WBIA BLOG

Gasoline gives better return on investment than ethanol – Our Response

In a recent letter to the editor that appeared in the Green Bay Press Gazette a few statements were made that we at the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance would like to address.

The letter brought up ethanol’s energy return on investment based on a ratio comparison to gasoline. But, if ethanol provides lower power than gasoline, why do both IndyCar and NASCAR use it to boost horsepower?

Without losing any horsepower or speed on the track, IndyCar Series cars burned 20,000 fewer gallons of fuel using ethanol than previous seasons using methanol.”IndyCar

The transition to the biofuel reduced on-track carbon emissions and teams report an increase in horsepower.”NASCAR.com

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The letter also mentions ‘subsidies:’

“If ethanol is such a good idea, then get rid of the government subsidies and mandates and let the marketplace determine whether this is a viable product.”

The truth is:

the $0.45 per gallon VEETC (known as the Blender’s Tax Credit since it was paid to oil companies and not to farmers or ethanol plants) was terminated by Congress in December 2011, along with the $0.54 per gallon tariff that protected US ethanol producers from heavily subsidized Brazilian sugarcane ethanol. You are probably aware that commencing January 1, 2012 the ethanol industry received no subsidies at all from the federal government on a per-gallon basis.” – Eric McAfee

On top of that,

“Compare the biofuels industry to the oil and gas industry, which receives more than $100 billion per year of direct cash subsidy from the US taxpayer: 1) 100% tax-free earnings using Master Limited Partnerships to own facilities and pipelines (MLP’s are illegal to use for biofuels facilities); 2) accelerated tax write-offs for well drilling (illegal for corn farmers and ethanol plants); and 3) more than $100 billion per year of military protection for shipping lanes and foreign oil fields.” - Eric McAfee

The letter mentioned the “food vs fuel” myth, too:

we are converting our food supply into gasoline when corn prices have caused food produced from corn to increase in price by 10-25 percent leading to food riots in Mexico because of the increase in the cost of corn tortillas.

Well…

USDA found that biofuels like ethanol were only responsible for .2 percent of the 4.8 percent increase in grocery bills during the first four months of 2008.” – Growth Energy

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The reason behind the majority of the increase in corn prices was due to speculation and rising fuel costs.

The World Bank — who published a research paper several years ago claiming biofuels were to blame for rising food prices — reversed its position recently with a new study entitled Placing the 2006/08 Commodity Price Boom into Perspective. The study’s authors found that “the effect of biofuels on food prices has not been as large as originally thought, but that the use of commodities by financial investors (the so-called ‘financialization of commodities’) may have been partly responsible for the 2007/08 spike.” – World Bank (Page 2 of PDF)

ethanol use of corn

 

Ethanol is a crucial part of a sensible approach to fulfill America’s energy needs. At the very least consumers should have access to new biofuels like E15. People want choices at the pump. They want cheaper gas that’s safe for their cars and won’t pollute the air.

Simply expanding the number of locations in Wisconsin that offer E15 as a choice for consumers will create hundreds of millions of dollars in rural economic growth and in just five years could take 15 million barrels of foreign oil off our roads by displacing 300 million gallons of gasoline in our state alone.

Tell your local retailer to put in an E15 pump and share this information with your friends!

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Media Release – Wisconsin adds more E-15 pumps

Monday, May 5, 2014
Contact: Joshua Morby 414.791.9120

Grassroots effort to gather signatures gains momentum

MILWAUKEE – Almost a year ago today, as gas prices continue to rise, the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance is excited to announce even more fuel choices for consumers.

Beaver Dam based United Cooperative is now offering E15 at 10 stations throughout Wisconsin. The addition of these Wisconsin convenience stores bumps the total number of E15 stations to 75 in 12 states. United Cooperative now has blender pumps at their Cenex convenience stores in Beaver Dam, Baraboo, Hustisford, Iron Ridge, Pickett, Poynette, Reedsburg, Watertown, and Wyocena.

E15 made up of 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline. The fuel has been approved for use in model year 2001 and newer cars, light-duty trucks, SUVs, and flex-fuel vehicles since January 2011.

“It’s important for consumers to know that E15 is not for all engines, but it can be used by more than 75% of light duty vehicles on the road today, representing more than 85% of the unleaded fuel sold,” said Joshua Morby of the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance.

