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Aux Farms, Citoyens! France’s Bioeconomy Plan is a stirring call to action on jobs, climate, innovation

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 06/26/2017 - 12:45pm

It took a long time, but France in the past year published a national bioeconomy strategy and its national government has approved it. It’s here in full form.

We’re publishing a digested version today not only as  summary of activities in France (and its extensive bioeconomy resources, industrial base and technical innovation level), but as a model of what a cogent national strategy can look like.

The 4 Guiding Goals

Good jobs and good products while preserving resources for the long term — France sums up it’s four goals this way:

1. To guarantee food security and acceptable living standards for present and future generations by preserving natural resources and ecosystem functions in habitats
2. Efficient, resilient and circular, productive for the long term
3. Focused on its citizens and with local roots, A bioeconomy that contributes to the development of economic value and jobs
4. Providing innovative, effective and affordable solutions able to meet the diversity of human needs

The Challenge of rising population and emissions

The Plan focuses on “new modes of production and consumption that are, at one and the same time, more efficient, resilient and compatible with the planet’s limits and mechanisms” — citing the The Paris Agreement on to limit climate change to “well below 2°c”, and noting the “crucial issue of global food security and the particular vulnerability of food production systems,” given an “outlook is for a human population of over nine billion by 2050” and a shift to more protein in the diet.

The Good News

The Plan states the bioeconomy’s role as central to the changes that must come: “The use of bioresources… offers opportunities for our economy. It can contribute to greater food sovereignty and the restoration of our trade balance, as well as creating value-added, thereby reinforcing the dynamism of rural areas and developing employment.”

30% of France’s overall emission target

France’s goal is to reduce its emissions of 500m co2 equivalent tonnes (as of 2103) to around 325m co2 equivalent tonnes by 2030. The Plan anticipates that as much as 30% of this reduction could come from the bioeconomy, in four ways.
1. replacement of products of fossil origin by products derived from bioresources: 40mt of co2 per year by 2030 and storage of 5mt of co2 per year;
2.  the potential emissions reduction in the farming industry considered achievable by 2030 (notably by encouraging changes in
3. Farming methods and energy self-sufficiency based on methanisation, for example) would be in the region of 10-15mt;
4. a 20 % reduction in food waste by 2030 would avoid emissions of 10mt co2eq/year.

The 22 steps towards realizing the bioeconomy potential

In all, France identified 22 steps under 6 categories of action relating to co-operation, production, environment, innovation, and dialogue.

Making bioeconomy products a market reality
1. Raising the profile of innovative bioeconomy products
2. Clarifying and highlighting the positive externalities of biobased products
3. Making use of public procurement for biobased products

Supporting the transition to a high-performance, innovative and sustainable biobased industry 
4. Fostering industrial ecology through synergy in uses of bioresources and the factors of production
5. Developing novel, flexible production systems suited to the resources used
6. Rolling out industrial activities
7. Fostering dialogue between farming, forestry and fisheries upstream and processing industry operators

Producing bioresources sustainably to meet the needs of all bioeconomy value chains
8. Improving and sharing our knowledge of the resources and their uses
9. Producing and using more bioresources
10. Using bioresources and seeking the best possible organization

Guaranteeing a sustainable bioeconomy
11. A competitive bioeconomy works in synergy with natural mechanisms
12. The development of the bioeconomy has a major regional component
13. A productive and competitive bioeconomy is founded on sustainable production
14. The bioeconomy must make use of environmental impact assessments

Building a dialogue with society for a shared bioeconomy
15. Informing and engaging the actors
16. Organizing debate to ensure informed decisions

Innovation for a high+performance bioeconomy
17, Understanding and assisting changes in global food systems
18. Continuing research efforts to develop outlets for chemicals, materials and energy
19. Supporting research for more sustainable production systems and biomass adaptation
20. Making use of research for a regionally integrated bioeconomy and sharing value
21. Successfully combining and evaluating multiple innovations in meta-systems
22. Using research to support bioeconomy training

Defining an action plan

At the heart of the plan, four action stages.

