All posts by Amber Rucker

Nebraska Ethanol Board June 8th board meeting to be held in Lincoln

The Nebraska Ethanol Board will meet in Lincoln at 9 a.m. Wednesday, June 8. The meeting will be at Hyatt Place (600 Q Street) in meeting rooms I-III. The agenda is as follows:

  1. Call Meeting to Order
  2. Approval of Agenda
  3. Approval of Feb. 28, 2022, Board Meeting Minutes
  4. Public Opportunity for Questions, Comments or Concerns
  5. Budget Report & Budget Planning Fiscal Year 2022-23
  6. Fuel Retailer Update
  7. Nebraska Corn Board Update
  8. Renewable Fuels Nebraska Update
  9. Technical & Research Updates
  10. Marketing Programs
  11. Approval of Contracts
  12. Funding Requests
  13. NEB-hosted Conferences & Events
  14. Working Lunch
  15. State and Federal Legislation
  16. Ethanol Plant Reports
  17. Chair’s Report
  18. Administrator’s Report
  19. Travel Reports and Authorization
  20. Personnel
  21. Executive Session
  22. Next Meeting Date
  23. Adjourn

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

Nebraska Ethanol Board meetings are open to the public and also published on the public calendar.

The Nebraska Ethanol Board works to ensure strong public policy and consumer support for biofuels. Since 1971, the independent state agency has designed and managed programs to expand production, market access, worker safety and technology innovation, including recruitment of producers interested in developing conventional ethanol, as well as bio-products from the ethanol platform. For more information, visit www.ethanol.nebraska.gov.

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High School Social Media Contest Encourages Nebraskans to Celebrate Renewable Fuels Month in May

Have you ever switched on a light? Have you used a laptop or a smartphone? Have you ridden in a car or a bus? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you have used energy. As technology develops and the world’s population grows, people need more and more energy. But meeting this need sustainably can be a challenge!
 
Nebraska high school students took on the mission of educating their peers about reducing their energy use and carbon footprint through the Field to Fuel student social media contest. Students were tasked with planning a one-week social media campaign to promote Renewable Fuels Month – a celebration recognized in May by Nebraskans and sponsored by Nebraska Ethanol, Nebraska Corn, Nebraska Soybean, and Renewable Fuels Nebraska.

Aditi Rai, a junior at Elkhorn South High School, received first place honor this year for her social media content, which will be featured on the Nebraska Ethanol Board’s social media throughout Renewable Fuels Month. Rai also received $1,000 from the Nebraska Ethanol Board, which she plans to donate to her school’s Unified Green Team – a club dedicated to recycling and taking care of the community.
 
“When I first heard about the competition, I wasn’t sure,” Rai said. “I didn’t know much about renewable fuels or designing a social media plan. However, it was really a valuable experience. I learned a lot about renewable fuels and even more things I can do to help the environment.”
 

Aditi Rai, a junior at Elkhorn South High School, received first place honor this year for the Field to Fuel Student Social Media Contest. Her content will be featured on the Nebraska Ethanol Board’s social media throughout May in honor of Renewable Fuels Month. Rai received $1,000 from the Nebraska Ethanol Board, which she plans to donate to her school’s Unified Green Team – a club dedicated to recycling and taking care of the community.

Renewable Fuels Month recognizes the importance of renewable biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel. The month of May typically kicks off the summer driving season, making it a great time to fuel up on biofuels to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money.
 
Vehicles 2001 and newer can safely use blends of ethanol up to E15 and will often see a $.10 savings per gallon. Owners of flex fuel vehicles can use blends up to E85 and experience even greater savings. Find ethanol locations near you at fueledbynebraska.com. Heavy-duty vehicles can lower emissions by filling up with biodiesel blends up to B20. Locations can be found at biodieselne.com.
 
As environmental issues continue to spark national discussions, both ethanol and biodiesel are well-suited to combat global warming and promote cleaner air. Ethanol blends can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 46% compared to regular gasoline, and biodiesel can reduce lifecycle emissions by 86% compared to petroleum-based diesel fuel.
 
“We’re really excited about Renewable Fuels Month as we work to share the benefits of biofuels with our state and its people,” said Tony Leiding, president of Renewable Fuels Nebraska. “I encourage everyone to help us celebrate, spread the word, and continue to use higher ethanol blends throughout the summer driving season.”
 
