Page 1

JUNE 2021

ANALYTICAL

APPROACH Fiber Pathways: Reapplication and Recalculation PAGE 14

ALSO

State-Level Low-Carbon Bills Abound PAGE 24

FEW Program Planner PAGE 30

www.ethanolproducer.com


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Contents

14

DENNIS SCHROEDER/NREL

24

BBI INTERNATIONAL

30

BBI INTERNATIONAL

JUNE 2021 VOLUME 27 ISSUE 6

DEPARTMENTS 6

EDITOR'S NOTE Solid Science

FEATURES 14 COPRODUCTS

Fiber Frustration

New EPA, measurement methods fuel hope for pathway approvals

By Lisa Gibson

7

AD INDEX

7

EVENTS CALENDAR

8

VIEW FROM THE HILL The Refiners Who Cried Wolf

By Lisa Gibson

24

By Geoff Cooper

10

GLOBAL SCENE With E20, India Could Lead Global GHG Reduction BUSINESS BRIEFS

39

MARKETPLACE

More Research to Back the Bills UNL study arms industry to support state legislation By Lisa Gibson

By Brian Healy

12

LOW-CARBON FUELS

30

ON THE COVER Katie Michel, a Renewable Energy Laboratory researcher, prepares samples in NREL’s Analytical Characterization Lab in the Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility. (60904.jpg) PHOTO: DENNIS SCHROEDER/NREL

EVENT

FEW Technical Sessions Planner Details on this year’s panel discussions By EPM Staff

Ethanol Producer Magazine: (USPS No. 023-974) June 2021, Vol. 27, Issue 6. Ethanol Producer Magazine is published monthly by BBI International. Principal Office: 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203. Periodicals Postage Paid at Grand Forks, North Dakota and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Ethanol Producer Magazine/Subscriptions, 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58203. ETHANOLPRODUCER.COM | 5


Editor's Note

Solid Science

Lisa Gibson EDITOR lgibson@bbiinternational.com

In writing this month’s cover story, I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about the U.S. EPA’s inaccuracy concerns surrounding the cellulosic volume measurement methods of corn fiber-to-ethanol pathways. I learned about glucans, assays and complex analytical procedures. And it certainly cemented my childhood dream of being a scientist. But, instead, I get to write about it. As we all know, EPA hasn’t approved a fiber-to-ethanol pathway since the end of 2017. The agency says the measurement methods aren’t accurate and overestimate the cellulose portion from starch. What I didn’t know was that National Renewable Energy Laboratory chemists evaluated the current method, identified the issue and came up with a solution. It was released earlier this year and its lead chemist awaits reactions from industry. It’s about transparency, he says. A few labs say they have accurate cellulose-measuring methods, but they’re kept close to the hip. How can a process be polished and perfected if it’s not open to the public and thereby open to critique and improvement? That’s probably my favorite thing about science: unwavering commitment to facts and continuous improvement. (It applies in my line of work, too, but without a lab coat.) So, sure, the method has room for improvement. But doesn’t it come down to how EPA looks at ethanol, even from starch? Wouldn’t an updated, true Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions and Energy use in Transportation (GREET) model reflect the benefits and low-carbon value of this fuel, allowing relaxation of these complex approval processes? Nick Bowdish, president of two ethanol plants, says it would. I’m inclined to agree. I am truly fascinated by the measurement methods, EPA concerns, new method pitches and outdated GREET fundamentals in this cover story. You’ll find it on page 14. In keeping with our theme of low-carbon fuels, I looked at state-level legislation. I had the opportunity to talk to two scientists again (I think I concealed my dorky glee and admiration), this time about their work on evaluating the effects of E30 on non-flex fuel vehicles. The study partnered the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Nebraska state department for a year of comparisons in a state vehicle fleet. The research could bolster the many state bills seeking to establish clean fuel standards. Check out the map of state legislation, and each bill’s progress, on page 28. The story itself starts on page 24. Finally, we bring you the FEW Technical Sessions Planner. I’m looking forward to an in-person show this year, and I’m eager to see you all. You’ll find details about the concurrent panels, starting on page 30. This year’s agenda is packed, featuring producers, vendors, executives, technology developers, policy experts and, yes, scientists. (Is it weird to ask for autographs?) See you there. Stay safe and be well.

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6 | ETHANOL PRODUCER MAGAZINE | JUNE 2021

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Upcoming Events

ADVERTISER INDEX

EDITORIAL Editor Lisa Gibson | lgibson@bbiinternational.com Online News Editor Erin Voegele | evoegele@bbiinternational.com

DESIGN Vice President of Production & Design Jaci Satterlund | jsatterlund@bbiinternational.com Graphic Designer Raquel Boushee | rboushee@bbiinternational.com

PUBLISHING & SALES CEO Joe Bryan | jbryan@bbiinternational.com President Tom Bryan | tbryan@bbiinternational.com Vice President of Operations/Marketing & Sales John Nelson | jnelson@bbiinternational.com Business Development Director Howard Brockhouse | hbrockhouse@bbiinternational.com Senior Account Manager/Bioenergy Team Leader Chip Shereck | cshereck@bbiinternational.com Jr. Account Manager Josh Bergrud | jbergrud@bbiinternational.com Circulation Manager Jessica Tiller | jtiller@bbiinternational.com Marketing & Advertising Manager Marla DeFoe | mdefoe@bbiinternational.com Marketing & Social Media Coordinator Dayna Bastian | dbastian@bbiinternational.com

EDITORIAL BOARD Ringneck Energy Walter Wendland Little Sioux Corn Processors Steve Roe Commonwealth Agri-Energy Mick Henderson Aemetis Advanced Fuels Eric McAfee Western Plains Energy Derek Peine Front Range Energy Dan Sanders Jr.

2021 Int'l Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo

22

American Coalition for Ethanol

38

CTE Global, Inc.

3

D3MAX LLC

20

Fagen Inc.

19

Fluid Quip Mechanical

32

Fluid Quip Technologies, LLC

2

Fuel Ethanol Industry Directory

16

Growth Energy

36

Hydro-Thermal Corp.

26

ICM, Inc.

40

IFF, Inc.

33, 35, 37

Interstates, Inc.

17

Lallemand Biofuels & Distilled Spirits

4

Leaf by Lesaffre

23

McCormick Construction, Inc.

28

Phibro Ethanol Performance Group

11

POET LLC

13

RPMG Inc.

29

Sukup Manufacturing Co.

9

Victory Energy Operations, LLC

27

WINBCO

21

Zenviro Tech US Inc.

