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Complex feedstocks, clean synthesis gas: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to Sierra Energy

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 2:00pm

Sierra Energy has created what is billed as “the world’s most efficient gasifier,” FastOx, developed in conjunction with UC Davis, US Army and California Energy Commission. Gasification is the missing link between complex feedstocks and a clean synthesis gas for use in a wide variety of biofuel applications. The medium BTU synthesis gas is 70% CO and 30% H2.

The 20 ton per day Pathfinder consists of several equipment isles, each designed to be transported separately and assembled onsite. The complete system has a maximum height of 35 feet and requires less than a quarter acre of land.

Sierra Energy CEO Mike Hart gave this illuminating overview of the technology’s promise and progress at ABLC 2018 in Washington DC.

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Ontario’s E10 policy to reduce transportation GHG emission by 1.7 megatons

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 7:50pm

In Canada, building on the success of current biofuel mandates, Renewable Industries Canada (RICanada) applauds Ontario’s leadership in increasing blending requirements for ethanol in gasoline to 10% by 2020. The expanded mandate is a made-in-Ontario solution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that improves air quality in a way that is both practical and effective.

Once fully implemented, the ethanol mandate will reduce Ontario’s transportation sector emissions by 1.7 megatons, bringing Canada one step closer towards meeting our Paris Accord objectives. The new regulation also stipulates that ethanol used in the province will need to reduce GHG emissions by at least 45% on average compared to gasoline, ensuring a strong market for high quality ethanol.

Ontario’s biofuels industry already has an economic impact of over $1.75 billion per year – a number that will grow to $2.5 billion per year in 2020, demonstrating that the market certainty provided by biofuel mandates benefits the Ontario economy. Expanded biofuel use will foster new economic investments by Ontario producers and encourage them to continue to grow their business, improve efficiency, and increase production.

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Tighter soy oil supplies seen supporting Malaysian palm oil to $617/ton by midyear

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 7:49pm

In Malaysia, the New Straits Times reports that local investment banks believe palm oil prices could reach $617 per metric ton by midyear, up from current levels around $565 thanks to support from diminishing soybean oil supplies in both Argentina and the US. With soy oil prices up 8% so far this year, higher prices are supporting other vegetable oils including palm oil, and with demand ahead of Ramadan already pricing into the market, prices could increase further.

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Argentina exported biodiesel to Canada for the first time in March

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 7:48pm

In Argentina, with the US biodiesel almost entirely blocked to the imports, Reuters reports that 29,000 metric tons found their way to Canada in March instead—and for the first time ever. Bunge and Argentina’s AGD joint venture Ecofuel sold the biodiesel. The country could potentially buy as much as 200,000 tons of biodiesel this year but it’s far from the 1.5 million tons the US imported in 2016. European exports have recovered but they only helped Argentina export 254,000 tons through March 21 compared to 1.7 million tons last year.

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Boho factor hits three-year low as heating oil prices jump

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 7:47pm

In New York state, Platts reports that the Boho factor between heating oil and soybean oil feedstock for biodiesel fell to more than a three-year low last Friday at 21.99 cents/gal on the back of higher heating oil futures supported by Middle East tensions and shrinking stocks. In a countermove, soybean oil prices fell last week, helping to squeeze the boho factor, which could in turn help to drive demand for discretionary blending but the window could be short lived as that increased demand would push the boho factor higher.

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Veolia launches UK online market place for bioeconomy feedstocks

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 7:44pm

In the UK, as part of the drive to increase the circular economy global resource management company, Veolia, is launching an online trading platform that makes it easier to sell and buy organic resources. Designed to save users time and money, BioTrading will provide businesses the opportunity to better leverage the 100 million tonnes of raw materials and biofuels we produce every year.

The first of its kind, Veolia’s new BioTrading website will be a sales and auction marketplace that connects buyers to the rest of the value chain and finds the best deal for their organic resource needs, recycling them into new products or green energy. Unlike other parts of the economy, there is no price comparison or trading platform for organic resources and buyers and sellers currently waste time and money navigating a confusing marketplace. By dealing directly, the website will enable sellers get a good price for their product and gain maximum value from their waste and process by-products, and buyers will benefit from having access to a central platform boasting transparent and fair prices.

