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Gladstone pilot biorefinery to trial Mercurius jet fuel and biodiesel technology

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 5:44pm

In Australia, the Gladstone pilot biorefinery that will be the trial site for jet fuel and diesel production from agricultural and forestry waste is set to go ahead after a funding injection from the Palaszczuk Government. US company Mercurius has commenced detailed design of the pilot biorefinery and will begin construction in months.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state government had been at the forefront of developing a bio-industry in Queensland. Mercurius has developed cutting-edge, patented biotechnology to produce cost-effective drop-in biofuels and bio-chemicals from non-food feedstocks like sugarcane waste – all without directly producing a CO2 by-product

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said Mercurius’ world-leading biotechnology will bring Queensland a step closer to achieving a $1 billion biofutures industry by 2026.

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Kansas Ethanol signs three-year deal for using Enogen corn

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 5:43pm

In Kansas, Syngenta announced a three-year marketing agreement with Kansas Ethanol, LLC to use Enogen corn enzyme technology at its 80 million-gallon ethanol plant in Lyons, Kansas. Enogen corn will provide the Kansas Ethanol facility with an industry-leading enzyme for enhanced ethanol production, while also supporting local growers and the community. The Kansas Ethanol facility will be accepting its first load of Enogen grain this fall. Farmers who grow Enogen corn are eligible to earn an additional premium per Enogen bushel. To date, more than $100 million in premiums have been paid to Enogen growers. According to data from Iowa State University, these premiums create an additional $63 million in economic activity for a total of $163 million in cumulative economic benefit to the region.

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Brazil’s ANP sees 977.5 million liters of biodiesel sold at latest auction

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 5:42pm

In Brazil, RenewablesNow reports that the national oil agency ANP facilitated the sale of 977.5 million liters of biodiesel valued at $608.5 million at its most recent auction. The average price was near 63 cents per liter. Nearly all of the 1.12 billion liters of fuel offered by 40 producers carried the social seal indicating that feedstock was sourced from small family farmers. The fuel will be used between March 1 and April 30 for the 10% biodiesel blending mandate.

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Green Distillation Technologies clarifies its technological process

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 5:40pm

In the Australia, tire recycler Green Distillation Technologies, which has developed world-first technology that transforms old tires into oil, carbon and steel, has moved to try and remove some of the confusion about how their process is described. Their Chief Operating Officer Trevor Bayley has said that many people have described their process as ‘pyrolysis’ although there are very significant differences between what they do and what most people understand pyrolysis to be.

“Pyrolysis is a generic term used to describe a process and is defined by Wikipedia as the thermal decomposition of a substance in an inert atmosphere and it goes on to say that it can be alternatively known by a number of names, including ‘Destructive Distillation’, which is the term we use to describe our process. “Charcoal has been made by pyrolysis for thousands of years where the air to the burning wood is restricted, while coke is the result of pyrolyzing coal and carbon black from pyrolyzing oil.

“When it comes to old tires the charcoal, coke and oil examples have been treated as the starting point and the results of the process are a liquid, char, some gas and a residual ash, as the steel bead and reinforcing are usually removed at the start.

“This process has been refined and improved in advanced countries in Europe and the United States, but the major problem is that the liquid and carbon are of poor quality. In India and China a cut-price approach has meant that there are also significant greenhouse gas emissions that would be banned in Western Counties including Australia. “Tire derived fuel is also used as an oil or coal replacement in these and some other countries and this also creates noxious greenhouse gas emissions and is a waste of what should be an important energy resource”, he said.

Trevor Bayley said that the process pioneered by Green Distillation Technologies was developed from basic chemistry and the genius of GDT Technical Director Denis Randal and his more than thirty-five years of study and experimentation into organic waste streams. The expertise is in knowing how to get the chemical reaction to occur. Preparation is underway for the construction of the first commercial plant in Toowoomba, Southern Queensland for which a Development Application has been made to the relevant authorities as well as for a Queensland Government Resource Recovery Program grant.

The plant will be built at the Wellcamp Business Park and cost $10 million to construct and when finished will employ 15 to 18 permanent staff and local contractors during construction. Construction of the proposed plant is expected commence later this year. The volume of valuable recyclable material produced by the process is impressive and a typical 10 kg car tire will yield 4 liters of oil, 4kg of carbon, 2kg of steel, a 70kg truck tire will provide 27 liters of oil, 28 kg of carbon, 15 kg of steel and 4 ton oversize mining dump truck tire will yield 1.6 tons of carbon, 0.8 tons of steel and 1500 liters of oil.

