All posts by Amber Rucker

Nebraska Fuel Stations and Drivers Raise $15K for Breast Cancer Research

In the past five years, fuel retailers across Nebraska have joined forces to raise more than $45,000 for cancer research as part of Fuel the Cure – a campaign that also educates others about healthier fuel options.

During October, when drivers chose higher blends of ethanol fuel like E15, E30 and E85 at participating retail locations, gas stations donated 3 cents for each gallon sold toward cancer research. Ethanol is a natural, plant-based octane booster used to displace some chemicals in gasoline which have been linked to cancer, heart disease, and respiratory issues. Ethanol producers, including Siouxland Ethanol in Jackson and E-Energy in Adams, also donated to the cause. This year, Fuel the Cure raised $15,662.99 with donations going to the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha and Nebraska’s American Cancer Society.

“Several medications, whose research was funded through the American Cancer Society, saved my life,” said Jenn Klein, a wife, mother, and breast cancer survivor. “I’m thankful funding was available to discover treatment before I needed it. Beating cancer wasn’t easy, but we have come so far in regard to treatment, that I was not alone, and I had hope throughout.”

When Klein was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32, her cancer cells were growing and dividing at a rate of about 80%. Treatment was needed immediately. A funded researcher discovered two of the four chemotherapy treatments she underwent.

Jenn Klein and her mother are breast cancer survivors.

Everyone is at risk of inhaling toxic chemicals, known as aromatics, used for octane in gasoline. These carcinogens make up 25% of a gallon of gas. You are exposed at the pump, from vehicle exhaust, and when these aromatics are released as greenhouse gases (GHG). According to Cancer.org, the link between benzene and cancer has largely focused on leukemia and other cancers of blood cells. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says benzene causes cells not to work correctly. For example, it can cause bone marrow not to produce enough red blood cells, causing anemia. Also, it can damage the immune system by changing blood levels of antibodies and causing the loss of white blood cells. Another major source of benzene exposure is tobacco smoke. Learn more about the health risks of the aromatics in gasoline at fueledbynebraska.com/pink.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies these chemicals as toxic air pollutants known to cause cancer, adverse reproductive effects, and other health issues. In 1978, the EPA’s Clean Air Act waiver allowed the use of 10 percent ethanol in gasoline to support efforts to reduce air pollution. The EPA still blends ethanol into the fuel supply to support these efforts. Ethanol is a natural, plant-based octane booster used to displace some of these chemicals which have been linked to cancer, heart disease, and respiratory issues. Overall, according to Harvard and Tufts universities, ethanol reduces GHG by nearly 50%. Choosing the right ethanol blend for your vehicle is important. Fueledbynebraska.com explains each blend and has a biofuel finder for locating retailers near you.

“Ethanol producers and sellers have been the biggest proponents of providing an environmentally friendlier way to power our vehicles for many years,” said Jessica Sodeke, communications and outreach manager for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “We commend these retailers for making higher ethanol blends available and giving consumers a choice in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Supporting Fuel the Cure is a step beyond, because the funds are directly impacting the lives of Nebraskans.”

Drivers who choose ethanol at the pump often see a price break, and their use of ethanol supports Nebraska’s rural communities and the state’s economy. To find a location near you, visit fueledbynebraska.com.

“Fueling up with higher blends of ethanol, like E15, E30 and E85, is one of the easiest ways consumers can reduce their carbon footprint and create a healthier environment for everyone,” Sodeke said.

E15, also called Unleaded88, is approved for use in passenger vehicles 2001 and newer. Nebraska has approximately 200,000 registered flex fuel vehicles, which can run on any blend of ethanol up to E85 (85% ethanol and 15% 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 a yellow gas cap.

Fuel the Cure founders: Nebraska Ethanol Board; Nebraska Corn Board; and Renewable Fuels Nebraska, are already preparing for Fuel the Cure 2023 and would encourage Nebraska fuel retailers who sell higher ethanol blends to reach out to Jessica Sodeke, communications and outreach manager, at Jessica.sodeke@nebraska.gov for information about participating. Donations to the Buffett Cancer Center or American Cancer Society are also accepted from others interested in supporting this cause, including cancer organizations and ethanol facilities. Fuel the Cure sponsors the Lincoln Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk as well. To sign up to be a part of our 2023 walking team, please reach out to Sodeke.

