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2017 State of the Industry Address

RFA President & CEO Bob Dinneen gives his State of the Industry address at the 22nd annual National Ethanol Conference in San Diego.

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RFA, Department of Commerce Hosting Program to Match U.S. Ethanol Sellers, International Buyers

SAN DIEGO — For the second consecutive year, the Renewable Fuels Association is partnering with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration to host an International Buyer Program (IBP) today at the National Ethanol Conference. The program is designed to introduce U.S. ethanol sellers to foreign buyers in an effort to expand U.S. exports.

Through the department’s network of offices in U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, the IBP recruits pre-screened foreign buyer delegations and brings them to selected trade shows and conferences in the United States, connecting U.S. companies with international buyers.

At this year’s IBP, 18 international companies are scheduled to attend from seven top ethanol export markets: China, South Korea, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, India and Brazil. Sellers from 18 U.S. ethanol producers and marketing companies are also scheduled to attend.

“With U.S. ethanol exports topping more than 1 billion gallons last year, the IBP has become an important and helpful tool to help expand our domestic industry,” said RFA General Counsel Ed Hubbard, who is organizing the effort.  “The highlight of this program will be individualized business-to-business meetings, giving both buyers and sellers the opportunity to directly interact. This is a highly sought-after event and we look forward to helping to connect trading partners around the globe.”

ITA staff will be available to assist U.S. existing and potential ethanol exporters and the program will also include key discussions on Mexico’s energy reforms, as well as a Latin America Roundtable to discuss ethanol and trade policy in the region.

For more information on the program, visit

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RFA Honors Pacific Ethanol CEO with 2017 Industry Award

SAN DIEGO — In recognition as one of the pioneers in the ethanol industry and co-founder of California’s first ethanol production company, Pacific Ethanol CEO Neil Koehler is the recipient of the RFA 2017 Industry Award.

The Industry Award is given annually to individuals that demonstrate great dedication and innovation within the industry. Koehler, who is also vice chairman of the RFA board of directors, was presented the award this morning during the 22nd Annual National Ethanol Conference (NEC).

Koehler was the co-founder and general manager of Parallel Products, California’s first ethanol production company, which made ethanol from beverage waste. He also founded Kinergy Marketing, an ethanol marketing company before forming Pacific Ethanol in 2003. Pacific Ethanol’s initial focus was on destination ethanol plants, building facilities on the U.S. West Coast, not in the traditional Midwest where the corn is grown. The company now owns eight biorefineries — in Oregon, Idaho, California, Nebraska and Illinois — with a combined production capacity of 515 million gallons per year.

As CEO of Pacific Ethanol, Koehler has embraced cutting edge technologies to improve efficiencies and reduce the company’s carbon footprint. Pacific Ethanol was one of the first companies to begin producing cellulosic ethanol at its Stockton, California, plant in late 2015, and will be the first ethanol company to install a commercial solar electricity system at its Madera, California, ethanol plant. The company is a leader in the production of low carbon renewable fuels.

“From Henry Ford to Jimmy Carter to Donald Trump, renewable fuels have been at the forefront of our country’s transportation plan. I am fortunate and appreciative to be a part of something so fundamental and essential to community and our economy,” said Koehler. ‘Grow your own.’ Farmers understand what that means. On behalf of all the hard working men and women of  Pacific Ethanol and the thousands of individuals who have advanced the cause over the centuries, thank you.”

“Neil has been a longtime fixture in the U.S. ethanol industry and consistently been an early adopter of new technologies,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Pacific Ethanol has helped to lead the industry in the transition to low carbon renewable fuels, and Neil has been one of our industry’s best and most vocal advocates. On behalf of the RFA, we congratulate Neil on his achievements. This award is well deserved.”

Past recipients of the RFA Industry Award include Ron Fagen, Dave Vander Griend, Ron Miller and Terry Branstad.

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In Note to NEC Attendees, Trump Reiterates Support for Ethanol, RFS

SAN DIEGO — In a letter sent today to National Ethanol Conference attendees, President Trump reiterated his unwavering support for ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“Rest assured that your president and this administration values the importance of renewable fuels to America’s economy and to our energy independence. As I emphasized throughout my campaign, renewable fuels are essential to America’s energy strategy,” Trump wrote.

“As important as ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard are to rural economies, I also know that your industry has suffered from overzealous, job-killing regulation. I am committed to reducing the regulatory burden on all businesses, and my team is looking forward to working with the Renewable Fuels Association, and many others, to identify and reform those regulations that impede growth, increase consumer costs, and eliminate good-paying jobs without providing sufficient environmental or public health benefit,” Trump added.

“We thank President Trump for reaffirming his support for the domestic biofuels industry and the RFS,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “The RFS has cleaned the air, reduced our dependence on foreign oil and boosted local economies. Donald Trump understands all this. Consumers benefit from this national policy and our industry looks forward to continuing to be the lowest cost, highest octane fuel in the world.”

