Is Your Car Flex Fuel ?

More than 22 million automobiles on U.S. roadways today are flex fuel vehicles (FFVs), which can run on fuel blends containing up to 85 percent ethanol (E85). Is your vehicle one of them?

 Finding out is easy, thanks to a new brochure released November 7 by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). The brochure compiles all of the FFV models available in the current model year (MY2018), as well as previous years going back as far as MY1998.

All of the data used in the brochure was collected directly from the automakers.

E15 an E85 fuel blends continue to grow in the US market.

There are more than 4,000 retail stations throughout the U.S. that offer E85 or other ethanol flex fuel blends, and that number grows each week.

For more information, please contact the company.



US Bio-Fuel Production and Higher Blends

According to the Renewable Fuel Association, as of May 2017 there were 213 ethanol plants in the US capable of producing 15.8 Billion Gallons of Ethanol per year.

72% of the production capacity is concentrated in six states in the Midwest while, the majority of the blended gasoline  is consumed  in the Northeast, California, Texas and Florida.

The Renewable Fuel Standard II has been set at 15 billion gallons in 2017. 1.04 Billion Gallons of ethanol were exported in 2016.


As of May 2017, E15 is been offered in over 800 gas stations across 29 states. Major retailers continue converting pumps to E15, offering a higher octane fuel at a lower price than E10.

To gain perspective, blending an average of 11% ethanol would result in an annual demand of 15.8* billion gallons, exhausting annual production capacity in the US.


*Based on 143.3 billion gallons of gasoline annual consumption.

For additional information, please contact the company.



The company is encouraged by the positive outlook for the production and distribution of renewable advanced bio-fuels.  The domestic production of ethanol has played a key role in decreasing dependence on foreign oil. 

 In the United States, Federal   Law required the use of oxygenates in reformulated gasoline to reduce vehicle emissions in cities with unhealthy levels of air pollution. These oxygenates included MTBE in the past. However, the use of MTBE is no longer permitted, making ethanol the primary clean air oxygenates used. 

 Ethanol has an octane value of 113 and is the primary additive used by refiners to increase octane levels, producing regular grade gasoline from lower octane blend stocks and upgrading regular gasoline to premium grades, to improve engine performance. Refiners are producing more conventional blend stocks for oxygenate blending, or CBOB, which is an 84 octane sub-grade gasoline that requires ethanol or another octane source to meet the minimum octane requirements for the U.S. gasoline market. CBOB represented approximately 80% of total conventional gasoline sold in 2015.  

 Ethanol is a valuable blend component used by U.S. refiners to extend fuel supply. According to the EIA, ethanol comprised approximately 9.9% of the domestic gasoline supply, replacing nearly 750 million barrels of crude oil in 2016.  

 In October 2010, the EPA granted a waiver that permitted the use of E15 in model year 2001 and newer passenger vehicles, including cars, sport utility vehicles and light pickup trucks. In June 2012, the EPA approved the sale and use of E15 and in July 2012, the nation’s first retail E15 was sold. On January 2017, there were 627 retail fuel stations in 28 states offering E15 to consumers.

  Our  federal government mandates the use of renewable fuels under RFS II, which has been a driving factor in the growth of domestic ethanol usage. The EPA assigns individual refiners, blenders and importers the volume of renewable fuels they are obligated to use based on their percentage of total fuel sales. In November 2016, the EPA announced the final 2017 renewable volume obligations for conventional ethanol of 15.0 billion gallons.

Prior to 2010, the United States had a long history as a net importer of ethanol. In 2010, according to the USDA, the United States became the largest exporter of ethanol to world markets and lowest-cost producer, surpassing Brazil. According to the EIA, U.S. ethanol exports, net of imports, were approximately 1.0 billion gallons in 2016 and 730 million gallons in 2015.

Demand for cleaner, more sustainable transportation fuel has made ethanol a crucial component of the global fuel supply as an economical oxygenate and source of octanes.

According to the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance, 35 countries, including the EU which is regulated by a single policy with specific national targets for each country, have mandates or planned targets in place for blending ethanol and biodiesel with transportation fuels to reduce harmful emissions.

In January 2017, the USDA released a report providing evidence that greenhouse gas emissions associated with corn based ethanol are 43% lower than gasoline. Numerous factors have led to improvements over the past ten years, including conservation practices by farmers, higher corn yields and advances in production technologies, which are expected to continue and has the potential to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions up to a 76% as compared with gasoline.

Based on the forecasted market opportunity, the company is deploying new technologies for the production of advanced ethanol bio-fuels utilizing different feed-stocks depending on the location of the processing plant.

Triticum Energy Corporation’s corn to ethanol plant, is implementing several competitive advantages including:

 -          Lower cost of operation per gallon produced.

-          Low Carbon Footprint (low GHG).

-          Self-production of renewable energy utilizing bio-gas.

-          Cost effective cellulosic pathways that increase yield.

