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Do you want to know if Ethanol is good for your car? Ask a racer. Ron Kirtley of Idaho Heat, runs this 9 sec car on 100% ethanol
www.idahoheat.com

 

 

 

US House committee OKs $20 billion in energy incentives, credits: pump conversion, investment tax credit increases, extensions

In Washington, the US House Ways and Means Committee approved a package of $20 billion in energy tax credits and incentives and cleared the way for the provisions to move to a vote on the floor of the House. The credits and incentives are components of the Obama economic stimulus package.

The package would extend to wind investment tax credit by three years to 2012, as well as extend the investment tax credit to 2013 for biomass-to-power facilities. In addition, renewable energy projects placed in 2009 and 2010 would be able to use a 30 percent investment tax credit in place of the production tax credit which is phased over 10 years. In addition, the package increases tax credits for service stations that convert pumps to E85, hydrogen and other renewable fuels.


Renewables pushed as partial solution to global warming

Posted: 01/16/07 12:00 AM [ET]

While a cap on carbon dioxide emissions remains a Holy Grail for environmental groups, rather than pursuing one Congress may take interim, and less politically painful, steps to curb global warming.

One of the likeliest options would require electric utilities, which account for about 40 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted in the U.S., to produce a percentage of their electricity with “climate-friendly” renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass or even tidal power.

The so-called Renewable Portfolio Standard, or RPS, has been a particular point of emphasis for Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), the new chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. A committee spokesman, Bill Wicker, said Bingaman has directed staff to review the progression of renewable fuel technologies to see how aggressive a new mandate should be. Earlier efforts would require that utilities get 10 percent of their power from renewables by 2020.

While the proposal has a few powerful backers, an RPS still would engender the opposition of certain utilities with lobbying power derived from the enormous sums they spend on campaigns and on political advocacy, as well as the number of people who are affected by their business. Supporters of an RPS contend the standard won’t appreciably raise consumer electricity bills, but the industry contends certain areas would pay more for power under a portfolio standard.

In addition to the RPS, Congress is also likely to consider proposals to further increase ethanol production and to raise the fuel-mileage standards for automobiles, both of which could have a residual benefit of reducing greenhouse gases.

To accomplish any of the above, Democratic leaders may have to overcome opposition within their own caucus, in addition to peeling off Republican votes. An RPS has passed the Senate but not the House, where Republican leaders blocked it from moving to the floor. Democrats who have opposed an RPS include new Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher (D) of Virginia, a state heavily reliant on coal to produce electricity. Democratic leadership, however, is likely to support an RPS.

Marchant Wentworth, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, describes himself as “very optimistic” that the change in control of Congress will mean the RPS bill gets through, although the bill remains the “No. 1 bad guy” for utilities.

“An RPS is an example of a climate piece that actually yields a benefit, as opposed to a climate bill that is just painting,” the clean-energy expert said.

If it passes an RPS, Congress would be following state governments. More than 20 have implemented an RPS. That fact may have softened utility opposition to the federal proposal, according to one Democratic aide. Businesses dislike mandates, but often prefer one national standard to a patchwork of state regulations.

Jim Owen, a spokesman for the Edison Electric Institute, a utility group, said the industry is committed to developing environmentally friendly renewable fuels. But Owen added EEI remains opposed to a “one-size-fits-all” federal mandate.

An RPS is likely to raise costs in areas of the country, such as the Southeast, with less access to renewable sources of power, Owen said. Even in areas like the wind-swept Midwestern plains or the sun-drenched Southwest, the renewable power source isn’t a constant. Stores of coal can be burned as needed.

“Wind doesn’t always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine,” Owen said.

But opposition isn’t universal within the utility industry. Jonathan Weisgall, a lobbyist for MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., which has supported an RPS, believes one way to further reduce opposition to a renewable mandate is to couple it with a broader production tax credit that makes renewable energy more price-competitive.

The 109th Congress extended a production tax credit as one of its last acts, but Weisgall said a further extension could provide additional financial stability that utilities need to build expensive geothermal plants, for example.

The tax credit would carry a big price tag, however, at a time when Democrats are operating under pay-go rules that require a tax cut be offset with a reduction in spending.

Nevertheless, Owen of EEI acknowledged that the Democratic control of Congress gives an RPS “more traction.”

