Tag Archives: Todd Sneller

Long-Time Ethanol Board Administrator to Retire

Todd Sneller, Outgoing NEB Administrator
Sarah Thornton Caswell, Upcoming NEB Administrator

LINCOLN, Neb. – Todd Sneller, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board, will retire Sept. 14 after more than 40 years of service with the state of Nebraska.

Sneller started his career in 1976 as a staff assistant with the Agriculture Products Industrial Utilization Committee, now the Nebraska Ethanol Board. He left for a brief period from 1978 to spring 1979 to work as a business development consultant for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. In May 1979, the Nebraska Ethanol Board recruited him to serve as their administrator, a role he has held ever since.

“It has been my privilege to work with a host of forward-looking policymakers at the state and national level during my career,” Sneller said. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with top business leaders during the process of developing a new economic sector in the state.”

Starting his administrator career when the U.S. faced the third serious oil supply shortage of the 1970s, Sneller engaged in advancing ethanol from a concept to a partial replacement of fossil fuels. The U.S. gasoline supply now contains more than 10 percent ethanol and Nebraska ranks No. 2 nationally in ethanol production. The state has 25 plants with an annual production capacity of 2.5 billion gallons of ethanol.

“Nebraska’s ethanol industry generates more than $5 billion annually,” Sneller said. “That economic impact in concert with the corn, livestock and bio-products sectors plays a significant role in the economy of Nebraska and in agriculture specifically. Perhaps most importantly, ethanol plants greatly contribute to the economic health of the Nebraska counties where they reside.”

The Nebraska Ethanol Board selected Sarah Thornton Caswell of Omaha as the next administrator. Caswell has extensive experience in the bio-industry sector and recently served as vice president of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Edeniq, a technology firm serving the biofuels industry. Caswell earned her juris doctor from American University’s Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C., and is a member of the Illinois Bar. She will assume the role of board administrator Sept. 17.

“Todd’s contributions to ethanol development extend beyond Nebraska, but his dedicated efforts in the state have helped create a new economic sector,” said Jan tenBensel, Nebraska Ethanol Board chairman. “We are pleased to have Sarah Caswell take the reins as the Board continues to advance into bio-products created from the ethanol platform.”

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.

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 Gasoline Blends Top 13 Billion Gallons of Ethanol

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA — High octane, less expensive, locally produced, renewable – no matter the reason, Nebraska motor fuel sales show that drivers continue to choose ethanol-blended gasoline.

According to the Nebraska Department of Revenue Motor Fuels Division, in the last 37 years more than 13 billion gallons of ethanol have been sold in the Nebraska fuel market.

Ethanol has gained a steady market acceptance in Nebraska, starting in 1978 with just 1/10 of a percent of Nebraska gasoline blended with ethanol. In 2015, 85 percent of Nebraska gasoline contained ethanol, and currently about 90 percent of the nation’s fuel includes ethanol.

“Ethanol has been part of our fuel supply for almost 40 years,” said Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “Given the choice, consumers purchase homegrown, renewable ethanol that is less expensive and burns cleaner.”

Nebraska has more than 80 fuel pumps around the state that dispense blends higher than E10 including E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline).

About one in seven Nebraskans are driving a flex fuel vehicle that can operate on any blend of ethanol and gasoline up to E85. In 2001, EPA approved E15 (15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline) for use in light-duty cars, pickups and SUVs model 2001 and newer.

“More fuel retailers are starting to sell E15 and higher blends of ethanol in Nebraska and nationwide,” Sneller said. “Approximately 80 percent of cars, trucks and SUVs on the road today are approved to use E15, and with pollution mitigation efforts underway in large cities, we’ll continue to see more ethanol blended in our fuel.”

In 2015, the use of ethanol in gasoline reduced greenhouse gas emissions on our roads and highways by 41.2 million metric tons. That’s equivalent to removing 8.7 million cars from the road, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.

Nebraska is the nation’s second-largest producer of ethanol with 25 plants. According to a recent University of Nebraska-Lincoln study, the ethanol industry has a $5 billion annual economic impact on the state.

