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(A)lgae + (B)iomass = (C)onstructive: The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide Guide to Sandia National Labs

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 04/25/2019 - 6:27pm

Sandia National Laboratories shares a famous acronym with Saturday Night Live but the work they have done is key to the future of the bioeconomy, having delivered essential science and technology to resolve the nation’s most challenging security issues for over 60 years. One piece of their current work includes algae cultivation systems and biomass production.

Ryan Davis, Principal Member of Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories, gave this illuminating overview of utilizing turf algae for coupling remediation of compromised surface waters with biomass production, various projects and sites they have worked on, and more, at ABLC Global 2018 in San Francisco

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Whitefox Technologies installs fifth ICE™ system

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 6:13pm

In Wisconsin, Whitefox Technologies Limited is proud to announce its fifth successful installation and start-up of its Whitefox ICE system at Ace Ethanol’s plant in Stanley, Wisconsin. One-third of all Wisconsin ethanol plants now have a Whitefox ICE system installed.

Whitefox’s membrane solution is a key part of a wider project that will integrate with D3MAX’s technology for taking corn kernel fiber-to-ethanol, enabling significant energy savings for the integrated facility.

Wisconsin is home to nine ethanol plants and is the ninth largest ethanol producing state in the country.  It has the capability to produce 500 million gallons of ethanol per year.

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Keystone Biofuels and co-owners found guilty of RIN fraud

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 6:11pm

In Pennsylvania, following a 14-day jury trial in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Ben T. Wootton, of Enola, Pennsylvania, and Race A. Miner, of Buena Vista, Colorado, were found guilty of one count of conspiracy to make false statements to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), six counts of making false statements to the EPA, one count of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and one count of aiding and assisting in the filing of a false claim with the IRS, announced Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Justice Department’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division (ENRD), Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, U.S. Attorney David J. Freed for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Susan Bodine, and IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Kelly Jackson. The jury also found the corporation, Keystone Biofuels Inc. (Keystone), guilty of conspiring to make false statements to the EPA and six counts of making false statements to the EPA.

According to the evidence presented at trial, Wootton and Miner co-owned and operated Keystone, originally in Shiremanstown, Pennsylvania, and later in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Keystone purported to be a producer and seller of biodiesel, a type of renewable fuel. From August 2009 through September 2013, Wootton and Miner participated in a conspiracy to fraudulently generate renewable fuel credits, identified by renewable identification numbers (RINs) on Keystone fuel and, through January 2012, to fraudulently claim tax refunds based on the Biodiesel Mixture Tax Credit, a federal excise tax credit for persons or businesses who mix biodiesel with petroleum and use or sell the mixture as a fuel.

Wootton and Miner face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison on each conspiracy count, each false statement to the EPA count, and three years in prison on the count of filing a false tax claim with the IRS, as well as periods of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

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RFA first biofuel organization to join Field to Market

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 6:10pm

In Washington, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) announced that it has joined Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a leading multi-stakeholder initiative working to unite the agricultural supply chain in defining, measuring and advancing the sustainability of food, fiber and fuel production in the United States.

As an active member of Field to Market, RFA will collaborate with the Alliance’s diverse membership—including farmers, conservation groups, leading companies, academia and other stakeholders—to promote and advance continued efficiency improvements and sustainable development throughout the renewable fuel supply chain.

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Novozymes’ Q1 hit hard by Midwest flooding

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 6:09pm

In Denmark, Reuters reports that this winter’s heaving flooding in the US’s Midwest that knocked out significant ethanol production negatively impacted Novozymes’ Q1 bioenergy-based sales, losses which the company’s CEO doesn’t see as possible to recuperate later in the year. About 13% of the country’s total ethanol production capacity was impacted by the floods. Q1 bioenergy sales dropped 8% on the year compared to 5% analysts had pegged for the quarter. Novozymes expects the US ethanol market to get back to normal in terms of production and stock levels in the next month or so.

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CONAB sees 2018/19 Brazilian ethanol production at record high of 33.58 billion liters

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 6:08pm

In Brazil, the Brazil-Arab news agency reports that CONAB estimates the 2018/19 crop will end with record ethanol production, jumping more than 23% on the year to 33.58 billion liters, above the previous record of 30.5 billion liters in 2015/16 crop. Overall cane production for the year fell about 1.3% to 625.2 million metric tons with sugar production falling more than 17% as mills favored ethanol production, especially hydrous, in light of low global sugar prices.

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Advanced Biofuels Association seeks preliminary injunction against EPA over SREs

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 6:07pm

In Washington, the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA) filed a motion on Wednesday for a preliminary injunction to prevent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler from granting any additional small refinery exemptions (SREs) to release obligated parties from compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) until the resolution of its pending lawsuit against EPA.

ABFA’s lawsuit against EPA challenges its methodology for granting these exemptions, arguing the Agency more than doubled the number of exempted refineries by illegally changing its petition review process behind closed doors. ABFA filed the motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where its current lawsuit is pending with briefing on the merits scheduled to conclude on June 12, 2019.