Stage 1. A broad survey of measures linked to each of the six core themes, making a distinction between what has been done and what might be done. This inventory will be based on previous discussions or on new contacts if necessary.

Stage 2. Prioritization of the measures listed and preparation of datasheets for the new measures. the datasheets for measures must contain:

• a description of the measure and the timetable for its implementation;
• the targets and the means for measuring how far they have been achieved;
• an evaluation of the impacts on existing systems and the solutions for limiting negative effects;
• the links with existing measures and supplementary measures that can be added;
• the individual in charge of the measure, along with the partners and the resources deployed;
• distribution to all economic sectors of information on targets and methods;
• organization of monitoring, ex-post evaluation and feedback.

Stage 3. Tracking the action plan based on efforts to link up with schemes already in place and contributing to it (e.g. Strategic sector contracts) and specific tracking of new measures.

Trans-Europe and international partnership

The French bioeconomy plan takes into account the European Commission’s 2012 strategy: “innovating for sustainable growth: a bioeconomy for Europe” and four initiatives that have flowed from that.

The plan notes that “France’s active participation in EU and international policymaking…will make it possible to advocate French views in all these bodies and, reciprocally, to enrich national thinking based on the experience of partner countries.” The plan’s authors envisage four steps for European co-operation:

1. formation of several working groups in the standing committee on agricultural research (scar) in dg research.
2. the setting up of the European bioeconomy observatory, backed by a panel of experts.
3. formation of an expert group on biobased products as part of the Lead Market Initiative in order to underpin their development.
4. the launch of a public-private partnership associating the European Commission with a consortium of manufacturers, involving €1 billion of public money and €2.7bn in private-sector funding.

The goals are to:

1. benchmark the various European strategies,
2. set up a network of french actors engaged in the bioeconomy at European level in close conjunction with the strategy committee,
3. play an active role in European proceedings and consultations.

At the international level, the plan aims at co-ordinating with the International Energy Agency, the UN Environment Program and the FAO.

The role of IAR

No note about the French bioeconomy would be complete without noting the role of the IAR bioeconomy cluster and associated projects. For 10 years, IAR has been supporting more than 210 projects for a total investment of €1,5 billion. Five examples of IAR projects are:

1. BBI – biobased industries joint undertaking (http://www.bbi-europe.eu). AIR is a board member of the BBIju
2. IMPROVE – plant based proteins (http://www.improve-innov.com/en)
3. PIVERT – oilseed biorefining (http://www.institut-pivert.com)
4. FUTUROL – ligno-cellulosic ethanol (http://www.projetfuturol.com)
5. BIO-LIC – overcoming hurdles for industrial biotechnology (http://www.industrialbiotech-europe.eu/)

More on the story

You can view The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to the French bioeconomy here.

Categories: Today's News

Things to do with lignin: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to Upgrading Biorefinery Waste to chemicals and hydrogen

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 2:58pm

At the 2017 DOE Project Peer Review, John Staser of Ohio University gave this illuminating overview on a continuous electrochemical process to convert biorefinery waste lignin to substituted aromatic compounds for resins and resin binders.

The hope? To generate additional biorefinery revenue stream and reduce the cost of biofuels to be competitive with petroleum fuels.

Categories: Today's News

Sanga Moses is on a Crusade

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 2:43pm

On 15th January, 2009, Sanga Moses travelled to his village in Uganda, in East Africa, to visit his mother.  It was a day that would change his life.

On his way home, he met his 12 year old sister carrying a bundle of firewood on her head. When she saw him, she started crying. She told him that she had missed school that day, because she had travelled for 10 kilometers to buy firewood for the family.