Among the baseline industry parameters that will be implemented in the corn to ethanol new facility are:

  • Expected Yield of Ethanol per Bushel of Corn = 2.88 Gallons
  • Pounds of DDG produced per Bushel of Corn = 17 lbs. per Bushel
  • Pounds of extracted oil per bushel of corn =  1.0   lbs. per Bushel
  • BTU of renewable bio-gas per gallon of Ethanol = >18,000 BTU per Gallon
  • Kwh of renewable electricity per gallon of Ethanol =.05 Kwh per gallon

 In the case of Jamaica, the designated feed stock is Sweet Sorghum.


For additional information, please contact the company.



Several technologies are emerging for the production of ethanol from non-conventional feed stocks that do not have readily available starch and fermentable sugars. This process is now called CELLULOSIC ETHANOL. 

The “new” processes involve the hydrolysis of polysaccharides in cell walls of fiber and woody plant materials. This structural material known as lignocellulose is composed of cellulose fibers embedded in a cross-linked lignin-hemicellulose matrix.

Breaking this component is difficult, because lignocellulose is resistant to both chemical and biological attack. 

A variety of physical, chemical and enzymatic processes have been developed that allow the recovery from the cellulose of 5-carbon sugars and 6-carbon sugars (hexoses) which can be fermented and distilled to produce ethanol. The leftover lignin is not recovered and simply burned as boiler fuel. 

Up to now the industrial processes in commercial operations are not cost competitive. The cost per gallon is 3-4 times higher than conventional corn-ethanol. 

One of the major costly steps corresponds to pre-treatment of the lignocellulose, which accounts for 33% of the total processing cost. The energy use is very high during the pretreatment phase and grows exponentially when reducing particle sizes to apply enzymatic hydrolysis. 

For the Hydrolysis phase there are three basic technologies: 

1.      Concentrated Acid

2.      Dilute Acid

3.      Enzymatic Hydrolysis

Most of the cellulosic commercial plants are using some form of Enzymatic Hydrolysis, but the quantity required and costs of the enzymes is not commercially competitive yet. (Over time there may be reductions in the price of enzymes). 


The conditions of the developing Torrington Corn-Grain Sorghum bio-fuel plant are favorable for adding more commercially viable cellulosic pathways to increase yields and to qualify more of the production for the advanced bio-fuel RINS. 

Among the unique favorable conditions that may allow the plant to increase the Cellulosic production of ethanol are: 

1.      Production of its own CHP (ENERGY) thru the anaerobic digester and the production of bio-gas

2.      Propriety Super Heat Steam Technology. 

3.      Feedstock corn cobs readily available from local farmers. 

The above factors will allow producing cellulosic ethanol in a cost per gallon similar to conventional dry milling corn ethanol production.  

Benchmark has access to a patented process similar to a process developed in the 1930’s for the production of fiberboard that will be adapted in Torrington in a cost effective way. 

It involves the creation of a Thermal Expansion during the pre-treatment phase. 

The Thermal Expansion involves saturation of the pores of the plant materials with steam followed by a rapid decompression. The explosive expansion of heat reduces the plant material to separated fibers, increasing the accessibility of polysaccharides to subsequent hydrolysis. The steam needs to reach temperatures of 220-270 Centigrade and the resident time varies between 40-90 seconds. 

Corn Cobs have very high hemicellulose content and are particularly easy to digest. Pre-hydrolysis at temperature of 150 Centigrade converts the hemicellulose to xylose after only 5 minutes.  

For the Hydrolysis phase, Benchmark proposed pathway uses Acid Hydrolysis (Sulfuric Acid). The large volume of acid required about equal the weight of sugars produced; therefore, to be cost effective, the sulfuric acid needs to be recovered and recycled. 

The recovery of sulfuric acid has a high boiling point. We are installing state of the art instrumentation controls in the recovery distillation flash point extractions, allowing for a very precise recovery.

Management Team News

The company is delighted to announce the incorporation of Mr. Sergio Barreira as The Technology and Engineering Integration Director.

 With the upcoming projects that the company is developing, Mr. Barreira's expertise assures the successful implementation of the new processing facilities.

Mr. Barreira was instrumental in building the Brazilian Ethanol Industry.

With more than 40 years of professional experience, he holds an Engineering degree and an MBA from the Universidad de Sao Paulo Brazil. He held positions in Alfa Laval, Codistil SA/ Dedini and NG Metalurgica as Ethanol Engineer, Engineering Manager and Engineering Director. He is currently the  President of Destiltec Consultoria em Procesos Industriais Ltda.

 Mr. Barreira is considered one of the world's foremost authorities in the sugar to ethanol industry. 

For additional information, please contact the company.




On February  1, the company executed  a Development Agreement with TRITICUM ENERGY CORPORATION (“TEC”) of Nevada. The Agreement includes the design of a new 20 million gallons per year Advanced bio-fuel facility utilizing Corn and Grain Sorghum  as the feedstock, to be installed in Goshen County Wyoming.

Under the US $ 1,220,000 Agreement, the company will complete all engineering Schedule A requirements, determine the site selection, procure all environmental and construction permits, secure equipment, EPC contract for construction and implement available construction funding at Notice to Proceed (“NTP”).

The delivery of the project at NTP is expected in July, 2017

The development team include Mike Schnepp as team leader and David R. Walker as Chief Technology Officer.

