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Scania, Lucketts and Green Biofuels partner up to trial HVO biofuel for coaches

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 9:22pm

In the United Kingdom, a partnership between Scania, Lucketts Travel and Green Biofuels has conducted what is believed to be the UK’s first trial of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) as a sustainable biofuel for scheduled intercity coach operations. The trial, which ran for three months, has provided like-for-like comparison data of seven National Express vehicles using HVO and seven conventionally-fueled National Express diesel coaches all operated by Lucketts Travel.

Over the duration of the trial, each of the 14 coaches was closely monitored with regard to engine performance, fuel consumption and oil quality. In addition, feedback from drivers, passengers and the technicians maintaining the vehicles have been taken into account.

HVO is widely available today throughout Europe, but has not so far been adopted to the same degree within the UK. The HVO used in the Lucketts National Express trial is produced from used cooking oil and is certified palm oil-free. The fuel is being supplied by Green Biofuels, the UK’s sole importer of HVO produced by Finland-based Neste.

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EU launches new fuel labels at the pump

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 9:21pm

In Belgium, the European Commission launched new common and harmonized set of fuel labels throughout all 28 European Union member states, the EEA countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey. This should help alleviate EU consumer confusion when traveling across borders that had different labeling systems. The new fuel labels will be compulsory for use on newly produced vehicles and at all filling stations as well as at vehicle dealerships.

The EU press release states that the “growing diversity of fuels available on the market implies an increasing need to provide drivers with clear and straightforward information on the compatibility of the fuels sold at filling stations and on their vehicles. The newly common fuel labels will provide improved information in a harmonized and easy-to-read manner.”

The new labels are divided into three groups, with a unique identifying shape for each type of fuel: gasoline will be marked with an E inside a circle, diesel with a B inside a square, and gaseous fuels will be marked with a rhombus. The information inside the shape indicates the maximum biofuel content in the fuel that is recommended for use by the vehicle that is equipped with the new label.

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Sugar beet yields in France hurt by black leaf spot disease

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 9:18pm

In France, sugar beets are taking a hit due to stronger than usual black leaf spot disease that is hurting sugar beet yields and could further lower forecast estimates for the 2018-2019 production year. Europe’s sugar beet production forecast was already lowered by around 2 million metric tons (about 2.2 tons) after the summer’s hot and dry weather led to poor yields. The new estimate is 40.4 million metric tons (about 44.5 million tons), which is 13% lower than the amount produced last year.

According to French agricultural newspaper Le Betteravier, French research institute ITB’s president Alexandre Quillet said that it is “everywhere, even in Normandy. Cool and humid weather conditions in the morning and then hot in the afternoon” are ideal conditions to encourage the disease. Black leaf spot disease doesn’t actually kill the sugar beet plants but reduces its yield. France has been having warmer temperatures and dryer weather than usual which affects it as well.

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Stora Enso’s Lignin Wins ‘Best Product Innovation’ at ICIS Innovation Awards

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 9:15pm

In Finland, Lineo by Stora Enso won ‘Best Product Innovation’ at the ICIS Innovation Awards 2018. Lineo, which was launched earlier this year and is made from lignin, can be used in a range of applications for which fossil-based materials are currently used. It is a renewable replacement for oil-based phenolic materials, which are used in resins for adhesives, e.g. in plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), laminated veneer lumber (LVL), paper lamination and insulation material. In the future, Lineo can be developed into other types of binders and also used in carbon fiber and energy storage applications.

Stora Enso has been producing lignin industrially at its Sunila Mill since 2015 which has the capacity to produce 50 000 tons of lignin per year – making Stora Enso the largest kraft lignin producer in the world.

Markus Mannström, Executive Vice President of the Stora Enso Biomaterials division, said, “We’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response from stakeholders since launching Lineo and we’re delighted it has been recognised as an innovative solution by top chemical industry representatives. It is another key renewable solution provided by Stora Enso, we continue to believe that: ‘Everything made from fossil-based materials today, can be made from a tree tomorrow’.”