Currently, only about 2 percent of the electricity produced in the country comes from renewable energy, a figure that’s remained constant over the years.

More than 50 percent of the power produced comes from coal, a major emitter of carbon dioxide. Nuclear plants produce about 20 percent of the electricity consumed in this country, with natural gas and hydropower accounting for most of the remainder.

Studies by the federal Energy Information Administration found that utilities would produce less carbon dioxide under an RPS than they would otherwise. But because of the projected increase in energy use, carbon dioxide emissions  would still rise well above current levels.

For Jeremy Symons of the National Wildlife Federation, that means Congress can’t be satisfied with anything but an outright cap on greenhouse-gas emissions.


Pacific Ethanol opens new Idaho plant near Burley, Idaho

Elizabeth Larson
Capital Press

The West Coast's largest ethanol producer announced this week that it's ready to officially open a new ethanol plant in Idaho.

Pacific Ethanol reported Tuesday that the new ethanol production facility - located in Burley, Idaho - has completed startup and will have its official grand opening May 16, with Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter scheduled to attend.

"This site expands our production footprint to new markets in the Western United States," said Neil Koehler, Pacific Ethanol's chief executive officer and president said in a written statement. "We've succeeded in the plant's startup and are now able to produce enough ethanol to meet the renewable fuel needs of the entire state of Idaho, assuming a 10-percent ethanol blend."

Burley's new 177-acre facility will, in a year, produce 60 million gallons of ethanol, process 21 million bushels of corn and produce 500,000 tons of west distiller's grain, an ethanol co-product, according to a company statement.

The grain, the company added, has a ready market in the Burley area, where there are more than 300,000 dairy cattle and 100,000 feedlot cattle. That destination business model - using fuel and feed to service local markets - is central to the company's growth strategy, and assists plans in achieving lower process and transportation costs, the company reported.

In addition, the Idaho Department of Commerce reported that Pacific Ethanol's Burley plant created $7.2 million in additional household income in Cassia County.

The plant's opening followed the company's March earnings statement, which showed a net loss of $14.7 million in 2007's fourth quarter, an increase over the previous year, as Capital Press has reported.

Those losses came despite sales growing from $80 million in 2006's fourth quarter to $130 million for the same period in 2007, the company reported.

Joseph Hansen, chief financial officer for Pacific Ethanol, attributed losses to factors such as a drop in the per-gallon price for ethanol and higher corn prices. The Burley plant and a new plant under construction in Stockton, Calif., also had construction costs that were higher than the company had anticipated.

Ethanol prices Wednesday closed at $2.50 per gallon according to the Chicago Board of Trade, up from the $1.97 range that the fuel had dropped to last fall.

Pacific Ethanol executives said they grew production companywide to more than 100 million gallons annually in 2007, a number which will go up again with the Burley plant coming online.

The company statement said it's Pacific Ethanol's goal to hit the mark of producing 220 million gallons of ethanol per year in 2008, with a view to reaching 420 million gallons per year in 2010.

Pacific Ethanol operates plants in Madera, Calif., and Boardman, Ore. It's also owns an interest in Front Range Energy LLC, which has an ethanol plant in Windsor, Colo.

The Stockton plant, also corn-based, is due to come online in September, said Tim Raphael, Pacific Ethanol's government affairs and communications director.

Elizabeth Larson is a staff writer based in Lucerne. E-mail: elarson@capitalpress.com.


 
  Annual and Monthly U.S. Ethanol Production Read more

Ethanol Plant List Read more

Ethanol Plants Under Construction Read more

Biodiesel Plant List Read more

Biodiesel Plants Under Construction Read more

Ethanol Industry Statistics Read more

Ethanol and Biodiesel Associations Read more

USDA/ARS Biobased Research Projects Read more

National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition Newsletter Read more

USDA Weekly Ag Energy Roundup Read more

USDA Weekly Ethanol Summary Read more

GM Statement Regarding E85 Ethanol Cost-Benefit Analysis

Attributable to Alan Adler, manager, Biofuels Communications

The cost-benefit analysis of E85 ethanol prepared by the Pardee Rand Graduate School and cited in the Friday, Nov. 30 edition of USA Today fails to take into account several positive factors of the renewable fuel made from 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

E85 is not yet widely available in the United States – less than 1 percent of fueling stations offer it today – and prices vary widely. Some gasoline stations peg the price of E85 to gasoline, so when gasoline goes up or down in price, E85 rides with it. Elsewhere, especially in regions where ethanol is more widely available, the price of E85 is as much as a dollar a gallon less.