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University of Illinois researchers develop way of using glycerol to reduce energy consumption of waste-based biofuel production

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 6:05pm

In Illinois, University of Illinois chemical engineers have assessed the technical and economic feasibility of a new electrolysis technology that uses a cheap biofuel byproduct to reduce the energy consumption of the waste-to-value process by 53 percent.

The new findings are published in the journal Nature Energy. The new study proposes glycerol—an organic byproduct of sugar cane biofuel production that requires less energy to oxidize—as an alternative to the energy-intensive oxygen-producing step.

To test if the new electrolysis technique has the potential to push the full CO2 conversion process to a carbon neutral or negative budget, the researchers examined the cost and energy consumption for the production cycle of the waste-to-value process. The four-step cycle includes the capture of industrial CO2 waste gas, the input of electricity, the new

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Nevada looks to add 5 cent tax on biodiesel and renewable diesel as well as fossil diesel

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 6:01pm

In Nevada, biodiesel and renewable diesel are included in the proposed legislation that would see a 5 cent per gallon tax lobbed on diesel by rural counties starting Jan. 1, 2020. The bill has passed the state’s senate and will now move onto the assembly for passage. Funds raised by the taxes in areas with less than 100,000 residents would go directly to local authorities, with 10% of the revenues required to be used to improve safe parking for long-distance trucks. Currently the state has a total of 53 cents per gallon of taxes on diesel.

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Biofuel made from roadkill, cardboard café, wheat straw transformed to isobutene, 3D printed biobricks, algae plastic, and more: The Digest’s Top 10 Innovations for the week of April 25th

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 5:59pm

The pace of bioeconomy invention and change continues at a frenetic pace. Here are the top innovations for the week of April 25th.

In today’s Digest, biofuel made from roadkill, cardboard café, wheat straw transformed to isobutene, 3D printed biobricks, algae plastic — these and more, ready for you now at The Digest online.

#1 Nothing goes to waste! Roadkill turned into biofuel

In the United Kingdom, pet and animal lovers are upset that their dead pets are being rendered down to fat and converted into biodiesel for use in transportation and tractors. A local Council passed the policy to do so, but some are angry that the council is using cat and dog roadkill for biofuel if no chips are found on the pets.

Derry City and Strabane Council said, The remains were scanned to find an identifying chip but, as is often the case with roadkill, no chip was found and it was passed to a third party for rendering.”

“Cats Matter wants councils to scan all dead pets for microchips so they can be returned to owners and it wants to change the law so drivers who hit a cat must stop,” according to The UK Mirror.
More on the story, here.

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All About the Enzymes: The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide Guide to METGEN

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 5:57pm

METGEN designs and markets novel enzymatic solutions for challenging and large industry sectors to meet specific customer needs. MetGen’s enzymes – MetZyme – are industrial, highly-active, natural catalysts that accelerate chemical reactions. They can survive in harsh industrial environments which enables novel applications and combination with other enzymes. MetGen uses advances in genetic engineering and microbiology to adapt enzymes to harsh industrial conditions and to handle a variety of lignocellulosic substrates. MetGen has achieved successful industrial trials with sector leaders in forest and renewable chemicals.

Alex Michine, CEO at METGEN, gave this illuminating overview of the enzymatic solutions for industrial biorefineries, integrating hydrolysis, sugar conversions and lignin valorization, and more, at ABLC Global 2018 in San Francisco

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The Power of Protein: The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide Guide to Perfect Day

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 6:47pm

Perfect Day is giving cows around the world the perfect day to live happily with its cow-free dairy. Perfect Day’s technology developed a biomanufacturing platform to make key dairy ingredients – all without animals.

Tim Geistlinger, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer at Perfect Day gave this illuminating overview of how they are creating animal-free dairy, disrupting an array of global markets beyond milk like cheese, yogurt, ice cream and beyond, all with their unleashing the power of milk proteins and casein, how they biomanufacturer casein, how it’s different than other dairy alternatives, and more, at ABLC Global 2018 in San Francisco

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New Energy Risk provides performance insurance to allow for financing of plastics-to-fuel project

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 6:43pm

In California, New Energy Risk has provided RES Polyflow, a leading plastics-to-fuel technology company, with a performance insurance program for its ground-breaking Ashley, Indiana plant. The project will be the United States’ first commercial-scale plastics-to-fuel project. Once completed, the facility will convert 100,000 tons of plastic into 18 million gallons of fuel and six million gallons of wax annually. By working with New Energy Risk (NER), RES Polyflow has reduced the overall cost of project capital, increased the certainty of execution, and made the bond offering more attractive to investors.

To finance this deployment, RES Polyflow and its parent development company, Brightmark Energy, raised an aggregate amount of $260 million, including $185 million in Indiana green bonds, underwritten by Goldman Sachs & Co. To streamline the financing, the companies approached NER, an affiliate of the global reinsurance group AXA XL, a division of AXA, to design a custom performance insurance policy that would mitigate technology risk for financiers interested in investing in this revolutionary project. NER used a systematic, data-driven approach to extensively assess the company’s technology, then developed an insurance product that covers the overall waste conversion process of the plant.