E15 was first made available to consumers in Wisconsin one year ago at the SmartStation in Platteville, a wholly owned subsidiary of Badger State Ethanol.

“The expansion of E15 in Wisconsin is only the beginning as retailers continue to see the economic benefits of installing blender pumps and offering higher-level ethanol blends to their customers,”

 said Morby. “As an industry we’ve been working with small engine manufactures, trade groups and retailers to educate them about E15. At the end of the day when consumers start to see cheaper options that don’t harm their engines and burn cleaner that oil, we’re going to see more E15 sold in Wisconsin. It’s just a matter of time.”

The Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance is a diverse group of businesses, environmental groups and statewide and local organizations that have come together to build both public and legislative awareness of the Bio Industry in Wisconsin.

For more information about the Alliance, or to find out how to join, please visit our website: http://www.wisconsinbioindustry.com.

You can find audio clips of the quotes  from WBIA Executive Director Josh Morby here.

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Media Release – Study highlights ethanol’s impact on Wisconsin

 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Contact: Joshua Morby 414.791.9120

Ethanol Industry helps employ 6,000 people and indirectly generates $980 million in wages for the renewable fuel sector

 

MILWAUKEE – A new study has shown that the renewable fuels industry in Wisconsin, including conventional and cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, and advanced biofuels, generates $4.2B of total economic output annually.

“In addition to protecting our environment, producing a clean, renewable motor fuel for our cars, ethanol is big business for Wisconsin,” said Joshua Morby Executive Director of the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance’s. “For too long the oil industry has spewed lies and misinformation about our industry. In partnership with other ethanol producers from across the country, we’re taking a stand.”

The ethanol industry in Wisconsin is part of a national effort that includes paid advertising and legislative outreach aimed at protecting federal policy.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was responsible for millions of dollars of private investment that laid the groundwork for the kind of returns this study highlights,” said Morby.

For more information about the study and to find additional specifics about the impact it has on Wisconsin click here.

The Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance is a diverse group of businesses, environmental groups and statewide and local organizations that have come together to build both public and legislative awareness of the Bio Industry in Wisconsin.

For more information about the Alliance, or to find out how to join, please visit our website: http://www.wisconsinbioindustry.com.

For audio files of Josh Morby’s quotes, click here.

 

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Oil Rigged – Big Oil is misleading America

 

“Ethanol is the lowest cost transportation fuel in the world.”

 

Bold words this morning from the President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, Bob Dinneen. But, it’s true! Ethanol has proven to be one of our best options for powering our Nation and moving America forward – which is exactly why Big Oil has been stacking the deck against ethanol blends for years.

Today, the national ethanol advocacy group, Fuels America is launching a nationwide campaign to draw attention to the many ways Big Oil is using misinformation to skew public opinion and convince our lawmakers that oil is the way to go.

In fact, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the oil industry has spent $885 million on lobbyists and campaign contributions to our legislators in the past five years…

That’s more than $1 million for each and every single member of Congress.

Big Oil has been rigging the system for far too long. Help us stop the misinformation! Take a look at OilRigged.com and together we can keep moving America forward.

 

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The Wisconsin Energy Institute and Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center

Our most recent member meeting of the WBIA was hosted by the Great Lakes Bio Energy Research Center located in the brand new Wisconsin Energy Institute on the UW-Madison campus.

Hosted by the WEI’s Associate Director, Mary Blanchard, we received an overview on the GLBRC’s mission and projects from their Scientific Programs Manager, Steve Slater. Finally, Leith Nye, the GLBRC’s Education and Outreach Coordinator led us on a tour of the facility.

 

The GLBRC is a Department of Energy funded project that seeks to “perform the basic research that generates technology to convert cellulosic biomass to ethanol and other advanced biofuels.” In a nutshell, they are at the forefront of finding ways to advance renewable energy from cellulosic biomass. If you can think of it, they’re probably doing it.

 

While we were only able to glimpse into a handful of their most promising work, the GLBRC’s location at the WEI building is not by accident. The WEI has brought together researchers from diverse disciplines to better understand the larger picture of our energy issues. The Wisconsin Energy Institute is the only bioenergy research facility located on an academic campus and takes full advantage of that, bridging the gaps between the many fields in which scientists and students are working on the future of energy, from biofuels to batteries.