The service is aimed at anyone who has resources, or requires them, such as farming, water, construction, food and drink, anaerobic digestion, and the biodiesel and bioethanol industry. A wide range of resources will be made available on the website including food waste, food for redistribution, industrial organic by-products, agricultural wastes, biodiesel and bioethanol residues, sewage and industrial sludge and wood. To ease logistics buyers can also make use of compliant haulage services if required.

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CSU gets $500,000 funding for ocean macroalgae biofuel project

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 7:43pm

In Colorado, Colorado State University project to grow and harvest ocean macroalgae for biofuel production has received support from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

ARPA-E has poured over $22 million into their Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources (MARINER) program, with the aim of establishing the U.S. as a leader in biofuel production. CSU Energy Institute Researcher Jason Quinn’s project was one of 18 recently selected. Quinn is also an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

The project is led by Pacific Northwest National Lab Research Engineer Michael Huesemann and is initially being awarded $500,000 over the course of one year, but may be considered for further funding.

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Brazilian researchers to fungi to understand enzymes for 2G ethanol hydrolysis

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 7:42pm

In Brazil, production of second-generation (2G) ethanol from sugarcane requires enzymatic hydrolysis, in which enzymes from microorganisms act together to break down and convert the carbohydrates in sugarcane straw and bagasse into sugars capable of undergoing fermentation.

Understanding the genetic mechanisms that regulate the control and production of hydrolytic enzymes by microorganisms is considered fundamental to improving the technology used in this process.

Important knowledge of the different biological mechanisms behind the control and production of hydrolytic enzymes specifically by fungi has been garnered by a group of researchers at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in São Paulo State, Brazil, partnering with colleagues from the National Bioethanol Science & Technology Laboratory (CTBE), which belongs to the National Energy & Materials Research Center (CNPEM) in Campinas, and from Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ).

Conducted as part of a project supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP, the study was published in Scientific Reports.

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Italy moves forward with EUR4.7 billion incentive scheme for biogas

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 7:41pm

In Italy, the government began consulting on the implementation of its new biogas policy in late March that will seen biogas producers earn around EUR300 per generation credit of 10 GCal of biogas available for public consumption, while producers of “advanced” biogas using certain feedstocks will receive EUR375 for every 5 GCal, and those co-digesting with advanced feedstocks will receive up to 70% of the “advanced” biogas credit. The policy is meant for implementation in 2018 through 2022 with incentives available for up to 1.1 billion cubic meters of biogas annually, totaling EUR4.7 billion in incentives during the implementation period.

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Equipment needs to study mixing of fibrous materials

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 2:36pm

By Gregory T. Benz, Lee Enterprise Consulting

Special to The Digest

There are many sources of organic fibers that can be used as feedstock for biofuels and renewable chemicals. The author has tested many lignocellulosic materials for fluid flow and mixing characteristics. Examples include corn stover, ground wood, switchgrass, various types of cane, beet pulp, paper mill waste, municipal solid waste and corn fiber, among others. A number of different pretreatment methods have been used, such as acid, alkali, steam explosion and mechanical grinding. Though the exact fluid properties depend on feedstock, % solids, particle size and pretreatment method, they all have one thing in common: a yield stress. This means that such slurries are self-supporting to some degree, and will tend to be difficult to agitate at the vessel wall. Most have rheology that is well modelled using the Herschel-Bulkley equation:

µa = σ/(dv/dx)+M(dv/dx)(n-1), where µa is the apparent viscosity, σ is the yield stress, M is the viscosity coefficient and n is the power law exponent. An example of such a slurry is shown in figure 1

Figure 1 Lignocellulosic slurry

Purpose of Equipment

There are two main purposes for the pilot agitation equipment: determining the minimum shaft speed required for creating full tank motion, and using the agitator as a viscometer. The latter is required because fibrous slurries are difficult to quantify using conventional viscometers. They tend to settle and dewater around the spindle. Techniques for both of these purposes are described in reference 1. A complicating factor is the wide speed range required to achieve both of these purposes, as the viscosity must be measured at the same shaft speed range as the production scale equipment. Production equipment might have speeds in the 10-45 rpm range, whereas a 5-10 gallon pilot unit may need speeds of hundreds of rpm to achieve minimal wall movement. Table 1 illustrates suggested agitator power, torque and speed range as a function of vessel diameter, for very difficult slurries at the edge of being solids rather than liquids.