Each year, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts declares May as Renewable Fuels Month with a proclamation. Throughout the month the group hosts fuel promotions at gas stations offering higher blends of ethanol, interviews on Pure Nebraska, and educates the public about renewable fuels through radio, print, and social media. To participate in Renewable Fuels Month, please follow Nebraska Ethanol, Nebraska Corn, Nebraska Soybean, and Renewable Fuels Nebraska on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) for upcoming events, trivia, and prizes.
 
Lawrence Nelson High School students – Sydney Biltoft, Nathan Elledge, Bailey Ceder, Jacob Kathman, and Riley Funk – took second place honor with a $600 prize for the Field to Fuel contest. Norfolk Senior High students, including Ashton Kruse, Brianna Buresh, Keri Sanne, Henry Espinalas, Courtney Hintz, Jenna Fisher, and Claire Steskal, took the third place prize of $400.
 
“We appreciate all the creative submissions we received for our annual contest and hope the students had fun while they learned,” said Jessica Sodeke, program manager for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “Students are the future of renewable fuels, which are vital to Nebraska’s economy and our environment. We hope to see more entries next year and would encourage teachers to devote part of their curriculum to highlighting ethanol and other renewable fuels.”
 

If educators would like more information about how to celebrate Renewable Fuels Month with your students or to introduce biofuels into your curriculum, please visit Ethanol in the Classroom under the Educational Resources tab at ethanol.nebraska.gov, or give the Nebraska Ethanol Board a call at 402-471-2941.
 
The 2023 Field to Fuel contest will kick off in early fall and is open to all high school students grades 9-12. Students do not have to be in FFA to enter; any students can enter, including those interested in agriculture, renewable fuels, supporting a cleaner environment, and/or film production. For more information about the contest, visit https://ethanol.nebraska.gov/ag-in-the-classroom/fieldtofuel/.

Eight Governors Request Permanent Solution For Year-Round E15 Sales

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts joined a bipartisan group of eight Midwest governors in a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially exercising their authority to ensure E15 can be sold all year.

This action follows President Joe Biden’s announcement on April 12 that his administration would lift the summertime ban on E15 between June 1 and Sept. 15, 2022, to help ease high gas prices. E15, gasoline containing 15% ethanol, can save drivers up to $.10 more per gallon that E10.

E15 would require another waiver next year to be sold during the 2023 summer months; however, the letter sent to the U.S. EPA today includes a permanent fix for E15 and all higher ethanol blends to have no limitations on availability. Under the Clean Air Act, governors have the authority to ask EPA to equalize the summer regulations for E10 and E15. Currently, E10 and E15 are regulated differently, allowing oil refiners to specifically send gasoline blends that exhibit a Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) that may be used in E10 but not E15.

Reid Wagner, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board, thanks Governor Ricketts for his leadership to ensure that all Nebraskans continue to have uninterrupted access to blends of gasoline that are lower in emissions, better for our engines, and save us all money at the pump.

“In conjunction with the passing of Nebraska’s Higher Blends Tax Credit this month, this action is key to encouraging retailers to further invest in infrastructure to make higher ethanol blends more widely available,” Wagner continued.

Joining Governor Ricketts were the governors of Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Combined, these eight states account for over 10 percent of U.S. gasoline use – a market larger than California.

E15 is safe and approved by the EPA to use in vehicles 2001 or newer. Drivers with Flex Fuel Vehicles can use blends up to E85. In Nebraska, E85 is available at 125 fueling stations and E15 is available at around 110 fueling stations. Locations can be found at fueledbynebraska.com. If our nation moved to a fuel standard of E15, consumers would save $12.2 billion in fuel costs every single year, according to industry expert Growth Energy.

View the governors’ letter here. The governors provided information demonstrating that the action they seek will reduce emissions of certain pollutants that can lead to ground-level ozone formation. This accounts for a reduction in harmful aromatics, including nearly 2.5% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Nebraska.

Biofuels, including ethanol, are underutilized in today’s fuel market but don’t need to be. Nebraska ethanol plants have the capacity to produce 2.6 billion gallons each year but only produce about 2.2 billion gallons. By allowing broader use of lower-cost ethanol blends permanently, Nebraskans could better protect the Earth from the impending climate crisis, enhance our nation’s energy security, and increase ethanol’s economic benefits.