The presentation from Dr. Slater was focused on three projects the GLBRC’s is most excited about, which we’ll cover in our next blog post. Stay tuned!

We were also able to walk through the factors involved in bringing cellulosic ethanol to market. Dr. Slater broke down which aspects in the four stages of refinement play most into economic viability, and offered some insight onto the technology they are developing which can reduce their impact on the bottom line.

 

If you’d like to know more, contact the Wisconsin Energy Institute and the Great Lakes Bio Energy Research Center. Both of these organizations are doing truly astonishing work, and we’re proud to have them in the state of Wisconsin. We’d also like to thank their communications/event staff for providing us with the opportunity and helping us make the most of our visit.

 

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New startup uses technology developed by the University of Wisconsin

Categories: Bio Fuels

A new biofuel startup will be using technology developed by the University of Wisconsin- Madison.

“A renewable chemical and biofuel production method developed by a team led by University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher Ron Raines has been licensed to the company he founded.

Raines, a biochemistry professor, has established Hyrax Energy Inc., which will license the technology from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), the patent and licensing arm of UW-Madison.”

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Researches from Wisconsin pioneer new biofuel production process

Categories: Bio Fuels

A team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin – Madison have pioneered a new way to develop biofuels.

A University of Wisconsin-Madison chemical engineer and his team have developed a new process that uses water, electricity and biomass to make biofuels.

The team developed a technology that uses a fuel cell to convert the compound acetone from biomass into isopropanol, a chemical that’s used as a gasoline additive as well as pharmaceutical and industrial applications.

“It’s what we call electrofuel,” said George Huber, a UW professor of chemical and biological engineering. The technology, he said, creates a “renewable liquid fuel that fits into the existing infrastructure.”

To read more about the team’s research, click here.

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US Automakers Approve Use of E15 in New Vehicles

The two major US automakers made a great announcement for the US ethanol industry today. Check out what The Hill reported:

Ford and General Motors Inc. have approved use of a higher concentration of ethanol fuel in new vehicles — a significant victory for the biofuels industry.

New GM and Ford vehicles will accept a fuel blend that’s 15 percent ethanol, as opposed to the standard 10 percent blend. For GM, that will begin with 2012 models, while Ford will accommodate the fuel in 2013 models, according to Oil Price Information Service, which first reported the news.

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“Freedom” rolls out big in DC

“Freedom,” the compelling documentary investigating the repercussions of America’s addiction to foreign oil and a proposed solution for our energy independence will have its red carpet premiere in DC tonight with a slew of special guests.

Preceding the film’s premiere a press conference will take place at 2pm ET. The debate and Q&A hosted by Dennis McGinn, retired Vice Admiral and President of the American Council on Renewable Fuels, will include filmmakers Josh and Rebecca Tickell as well as General Wesley Clark, who ranked at a four-star general and director of strategic plans and policy for the Joint Chief of Staffs.

“Freedom” covers a wide range on our country’s oil issues ranging from last year’s Deepwater Horizon explosion, Keystone XL pipeline, and the economic impact of foreign oil on American citizens. The film also highlights a path to long-term sustainable path to domestic fuel.

To learn more about “Freedom,” click here. Or, check out the trailer here.

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Wisconsin company advances in US Air Force renewable fuel testing

A Madison based company has developed a renewable jet fuel which has recently received the green light after the first round of testing  by the US Air Force.

The one hundred percent renewable fuel produced by Virent was recently tested at US Air Force Laboratory as a result of a strong push by the Pentagon to depend less of foreign fuels. The chemical conversion process which Virent uses to produce its biofuel was developed in the labs of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Aaron Imrie, Virent’s commercial fuels manager, expressed his excitement over the results from US Air Force by stating:

“These ARFL results are exciting because they demonstrate the potential of Virent’s catalytic process to create renewable plant-based jet fuel that can meet or exceed petroleum.”

Earlier this year, the US Air Force completed a test flight using a 50-50 blend of petroleum and a biofuel derived from camelina. Honeywell also announced this summer the first successful trans-Atlantic flight using the same biofuel-petroleum blend.

To read more about Virent’s biofuel success, click here.

Or, to learn about Virent, click here.

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