"We believe ethanol as a renewable fuel is the best near term alternative to oil as a transportation fuel and replacing gasoline with ethanol positively contributes to lowering greenhouse gas emissions," said GM Chief Economist Mustafa Mohatarem. "You cannot take a snapshot in time and define a mature market,"

When the Rand study was previewed at GM in October, the authors were told their work did not account for the significantly lower cost of second-generation ethanol that will be made from cellulosic and biomass feed stocks. Most estimates show the cost of making Gen2 ethanol at $1 or less a gallon before distribution costs.

(GM did not specifically sponsor the Rand study but does contribute $25,000 a year to Rand annually.)

General Motors is the auto industry leader in offering E85-capable vehicles with more than 2.5 million of the 6 million on the road in the U.S. For 2008, GM offers 11 FlexFuel models able to run on any combination of ethanol and gasoline up to 85 percent ethanol. GM produces about 400,000 E85-capable models a year and will double that to 800,000 a year by 2010. By 2012, GM expects to build more than 2 million FlexFuel vehicles a year.

"By 2012, it will be easier to say which GM vehicles are not E85-capable than to list which ones are FlexFuel," said Beth Lowery, GM vice president of Environment, Energy and Safety Policy. "And we are just as committed to helping build the infrastructure for E85."


10-26-2007: Oil Rises to Record Over $92 After U.S. Says Iran Backs Terror By Alexander Kwiatkowski

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Oil rose above $92 a barrel for the first time in New York after the U.S. accused Iran's military of supporting terrorism and stepped up pressure on foreign companies to cut ties with the Middle East oil producer.

Crude oil also rallied as Turkey warned of a wider military assault into northern Iraq and OPEC officials yesterday said record prices didn't justify a further increase in crude production.

``The door is open to $100,'' said Kevin Norrish, energy analyst at Barclays Capital Inc. in London. The dispute between the U.S. and Iran will ``continue to ratchet up in terms of tension.''

Record prices boosted profits at oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Petro-Canada last quarter, while increasing costs for consumers buying gasoline and other fuels. Ticket prices for intercontinental business-class flights will climb by as much as 8 percent next year as airlines pass on jet fuel costs, American Express Co. said in a forecast this week.

Crude oil for December delivery rose as much as $1.76, or 2 percent, to $92.22 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest since oil futures began trading in 1983. It pared gains to trade at $91.28 at 1:10 p.m. London time.

Oil prices earlier this month passed the previous all-time inflation-adjusted record reached in 1981, when Iran cut exports. The cost of oil used by U.S. refiners averaged $37.48 a barrel in March 1981, the Energy Department said, or $84.73 in today's money.

Nervous Situation

``The Iranian situation is one to be very, very nervous on,'' said Rob Laughlin, a senior broker at MF Global Ltd. in London. ``OPEC could try to cool things down'' by adding more oil, he said.

Brent crude oil for December settlement rose as much as $1.82 to a record $89.30 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It was at $88.16 at 1:09 p.m. local time.

Record oil prices are causing other energy commodities such as electricity to reach new highs, raising concerns that inflation will accelerate and suppress growth in the global economy. The Group of Seven industrial nations said in a statement last week that high crude levels will moderate growth.

``Growth in OECD countries will be dented by these kinds of levels already,'' said Eugen Weinberg, a commodities analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. ``We'll probably see some slowdown and some negative effects from the oil price.''

Electricity prices in Germany, Europe's biggest market, rose to a record for a second day. Next-year power traded as high as 61.95 euros a megawatt hour, according to data from GFI Group Inc.

Electricity Higher Too

Supply agreements for fuels including natural gas are linked to the crude price with a time lag of about six months, meaning today's record oil prices will lead gas-fired generators in Germany to pay more for their fuel in 2008.

