New Ethanol Law Passed in Iowa on Tuesday


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Josie Taylor | May 19, 2022

A new state law in Iowa would require most fuel stations to sell a gasoline blend with 15% ethanol. This will rapidly expand the fuel’s availability, but the law’s long-term effects might be more potent, according to the executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed House File 2128, which will boost the use of corn-based ethanol to fuel the state’s vehicles, into law on Tuesday. Her action capped a protracted and hard-fought legislative initiative that began last year.

The new law is also expected to boost the sales of diesel blends that contain 20% biodiesel, which is often made with soybean oil.

Monte Shaw, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association’s executive director, predicts that E15 will be available at 1,000 more stations by 2026, when the ethanol requirement goes into effect. That would more than quadruple the current total, according to state data.

First, the law also requires new fuel station infrastructure — the tanks, fuel lines and pumps — to be compatible with higher blends of ethanol, which can degrade certain plastics and rubbers. That will help facilitate future increases in blend requirements, perhaps with gasoline blends of 30% or 40% ethanol, Shaw said.There are current federal rules that prohibit the summer sales of certain E15 blends because federal regulators have considered them more likely to evaporate in warmer temperatures and pollute the air. The Biden administration lifted that restriction for this summer to help reduce fuel prices.

Airports are looking to convert cooking oil into jet fuel


Airport
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Elyse Gabor | May 17, 2022

Major airports are converting cooking oil into jet fuel. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is using the grease from the DFW McDonalds to create fuel, helping to eliminate the use of fossil fuels and increase sustainable efforts. 

According to Pratik Chandhoke, the technical services manager for sustainable aviation fuel at Neste US Inc., the chemical makeup of fuel and cooking oil is similar. He said, “If you look at any oil, they all have these building molecules, hydrocarbons. We can take those atoms, and we then do some processing magic in our refineries, and we actually mimic the chemistry of a jet fuel.” 

Around 32,000 pounds of cooking oil is recycled from restaurants at DFW airport and converted to sustainable aviation fuel or SAF. One gallon of cooking oil is about three-quarters of a gallon of SAF.  

Other major airports are committed to becoming more sustainable by eliminating jet fuel. As SAF becomes more common the price will even out and become more comparable to the current price of fossil jet fuel. Right now, the cost of creating SAF can be up to six times higher than normal fuel.  

$10 Million Dollar Grant will Fund Research to Turn Waste into Fuel


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Maxwell Bernstein | July 29, 2020

Dr. Lisa Schulte Moore, a professor in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology Management at Iowa State University along with researchers from Penn State and Roeslein Alternative Energy, received a $10 million grant to develop new ways to produce renewable natural gas from biomass and manure, according to a news release from Iowa State University. 

The five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture will help power an agricultural science initiative called the Consortium for Cultivating Human and natural regenerative Enterprise. 

Dr. Lisa Schulte Moore will lead the consortium with hopes that the research will improve water quality, wildlife habitats, soil erosion, nutrient runoff and flooding, according to the The Gazette

EVENT: UI Biomass Fuel Project meeting on plant invasive risk


S_barney-jacob    Dr. Jacob Barney from Virginia Tech University will be at the University Capital Centre to talk about the management of risk related to plants in general, and specifically speak to the planned use of dedicated energy crops to support the biomass fuel project. The meeting is open to the public and free.

2:00 pm at the University Capital Centre (Old Capital Mall), room 2525D, Iowa City.

Natural gas dispenser planned for Iowa


Photo by MoDOT Photos, Flickr.

Clean Energy Fuels of Seal Beach, Calif. has listed an Iowa truck stop as one of its first locations for a new natural gas dispenser network.

Proponents of natural gas say that the per mile cost of natural gas as a truck fuel would be $2 per gallon or less – a significant savings over diesel at roughly $3.60 or more per gallon.

The dispenser would be located at a Des Moines area Pilot/Flying J truck stop, and would form a network with other dispensers in Illinois, Nebraska, and Missouri.

For more information, read the full article at the Des Moines Register.

Iowa hits record ethanol production


An ethanol plant in Iowa. Photo by Hendrixson, Flickr.

Iowa’s 41 ethanol plants produced a record 3.7 billion gallons in 2011, a 200 million gallon increase from 2010. Monte Shaw, Executive Director of Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, largely attrbitues this rise to exports.

“2011 was certainly a good year for Iowa ethanol producers with increased production and profitability,” said Shaw. “However, we relied on export markets for growth.”

Roughly 62 percent of Iowa’s 2010 corn harvest were used to produce the 3.7 billion gallons of ethanol.

For more information, view the full story at the Des Moines Register.