Tag Archives: Ethanol

Utech Named an Ethanol Ambassador

Shelby Utech, Hubbard, Neb.

LINCOLN, NEB – The Nebraska Ethanol Board is proud to announce Shelby Utech (Hubbard, Nebraska) as an ethanol ambassador.

Utech is a University of Nebraska-Lincoln student studying agricultural economics. She is also pursuing a minor through the Engler Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship Program, which focuses on developing business in the agricultural sector.

“We are excited to have Shelby as a part of our team for the 2017-2018 academic year,” said Luke Miller, public information officer for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “She has a great passion for agriculture and the ethanol industry and will be a welcome addition. This is a great opportunity to both learn more about the industry, and to share that information with peers, community groups and classrooms.”

The ethanol ambassador program engages an undergraduate student in the importance of Nebraska’s ethanol industry. Ambassadors learn about ethanol production, technology, research and marketing, and then have opportunities to work with the public. They also deliver presentations to middle and high school classrooms. The program lasts one academic year (August-May) with a new recruit each year. For their time and efforts, ambassadors are awarded a $1,000 scholarship to assist with their education.

Established in 1971, the Ethanol Board assists ethanol producers with programs and strategies for marketing ethanol and related co-products. The Board supports organizations and policies that advocate the increased use of ethanol fuels – and administers public information, education and ethanol research projects. The Board also assists companies and organizations in the development of ethanol production facilities in Nebraska. For more information, please visit www.ethanol.nebraska.gov.

McPheeters Appointed to Serve on Nebraska Ethanol Board

Scott McPheeters, NEB Business Representative

Lincoln, Neb. – Scott McPheeters joins the Nebraska Ethanol Board as the business representative. He was appointed by Gov. Pete Ricketts Feb. 9 and sworn in by the legislature March 3.

McPheeters has a family farm operation southwest of Gothenburg, producing food-grade white and yellow corn for Frito-Lay, as well as soybeans and alfalfa hay. His family also has rangeland for beef production. While little of his corn crop actually ends up in ethanol production, he is still passionate about promoting renewable fuels.

“I’m looking forward to working with a board that has been so effective at helping our state build 25 ethanol plants and increasing knowledge and promotion of ethanol use, because it is a win for all parties,” McPheeters said. “It’s good for farmers, livestock producers, consumers, and the environment.”

A founding member of KAAPA (Kearney Area Ag Producers Alliance), the only farmer-owned ethanol plant in Nebraska, McPheeters has been involved in ethanol since 2000. Currently, he serves on the KAAPA board of managers and on the board for a sister company, KAAPA Grains. He was also recently elected to the American Coalition for Ethanol board of directors in 2016.

“Consumers are influenced by a lot of misinformation, and they don’t realize they can save money and the environment by using more ethanol,” McPheeters said. “People are surprised to learn that ethanol is in 98 percent of the U.S. gasoline supply and they’ve been using it successfully.

My objective is simple: provide facts for consumers so they can be confident their cars love ethanol and they should use it every time. It starts with the fact that ethanol is the safest component in gasoline today.”

According to EPA’s Urban Air Toxics report to Congress, U.S. refiners increasingly boost octane by adding refining by-products such as benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene. Several of these chemicals are known and suspected carcinogens, and they’re more expensive additives.

“These products of oil refining, known as aromatics, can produce cancer-causing emissions,” McPheeters said. “Ethanol is much less expensive and burns cleaner than these toxic petroleum-based chemicals. Blending even just 10 percent ethanol in gasoline reduces tailpipe emissions that lead to smog. The inexpensive, renewable, octane-boosting capabilities of ethanol make it an indispensable part of the U.S. motor fuel supply.”

A study released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in January shows that ethanol releases 43 percent fewer greenhouse gases (GHG) than gasoline. The report provides research that corn ethanol is a GHG-friendly alternative to fossil fuels while boosting farm economies.

“I look forward to helping farmers be profitable with additional markets for the corn we produce so efficiently,” McPheeters said. “Agriculture is a huge economic engine for us all, because when farmers make money, they spend it with businesses that put local people to work. We can keep more of our fuel dollars right here in the Corn Belt, rather than sending money to foreign nations.”

When not farming and advocating for ethanol, McPheeters and his wife, Patti, enjoy time with their four children and three grandchildren.

Paul Kenney, who farms near Kearney, Nebraska, preceded McPheeters as the business representative on the Ethanol Board. Kenney was recently elected to the University of Nebraska Board of Regents after serving eight years on the Nebraska Ethanol Board.

McPheeters joins current board members: Mike Thede, chairman (Palmer, Neb.); Jan tenBensel, vice chairman (Cambridge, Neb.); Mark Ondracek, secretary (Omaha, Neb.); Galen Frenzen (Fullerton, Neb.); Tim Else (Belvidere, Neb.); Randy Gard (Grand Island, Neb.); and University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chemical Engineering Professor Hunter Flodman, who serves as the board’s technical advisor.

Members of the Nebraska Ethanol Board are appointed by the Governor to serve four-year terms. The seven-member board includes four members actively engaged in farming (general farming, corn, wheat and sorghum), one member representing labor interests, one member representing petroleum marketers and one member representing business. The Board’s technical advisor serves as a non-voting member.


Sorum Recognized for 39 Years of Service

Steve Sorum, Ethanol Project Manager

Lincoln, Neb. – When Steve Sorum took a job with the Nebraska Ethanol Board in 1978, there was no ethanol fuel industry. Thirty-nine years later, Nebraska has 25 ethanol plants producing more than 2 billion gallons annually and he is saying farewell.

