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Today's News

Indian biodiesel run demonstrates high-level blends

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 7:12pm

In India, in collaboration with Dutch research institutes and local partners under the Made in India initiative, for the first time ever a vehicle was driven more than 5,000 kilometers on a mixture of high-level biodiesel blends, ranging between B25 and B50, to demonstrate the viability of domestically produced biodiesel. The push across 11 states is part of the government’s awareness raising program to promote domestically produced fuels in an effort to reduce dependency on fossil fuel imports by at least 10% by 2022.

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Spanish biodiesel sales soar in June

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 7:11pm

In Spain, biodiesel sales soared in June to 98,669 metric tons, up 22% on the year as well as more than 2% higher than in May yet fossil diesel consumption only rose 5.4% on the year and 3.6% from the month prior, for a total blend of 5.44%. Ethanol consumption also rose slightly in light gasoline consumption to 21,808 tons, putting the blend at 4.97%. Both ethanol and biodiesel blends fell slightly from their May equivalents.

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North Dakota ethanol plant offering premium for corn due to drought concerns

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 7:10pm

In North Dakota, Blue Flint Ethanol near Underwood is offering a 20-cent per bushel premium for corn in light of short supplies due to the ongoing drought, a price bump that could help farmers recuperate losses resulting from the dry weather. The state’s corn production is seen down 19% on the year, while in a normal year between 40% and 60% of the crop goes towards ethanol production. Thanks to last year’s record crop, farmers carried over a lot of stock so many be able to take advantage of the price premium offered this year.

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Brazil inaugurates first corn-only ethanol plant

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 7:08pm

In Brazil, the president and agriculture minister attended Friday’s inauguration of the country’s first corn-only ethanol plant, FS Bioenergia in Mato Grosso, which they vowed would not be the last, voicing support for more corn-based ethanol production. The facility will produce 63.4 million gallons of ethanol annually in addition to 60,000MWh of electricity and more than 6,200 metric tons of corn oil. Current corn prices are below production costs, so the president lamented there weren’t 10 similar plants online to absorb 6 million tons of corn from the market.

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Justice Department charges couple with defrauding $50 million in energy grants

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 7:08pm

In Massachusetts, an Acton couple was arrested and charged with defrauding the U.S. Treasury Department of more than $50 million in tax free energy grants as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. From May 2009 to June 2013, Condron and Metivier allegedly submitted fraudulent grant applications to the Treasury Department on behalf of four different Massachusetts companies, Acton Bio Energy, Concord Nurseries, Kansas Green Energy and Ocean Wave Energy. According to the indictment, for each of the applications, Condron and Metivier falsely claimed that Metivier and her entities had acquired, placed into service, or started construction of energy property, which allegedly included three different bio-fuel gasification systems, purportedly built at a cost of approximately $88 million, and an $84 million wind farm project. Condron and Metivier sought to be reimbursed for more than $50 million based on those costs—which the indictment alleges they never actually incurred—and received grants totaling more than $8 million. To support their applications, Condron and Metivier submitted fraudulent documentation to a Massachusetts-based attorney who, in turn, submitted the applications to the Treasury Department on their behalf.

The charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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European T2 ethanol prices sink to 15-week low

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 7:05pm

In the Netherlands, T2 ethanol prices continue to fall in light of increased imports and higher margins post-maintenance period encouraging producers to boost production. Prices last week hit Eur551/cu m, the lowest in 15 weeks. With the upcoming sugarbeet harvest along with the former Abengoa Salamanca ethanol plant coming back online, prices for Q4 aren’t likely to seen any bullish support even as imports begin to fall off. By year’s end, the market is expected to be near balance.

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Stanford researchers discover new copper-based catalyst to produce ethanol from CO2

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 7:04pm

In California, Stanford researchers recently innovated a renewable method of producing the fuel additive, ethanol. This method simply delivers water, carbon dioxide and electricity through a copper catalyst.

This innovation has enticed scientists and current state-of-the-art electrocatalysts will be improved in product selectivity and energy efficiency to make this alternative solution viable for the future.

Researchers had produced copper electrodes with single-crystals but for this study, they discovered a new way to grow single crystal-like copper on top of silicon and sapphire. This innovation resulted in films of each form of copper with a 6-square centimeter surface, 600 times bigger than typical single crystals.