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Port Canaveral prepares for LNG cruise ships

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 9:14pm

In Florida, Port Canaveral is preparing for fueling and safety of liquefied natural gas-powered cruise ships in two years. Carnival Cruise Line’s largest ship will be their first LNG-powered ship, and first of any cruise line to be based in North America. It is scheduled to be put into service in 2020 and will be based in Port Canaveral.

Port Canaveral will be busy with other LNG cruise ships soon as well since the Disney Cruise Line is adding three LNG-powered cruise ships to their fleet. Those are expected to be put into service in 2021, 2022 and 2023. Seven cruise lines have ordered a total of 26 LNG cruise ships that are all expected to be delivered by 2027.

Canaveral Fire Rescue Chief Dave Sargeant told Florida Today, “We are going to be the first ones to do it with a cruise ship, but it’s been done safely” on other vessels at other ports. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel,” Sargeant said. “The only new thing is it’s going on a cruise ship.”

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Red-hued yeasts hold clues to producing better biofuels

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 8:58pm

In Wisconsin, a team based at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center found clues in red-hued yeasts that could help harness the synthesis pathway for large-scale production of isobutanol as a biofuel. A red pigment called pulcherrimin, naturally produced by several strains of wild yeasts, is synthesized in part through the same biochemical pathway that researchers hope to use to improve production of isobutanol.

“Compared to first-generation biofuels, such as ethanol, isobutanol has a higher energy content, blends better with gasoline, causes less corrosion, and is more compatible with existing engine technology,” says GLBRC researcher Chris Todd Hittinger, a UW–Madison genetics professor who led the research. “Nonetheless, considerable barriers remain to producing this fuel sustainably from dedicated energy crops.”

The researchers used comparative genomics spanning 90 yeast species to identify the genes involved in pulcherrimin production. They found a cluster of four genes, which they named PUL1-4, that seem to play complementary roles. Through extensive genetic characterization, they determined that PUL1 and PUL2 are required to make the molecule, while PUL3 and PUL4 appear to help the yeast transport it and regulate its production.

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Indian Air Force to start using ethanol blend in aircraft

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 8:56pm

In India, in an effort to meet the government’s call to increase the use of biofuels, the Indian Air Force will start using ethanol blended air turbine fuel in its aircraft. A government official told Sputnik, “We have discussed the plan to use ethanol blended air turbine fuel on the Indian Air Force jet at length in the past. We hope by end of this year transport aircraft will fly using this fuel.”

Back in August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that biofuels and ethanol blending could help the country save $1.7 billion a year on import bills and led a call to action to support more biofuels in the country. Earlier this year, the government approved a new policy that expanded the feedstocks that could be used for ethanol production, India flew it’s first biofuel-powered civilian aircraft, and India’s oil minister announced that 12 biorefineries were being set up to reach `0% ethanol blending.

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Covestro covers it all – From $1.7B investment in MDI and first thermoplastic polyurethane based on CO2 technology to biobased aniline…

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 8:50pm

Covestro, which you may know as the former Bayer MaterialsScience (part of Bayer Group’s chemicals and plastics unit) prior to 2015, is leading several innovations in the biobased sector with a flurry of announcements over the past week that is sure to impact the bioeconomy. Not only are they financially successful, achieving the best financial results in its history in 2017, but they are making impressive strides on the technology and innovation side of things. And with over 16,000 employees globally and 2017 sales of EUR 14.1 billion (about $16 billion), Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies and is teaching us a thing or two about the ABC’s of biochemicals and bioplastics.

$1.7 billion investment in MDI

First, a big announcement this past week is getting folks in Texas pretty excited with Covestro’s expansion to strengthen its position in MDI globally by building a new world-scale MDI plant in Baytown, Texas. The EUR 1.5 billion (about $1.7 billion) investment in the new MDI plant is the largest single investment in the history of the company.

