Purdue Researchers Say US lacks infrastructure to consume more ethanol

Tue, 2011-01-04 10:56
Byline: Brian Wallheimer, Purdue University

The United States doesn’t have the infrastructure to meet the federal mandate for renewable fuel use with ethanol, but could meet the standard with significant increases in cellulosic and next-generation biofuels, according to a Purdue University study.

The United States doesn’t have the infrastructure to meet the federal mandate for renewable fuel use with ethanol, but could meet the standard with significant increases in cellulosic and next-generation biofuels, according to a Purdue University study.

Wally Tyner, the James and Lois Ackerman Professor of Agricultural Economics, and co-authors Frank Dooley, a Purdue professor of agricultural economics, and Daniela Viteri, a former Purdue graduate student, used U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency data to determine that the United States is at the “blending wall,” the saturation point for ethanol use. Without new technology or a significant increase in infrastructure, Tyner predicts that the country will not be able to consume more ethanol than is being currently produced.

The federal Renewable Fuel Standard requires an increase of renewable fuel production to 36 billion gallons per year by 2022. About 13 billion gallons of renewable fuel was required for 2010, the same amount Tyner predicts is the threshold for U.S. infrastructure and consumption ability.

“You can’t get there with ethanol,” said Tyner, whose findings were published in the December issue of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.

Tyner said there simply aren’t enough flex-fuel vehicles, which use an 85 percent ethanol blend, or E85 stations to distribute more biofuels. According to EPA estimates, flex-fuel vehicles make up 7.3 million of the 240 million vehicles on the nation’s roads. Of those, about 3 million of flex-fuel vehicle owners aren’t even aware they can use E85 fuel.

There are only about 2,000 E85 fuel pumps in the United States, and it took more than 20 years to install them.

“Even if you could produce a whole bunch of E85, there is no way to distribute it,” Tyner said. “We would need to install about 2,000 pumps per year through 2022 to do it. You’re not going to go from 100 per year to 2,000 per year overnight. It’s just not going to happen.”

And even if the fuel could be distributed, E85 would have to be substantially cheaper than gasoline to entice consumers to use it because E85 gets lower mileage, Tyner said. If gasoline were $3 per gallon, E85 would have to be $2.34 per gallon to break even on mileage.

There is talk of increasing the maximum amount of ethanol that can be blended with gasoline for regular vehicles from 10 percent to 15 percent. But Tyner said that even if the EPA does allow it, the blending wall would be reached again in about four years.

Tyner said advances in the production of thermo-chemical biofuels, which are created by using heat to chemically alter biomass and create fuels, would be necessary to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard. He said those fuels would be similar enough to gasoline to allow unlimited blending and would increase the amount of biofuel that could be used.

“Producing the hydrocarbons directly doesn’t have the infrastructure problems of ethanol, and there is no blend wall because you’re producing gasoline,” Tyner said. “If that comes on and works, then we get there. There is significant potential to produce drop-in hydrocarbons from cellulosic feedstocks.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture funded Tyner’s research.

Source URL: http://westernfarmpress.com/rice/us-lacks-infrastructure-consume-more-ethanol

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Powers Energy Hires Three Lake County Construction Firms for Garbage-to-Ethanol Plant in Schneider, IN

November 10, 2010

BY DIANE KRIEGER SPIVAK, (219) 648-3076 Powers Energy on Tuesday named the three Lake County construction firms that will hire 400 union workers to build a $254 million garbage-to-ethanol plant in Schneider.

Superior Construction Co., Inc., of Gary; Morrison Construction Co., of Hammond; and Continental Electric Co., Inc., also of Gary have formed a joint venture, SMC LLC, for the project, according to a news release Powers issued late Tuesday afternoon.

Powers Energy has also contracted with Robinson Engineering Ltd., Merrillville, to provide civil engineering support during design and permitting.

Powers has a 20-year-renewable contract with the Lake County Solid Waste Management District to process 8,000 tons of municipal waste into ethanol per day.

Funding for the project should be completed some time next month, according to company president Earl Powers, who promised no taxpayer dollars would be involved.

“One hundred percent of the project funding is from debt financing,” Powers said, adding that financial backers, none of whom are from Indiana, would be identified after funding documentation is finalized.

“Lake County residents and public entities will have no financial liability for any portion of the project before or during construction and operation, or after facility closure,” Powers said.

The plant is projected to operate for 30 years.

Powers hopes to break ground on the two-year project next summer, Powers engineer Ken Bosar said. The company must first apply for various permits from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, which should take place early next year, Bosar said.

“We’re pleased the project is moving forward and happy that Powers Energy is keeping its promise,” Solid Waste attorney Cliff Duggan said Tuesday.

Northwestern Indiana Building & Construction Trades Council Business Manager Randy Palmateer said all three companies are contractors with the council.

“They employ local building trades men and women,” Palmateer said.