TEC has received overwhelming support from the Goshen County and the State of Wyoming authorities for the implementation of this new, low carbon bio-fuel facility.

For additional information, please contact the company.




The company is pleased to announce that on December 16, it has executed a partnership agreement with Triticum Energy Corporation (“TEC”) to develop new advanced bio-fuel projects in the Midwest.

TEC was established in 2012 by Mr. Mike Schnepp , Mr. Dalton Larson and Mr. Ramon Gonzales and is ready to develop a green field advanced bio-fuel project in the Midwest utilizing Corn and other advanced raw materials as the feedstock.

 After evaluating the current operations of conventional bio-fuel distilleries, TEC selected Benchmark Renewable Energy’s (“BRE”) design and low carbon intensity technologies to build and procure a more efficient bio-distillery with a low carbon footprint, self power generation and better recovery of associated by-products.

Mr. Schnepp has 30+ years of experience in the Bio-fuel industry. He has been heavily involved in all aspects of bio-fuel production, including but not limited to plant management, project development, construction, and maintenance & technology evaluations. Mr. Schnepp has worked for and/or with the major industry process technology providers (Vogelbusch USA, Katzen, Delta T, ICM) and has served as an expert industry resource to various major EPC and other business entities in the bio-fuel business sector.

 Mr. Larson is   TEC’s Chairman of the Board and an Attorney with more than 35 years as a member of the Law Society of British Columbia. His business activities include more than 25 years as a director of several investment funds managed by the CW Funds Group, affiliated with Ventures West Management Inc., one of the largest venture capital firms in Canada. Mr. Larson also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of a Philippine ethanol company.

Mr. Gonzales has many years of experience in the sugar industry and was involved in the team for the first ethanol project in Cuba in 1975. Since then he has become an expert in the ethanol industry having participated in the construction of bio-fuel plants in several countries.  He has more than 30 years of experience in international commerce and commodity trading. Mr. Gonzales is the exclusive representative for North America of TOMSA DESTIL, S.L., a Spanish company with more than a century of experience in the distillation of alcohol and beverage production, with more than 400 plants delivered around the world.

The company is looking forward to working with TEC in 2017,   developing a showcase, low carbon intensity bio-fuel plant, with new cellulosic feedstock pathways that shall become the new “Benchmark” of the bio-fuel industry.

For additional information, please contact the company.

New Technology Patent Approved

The company has secured new technology developed by David R Walker that allows for a more efficient utilization of the steam in the distillation columns and improves the production of excess power.

By using less steam for the bio-fuel process, the plant becomes more environmental and energy efficient and allows for more electricity production to be sold back to the utilitity companies.

For additional information, please contact the company.



As part of the process of creating the most advanced bio-fuel facility to date, the company continues to assess the expected Carbon Footprint of the project. The objective of the company is to implement a cost effective process to identify the total set of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) generated by the project,  in order to maximize the eco-sustainable energy use.

By utilizing Enterprise Carbon Accounting (“ECA”) techniques we are able to identify critical areas on the production lifecycle of the Bio-fuel to implement sustainable solutions that will allow the company to minimize greenhouse emissions, complying and exceeding current Kyoto Protocol CO2e emissions.

The expected compliance will enable the company to issue Carbon Credit Certificates (Carbon Offsets certificates or Certified Emission Reduction CER) that can be traded in the international mandatory markets.  

One area of particular interest involve the Air Quality Control Systems (“AQCS”) associated with the combined heat and power (“CHP”) units.  Recently we have started discussions with GE Power regarding their AQCS technology for power generation. GE has been providing customers with advanced AQCS for over 80 years.

By implementing GE’s AQCS, we are assured to comply with today’s US Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) stringent emission regulations, as well as those in the international markets.

During our discussions, we learned that GE recently acquired ALSTOM ENERGY business.  ALSTOM is a leading manufacturer of Power Generators (Thermal and Renewable).  Our strategic partner company in Brazil, NG Metalurgica recently signed a cooperation agreement with ALSTOM for Steam Turbines.

We expect great synergies to develop between NG Metalurgica and GE-ALSTOM   that will greatly benefit the implementation of the projects.

For additional information, please contact the company.





On August 29, the Mexico energy regulators published a new ethanol rule in the country’s federal registry. The new rule requires that 5.8 % ethanol be blended in the nation’s fuel supply with the exception of three major metropolitan areas (Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey).

The new regulation, to be enacted immediately, requires that approximately 600 million new gallons of ethanol per year be blended for the Mexican market.

The new ethanol requirements could be produced in Mexico, Texas and/or Central America-Caribbean.


During August, India’s Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan outlined a plan to increase the Bio-fuel market in India 750 % by 2022.

The plan calls for a target of 5 % blending of bio-diesel and 10 % blend of ethanol in gasoline. Currently the bio-fuel industry in India is trying to achieve a 5 % blend of bio-fuels both in diesel and gasoline. The new targets require the construction of multiple new ethanol plants as well as further development of bio-fuel distribution infrastructure.

India is a world leader producer of Sugar Cane but the government is looking to boost ethanol production from alternate feed stocks.


The company is already holding preliminary discussions on these two markets.


For additional information, please contact the company.