Table 1 Suggested Pilot Agitator Drive Parameters Vessel diameter, in. Speed range, rpm Torque, in-lb Power, Hp 12 10-800 50 0.75 18 10-600 150 1.5 24 10-420 400 3 30 10-350 800 5 36 10-280 1400 7.5 42 10-230 2200 10 48 10-190 3200 15 54 10-190 4600 20 60 10-155 6300 20 Vessel requirements

Since the minimum criterion for mixing is full tank motion, it is strongly preferred that the vessel be transparent so that motion, or lack thereof, can be readily observed. If sight glasses are used on a metal vessel, they should ideally be full length and made flush to the internal contour of the vessel. Even a small lip can stop local motion, so it is possible that intermittent motion in the center of the sight glass may indicate fairly vigorous agitation just a few cm away from the wall. Flush-mounted round sight glasses should be avoided on most pilot vessels, unless the vessel diameter is 20 times or more the sight glass diameter.

Ideally, the vessel bottom should be dished, so as to avoid dead spots or fillets at the junction of the bottom to the sidewall. This is true of the production vessel as well. If a transparent pilot vessel cannot be obtained with a dished head, then one should imagine a “virtual” dish made up of biomass, forming a non-moving fillet up to 1/6 of the tank diameter off bottom. If motion occurs above that, it will probably occur throughout the bottom of an actual dished bottom vessel.

For high % unhydrolyzed solids, baffles are detrimental. After hydrolysis, baffles might be needed. Ideally the process will have more than one stage of hydrolysis vessels so that later stages can use a smaller impeller and a baffled tank. If all mixing must be done in one vessel, the vessel and agitator should be set up for the most difficult material.

Size matters! If the vessel is too small, high-solids slurries will climb the walls and be self-supporting. As the tank radius increases, the solids will more easily fall back into the middle of the tank. Though the author has done some tests in 6” diameter vessels, he recommends 12” nominal diameter or larger.

Impeller system

As long as the slurry is barely liquid, turbine impellers can be used to agitate them. If there is not enough liquid to fill in the spaces between the solids, then it is no longer a slurry, but, rather, a damp solid. Such solids require solids mixing equipment to mix them, and such equipment cannot be scaled to large volumes. Helix or anchor impellers will not mix high solids slurries with a high yield stress. The batch merely rotates en masse with the impeller. Though several kinds of turbine impellers can work, the author has found, as described in reference 2, that narrow-blade hydrofoils can agitate the heaviest lignocellulosic slurries with ½ to 1/3 of the torque of pitched blade turbines, and can handle low viscosity slurries (as in hydrolyzed material) using about 40-50% of the torque of pitched blade turbines. For the high-solids slurries, the lower impeller should have a D/T (impeller to tank diameter) ratio of about 0.6 to 0.7, and all upper impellers should be a little smaller; about 85% of the lower impeller diameter. Use one impeller for each liquid height increment equal to ½ of the tank diameter. For low viscosity slurries, the D/T ratio should be 0.3 to 0.45, and one impeller can handle up to 1.2 times the tank diameter in height; additional impellers can handle an additional height equal to the tank diameter.


Two sets of measurements should be taken. The first set is used to determine rheology, as described in reference 1. After running at a high enough speed to ensure the slurry is uniform, the speed is slowed down to about 10 rpm, and torque and speed are recorded. This is repeated at several speeds up to the maximum speed anticipated in the production scale, which is typically below 60 rpm.

The second set is the mixing study. Since the upper region of the tank may agitate differently from the lower region (reference 3), the minimum speed that creates creeping movement at the wall in each zone should be recorded. In the case of a flat bottom tank, movement above a height of about 1/6 of the tank diameter is sufficient. If the two speeds are not the same, adjustments to relative impeller diameter will be made upon scale-up.