18

TM

Int'l Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo

July 13-15, 2021 Iowa Event Center Des Moines, IA

From its inception, the mission of this event has remained constant: The FEW delivers timely presentations with a strong focus on commercialscale ethanol production—from quality control and yield maximization to regulatory compliance and fiscal management. The FEW is the ethanol industry’s premier forum for unveiling new technologies and research findings. The program is primarily focused on optimizing grain ethanol operations while also covering cellulosic and advanced ethanol technologies. (866) 746-8385 | FuelEthanolWorkshop.com

Biodiesel & Renewable Diesel Summit

JULY 13-15, 2021 Iowa Event Center Des Moines, IA

The Biodiesel & Renewable Diesel Summit is a forum designed for biodiesel and renewable diesel producers to learn about cutting-edge process technologies, new techniques and equipment to optimize existing production, and efficiencies to save money while increasing throughput and fuel quality. Produced by Biodiesel Magazine, this world-class event features premium content from technology providers, equipment vendors, consultants, engineers and producers to advance discussion and foster an environment of collaboration and networking through engaging presentations, fruitful discussion and compelling exhibitions with one purpose, to further the biomass-based diesel sector beyond its current limitations. (866) 746-8385 | BiodieselSummit.com

National Biomass Summit & Expo

JULY 13-15, 2021

Customer Service Please call 1-866-746-8385 or email us at service@bbiinternational.com. Subscriptions Subscriptions to Ethanol Producer Magazine are free of charge to everyone with the exception of a shipping and handling charge for anyone outside the United States. To subscribe, visit www.EthanolProducer. com or you can send your mailing address and payment (checks made out to BBI International) to: Ethanol Producer Magazine Subscriptions, 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203. You can also fax a subscription form to 701-746-5367. Back Issues, Reprints and Permissions Select back issues are available for $3.95 each, plus shipping. Article reprints are also available for a fee. For more information, contact us at 866-7468385 or service@bbiinternational.com. Advertising Ethanol Producer Magazine provides a specific topic delivered to a highly targeted audience. We are committed to editorial excellence and high-quality print production. To find out more about Ethanol Producer Magazine advertising opportunities, please contact us at 866-746-8385 or service@bbiinternational.com. Letters to the Editor We welcome letters to the editor. Send to Ethanol Producer Magazine Letters to the Editor, 308 2nd Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203 or email to lgibson@bbiinternational. com. Please include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity and/or space.

Iowa Event Center Des Moines, IA Please recycle this magazine and remove inserts or samples before recycling COPYRIGHT © 2021 by BBI International

Please check our website for upcoming webinars www.ethanolproducer.com/ pages/webinar

Organized by BBI International and produced by Biomass Magazine, this sister event to the renowned International Biomass Conference & Expo will bring U.S. producers of bioenergy and biobased fuels together with waste generators and biomass aggregators, municipal leaders, utility executives, technology providers, equipment manufacturers, project developers, investors and policy makers. Supported by the attendance of nearly 2,000 industry professionals at Bioenergy Week, the Summit is a can't-miss summer networking junction for all biomass professionals. (866) 746-8385 | NationalBiomassSummit.com

ETHANOLPRODUCER.COM | 7


View From the Hill

The Refiners Who Cried Wolf

Geoff Cooper

President and CEO Renewable Fuels Association 202.289.3835

gcooper@ethanolrfa.org

It sure didn’t take long for the howling to start. President Biden had been in the White House less than a month, and already oil refiners were crying wolf about the Renewable Fuel Standard. This is ironic because the refiners themselves had a large hand in the creation of compliance flexibilities under the RFS. Indeed, at their request, the RFS includes provisions allowing refiners to comply without ever physically blending a drop of biofuel. As an alternative to blending biofuels, refiners can purchase compliance credits—RINs—from other parties that blended more than their required share of biofuel. Despite this, the refiners have never liked the RFS because it cracks open the monopolistic fuels market and allows biofuels to compete on a level playing field with the fuels they refine from crude oil, much of which still is imported from places like Saudi Arabia and Russia. The result of the competition created by the RFS isn’t just lower fuel prices and more options for consumers; it’s also reduced carbon emissions and greater energy security. The policy has helped cut U.S. oil imports by 41% between 2006 and 2020, reduced carbon emissions by nearly 1 billion metric tons, and knocked at least 22 cents off the cost of every gallon of gasoline. Still, refiners have attempted to scapegoat the RFS for every malady that has befallen them over the past decade. The first cry of wolf came in 2013, when Delta Airlines subsidiary Monroe Energy blamed the RFS for the poor performance of its oil refinery in Trainer, Pennsylvania. In reality, high crude oil prices, antiquated technology and refining inexperience were the culprits behind Monroe’s struggles. But rather than addressing those issues, Monroe looked for an easy way out. First, they sued the U.S. EPA, the agency responsible for administering the RFS. When that didn’t work, Monroe asked then-Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., and other Pennsylvania politicians to intervene with the White House and EPA. Ultimately, EPA caved to the pressure and lowered the RFS requirements for 2014 through 2016. EPA’s action was later struck down by the courts, but not before significant damage had been done to the renewable fuels industry. The second cry of wolf occurred in 2018, when Philadelphia Energy Solutions absurdly blamed the RFS for its abysmal performance and decision to seek bankruptcy protection. United Steelworkers piled on, and even Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, flew in to speak at an anti-RFS rally at the south Philly eyesore, the oldest refinery in the country. But again, it was all a charade. A deep-dive analysis of the PES situation by energy policy experts at the University of Pennsylvania revealed that the refinery’s woes had nothing to do with the RFS and everything to do with the lifting of the U.S. crude oil export ban, poor management and century-old technology. The latest cry of wolf comes from PBF Energy, which has a major refinery in Delaware. Its president told investors in February that the RFS and the rising cost of RIN credits would somehow accelerate “refinery closures and the loss of jobs.” PBF says it is “actively engaged in Washington in regards to the RFS program,” which most assuredly means they are again appealing to their elected officials, as well as the former six-term Delaware senator who now happens to occupy the White House. PBF’s howls about the RFS are made even more unbelievable by the fact that there is no “sunk cost” associated with purchasing RIN credits. Even the American Petroleum Institute, Marathon Petroleum, and the Trump administration conceded this point. API says “RIN costs are largely recovered by refineries, both large and small, through the increased value of gasoline and diesel fuel they supply to the market.” And Wells Fargo argued that because RIN costs are recovered by refiners, “investors should not spend much time and effort on the risks to refining margins” posed by the RFS. Likewise, the Biden administration and members of Congress should not spend any time or effort listening to the refiners crying wolf again about the RFS.

8 | ETHANOL PRODUCER MAGAZINE | JUNE 2021


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ETHANOLPRODUCER.COM | 9


Global Scene

With E20, India Could Lead Global GHG Reduction

Brian Healy

Director of Global Ethanol Market Development U.S. Grains Council 202.789.0789

bhealy@grains.org

In January, India announced its intent to move to a 20% ethanol blend by 2025. If realized, this would be one of the higher blend rates achieved globally, putting India at the forefront of reducing overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as countries look to greater blends to meet their Paris Agreement commitments. In fact, Prime Minister Modi fast-tracked by five years what would have been a 2030 E20 policy, looking to seize the benefits for India in terms of rural development for their own feedstock producers, the environmental aspects of use and air quality improvements. The announcement, while huge, will take considerable effort in getting the policy right, aligning stakeholders and implementing in the fast-tracked timeline. The U.S. Grains Council, with its global presence, stands ready to help the country achieve its ambitious blend goals. The Council and its partners have drawn on and aggregated ethanol best practices globally that support domestic industry expansion for countries in similar situations. India is no stranger to announcing ambitious blending targets for biofuels. Achieving them has proven elusory. According to USDA estimates, in 2020, India had a national blend rate of about 5.2%. India’s most recent biofuels policy, the National Biofuels Policy, updated in 2018, has an aspirational goal of E10 blending by 2022. That policy update included an expansion of feedstock that could be used for ethanol production, but still overall nameplate capacity to date does not meet the requirements for a 10%, let alone 20%, blend rate. To that end, policy enforcement will be key for India to meet its goals and lead in the ethanol space. The transition from aspirational policies to enforced policies is readily achievable in the market through a two-tier system. For India, the two-tier procurement model first defines its pathway to E10 and then successively expands that same process to move to E20. The first tier involves using the existing tender system to procure ethanol from domestic sources. Upon the draw-down of domestically produced product, the second tier allows sourcing the remaining ethanol needs from the global market. Enforcement of the policy would shorten the period of closure for ethanol facilities in India, support a more rapid build-out of infrastructure, bolster the country’s aim to diversify energy sources, all while casting India as a leader in global decarbonization of the transport sector. Actual implementation of E20 in India would be a boon in a year when countries will submit their progress reports on their initial nationally determined contribution (NDC) goals under the Paris Agreement. Countries around the world, including the U.S., are demonstrating the critical role ethanol can play. The United Kingdom recently announced plans to double its ethanol use. Canada and Brazil have done the same as each works to finalize and implement its biofuels policy. Higher blend rates would be a real achievement for India, and the ethanol industry congratulates the country on its fast-tracked policy, standing ready to help the country meet its ambitious E20 goal.

