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Former CIA Director James Woolsey featured on “Ethanol Minute” radio

James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence and Undersecretary of the Navy, was featured last month on the nationally syndicated “Ethanol Minute” radio program, produced by the Ethanol Across America campaign, sponsored by the Clean Fuels Development Coalition.

Having served in both Democratic and Republican Administrations, Woolsey is one of the nation’s leading authorities on energy security and an avid supporter of domestic alternative fuels. In his “Minute,” Woolsey discussed the problems associated with the U.S.’s dependence on imported oil, citing specifically all of the U.S. oil dollars fueling Middle Eastern conflicts such as the Iranian nuclear program.

As an alternative, Woolsey emphasized the important role of new technologies to minimize the role of oil, noting that, “the substitute that is here and now in substantial volume is corn-based ethanol… We should move as quickly as possible to substitute ethanol for gasoline.”

Find archives of the “Ethanol Minute” and more information at

Watermelons show promise as an ethanol feedstock

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS), a research agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, released studies last month revealing that the simple sugars in watermelon juice can be made into ethanol.

On average, a 20-pound watermelon yields 1.4 pounds of sugar, from which 0.7 pounds of ethanol can be derived. Of the 4 billion pounds of watermelon harvested for food use in 2007, 800 million pounds (20 percent of the total) were left in fields due to blemishes or deformities. Such melons may be a potential feedstock for ethanol production, reflecting ARS’s push to lengthen the list of biofuel crops.

The ARS research also shows the melons to contain lycopene and citrulline, nutraceutical compounds that are known to promote cardiovascular health. If these compounds were commercially extracted from watermelons, ethanol could be produced from the remaining glucose, fructose, and sucrose sugars.

Sudan to open its first ethanol plant

According to a June 1 Reuters Report, an ethanol plant is projected to open soon in Sudan, the country’s first. While the opening date is not set, the plant plans to produce 65 million liters a year (17 million gallons), then increasing up to 200 million liters yearly (52 million gallons) over a period of two years. Using byproducts from Sudan’s sugar industry, the plant aims to create a renewable energy source for a country chiefly dependent on crude oil.

Veterans promote ethanol, energy security in Memorial Day parade

On May 25, the Flexible Fuel Vehicle Club teamed up with the Veterans of Underage Military Service (VUMS) in Washington, DC for a procession of ethanol and hybrid vehicles in the national Memorial Day parade, highlighting the role of ethanol in national security.

“Our slogan here is ‘There is no national security without energy security,’” said Marine Lt. Col. (ret) William Holmberg, environmentalist and VUMS member. “Increasing our supply of domestic fuels makes our nation safer and more secure, plain and simple.”

The VUMS group is comprised of veterans who, despite not being old enough for military service, enlisted anyway and bravely served their country.

Flexible Fuel Club president Burl Haigwood encouraged parade attendees to take action right away. “With more than 7 million flex fuel vehicles on the road today, if we ran those vehicles on clean, domestic fuels like ethanol, we could reduce our reliance on unstable regimes and reduce the military costs of protecting our oil interests.”

More than 250,000 people were in attendance for the parade.

New E85 engine boasts high performance, fuel efficiency

Ohio companies Horse Power and HP2G, LLC have announced the opening of a new manufacturing facility in Wauseon, Ohio for a new engine made to optimize E85 fuel. The companies say the V-8 engine achieves up to 110 miles per gallon of E85, plus high horsepower ratings.

Press statements say the first vehicle to use the high-performance E85 engine will be the Revenge Verde Super Car, a luxury performance super car from Revenge Designs, Inc. to be released later this year.

Chippewa Valley Ethanol and Frontline BioEnergy announce investment

On June 1, Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company (CVEC) of Benson, Minnesota and Frontline BioEnergy, LLC of Ames, Iowa announced an agreement to bring new capital investment and governance changes to the gasification technology firm. The Series A equity investment will result in the Minnesota ethanol co-op having majority ownership in Frontline.

As part of the agreement, CVEC General Manager Bill Lee has accepted the post of Frontline BioEnergy CEO. He will remain with the ethanol producer for a six-month transition period while a search is conducted for a new GM.

The companies began working together more than three years ago, installing a biomass gasifier at the CVEC ethanol plant.

