Iowa Biodiesel plant reopens after four idle years

Source: Dan Piller • Des Moines Register • Posted: Monday, January 30th, 2012

Folks in Kossuth County are feeling good now that the biodiesel plant east of Algona has emerged from bankruptcy, has reopened and is employing 30 workers putting out 60 million gallons of biodiesel per year. The old East Fork plant sat idle for four years, a poster boy for the difficulties of biodiesel. Unlike its cousin ethanol, biodiesel has known mostly struggle as it tries to establish itself as the renewable biofuels alternative to diesel in the truck/heavy equipment market.

Minnesota Biomass projects burned by low natural gas prices

Source: DAVID SHAFFER • Minneapolis Star Tribune • Posted: Monday, January 30th, 2012

Rock-bottom natural gas prices are undercutting Minnesota’s taxpayer-supported efforts to expand home-grown energy sources like wood chips and cornstalks. Minnesota has spent more than $11 million in taxpayer and utility funds to advance technologies that burn biomass for heat and electric generation or convert it to a synthetic gas. Now, it’s getting difficult for the technology to compete.

Governors drill deep on energy in annual addresses

Source: Amanda Peterka • E&E • Posted: Monday, January 30th, 2012

When President Obama focused heavily on energy issues in his State of the Union address earlier this week, he echoed themes many governors have been pushing forward in their annual “state of the state” speeches this month. Governors from resource-rich states like Alaska, Virginia, West Virginia and Colorado all have devoted substantial sections of their annual addresses to traditional energy this month. The governors — both Democrats and Republicans — have called for increases in traditional and renewable energy development, and many have taken jabs at the federal government for stifling development.

Eastern Oregon biofuel refinery wins $235 million federal loan backing to make ethanol from poplar trees

Source: Eric Mortenson and Scott Learn • The Oregonian • Posted: Friday, January 27th, 2012

In a few years, you could be filling up with fuel made from Oregon poplar trees, wheat straw and corn stalks. Financed in part with a $235 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today, ZeaChem plans a $390 million biofuel refinery in Boardman capable of producing up to 25 million gallons of ethanol per year.

Ethanol production holds steady

Source: Dan Piller • Des Moines Register • Posted: Friday, January 27th, 2012

Three weeks after the expiration of the 45-cents per gallon blenders tax credit, ethanol production is running slightly ahead of last year’s pace.

Obama admin warns against GOP attempt to fast-track pipeline

Source: Elana Schor • Posted: Thursday, January 26th, 2012

A House GOP plan to greenlight the $7 billion Keystone XL oil pipeline following its rejection by the White House could imperil “existing legal authorities” over the project and force the nation’s independent regulator of gas lines to OK it without public notice or judicial review, two Obama administration officials said today.

CAFE standards could shift automakers’ priorities, experts warn

Source: Debra Kahn • E&E • Posted: Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Auto experts this week warned that new fuel economy standards U.S. EPA is preparing could reduce consumers’ options because of their cost. The last of three public hearings on the corporate average fuel economy program drew smaller companies like California-based Tesla Motors and Coulomb Technologies, as well as major automakers and state and national environmental groups. Most automakers and groups urged adoption of the targets, which EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will finalize by July. The targets are intended to reach 54.5 mpg for each manufacturer’s fleet by 2025.

ACE plans ‘Biofuels Beltway March’ for March 27-28

American Coalition for Ethanol • Posted: Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

As Congress resumes work for 2012, the organization is urging its grassroots members and all ethanol supporters to sign up to participate in this event.

Ethanol thinks it will have a friend in the White House

Source: Dan Piller • Des Moines Register • Posted: Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

The election cycle has barely begun but Iowa’s ethanol producers think they’ll still have a friend in the White House come next Jan. 20, regardless of who wins the Presidential election.

Fragile future for biofuel industry foretold

Source: Dan Piller • Des Moines Register • Posted: Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Gov. Terry Branstad, a supporter of biofuels both as a politician and as an investor, said, “The ethanol industry has been under attack from the East Coast, the West Coast and from the Wall Street Journal,” long an editorial opponent of biofuel subsidies. “We must be prepared to answer those attacks,” the governor said. “Biofuels have been very good for Iowa.”