There are several ways to measure torque. The most accurate way is to use a strain-gage torque sensor. There are several ways to set this up. The most complex and difficult is on the output of the gear drive. In such a case, the shaft bending load must be eliminated from the torque readings, which involves a complex strain gage setup. A simpler way is to use a torque sensor on the input to the gearbox. Most gearboxes have losses of about 2% of the torque, and the loss can be calibrated in air. A third way, shown in figure 2, places the vessel on a torque sensor that can support the vessel. A similar option is to place the vessel on a turntable with low friction bearings (air bearings are the best) with a linear force gage attached to a torque arm. The least accurate way is to use electrical measurements on the motor, but in some cases it is the only way possible. Accuracy may be OK at higher speeds ald loads, but suffers when the motor is lightly loaded or running at very low speeds. Figure 3 show a typical small scale mixing test being run at Benz Technology International, Inc.

Figure 2 Torque Sensor    

Figure 3 Test Apparatus in use

Because hydrolysis drastically affects fluid properties, tests may need to be done at several stages in the process to help determine mixing and vessel needs if the process is to be broken up in stages.


Apparatus for studying mixing of lignocellulosic slurries at high solids concentrations and low conversions is fairly simple but must be robust. The key requirements are to be able to visually observe the mixing and accurately measure shaft speed and torque. The mixer torque requirements are generally much higher than a typical lab mixer can provide.

About the Author

Gregory Benz is a member of Lee Enterprises Consulting, the world’s premier bioeconomy consulting group, with more than 100 consultants and experts worldwide who collaborate on interdisciplinary projects, including those requiring the technologies discussed in this article.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and do not necessarily express the views of Lee Enterprises Consulting. Mr. Benz is also President of Benz Technology International, Inc.


  • “Agitation of Fibrous Materials”, G. Benz, Chemical Engineering Progress, June, 2010, pp 28-32
  • “Hydrofoil Impellers vs. Pitched Blade Turbines in Lignocellulosic Slurries”, G. Benz, Biofuels Digest, May 8, 2017 (online publication).
  • “Determining Torque Split for Multiple Impellers in Slurry Mixing”, G. Benz, Chemical Engineering Progress, February, 2012, pp 45-48
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Advocating for Commercialization of Biobased Products: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to BRAG

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 2:28pm

Renewable chemicals are emerging at a fast pace, paving the way for new, innovative, and sustainable biobased products. A coalition of companies and trade associations committed to enhancing the legal and regulatory positioning of biobased products formed the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group in 2013 to address issues specific to biobased chemical products and, in particular, the unique and somewhat complicated opportunities and challenges imposed on newer biobased chemicals under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act implemented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

By bringing together biobased and renewable products innovators, TSCA legal experts, scientists, government affairs professionals, and science policy specialists, BRAG collectively provides an informed advocacy voice for policy change for biobased chemicals where opportunities exist to address challenges unique for this industry sector.

Lauren Graham gave this illuminating overview of BRAG and advocacy for biobased products at ABLC 2018 in Washington DC.

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The $20 Million Carbon XPRIZE: The 10 Finalists, revealed

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 2:26pm

In New York, XPRIZE announced the 10 teams advancing to the final round in the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE.  The 10 finalists, each taking home an equal share of a $5 million milestone prize, were revealed at Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Future of Energy Summit in New York City. This four-and-a-half-year global competition challenges teams to transform the way the world addresses carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions through breakthrough circular carbon technologies that convert carbon dioxide emissions from power plants into valuable products such as enhanced concrete, liquid fuels, plastics and carbon fiber. 

The Wyoming Track includes five teams that will demonstrate conversion of CO2 emissions at a coal-fired power plant in Gillette, WY:

• Breathe (Bangalore, India) – Led by Dr. Sebastian Peter, the team is producing methanol, a common fuel and petrochemical feedstock, using a novel catalyst.

• C4X (Suzhou, China) – Led by Dr. Wayne Song and Dr. Yuehui Li, the team is producing chemicals and bio-composite foamed plastics.

• Carbon Capture Machine (Aberdeen, Scotland) – Led by Dr. Mohammed Imbabi, the team is producing solid carbonates with applications to building materials.

• CarbonCure (Dartmouth, Canada) – Led by Jennifer Wagner, the team is producing stronger, greener concrete.