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RFA Releases 2017 Ethanol Industry Outlook, Pocket Guide

SAN DIEGO — How much U.S. ethanol was produced last year? What were the top U.S. ethanol export markets? What are ethanol’s environmental and octane benefits? How many states offer E15 (15 percent ethanol) blends and how many automakers warranty their vehicles for higher ethanol blends? The answer to these questions and many more is simple — it’s in the 2017 Ethanol Industry Outlook, released today at the Renewable Fuels Association’s 22nd Annual National Ethanol Conference (NEC).

Specifically, the Outlook provides readers with statistics, insight and analysis on the latest facts of the U.S. ethanol industry. The Pocket Guide to Ethanol, also released today, contains the same information as the Outlook, but in a simpler, portable format.

“As our 2017 Outlook and Pocket Guide show, it was another outstanding year for the U.S. ethanol industry,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “These publications provide industry highlights of where we are and detailed analysis of where we are headed. To combat any misinformation on ethanol, consumers, policymakers and investors now have the facts at their fingertips.”

Copies of the 2017 Ethanol Industry Outlook and Pocket Guide to Ethanol are available in print and online. The online version is available at

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Thanks to Record Production, Demand, ‘State of the U.S. Ethanol Industry is Strong,’ RFA CEO Says

SAN DIEGO — With the fourth straight year of record profitability for the U.S. ethanol industry last year, the outlook for the domestic ethanol industry remains strong, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen declared today during his annual State of the Industry address at the National Ethanol Conference. Addressing more than 1,000 attendees, he touted the ethanol industry’s ability to navigate any market or policy challenges that lay ahead.

Last year was “a record year for production, a record year for net exports, a record year for domestic demand, and a record year for E15 sales and infrastructure build-out. It was, in short, a pretty darn good year,” said Dinneen. “Thus, I can once again say with great confidence and respect for what you have been able to accomplish that the state of the U.S. ethanol industry is strong, poised for continued growth, steeled for the challenges we know will persist, but resolute in our commitment to consumers seeking relief and choice at the pump, farmers in need of value-added markets for their commodities, and Americans all across the country concerned about the air we breathe and the national security threat posed by our stubborn dependence on imported energy.”

In 2016, 200 plants across 28 states—including six right here in California—produced a record 15.3 billion gallons of clean-burning, high-octane ethanol, while supporting 74,420 direct jobs and 264,756 indirect and induced jobs across the country. Meantime, so far this year, the U.S. ethanol industry is producing at an annualized rate of 16.1 billion gallons, meaning a fifth straight year of growth, Dinneen touted.

Not resting on its laurels, the U.S. ethanol industry is focused on future growth, Dinneen told attendees. “We must expand existing markets and open new markets for ethanol here and abroad. We must continue adding value to our plants and pursuing technologies that will make us more efficient and profitable.”

“Of course, we will be doing this with a new President, new leadership throughout the government, and a political climate less than welcoming to expanded corn ethanol. Success will depend on our ability to build partnerships with new allies and a coalition reflecting today’s political reality,” Dinneen said, echoing the theme of this year’s conference, “Building Partnerships, Growing Markets.”

The ethanol industry already has a strong base of support, both in Congress and from President Trump, who spoke favorably about ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) throughout the campaign. “President Trump’s support for ethanol and the RFS is unwavering,” Dinneen said.

The RFA also anticipates the Trump administration will stand up for American trade, and fight back against any trade distorting tariffs, such as those recently imposed by the Chinese on U.S. ethanol and dried distillers grain exports.

Domestically, the ethanol industry will focus on building demand, including growing the marketplace for 15% ethanol (E15), Dinneen told attendees. Major marketers like Thornton’s, Kum & Go, Sheetz and RaceTrac already offer the fuel blend, but the industry is being hamstrung by EPA’s “nonsensical disparate treatment of E10 and E15 with regard to volatility regulations.” One of RFA’s top priorities will be to secure RVP parity for all ethanol blends, Dinneen said.

The future for the U.S. ethanol industry is bright, but will ultimately be successful if new partnerships are built and the new partnerships and remain united. “I am committed to presenting a united and unbreakable front so there is no ambiguity as to where the entire ethanol industry stands. And I am confident others share my commitment and will work with us toward a common purpose – growing demand and making this industry the success it must be if we are to achieve the energy, environmental, rural economic, and consumer goals that define our mission,” Dinneen concluded.

Dinneen’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery, can be found here.

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Former White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer to Address National Ethanol Conference

WASHINGTON — The Renewable Fuels Association is pleased to announce that former White House press secretary and popular political pundit Ari Fleischer is scheduled to speak at the 22nd annual National Ethanol Conference, Feb. 20–22 in San Diego.

Fleischer will be the featured luncheon speaker on Tuesday, Feb. 21.

From 2001 to 2003, Fleischer was the primary spokesperson for President George W. Bush. He previously served as the Bush campaign spokesman in 1999 and 2000. In his almost four years working for George W. Bush, he served as spokesman during the historic presidential recount, September 11th, two wars and the anthrax attack. Now president of his own firm, Ari Fleischer Communications Inc., he offers advice to clients in the corporate and sports worlds on how to handle the press. He is a frequent guest commentator on many of the leading political and news shows.

