Oh, No! Renewable Energy Group CEO Departs

Oh, No! Renewable Energy Group CEO Departs Intirim CEO plans no strategy change Jim Lane In Iowa, Renewable Energy Group (REGI) announced that Dan Oh has resigned as President and Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Company’s Board of Directors. The resignation was effective July 3, 2017. The Board of Directors appointed long-time director Randolph (Randy) L. Howard as Interim President and Chief Executive Officer. Howard is a 33-year veteran of Unocal, has been on the REG board since 2007 so, a familiar face at 67, may not be in the...

Ethanol and Biodiesel: Production Cost and Profitability

For a number of years, this (now old and outdated, but) very useful chart has been in circulation in energy circles, mapping the supply of energy to the world by looking not at prices, but at production costs. For one thing, it goes a long way to explaining why the price of oil can tumble so quickly when there is a fall off in demand, and explains why OPEC is troubled by unconventional oil in a way it is not so bothered by other energy sources such as renewable fuels. Renewables not only have been traditionally at the...

Insider View on REGI

by Debra Fiakas CFA Insider buying is not one of my regular screening criteria in selecting long plays in the small cap sector.  However, to learn a chief executive officer has taken out his/her check book to buy shares in their company is influential.  In November 2016, the CEO of biofuel producer Renewable Energy Group (REGI:  Nasdaq) reported an increase in his stake in the company in recent months. With REGI shares just above the prices paid by the CEO just three months ago, it is timely to look more closely from the outside. In...

DAR the Rins Blow!

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week the management of  Darling Ingredients (DAR:  NYSE) staged a webinar on its opportunities in biofuels.  Darling produces biodiesel in Kentucky and Canada and is in a renewable diesel joint venture with Valero Energy (VLO:  NYSE) in Louisiana.  As a recycler of wastes and excess from the food production processes, the production of energy with organic feedstock is a logical extension of Darling’s collection and aggregation infrastructure. The event did not do much for Darling’s share price, but the presentation triggered a few questions about RINs  -  shorthand for...

FutureFuel: Still Future, Less Fuel

by Debra Fiakas CFA The last post “From Fuel to Fudge” discussed how the old Solazyme developer of algal-based renewable fuel has been transformed into a new company called TerraVia, (TVIA) which is pursing algal-based food and personal care products.  Solazyme is not the only renewable fuel company to make an about face.  Granted FutureFuel Corporation (FF:  NYSE) has not changed its name or stock symbol like Solazyme.  However, its ability to produce specialty chemicals has given FutureFuel an alternative to biofuels and its early plans to build a plant that could eventually produce 160 million gallons of...

REG: A Little ADM With Better Growth Prospects

Jim Lane At 8:30am, there’s a standing daily meeting of the key traders in Gary Haer’s sales group at Renewable Eenergy Group's (NASD:REGI aka REG) headquarters in Ames, Iowa. And they’re not kidding. Everyone stands. For 15 minutes there’s the rat-a-tat-tat of rumor, fact, competitors, pricing, spreads, the who’s selling what and where, the buying and selling of diesel, renewable diesel and biodiesel across North America. On most minds this Friday morning, what’s going to happen with corn prices? The USDA late on Thursday released its annual spring plantings report and it was a shocker. Corn acres...

FutureFuel Profits Preview

by Debra Fiakas CFA Biodiesel and biochemical producer FutureFuel Corporation (FF:  NYSE) will report fourth quarter 2015 financial results after the market close today.  No conference call will be held due to low attendance on recent calls.  The single published estimate for FutureFuel is for $0.28 in earnings per share on $122.5 million in total sales.  Despite an increase in this estimate in the last week, the number still represents a significant decrease in earnings compared to the prior-year period.  The Company has missed the consensus estimate in both of the last two quarters and we do not...

Will Renewable Energy Group’s Buying Spree Ever Stop?

Jim Lane Jim Lane is editor and publisher  of Biofuels Digest where this article was originally published. Biofuels Digest is the most widely read  Biofuels daily read by 14,000+ organizations. Subscribe here.