• Carbon Upcycling UCLA (Los Angeles, CA, USA) – Led by Dr. Gaurav Sant, the team is producing building materials that absorb CO2 during the production process to replace concrete.

The Alberta Track includes five teams that will demonstrate conversion of CO2 emissions at a natural gas-fired power plant in Alberta, Canada:

• C2CNT (Ashburn, VA, USA) – Led by Dr. Stuart Licht, the team is producing carbon nanotubes.

• Carbicrete (Montreal, Canada) – Led by Dr. Mehrdad Mahoutian, the team is producing cement-free, carbon-negative concrete that uses waste from steel production as an alternative to traditional cement.

• Carbon Upcycling Technologies (Calgary, Canada) – Led by Apoorv Sinha, the team is producing enhanced graphitic nanoparticles and graphene derivatives with applications in polymers, concrete, epoxies, batteries and pharmaceuticals.

• CERT (Toronto, Canada) – Led by Dr. Alex Ip of the Sargent Group at the University of Toronto, the team is producing building blocks of industrial chemicals.

• Newlight (Huntington Beach, CA, USA) – Led by Mark Herrema, the team uses biological systems to produce bioplastics.

Each finalist team passed a first round evaluation based on the amount of CO2 converted into products, as well as the economic value, market size and CO2 uptake potential of those products. To win a place in the finals, the semifinalist teams had to demonstrate their technologies at pilot scale at a location of their choosing. Over the course of a 10-month period, semifinalist teams were challenged to meet minimum technical requirements and were first audited by independent verification partner Southern Research. Teams were then evaluated by the judges based on how much CO2 the team converted into products; the economic value, market size, and CO2 uptake potential of those products; the overall CO2 footprint of their process; as well as energy efficiency, materials use, land use, and water use.

Next steps

The top 10 teams will have 2 years of access to an integrated test center (one is in Gilette, Wyoming and one is in Calgary, Alberta), in which at least 9 months will be “on the clock” and during that time they will have to demonstrate 150 days of uptime, and at least 30 days of continuous uptime, and the ability to handle 2 tons of flue gas per day.

Teams competing in the Wyoming track will test their technologies at the Wyoming Integrated Test Center (ITC), a cutting-edge carbon research facility in Gillette, WY, USA, co-located with the Dry Fork Station coal power plant. Teams competing in the Alberta track will test their technologies at the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre, a new carbon conversion research hub co-located with the Shepard Energy Centre natural gas power plant in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Who didn’t make it?

The following companies did not advance from the semi-finals to the finals:

Aljadix (Switzerland) – Led by Thomas Digby, the team is producing carbon negative biofuel.

Carbon Cure (Canada) – Led by Jennifer Wagner, the team is producing enhanced concrete.

CAT.ALY.ST (United States) – Led by Stafford Sheehan, the team is producing biofuels.

CO2 Solutions (Canada (TSX-V:  CST)) – Led by Dr. Louis Fradette, the team is producing a high-value bioproduct.

Dimensional Energy (United States) – Led by Jason Salfi, the team is producing hydrocarbon fuels.

EE-AGG (United States) – Led by Mark Edelman, the team is producing methanol.

Hago Energetics (United States) – Led by Wilson Hago, the team is producing gas and liquid fuels.

Ingenuity Lab (Canada) – Led by Carlo Montemagno, the team is producing dihydroxyacetone (DHA) and other chemicals.

Innovator Energy (United States) – Led by Ethan Novek, the team is producing syngas and acetic acid.

Low-Energy-Consumption CO2 Capture and Conversion (United States) – Led by Maohong Fan, the team is producing fuels and chemicals.

Opus 12 (United States) – Led by Etosha Cave, the team is producing plastics, fertilizers, and gasoline.

Pond Technology’s Carbon Cyclers (Canada) – Led by Peter Howard, the team is producing biodiesel and solid biofuel.

Protein Power (United States) – Led by Lisa Dyson, the team is producing high-protein fish food.

RES Kaidi (United States) – Led by Mark Robertson, the team is producing dimethyl ether (DME) for chemical feedstock or fuel.