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Green Distillation Technologies takes next steps to list on NASDAQ

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 5:35pm

In Florida, Dyadic International, Inc. announced that the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) has declared the Company’s Registration Statement on Form 10-12G (the “Form 10”) effective as of February 12, 2019.  As a result, the Company is now subject to the periodic and current reporting requirements of Section 13(a) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934.

A copy of Dyadic’s Form 10 is available at under the name of Dyadic International or in the Investor Relations section of Dyadic’s website at

In addition, the Company announced that it has filed an application to list its common stock on The NASDAQ Capital Markets Exchange.

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Only 7% of Indian soft loans disbursed for ethanol projects

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 5:34pm

In India, Cogencis reports that only 7% of the soft loans approved by the government for ethanol productions—$56.1 million of $856.8 million—have been disbursed so far. The loans include a one-year deferment on payments and were announced in June to speed up the deployment of ethanol projects that would in turn help sugar mills climb out from under growing stockpiles of sugar. About 500,000 metric tons of B-heavy molasses are expected to be diverted towards ethanol production this year but that figure could go up significantly if the new facilities are brought online.

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German researchers say aviation biofuel can reduce negative climate impacts of flying

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 5:33pm

In Germany, researchers at the German Aerospace Center say the use of aviation biofuels can reduce soot emissions and contrail formations. By blending 50% biofuel, soot-related ice crystal formation can but cut by 80% while contrail formation can halve. They argue that by reducing the amount of clouds created by aviation can help to reduce negative aviation-induced climate impacts. The German Aerospace Center and NASA are currently undertaking joint missions to investigate different fuel blends on soot emissions and contrails.

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Five Republican Senators threaten to block EPA administrator confirmation over RFS

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 5:31pm

In Washington, Bloomberg reports that five Republican Senators led by Senator Ted Cruz have sent a letter to the acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency saying they would have a hard time voting to confirm him into the position unless he finds ways to lower the regulatory burden for independent oil refiners by reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard. The letter very specifically leads the reader down the policy routes that they are demanding in exchange for their votes.

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The wonder from down under finds an Aussie funder

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 5:30pm

From Australia we have just heard that Licella has given the exclusive Australian license for the Cat-HTR and End-of-Life Plastic to its subsidiary iQ Renew, which has in turn merged with Australian recycler Stop Waste, a cash flow positive business, in which Licella Holdings is now a shareholder. As part of the overall transaction share swap, Stop Waste Holdings, owners of Stop Waste, have also made an investment into Licella.

iQR will be one of the first companies globally to combine physical and chemical recycling, at a time when the world is searching for new recycling pathways following China’s effective ban on imported foreign waste.

The combined venture going forward

iQR now owns and operates the portfolio of Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) and secondary processing facilities on the NSW Central Coast, an hour north of Sydney, Australia. These facilities include two for primary recycling (sorting), and two for secondary recycling (processing single streams for re-manufacture). Combined, iQR’s facilities process over 100,000 tons per annum of recovered resources, collected curbside by councils.

A commercial-scale Cat-HTR plant

In addition to its physical recycling operations, iQR have the exclusive license to the Cat-HTR platform for End-of-Life Plastic and End-of-Life Tyres in Australia and New Zealand. Moreover, Licella and iQR’s new global joint venture, iQ Renew Wood Recycling, is an exciting opportunity to extract value from construction and demolition (C&D) wood waste. To support both opportunities, iQR are committed to funding and building a commercial scale Cat-HTR plant in the next 18 months.

The Stop Waste background

In CY2018, Stop Waste made an EBITDA of approximately A$9M and totals 60 people (employees and contractors). Through the merger, Licella have a pathway to earn up to 32% of the iQR business.

“I am an absolute believer in the Cat-HTR technology and this was a key driver in the decision to merge Stop Waste with iQ Renew,” Mr Gallagher said. “We continue to expand our recycling business into exciting new areas, including construction and demolition wood waste, driving innovation, maximizing value and minimizing waste in resource recovery.” As part of the partnership, Mr Danial Gallagher, founder of Stop Waste, has been appointed CEO of iQR, and will also join the Licella Board as a Non-Executive Director.

A third path forward

Licella noted to the Digest:

In addition to our joint ventures in Canada with Canfor Pulp (Centree) and in the UK with Armstrong Energy (Mura), this new venture gives Licella’s Cat-HTR platform a third pathway to commercialization. We look forward to growing this additional business opportunity both within Australia and globally.

More on the story

Here’s more on the story.

The Bottom Line

Licella continues to find very interesting partners to commercialize its technology — not unlike the approach that LanzaTech has successfully employed. The key has generally been to find feedstock owners who can realize a substantial lift in the value of the residues they control by applying the Cat-HTR platform.