Usually, the first step of the production of MDI is the reaction of aniline and formaldehyde, but Covestro recently developed a unique method for obtaining the key chemical product aniline from biobased raw materials. MDI could in the future be produced from this bioaniline – another important raw material for rigid PU foam.

Total capacity of the new train will be 500 kilotons MDI per year, with the start of production expected in 2024, according to Covestro’s press release. “At the same time an older, less efficient MDI unit of 90 kilotons production capacity will be closed. Thus, total MDI capacities of Covestro in the NAFTA region will reach around 740 kilotons per year making Covestro the industry capacity leader in the region by 2024. With that, Covestro will also strongly underline its global industry capacity leadership position.”

Covestro sees this investment as a way to keep ahead of the strong MDI demand and market growth. “Demand for innovative MDI materials will continue to grow for the foreseeable future and likewise promises attractive capacity utilization rates. We have already announced a significant increase in capital expenditures, now it’s time to put it into action”, said CEO Dr. Markus Steilemann. “With the new MDI train in Baytown, we will further strengthen our global leading position in Polyurethanes, even better serve our customers and create long-term shareholder value.”

“The global MDI market is expected to grow by about 5% per year in the long-term, outgrowing the world’s global domestic product (GDP) by about 2 percentage points, according to Covestro. “Key MDI market drivers include the substitution of less performing and less sustainable materials as well as global megatrends such as an increasing demand for energy efficient insulation solutions. MDI is a precursor for rigid foam, which is an excellent insulation material and is used, for example, in buildings and refrigerators. The expected global MDI demand growth translates into the need for approximately one additional world-scale plant per year.”

CFO Dr. Thomas Toepfer said, “Even with all capacity increase announcements considered, the projected industry supply is not sufficient to fully balance the expected demand growth. We are therefore confident that we will reach high utilization rates of our new capacities soon after the start-up, making the investment highly efficient. Building on existing infrastructure and processes, it will be a prime example of our value creating investment approach.”

Why Baytown, Texas? After checking out different options, Covestro decided on Baytown because of the attractive domestic market as well as “significant benefits in terms of available infrastructure and logistics.” According to their press release, “The superior cost position is mainly driven by economies of scale and a high degree of vertical integration. Furthermore, low energy and shipping costs due to high domestic demand in North America add to the Baytown case.”

ABC’s – Aniline, Baycusan, Cardyon

Covestro likes being first, even if it’s not first alphabetically. In May 2017, as reported in NUU, they were able to make a biobased aniline for the first time ever. Aniline, a chemical only attained from fossil fuels in the past, was produced from plant-based materials using a microorganism as a catalyst to convert sugar from feed corn, straw or wood, and chemical catalysis. Covestro successfully created the chemical in the lab and is partnering with others to bring it to scale in a pilot plant for industrial use. This is big news for the chemical industry which produces about five million metric tons of aniline each year globally and continues to increase at about 5% every year. Aniline is used as a starting chemical for many products, but is most known for its use in rigid polyurethane foam, often used in insulating material for buildings and refrigeration systems.

Just this past week, Covestro also announced the development of a film-forming polyurethane dispersion for hairstyling products with a carbon content based on 58 percent biomass. The film former called Baycusan E 1000 is the first product of the new eco series and achieves the performance level of synthetic acrylate polymers, in particular in formulations where a long-lasting hold and a good humidity resistance are critical – making it great for hair care products. Baycusan eco E 1000 is the first product of the new eco series of film formers, and fulfill the requirements of ISO standard 16128 part 1 to be designated as a naturally derived ingredient.

“Our new biobased film former can be used to manufacture sprays and gels that give the stylist a good, long-lasting, and flexible hold while offering anti-frizzing properties,” explains Dr. Laurence Pottié from Global Business Development for Cosmetics. “Our hairstyling laboratory measured key properties of the new biobased PU dispersion and compared it to petrochemical-based filming polymers available on the market. In addition, we tested formulations using the new dispersion and with synthetic polymers.”