His sister is not alone. She is just one of millions of poor girls in Africa who have to miss school and travel for long distances to help their families find firewood. It is a chore which is often assigned to young girls, and as Uganda’s population increases and the demand for firewood increases, the bundles are getting farther and farther away.

As Sanga Moses reflected, “This is happening because of unsustainable deforestation. Africa is losing over 4 million hectares of forests every year. At this rate, Africa will have no forests left by 2052.”

It’s true. Uganda is losing more than 86,000 hectares of forest cover each year, says this report. And has declined from 5 million hectares of forest in 1990 to around 3 million today. Meanwhile the population grows at more than 3 percent per year. We’ve done so much to foster Africa’s ability to keep children alive — but what about cooking fuel?

An epidemic of violence

And this leads to the saddest epidemic in all of Africa, which is sexual violence against young girls. This study of sexually active primary school girls in Uganda found that 49 percent had been forced to have sexual intercourse.

49 percent. Primary school girls.

Far from every sexual assault is carried out by strangers — too often, it is a relative or neighbor. The social price is high. Depression, aggression, disobedience, nightmares, physical health complaints and poor school performance.

And the search for firewood is a part of the problem. Especially in Uganda because of the soaring population. Uganda had 7 million people when it achieved independence in 1962, and has 40 million today. Firewood is the fuel of choice because it is affordable, and traditional.

The business

Sanga decided to do something about it, and formed a social enterprise called Eco-Fuel Africa in June 2010 to make biochar from agricultural waste as an alternative to wood. He started with $500, passion and determination and not much else.

“It’s harder to find wood. Many would rather use wood than any other fuel source, but the forests are all gone, and many people are struggling to buy fuel. So we have farmers who have many kilns, as many as 10 using their own waste biomass, and also aggregating from the neighbors,” Moses said. The farmer goes through 100 kilos to make 15 kilos of charcoal, and can use up to 7500 kilos of biomass per kiln per day to make up to one tonne of raw charcoal, which Eco-fuel then converts into briquettes.

The business model is straightforward. Farmers sell for 6 cents a kilo to EcoFuel, which sells to its distributors at 14 cents a kilo, and the distributors retail it for 19 cents. In dense urban areas, the price to distributors rises to 19 cents a kilo and the retail price is 27 cents. Compare that with up to 55 cents for conventional charcoal.

So, a farmer can be making up to $60 per day from waste, or $21,900. Compare this to the less than $5 per day income of a Ugandan farmer. . The kilns are purchased via Eco-fuel and can be micro-financed.

The demand

The average family of 6 n Uganda would use around 1 kilo per day, for three meals. That’s why energy sources like LPG are for the rich,. “If you use LPG for cooking, you are in the upper middle class,” says Moses.

The technology

Eco-fuel Africa Limited uses kilns and briquetting machines to make clean cooking energy.  Preferred are corn cobs, when available, and that’s where the yields are at the highest levels. Sugarcane is far more prevalent and has sharply lower yields.

Farmers burn their farm waste, like coffee husk, sugarcane waste and corn waste, in basic kilns made out of used oil drums to create a char that can be turned into briquettes. These briquettes are then distributed by a network of micro-retailers that are exclusively single mothers

An EcoFuel
production line

The kilns are leased to farmers who are trained how to use them to turn their agricultural waste into biochar. The farmers then sell most of the biochar to Eco-fuel Africa Limited at 4 cents a kilogram while some of the biochar is retained by the farmers and used as organic fertilizers to improve their crop yields.

Eco-fuel Africa Limited then turns the biochar bought from farmers into clean charcoal that can burn in stoves using its solar-powered briquetting machines. This clean charcoal burns in all stoves that are currently used in Africa. It’s also not smoky like wood-charcoal. But it doesn’t burn quite as well, at first. “The 5 minutes charcoal gives you more energy,” says Moses, “but charcoal burns out faster, and you get 20 minutes more with our briquettes.”