10 | ETHANOL PRODUCER MAGAZINE | JUNE 2021


BUSINESS BRIEFS PEOPLE, PARTNERSHIPS & PROJECTS

Doggett joins USGC as communications manager Morgan Doggett joined the U.S. Grains Council as a Prior to USGC, Doggett served as the manager of communications manager in the organization’s Washingcommunications at the National Propane Gas Association. There, she relaunched the association’s 80-year-old ton, D.C., headquarters. In this role, Doggett will be responsible for the debrand and led its media relations efforts, managed its website, wrote press releases and steered social media. Morgan velopment, implementation and maintenance of USGC’s publications, website, social media presence and other is also an operations associate on her family’s farm in Illiinternal and external outreach, in cooperation with other nois, a five-generation, tri-county row crop and beef cattle Doggett farm. members of the global staff. “We are very excited to have Morgan come on board in this pivDoggett holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and consumer otal position,” said Bryan Jernigan, USGC director of communica- economics with a concentration in policy, international trade and detions. velopment and a second bachelor’s degree in agriculture leadership “Morgan’s previous experience has prepared her to step into this education, both from the University of Illinois – Urbana- Champaign. demanding role, and I am confident she will hit the ground running.”

Poet expands into plant-based consumer products Poet has expanded its production of all-natural, 100% plant-based purified alcohol. Poet also unveiled a suite of biobased products under a new label, Poet Pure. Poet Biorefining – Leipsic will produce up to 35 million gallons of purified alcohol annually, which will include grain neutral spirits and USP-grade alcohol. A second expansion at Poet Biorefining – Alexandria is also scheduled to come online in the second quarter of 2021. Purified alcohol is a fundamental ingredient in thousands of well-known products including foods and beverages, personal care products, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers and industrial applications. Poet’s purified alcohol is a beverage-grade grain neutral spirit that meets pharmaceutical-grade specifications as well. “We are excited to announce Poet’s continued expansion into

plant-based consumer products,” said Jeff Broin, Poet founder and CEO. “As a worldwide leader in sustainable innovation with a footprint that spans more than 40 countries, Poet has the unique ability to supply consumers across the globe with Earth-friendly bioproducts. We’re proud to say that ethanol and its coproducts are continually being utilized in more ways that will enable us to live cleaner, healthier lives while being better friends to our environment.” “Poet’s purified alcohol was developed using advanced, top-tier technology to ensure the highest levels of quality and purity,” said Darin Cartwright, Poet’s vice president overseeing this new market development. “Poet’s expansive commercial footprint and 30-plus years of experience in the bioethanol sector guarantees a reliable and competitive supply of top-quality products for our customers.”

ERI Solutions, DBI merge to form PROtect LLC ERI Solutions LLC and DBI Inc. have merged to form PROtect LLC. ERI and DBI are two professional service companies with a deep history of providing safety, reliability and compliance services to high-hazard industries such as biofuels, chemical, oil and gas, power generation, pulp and paper, and allied industries. PROtect’s combined service categories include advanced and conventional non-destructive testing; mechanical integrity; heat treatment and stress relief; environmental, health and safety; pro12 | ETHANOL PRODUCER MAGAZINE | JUNE 2021

cess safety; and insurance program management. “We are thrilled to bring the industryleading talent together under one company to better serve the biofuels industry.” said Nathan VanderGriend, PROtect president and CEO. “With over 200 team members and 100 individual services, the merger has strengthened our team, our service offerings, while diversifying our customer base, making it a smart move to ensure we are a sustainable partner to our customers for years to come.”


opportunity

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ETHANOLPRODUCER.COM | 13

POET.COM

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Coproducts Corn Fiber

Fiber

Frustration The U.S. EPA hasn’t approved a corn fiber pathway in more than four years, but hope is renewed with a new administration. Meanwhile, NREL has pitched a new cellulose volume measurement method to help address EPA’s concerns with accuracy. By Lisa Gibson

The stalled U.S. EPA approval of corn kernel fiber-to-ethanol pathways could be having a $1 billion impact on a 15-billion-gallon-peryear ethanol industry, says Jim Ramm, director of engineering for EcoEngineers. That’s assuming 3% of overall production could be from fiber and a $2 premium. It’s worst-case scenario, yes, but it’s realistic, nonetheless. EPA approved its last fiber-to-ethanol pathway in December of 2017. At that time, EPA, led by Administrator Scott Pruitt, outlined concerns around the accuracy in measuring the cellulosic portion of ethanol production. The slammed door has forced ethanol producers to distribute their cellulosic volumes to California or Oregon markets (where fuel standards recognize the pathways), and technology developers to overcome the volume measurement challenge. “I think that the industry has really responded to that in terms of the methods that are out there,” Ramm says. “The methods that are out there can demonstrate high degrees of accuracy. It’s really accurate in terms of determining the converted fractions of starch and cellulose in the fermenter.” The first five pathways approved before December 2017 were Edeniq 1.0. “That was a baseline methodology and really

FIBER PIPE: Corn fiber-to-ethanol pathway approvals were shut down in 2017, under then U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Elite Octane in Atlantic, Iowa, is one of many plants with corn fiber-to-ethanol capabilities that have applied for approval under new EPA Administrator Michael Regan’s leadership. And some plants that had applied before 2017 are reapplying. PHOTO: ELITE OCTANE LLC

14 | ETHANOL PRODUCER MAGAZINE | JUNE 2021


ETHANOLPRODUCER.COM | 15


Corn Fiber very few of those pathways are still operating today,” Ramm says, adding that developers, including Edeniq, are now offering non-baseline pathways. Edeniq executives declined to be interviewed for this article. “The industry has moved on to pay attention and focus on California,” Ramm adds. “California has been very supportive and has included these gallons in their tier 1 GREET (Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions and Energy use in Transportation) model and continue to approve pathways and gallons into California.” EPA’s outdated GREET model is the problem, says Nick Bowdish, president of Siouxland Ethanol LLC in Jackson, Nebraska, and Elite Octane LLC in Atlantic, Iowa. Both plants have corn fiber capabilities recognized in California. “GREET is one of many items the EPA can take action on right now.”

