Nebraska Renewable Energy Association
Home
News
Events
Join Us
Why Renewable
BioFuels
Solar
Wind
For Kids
Multimedia
Contact
Mailing List
BioFuels Print this Page
divider
biofuels
Biofuels are fuels made from renewable organic matter. This matter usually consists of plants or animal residues. Nebraska has vast plant and animal residue resources which can be converted into biofuels, such as ethanol, biodiesel, and methane.

By exploring the links on this page you can find information about the production and use of biofuels. Please visit the ethanol multimedia page to view even more resources on this subject.

Biodiesel

Get an overview of the start-up process by reading, "So you want to make Biofuels in Nebraska" and the Biodiesel Producers Licensing Standards. Basic state regulatory and tax information related to road tax payment is available at Nebraska Motor Fuels Site. Discover the biodiesel feasability study calculator at the National Biodiesel Education Program's website.

We have also had discussions with other regulatory agencies within the state. This information is hot off the press and concerns all of those producing biodiesel in Nebraska. These agencies include the Nebraska Fire Marshal, NDEQ - Air and NDEQ-Water. This information is presented here to help enable individuals producing their own fuel to be aware of the laws surrounding these activities. This information is presented to the best of our knowledge for informational purposes only and the actual agencies in question must be contacted for the complete information.

The Fire Marshals' office is concerned about fire safety. The use of flammable alcohols in this process is unavoidable and must be done according to the appropriate safety standards. The regulations governing such applications can be found in NFPA 30 of the national fire code. As it applies to small scale producers, primary considerations are the following: If processing area is attached to another structure, a fire proof barrier (2hr) must be installed. Any permanent tanks used to store methanol/ethanol must be registered with their office. Shipping containers (55,275) are excluded.

Electrical work must be appropriate for the class1/div1 area of processing so explosion proof standards must be met.

Discussions with NDEQ-Air division has shown a threshold that can allow the small scale producer to operate without filing a construction permit. These are currently under adjustment, but operations producing less than 318,000 gallons/year 0f biodiesel using methanol or less than 4,856,000 using ethanol are not required to file. This clearly shows the distinction between toxic methanol and ethanol. Even if you are required to file a construction permit, you may not be required to have an operating permit if actual emissions can be maintained below 2.5tons/year. These thresholds are based only on biodiesel production and the potential for HAPS/VOC emissions, they do not include other potential air emissions from boilers, generators, etc. The division has been very helpful in supplying this information thus far and has said they will provide updates as time goes on.

Discussions with NDEQ-Water division indicated no such thresholds. ONE gallon of biodiesel wash water is supposed to be dealt with as an industrial waste and requires a construction permit. The need for ongoing operating permits is unclear. Disposal of the waste water generated from biodiesel CANNOT be disposed of in a septic system without the risk of heavy federal fines. There are basically two options for biodieselers, one is to store the waste water generated from the process and take it to a waste water treatment facility for processing. The second is to build a lagoon to hold these wastes on-site. Obviously the second option is not suitable for many producers. Both of these activities would require a construction permit to be allowed. This is a very serious concern to me as I don't know any small scale producer that is in-line with these regulations.

As I said, the mission of NeREA is to get the word out. We are not the end-all of these regulations, but we would be glad to assist as we can.

To learn about growing crops for better biodiesel, download our pdf.

Ethanol

Ethanol is an alcohol and is commonly blended with gasoline, forming a cleaner-burning fuel with higher octane when compared with regular gasoline. Today, ethanol is blended into approximately 46% of our country's fuel supply. For decades ethanol has been combined with gasoline, translating into billions of miles being driven on this fuel source.

Farm scale ethanol is also an activity that will require permits similar to the above. However, there is a much more developed program in place already to help people get through the process.

Because the final product of this process is an alcohol, permitting of a fixed storage tank will be needed for the fire marshal. Placement of processing equipment outside or in non-enclosed areas will not cause the area to be Class1/Div1 so explosion proof requirements would not apply (same for biodiesel).

NDEQ-water requirements will be similar to that for biodiesel - no threshold-no operation is to small to not require permitting. Lagoons are typical for farm scale processing, and there is one in Nebraska permitted in Stanton.

NDEQ-Air requirements must be developed, we have no information regarding small scale thresholds at this time, but they have developed a very detailed application format that will take some time should the construction permit be needed. The good news is that if all the details are provided up front, the process will run through pretty smoothly.

Don't forget about Uncle Sam! This is different from biodiesel in that federal registration is required with an ethanol still. A BATF (TTB) form needs to be submitted to the feds to ensure full legality. This form can be supplied if needed.

We strongly encourage people to obey the laws. With compliance comes reward! No 'whistleblowers' can cause regulators to rain down, tax credits become available at a couple levels and you have the peace of mind that you are doing the right thing. We have the ability to change these laws if we don't like them, but until then we should obey them.

If you have questions, or are interested in information not addressed in these links, please contact us.
Biofuel Links
U.S. Dept. of Energy
Biodiesel Tutorial
Journey to Forever
BioDieselNow




Overview
Ethanol
BioDiesel
Methane


Biofuels in the News

Northeast Nebraska Biodiesel, LLC. to Begin Operation
Nebraska's first large commercial biodiesel facility is getting ready to come on line. Northeast Nebraska Biodiesel, LLC. Will begin refining crude soybean oil in July...[more]

Downloads

PDF - Growing Crops For Better Biodiesel