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New Brazil ethanol policy

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 7:03pm

In Brazil, the president is expected to announce a presidential decree bringing in the long-awaited RenovaBio policy that is meant to boost biofuel production and consumption as a way to achieve its climate change goals. With about 20% of sugarcane mills mothballed since 2010 due to lack of competitiveness with gasoline thanks to unstable policy, the program is expected to be a lifeline to the sector. By 2030, the new policy could see demand for ethanol reach 40 billion liters compared to last year’s 26 billion liters. Further M&A and investment is expected as a result of increased demand.

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Earnings season: An advanced bioecononomy’s health and wellness check-up

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 9:56am

In today’s Digest, let’s look at trends driving the industry’s results at scale — and while money is not the measure of all progress, it is the ultimate yardstick and especially for companies that have reached industrial scale. So, let’s look at Q2 earnings statements now just coming out from four of the sector’s signature companies in fuels, enzymes, crop development & protection, and nutrition and wellness. Namely, Aemetis, Novozymes, Evogene and Amyris.

Aemetis

In California, Aemetis said that revenues for Q2 jumped increased $7.7 million or 23% compared to the second quarter of 2016.  “Ethanol revenues increased 11% year over year as we shipped 16% more ethanol product to our customers,” the company noted.

The offset was ethanol and distillers grain price declines, that contributed to a lower gross margin. What happened? The increase in revenue was primarily attributable to increased ethanol and distillers grains volumes, as well as increased sales to bulk fuel customers in India.

Overall, Aemetis continues to see earnings hit by lower fuel prices —  operating loss was $1.7M for Q2, and the net loss was up to $6M — that’s up from $5M in Q2 2016 when volumes were lower but product margins stronger. Cash is light — $0.7M compared to $1.5M at the end of 2016.

The big highlights. Two stand out. On its biodiesel side, Aemetis signed a 3-year biofuels supply agreement with BP Singapore, and inked a $6M contract to supply the India Oil Marketing Companies. On the ethanol side, the company started production of cellulosic ethanol from waste orchard wood and nutshells at its newly constructed integrated demonstration unit at the InEnTec Technology Center in Richland, Washington.

Novozymes

In Denmark, Novozymes, which these days can justly bill itself as “the world’s largest industrial biotechnology company”, had what it termed “a good first half with 3% organic revenue growth which was better than expected.”

Novozymes CEO Peder Holk Nielsen noted “We had growth in the large segments and delivered 3% organic sales growth with a strong EBIT margin, excluding one-offs. We made important advances in our innovation pipeline within grain milling, vegetable oil and household care opening up new market segments. We should see growth pick up in the second half of the year, but also acknowledge the risk of agriculture-related markets changing swiftly.”

Here’s the detail:

Household Care +1%,
Food & Beverages +8%,
Bioenergy +7%,
Agriculture & Feed -6%,
Technical & Pharma -4%.

The big highlights. 3 out of 5 segments grew, with Food & Beverages and Bioenergy performing very well. The company noted that Agriculture & Feed as down due to changed BioAg-sales cycle moving sales from 1H to 2H

Evogene

In Israel, Evogene reported for the first half revenues of $1.9 million in comparison to $3.8 million for 2016. The company notes that the decline reflects the “advancement of our collaboration agreement with Monsanto, from gene discovery to pre-development efforts, resulting in reduction of activity scope.”

Overall, the company touted that “For the first time, in addition to our robust internal programs, we now have collaborations with at least one world leading company in each of our areas of activity: DuPont-Pioneer in Ag-Biologicals, Monsanto in Seed Traits and BASF in Ag-Chemicals.”

Operating loss during the first half of 2017 reached $10.4M compared to $9.8M in 1H 2016 and net loss expanded from $7.8M in 1H 2016 to $9.6M for the first half of 2017. But cash remains strong. As of June 30, 2017, the Company had $79.7M in cash and equivalents — and expects a burn rate of $16-$18M for 2017. Suggestive that there is no need for dilutive financing in the near term.

The big highlights. The big news is in Ag-Biologicals, via a new collaboration with DuPont-Pioneer for the development of bio-stimulant seed coating products. Additionally, the company has an internal bio-stimulant program in wheat, showing promise and that that will be re-validated in field trials next year. Over in Seed Traits, in the collaboration with Monsanto, Evogene discovered genes are showing resistance to Fusarium in model plants, with the top prioritized genes advancing to testing in Monsanto’s corn pipeline. In Ag-Chemicals, work continues with BASF on herbicides and Evogene has just initiated an insecticide product program.

