Tag Archives: Nebraska Ethanol Board

Nebraska Ethanol Board hopeful for vapor-pressure change

LINCOLN, Neb. – Today, President Donald Trump voiced support again for E15 by directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin the rulemaking process to allow the fuel to be sold nationwide year round. E15 is approved for use in 2001 and newer light-duty vehicles.

Due to an antiquated regulation from 1990, the federal government holds E15, a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, to tougher standards than other fuels during the summer. Between June 1 and Sept. 15, E15 is limited for use in flex fuel vehicles only due to federal Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) requirements.

“We are grateful to the President for taking this crucial step toward year-round E15 sales,” said Nebraska Ethanol Board Administrator Sarah Caswell. “We are hopeful this long overdue federal waiver will be finalized and effective before the summer driving season.”

According to Growth Energy, a national ethanol trade association, allowing year-round sales of E15 by granting the RVP waiver could boost domestic ethanol demand by 1.3 billion gallons within five years.

“We should see an increase in fuel retailers across the state and nation offering E15 when the red tape and regulatory barriers are removed,” said Randy Gard, Nebraska Ethanol Board petroleum representative and chief operations officer for Bosselman Enterprises. “The waiver takes the perceived risk out of the market for fuel retailers, which will stimulate ethanol markets. E15 gives consumers another renewable, low-cost option at the pump.”

The E15 change will not be immediate, as it requires a formal rule-making process with the EPA. The EPA is expected to publish a proposed rule in the coming weeks, followed by a public comment period.

“Allowing E15 and higher blends of ethanol year round provides a boost for industry stakeholders including farmers, ethanol producers, fuel retailers, consumers and local communities,” said Caswell. “We look forward to working with all our ethanol champions in government to make this a reality.”

Caswell noted that Nebraska state fleet vehicles have been running on E15 for more than two years, saving the state money while using a homegrown product. Nebraska continues that forward thinking by recently seeking and receiving EPA approval to evaluate the use of E30 in conventional vehicles owned by the state.

“The focus remains on bringing high-octane, low-carbon fuels to the market to meet vehicle standards,” said Caswell. “We’ll continue our work with automakers and policymakers on retail infrastructure, removing market barriers, reducing cost and ensuring availability.”



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.

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.”

KRP Hosts Ethanol Performs Cornhusker Fall Classic

Kearney Neb. – Kearney Raceway Park (KRP) will once again host the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) National Open race Oct. 1-2. The Ethanol Performs Cornhusker Fall Classic will bring some of the fastest race cars from around the country to the historic drag strip in Kearney.

“We are very excited Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Ethanol Board have continued their support of this event,” said Al Simmons, KRP general manager. “We pride ourselves on being a place where racers and families can come and enjoy the sights and sounds of championship drag racing.”

This ethanol-fueled race offers spectators the opportunity to watch cars of all types and sizes. From street cars to dragsters that run close to 200 miles per hour, spectators are sure to see a favorite car. During NHRA drag racing, KRP also offers pit passes allowing spectators to not only see the cars up close but speak with drivers and crew members.

Nebraska is the second-largest ethanol producer in the country, so this race is a natural fit noted Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator.

“Our goal is to increase consumer awareness about ethanol choices and illustrate the high performance of ethanol in racing applications,” he said. “Ethanol is the should be the choice on and off the track.”

The Ethanol Performs Cornhusker Fall Classic weekend will be the final race of the Harris Race Cars Super Class Shootout Series. On Saturday, Oct. 1, representatives from KRP and Harris Race Cars will crown a champion in this three-race series that started in April. Tonniges Chevrolet in Osceola will present the NHRA Stock/Super Stock Combo race on Saturday and Sunday.

For more information, visit www.krpi.com

For press credentials, call 308.750.2049

 NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 23 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17.