California study shows biofuels can eliminate gasoline emissions, improve health

Scientists from the University of California-Berkeley have released early evidence from a study showing that the use of biofuels eliminating even 10 percent of gasoline emissions would have a substantial impact on human health, especially in urban areas. These findings are preliminary, yet the study predicts that a switch to biofuels such as ethanol will indeed benefit general human health.

The lab’s “Life Cycle Impact Assessment” comes from a grant from the Energy Biosciences Institute and aims to research the environmental, social, and economic impacts of a transition to biofuels for transportation energy.

Shell and Iogen offer cellulosic E10 at Ontario gas station

Shell Canada made history on June 10 at an Ottawa, Ontario gas station selling an ethanol blend made from cellulosic feedstocks. The E10 blend was produced by cellulose company Iogen Corp. using wheat straw.

Officials from Shell, the ethanol industry, and the Canadian government, including Transport and Infrastructure Minister John Baird, were present for the ceremony.

For a thirty-day trial period, regular gasoline bought at the station will contain 10 percent cellulosic ethanol. Iogen operates a 40,000-liter (10,566-gallon) per month demonstration plant for producing cellulosic ethanol. Plans are currently in the works to develop a larger-scale commercial cellulosic ethanol plant.

Farm groups call for more scientific data in RFS land use change estimates

On June 9, Midwest corn growers expressed its concern to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the Renewable Fuels Standard is flawed in its assessment of international land use effects from biofuels.

Testimony from the Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA) stated that the EPA was forced to create the standard in a short amount of time and did so without the scientific transparency mandated by federal law.

The Iowa Corn Growers and Nebraska Corn Growers supported ICGA's testimony. Nebraska Corn Board Chair Jon Holzfaster commented, "This incomplete analysis risks biasing the use of fuels that harm versus benefit our environment… which has resulted in the drafting of rules with unjustified errors and uncertainty. It is unfortunate that science was compromised in the interest of haste and could result in a consequence far worse than the status quo."

Rob Elliott, President of ICGA added, "ICGA proposes, and we are joined by other major corn producing states, that EPA withdraw the proposed rule from consideration until it can be reworked with better science after which a revised rule can be re-proposed."

CHS to market for United Ethanol

CHS Renewable Fuels Marketing agreed on May 28 to serve as the exclusive ethanol marketer for United Ethanol LLC in Milton, Wisconsin. The United Ethanol facility has the capacity to produce approximately 55 million gallons of ethanol annually.

“United Ethanol LLC selected CHS to market our ethanol production because of its ongoing, successful connection with United Cooperative, our managing member. United Cooperative’s many years of positive association with CHS has given us the confidence that they are the best choice for marketing and distribution of our ethanol,” said David Cramer, United Ethanol President and CEO.

Energy-related carbon emissions declined 2.8 percent in 2008

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Emergency Information Administration (EIA) released a report estimating U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels decreased by 2.8 percent last year, from 5,967 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (MMTCO2) in 2007 to 5,802 MMTCO2 in 2008. Factors influencing the decrease include record-high oil prices and a decline in economic activity in the second half of the year. Oil-related emissions declined by 6 percent, accounting for the bulk of overall reduction in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.

Preliminary fossil fuel consumption data for 2008 indicate that transportation-related emissions, which account for about a third of total energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, decreased by 5.2 percent in 2008, a decrease four times larger than next largest yearly decline, 1.3 percent in 1991.

Despite the 2008 decrease, total U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions have grown by 15.9 percent since 1990 and account for over 80 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions.

POET announces new biomass division

Ethanol producer POET has announced the creation of POET Biomass, a division devoted to managing harvest and transportation logistics for corn cobs. Scott Weishaar, the company’s Vice President of Commercial Development, will lead POET Biomass.

“POET’s cellulosic ethanol goals depend on a steady supply of a reliable feedstock: corn cobs,” Weishaar said. “POET Biomass is here to make sure farmers have everything they need in order to play their important role in fueling our nation with both grain-based and cellulosic ethanol.”

The division will also work with waste wood and other feedstocks to be used for cellulosic ethanol and alternative energy projects at their production facilities. The company’s pilot-scale plant in Scotland, South Dakota is producing cellulosic ethanol today at a rate of about 20,000 gallons per year.

© American Coalition for Ethanol, all rights reserved.
The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industryís hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanolís carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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