Tandem Technical (Canada) – Led by Jerry Flynn, the team is producing health supplements, toothpaste, paint and fertilizers.

Terra COH (United States) –Led by Jimmy Randolph, the team is producing energy storage and retrieval, and electricity generation.

The scoring

“We think carbon capture itself is a huge topic,” Dr. Marcius Extavour, XPRIZE senior director of Energy and Resources told The Digest. Accordingly, the scoring is, “evenly divided between the highest percentage sequestered and the highest valuable product.”

Reaction from the stakeholders

“These teams are showing us amazing examples of carbon conversion and literally reimagining carbon. The diversity of technologies on display is an inspiring vision of a new carbon economy,” added Extavour. “We are trying to reduce CO2 emissions by converting them into useful materials, and do so in an economically sustainable way.” 

More on the story

More on the Xprize here.

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BayoTech closes $12.5M Series B financing, gets fertilizer partner

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 6:29pm

In New Mexico, BayoTech, Inc., developer of advanced chemical reactors for the distributed production of hydrogen and fertilizers, closed a $12.5 million Series B round of financing. BayoTech also welcomed one of the world’s largest fertilizer companies as a strategic partner and investor.

The partner participated in the Series B round of financing along with Series A investors Cottonwood Technology Fund and Sun Mountain Capital. The funds will be used to expand the company’s infrastructure and complete the commercialization of its technology.

“Developing sustainable technologies to feed the world’s growing population is a tremendous business opportunity that requires not only improvements in fertilizer production but also improvements in fertilizer utilization. The bayonet technology allows for local production that focuses on customized local fertilizer solutions. The technology can change the way we feed the planet’s growing population.” said Justin Eisenach, President and CEO of BayoTech.

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EnobraQ opens up capital, confirms 2nd round of fundraising

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 6:27pm

In France, Toulouse-based company EnobraQ, which specializes in biotechnology, is strengthening its development and announcing changes in its structure. It notably opens up its capital to three major research structures: INRA, INSA and CNRS and confirms a second round of fundraising in 2 years for a cumulative amount of 4.9 million Euros.

Sofinnova Partners, Auriga Partners, Irdinov and SuperNovaInvest are reaffirming their confidence. This financial support will make it possible to pursue development on three axes, and particularly yield improvement of certain industrial productions by up to 20%. Through this new fundraising and the entry into the capital of big names in research such as INRA, INSA and CNRS, EnobraQ is demonstrating the viability of its projects over the long term.

EnobraQ is currently working on a project to improve the output of industrial productions by up to 20%. It is also developing a lactic acid production process which could thus contribute to reducing the dependency on fossil products such as oil, to save resources needed for food but also help reduce carbon footprint. Finally, the company focuses on the optimization of photosynthesis through a process demonstrating a significant improvement of the enzyme allowing the fixation of CO2.


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Energy and oil giants request RFS ‘small refinery’ waivers

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 6:25pm

In New York, super multinational energy companies Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil are asking the U.S. EPA for exemptions to the RFS ‘small refinery’ obligations that are supposed to be reserved for small companies in financial distress, according to Reuters.

“The EPA has already issued an unusually 25 hardship waivers to small refineries in recent months, driving blending credit prices down and helping the oil industry reduce compliance costs,” an agency source told Reuters. However, the EPA won’t say who is getting those exemptions saying it would disclose private company information.

According to Reuters, “both Chevron and Exxon, among the world’s most profitable energy companies, have asked EPA for waivers for their smallest facilities – Chevron’s 54,500 barrel-per-day refinery in Utah and the Exxon’s 60,000 bpd refinery in Montana, two sources briefed on the matter told Reuters on condition of anonymity.”

As reported in The Digest earlier this month, the EPA has exempted several refineries owned by Andeavor, one of the biggest U.S. refining companies that posted $1.5 billion dollars in profit last year.

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Elevance launches new plant-based emollient

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 6:21pm

In Illinois, Elevance Renewable Sciences, Inc., which creates specialty chemicals from renewable feedstocks, has a new plant-based emollient that is commercially available, called Elevance Soft CG-200. Made from certified non-GMO coconut oil and Elevance’s soy-based polymer, Elevance Soft CG-200 expands the company’s line of bio-based personal care products.