Another big announcement came that they created Cardyon, new polyether carbonate polyols that are produced with the aid of carbon dioxide (CO2). With Desmopan 37385A, Covestro now offers the first representative of a new series of thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) containing polyether carbonate polyols based on CO2 technology.

Why is this pretty exciting? Well, according to Georg Fuchte, TPU expert at Covestro, “With the new TPU, our customers can reduce the carbon footprint of their products and as a result play a pioneering role in sustainability vis-à-vis their competitors,” explains. “This is especially true for companies in the consumer goods industry, which often manufacture products with a short lifespan.”

Work is underway on new CO2-based polyols for rigid polyurethane foams that could be used, for example, in the thermal insulation of buildings, in automobiles and in sports equipment. At the Dormagen plant, Covestro already operates a production plant that produces CO2-based polyols for flexible polyurethane foams. The latter are used in the commercial production of upholstered furniture and mattresses.

Covestro wants to be first to the finish line as well and is tapping into the competitive World Solar Challenge 2019 by sponsoring and supporting RWTH Aachen University’s “Team Sonnenwagen Aachen” for the toughest solar race in the world. Covestro is helping with the production plans of the solar car and will be using their biobased hardener Desmodur eco N 7300 in the car’s polyurethane repair clearcoat.

In October 2017, NUU reported that Covestro developed a flame-retardant, 90% renewable polyurethane system as a means of mitigating structural damage due to fire. Covestro and partners were looking into biogenous, aliphatic polyisocyanates and polyols based on vegetable oils. Covestro’s system is also reinforced with cellulose fibers. “At the end of this process, we will have the first ever reinforcing materials for use in timber construction that are made up of at least 90% renewable raw materials,” said Covestro’s Paul Heinz. This “will make state-of-the-art timber construction with cross-laminated and glue-laminated timber even more sustainable.”

Bottom Line

Covestro is covering a lot of ground in the biochemical and bioplastics area and is leading the way with innovative development of biobased alternatives. Check out their latest Corporate Profile slides here to learn more about how they are pushing boundaries to make more innovative materials. While we love to hear about new, up and coming innovators and entrepreneurs, it’s also nice to hear about the big multinational companies out there, like Covestro, using their big bucks and global power to make amazing transformations to support the bioeconomy.

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Waste Makes Haste: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to Fulcrum BioEnergy

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 10:38am

Fulcrum BioEnergy has developed a “game-changing process for converting municipal solid waste that would otherwise be landfilled, into renewable transportation fuels including syncrude, jet fuel and diesel”.

The company recently broke ground on its first commercial project in Nevada, and more about that here.

Fulcrum’s innovative business model combines large volume MSW feedstock agreements with a demonstrated thermochemical process to produce jet fuel and diesel at an estimated production cost of less than $1.00 per gallon.

We complied this look at Fulcrum’s technology and project economics from a recent presentation by Fulcrum’s Bruno Miller at a recent ICAO seminar on bioenergy, and documents filed with the state of Nevada relating to the company’s first commercial project.

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Dutch Treat: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to the Netherlands and the Bioeconomy

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 10:35am

IEA Bioenergy Task 42’s goal is to contribute to the development and deployment of integrated biorefineries as part of highly efficient sustainable value chains (co-)producing food/feed ingredients, chemicals, materials, fuels, power and/or heat out of sustainably sourced biomass (wood, crops, residues, etc.) as base for a global BioEconomy.

Berend Vreugdenhil of ECN gave this illuminating overview of the progress and promise of thermal gasification of biomass in the Netherlands at an IEA Bioenergy Task 42 meeting.

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The Wonders Down Under: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to Australia and the Bioeconomy

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 10:30am

IEA Bioenergy Task 42’s goal is to contribute to the development and deployment of integrated biorefineries as part of highly efficient sustainable value chains (co-)producing food/feed ingredients, chemicals, materials, fuels, power and/or heat out of sustainably sourced biomass (wood, crops, residues, etc.) as base for a global BioEconomy.