EPA’s Volume Rule a Wake-Up Call for Ethanol Industry

LINCOLN, Neb. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to limit the volume of biofuels allowed under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is a “wake-up call” that biofuels must move beyond government imposed limits and establish new value based on performance and environmental benefits, according to several industry organizations.

In a call with reporters today, Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator and Clean Fuels Development Coalition (CFDC) chairman, said EPA’s final rule for 2014 and 2015 was “disappointing but not unexpected.” The rule essentially caps biofuels at 10 percent of the market under the RFS program but there is no legal limit to use more ethanol, biodiesel or other renewables. Although part of this rule, the proposed volumes for 2016, is not finalized.

Todd_Sneller_and_Doug_Durante_with_Merle_Anderson_Award
Todd Sneller and Doug Durante

“The RFS was, and remains, a foundation to provide a solid base for biofuels to continue to develop,” Sneller said. “All this means is EPA will limit the amount of biofuels they intend to manage under this particular program. Ethanol’s high octane and cleaner-burning properties make it an extremely valuable fuel and we expect increasing demand for those reasons.”

Under the RFS, a volume requirement is established by EPA that translates to a
percentage. A refiner, for example, as an obligated party is required to meet that percentage in the fuels they provide. Sneller noted that once that obligation is met, additional volumes of ethanol, biodiesel and other renewable fuel can be used on a discretionary basis. By design the RFS volume requirement is a floor and not a ceiling. However, Sneller said the RFS has been viewed as the only factor driving demand and therefore labeled a cap.

“Our challenge and wake-up call is to provide a valuable product that does not depend on levels established by the EPA,” said Doug Durante, CFDC executive director. “We continue to be alarmed as we learn more about the harmful effects of gasoline-related emissions. Ethanol replaces and dilutes toxic, carcinogenic compounds in gasoline and provides a healthier alternative.”

Although the EPA has chosen to limit the amount of fuels like ethanol under the RFS, Durante said the EPA can facilitate access to new markets and increase biofuel demand by limiting toxic compounds in gasoline, which the agency is required to do under the Clean Air Act.

“Our biofuels reduce carbon, sulfur and toxics, and our producers can make plenty more ethanol,” Durante said. “We will work to provide access to the market and move beyond the RFS.”

Established in 1971, the Nebraska 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.

Clean Fuels Development Coalition actively supports the increased production and use of fuels that reduce air pollution and oil imports. Through four administrations and eight Congressional delegations, CFDC has been building bi-partisan support in industry and government to foster a healthy national energy policy. CFDC works with all interested parties to support clean fuel regulations and new technologies that will help our country meet the ever changing and complex demands of our society. For more information, visit: www.cleanfuelsdc.org.

11th Annual EHS Summit Kicks Off Oct. 13 in Kearney

11th Annual EHS Summit Kicks Off Oct. 13 in Kearney

Safety professionals from across the state will gather in Kearney, Nebraska, for the 11th annual Environment, Health and Safety Summit Tuesday, Oct. 13.EHS_Graphic

The daylong summit, which is presented by the Nebraska Ethanol Board, includes speakers from agencies across the country including the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Pinnacle Engineering, Fletcher Safety and Southeast Community College.

“This is a great opportunity to network and learn about the latest government regulations and compliance changes,” said Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “We are proud that the summit has grown to include diverse companies beyond the ethanol industry during the past 11 years.”

Originally established to provide compliance, safety, public health and emerging technology information for the rapidly developing ethanol industry, the program has attracted the attention of other professional sectors as government regulations continue to increase, Sneller said.

The Nebraska Ethanol Board works with a variety of private partners and ethanol plant personnel, who focus on compliance, worker safety and public health issues, to put on the summit. College students also are invited to attend and may qualify for a scholarship to waive the registration fee.

The event is presented in cooperation with the Association of Nebraska Ethanol Producers (ANEEP) and open to professionals who work in environmental compliance, worker safety, and processing and manufacturing. For registration details, contact the Nebraska Ethanol Board at 402-471-2941 or visit www.ethanol.nebraska.gov.