Retailing

Eco-fuel Africa Limited uses bicycles to transport its clean charcoal to its network of small-scale retailers mainly made up of women who operate small kiosks in their local areas. These women buy charcoal from Eco-fuel Africa Limited for 13 cents a kilo (in outlying areas, more like 17 cents a kilogram and then resell the charcoal to the final consumers at USD 20 cents a kilogram.

The world of low-cost social transportation

To extend operations across an entire district in Uganda costs a laughably small amount of money, compared to the investments we see in biorefineries in the developed world. IN all, as little as $20,000.

$10,000 for briquetting machines. $ 3,000 on 100 kilns. It costs $ 30 to make a kiln but each briquetting machine requires at least 50 kilns to operate at full capacity. $5,000 on storage, $700 on bicycles, and $1300 to recruit distributors.

The impact to date

Eco-fuel has become a growing enterprise.

So far, 5,800 jobs for the people at the base of the pyramid by creating income sources for over 3,000 farmers and over 2,000 micro-retailers. And Eco-fuel Africa Limited uses part of its proceeds to plant trees, working with schools, local leaders, and community based groups in the process.

The Bottom Line

A social problem, a new feedstock source opens up a new income stream for farmers, a cost-cut costs for consumers, and protection for forests at the same time.  It’s a rare “win all around” for biomass.

Categories: Today's News

US ethanol production drops to 15.38B gallon annual rate

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 1:56pm

In Washington, according to EIA data as analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association, US ethanol production averaged 990,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 41.58 million gallons daily. That is down 12,000 b/d from the week before and the lowest in seven weeks. The four-week average for ethanol production decreased to 1.003 million b/d for an annualized rate of 15.38 billion gallons. Stocks of ethanol were 22.3 million barrels. That is 0.9% decrease from last week.

Average weekly gasoline demand shot up 5.9% to 412.3 million gallons (9.816 million barrels) daily, just shy of the all-time weekly record demand logged three weeks prior. This is equivalent to 150.5 billion gallons annualized. Refiner/blender input of ethanol increased 1.3% to 943,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.46 billion gallons annualized. Year-to-date, ethanol blending is up 1.9% versus the same period last year.

More on the story.

Categories: Today's News

Rapeseed imports to EU from Australia expected to decline

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 1:54pm

In Germany, UFOP reports that  Australia was the second largest supplier of rapeseed to Germany after France. This situation is unlikely to repeat itself in the coming year because the current drought will probably cut the Australian rapeseed harvest and reduce exports volumes. About 4.8 million tonnes of rapeseed came to Germany between April 2016 and March 2017. Most of it, around 1.6 million tonnes, came from France. Australia took second position, supplying 0.71 million tonnes. This figure was up by three quarters year-on-year. Consequently, Australia was the primary country of origin outside the EU-28.

However, UFOP notes that currently it is too dry and too hot in Australia. It is clear even now that the scheduled 20 per cent expansion in cultivation area compared to the previous year is unlikely to materialise, according to Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft mbH (AMI). The Australian ministry of agriculture pegs the upcoming crop at 3.3 million tonnes, down 20 per cent from a year earlier. As a consequence, Australian rapeseed will do little to improve the foreseeably tight German supply and demand balance.

More on the story.

Categories: Today's News

Faces of the Bioeconomy: 4 Minutes with Marcel van Berkel

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 1:52pm

Q: Most would know you, Marcel, from your days as an executive with GF Biochamicals. Tell us about the the new VanBerkel Consultancy.

A: With experience in business management, strategy, marketing, and development, VanBerkel Consultancy bridge your company to the next level of success. Offering support in defining and executing your business development and market strategy. They help you creating a business plan, conduct market research in your market sector to address unanswered issues, and gauge the resources you need—time, expertise, and people as well as money—to go to market.

Q: What geographies do you plan to serve?

A: Also for businesses who want to expand to oversees areas, VanBerkel Consultancy has alliance partners all over the world, e.g. in USA, Europe, Brazil, China, Japan and Thailand.

