Fear and loathing on Hill as Senate RFS group ramps up

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

On its face, the new bipartisan Senate study group on the renewable fuel standard is simple and straightforward enough. Its organizers, Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe and Delaware Democrat Chris Coons, are said to be interested in bringing in experts to weigh in on the effectiveness of the RFS, which sets mandated goals for U.S. biofuel production. But nothing about biofuels in Washington, D.C., is simple.

How to Make Renewable Energy Competitive

Source: By FELIX MORMANN and DAN REICHER • Posted: Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Renewable energy needs help. Technological innovation has significantly reduced the cost of solar panels, wind turbines and other equipment, but renewable energy still needs serious subsidies to compete with conventional energy. Today, help comes mostly in the form of federal tax breaks.

ACE to hold 25th conference in Omaha, Aug. 8-10

Source: By American Coalition for Ethanol • Posted: Friday, June 1st, 2012

The American Coalition for Ethanol has adopted the theme, “Proud History, Bright Future,” for its upcoming 25th annual ACE Ethanol Conference, Aug. 8-10 in Omaha, Neb.

Sorghum’s emergence as an ‘advanced’ biofuel may be less than 2 years away

Source: Tiffany Stecker, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, June 1st, 2012

U.S. EPA published a notice of data availability last week to announce the possibility of grain sorghum’s eligibility as an advanced biofuel. This marks the first time a domestically grown grain is eligible for the designation, applied only to fuels that emit at least 50 percent less greenhouse gases than fossil fuels, and could provide a homegrown alternative to the most commonly used advanced biofuel available: sugar-cane ethanol from Brazil.

Senate bid to halt Pentagon purchases a blow to rural areas — Vilsack

Source: Gabriel Nelson, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, June 1st, 2012

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today slammed a surprise move by the Senate last week aimed at stopping some Pentagon biofuel purchases, saying that it “turns its back” on the rural areas that stand to gain. Vilsack, a former governor of Iowa who now serves as the Obama administration’s main diplomat to rural America, told reporters that lawmakers and the oil industry are standing in the way of helping farmers make money by growing crops for fuel.

Ethanol production plunges on weak demand

Source: Dan Piller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Friday, June 1st, 2012

Demand for regular gas has fallen, too, causing prices to drop. Ethanol production dropped by 17,000 barrels per day during the week ended May 25, although stockpiles of 21.5 million barrels remain 6.3 percent higher than a year ago, the U.S. Department of Energy reported this week.

Bipartisan Senate group being formed to study RFS

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, June 1st, 2012

Senators are forming a bipartisan study group to assess the federal renewable fuel standard, according to a memo obtained by Greenwire. The group will examine how the RFS affects the fuel market and technology development in an effort to determine “which provisions are working and which provisions could be improved,” the memo says.

Novozymes opens $200M Neb. enzyme plant

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Danish enzyme maker Novozymes began operations today in what it’s calling the largest U.S. biofuel-enzyme factory. The $200 million project in Blair, Neb., will supply ethanol plants both in the United States and abroad with enzymes for converting sugars and starch to biofuel.

Obama’s Aide On Climate Change Seeking Oil, Gas Allies

Source: By Jim Snyder, Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Heather Zichal spent her early days in the Obama administration pushing a climate-change bill in Congress that oil and gas companies helped to derail. Now President Barack Obama has named Zichal, his deputy assistant for energy and climate change, as a liaison to that industry, and to make sure proposed rules don’t slow the surge in U.S. natural-gas development.

Region called biofuels gateway

Source: By Steve Jordon, WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER • Posted: Thursday, May 31st, 2012

The Midwest will lead the way in the next generation of biofuels, business and government officials said here Wednesday. What’s needed now is for technology, government policy, consumer demand and economics to converge and open the door to fuel made from the cellulose in fibers such as cornstalks, wood chips and grasses.