The transportation sector generates the largest share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which pose severe environmental and health issues. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, biofuels reduce GHG emissions by 46% compared to gasoline. Additionally, when blended in gasoline, ethanol displaces toxic aromatics, reducing particulate matter, carbon monoxide, BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), and other pollutants that lead to respiratory issues, heart disease, and even death.

Nebraska Gas Station Retailers to Receive Credit for Selling Environmentally Friendly Fuel

Gov. Ricketts (holding bill), state senators, agricultural leaders, and renewable fuels advocates celebrate the signing of LB1261e.

Just a week after the Biden administration’s decision to expand availability of a higher ethanol blend of fuel called E15, Nebraska lawmakers passed a bill that will provide incentives to retailers who sell it. LB596, a bill combined with LB1261e, allows for a credit of 5 cents on each gallon of E15 sold and 8 cents per gallon of E25 or higher blends sold – making ethanol more affordable for retailers who are helping keep fuel prices down for its patrons. Retailers can apply to the Nebraska Department of Revenue for the credits.  

“At the retail level, very simply put, E15 is better fuel and it costs less,” said Randy Gard, chief operating officer of Bosselman Enterprises and secretary of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “We are excited about the passing of LB596 and what it can do for our customers. If you are a retailer, there is now nothing standing in your way today to make the transition from E10, the standard fuel most people use today, to joining this mass conversion to E15. There are incentives with LB596, there’s consumer demand, there are certainly price pressures, and increased availability at the terminals. This is a win for everybody…retailers, legislators, farmers and ranchers, and especially users of ethanol who support Nebraska’s economy, help the environment, and save money every time they fill up.”

Bosselman Enterprises, located in Grand Island, was an early adopter of E15 at many of its Pump and Pantry locations across the state. They continue to see double digit sales growth for E15 every year.

Interested in selling high ethanol blends?
If you are considering selling higher blends of ethanol and need more information, reach out to the Nebraska Ethanol Board at 402-471-2941 or visit the resources tab at ethanol.nebraska.gov

E15, a blend of gasoline and 15% ethanol, is safe and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use in vehicles 2001 or newer, light-duty trucks, medium-duty passenger vehicles (SUVs), and all flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs).

Nine out of 10 of the cars, trucks and SUVs on the road today are approved by their manufacturer to run on E15.  E15 has both a higher-octane rating and costs less than regular unleaded due to its higher ethanol content. This gives retailers a lower-priced, higher-octane fuel to post on the price sign to attract consumers.

In Nebraska, E85 is available at 125 fueling stations and E15 is available at around 110 fueling stations. Locations can be found at fueledbynebraska.com. If our nation moved to a fuel standard of E15, consumers would save $12.2 billion in fuel costs every single year, according to industry expert Growth Energy.

Funding for infrastructure is also available. Find details at ethanol.nebraska.gov/resources/incentive-programs/.

Who can use ethanol? 
Everybody! More than 98% of U.S. gasoline contains ethanol, typically E10, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Because of ethanol blended into our fuel stock, consumers who use ethanol already save $.40 to $.60 per gallon as compared to fuel containing no ethanol. E15 can save consumers around an additional $.10 per gallon.

Ethanol, which is made from inedible field corn, is non-toxic and provides the octane boost engines need while displacing harmful aromatics and reducing particulate matter, carbon monoxide, BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), and other pollutants that lead to respiratory issues, heart disease, and even death. The higher the blend used, the lower the toxins. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, biofuels reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 46% compared to gasoline.

“We need to raise the bar and set the standard for clean fuels for generations to come,” said Senator Joni Albrecht at the bill signing April 19. Albrecht is just one of several Nebraska lawmakers, championing the effort to make ethanol more widely available. “If consumers are given a choice, they will choose a higher blend of ethanol that is of lower cost and better for the air. Only 10% of Nebraska’s fuel stations offer higher blends of ethanol, but reinvesting in our state’s fuel infrastructure through this tax credit will result in a huge win for Nebraska.”

Federal legislation has also been introduced to ensure higher blends of ethanol are available year-round. The Next Generation Fuels Act (NGFA) has bi-partisan support including all of Nebraska’s House delegation. The NGFA would give immediate access to E15 across the country and provide the framework for adoption of using even higher ethanol fuels in conventional vehicles.