Q: What else is in your background, prior to GFB?

A: I have more than 20 years’ experience, now, in the sector. I have been driving business development in global science-based market leaders at Solvay, DSM, and shaping/executing a successful growth strategy in an entrepreneurial SME, GF Biochemcials.

Q: What specialties will you focus on?

A:  It’ll be a broad base of activity — besides business expertise and skills, we have specialized previously in bio-based monomers, renewable platform chemicals, bio- polymers and bio-materials.

Q: Where can people find out more?

A: At our website, here.

Q: When will we see you next on the industry circuit?

A: I’ll be at the BIO World Congress Bio 2017 in Montreal. See you there!

Categories: Today's News

NatureWorks Creates Performance Chemicals Division and Launches Vercet Product Line

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 1:50pm

In Minnesota, NatureWorks has formed a Performance Chemicals Division to supply lactides, polyols, binder resins, and chemical intermediates to companies that manufacture innovative C.A.S.E. (coatings, adhesives, sealants, and elastomers), toners, and fine chemicals.

Vercet is a new tunable platform of lactide-based chemistries from the NatureWorks Performance Chemicals Division. The customizable properties of Vercet polyols provide excellent hardness, solvent resistance, and low color in polyurethanes. As components in polyester resins, Vercet lactides can be used to create low volatile organic compound (VOC), solvent-borne alkyd resins for wood, and metal coatings that have excellent adhesion and impact resistance.

Solvent-borne coatings and hotmelt adhesives utilizing Vercet intermediate resins offer a tunable work life, more end-of-life options, excellent adhesion, as well as low dispensing temperatures for food packaging, paper, fiber board, and wood applications. Vercet lactide-based products will have direct and indirect food contact approval as well as inherent health and environmental safety advantages when compared to traditional chemical building blocks.

Since NatureWorks uses biobased feedstocks to produce its lactide monomer, the company does not have the price volatility and supply chain pinch points of traditional coating and adhesive components. This helps procurement, finance, and manufacturing personnel at Vercet customer locations better manage product cost.

“The NatureWorks Performance Chemicals Division delivers renewably sourced chemical intermediates with tailored functionality at competitive prices that help customers move through the R&D process faster with minimal supply chain risk,” said Richard Weber, Performance Chemicals Division General Manager. “This new business focuses on collaborative innovation with our customers across R&D, product development and operations – a far different approach than found today with most global suppliers of functional intermediates.”

More on the story.

Categories: Today's News

RFA’s Cooper Receives 2017 High Octane Award

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 1:49pm

In Washington, Renewable Fuels Association Senior Vice President Geoff Cooper has been awarded the 2017 High Octane Award, presented by BBI International and Ethanol Producer Magazine at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop in Minneapolis.

The award, established in 2000 by BBI International, recognizes a person “who has helped the ethanol industry mature and progress over the years” and “whose passion and unstoppable pursuits have significantly benefited the ethanol industry,” according to BBI. The FEW awards committee, which considers nominees for both the High Octane Award and Award of Excellence, is comprised of two dozen previous award winners and the seven producer-members of Ethanol Producer Magazine’s editorial advisory board.

“In receiving the High Octane Award, Geoff joins a prestigious list of passionate and committed industry champions,” said BBI President Tom Bryan. “Since the inception of the FEW awards 18 years ago, only two other trade association staff members have received this accolade. That says a lot about who Geoff is, and how much he’s done to help grow our industry.”

“I am deeply humbled and honored to receive this year’s High Octane Award. There is no greater compliment than knowing the leaders of this industry consider my contributions worthy of such special recognition,” Cooper said.

“I have been extremely fortunate to serve an industry and organization whose values align so well with my own. I sincerely admire this industry and everything it stands for. It has been both a pleasure and a privilege to work alongside the RFA Board of Directors and staff for the past nine years; their devotion to improving our nation’s economic security and environmental health has been truly inspiring. In reality, this award is a tribute to the many achievements of the RFA, its member companies, and its dedicated staff,” he added.