Connie Lindstrom to Present Biofuels Benchmarking at Nebraska Ethanol Board’s December Meeting

The Nebraska Ethanol Board welcomes Connie Lindstrom, senior biofuels analyst at Christianson Benchmarking LLC., to present at its board meeting Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, in Lincoln.

Lindstrom will present on trends in Nebraska ethanol plant performance. The company specializes in Biofuels Benchmarking™, which allows ethanol plants to access a vast database of anonymized industry data, insights, and reports.

“By observing trends, decision-makers can set priorities and improve processes,” Lindstrom said. “Benchmarking information is key to managing risks, identifying opportunities and prioritizing resource use.”

A growing set of opportunities are emerging for Nebraska ethanol plants and agricultural producers, ranging from process optimizations to plant expansions and development of innovative co-product streams.

The Nebraska Ethanol Board will meet at 10 a.m. 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 Sept. 12, 2022, Board Meeting Minutes
  4. Public Opportunity for Questions, Comments or Concerns
  5. Presentation: Connie Lindstrom, senior biofuels analyst Christianson Benchmarking LLC
  6. Budget Report
  7. Fuel Retailer Update
  8. Nebraska Corn Board Update
  9. Renewable Fuels Nebraska Update
  10. Technical & Research Updates
  11. Marketing Programs
  12. Dues & Memberships
  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. Election of Board Officers for 2023
  23. Next Meeting Date
  24. 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.

EPA approves the use of E30 in Nebraska fleet demonstration poised to reduce costs, pollution

On Oct. 19, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the continuation of ground-breaking research being done in Nebraska on the long-term adaptability and feasibility of E30 fuel. Results of the State’s initial pilot program, launched in 2019, showed that E30 is safe and reliable fuel for use in conventional vehicles. Under EPA current guidelines, only flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) can use ethanol blends higher than E15, but the State intends to underscore its initial findings in order to support regulatory change to make E30 accessible to all drivers.

In June 2019, the State of Nebraska began its study on the use of locally sourced E30 biofuel in conventional vehicles. State teammates outfitted 50 State-owned vehicles with onboard tracking systems to capture data on vehicle performance. They monitored those vehicles for an entire year. Data was submitted to engineers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) for analysis.  

In 2021, UNL’s Engineering Department released its analysis of data from the first phase of the demonstration. It clearly showed that E30, a blend of gasoline and 30% ethanol, is safe and efficient to use in non-FFVs. Read the summary here. This peer-reviewed research was the first scientific demonstration of its kind.

The second phase of the E30 demonstration will begin in fall 2022 and include up to 825 State vehicles. While further demonstrating the safety and reliability of E30, the State will also significantly reduce its fuel costs and carbon footprint through the program.

“Promoting higher ethanol blends should be a centerpiece of our national strategy to lower gas prices,” said Gov. Pete Ricketts. “Ethanol saves drivers money at the pump, is better for the environment, and creates opportunities for farm families in America’s Heartland. Nebraska has already demonstrated that E30 can be used in regular vehicles without reducing performance or requiring extra maintenance. With our expanded study, we’ll be in an even stronger position to advocate regulatory change to make E30 accessible to everyone.”

Providing greater access to higher blends of ethanol allows consumers to manage fluctuating gas prices and contributes to our environmental health. One of the key findings from the first phase of the E30 demonstration is the positive impact of allowing statewide E30 consumption. If only 10% of the 1.7 million registered non FFVS in Nebraska used E30 instead of E10, ethanol consumption would increase by 18.5 million gallons per year and carbon emissions would decrease by 64,000 tons per year.