RES Polyflow’s plastics-to-fuel pyrolysis process sustainably recycles waste that has reached the end of its useful life – including items that cannot readily be recycled, like plastic film, flexible packing, Styrofoam, and children’s toys. The Indiana plant superheats and then converts plastic into ultra-low sulfur diesel and naphtha blend stocks, as well as commercial grade wax. In the future, the output could be turned back into plastic, creating the world’s first circular technology for plastics.

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Royal Farms and Protec complete first phase of project through E85 implementation

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 6:43pm

In Maryland, Royal Farms and Protec Fuel Management, LLC (Protec) announced the completion of the first phase in a sustainability initiative designed to offer customers renewable fuel options that save money and dramatically reduce pollution with E85 Flex Fuel and Regular 88. The new fuels are the latest addition to Royal Farms’ ongoing sustainability efforts which began in 2008.

To date, cleaner ethanol fuels have already displaced enough gasoline to cut greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of planting 54,319 trees and letting them grow for ten years.

Increasing availability of ethanol in the region has been a collaborative effort, including strong support of private and public entities such as Sustainable Energy Strategies Inc. and Clean Cities chapters of Virginia and Maryland. Notably, the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) and Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board investment in growing ethanol in the state has been instrumental in a 70 percent increase in E85 and Regular 88 sales in 2018.

Part of that investment has come through the MEA’s Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Program (AFIP), a competitive, technology-neutral effort to support development of state-wide alternative fuel and electric charging infrastructure.

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SEKAB to provide technology for planned Nordfuel biorefinery

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 6:43pm

In Finland, the Nordfuel biorefinery is planned to open in Northern Finland in 2021, producing bioethanol and biofuel from soft wood residues, following an investment of EUR150 million. Swedish clean-tech company SEKAB E-Technology will provide the technology.

Since March this year, SEKAB is demonstrating the Celluapp technology and the specific forest residue that will be used when the company, Kanteleen Voima, will start up Nordfuel in 2021 in Finnish town Haapavesi. Nordfuel will be a full-scale biorefinery, producing bioethanol and biogas for the transport sector, lignin to fuel the power plant in Haapavesi, as well as manure.

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Marquis backs out of planned $500 million Illinois ethanol plant citing pending legislation

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 6:42pm

In Illinois, local press reports that Marquis Inc. has pulled the plug on its planned $500 million ethanol plant in Scott County ahead of a deadline at the end of the month to release its options on 800 acres of land for the project. In a press release, the company’s CEO reported said that pending legislation at the state level will boost project development costs to the point of making the facility’s ROI inviable. Which legislation was impacting the project’s development was not cited. The company also pointed to international trade policies that have dampened demand for US ethanol imports.

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Pacific Biodiesel unveils Maui’s first industrial hemp farm

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 6:42pm

In Hawaii, Maui Now reports that Pacific Biodiesel unveiled the island’s first commercial hemp farm on Earth Day following three years of jumping through legal hoops to get permission to grow the crop. Hemp covers 10 acres as part of the company’s wider 150-acre biofuel crop site that includes it’s now-famous sunflower farm. Although the high value hemp oil won’t be used as biodiesel feedstock, instead of cosmetics and culinary oils, the company says the operation will be the first hemp farm powered by 100% biodiesel.

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Washington State Ferries look to boost biodiesel blend to 10%

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 6:42pm

In Washington, the state’s ferry company released its Sustainability Action Plan on Earth Day which includes the goal of boosting biodiesel blending for the state’s ferry system to 10% from the current 5%. The state-run company operates 23 ferries which consume 18 million gallons of diesel annually from 20 terminals, so it is putting a strategic focus on reducing its environmental impact by reducing the carbon intensity of its fuels. The state is also aiming to have a Low Carbon Fuel Standard in place by 2021.

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NTU Singapore researchers develop way to boost oil seed yield by up to 15%

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 6:41pm

In Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) scientists have developed a sustainable way to demonstrate a new genetic modification that can increase the yield of natural oil in seeds by up to 15 per cent in laboratory conditions.

The new method can be applied to crops such as canola, soybean and sunflower, which are in a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to see increasing global demand. The research team genetically modified a key protein in plants which regulates the amount of oil they produce. This results in larger oil reserves in the seed that primarily serves as an energy source for germination.

The team’s patent-pending method involves modifying the key protein known as “Wrinkled1” or “WRI1,” which regulates plants’ oil production. After modification, the seeds have a wrinkled appearance, which is the basis for its scientific codename. In the lab, these modified seeds have successfully displayed seed oil increase that is able to produce up to 15 per cent more natural oils. The research findings were published in the scientific journal Plant Signaling & Behavior.

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More than 25,000 comments received so far for EPA’s proposed E15 rule

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 2:19pm

In Washington, with less than a week left before the public comment period closes, more than 25,000 comments have been received on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to allow year-round E15 blending under the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure waiver. The proposed rule was published on March 21 and the agency expects to be able to take into account the comments submitted and have the final rule ready for implementation in time for the launch of the summer driving season in June, but doubts remain if it will be possible or if the final rule is rushed through if the comments will be considered before implementation.

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