“The hallmark of the RFA and the foundation of the ethanol industry’s success in policy fights has always been its technical acumen,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “In today’s Washington, you don’t win on emotion alone. Since he has been with the RFA, and indeed during his career before we were lucky enough to benefit from his knowledge, Geoff Cooper has provided the intellectual currency fueling those arguments. Nobody I have ever met has been able to translate complex issues for the average person to understand, master both economic and environmental issues to guide academic research, and professionally represent both the association and the industry so effectively. The recognition he is receiving today is richly deserved, but his talents have been well understood by the RFA board of directors since the day he walked in the door,” he added.

Categories: Today's News

S2G BioChem to Build of Advanced BioRefinery in Sarnia: Production of Xylitol to Begin in 2018

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 1:48pm

In Canada, S2G BioChem has started work on the company’s first standalone biorefinery demonstration plant that it intends to build in Sarnia, Ontario.

The commercial-scale facility will refine local, sustainable forestry and agricultural residues using S2G’s patented process to produce the lowest-cost and highest-value food ingredient xylitol available on the market today while co-producing value-add bioglycols for a new generation of consumer, industrial and packaging and products.

The biorefinery demonstration plant, projected to cost $20M, will be funded by S2G and a network of investors and partners, including previously announced support from food giant Mondelēz International, who shares the vision and value of this renewable energy project.

Funding will be provided by Bioindustrial Innovation Canada’s (BIC) Commercialization of Sustainable Chemistry Innovation fund (COMM SCI), which acts as a hub for commercialization of sustainable chemistry and bio-based innovation, providing business and technical support to participating SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). COMM SCI was established with support from the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario’s Investing in Regional Diversification Initiative.

The S2G facility is considered a major advance in biorefinery development in Canada. It will have the capacity to produce over 2,000 MT/year of high-value xylitol and coproducts utilizing a range of feedstocks from forestry and agricultural residues. Basic engineering for the facility is underway and construction is expected to begin in 2018. The build-out and operation of the facility is projected to create 13 permanent jobs with more required during construction and testing.

S2G’s conversion technology uses sustainably-sourced renewable plant materials to concurrently produce two bio-based products – xylitol and bioglycols. The ability to co-produce these products results in the lowest production costs for xylitol and bioglycols available today. Xylitol is a natural, low-calorie sweetener, offering high sweetness, excellent flavour, oral health benefits and 1/5 the glycemic index of table sugar, enabling healthier snacks and food products. Bioglycols (EG & PG) are sustainable drop-in replacements for petrochemicals that can be used to make countless everyday products such as packaging, lotions, liquid detergents, deicing fluids and antifreeze.

More on the story.

Categories: Today's News

Breathing room: Gevo refinances current year debt through 2020

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 1:46pm

In Colorado, WB Gevo, Ltd. the holder of the Company’s issued and outstanding Senior Secured Convertible Notes, due June 23, 2017 exchanged all $16.5 million of the existing 2017 Notes for $16.5 million of the Company’s newly created 12.0% Convertible Senior Secured Notes due March 15, 2020.

The 2020 Notes are convertible, at the option of the holders, into shares of the Company’s common stock.

“This Exchange is a significant milestone for Gevo. With a new maturity date for our senior debt in March 2020, we can focus on executing our key strategic initiatives, without the distraction of near term liquidity concerns. We ended last quarter with over $20 million of cash on our balance sheet, and we expect that this will be sufficient to fund Gevo into 2018 without any additional financings,” said Dr. Patrick Gruber, Gevo’s Chief Executive Officer.

“Our improved balance sheet should play an important role in our negotiations of supply agreements for our core jet fuel, renewable gasoline and isobutanol products. Gevo’s improved financial condition is important to customers, as it provides better certainty that Gevo will produce and deliver its products to them in the future,” Mr. Gruber continued.