U.S. gasoline prices could rise more than the seasonal norm in November if crude oil prices remain at about $85, economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said Oct. 24. Gasoline stockpiles fell 1.93 million barrels to 193.8 million barrels last week, in the eighth decline in 14 weeks, according to figures released by the U.S. Energy Department.

The Bush administration yesterday announced new sanctions against Iran that designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and its Quds force as a supporter of terrorism.

``The energy markets are taking note of this rhetoric with some justifiable alarm,'' Edward Meir, an analyst at MF Global Ltd. in Connecticut, said in a report today. ``The thinking is that the Bush administration could be laying the ideological framework for a preemptive strike against Iran.''

Key Exporter

The U.S. is trying to get Iran to halt uranium enrichment that it suspects is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran, which holds the world's second-largest oil and natural gas reserves, says it wants to enrich uranium to produce electricity. The dispute has bolstered oil prices since January 2006 because of concern that oil shipments from the country might be cut.

``Anything that happens in Iran is important to the market because of its position as a key exporter,'' said Michael Davies, an analyst at Sucden (U.K.) Ltd. in London. ``The sanctions are going to be yet another thing to encourage the bulls.''

Turkey said it may step up military action against Kurdish forces in northern Iraq and called on the U.S. to join the fight. Shelling by Turkish artillery of the Iraqi side of the border continued yesterday, CNN Turk reported.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, supplier of more than 40 percent of the world's oil, has said record oil prices don't justify raining production beyond the increase it has previously pledged. OPEC said last month it will raise output by 500,000 barrels a day from Nov. 1 to alleviate concern that demand is outpacing supply.

The group doesn't plan additional output increases, Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters in Caracas yesterday. OPEC's Secretary-General Abdalla Salem El-Badri said yesterday in Beijing that ``there is a lot of oil in the market, nothing wrong with the fundamentals.''

Norrish of Barclays Capital Inc. said OPEC has ``plenty of spare capacity to raise output'' further, if it wanted to.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski in London at akwiatkowsk2@bloomberg.net


Ethanol is an alcohol-based alternative fuel produced by fermenting and distilling starch crops that have been converted into simple sugars. Feedstocks for this fuel include corn, barley, and wheat. Ethanol can also be produced from "cellulosic biomass" such as trees and grasses and is called bioethanol. Ethanol is most commonly used to increase octane and improve the emissions quality of gasoline.    more news.....


The attached USDOT Safety Bulletin clarifies the shipping description requirements for alcohol and alcohol fuel mixtures and provides updated emergency information.  USDOT has asked us to help get the info out.  download...

 

RFA Chief: E85 Investment Necessary for Industry
From Farmweek, October 18, 2006 by Martin Ross; FarmWeek is a weekly publication for members of the Illinois Farm Bureau.

A biofuels industry advocate counters criticism of current E85 promotion and development, arguing “we can see a future where ethanol is more than a gasoline additive.”

National Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dineen maintained E85 presents a “real market opportunity — not just the 25 million gallons (editor’s note: NEVC projects 70 million gallons of E85 will be sold in 2006) we sell today” in the form of conventional 10 percent retail ethanol blends.

Dineen countered that “we need to be laying the foundation today for (E85) so that once we’ve saturated the blend market, there are opportunities for use.”

“We can’t say we’re going to grow 12 billion gallons of ethanol, saturate the blend market, and then begin to look out to see where the next opportunity is,” he told FarmWeek. “I think the companies investing in E85 infrastructure today, the associations like ourselves that are making sure market opportunities exists, are doing the right thing.

“Our industry has proven that we can walk and chew gum at the same time. We’re doing a lot of different things. It’s not just about E10 or E85 — we’re doing testing on E20; we’re looking at a range of blends that are appropriate.”

Dennis Magyar, North American biofuels industry manager with DuPont, believes a partnership with oil industry giant BP to market crop-based “biobutanol” could help address two major criticisms of E85 — a purported 25 percent per-gallon mileage reduction over regular unleaded gasoline and current fuel distribution challenges.

Biobutanol, which offers a higher energy content than ethanol, could be added to higher-blend ethanol fuels to enhance fuel mileage and allow for more efficient ethanol fuel blending and distribution through existing gasoline pipeline systems.