“We’ve looked at manpower projections with Mr. Powers,” Palmateer said. “It’s going to be a great project for our trade council. We’re not at full employment, so this will be a nice jump-start.”

Palmateer said a building trades presence will attend the Nov. 18 Solid Waste Board meeting in support of the project.

Powers Energy is scheduled to attend the meeting to answer questions submitted regarding the project.

“We’re 100 percent behind this,” Palmateer said, adding that 20 percent of the 50,000 union trades workers are currently unemployed.

“Hopefully, individual municipalities will sign into these local agreements to send their trash there,” he said. “We’re in a green era now.”

This article brought to you by the Indiana Renewable Energy Association.

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Imperial e-Biofuels Subsidiary Nearing Twenty Five Million Gallon Annual Sales Pace

EVANSVILLE, Ind.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Imperial Petroleum, Inc. (OTCBB:IPMN.ob – News) announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, e-biofuels, LLC, a Middletown, Indiana biodiesel producer, sold 1.98 million gallons of biodiesel in October 2010 resulting in revenues of approximately $6.3 million for the month. First quarter revenues from biodiesel sales represent approximately $16.7 million on 5.2 million gallons sold.

“It’s been very exciting to see the daily increases in activity at the e-biofuels plant translate into increased sales and revenues for the Company,” said Jeffrey T. Wilson, President of Imperial. “Sales in calendar 2009 averaged 7 million gallons and we are now on pace to maintain biodiesel sales at around an annual pace of 24 million gallons with revenues approaching $70 million per year. We’ve been able to use the increased cash flow to mitigate some of the past financial issues faced by e-biofuels and strengthen our financial position in the industry.”

Mr. Wilson went on to say, “Our proto-type tests are going very well on process enhancements and we hope to finish our financing initiatives in the short term to position the Company for even more explosive growth going forward.”

Imperial is an energy company headquartered in Evansville, Indiana.

This press release may contain “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are based on management’s current expectations and are subject to a number of factors and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those described herein. Although the Company believes that the expectations in such statements are reasonable, there can be no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct.

Contact:

Imperial Petroleum, Inc.
Jeffrey T. Wilson, CEO
Phone 812-867-1433 Fax 812-867-1678
email: jtwilsonx1@aol.com

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Deal in Place For NW Indiana Ethanol Plant

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report
http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=43966

Construction of a $254 million facility in Lake County that would convert garbage to ethanol appears to be moving forward. The Post Tribune reports Evansville-based Powers Energy LLC has reached terms with three firms to build the plant in Schneider. Powers Energy officials say they still have to receive the necessary permits from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, but groundbreaking could occur as early as the spring of 2011.

Officials say they are awaiting the outcome of permitting for a similar facility in Florida before they move forward in Indiana.

The green energy facility is expected to initially employ up to 400 construction workers and up to 200 permanent staff members.

Lake County’s Solid Waste Management District signed a contract last year with Powers Energy to eventually provide thousands of tons of municipal garbage on a daily basis.

Source: Post Tribune

This article brought to you by the Indiana Renewable Enegy Association.

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US House Passes Bill Supporting Algae-based Fuels

Algal Biomass Organization Hails Passage of H.R. 4168
Legislation Removes a Major Barrier to Commercialization of Algae-Based Biofuels

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Algal Biomass Organization (ABO), the trade association for the U.S. algae industry, today praised the U.S. House of Representatives for passing H.R. 4168, the Algae-based Renewable Fuel Promotion Act. ABO specifically recognized Reps. Harry Teague (D-NM), Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Brian Bilbray (R-CA) for leading efforts to give algae-based biofuel tax parity with cellulosic biofuels with respect to a $1.01 per gallon production tax credit and a 50 percent bonus depreciation for biofuel plant property.

“Today, the House sent an unmistakable message of bipartisan support to the hundreds of companies, scientists, entrepreneurs and government agencies working to accelerate the development of algae-based fuels, which will create jobs, decrease emissions and reduce our nation’s dependence on imported fossil fuels,” said Mary Rosenthal, Executive Director of ABO. “The passage of this bill is a huge first step towards our goal of creating parity for algae-based biofuels within the tax code and among various other government programs.”

This article brought to you by the Indiana Renewable Energy Association.

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USDA Seeks Applications from Producers to Conduct Renewable Energy Feasibility Studies

Release No. 0445.10
Contact: Weldon Freeman (202) 690-1384
WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the availability of funding under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy systems for agriculture producers and rural small businesses.

“Renewable energy production represents a promising revenue source for America’s producers while meeting the nation’s need for new sources of renewable energy,” Vilsack said. “These grants will help encourage the development of viable renewable energy projects across the nation and help small business owners, farmers, ranchers and agriculture producers conduct feasibility studies that identify renewable energy opportunities.”

Eligible feasibility studies for renewable energy systems include projects that will produce energy from wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydro power and hydrogen-based sources. The energy to be produced includes heat, electricity or fuel. For all projects, the system must be located in a rural area, must be technically feasible and must be owned by the applicant. More information is available by visiting http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_ReapGrants.html.