Biofuels, including ethanol, are underutilized in today’s fuel market but don’t need to be. Nebraska ethanol plants have the capacity to produce 2.6 billion gallons each year but only produce about 2.2 billion gallons. By allowing broader use of lower-cost ethanol blends permanently, Nebraskans could better protect the Earth from the impending climate crisis, enhance our nation’s energy security, and realize ethanol’s economic benefits.

Biden Issues Emergency Waiver in Effort to Reduce Fuel Prices for Consumers

On April 12, 2022, President Biden, in response to record high gas prices, issued an emergency waiver to allow a higher blend of ethanol to be sold during the summer months. E15, a blend of gasoline and 15% ethanol, is safe and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use in vehicles 2001 or newer and can save consumers about $.10 per gallon.

In Nebraska, E85 is available at 125 fueling stations and E15 is available at around 110 fueling stations. Locations can be found at fueledbynebraska.com. If our nation moved to a fuel standard of E15, consumers would save $12.2 billion in fuel costs every single year, according to industry expert Growth Energy.

“Of course, we are celebrating this victory, but it’s not enough,” said Reid Wagner, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board (NEB). “Ethanol is a non-toxic octane booster produced right here in America that saves drivers money, provides substantial positive impact to environmental pollution, and brings us closer to energy independence. With these benefits, there’s really no reason we should continue to rely on foreign adversaries for petroleum products. This is a step in the right direction, and we urge the EPA to admonish outdated modeling that doesn’t truly capture ethanol’s superiority to gasoline regarding emissions.”

The Nebraska Ethanol Board is urging drivers who’ve experienced the benefits of ethanol to let others know.

“Using ethanol is one of the easiest ways people can save money and reduce their carbon footprint,” said Jan tenBensel, chairman of the NEB and a farmer in Cambridge, Nebraska. “Most people are using ethanol already because E10 is usually the cheapest option. If you can find E15, the price is even lower. And right now, that means something. With higher costs on nearly everything, every cent counts.”

In addition to telling friends, family, and coworkers how to save money with ethanol, requesting higher blends at your favorite fuel stations will help you get more affordable choices closer to home. Also, reach out to local and federal policymakers, including the EPA.

“I’m confident in this product and have used it for years, as do thousands of other people around the world. Study after study proves ethanol is safe and efficient,” tenBensel added. “If Russia’s war on Ukraine has taught us anything, it’s that we need to work hard toward energy independence. By increasing our use of ethanol in just 33% of the country’s fuel supply, we could replace the amount of oil we are no longer trading with Russia. Instead, we’ve been increasing our dependence on petroleum.”

Without federal legislation, E15 would require another waiver next year to be sold during the 2023 summer months. The Nebraska Ethanol Board and various state agencies have been in direct discussion with the EPA to explore ways to provide higher blends of ethanol long-term.

The Next Generation Fuels Act (NGFA) has been introduced in the House and has bi-partisan support including all of Nebraska’s House delegation. The NGFA would provide immediate access to E15 across the country and provide the framework for adoption of using even higher ethanol fuels in conventional vehicles.

The White House noted in a press release it would also consider modifications to E15 fuel pump labeling, currently an orange and black sticker, that denotes a higher ethanol content.

Biofuels, including ethanol, are underutilized in today’s fuel market but don’t need to be. Nebraska ethanol plants have the capacity to produce 2.6 billion gallons each year but only produce about 2.2 billion gallons. By allowing broader use of lower-cost ethanol blends permanently, Nebraskans could better protect the Earth from the impending climate crisis, enhance our nation’s energy security, and increase ethanol’s economic benefits.

The transportation sector generates the largest share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which pose severe environmental and health issues. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, biofuels reduce GHG emissions by 46% compared to gasoline. Additionally, when blended in gasoline, ethanol displaces toxic aromatics, reducing particulate matter, carbon monoxide, BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), and other pollutants that lead to respiratory issues, heart disease, and even death.

The Nebraska Ethanol Board works to ensure strong public policy and consumer support for biofuels. Since 1971, the independent state agency has designed and managed programs to expand production, market access, worker safety and technology innovation, including recruitment of producers interested in developing conventional ethanol, as well as bio-products from the ethanol platform. For more information, visit www.ethanol.nebraska.gov

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