In this week’s news roundup, we see the rising popularity of fuel ethanol—from its presence at more fuel retailers to its increasing role as an important energy source for other countries. And, with the E30 Challenge giving drivers the confidence to try higher blends, filling up with fuel ethanol is looking like a smarter (and easier) decision than ever.

Kum & Go, Thorntons join Growth Energy

Growth Energy has added two more leading fuel and convenience store retailers to its ranks of associate members: Kum & Go LC and Thorntons Inc.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kum & Go and Thorntons to the Growth Energy team,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “We have been working with both retailers through the Prime the Pump program to increase the availability of higher ethanol blends, like E15 and E85, across the country.”

Though it first began offering E15 in 2015, West Des Moines-based Kum & Go partnered with Growth Energy last year to expand the company’s offering of higher fuel ethanol blends. Louisville, Ky.-based Thorntons began selling E15 fuel at 43 Chicago-area locations in March 2016 under its trademarked Unleaded15 brand name.

For more on this story, visit Convenience Store News.


2016 DDGS exports reached second highest level on record

U.S. exports of distillers grains—a co-product of dry mill ethanol production used to feed livestock and poultry—totaled 11.48 million metric tons in 2016, down 10% from 2015’s record-high but still the second-highest on record, according to a new report from the Renewable Fuels Association.

Distillers grain exports were shipped to 50 countries on five continents last year.

An estimated 31% of U.S. distillers grains production was exported in 2016, meaning one out of every three tons produced was shipped to foreign markets. China was the leading destination, followed by Mexico, Vietnam and South Korea. However, exports to China plunged 63% compared to 2015, though shipments to nine of the other top 10 markets experienced growth.

Learn more on the report and last year’s statistics at the Renewable Fuels Association.


US vehicles pass E30 Challenge with flying colors

The E30 Challenge, which ran from fall 2015 to fall 2016, was designed to show motorists they could safely use the higher fuel ethanol blend.

40 vehicles participated. During the Challenge, participants filled their tanks three times with E10 and three times with E30 and then were asked to talk about how their vehicles drove with the fuels. Meanwhile, the data loggers recorded statistical information about the vehicles’ performance.

Among other conclusions, the official test results showed that all vehicles tested adapted to E30 staying within the OEM computer calibration range. Additionally, savings amounted to .0137 cents per mile, with a projected annual savings of more than $200 per vehicle. And, there were no check engine lights as a result of using E30.

Read more about the E30 Challenge at Ethanol Producer Magazine.


Argentina could boost ethanol blending to 24%

According to Reuters, Argentina could, in the next two to three years, double the proportion of ethanol used in gasoline from the current 12%.

If the government goes forward with the increase, the move could help the South American agricultural country—the world’s third-largest corn exporter—reduce its energy deficit.

The country would have no trouble sourcing the corn needed to boost ethanol consumption, due to the increased plantings after President Mauricio Macri lifted export taxes and limitations shortly after taking office in December 2015. And, Argentina’s corn harvest this season has seen a 23% increase from last season.

Get more details at NASDAQ.

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Geoff Hayward

Communications Advisor at Novozymes
Geoff writes about Bioenergy for the Communications team at Novozymes. When he isn’t advocating for an industry that’s changing the world for the better, he can be found on a North Carolina bike path or playing slide guitar.