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Branstad, Gingrich Headline Renewable Fuels Summit

Branstad, Gingrich Headline Renewable Fuels Summit

Iowa governor-elect Terry Branstad, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and NASCAR legendary racecar driver Rusty Wallace will be keynote speakers at 5th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit on January 25 in Des Moines.

Iowa governor-elect Terry Branstad will address the 5th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit on January 25, 2011 in Des Moines. He will be one of three keynote speakers. The others are former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and legendary NASCAR champion racecar driver Rusty Wallace.

Gov. Branstad has made "Iowa's future as a leader in the renewables fuels industry" one of his top priorities in his new administration. "This will not be the first Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit that Gov. Branstad has attended," says IRFA executive director Monte Shaw. "Before, he attended as an investor in Iowa renewable fuels refineries.  Now as governor, we're excited to hear his vision for enhancing Iowa's status as a leader in renewable fuels production and public policy regarding renewable energy."

The summit and trade show, being held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Polk County Convention Complex in Des Moines, is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is required. Participants can register online at by January 21, where they'll also find additional links and information relating to the summit, or you can register by calling Lucy Norton at 515-252-6249.

Topics are E15 ethanol, biodiesel resurgence, advanced biofuels

Program highlights and key topics for this year's summit include, "E15:  Bringing More Fuel Choices to Iowa," "Iowa Biodiesel Resurgence," and "Advanced Biofuels – A Turning Point for Renewable Energy."

Governor-elect Branstad is scheduled to address the summit at 10 a.m.  In addition to NASCAR Champion Rusty Wallace and Newt Gingrich, a fourth featured speaker will be Bob Dinneen, who follows U.S. energy policy and related legislation quite closely as head of the national Renewable Fuels Association in Washington, D.C. 

Gingrich currently serves as chairman of American Solutions for Winning the Future. "Speaker Gingrich has been a champion for renewable fuels since at least 1995 – first in the legislative arena and, more recently, in the arena of ideas," says IRFA's Shaw. "Gingrich is always thoughtful and thought provoking, so we know the summit audience will look forward to his remarks." Gingrich is scheduled to address the summit at 11:30 a.m.

2010 ethanol production up, biodiesel production down

Renewable fuels production in Iowa headed in different directions in 2010. Iowa's ethanol production was up for the year, while biodiesel production was down.  Forty-one Iowa ethanol plants produced 3.5 billion gallons in 2010, up from 3.2 billion gallons in 2009. Without the federal blenders tax credit for 2010, many of Iowa's 12 biodiesel plants did not operate at all. Those that operated produced 48 million gallons of biodiesel in 2010, down from 85 million gallons in 2009.

"The year 2010 certainly told two different stories for renewable fuels," notes Shaw. "Iowa ethanol plants expanded production as demand for ethanol grew with rising gasoline prices. On the other hand, biodiesel plants were struggling just to survive. We believe 2011 will witness more demand for both ethanol and biodiesel, but there will continue to be challenges. Iowa plants are well positioned to overcome these challenges because the state is committed to a more renewable future."

Iowa is the leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 41 ethanol refineries capable of producing nearly 3.7 billion gallons annually. In addition, Iowa has 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce 315 million gallons annually. IRFA was formed in 2002 to represent the state's liquid renewable fuels industry. The trade group fosters the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development.

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