Emissions Modeling Researcher to Speak at Ethanol Board Meeting

A recent study found that corn ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 51 percent compared to gasoline. Dr. Ken Cassman of UN-L, a co-author of that study, will speak about the emissions reduction of ethanol and emissions modeling in a special presentation at the Nebraska Ethanol Board meeting March 6.

The study, published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology, found that the emissions created during the production and use of ethanol “lifecycle emissions”are lower than the lifecycle emissions of gasoline. Cassman said that this was partly because ethanol production has recently become more efficient than ever before, while previous studies had relied on outdated data.

“Increased efficiency in ethanol production combined with better agricultural practices mean that ethanol production yields a higher net energy gain and lower emissions than we previously thought,” Cassman said.

Cassman will summarize his research and the process of developing an emissions modeling system during his presentation at the Nebraska Ethanol Board meeting on Friday, March 6 at 8:30 am. The meeting will be held at Hampton Inn South, 5922 Vandervoort Drive, in Lincoln. Download the meeting agenda from the Ethanol Board website at ethanol.nebraska.gov.

Ethanol Board Applauds GBC on Letter to President Obama

The Nebraska Ethanol Board expressed its support today for a recent letter from the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition to President Obama. The letter asked the president to continue his support of biofuels and includes several specific proposals designed to increase the production and use of biofuels over the next decade.

“We commend the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition for reaching out to the president,” said Todd Sneller, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “Biofuels like ethanol are a key component in moving forward with renewable energy, the economy and a healthier environment.”

The letter, written by GBC Chair and North Dakota governor John Hoeven, and Iowa Governor and GBC Vice Chair Chet Culver, emphasizes the role of biofuels like ethanol in increasing energy independence.

“We believe that biofuels can help reduce our dependency on foreign oil. Our vision for the next decade includes steps that would eliminate our dependency on high-carbon imported oil. We respectfully ask you to act quickly to address the issues below and help to achieve this vision,” the letter states.

The GBC letter also proposes the following to promote biofuels development, including:

  • Establish an interagency task force to sort fact from fiction regarding the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions and transportation fuels.
  • Initiate immediate action to overcome regulatory impediments to increased ethanol use.
  • Create new policy options that continue to increase the sustainability of biofuels feedstock production.
  • Implement the nation’s first comprehensive biofuel market development program.

Underwriters Labs Approves E15 in Gas Dispensing Equipment

Underwriters Laboratories, a leading product safety and testing certification group, recently announced approval of 15 percent ethanol blends in dispensing equipment certified for regular gasoline. UL’s previous technical bulletins were clarified to ensure that fuel marketers and others were aware that equipment currently in use will tolerate fuels beyond the 10 percent ethanol in conventional gasoline dispensing equipment.

The decision removes one of the many regulatory roadblocks keeping drivers from using ethanol blends above 10 percent in conventional vehicles. UL decided that there is no significant risk of damage to fuel dispensing equipment when using E15 compared to E10. While flex fuel vehicles can use any level of ethanol up to 85 percent, the Clean Air Act currently caps the ethanol blend used in conventional vehicles at 10 percent.

“This is an important first step to allowing drivers to use higher ethanol blends in their vehicles,” said Todd Sneller, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “By using more ethanol, drivers are reducing pollution, strengthening Nebraska’s economy and reducing our dependence on imported oil.”

UL’s decision will be among the topics discussed at the Ethanol 2009: Emerging Issues Forum, April 2-3 at the Magnolia Hotel in Omaha. For more info on the forum and to register, visit www.ethanol.nebraska.gov/forum2009.

Nebraska Ethanol Board Elects New Officers

The Nebraska Ethanol Board elected new officers during the Jan. 16 board meeting.

Mike Thede of Palmer was elected chairman. Thede represents general farming interests on the board and also serves as President of the Howard County Farm Bureau and sits on the United Soybean Board.

Steve Hanson of Elsie was elected vice chairman. Hanson represents wheat.

Tim Else of Belvidere was elected secretary. Else representatives sorghum.

Outgoing Chairman Jim Jenkins of Callaway was recognized for his contribution to Nebraska’s ethanol industry.

Thede said that he is optimistic about the future of ethanol in light of sales figures and the recently renewed mandate for biofuels.

“2008 was a record setting year for ethanol sales in Nebraska,” Thede said. “In September, 81 percent of all motor fuels sold in Nebraska contained ethanol. E10 blends were selling from four to 10 cents less per gallon than regular gasoline, which saved Nebraska drivers almost $36 million.”

Ethanol Board Commends EPA Decision on Biofuels Mandate

August 7, 2008

The EPA today rejected Texas Governor Rick Perry’s request to waive the Renewable Fuels Standard. The Renewable Fuels Standard is a federal law that requires a certain volume of renewable fuels be blended into fossil fuels.

Perry had written to the EPA asking it to waive the RFS after meeting with Texas poultry and livestock interests who claimed the new federal biofuels policy was affecting their respective sectors. The Texas request called for a national rollback of the RFS to one half of current domestic biofuel use.

Texas had to prove to the EPA that 1) there is severe harm to the U.S. economy, 2) that the harm is directly caused by the implementation of the RFS and 3) reducing the RFS would redress that claimed economic harm. The state’s two-page petition failed all three tests. In its decision, the EPA found that waiving the RFS would only reduce corn prices by as little as 7 cents per bushel.

Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator Todd Sneller lauded the EPA’s decision. We commend the EPA for its diligent review of the facts. It was clear from the outset that the waiver request could not meet the legal test required, and that renewable fuels like ethanol are actually benefiting the economy by lowering fuel prices and stimulating economic activity, Sneller said.

Earlier today the Consumer Federation of America submitted a report to the EPA which found that rolling back the RFS would significantly raise gas and oil prices.

Nebraska Ethanol Board chairman Jim Jenkins said the EPA made the right choice because ethanol provides relief for drivers hit hard by record high gas prices.

Ethanol is lowering gas prices for everyone and increasing economic development in ag states,Jenkins said.