More on the story.

Categories: Today's News

Mexico OKs E10 ethanol limit excepting 3 cities

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 06/25/2017 - 1:45pm

In Mexico, The Mexican Energy Regulatory Commission will increase the maximum amount of ethanol that can be blended in Mexican gas supplies from 5.8 percent to 10 percent, except in the cities of Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City. 

The announcement modifies the Mexican Official Standard NOM 016-CRE-2016 regarding the quality specifications for fuels by increasing the maximum volume content of anhydrous ethanol as an oxygenate in regular and premium gasolines in Mexico.

This change comes as part of ongoing energy reforms in Mexico and follows input from stakeholders in the government, private sector, research scientists and social interest groups. 

Mexico’s regulators moved in August 2016 to allow ethanol in local fuel supplies, except in its three largest metropolitan areas.

In its decision, the CRE recognized the benefits of E10, which will help demonstrate that a 10 percent ethanol blend can positively contribute to air quality improvement and reduced cancer risk throughout the country. The Mexican Institute of Petroleum is also studying the merits of E10 blends.

The decision moves Mexico toward global standards in the use of renewable and sustainable energy resources like ethanol that offer environmental, economic, social and public health advantages over other additives and oxygenates for gasoline.

“We are pleased to see this decision, which is the culmination of significant work by Mexican authorities and industry as they continue to diversify and improve their fuel supplies,” said Tom Sleight, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) President and CEO. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with Mexican leaders as they seek to build their own biofuels industry and offer cleaner fuels for the Mexican people.”

“We’re strongly encouraged by this announcement, which clears the way for further adoption of ethanol into the Mexican fuel supply,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “By doing so, Mexican consumers will see how embracing ethanol will reduce harmful emissions, help contribute to a cleaner environment, and will create a stronger rural sector.”

“We are greatly encouraged by Mexico’s recent decision to allow the sale and use of 10 percent ethanol (E10) as part of its fuel market reform efforts,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “By permitting the use of E10 in its fuel market, Mexico will have blend levels consistent with fuel sold and used throughout the United States and Canada. Not only will Mexico be able to achieve greater octane and oxygenate benefits from using E10, it will help to drive trade and investment in its ethanol fuel sector. We hope the Mexican Institute of Petroleum will soon conclude its study, and are confident the study will affirm the air quality benefits of the use of E10 in the country’s most populous cities, thereby allowing it to be used in all regions of the country.”

Categories: Today's News

Argentina’s April ethanol sales soar 30% on the year

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 8:30pm

In Argentina, ethanol sales rose 30% on the year in April to 86.4 million liters although the volume was slightly lower than in March due to the month having one day less as average daily sales volumes were actually higher than the previous month. Cordoba and Tucuman provinces accounted for 62% of sales. The volume blended was the closest so far to achieving the 12% blending mandate at 11.95%, up from 9.95% the year before.

Categories: Today's News

A&B teams with TerViva on 250 acres of pongamia on Maui

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 8:28pm

In Hawaii, Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. and TerViva announced plans to cultivate pongamia on 250 acres of former sugar plantation lands in Central Maui. TerViva estimates pongamia can produce more than 400 gallons of oil per acre, which can be used to produce biofuels. The residue from the pressing process is a seed cake which is high in nitrogen and protein and can be used in fertilizer or animal feed supplements, or as a feedstock for other bioenergy pathways, including biogas production.

The project represents the next stage of the A&B’s plans to develop diversified agricultural projects on former sugar lands in Central Maui. Under the new diversified model, the former 36,000-acre sugar plantation is being divided up into smaller farms to accommodate a wide range of agricultural uses. In addition to the partnership with TerViva, other potential projects include further energy crops, food crops, support for the local cattle industry, and the development of an agriculture park.