The Accuracy Issue

METHOD MAPPING: Justin Sluiter, a researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, studies cellulose measurement processes in NREL’s Analytical Characterization Lab. Sluiter and his team of researchers were tasked to find an improved method of measuring corn fiber ethanol volumes. (60926.jpg) PHOTO: DENNIS SCHROEDER/NREL

The problem is complex, says Justin Sluiter, a cellulose carbohydrate chemist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. And it starts with variations in starch measurements. It’s easy to mislabel starch as cellulose when working with a poor starch assay, he says. The current methodology uses acid hydrolysis to compare a batch of starch glucans to a batch of both starch and cellulose glucans, thereby estimating overall cellulose glucans. So, a poor starch glucan measurement results in an inaccurate cellulose measurement. With this concern in mind, Sluiter conducted a test of industry labs. “We solicited analytical labs that claim to be able to measure starch well,” he says. “Each was to measure and tell us how they did it. The labs struggled to get anywhere near the real value. That is concerning to me because measuring starch can end up contributing more to cellulose. I believe these data was what concerned EPA. What I would want to see is the labs having some agreement.”

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Sluiter pitched a better way, but EPA was more concerned with finding a cellulose-specific method that doesn’t compare cellulose glucans against starch glucans. After more than a year of research, Sluiter released a publication earlier this year, “Direct determination of cellulose glucan content in starch-containing samples,” outlining a new measurement method that removes compounding errors of the two-measurement methods, according to his paper. But the new method does overestimate cellulose when yeast bodies are present, he adds. “I did not have an assay available to measure yeast body glucans accurately.” Sluiter’s paper describes his method as a “concise in-series procedure with minimal measurements. Sample preparation consists of a starch extraction employing enzymatic hydrolysis followed by a simple filtration and wash,” the paper continues. “The samples are then subjected to a two-stage acid hydrolysis. The concentration of glucose is determined by ion exchange high-performance liquid chromatography with a Pb2+ column and a refractive index detector. The cellulosic glucan content is calculated based on the initial dry weight of the starting material.” Sluiter says, “It’s a slightly different analytical procedure that approaches the process differently. And people are pointing at that as a better way. “What the new method does is remove the ‘starch’ from the material prior to the acid hydrolysis so that only cellulose glucan is present during the reaction. This eliminates the need to quantify and mathematically correct for starch with a potentially imprecise measurement.” Part of the reasoning for the development of an NREL analytical method was to have a transparent analytical method that can be discussed and critiqued, Sluiter says. Several labs have analytical procedures, but keep them proprietary. “This makes evaluation of the pro-

PUCK POUR: NREL researcher Alexa Schwartz inserts a sample puck into a sample reactor at NREL's Analytical Characterization Lab in the Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility. (60912.jpg) PHOTO: DENNIS SCHROEDER/NREL

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SAMPLE SORT: NREL researcher Katie Michel prepares cellulose measurement samples in NREL’s Analytical Characterization Lab. (60907.jpg) PHOTO: DENNIS SCHROEDER/NREL

cedure very difficult,” he says. “They may be perfectly accurate, but they are a black box and will always generate doubt. A public and transparent method, such as the new NREL method, allows the critiques that improve it, such as is happening right now with discussion of the yeast body glucans.” The reaction to his results? Sluiter isn’t

certain. “My publication is new enough and is causing enough talk in the industry that I’m not sure where it will go. Right now, half a dozen major players in the area are trying to figure out what this means for them. I can’t comment on that. I literally have no idea.” Sluiter says the goal is to get to the right number. “I don’t care if you’re using

shamans to get it, as long as it gets to the right number. And we don’t have a right number right now.” Sluiter says he wants to be helpful to the ethanol industry and hopes he can be with the new suggested NREL method. “The direction I was given was ‘Go forth and do good science.’”

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Corn Fiber Beyond Measure

The starch standard developed by NREL helps improve the cellulose measurement already, Ramm says. “We already have accuracy in measuring cellulosic production volumes. “So the accuracy is there and I think there’s hope that a (Michael) Regan-led EPA will take a different approach to corn fiber gallons.” Producers are required to recertify every 500,000 gallons of kernel fiber ethanol produced, a guideline designed to account for fluctuations in fiber conversions, and even crop variability, Ramm says. “There’s always been some variability. The 500,000 recertification has been used to account for variations from year to year and season to season.” D3Max is the only fiber-to-ethanol system that produces a separate stream of cellulosic ethanol, thereby raising no concerns about measurement accuracy and exempting it from recertification ev-

ery 500,000 gallons, says Mark Yancey, chief technology officer for D3Max. “We make our cellulosic ethanol in a separate ferm, put in distillation and measure what comes off that column,” he says. “It’s high enough concentration that it can be measured accurately.” The system is installed at Ace Ethanol LLC in Stanley, Wisconsin, and hasn’t been vulnerable to the EPA accuracy concerns. But ethanol producers with in-situ corn fiber ethanol are hopeful that EPA will begin looking at applications again. Many have reapplied or are reapplying. “They want to put a number of registration requests in front of EPA to send a signal that this is important to industry,” Ramm says. “We’re working on those registration packages so that when Regan’s EPA is looking at how they’ll move forward, at least there’s going to be a significant number of new applications.” Bowdish says Siouxland and Elite Octane have applications pending. Elite

'... Here we have this low-value feedstock that we can turn into really high-value ethanol, really lowcarbon ethanol and also increase the protein in the feed. It’s really got tremendous ties to what the economy is calling for now: Higherprotein feed and lowerand lower-carbon ethanol.' Jim Ramm, EcoEngineers

ETHANOLPRODUCER.COM | 19


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Corn Fiber Octane came online in 2018, so did not apply for pathway approval under Pruitt. Siouxland, however, first applied in 2017. “Nothing ever happened with that and so, really, it was just a decision by our company that with the change in political leadership in Washington DC, we wanted to freshen up our registration package.” EPA could update the GREET model now for all fuels, including corn starch ethanol, to reflect the actual greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and relax costly and complex approval processes for a clearly beneficial fuel, Bowdish says. “We have an industry that today is entirely running at GHG emissions well beyond 20% reduction.” A recent Harvard study, in fact, estimates ethanol has an average GHG reduction of closer to 46%. The red tape on approvals wastes resources and people, both at plants and at EPA, Bowdish says. “There are tremendous resources that could be freed up and better put to use on other tasks. “Looking forward to Administrator Regan’s leadership, we want to be a good partner and provide all the data to help Regan’s administration provide the marketplace with a lower GHG fuel,” he adds. Ramm shares the frustration. “The idea is the kernel fiber feedstock that enters the front end of the plant, that fiber is like the skin on the kernel that sticks to your teeth,” Ramm says. “That fiber just passes through the plant. It even passes through a cow. Here we have this lowvalue feedstock that we can turn into really high-value ethanol, really low-carbon ethanol and also increase the protein in the feed. It’s really got tremendous ties to what the economy is calling for now: Higher-protein feed and lower- and lower-carbon ethanol.” The economics have always been the spread between the value of D6 and D3 RINs, plus the second-generation tax credit, Bowdish says. “And so, for each plant, whether 50 or 150 MMgy, it’s mil-

lions of dollars per year. And more importantly, it’s a solution that could be lowering GHG emissions today, that policy hurdles continue to get in the way of. “I am encouraged when I read Administrator Regan is going back to the science and has the desire and intent to let the science guide where the policy evolves,” Bowdish says. “As he’s building his team and putting staff back in place, where for the past four

years, a significant reduction of EPA staff occurred, I’m hopeful that those staff members will look at the tremendous benefits of corn kernel fiber ethanol and look more toward climate change.” Author: Lisa Gibson Editor, Ethanol Producer Magazine 701.738.4920 lgibson@bbiinternational.com