Geoffrey Bell of Microbiogen gave this illuminating overview of the progress and promise of thermal gasification of biomass in Australia at an IEA Bioenergy Task 42 meeting.

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The Full Enchilada: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to ChaCatBio and Catalyst, Process, Techno-economics

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 10:25am

ChemCatBio is a research and development consortium dedicated to identifying and overcoming catalysis challenges for biomass conversion processes. Led by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories, we work with industry to rapidly transition R&D discoveries into commercial processes and grow the bioeconomy in the United States.

Current research encompasses the following five themes:

  • Upgrading of synthesis gas and synthesis gas-derived intermediates
  • Catalytic fast pyrolysis
  • Hydroprocessing of fast pyrolysis and catalytic fast pyrolysis bio-oils
  • Upgrading biogenic carbon in aqueous waste streams
  • Upgrading of lignin, carbohydrates, and other biologically derived intermediate

Daniel Ruddy gave this illuminating update linking catalyst, process development and techno-economic analysis in a recent presentation.

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Catalysis rocking: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to ChemCatBio

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 10/13/2018 - 10:22am

ChemCatBio is a research and development consortium dedicated to identifying and overcoming catalysis challenges for biomass conversion processes. Led by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories, we work with industry to rapidly transition R&D discoveries into commercial processes and grow the bioeconomy in the United States.

Current research encompasses the following five themes:

  • Upgrading of synthesis gas and synthesis gas-derived intermediates
  • Catalytic fast pyrolysis
  • Hydroprocessing of fast pyrolysis and catalytic fast pyrolysis bio-oils
  • Upgrading biogenic carbon in aqueous waste streams
  • Upgrading of lignin, carbohydrates, and other biologically derived intermediates

Corinee Drennan, Rick Elander and Josh Schaidle gave this illuminating update on ChemCatBio’s projects, rationale, promise and progress.

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Neste, Air BP partner on sustainable aviation fuel

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 10/11/2018 - 5:34pm

In Finland, Neste and Air BP entered into an agreement to explore opportunities to increase the supply and availability of sustainable aviation fuel for airline customers.

Through this innovative collaboration, Neste’s knowledge and manufacturing solutions for producing and blending renewable jet fuel will be brought together with Air BP’s customer relationships, expertise in developing efficient and effective supply chains, as well as their certification and product quality assurance capabilities. One goal of the cooperation will be complementary efforts to bring a co-branded sustainable aviation fuel to market at airports across Air BP’s global network.

Sustainable aviation fuel is made by blending conventional, fossil-based kerosene with renewable hydrocarbons produced from, for example, recycled cooking oil. It is then certified as “Jet-A1” fuel and can be used in aircraft without requiring any technical modifications. Flying on sustainable aviation fuel reduces crude oil consumption and produces lower lifecycle carbon emissions compared to conventional jet fuel.

“I am very happy to announce our collaboration with Air BP. Working together, we can find the best ways of developing robust supply chains to ensure that renewable jet fuel is more widely accessible. We expect our collaboration will not only be able to provide a solution to better matching supply to increased demand for renewable jet fuel, but also delivers distinct advantages to airlines by significantly decreasing their environmental footprint,” says Kaisa Hietala, Neste’s Executive Vice President in Renewable Products business area.

Jon Platt, Air BP Chief Executive Officer added: “We are very pleased that through our collaboration with Neste, an industry leader in this space, we will be able to continue to support our customers with their low carbon ambitions. The aviation industry’s carbon reduction targets can only be achieved with support from across the entire supply chain and, by bringing our experience and expertise together, we are looking to drive change by promoting and securing the supply of sustainable aviation fuel.”

