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...

REG Buying European Biodiesel From Used Cooking Oil Producer

Jim Lane US biodiesel leader heads for the EU – what’s up with used cooking oil, and what is REG’s path forward with the German-based biodiesel producer? In Iowa, Renewable Energy Group and IC Green Energy announced that REG will acquire ICG’s majority equity ownership position in German biodiesel producer Petrotec AG (XETRA: PT8). Closing of the transaction is expected before year end. REG CEO Dan Oh Last month, REG CEO Dan Oh told The Digest, “We’re not done growing, that’s for sure! We’ve done something of...

Biodiesel Christmas Caroling: FFA La La

Jim Lane “On the way” forever, talked up by all, deployed by some – technologies that handle high free fatty acid feedstocks like used cooking oil are coming into their hey-day, via players like REG, Novozymes, Pacific Biodiesel, Blue Sun, Piedmont, COMAC and more. Christmas come early for advanced biofuels? One of the most alluring targets in advanced biofuels although cruelly mis-named is in the world of free fatty acids. Most of the oils currently used for biodiesel are sourced from soybeans, palm or rapeseed, and precisely because they contain less than 0.5%...

Interview With Dan Oh, CEO Of Renewable Energy Group

Jim Lane Leading a series this week, “The Strategics Speak", in which we’ll look at what a number of major strategic investors see in the landscape relating to industrial, energy and agricultural investment, Biofuels Digest visited with Dan Oh, CEO of Renewable Energy Group (REGI), which has long been the US’s leading independent biodiesel producer but in recent years has steadily diversified and expanded operations. In many ways, REG is the entire industrial biotech business in a nutshelll. They’re fermentation (through REG Life Sciences), and thermocatalytic (through REG Geismar and their extensive biodiesel business). They use both...

FutureFuel, Present Buying Opportunity

Tom Konrad CFA FutureFuel Corp. (NYSE:FF) manufactures chemicals, biofuels (mostly biodiesel), and other biobased products.  About 60% of revenues have historically come from the Chemicals unit, with the balance of 40% coming from the Biodiesel unit. Both units saw sharp declines in revenues over the last two quarters for reasons that seem likely to be temporary (at least in part.)  The stock has sold off sharply as a result, falling from the $18-$21 range this spring to its $12 recent price Biodiesel The entire biodiesel industry has been suffering from the expiration of the biodiesel blender's tax...

Future Fuel’s Enticing Earnings

by Debra Fiakas CFA Who doesn’t like a bargain?  FutureFuel Corporation (FF:  NYSE) is trading near $13.15 per share, below nine times net earnings.  Yet, the enticing earnings multiple might be only part of the story. The stock has gapped down in price twice in the last six months, trailing off after each leg down.  The stock now appears oversold. Based in Missouri, FutureFuel produces biodiesel and biobased speciality chemical products.  In the twelve months ending June 2014, the company reported $396.9 million in sales, providing $53.5 million in net income or $1.52 per share. ...

REG Sells More Biodiesel, Earnings Drop, Acquisitions Are Future Wild Cards

Jim Lane Biodiesel giant Renewable Energy Group (REGI)  is up on gallons, down on dollars as market prices weigh on results. In Iowa, REG announced net income of $10.8 million for the second quarter on revenues of $332.9M, a drop from its Q2 2013 net income of $19.6 million, and a 13% drop in revenue despite an 11% lift in gallons produced. The company noted that net income was boosted by a tax benefit of $11.9 million, recognized primarily from the release of a valuation allowance resulting from recording deferred tax liabilities related to the...

Green Diesel At Scale

Jim Lane A now-complete 142 million gallon green diesel monster project will easily deliver big on renewable energy targets and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. But it also offers a material path to profits for its parents, Valero Energy and Darling International. In Louisiana, Darling International (DAR) announced that Diamond Green Diesel, the joint venture between Valero (VLO) subsidiary Diamond Alternative Energy LLC and Darling International , has reached mechanical completion and the startup process will lead to full production of renewable diesel. Once in full operations, the 9,300 barrel-per-day (142.5 million gallon) plant in Norco,...

Biodiesel’s Big Comeback

Jim Lane Filling up with Biodiesel in 2007.  Photo source: Tom Konrad Darling of the mid-2000s, still beloved by its many fans biodiesel is increasingly a key to delivering advanced biofuels volumes now and even more so between now and 2022. Presentations by NBB CEO Joe Jobe and REG CEO Daniel Oh at ABLC 2013 explained the how and why. In the excitement over cellulosic biofuels and drop-ins, it is easy to forget that the backbone of advanced biofuels in the US and around he...

Renewable Energy Group Profits Exceed Subsidies

by Debra Fiakas CFA Earlier this month biodiesel producer Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REGI:  Nasdaq) reported a tidy profit of $22.3 million on record $1.0 billion in total sales.  Reported net income was $43.5 million, including accounting treatments for corporate recapitalization undertaken in the year.  Results from 2012 were noteworthy on a couple of counts.  It was the first time in the company’s ten-year history (including years of operation among predecessor firms) that sales exceeded $1.0 billion.  REGI produced 188 million gallons of biodiesel from a variety of feedstock, including non-edible corn oil, used...