Moreover, it’s another worthy competitor to the likes of Enerkem and Fulcrum BioEnergy in terms of presenting useful value uplifts to clients with municipal waste resources.

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Greener alternative to PET, olive pit bioplastic, Dupont and NIPI new insulation, biobased Mardi Gras beads and more: The Digest’s Top 10 Innovations for the week of February 15th

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 5:28pm

The pace of bioeconomy invention and change continues at a frenetic pace. Here are the top innovations for the week of February 15th.

In today’s Digest, new greener alternative to PET, olive pit bioplastic, Dupont and NIPI new insulation, biobased Mardi Gras beads — these and more, ready for you now at The Digest online.

#1 Green alternative to PET could be even greener

In the Netherlands, polymer chemists from the University of Groningen, led by Prof. Katja Loos, have described an enzyme-based polymerization method for furan-based polyester or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics.

“Furans are mainly produced with enzymes. But for the polymerization, the same processes are used as have been used for PET production for the last 70 years,” said Loos. Toxic metal-based catalysts and high temperatures that are needed for this process mean that it is not very environmentally friendly.

That is why Loos and her colleagues looked for an alternative polymerization method, one that uses enzymes. “We eventually found a commercially available enzyme that would do this,” said Loos. The polymers are made by combining furans with linear monomers, either aliphatic diols or diacidic ethyl esters. The enzyme Candida antarctica lipase B (CALB) is a lipase that breaks down ester bonds, but the polymerization requires the creation of these bonds. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it is not, explains Loos: “Enzymes catalyze equilibrium reactions, and we simply pushed the equilibrium towards the formation of ester bonds.”
More on the story, here.

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European Union publishes eight Argentine biodiesel producers that won’t be subject to anti-dumping duties

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 3:02pm

In Belgium, Reuters reports that the official publication of the agreement with Argentina regarding biodiesel imports shows fuel from eight producers will be allowed to enter the European Union without anti-dumping duties. They are Aceitera General Deheza, Bunge Argentina, LDC Argentina, Molinos Agro, Oleaginosa Moreno Hermanos, Vicentin, Cargill and COFCO International Argentina. The price paid for the biodiesel coming from the companies not subject to anti-dumping duties will be linked to the monthly price of soybeans.

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Brazilian H2 January ethanol production up nearly 25% on year

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 3:01pm

In Brazil, Platts reports that UNICA data shows ethanol production during the second half of January was nearly 25% higher on the year at 84 million liters, 44 million liters of which was hydrous ethanol. Total ethanol production for the year from April through January was up nearly 20% year-on-year at about 30.3 billion liters. Just 47 million liters of the 1.89 billion liters of hydrous sold during H2 January was exported. Total ethanol sales for the period was 2.6 billion liters, up from 2.24 billion liters last year.

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Uttar Pradesh to invest $2.4 billion in five biofuel plants

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 3:00pm

In India, the Hindu newspaper reports that the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to invest $2.4 billion in five biofuel plants to be located in Sitapur, Hapur, Meerut, Bareilly and Muzaffarnagar. Feedstocks, technologies nor independent project costs were included in the article announcing the green light given by the state’s government. The state’s investment is meant to help boost the reputation of biofuels around the region. Another two cellulosic ethanol plants worth $56.5 million each were also announced using Taiwanese technology.

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USDA deputy says EPA should implement year-round E15 even if it doesn’t get rulemaking done by summer

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 2:59pm

In Florida, Reuters reports that the deputy secretary of agriculture says the government should push through rules for year-rounding blending of E15 if the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t get rulemaking done in time as it should, though he did say he was confident such measures wouldn’t be necessary. He did say it would be up to the EPA to decide how to enforce the blending temporarily should the rule not be in place by June.

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Malaysian palm oil exports jump nearly 31% in January

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 2:58pm

In Malaysia, Platts reports that a jump in demand for palm oil from the European Union, India and China led to 21% more exports in January than during January 2018. Exports to Europe saw the largest jump by nearly 158% to 253,773 metric tons, while China was the largest destination at 317,212 tons, almost 18% higher on the month. A squeeze on stocks is expected ahead of March when more oil will be required for achieving the biodiesel blending mandate. On the other hand, biodiesel exports fell in January to 44,287 tons, more than 41% on the year.

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Vivergo suffered stunning losses before closing

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 2:52pm

In the UK, local press reports that Vivergo lost nearly £60 million during the year just before it announced its closure last October, following a £30 million loss the year prior due to what the company said was a delay by certain European member states to implement the 10% blending mandate called for under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Although the company said at the end of last year that the plant was being maintained just in case market conditions changed allowing it to restart production, it now says it doesn’t expect either of those things to happen.