Under this notice, USDA is making $3 million available to conduct feasibility studies. Grants are limited to $50,000 per study and the application deadline is October 5, 2010. The funding announced today is authorized under the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008. More information on how to apply for funding is available in the August 6, 2010 Federal Register, page 47525.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of 6,100 employees located in the nation’s capital and 500 state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $142 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or  (202) 720-6382  (TDD).

This article brought to you by the Indiana Renewable Energy Association.

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Imperial Biofuels Subsidiary Clears Milestone

Press Release Source: Imperial Petroleum, Inc. On Wednesday September 1, 2010, 7:00 am EDT EVANSVILLE, Ind.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Imperial Petroleum, Inc. (OTCBB:IPMN – News) announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, e-biofuels, LLC, a Middletown, Indiana biodiesel producer, cleared a milestone in its development. After becoming part of Imperial and as the result of negotiating a series of feedstock purchase agreements and biodiesel off-take sales contracts, e-biofuels generated revenues of approximately $3.5 million in the month of July 2010 alone on fuel sales of about 1.2 million gallons and as a result the subsidiary expects to be highly profitable going forward. Fuel sales for August 2010 are approximately 1.4 million gallons with revenues of just over $4.0 million for the month.

“Expanding the plant throughput to its current capacity was one of our early goals for e-biofuels and a great deal of credit goes to the management of e-biofuels for their efforts and achievements thus far. August sales to date are on pace to exceed the July results,” commented Jeffrey T. Wilson, President of Imperial. “As a result of the mandates under the Renewable Fuels programs, e-biofuels has been in a unique position to take advantage of its certification as an advanced biofuels producer to rapidly increase its market presence. Our products are sold to some of the largest retail outlets and truck stop owners in the United States. Upon the closing of our financing for the Company, we expect to proceed quickly to expand the biodiesel production capacity to 25 MMGPY; convert the plant over to our more-efficient process technology and add bio-jet fuel capabilities. Our goal is to add slow pyrolysis equipment into the facility over the next year to produce both electricity for re-sale to the power grid and bio-oil for inclusion in our renewable boiler fuel and renewable heating oil products.”

Imperial is an energy company headquartered in Evansville, Indiana.

This press release may contain “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are based on management’s current expectations and are subject to a number of factors and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those described herein. Although the Company believes that the expectations in such statements are reasonable, there can be no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct.

Contact: Imperial Petroleum, Inc. Jeffrey T. Wilson, CEO
Phone 812-867-1433 Fax 812-867-1678
email: jtwilsonx1@aol.com

This article brought to you be the Indiana Renewable Energy Association.

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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Loans and Grants

Release No. 0410.10

Contact:

Jay Fletcher (202) 690-0498

186 Projects Help Farmers and Rural Businesses Become More Efficient

Des Moines, Iowa, August 17, 2010  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA Rural Development is providing $23.4 million in loans and grants for 186 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Vilsack made the announcement while visiting the Iowa State Fair.

“President Obama and I are committed to helping our nation become energy independent by helping rural businesses become more energy efficient,” Vilsack said. “This funding will not only help our farmers and small businesses reduce energy costs, but also more efficient and competitive.”

For example, Primus Farms, Inc. of Grundy, Iowa, has been selected to receive a $23,162 grant and a $23,162 loan. This funding will be used to replace an outdated grain dryer with a new, highly efficient grain dryer projecting over 54.58 percent in annual energy savings.

In Franklin, Mass., Berkshire East Ski Area has been selected for a $1.5 million guaranteed loan to assist rural small businesses in developing a renewable energy system. This project will fund a large wind energy generation system that will offset the firm’s energy use and provide a portion for sale.

USDA energy efficiency programs often yield double digit energy savings. The Glen Coble & Sons, Inc., ranch in Mullen, Neb., reduced its electricity draw from the local utility by 30 percent after it received a $14,725 USDA Rural Development grant in 2008 to install five wind turbines.

REAP funding can be used for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency improvements, feasibility studies, energy audits, and renewable energy development assistance. More information on the REAP program, which was authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill, is at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_ReapResEei.html

Funding of each recipient is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant or loan agreement. The following is a complete list of REAP recipients announced today. Award Recipients

Through its Rural Development mission area, USDA administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a network of 6,100 employees located in the nation’s capital and 500 state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers, and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of nearly $142 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382  (TDD).

For additional information contact:

Sharon Ellison

Rural Development

U. S. Department of Agriculture

5975 Lakeside Boulevard

Indianapolis, Indiana 46278

Phone: 317. 290. 3100 Ext. 429
Fax: 317 .290. 3127

http://www.rurdev.usda.gov

“Committed to the future of rural communities”

“Estamos dedicados al futuro de las comunidades rurales”

This article brought to you by the Indiana Renewable Energy Association.

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