Categories: Today's News

Accidental discovery by UW-Madison undergrad leads to yeast breakthrough

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 8:26pm

In Wisconsin, a few grams of bark brought back to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the lab of genetics professor Chris Hittinger by a recent undergraduate were home to a previously unknown strain of yeast, named Yamadazyma laniorum “in honor of the hardworking people of the historic meat packing industry of Green Bay, Wisconsin,” according to his recent study published in the journal FEMS Yeast Research.

That’s “lanorium” from the Latin for “pertaining to butchers,” which is as close as you get to naming a yeast for the Green Bay Packers while maintaining some scientific detachment and avoiding any trademark implications.

Categories: Today's News

Ethanol demand turns UK into net wheat importer for fourth time in 25 years

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 8:25pm

In the UK, wheat demand to supply CropEnergies’ Ensus ethanol plant brought back online last year has turned the country into a net importer of wheat for only the fourth time in the past 25 years. Last year’s smaller-than-normal crop has contributed to the shift to net importation with stocks seen closing the current season 27% lower than last year, down by more than 2 million metric tons. Ethanol demand has also boosted demand for corn, which the Ensus plant can use in addition to wheat.

Categories: Today's News

Clean Energy Finance Corporation sees biomass a missed opportunity for Australia

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 8:23pm

In Australia, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation believes that biomass is a missed opportunity for the country and is frustrated by how far it lags behind in bioenergy compared to much of the rest of the world. The energy class is not only on economically viable under the current renewable energy technology policy but is readily deployable at any moment, as opposed to other renewables such as solar. The Greens, however, are concerned what biomass energy could mean to the health of forests.

Categories: Today's News

Advanced Biofuels Canada releases most comprehensive study of biofuels use to date

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 8:22pm

In Canada, Advanced Biofuels Canada recently announced the release of the most comprehensive study to date of biofuel use in Canada. The study was conducted by Navius Research and follows a study last year by Clean Energy Canada and Navius Research on 2010-2014 biofuel use in Canada.

The study catalogs biofuel blending rates, biofuel types, and feedstocks utilized at the provincial level. Greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions are assessed annually by fuel type, and coverage in this new study now estimates the impact of biofuels on consumer fuel expenditures, GHG abatement costs, and the impact of taxation policies on lower carbon fuels.

Categories: Today's News

UK researchers unlock genetic secrets of plant cell walls

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 8:21pm

In the UK, Researchers from the University of York and the Quadram Institute have unlocked the genetic secrets of plant cell walls.

Recent developments in genome sequencing technology have provided detailed information about the genetics of crop plants, but what has been lacking to date is the technology needed to collect comparable cell wall data to locate, assign and signpost these important genes for plant breeders.

Using a microarray, sometimes called a lab-on-a-chip, the team were able analyze thousands of plant cell samples simultaneously and harvest a large amount of data relevant to the arrangement of the cell.

They then linked this information back to particular changes in genetic information between the different varieties of plant cell, using a technique called association mapping.

Categories: Today's News

Trump stumps for ethanol in Iowa despite concerns on RFS blending volumes

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 8:20pm

In Iowa, President Trump said the ethanol industry was under siege by his Environmental Protection Agency but promised that he would save it as he said he’d do during his campaign. The White House has given the EPA the green light to publish the 2018 blending mandate proposal after reviewing it last week but changes to the approved version are underway, leaving publication until next week at least. With RINs expected to jump to $1 if the EPA pushes the blending mandate above the expected levels for 2018, all eyes are on Washington waiting for the decision.

Categories: Today's News

Can’t Get No (Liquefaction): The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide Liquefaction of Forest Biomass to Drop-in Fuels

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 4:31pm

Lysle Whitmer on behalf of an Iowa State-led group of researchers gave this illuminating overview of Liquefaction of Forest Biomass to Drop-in Fuels, at the 2017 DOE Project Peer Review sessions.

Categories: Today's News

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