The aviation industry has set ambitious targets to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from air transportation, including carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and beyond, and a 50 percent reduction of net aviation carbon emissions by 2050. Currently, sustainable aviation fuel offers the only viable alternative to fossil liquid fuels for powering commercial aircraft. Collaborations between forward-thinking companies like Neste and Air BP will be needed to enable the aviation industry to continue to connect the world, but do so with reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Both companies have already demonstrated their leadership in this area. Neste’s MY Renewable Jet Fuel has proven its technical capability in thousands of commercial flights. It can be easily adopted by airlines without the need for additional investments in new jet engines or segregated fuel distribution systems. It is produced from renewable and sustainable raw materials, thus significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the life-cycle.

Air BP has supplied BP biojet in the Nordics since 2014 at around 10 airports, including Oslo where they were the first to supply sustainable aviation fuel through the existing airport fuelling infrastructure, in an earlier collaboration with Neste and other key Norwegian and industry stakeholders.

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15 MWth wood-fired district heat plant in Lelystad put into operation

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 10/11/2018 - 5:33pm

In the Netherlands, the 15 MWth wood-fired heating plant in Lelystad, the Netherlands, turnkey supplied by HoSt and commissioned by heat supplier Primco, produces as of today, October 10th, sustainable heat for the district heating network of the city of Lelystad. Up to 30,000 tons of wood chips from necessary forest maintenance in the area will be combusted annually.

During the high heat demand in the morning, better known as the ‘morning ramp’, the biomass heat plant is able to momentary supply heat. Instead of 15 MWth, the installation then supplies 20 MWth to the net. The extra heat is realised by two heat buffers that are charged during the night.

“The project was completed on schedule. We have nothing but praise for the various collaborations that made all success possible”, says project manager Alwin Boelsma. The heating plant can heat up to 5,000 houses and saves around 7.5 million Nm3 of natural gas. The official go-ahead for construction of the plant was given in December last year.

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Anaerobic digestion “huge economic opportunity for UK”, ADBA tells Treasury

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 10/11/2018 - 5:31pm

In the UK, Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association Chief Executive Charlotte Morton has this week written to Robert Jenrick MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, outlining the economic and environmental benefits of AD, a technology that converts organic wastes and purpose-grown crops into renewable heat and power (in the form of biogas), clean transport fuel, and natural fertiliser.

In her letter, Ms Morton set out the case for rollout of universal food waste collections in England to replicate the improvement in food waste recycling rates seen in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland as the result of a similar policy. As well as helping to divert food waste away from environmentally damaging landfill or incineration, the National Infrastructure Commission has estimated that introducing universal food waste collections in England would save local authorities up to £400 million in capital costs and £1.1 billion in operational costs between 2020 and 2050.

Ms Morton also reiterated AD’s contribution to the goals set out in the government’s Industrial Strategy, designed to reinvigorate the UK’s manufacturing sector, and highlighted how AD can play a central role in new sector deals for agritech (through helping farmers to reducing their emissions) and the growing bioeconomy.

If it meets its full potential, the UK AD industry could meet 30% of the UK’s household gas or electricity demand and create around 35,000 jobs, mainly in rural areas where AD plants tend to be located. AD also improves energy security and soil quality, both major government policy objectives, through producing home-grown renewable energy and a nutrient-rich natural fertiliser respectively.

Ms Morton said in her letter to the Treasury:

“With targeted government support for research into our sector, we could supercharge our industry and put it at the cutting edge of agricultural science. Developing new waste management technologies would provide a boon to British exports, but also transform the sector’s performance to eliminate the need for further future subsidy.

“The UK AD industry has grown by more than 350% over the last ten years and the UK has established itself as a world leader in biogas, with UK companies already exporting biogas-related expertise and equipment. The UK has a real opportunity to be at the heart of the growing global biogas industry, which has the potential to be worth £1 trillion.”

Mr Jenrick is the Treasury Minister responsible for the Industrial Strategy, energy policy, and climate change, and spoke at the Conservative Party Conference last week about the importance of clean energy generation and support for innovative sectors.

