a variety of cleaner-burning ethanol blends. The flex fuel pumps now dispense E10, E15, E30, E40 and E85. The station is also strategically located along Interstate 80 (exit 211) and Highway 47.

Scott McPheeters

“There was a need and an opportunity to provide more ethanol blends at a great price in central Nebraska,” said Scott McPheeters, Nebraska Ethanol Board member and Gothenburg farmer. “Blue Heron is a great location to attract business from the more than 15,000 vehicles a day traveling on Interstate 80.”


In addition to state and federal grant support, ethanol producers in central Nebraska have chipped in to support Blue Heron. KAAPA Ethanol in Minden, Nebraska, sponsored fuel canopy and billboard upgrades for the station, while Nebraska Corn Processing and Anew Fuel Services in Cambridge, Nebraska, provided ethanol at a discounted price for the grand opening.

“There has been great collaboration between public and private entities to make this station a success,” said Megan Grimes, Nebraska Ethanol Board program manager. “We applaud Blue Heron for providing consumers more choice and offering cleaner-burning, homegrown fuel at a lower cost.”

E15 (15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline) is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in all passenger vehicles model year 2001 and newer. Ethanol blends higher than 15 percent are approved for use in flex fuel vehicles. One in seven Nebraskans are driving a flex fuel vehicle, which can run on any blend of American Ethanol up to E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline). Drivers can check their owner’s manual to see if they’re driving a flex fuel vehicle. The vehicle might also have a flex fuel badge on the trunk or tailgate — or have a yellow gas cap.

A portion of Blue Heron’s fuel pump upgrades were paid for with the Access Ethanol Nebraska (AEN), a grant program administrated by the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Ethanol Board and Nebraska Department of Agriculture, with the Nebraska Energy Office as the lead agency. Nebraska’s federal award of approximately $2.3 million for the AEN program came from the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation’s Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP). USDA rules require that the USDA funds be matched dollar for dollar with funds from state, private industry or foundations. Matching funds will come from the Nebraska Corn Board through the state corn checkoff funds paid by Nebraska corn farmers and from the Nebraska Environmental Trust approved funding of $500,000 for each of the two years. Matching funds will also come from contributions made by individual ethanol plants and “Prime the Pump,” a nonprofit organized and funded by the ethanol industry to improve ethanol infrastructure.

The Advancement of Ethanol in Nebraska