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln shows ethanol production rose 23% since 2014

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 2:51pm

In Nebraska, a recent impact study by University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) economists reveals Nebraska’s ethanol production capacity increased by 23 percent since 2014 and continues to be a significant driver of economic impact for the state.

“The state sees what economists describe as an economic ‘bounce’ when we take advantage of the added value when grain is converted to food, fuel, fiber, renewable chemicals and bio-products,” said Sarah Caswell, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “There is enormous potential for biofuels to continue to strengthen the economic health of Nebraska through bio-based innovation and international trade.”

As of 2017, Nebraska’s ethanol production capacity was 2.558 billion gallons per year, with 1,453 full-time employees at 24 facilities. This represents an increase of 481 million gallons annually and an additional 152 full-time employees compared to 2014.

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EPA says with implement year-round E15 together with RIN reforms

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 2:50pm

In Washington, Reuters reports that the Environmental Protection Agency chose not to just make the ruling for year-round E15 but to also combine it with reform of the RIN market, on the behest of the President who said he wanted the two policies kept together. RIN reform will include credit trading limits in an effort to reduce speculation that could cause undue financial harm to oil companies who are required to buy the RINs for compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard.

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From Research Milligrams to Commercial Kilograms: The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide Guide to Bio-Process Scale-Up

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 2:47pm

Lee Enterprises Consulting is the world’s largest bioeconomy consulting group with over 100 subject matter experts (SME’s) in all areas of the bioeconomy.

Douglas Rivers, of Sunflwr Consulting and a member of Lee Enterprises Consulting offers this illuminating overview of the challenges of bioprocess scale-up, integrated pilot plants, demo plants, and more


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The Competitive Edge: Highbury Energy

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 11:00pm
Highbury Energy

Q: What was the reason for founding your organization – what was the open niche you saw that could be addressed with a new product or service? What was the problem, or gap, or opportunity?

Highbury was founded in 2009 on the premise that the thermochemical conversion of biomass to syngas is an ideal step toward the production of renewable low carbon intensity fuels. However the challenges associated with first generation gasification needed to be addressed and were subsequently solved by Highbury

  1. Feedstock input flexibility. Can use sawdust and chunks of bark at the same time
  2. Dual bed system requiring no external oxygen or heat supply other than for start-up. Self produced char is used as heat source
  3. Patented syngas tar removal and gas clean-up system
  4. Reduced capex and opex costs

Q: Tell us about your organization. What do you do?

Highbury has developed a financially attractive and cost effective smaller scale biomass to low carbon liquid fuels technology platform utilizing dual bed gasification and next generation Fischer Tropsch (sweet spot is only 125,000 bdt/year biomass input).

Q: What stage of development are you? 

Pilot stage – proven at small, non-integrated scale

Q: What do your technologies, products or services do and accomplish – how does it (they) work, who is it (they) aimed for?

Highbury is ready for the competitive conversion of biomass into low carbon intensity renewable liquid fuels. Employing its proprietary and advanced thermochemical process, patented syngas clean-up and KIER developed and enhanced Fischer Tropsch technology, Highbury and project partners are collaborating to build and operate a fully integrated demonstration facility and subsequent initial commercial scale facility in British Columbia Canada. Biocrude produced will be fully fungible and refinery ready with a boiling curve very similar to fossil based crude oil but with a carbon index of less than 4.

Q: Competitively, what gives your technology, product or service set an edge in cost or performance, sustainability, or any other aspect, that makes it stand out from the crowd, In short, what makes it transformative?

1. Highly competitive at a smaller scale with a proportionally lower capex and lower opex
2. Fully fungible and refinery ready biocrude with a carbon index of less than 4.
3. Highbury can produce a medium BTU, low sulphur, nitrogen free high value syngas that can readily replace and is compatible with fossil based natural gas sources

Q: What are the 3 top milestones you have accomplished in the past 3 years?

  1. Fully operational 0.4 BDT/day input biomass Highbury pilot, two stage fluidized bed, steam gasification process, operating without tonnage oxygen and requiring no outside energy source
  2. Highly competitive and fully integrated biomass to low carbon intensity fuels technology platform
  3. Clear pathway to commercialization and revenue including the necessary project consortium partners

Q: What are the 3 top milestones you will accomplish in the next 3 years?

  1. Scale-up current pilot gasifier 10X.
  2. Integrate KIER developed FT system, prove commercial production costs, product quality and scalability.
  3. Design and engineer initial commercial scale facility and roll-out pathway to revenue

Q. Where can I learn more about Highbury Energy?

Click here to visit Highbury’s website.

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