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Low-Carbon Fuel

More Research

TO BACK THE BILLS PROBING AT THE PUMP: University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers found E30 is safe in non-flex fuel vehicles. The results are crucial at a time when several states have low-carbon fuel legislation in the works. PHOTO: NEBRASKA ETHANOL BOARD

24 | ETHANOL PRODUCER MAGAZINE | JUNE 2021


University of Nebraska Researchers have proven E30 is safe for long-term use in non-flex fuel vehicles. The findings could bolster the push for state- and federal-level low-carbon fuel legislation. By Lisa Gibson

Two researchers from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln are eager to continue sharing their results from a study that evaluated the impact of E30 in 50 non-flex fuel state fleet vehicles. The results: Nothing. Over the course of the one-year study, fueling with E30 instead of E15 showed no change in vehicle adaptability, performance, emissions or fuel efficiency. The research was a partnership between the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services and the university to determine long-term usability of E30 in non-flex fuel vehicles. It was not a conventional research project, says lead researcher Rajib Saha, assistant professor in UNL’s Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. The volume of data never before collected is the most exciting part, he says, adding that the results weren’t surprising. “We expected this to happen. We expected that, at least with E30, we don’t expect to see a lot of differences in a non-flex fuel vehicles.” The research is likely to aid and encourage other state- and even federal-level moves toward low-carbon fuel legislation, says Roger Berry, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “It specifically points out the decrease in carbon emission from just 10% of the 1.7 million registered non-FFVs in Nebraska. Just think what that number would be if it was every ICE vehicle in the U.S.!” Several states worked through bills this year and their supporters are hopeful to reach finish lines in 2022. And this time, they’ll be armed with this U.S. EPA-approved proof that long-term E30 use is not harmful to vehicles.

The Research

Saha and graduate research assistant Adil Alsiyabi began their study in 2019, at the request of the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services. It was the first study of its scale and kind, and its main value is in the sheer amount of data and statistical significance, Alsiyabi says. The full report will appear in an academic journal soon, but the findings released thus far are encouraging, Saha and Alsiyabi say. “What we did is scientifically sound,” Saha says. “If it’s published, that means our peers have looked into this. If it’s published, it means we went through this due process, and it should give people higher confidence.” For the study, 26 vehicles were fueled with E15 and 24 were fueled with E30. Through cold and warm weather, on-board data collection, as well as logs from the state employees regarding maintenance and efficiency, showed clearly that the four parameters studied— adaptability, performance, emissions and fuel efficiency—remained constant between both fuels. All four are tied together, Alsiyabi explains. The engine should detect extra oxygen in ethanol and optimize its air-to-fuel ratio. “Due to the higher oxygen content, we saw the fuel shrink, which is the car’s way of detecting the air-to-fuel ratio,” Alsiyabi says. “It’s what we expected.” This adaptability is the main parameter the vehicle will try to control, he says. And it does. That adaptability of course lends to high performance, which is linked to fuel

ETHANOLPRODUCER.COM | 25


Low-Carbon Fuel efficiency, Alsiyabi says. “You maintain that optimal performance and make use of that higher octane in ethanol.” As far as emissions, ethanol shows a 7-pound reduction in carbon emissions per gallon over pure gasoline, Saha and Alsiyabi report. Additionally, with a 2.5% cost difference between E30 and E15, economics come into play, as well, Alsiyabi says. While Alsiyabi and Saha focused only on emissions from the vehicles, they will discuss in their final report the implications of a life cycle analysis. Meanwhile, Saha is hopeful for a second phase of this work, using vehicles owned by citizens. A wider selection of automobiles with varied owners would present even more confidence, he says. “Even if we have 20 vehicles, if we could include that kind of a group, it could be become more impactful. We are not talking about vehicles from a fleet. That would be great.” Further research would be contingent upon EPA approval, he says. But it would provide more detailed data on the benefits

26 | ETHANOL PRODUCER MAGAZINE | JUNE 2021

of E30, he says. “We deeply care about data and what we can do with it.”

On the State Level

The implications of the study and its value to the ethanol industry are vast. Outside of Nebraska, several states in all parts of the country are working on their own low-carbon fuels legislation. California, of course, leads the way with its Low Carbon Fuel Standard, with Oregon having enacted a program in 2016, and Washington following close behind. In Washington, the State Senate passed the Clean Fuel Standard in early April, following the House’s passage of a similar bill. The House also had passed the legislation in 2019 and 2020 legislative sessions, but this is the first time the Senate held a vote on it. Graham Noyes, executive director of the Low Carbon Fuels Coalition, expects more movement in 2022. Gov. Jay Inslee is onboard, Noyes says, so once a compromise bill is settled and approved, it should be a win.

“This is the third legislative session we’ve been in in Washington State,” he says. “This has been a really hard-fought state for the industry. “The petroleum industry has really opposed this, to the tune of millions of dollars of anti-LCFS spending. We have, the industry has, really put together some very effective coalitions to address the issues, get public involvement and educate legislators. So this is a real breakthrough from a Pacific Coast perspective. It establishes a standard from California to British Columbia.” Noyes cautions, though, that “one must not count their chickens before they hatch.” Still, it’s a breakthrough that creates colossal momentum for the industry. “I think that it is a situation now where this conversation and this policy structure is just moving forward and gathering momentum year to year. We now have tremendous attention on GHG reduction from the Biden administration, which is a real shift. “We’re seeing standards go well beyond


Impact of using E30 on state-owned vehicles

Non-FFVs were able to adjust the air-to-fuel ratio to adapt to the higher oxygen content of E30. A price difference of more than 2.5% compared to E15 would cause E30 to become the more economically viable fuel.

The cost per mile for E15- and E30fueled vehicles were nearly identical over the one-year demonstration. E30 had no observable negative effect on overall vehicle performance.

If the Nebraska Transportation Service Bureau and State Patrol non-FFV fleets change from E15 to E30 fuel:

66K Ethanol consumption would increase by 66,000 gallons per year. Carbon dioxide emissions would decrease by 529 tons per year.

529T

Model Minnesota

Minnesota’s Future Fuels Act was introduced this year, with key changes from California’s legislation designed to help model a federal policy that’s more ideal for Midwestern states. “We know this conversation is happening at the federal level as well,” says Brian Jennings, CEO of the American Coalition for Ethanol. “We don’t want Congress and President Biden to simply look to California as the way to go. “Part of the strategy for pushing for a Midwest clean fuel policy is also to influence decisions that are made down the road at the federal level.”

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Oregon and the West Coast,” he says. “We’re steady market we’ve seen out of California.” seeing them in the national discussion, we’re The Renewable Fuel Standard beyond seeing them in the western states. This all 2023 will be crucial, and state policies will provides an additional revenue stream for help shape that standard, Noyes says. “We carbon value and the steady demand and are encouraged. RFS will be important. ETHANOL PRODUCER_HALF PG AD_CERTIFIED TECHNICIANS_03-24-2021.pdf 1 3/25/2021 10:11:42 AM

That’s been an extremely valuable program for the industry and we certainly don’t want to disrupt that.” State policies will help determine the best interaction between federal and state low-carbon programs, he says. “It’s a complicated design question that people are looking at now.”