The AD industry is hopeful that commitments in the Autumn Statement will prompt a commitment to universal food waste collections and clear incentives for AD more generally in Defra’s forthcoming Resources & Waste Strategy and BEIS’s forthcoming Bioeconomy Strategy respectively.

The AD industry’s contribution to the UK economy will be a key theme of the ADBA National Conference 2018, taking place in Westminster on 11th December.

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Anellotech process cuts GHGs by 70% for biobased BTX

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 10/11/2018 - 5:30pm

In New York, Anellotech’s Bio-TCatTM process, which produces bio-based aromatics from pine wood, has a CO2 emission reduction potential of 70% or more when compared to petroleum-derived equivalents. Jacobs’ analysis confirms that Bio-TCatTM is ideal for chemical producers and brand owners looking to meet sustainability goals for producing renewable polymers for consumer products or biofuels blended into transportation fuels.

Jacobs Engineering Group conducted an in-depth review of Anellotech’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Lifecycle Analysis, using its own industry-accepted refinery and petrochemical models. Jacobs verified that renewably-sourced Bio-TCat products enable significant GHG reductions when compared to identical chemicals currently made from crude oil.

The LCA compared Bio-TCat aromatics, produced using sustainably-sourced loblolly pine feedstock from the southern United States, to petro-aromatics produced in the US Gulf Coast from three crude oils which represented a range of carbon intensities. Jacobs employed their proprietary, detailed models for oil production, transportation and refining to estimate the carbon intensity of producing high-purity paraxylene and benzene products.

The results found that CO2 emissions for producing paraxylene and benzene from pulpwood using Anellotech’s process are estimated to be 70-80% lower than emissions for identical petro-based chemicals made from crude oils. If Bio-TCat is configured to make renewable gasoline and distillate fuel blendstocks, the reduction potential exceeds 90% as fuels are burned to make energy. In the coming months, Anellotech will be revisiting its process design and performing additional energy integration and optimization work to identify further ways to lower CO2 emissions.

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US ethanol demand spikes to 15.94 billion gallons annual pace

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 10/11/2018 - 5:29pm

In Washington, according to EIA data as analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol production averaged 1.040 million barrels per day (b/d)—a pace equivalent to 15.94 billion gallons per year. Weekly output grew by 25,000 b/d (383 mil. gal. annualized), up 2.5% over the prior week. After narrowing for four straight weeks, the four-week average for ethanol production marched higher to 1.036 million b/d (15.88 bil. gal. per year).

Stocks of ethanol leapt 2.6% to a 29-week high of 24.0 million barrels (1.01 billion gallons). This is nearly 12% higher than at the same time last year. Imports of ethanol were 71,000 b/d (1.088 bil. gal. annualized)—the first time in 5 weeks that volumes were logged and only the third week of imports this year. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of August 2018.) Average weekly gasoline demand tapered to 9.078 million b/d (139.17 bil. gal. per year), a 0.3% decrease. Refiner/blender net input of ethanol followed gasoline demand, slipping 0.4% to 913,000 b/d (14.00 bil. gal. annualized).

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Global vegetable oil production set to reach new peak

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 10/11/2018 - 5:27pm

In Washington, according to the USDA forecast, 2018/19 world vegetable oil production will probably rise more than 3 per cent from the previous year to a record level of just less than 204 million tonnes. Palm, soybean, rapeseed and sunflower oil account for around 87 per cent of that figure. Soybean oil is expected to see the biggest growth at 5 per cent. The development benefits from ample availability of feedstock from the 2018 bumper harvests of soybeans in Brazil and the US and continued buoyant international demand for processed soybean products. Favorable growing conditions in Southeast Asia and surprisingly high yields on palm oil plantations are seen to lead to a 4.5 per cent rise from 2017/18 to 72.8 million tonnes. Production of sunflower oil is expected to rise 4 per cent, because Ukrainian sunflower production is up around 6 per cent from a year earlier. By contrast, 2018/19 output of rapeseed oil of 28.1 million tonnes is projected 1 per cent lower than in the 2017/18 marketing year. According to Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft mbH (AMI), the reason is drought-induced disappointing rapeseed harvests in the EU-28 and Australia in 2018.

The Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen (UFOP) has forecast that in the wake of this trend in supply, pressure on prices will persist in the international vegetable oil markets. Prices of vegetable oils have long since decoupled from crude oil prices, forcing vegetable oil producing countries to adopt more active biofuel policies. Countries like Indonesia, Brazil and Argentina have tried to handle the price pressure by raising biofuel mandates, arguing that as palm oil prices are on a declining trend while crude oil prices are rising at the same time, biofuel mandates are becoming economically more attractive.


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Argonne GREET 2018 update

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 10/11/2018 - 5:21pm

In Illinois, a research team at Argonne National Lab released its GREET 2018 update. GREET is a life-cycle analysis (LCA) tool, structured to systematically examine energy and environmental effects of a wide variety of transportation fuels and vehicle technologies in major transportation sectors (i.e., road, air, marine, and rail). There are two GREET modeling platforms; GREET Excel is a multidimensional spreadsheet model that provides a comprehensive LCA tool, and GREET.Net provides an interactive graphical toolbox to perform LCA. The GREET 2018 release includes expansions and updates for both platforms, and this report provides a summary of the release.

GREET 2018 continues to expand the GREET bioproduct module to assess environmental impacts of bio-derived chemicals produced from biochemical, biological, and thermochemical conversion technologies. For the 2018 release, we added three bio-derived products: bio-ethylene oxide (EO), bio-ethylene glycol (EG), and bio-terephthalic acid (TPA). These bio-derived products can be used in the production of polyester and plastics such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET, the raw material for plastic bottles), liquid coolants, and solvents. EO is produced via direct oxidation of bio-derived ethylene with oxygen, while bio-derived EG is produced by the hydration of bio-derived EO. There are several pathways to produce bio-TPA, such as direct fermentation of sugars and via an isobutanol intermediate to paraxylene. However, we assessed the latter because companies are actively working to produce paraxylene from isobutanol at a demonstration scale (e.g., Gevo), while the direct fermentation pathway is now less mature than the isobutanol route.

In CCLUB 2018, users can select additional option for tillage practice – U.S. Average – to calculate soil organic carbon (SOC) changes at a national level. This option calculates the weighted average of SOC changes based on the share of corn-planted area using different types of tillage – no till (16%), reduced tillage (59%), and conventional tillage (25%). CCLUB now uses the U.S. Average for a baseline tillage practice. For soy biodiesel land use change (LUC) scenarios, CCLUB includes new updates to specifically estimate emissions associated with peatland loss in Southeast Asia

Argonne updated two algae biofuel pathways, combined algae processing (CAP) and hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL), based on pathway parameters identified in an Argonne collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to harmonize LCA results (together with techno-economic analysis [TEA] results) for algal biofuel production pathways (Davis et al. 2018). A key difference between the pathways included in this update and those presented in the report is that the harmonization study considered polyurethane and succinic acid coproducts from the CAP pathway with associated displacement of emissions and resource use for those coproducts; GREET 2018-relevant default pathways only consider the option without production of coproducts.

Argonne updated the pathway to produce high-octane gasoline via indirect liquefaction. The update takes into account the newly developed design case by a joint national lab team for the DOE Bioenergy Technology Office, which uses logging residues as the feedstock. The update reflects improvements in biofuel yield and process material, energy, and water consumption in the conversion step, as well as improvements in the energy efficiency of the advanced feedstock logistics.

Argonne also added a new pathway that examines renewable hydrocarbon fuels produced from ex-situ catalytic fast pyrolysis. The update takes into account the newly developed design case by the joint national lab team for a conversion that uses a blend of logging residues and clean pine as the feedstocks. The update reflects improvements in biofuel yield and process material, energy, and water consumption in the conversion step, as well as improvements in the energy efficiency of the advanced feedstock logistics for both logging residues and clean pine.

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