Renewable Energy Group Teams Up With ExxonMobil For Cellulosic Biodiesel

Jim Lane Two giants hook up to bring cellulosic biodiesel to scale. A new source of biodiesel feedstock, and a new source of renewable fuels. In Iowa, ExxonMobil (XOM) and Renewable Energy Group (REGI) have agreed to jointly study the production of biodiesel by fermenting renewable cellulosic sugars from sources such as agricultural waste. REG has developed a patented technology that uses microbes to convert sugars to biodiesel in a one-step fermentation process similar to ethanol manufacturing. The ExxonMobil and REG Life Sciences research will focus on using sugars from non-food sources. Terms were not disclosed. Readers will...

EPA increases US Renewable Fuel Standard Volumes, But Only Slightly

Jim Lane In Washington, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced final volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard program today for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, and final volume requirements for biomass-based diesel for 2014 to 2017. This rule finalizes higher volumes of renewable fuel than the levels EPA proposed in June, boosting renewable production and providing support for robust, achievable growth of the biofuels industry. “The biofuel industry is an incredible American success story, and the RFS program has been an important driver of that successcutting carbon pollution, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and sparking...

Fretting Over FutureFuel

by Debra Fiakas CFA Earlier this week FutureFuel Corporation (FF:  NYSE) reported financial results for the second quarter ending June 2015.   Sales of the company’s biodiesel and specialty chemical products increased 53.7% to $104.6 million compared to the prior-year quarter when reported revenue was $68.0 million.  The company delivered a profit as usual, but traders appeared unimpressed.  The stock gapped lower on the news and two days later set a new 52-week low price.  Granted net income was lower year-over-year by 30.9%, coming in at $3.8 million or $0.09 per share.  A closer look...

Propel Fuels’ Sales of Neste Renewable Diesel Jump 15x

Jim Lane West Coast renewable fuel retailer says the launch of 100% drop-in renewable diesel has spiked sales on a per-outlet basis 5X jump in renewable content, and 3X jump in gallons sold. In California, Propel Fuels is reporting a 15X jump in per-outlet sales of renewable fuel for diesel engines, based on a 3X increase in gallons sold of its new Diesel HPR fuel and 5X increase in renewable content for Diesel HPR (100% renewable content, vs the 20 percent renewable content in B20 biodiesel, which Propel formerly sold). With the news, Propel is expanding...

REG Buys Imperium Renewables

Jim Lane The biggest US biodiesel, renewable diesel producer Renewable Energy Group (REGI), or "REG" buys the biggest US facility in asset deal. The fully-operational 100-million gallon nameplate capacity biorefinery will be renamed REG Grays Harbor. The facility includes 18 million gallons of storage capacity and a terminal that can accommodate feedstock intake and fuel delivery on deep-water PANAMAX class vessels as well as possessing significant rail and truck transport capability. REG will pay Imperium $15M in cash and issue 1.5 million shares of REG common stock in exchange for substantially all of Imperium’s assets. In addition to...

EPA Slashes Corn Ethanol Targets Under Proposed Renewable Fuel Standard

Renewable Diesel Takes Smaller Cut Jim Lane “EPA continues to assert authority under the general waiver provision to reduce biofuel volumes based on available infrastructure,” says BIO. “This is a point that will have to be litigated. It goes against Congressional intent.” In Washington, the EPA released its proposed standards for 2014, 2015, and 2016 and volumes for renewable fuels. The volumes, as widely expected, include substantial reductions from the statutory standards in the original 2007 Energy Independence & Security Act. The EPA also released a 2017 proposed standard for biomass-based diesel. Yet, while attracting significant...

Darling Ingredients: At the Margin

by Debra Fiakas CFA This week Darling Ingredients (DAR:  NYSE) reported earnings of $100,000 on net sales of $874.7 million in the first quarter ending March 2015.  Darling is a recycler of sorts, collecting by-products of the food production industry and recycling the left-overs and waste into proteins, fats and leathers.  Nothing goes to waste.  Every last chicken feather, hide, gallon of used cooking grease and cake crumb gets up-cycled to a usable material for feed, food, fuel or clothing.  Its customers include pet food producers, personal care manufacturers and textile users, among others. Darling used...

FutureFuel’s Future

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week the president of renewable chemicals producer FutureFuel Corporation (FF:  NYSE) turned in his resignation.  Lee Mikles is around sixty and seems a bit young for retirement.  He had been with the company from day one and served as the chief executive officer through the end of 2012.  He owns 2.3 million shares of FutureFuel stock or about 5% of the outstanding shares.  Maybe Mikles is just looking for a better paycheck.  The last time the company disclosed compensation, Mikles was down for $36,000 in compensation as a director.  Along with...