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WASHINGTON

Clean Fuel Standard: Versions passed in both House and Senate in 2021. The legislation directs the Department of Ecology to adopt rules establishing a Clean Fuel Program in Washington to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels to 20% below 2017 levels by 2035. The CFP must begin no later than January 1, 2023.

OREGON

WA

MN

MINNESOTA

Future Fuels Act: House hearings, but no votes. The act sets a target to reduce transportation greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2035.

NY

OR

NEW YORK

SB S2962A - Establishes the clean fuel standard of 2021: Introduced and is currently in Senate Environmental Conservation Committee.

Oregon Clean Fuels Program: Launched in 2016. This program decreases the amount of pollution allowed from transportation fuels used in Oregon by 10% by 2025, compared to 2015 levels.

CA

CALIFORNIA

Low Carbon Fuel Standard: Launched in 2011, re-adopted in 2015, amended in 2018.

NM

NEW MEXICO

New Mexico Clean Fuel Standard Act: Passed out of the House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources committee but was not brought to the House floor before the session ended. The bill establishes a low-carbon fuel standard with the goal of reducing the carbon intensity of the state's transportation fuels by a minimum of 10% by 2030, and by a minimum of 28% by 2040, as compared to a 2018 baseline.

The LCFS seeks to reduce carbon intensity of transportation fuel by at least 20% by 2030.

The Future Fuels Act is the first of its kind to be introduced in a Midwest state, is bipartisan and bicameral, Jennings says. Further, he adds, it improves on California’s LCFS in four key ways. First, it allows E15 and higher blends, whereas California’s Air Resources Board prohibits them. “The

// Existing Programs // Developing Programs

Such Suc a standard would reduce carbon carb intensity from the on-road tran transportation sector by 20% by 2030, 203 with further reductions to be imp implemented based upon advances in te technology.

analysis we’ve done shows that the quickest, lowest-cost way to get to a 20% or a 15% reduction in carbon intensity in a state like Minnesota over 10 or 15 years is to rapidly increase the use of ethanol: E15, E30, E85,” Jennings says. Second, the Future Fuels Act is genu-

inely technology neutral. “The government doesn’t pick the winners and losers,” Jennings says. “The market does. “The California program tips the scales dramatically to favor electric vehicles over other low-carbon technology. We’re not going to embrace that in the Midwest.”

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Low-Carbon Fuel Third, the life cycle analysis in the Future Fuels Act is more accurate and scientific. “California selectively uses the GREET model and widely overcites the carbon intensity of corn ethanol because they use an outdated assumption about landuse change,” Jennings says. “The Future Fuels Act contains language that requires the use of the most recent GREET model. It will make sure ethanol and biodiesel get a much fairer shake under the Midwest approach.” And fourth, farmers would be able to benefit from the Minnesota program. “Currently, California prohibits any carbon credits to reward farmers for practices that eventually lower the CI of ethanol. The Minnesota legislation contains language that would allow carbon credits to be used by farmers for no-till and more efficient use of nitrogen fertilizer. Those are the two big ones that bring down the carbon footprint of ethanol.” Noyes says the policy goal is to keep carbon in the ground for good, and the Midwest policy structure is optimal for that. The soil has massive capabilities for carbon sequestration, he says. “We need to send the market signal clearly to the farming community that there is revenue to be made by keeping the carbon in the soil and taking carbon into account as a value. Farmers have access to that carbon sequestration resource, and right now they do not have policy structures to make them pay attention and make the effort and expenses that require them to sequester carbon.” These key features of the Future Fuels Act are monumental and make it dramatically different from California’s, as well as dramatically better, Jennings says. “Not only do we hope the Minnesota legislation is a better model for other states to consider, we hope that the Minnesota legislation is the model that Congress and the Biden administration look at when they get around to doing this.” The bill has had two hearings but no votes. “That wasn’t necessarily our goal in 2021,” Jennings says. “We got started a bit late. Our goal was to get a bipartisan bill introduced. To have some hearings, to better

inform public about what we’re trying to accomplish, to answer questions that get raised. Pique the interest of other states that they can try to do this too. “That means we will be working as a coalition to resurrect this legislation in future sessions and make a more concerted effort to get it across the finish line, have it signed into law.” Noyes says, “I’m optimistic we’ll move forward and get a policy in place in Minne-

sota at the beginning of 2022, and we’ll see other states looking at the same thing.” And thanks to Saha and Alsiyabi, the research backs up the bills. Author: Lisa Gibson Editor, Ethanol Producer Magazine 701.738.4920 lgibson@bbiinternational.com

ETHANOLPRODUCER.COM | 29


Event

FEW TECHNICAL SESSIONS PLANNER

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// The 2021 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo, slated for July in Des Moines, Iowa, will bring its traditional slew of experts and information. This guide will help attendees decide which panels to take in.

By EPM Staff

//////////////////////////////////////////// The International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo will once again be face-to-face. Scheduled for July 1315 in Des Moines, Iowa, the 37th annual event will reconvene leaders, experts, vendors, producers and more from across the ethanol industry. Ethanol Produce Magazine is eager to be back onsite after the pandemic forced a virtual FEW in 2020. “We need to get back to live conference time,” says Mick Henderson, general manager of Commonwealth Agri-Energy LLC and member of Ethanol Producer Magazine’s Editorial Board. “I am fully vaccinated and ready to go to work!” This year, FEW also presents the colocated Biodiesel & Renewable Diesel Summit and the National Biomass Summit & Expo. Ethanol 101 is on the agenda, also, along with the Low Carbon Efficiency Summit, both slated for July 13. The Low Carbon Efficiency Summit, new to the event’s agenda, is especially relevant, and features panels such as “Gauging Ethanol’s Likely Future in the Push for a Low-Carbon Economy,” “What’s the Score?: Why a Strategic Effort to Lower Carbon Intensity Must Be a Part of Your Plant’s GoForward Operational Strategy,” “Deployable Approaches for Lowering your Plant’s Carbon Intensity Score” and more. With developing legislation on both the state and federal levels, lowcarbon topics will be of utmost interest and importance. 30 | ETHANOL PRODUCER MAGAZINE | JUNE 2021


/// WEDNESDAY, JULY 14 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Track 1: Production and Operations

High-Grading: Why and How Ethanol Producers are Increasingly Eyeing Specialty Alcohol Markets

The COVID-19 pandemic and the massive and sudden drop-off in transportation fuel use had ethanol producers scrambling to slow or completely curtail fuel ethanol production almost overnight last spring. The flexibility and ingenuity of the industry were soon on display as plant teams reimagined their facilities as producers of specialty alcohol for the exploding hand sanitizer market. While the demand for sanitizer may wane, the lessons of how to best position an ethanol plant to produce varying grades of ethanol will remain. The experts assembled for this panel will review the lessons producers learned when pivoting their production last spring while also considering how this new knowledge will likely be leveraged in the future.

