RFS Field Hearing Testimony from Bernie Hoffman from WB Services
Posted on 06/25/2015
Full testimony as given from the Chief Operating Officer of WB Services, Bernie Hoffman during the EPA Field Hearing on the RFS on June 25, 2015.
EPA RFS Hearing, June 25, 2015 Kansas City, KS
- Brief review of basic “tenants” of ethanol/Biofuels which are as or more valid today than when the industry first came into being.
- Create high paying, stable rural employment
- Create a long term, stable market for US corn producers
- Reduce dependence on foreign oil
- i. Every truckload of corn delivered to an ethanol plant displaces over 60 barrels of imported oil
- ii. Annual costs to protect Persian Gulf oil interests exceeds $65 billion
- Reduce emissions, achieve cleaner air
- The main and much more personal part of my testimony and why I am here today. Today US ethanol producers are more efficient that ever. A typical plant uses less energy (35% less than just 15 years ago), yields more ethanol, uses less water and has a dramatically improved overall energy balance. In 1996 for every BTU of energy input, ethanol yielded 1.37 BTU’s of energy. Today for every BTU of input, the energy yield from ethanol is 2.3 BTU’s. One reason for these improvements in a relatively short amount of time (the ethanol industry is still “young” in terms of the life and maturity of an industry), is the result of work done by companies like WB Services, the company that I represent. WB came into existence in 2007 to serve ethanol plants. There were 4 employees. WB finished 2014 with 184 employees and a 13 person engineering staff. One of WB’s primary purposes is the optimization of existing ethanol plants. WB has been successful because creative, motivated, hard working people have worked together to create a number of plant optimization products resulting in lower energy use, higher ethanol yield and lower water use. Further WB screens, helps develop and commercializes new complimentary technologies to help the ethanol industry diversify and remain competitive. One such technology is the conversion of distiller’s corn oil to renewable diesel, taking an organic oil and producing a hydrocarbon. This technology is being implemented currently at 2 ethanol plants in Kansas. The integration and energy sharing between the renewable diesel plant and the ethanol plant is very elegant and reduces the carbon footprint of the host ethanol plant. WB has a patent pending on the integration of this technology with a host ethanol plant. WB’s mere existence is due to renewable fuels and the RFS2. The WB “story” is repeated countless times throughout the Biofuels industry; creative, hardworking people serving a grass roots industry necessary to the longevity of the US farm economy, the US environment and the US National security.
- In closing, I know this cannot be viewed as objective, but please keep in mind that my undergraduate degree is in petroleum engineering and the petroleum industry was once where I made my living. I can say with 100% confidence and pass the “red face test” that any opposition to Biofuels fall into one of the following categories;
- Those who do not know all the facts
- Those that use old, long outdated information as the basis for their conclusions
- Those that have a particular agenda in opposing Biofuels
Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to share my thoughts.