Ethanol: Emerging Issues Virtual Forum to Feature Experts on Biofuels, FFVs, Carbon Sequestration, and Biocampuses

Biofuels’ stakeholders and experts from across the nation will join virtually for the annual Ethanol: Emerging Issues Forum March 25-26. Governor Pete Ricketts has been invited to open the event and welcome attendees.
 
The Nebraska Ethanol Board and Renewable Fuels Nebraska organize the forum, which is in its 16th year. It brings together ethanol producers and others integrally involved in production, technology, policymaking and marketing of biofuels and its co-products. The event runs from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to noon Friday.
 
Topics include an overview and discussion of the most pressing federal policies, regulatory actions, and markets affecting ethanol demand. The federal policy panel includes industry leaders from the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, and the American Coalition for Ethanol.
 
Speakers will also address the future of FFVs, carbon capture and sequestration in Nebraska, biocampuses, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineering researchers will share detailed results of their E30 Demonstration, which showed that the higher blend was as safe to use as E15 in non-flex fuel vehicles.
 
More than 150 ethanol industry stakeholders will attend the forum. Online registration and a detailed agenda are available on the Nebraska Ethanol Board website. College and university students are also welcome to attend.
 
The Ethanol: Emerging Issues Virtual Forum 2021 is presented by the Nebraska Ethanol Board and Renewable Fuels Nebraska with a range of local and national sponsors. Signature sponsors include Bio Nebraska, CoBank, Farm Credit Services of America, Fluid Quip, Husch Blackwell, and Nebraska Corn Board. Supporting sponsors include American Coalition for Ethanol, Pacha Soap Co., Phibro Ethanol Performance Group, and USDA Rural Development.

Nebraska Ethanol Board March 9 board meeting to be held in Lincoln

The Nebraska Ethanol Board will meet in Lincoln at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 9. The meeting will be at Hyatt Place (600 Q Street). The agenda is as follows:

  1. Call Meeting to Order
  2. Approval of Agenda
  3. Approval of Dec. 22, 2020, Board Meeting Minutes
  4. Public Opportunity for Questions, Comments or Concerns
  5. Budget Report
  6. Fuel Retailer Update
  7. E30 Demonstration Update
  8. Nebraska Corn Board Update
  9. Renewable Fuels Nebraska Update
  10. Economic Impact Study
  11. Marketing Programs
  12. NEB-hosted Conferences & Events
  13. Public Relations Discussion
  14. State and Federal Legislation
  15. Ethanol Plant Reports
  16. Chair’s Report
  17. Administrator’s Report
  18. Working Lunch
  19. Travel Reports and Authorization
  20. Personnel
  21. Executive Session, if deemed necessary
  22. Next Meeting Date
  23. Adjourn

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

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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Fuel Retailers and Drivers Raise Thousands for Local Cancer Center

Representatives from the Nebraska Ethanol Board, Nebraska Corn Board and Renewable Fuels Nebraska present the Fuel the Cure 2020 donations of $5,488.60 to the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.

In the past three years, fuel retailers across Nebraska have joined forces to raise more than $18,000 for cancer research as part of “Fuel the Cure.” 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. This year, the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha received $5,488.60.

“Donations to cancer research truly make a difference,” said Jenn Klein, a wife, mother, and breast cancer survivor. “I’m thankful funding was available to discover treatment before I needed it or I might not be here today.” 

Jenn Klein

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.

While biofuels and cancer research may seem like an unlikely pairing, it is a known fact that using more biofuels leads to less air pollution. According to the American Lung Association, up to 70% of ground-level ozone-forming pollutants come from mobile-source emissions such as our cars.

Chemicals in gasoline are the same carcinogens found in tobacco, which are linked to cancer. Higher blends of biofuels dilute the toxicity and help reduce cancer-causing aromatics released from tailpipe emissions. Ethanol-blended fuels also reduce greenhouse gases by 42%.

“Fuel retailers who provide the choices of E15, E30 and E85 know regular and premium gasoline without ethanol is harmful to the air we breathe. By making higher ethanol blends available, they are empowering consumers to help in the effort of cleaner air. Supporting ‘Fuel the Cure’ is a step beyond because the funds are directly impacting lives of patients at the Cancer Center,” said Roger Berry, administrator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “By choosing higher blends of ethanol in the fuel we put in our cars, we can all do more toward creating a healthier environment now and for the future.”

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

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.

The Nebraska Ethanol Board is already preparing for next year’s event and would encourage Nebraska fuel retailers who are interested in participating to reach out to Jessica Sodeke, Nebraska Ethanol Board program manager, at Jessica.sodeke@nebraska.gov for more information.

“We continue to see the number of fuel retailers in Nebraska offering E15 increase, and we are going to continue helping fuel retailers to make the option more easily accessible,” Berry said. “The greater the accessibility to higher ethanol blends we make available to drivers, the bigger the impact we are making.”

The Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Ethanol Board, and Renewable Fuels Nebraska sponsor “Fuel the Cure” in conjunction with retail stations. To see the full list of stations that donated funds, visit www.fuelthecure.pink.

USDA Reopens HBIIP Program

The USDA opened a new, 30-day application period Dec. 21 to provide retailers one more opportunity to apply for grant money still available under its Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP). These funds provide a second chance for retailers who got started during the original 90-day timeframe but couldn’t complete their grant applications before that window closed. Approximately $22 million is being made available for fueling stations, convenience stores, hypermarket fueling stations, and fleet facilities to add higher ethanol blends.

“Investing in infrastructure just makes sense for a retailer to keep their equipment up-to-date, and grant assistance makes it economical,” said Roger Berry, administrator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “These funds are a great opportunity for all retailers to invest in higher blends of ethanol like E15 and E30 to provide a healthier fuel choice to all our Nebraska communities. We appreciate the USDA re-opening this program and helping support our mission of making ethanol more widely available.”

Through this program, transportation fueling and biodiesel distribution facilities will be able to apply for grants to help install, retrofit, and/or upgrade fuel storage, dispenser pumps, related equipment and infrastructure to be able to sell ethanol and biodiesel. Cost-share grants and/or incentives will be made available for fuel ethanol/biodiesel blends such as E15 or higher. In October, USDA announced several recipients of the up to $100 million in matching grants to increase ethanol and biodiesel sales.

The purpose of the HBIIP is to significantly increase the sales and use of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel by expanding the infrastructure for renewable fuels derived from U.S. agricultural products. The program is also intended to encourage a more comprehensive approach to market higher blends by sharing the costs related to building out biofuel-related infrastructure.

Awards to successful applicants will be in the form of cost-share grants for up to 50 percent of total eligible project costs, but not to exceed $3 million, whichever is less. To learn about eligibility requirements, visit the HBIIP website here. The deadline is Jan. 19, 2021.

Resources have been made available to make the process easier. Links to these resources below can be found on the Nebraska Ethanol Board here.

  • USDA will offer free education webinars on Tuesday, Dec. 22 at 1 p.m. CST or Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 1 p.m. CST.
  • American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) launched a series of short, fuel marketer-focused videos breaking down the HBIIP application process into manageable pieces to encourage retailers to apply. The videos were produced in coordination with USDA. ACE also offers a Flex Check tool helping retailers understand they may already have the equipment they need to add E15.
  • Renewable Fuels Association again will serve as a technical resource to interested retailers.
  • Have questions? Retailers in Nebraska can contact Jeff Carpenter, USDA Energy Coordinator/Rural Development, at jeff.carpenter@usda.gov or 402-437-5554.