As part of the Elevance Soft product line, Elevance Soft CG-200 is a low viscosity gel, allowing formulations with a luxurious feel and smooth, creamy texture, according to their press release. Moreover, it enables customers to make formulations without silicone, petrolatum, PEG, or paraben and is appealing for vegan and gluten-free formulations. Additionally, CG-200 may enable some customers to obtain GMO-free product certifications. The product is well suited for use in pomades, styling gels, creams, lotions, body washes, soaps, lip care and color cosmetics.

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Ethanol production down from week before

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 5:38pm

In Washington, DC, ethanol production averaged 1.034 million barrels per day (b/d)—or 43.43 million gallons daily, according to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association. That is down 3,000 b/d from the week before and the third reduction in a row. Yet, the four-week average for ethanol production increased slightly to 1.040 million b/d for an annualized rate of 15.94 billion gallons. Stocks of ethanol fell to a 21-week low of 21.8 million barrels. That is a 2.7% decrease from last week. There were zero imports recorded for the 18th week in a row.

Average weekly gasoline demand grew 0.8% to 389.5 million gallons (9.273 million barrels) daily. This is equivalent to 142.16 billion gallons annualized. Refiner/blender input of ethanol ticked up 0.1% to 904,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.86 billion gallons annualized. The ethanol content in gasoline supplied to the market averaged 9.75%, down from 9.81% the previous week. The average weekly ethanol blend rate has not yet crested 10.0% in the first 14 weeks of 2018, compared to eclipsing the 10.0% level six times in the first 14 weeks of 2017. Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to 11.15%.

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2018 EU rapeseed area increased from previous year

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 5:35pm

In Germany, UFOP reports that in the EU-28, an estimated area of 6.8 million hectares is planted with winter rapeseed for the 2018 harvest. This translates to a more than 80,000 ha rise from 2017.

The development of rapeseed area is very different in the different EU member states. According to Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (mbH), German and Polish production may decline compared to the previous year due to winter kill losses in eastern Germany and western Poland and poor conditions at the time of sowing in North Germany. Also, the rapeseed area in Denmark is seen to remain significantly below the year-ago level. By contrast, farmers in France and Romania expanded their rapeseed hectarages because of the profitability of area. The Romanian rapeseed area has been on a steady rise for several years. It is set to exceed the five-year mean by more than 50 per cent in 2018. The majority of EU-28 cultivation areas have hardly suffered any crop damage because the winter was mild in most parts of the Union.

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New biofuel targets go into effect in UK

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 4:52pm

In the United Kingdom, British biofuel targets that took effect over the weekend “will double the use of renewable fuels in the UK transport sector in 15 years and reduce reliance on imported diesel,” the government told Reuters. The new targets demand transport fuel suppliers that sell at least 450,000 liters a year or more to require the mix to be at least 12.4% biofuel by 2032. The changes will “increase the biofuels volume target to 9.75 percent in 2020 and 12.4 percent in 3032 from the current 4.75 percent,” according to Reuters.

“The changes we are introducing will double our carbon emissions savings from the RTFO scheme by doubling the use of renewable fuels and reducing reliance on imported fossil diesel,” British transport minister Jesse Norman told Reuters. “This will deliver emissions savings equal to taking hundreds of thousands of cars off the road.”

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95% wooden pallets recycled into biofuel, mulch, animal bedding

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 4:49pm

In Virginia, a new study conducted by Virginia Tech on the disposal of wood pallets at landfill sites reveal that 95% of wooden pallets are being recycled. Wooden pallets get used, reused, and when they are no longer useful, they are converted to mulch, animal bedding or biofuel.

Both municipal and solid waste (MSW) and construction and demolition (C&D) landfill facilities were surveyed over two years to better understand how pallets were being handled at these facilities. According to the study, the number of pallets entering the landfill reduced by 86%, for both MSW and C&D facilities. Environmental awareness, limited space and a desire to be more waste efficient have driven many of these facilities to sort and recover certain types of waste. The overall presence of wood pallets at landfill facilities also significantly decreased.

The research project was funded in part by the USDA Forest Service and The Pallet Foundation, and the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association was engaged in the study as well.

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