//////////////////////////////////////// “We anticipated that low-carbon fuel production and marketing would yield a good number of presentation ideas and we were very excited with the response,” says Tim Portz, BBI International’s program director. “While ethanol producers have been serving low-carbon fuel markets for years, the industry is anticipating that the Biden administration’s clean energy ambitions will drive even greater momentum into lowering the carbon intensity of produced fuel. We organized all of our low-carbon content into a full day, deep dive on the subject. I think it is going to be a compelling day of presentations.” Higher-value alcohol markets also emerged as a standout topic in presentation abstracts submitted for the event, Portz says. “Clearly, the COVID shutdown and the sudden pivot to hand sanitizer markets reenergized the discussion amongst producers about broadening their alcohol product offering. “Finally, protein continues to drive many of the presentation ideas in our coproducts track,” Portz adds. “Clearly, producers are realizing the incredible value of a coproducts program at their facility that places an emphasis on enhancing those feed coproducts by maximizing the value of the protein within them.” The agendas for FEW and its co-located events are again full, bursting with experts ready to share their knowledge and insights into an industry that saw some hardships in the past couple years, but has proven its resilience and grit.

Exploring the Relationship Between Plant Maintenance, Worker Safety, and Overall Profitability

Unscheduled downtime is an eternal bugaboo for ethanol plant operational teams. While the chief aim of plant teams is yield and ethanol throughput, just behind that comes regular maintenance informed by technologically aided monitoring. The presentations in this panel cover a wide portion of the plant campus including fugitive dust capture and control, mineral deposition removal and wear part surveillance. Finally, the contributions of a well-maintained facility to worker safety will be shared.

Track 2: Leadership and Financial Management

An Examination of What the 45Q Tax Credit Means for Ethanol Producers

In January, the U.S. Treasury published the final rulemaking for a tax credit available for entities that can successfully capture carbon dioxide and sequester it in either geological formations or put it to use in advanced oil recovery operations. Ethanol producers have long wondered how and when they would be mandated or incentivized to capture and sequester their own carbon dioxide. The 45Q tax credit program is the preamble to answering that question. This panel will help attendees understand how the tax credit works and the early momentum within the ethanol industry to make its promises manifest for producers.

Track 3: Coproducts and Product Diversification

Assessing New Opportunities for the Feed Product Streams Generated in Ethanol Production

Over the last handful of years, ethanol producers are increasingly placing a greater emphasis on their plant’s incredible potential to produce an increasingly diverse array of highly valuable protein products, often for markets not traditionally served by ethanol coproducts. This panel includes discussions about the maturing efforts to tweak the traditional distillers grains output to target new markets, but goes further and imagines ethanol plant fermenters as producers of single-celled protein sources for the exploding global aquaculture markets.

ETHANOLPRODUCER.COM | 31


Event

PLANT UPTIME IS IMPORTANT TO YOU, SO IT IS IMPORTANT TO US.

RED RIBBON: Angus Ballard, president of Lallemand Biofuels & Distilled Spirits, cuts the ceremonial ribbon to open the expo hall at the 2019 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo. Tim Portz, BBI International program director (left), hosted the welcome reception, sponsored by LBDS. PHOTO: KIRSTEN WRAY PHOTOGRAPHY

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32 | ETHANOL PRODUCER MAGAZINE | JUNE 2021

/// WEDNESDAY, JULY 14 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm Track 1: Production and Operations

Leveraging Best-Available Innovations in Lab Hardware and Programmatic Approaches to Drive Out Process Upsets While Driving in Greater Yield

The first half of this panel is built around two innovations that provide ethanol producers with real-time, online spectroscopy. The aim is to better equip lab teams to understand how fermentations are proceeding early enough in the process to take meaningful and on-target actions. The discussion then moves into a holistic approach to lab management and the argument for incorporating a stepwise quality management program at ethanol plant labs. The panel concludes with an examination of a novel testing approach for chloride and sulfates in fuel ethanol.

Effectively Mining Plant Data Today to Shape and Guide Operational Strategies Tomorrow

Unless it is put to work increasing yield, captured operational data is just noise. The presenters in this panel will offer attendees a look at what the future of data capture and use might look like. While the present finds plant operators capturing and using data to guide operational decisions, this panel asserts that the future is far more ambitious. These presenters will ask producers to imagine the role artificial intelligence might play in their operations and the payoff for those teams willing to embrace its potential.

Track 3: Coproducts and Product Diversification

If A Little is Good: Liberating and Capturing More Corn Oil at Your Ethanol Plant

This panel features a compelling mix of presentations that will expand attendees’ understanding of not only increasing the capture rate of corn oil but also the importance of its contributions to the plant’s bottom line. Additionally, presenters will address the giveand-take nature of oil extraction and outline where and how producers can liberate more oil in their production process and the impact on other coproduct streams when doing so.

Track 4: Infrastructure and Market Development

Clean Fuels Policy Work in the Midwest

This discussion will provide attendees with a look at the effort to imagine and make manifest a clean fuels policy in the Midwest, the birthplace of renewable fuel production. The report “Clean Energy Fuels Policy for the Midwest” was released in 2020 but was not afforded the opportunity for a live public discussion last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion will offer attendees a unique opportunity to hear about the report’s aims, its findings and the ongoing efforts to get its ideas some traction with policymakers.


/// THURSDAY, JULY 15 8:30 am – 10:00 am Track 1: Production and Operations

How Innovations in Yeast Strain Development are Taking Center Stage in Plant Optimization Strategies

In the never-ending quest for increased yields and reduced expenses in fermentation, ethanol producers continue to turn to their yeast populations. Historically, producers could choose between yeasts that were hearty and resistant to changes in pH or temperature or yeasts capable of high yield, but not both. The presenters in this panel will assert that this either/or era may be coming to a close as yeast providers work to produce varietals that are robust, high-yielding and capable of expressing the necessary enzymes for greater starch solubilization.

Telling the Tale: What Plant Data Can Teach You About Your Operators, Fermentations and Vital Plant Components

As the ethanol production process has matured, the ability to capture and utilize operational data has emerged as a key differentiator between the industry’s most successful and efficient operators and everyone else. This panel, one of two at the conference to look specifically at data capture and use, outlines how producers can construct a cohesive operational plan from a dizzying slug of inbound data. This panel features discussions that highlight how data can be used to understand everything from the thoroughness of cleaning by specific operators to when and how to intervene with an underwhelming fermentation cycle.

Track 2: Leadership and Financial Management

A Comprehensive Look at De-Risking Ethanol Plants and Production

Profitably manufacturing fuel ethanol requires management teams to put millions of dollars in play, hit yield targets and successfully market an increasing array of final products. Subtle fluctuations in the price of inbound corn and natural gas or unexpected dips in ethanol prices can lead to evaporating or vanishing margins. The most successful management teams deploy and refine a suite of risk management approaches to mitigate risk wherever possible. This panel will examine risk management in the context of an industry exiting arguably its largest business disruption ever.

Introducing the SYNERXIA® Gem Collection The next advancement in high-performance yeasts to make your plant shine. www.xcelis.com

Track 3: Coproducts and Product Diversification

The Technological and Policy Pathways to Higher-Value Fuel and Chemical Markets for Ethanol Producers

The industry-wide crash course in producing alternative alcohol products via the virtually overnight rise of the hand sanitizer market in the second quarter of 2020 rejuvenated the industry’s belief and confidence that it could and should establish a foothold in new, higher-value alcohol markets. These ambitions are nearly as old as the industry itself, but this panel highlights that the technologies enabling access to these markets are ready for deployment now.