“When the first phase was published, we weren’t surprised with the results,” said Reid Wagner, executive director of the Nebraska Ethanol Board (NEB). “We’ve known the benefits of ethanol for many years, and it’s been purposefully put into our fuel system by the EPA to improve air quality. Through the first phase, we found a few parameters we want to look at closer to provide a more robust demonstration of the performance of ethanol. The E30 demonstration is academically and scientifically grounded and will be a key driver in continuing our efforts to show ethanol’s superiority in performance, cost, and health versus gasoline.”

There have been smaller municipal demonstration projects with E30 conducted in South Dakota and Kansas, and reports from those two locations revealed consumer acceptance and no performance issues in the vehicles.

It’s always been the mission of the Nebraska Ethanol Board to develop a market for ethanol, who led efforts to improve the health of our fuel supply in the 1970s when it launched the 2-million-mile gasohol road test program. Between 1975 and 1978, the Board used a 10 percent ethanol blend and accumulated approximately 2.2 million on-road miles. Designed and implemented with the cooperation of the Nebraska Department of Roads and the support of Gov. Jim Exon, the demonstration showed ethanol to be a superior fuel to gasoline in all aspects of performance.

In 1978, the EPA’s Clean Air Act waiver allowed the use of 10% ethanol in gasoline, known as gasohol or E10, to support this. Currently, more than 97% of the nation’s fuel supply contains ethanol.

“Nebraska is the No. 2 producer of ethanol in our country, and we should be leading the way when it comes to industry innovation,” said Jan tenBensel, Nebraska Ethanol Board chairman. “It’s these demonstrations that showcase to the EPA and other regulatory agencies the value of using ethanol, an American-made product, to grow our energy independence and improve air quality.

According to the EPA, ethanol’s high octane characteristics have allowed petroleum refiners to significantly reduce the aromatic content of gasoline – from about 25% in 2005 to about 20% in 2016. High-octane ethanol blends also improve vehicle performance and efficiency.

Making E30 more widely available also helps the ethanol industry stay competitive among transportation innovations as the country works to reduce its carbon footprint. Traffic is one of the highest contributors to carbon pollution which has been linked to cancer, heart disease and increased respiratory issues.

Wagner said the Nebraska Ethanol Board plans to work with industry partners and the EPA to continue the E30 demonstration for at least two years.

“This marks another significant milestone for the nation’s ethanol industry and another significant step in reducing gasoline’s aromatic content,” Wagner said. “We have demonstrated that higher ethanol blends release fewer harmful emissions, have no detrimental impact on vehicles, and save consumers money. We hope to see other states follow Nebraska’s lead by demonstrating the use of E30 in their state fleets.”

Fuel Retailers and Consumers Fuel Up for Cancer Research

LINCOLN, Neb. – Everyone is at risk of inhaling toxic chemicals, known as aromatics, used for octane in gasoline. These carcinogens make up 25% of a gallon of gas. Drivers face exposure at the pump, from vehicle exhaust, and when aromatics are released as greenhouse gases. Ethanol is a natural, plant-based octane booster used to displace some of these chemicals that have been linked to cancer, heart disease, and respiratory issues.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies these chemicals as toxic air pollutants known to cause health issues. According to the EPA, ethanol’s high-octane value allows oil refiners to reduce aromatic content by at least 5%. That percentage would significantly improve with the use of higher blends of ethanol, like E15 and E30.

Throughout October, Fuel the Cure educates Nebraskans about healthier fuel options while supporting cancer research and services. Here’s how to get involved:

At the Pump
Raise money for breast cancer research by filling up with higher blends of ethanol – E15 to flex fuel E85 – at participating locations. Nearly 50 Nebraska gas stations will donate 3 cents for every gallon of higher ethanol blends sold between Oct. 1­‑31 to support cancer research and services at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha. Since 2018, Nebraska’s Fuel the Cure campaigns have raised nearly $30,000 for cancer research. Find a list of participants at www.fueledbynebraska.com/pink. Drivers will be able to identify which retailers are supporting this important cause by looking for pink signage at the pump, on the windows and at the counter.