“We’re excited to have Mr. Fleischer address our conference attendees,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Since leaving government service, Mr. Fleischer has become an insightful and refreshingly objective source for perspective on the political and policy debates of the day. “As the voice of the President George W. Bush administration for nearly four years, he can offer first-hand insight on what it was like to work with the press during some of the most extraordinary circumstances. Additionally, working as the first press secretary for a new, incoming administration, Mr. Fleischer can provide observations into the unique challenges facing the current administration and the new Congress. NEC attendees will benefit from his experience and advice on working with the media and overall public relations messaging.”

The NEC is the most widely attended executive level conference for the ethanol industry. For up-to-date details on the NEC, visit:

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Two Purdue University Ph.D. Students Awarded NEC Scholarship

WASHINGTON — The Renewable Fuels Association and the Renewable Fuels Foundation are proud to announce Daehwan Kim and David Orrego as winners of the student scholarship that will send them to RFA’s 22nd annual National Ethanol Conference: Building Partnerships, Growing Markets next month in San Diego.

The RFA/RFF scholarship provides students enrolled in higher education with complimentary registration at the conference, giving scholarship recipients the chance to connect with hundreds of leaders, policymakers, and experts associated with the renewable fuel industry. Only students who focus on renewable fuels in their studies and intend to pursue a career in the industry are eligible to receive the scholarship. This is the eighth consecutive year in which this scholarship has been made available to students.

Kim is a Ph.D. candidate at Purdue University, pursuing biofuel research in the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering and the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. His Ph.D. thesis addresses enzyme-catalyzed liquefaction of corn pericarp and fermentation to cellulosic ethanol, and also the development of inhibitor tolerant yeast strains.

Orrego is also a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University. His work focuses on the design, optimization and scale-up of bioprocesses, with a focus on biochemical catalysis and bioreactor design.

“The NEC is the most widely attended ethanol industry conference and provides a great opportunity for those interested in pursuing a professional career in ethanol. With more than 1,500 attendees expected, these students will have access to a wide variety of participants in the ethanol industry, providing for unique networking opportunities,” said Bob Sather, chairman of the RFF and chairman of ACE Ethanol. “We congratulate Mr. Kim and Mr. Orrego and look forward to them attending NEC to learn much more about our global industry.”

The National Ethanol Conference will take place Feb. 20–22 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. For more information, visit For additional resources, visit the RFA and RFF at and

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RFA, RFF to Offer National Ethanol Conference Scholarships

WASHINGTON — For the eighth year, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is partnering with the Renewable Fuels Foundation (RFF) to offer scholarships to students who are interested in attending the National Ethanol Conference (NEC), scheduled for Feb. 20–22, 2017 in San Diego.

Six scholarships are available to students in higher education to attend NEC. Scholarships cover the cost of the conference registration fee—an $899 value. Recipients are responsible for other costs associated with travel to the conference, including airfare, hotel and meals.

“The NEC is the most widely attended ethanol industry conference and provides an exclusive opportunity to directly engage key decision makers and industry executives,” said Bob Sather, chairman of the Renewable Fuels Foundation and chairman of ACE Ethanol. “This scholarship is an incentive to provide students with a real live experience with worldwide leaders in the ethanol industry. The conference is the best classroom for these students to learn and network.”

This year’s NEC, “Building Partnerships, Growing Markets,” offers students the opportunity to receive an in-depth look into the ethanol industry, as speakers are set to address such topics as higher ethanol blends, the Renewable Fuel Standard, E15 and global marketing.

Interested students should submit a 500-word essay explaining how their attendance at the NEC will help them achieve their future goals. They should also submit two letters of recommendation, an up-to-date resume, and a school transcript. Scholarships are only available to students who are attending a U.S. institution of higher learning or foreign students who are affiliated with the U.S. ethanol industry.

For full consideration, applications must be received by Dec. 23. Application materials can be found here.

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Registration Open for 22nd Annual RFA National Ethanol Conference

WASHINGTON — Registration is now open for the Renewable Fuels Association’s 22nd annual National Ethanol Conference (NEC), to be held Feb. 20–22, 2017 in San Diego. The theme for the NEC will be “Building Partnerships, Growing Markets.”

The NEC provides an exclusive opportunity to engage key decision makers and industry executives, while networking and learning about the latest technologies and government policies. Speakers will address a number of topics, including expanding infrastructure, blends above E10, high octane fuels and exports.

“It is no surprise that the National Ethanol Conference is the most widely attended ethanol industry conference and can’t miss annual event,” said RFA Board Chairman Mick Henderson, general manager of Commonwealth Agri-Energy LLC, which operates a 33-million gallon per year ethanol plant in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. “The conference always has a panoply of speakers to inform attendees about ways we can continue to grow our industry and I look forward to the upcoming event.”

Additionally, for the second year, NEC has been selected to be a participant of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Buyer Program (IBP). Through its network of offices in U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide, the IBP recruits pre-screened foreign buyer delegations and brings them to selected U.S. trade shows and conferences, connecting U.S. companies with international buyers. International trade specialists from the agency will be at the International Trade Center onsite at the NEC to provide export counseling, matchmaking services, market analysis and more.

For more information, visit Registration is free for accredited media.

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