ETHANOLPRODUCER.COM | 33


Event

COOPER'S KEY: Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, was the keynote speaker at FEW in 2019. PHOTO: KIRSTEN WRAY PHOTOGRAPHY

/// THURSDAY, JULY 15 10:30 am – Noon Track 1; Production and Operations

Which Arrow in the Quiver?: Surveying the Options Available to Producers for Controlling Bacterial Outbreaks within their Process

That bacterial infections rob ethanol producers of yield is wellunderstood, but the art of cost-effectively controlling these infections continues to evolve. The economic impact of what does and does not happen in plant fermenters continues to inspire robust research in the microbiology that is the beating heart of an ethanol plant. This panel will challenge lab managers to think in new ways about the bacterial populations that will inevitably find their way into their production environment, how to eliminate them and some discussion about when and how certain bacterial ethanologens might actually offer some yield benefit.

Two Birds, One Stone: Aligning Your Plant's LDAR Program to Satisfy Regulatory Requirements and Sustainability Ambitions

The presenters on this panel will provide a compelling argument for a complete audit of a plant’s leak detection and repair program owing to the increased regulatory scrutiny around the subject. In the short term, unresolved leaks cost ethanol plants real dollars, but the long-term risk of inspection and a Notice of Violation carry far greater financial risks. This panel will explore not just the technical aspects of detection and repair, but also the record-keeping discipline that will assure regulators of your facility’s commitment to compliance. 34 | ETHANOL PRODUCER MAGAZINE | JUNE 2021

Track 3: Coproducts and Product Diversification

How Decisions Made in Upstream Production Processes Impact Downstream Coproduct Characteristics

The composition of the yielded coproduct streams at ethanol plants are the result of the production decisions made upstream, often reaching all the way back to fermentation. This panel will explore the consequences for coproduct quality and composition when producers deploy new process approaches upstream. This panel asserts that the impact of new processes on economically vital coproduct streams must factor into the decision-making process of increased fiber and oil extraction, enzyme use and the deployment of novel fractionation technologies.

Fiber Fundamentals: Pathways to Make Available the Plant Fiber Streams for Downstream Conversion

There is a widespread feeling that the evolution of corn ethanol plants to integrated biorefineries will not be complete until the conversion of plant corn fiber streams to cellulosic ethanol is as widespread a practice as corn oil capture has become. This first of two panels at the conference exploring this topic will offer producers a comprehensive look at the state-of-play in fiber isolation, separation and preparation for downstream conversion.


/// THURSDAY, JULY 15 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Track 1: Production and Operations

The Biological Levers Available to Producers Looking to Boost Fermentation

The second in a series of presentations looking specifically at fermentation, this panel turns its gaze specifically to yeast nutrition. The discussion opens with a look at how over the course of a decade proteases have been coopted to convert proteins into necessary free amino nitrogens. The presentation promises an update on the approach and how it has been refined to mitigate some early concerns. The remainder of the panel helps producers and lab teams consider the downstream consequences that fermentation nutrition efforts may have on important coproduct streams.

Track 2: Leadership and Financial Management

Back to the Future: Making Sure Your Plant is Inside the DeLorean

With the inevitable day-to-day challenges of operating a fuel ethanol production facility, it is easy to understand how plant management teams and boards can be laser focused on the challenges of today. Still, plant teams know the value of lifting their gaze from the here and now and considering future opportunities and challenges. This multi-disciplinary panel will offer producers an opportunity to consider the future of their facilities from several different perspectives, including capital expenditures, product differentiation and new financial management approaches.

XCELIS® Yeasts

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®

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Track 3: Coproducts and Product Diversification

Fiber Fundamentals II: Converting Captured Fiber to High-Value Fuel and Feed Products

Picking up where the conference’s first corn fiber panel left off, these presentations bring the viability of corn fiber conversion into sharper focus. What has been learned from the industry’s first deployments of these promising technologies? And, where does this technology fit into the industry’s next decade as it sharpens its low-carbon ambitions, and increases its overall societal value by delivering an even wider array of fuel products from its corn inputs?

Track 4: Infrastructure and Market Development

The Latest Regulatory, Legislative Initiatives Impacting Biofuels

It is easy to forget, amidst the excitement of the promise of new fuel and feed products, that our industry is responsible for producing a fuel product with exacting specifications for a highly regulated marketplace. That ethanol has a place in the transportation market at all is the result of years of work to ensure the product is understood and endorsed by the regulatory community. This panel is an annual conversation featuring those professionals engaged in this important work. Panelists will provide attendees with a comprehensive snapshot of the regulatory impediments that have emerged in the past year and how the industry plans to overcome them.

ETHANOLPRODUCER.COM | 35


As motorists begin returning to the roads, Unleaded 88 is poised for rapid growth. In fact, a survey by Pilot Flying J shows that 65 percent of U.S. drivers are reporting big plans for extra summer travel once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. And we already know that customers who try Unleaded 88 are coming back again and again to take advantage of this more affordable, cleaner fuel.

Event

CROWD COLLAGE: Attendees mill around the expo hall at the 2019 FEW. PHOTO: KIRSTEN WRAY PHOTOGRAPHY

Find Unleaded 88 for your next road trip at GetBiofuel.com/fuelfinder

/// THURSDAY, JULY 15 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm Track 1: Production and Operations

Deploying the Best Available Cleaning Regimens with an Eye on Efficiently Achieving Your Desired Outcomes

Ethanol producers know that plant cleaning programs go far beyond the simple deployment of a growing list of available surfactants, inhibitors and acid cleaners. This panel features presenters who promise to look deeper than just a list of available treatment options, and into how to best incorporate them into a comprehensive and well-considered program. The discussion begins with a review of the lessons learned from bringing plans out of prolonged outages due to the pandemic turndown, cleaning and readying for service.

Overcoming the Operational Challenges that Come with Water and Wastewater Management at Ethanol Plants

Moving water and syrups through the ethanol production process is an energy-intensive proposition that if mismanaged can lead to yield losses and diminished profitability. Further, wastewater management creates environmental and regulatory challenges that plant teams must keep top of mind. The presenters in this panel will champion technologies that drive out headaches and expense while driving in efficiency and increased up-time.

36 | ETHANOL PRODUCER MAGAZINE | JUNE 2021


XCELIS® Yeasts

SYNERXIA RUBY

®

The new standard in high yield yeast driving plants to the peak of performance. www.xcelis.com

Track 2: Leadership and Financial Management

Making Sense of the Required Permits for Existing and Planned Product Outputs

When the pandemic is at long last behind us, the ethanol industry may well view it as the catalyst that finally made product differentiation a vital component of every producer’s strategic plan. The rush to serve the hand sanitizer markets is the ready example, but producers also recognized how suddenly demand and margins can vanish for any product in their portfolio with little warning. This panel will feature panelists ready to remind producers of the permits required to manufacture and sell those new products and best practices for incorporating them into your existing permit program.

Track 3: Coproducts and Product Diversification

Driving Additional Value into Your Coproduct Program By Bringing Protein Streams into Sharp Focus

The promise of increased profitability continues to stoke producer interest in a strategic effort to maximize protein in their feed coproduct outputs. The first three presentations feature technologies and process approaches available to producers ready to embrace a production environment optimized for higher protein. The discussion concludes with a producer presentation on how producers can better understand and measure the protein they have succeeded in isolating and incorporating into their coproduct streams.

ETHANOLPRODUCER.COM | 37


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Profile for BBI International

2021 June - Ethanol Producer Magazine  

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