BP plans to introduce biobutanol in Britain next year and in the U.S. in “2010-plus,” Magyar reported. Biobutanol production technologies should be adaptable to existing ethanol plants — DuPont and BP are working with British Sugar, a subsidiary of Associated British Foods, to convert the country’s first ethanol facility to produce biobutanol.

That process is in development right now,” Magyar said.

Several consumers and media have contacted the NEVC in regards to the October 6, 2006 article released by Consumer Reports titled “The Ethanol Myth”. The article contains some useful facts, but unfortunately, also includes many inaccuracies. You can find the original by clicking here.

Consumer Reports claim: Flex fuel vehicles running on E85 get 27% less fuel economy compared to the same vehicles running on regular gasoline.

Reality: Consumer Reports tested only one vehicle. A study sponsored by the Minnesota American Lung Association demonstrated fuel economy losses to be 15-17%.

Consumer Reports claim: According to experts, the price of ethanol (and E85) will track the price of gasoline. It won’t be significantly less expensive.

Reality: Real experience suggests otherwise. During the spring of 2005 ethanol was priced substantially lower than gasoline. With sufficient in-state ethanol production, more E85 stations and more FFVs on the road, E85 prices should trend lower and begin to behave with some independence from gas prices.

Consumer Reports claim: CAFE credits for FFVs increases fuel consumption and worsens oil dependency.

 

RFA Chief: E85 Investment Necessary for Industry
From Farmweek, October 18, 2006 by Martin Ross; FarmWeek is a weekly publication for members of the Illinois Farm Bureau.

A biofuels industry advocate counters criticism of current E85 promotion and development, arguing “we can see a future where ethanol is more than a gasoline additive.”

National Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dineen maintained E85 presents a “real market opportunity — not just the 25 million gallons (editor’s note: NEVC projects 70 million gallons of E85 will be sold in 2006) we sell today” in the form of conventional 10 percent retail ethanol blends.

Dineen countered that “we need to be laying the foundation today for (E85) so that once we’ve saturated the blend market, there are opportunities for use.”

“We can’t say we’re going to grow 12 billion gallons of ethanol, saturate the blend market, and then begin to look out to see where the next opportunity is,” he told FarmWeek. “I think the companies investing in E85 infrastructure today, the associations like ourselves that are making sure market opportunities exists, are doing the right thing.

“Our industry has proven that we can walk and chew gum at the same time. We’re doing a lot of different things. It’s not just about E10 or E85 — we’re doing testing on E20; we’re looking at a range of blends that are appropriate.”

Dennis Magyar, North American biofuels industry manager with DuPont, believes a partnership with oil industry giant BP to market crop-based “biobutanol” could help address two major criticisms of E85 — a purported 25 percent per-gallon mileage reduction over regular unleaded gasoline and current fuel distribution challenges.

Biobutanol, which offers a higher energy content than ethanol, could be added to higher-blend ethanol fuels to enhance fuel mileage and allow for more efficient ethanol fuel blending and distribution through existing gasoline pipeline systems.

BP plans to introduce biobutanol in Britain next year and in the U.S. in “2010-plus,” Magyar reported. Biobutanol production technologies should be adaptable to existing ethanol plants — DuPont and BP are working with British Sugar, a subsidiary of Associated British Foods, to convert the country’s first ethanol facility to produce biobutanol.

That process is in development right now,” Magyar said.

Several consumers and media have contacted the NEVC in regards to the October 6, 2006 article released by Consumer Reports titled “The Ethanol Myth”. The article contains some useful facts, but unfortunately, also includes many inaccuracies. You can find the original by clicking here.

Consumer Reports claim: Flex fuel vehicles running on E85 get 27% less fuel economy compared to the same vehicles running on regular gasoline.

Reality: Consumer Reports tested only one vehicle. A study sponsored by the Minnesota American Lung Association demonstrated fuel economy losses to be 15-17%.

Consumer Reports claim: According to experts, the price of ethanol (and E85) will track the price of gasoline. It won’t be significantly less expensive.

Reality: Real experience suggests otherwise. During the spring of 2005 ethanol was priced substantially lower than gasoline. With sufficient in-state ethanol production, more E85 stations and more FFVs on the road, E85 prices should trend lower and begin to behave with some independence from gas prices.

Consumer Reports claim: CAFE credits for FFVs increases fuel consumption and worsens oil dependency.