When Sorum, a native of Alliance, Nebraska, finished school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln he was looking for employment. Ron Kelly, a family friend and member of the first Ethanol Board, mentioned they were looking for someone “with a working knowledge of state governments.”  Having worked for the Nebraska Legislative Council all through school, Sorum thought he could contribute.

His first decade with the Nebraska Ethanol Board included legislative and regulatory work across the country.

“The goal was to obtain state and federal approvals for this ‘new fuel,’” Sorum said. “As national markets developed, our goals shifted to helping Nebraska become a major ethanol producing state.”

And it did!  In 2015, the value of the state’s ethanol industry passed the $5 billion mark.

Recently, Sorum was recognized for 39 years of service with the Nebraska Ethanol Board. He will retire Feb. 17. In retirement, he plans to work on a Nebraska ethanol history project, golf and spend time with his wife, Cindy; his daughter and her spouse, Sarah and Greg Petner; and his grandchildren, Jack and Mia.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the people I’ve worked with throughout the years with the board,” Sorum said. “Under Todd Sneller’s leadership, the board has been vitally important in getting ethanol into virtually every gallon of motor fuel sold in the U.S. We take great pride in that.”

Nebraska Drivers Save $17 Million Using Ethanol-blended Fuel

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA — In 2016, Nebraska drivers will save approximately $17 million by using ethanol-blended gasoline. The savings is based on lower prices for ethanol compared to wholesale gasoline and the state’s projected spark-ignition fuel consumption of 900 million gallons.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, ethanol is blended into virtually all U.S. gasoline. The most common ethanol blend sold nationwide is E10, a blend of 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol. Between August 2015 and August 2016, the cost of wholesale ethanol averaged 18 cents per gallon less than the minimum octane gasoline allowed to be sold in most of the U.S.kum_and_go_e85_e15_flex_fuel_pumps_2016

According to the Department of Energy, this year’s gasoline consumption by U.S. motorists will exceed 140 billion gallons and 97 percent of this fuel will contain ethanol. U.S. gasoline refiners continue to supply lower-octane gasoline which is typically enhanced with high octane ethanol to meet fuel standards. The octane-boosting capability and cleaner-burning attributes of ethanol make it an indispensable part of the U.S. motor fuel supply.

The significant role of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply is likely to expand in 2017 to meet the requirements of the national Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), noted Nebraska Ethanol Board Administrator Todd Sneller.

“Higher octane fuel reduces ‘engine knocking’ and provides better vehicle performance,” he said. “Adding ethanol to boost octane reduces the toxicity of gasoline. It’s a win-win for consumers and the environment.”

Adding 10 percent ethanol to low octane gasoline increases the octane rating to levels recommended by auto manufacturers and required by federal regulations.  In most parts of the country regular gasoline enhanced with ethanol has an octane rating of 87 which is the minimum octane recommended by automakers.

According to EPA’s Urban Air Toxics report to Congress, U.S. refiners increasingly boost octane by adding refining by-products such as benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene. Several of these chemicals are known and suspected carcinogens, and they’re more expensive additives. According to a February 2016 study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the price of petroleum-based additives range from 35 cents to a dollar per gallon more than ethanol.

“These products of oil refining, known as aromatics, can produce cancer-causing emissions which damage the human immune, respiratory, neurological, reproductive and developmental systems,” Sneller said. “Ethanol is much less expensive and cleaner-burning than these toxic petroleum-based chemicals.”

Nebraska is the nation’s second largest producer of ethanol with 25 plants producing a combined capacity approaching 2.5 billion gallons annually. The ethanol industry has a $5 billion annual economic impact in the state.

“Future growth in the ethanol industry is likely tied directly to automaker efforts to meet increasingly stringent U.S. fuel economy standards,” Sneller said. “New vehicles will have more efficient, higher compression engines that require even higher octane fuels. Ethanol will continue to play a role as a high-octane, low-carbon renewable choice in the U.S. and abroad.”

Nebraska a Magnet for Bio-based Partnerships

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA — When it comes to fostering the development and growth of biotechnology and bioscience companies, Nebraska is all in.

According to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED), bioscience companies employ more than 16,000 people in Nebraska, and this number continues to grow at a rate that outpaces the national average.

“Nebraska is well-suited to capitalize on the next wave of scientific breakthroughs in the biosciences,” said Phil Kozera, executive director of Bio Nebraska Life Sciences Association. “There are many opportunities for next-generation companies to evolve in Nebraska, which leads to job creation and strengthening the state’s global leadership in value-added agriculture.”

Nebraska is the nation’s second largest ethanol producer with 25 plants strategically located across the state. Ethanol and its co-products can serve as the foundation for many next-generation bioproducts from green chemicals to nutraceuticals and animal feed supplements.

“Ethanol plant locations have a steady and abundant supply of grain, oilseeds, biomass and livestock, on which many bio-based technologies depend,” said Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “Nebraska has all the raw materials necessary to create strategic partnerships with bio-based companies.”

In addition, Nebraska has a number of economic development incentive programs in place for companies. One comprehensive package, Nebraska Advantage, offers significant tax incentives for companies that relocate or expand their businesses in the state, noted DED Director Courtney Dentlinger.

“In order to foster the development and growth of these enterprises, we actively collaborate between government, education, business and agriculture to reduce red tape,” she said. “This strong partnership between the public and private sectors is a major factor in attracting companies to locate in Nebraska.”

Dozens of bio companies have already located in Nebraska, including: NatureWorks (corn-based plastics), Novozymes (enzyme technology), Purac (lactic acid), Laurel BioComposite (bioresins from distillers grains), Pharmgate (animal pharmaceuticals) and many more.