In the Community
Fuel the Cure is proud to partner with the American Cancer Society for its Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Oct. 16 at Holmes Lake Park. As a platinum sponsor, Fuel the Cure will have a booth to educate cancer survivors, thrivers, friends, and family about healthier fuel options. Fuel the Cure will also participate in the walk. Join our team! Already attending? Be sure to stop by the sponsor booth for giveaways, coupons, and drawings for ethanol gift cards. The American Cancer Society is fighting cancer in many ways. From funding breakthrough research for new cures, treatments, and ways to prevent cancer, to providing patient programs and services, to advocating for policy change.

Cancer treatments aren’t one-size-fits-all
“Cancer touches the lives of nearly everyone in some way,” said Kenneth H. Cowan, MD, PhD, director and physician-in-chief at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. “We appreciate that Nebraska fuel retailers are joining forces to empower drivers to support cancer research at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, which provides lifesaving care to people throughout our state. Through generous contributions, such as the Fuel the Cure campaign, we are able to fund researchers working on new treatments each and every day.”

Jenn Klein of Lincoln was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32. Her cancer cells were growing and dividing very rapidly – at a rate of about 80%. Lifesaving treatment was needed right away. She completed 20 weeks of chemotherapy, received multiple blood and platelets transfusions, underwent a four-hour procedure that included a port removal, sentinel node biopsy, double mastectomy, and immediate one-step reconstruction, and endured 33 sessions of radiation. By the end of 2015, Klein was finally cancer free. If it wasn’t for a chemotherapy treatment that was discovered by a funded researcher, Klein might not be alive.

What ethanol blend is right for my vehicle?

E15 (15% ethanol and 85% gasoline), also called Unleaded88, is approved for use in all passenger vehicles 2001 and newer. Ethanol blends higher than 15% are approved for use in flex fuel vehicles. One in seven Nebraskans drive a flex fuel vehicle, which can run on any blend of ethanol up to E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline). Drivers can check their owners’ manuals to see if they’re driving flex fuel vehicles. The vehicles may also have a flex fuel badge on the trunk or tailgate — or a yellow gas cap. If you are unsure, visit fueledbynebraska.co for even more information about the benefits of using ethanol.

The Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Ethanol Board, and Renewable Fuels Nebraska sponsor Fuel the Cure in conjunction with retail stations.

Nebraska Ethanol Board Sept. 12 board meeting to host Bluestem Biosciences, Inc.

Bluestem Biosciences, Inc. will be the featured speaker for the upcoming Nebraska Ethanol Board meeting, Monday, Sept. 12 in Grand Island. Bluestem Biosciences, a renewable chemicals company headquartered in Omaha, is focused on the sustainable bio-production of chemicals through anaerobic fermentation with an identified path toward industrial scale. Its overall mission is to diversify and decarbonize the chemical industry. Bluestem recently completed its $5,000,000 pre-seed financing and the formation of its Strategic Advisory Board. 

“At Bluestem we are designing novel biology to transform agriculture and ethanol infrastructure,” said Billy Hagstrom, CEO and co-founder. “We believe anaerobic fermentation has numerous advantages, and the emergent tools of synthetic biology will allow us to execute on our vision to create chemical from organisms, not oil.”

The Nebraska Ethanol Board will meet in Grand Island at 10 a.m. at Bosselman Enterprises’ conference room at 1607 S. Locust Street. The agenda is as follows:

  1. Call Meeting to Order
  2. Approval of Agenda
  3. Approval of June 8, 2022, Board Meeting Minutes
  4. Public Opportunity for Questions, Comments or Concerns
  5. Bluestem Biosciences, Inc. presentation
  6. Husker Motorsports presentation
  7. Budget Report
  8. Fuel Retailer Update
  9. Nebraska Corn Board Update
  10. Renewable Fuels Nebraska Update
  11. Working Lunch
  12. Technical & Research Updates
  13. Marketing Programs
  14. Dues & Subscriptions
  15. Approval of Contracts
  16. Funding Requests
  17. State and Federal Legislation
  18. Ethanol Plant Reports
  19. Chair’s Report
  20. Administrator’s Report
  21. Travel Reports and Authorization
  22. Personnel
  23. Executive Session
  24. Next Meeting Date
  25. 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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