Amyris

In California,  Amyris reported Q2 revenues of $25.7M compared with $9.6M for Q2 2016, Collaboration revenues were $13.0 million, up significantly from $4.7M in Q2 2016, and product sales reached $12.7M, up 159% over 2016’s Q2. CEO John Melo said that “We are continuing to experience very strong product sales growth in our personal care and health and nutrition segments and expect most of our products to generate improved gross margins with the value share component of our business. We have a very strong collaboration and product pipeline with several new partnerships expected to close before the end of this year and several new product deliveries to our strategic partners driving our growth for the remainder of 2017.”

Net loss was $10.3M for Q2, and $47.6M for the first half, compared to $28.9M for the first half of 2016.

The big highlights. In a word, Biossance. The highest quarterly Biossance sales to date came in – along with plans to expand to SEPHORA in over 60 locations across Canada in January 2018 – Biossance margins are running at 70%, BTW – and Amyris is pointing to sales as high as $100M by 2020. In new product development, a first product development and production agreement with DSM for a food and nutrition molecule. That’s related back to two tranches of financing totaling $103 million led by DSM along with participation by institutional investors, which had the effect of reducing debt by just over $85 million to $165M, almost half of which is held by investors and partners. Overall, it’s the company’s strongest product sales quarter to date and the company is saying it expects to meet 2018 revenue projections with existing capacity, as a result of shift of higher-value products.

At Cowen & Company, Jeffrey Osborne wrote, “Strong product revenue growth is a step in the right direction for Amyris. The company is moving in the right direction; however, we want to see more execution before becoming constructive on shares. While we are growing more positive on management’s strategy, we wait for more signs of execution in product sales and margin expansion before we feel comfortable recommending the stock.”

The Digest’s Take

In this sector, there’s the bleeding edge, the leading edge and the volume business.

At the bleeding edge, we generally see high losses, high promise, high-value products — emphasis is on strategic collaborations and financing increasingly from strategics. Evogene is there, Amyris has been there and is now exiting. Overall, the encouraging sign is the deep engagement by strategics — who have generally replaced the venture capitalists, as the VCs themselves had hoped. Capital for commercial-scale biorefineries is still exceedingly tough to find, so companies like Evogene developing traits rather than products and fitting into someone else’s production — well, that’s a smoother road for investors.

At the leading edge, we see lead products getting traction in the marketplace with some volume orders for products based on advanced technologies. The companies here struggle with debt to the extent that they had trouble with a volume business downturn or too much time in the bleeding edge sector developing the technology. Breakout is generally imminent, and this is where the blockbusters are found. Amyris is here, Aemetis has some aspects of its business (cellulosic, biodiesel) here.  Here, the story is going to be about rate — rate of transition to volume orders, margin rate and rate of production so that (as we saw with Amyris), building of additional capacity is avoided until the orders and margins are screaming for it.

In the volume business, the companies have solid products, established customers, shiny brands, good R&D pipelines, but tend to rise the commodity price rollercoaster with their customers — they get exposed on price where they are selling finished commodity products, or exposed on volumes if they are selling to biorefiners. Novozymes is here, and Aemetis in its conventional corn ethanol business. As we can see with Novozymes, its a smoother road for the supplier companies than the producers — as was discovered 160 years ago in the California Gold Rush by companies like Levi Strauss, you can mine the miners more reliably than the miners mine the gold.

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You Just Can’t Have Enough Hydrogen: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to renewable hydrogen via biomass pyrolysis aqueous phase

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 9:38am

Hydrogen, hydrogen, hydrogen — the most abundant element in the universe, but the advanced bioeconomy can never seem to get enough of it, and finding ways to produce renewable, affordable hydrogen — well, that’s real gold.

A team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Abhijeet Borole and including a number of ORNL colleagues and also collaborators from the University of Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Pall Corporation, OmniTech International and SainergyTech have been working on renewable hydrogen via Biomass Pyrolysis Aqueous Phase — and they’re supported by the US Department of Energy.

The goals? Reforming of aqueous phase organics to hydrogen via microbial electrolysis cell  technology, and developing energy-efficient separations to support MEC — and of course to demonstrate improvement in hydrogen production efficiency. The ORNL-led team prepared these slides which were presented at the DOE Project Peer Review event, outlining the progress, the promise and the milestones ahead for this project.

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Hot path for waste to fuels: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to Hydrothermal Liquefaction

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 08/13/2017 - 9:26am

Hydrothermal liquefaction has a huge fan base in the biorefinery R&D sector. There’s lots to like.

It’s robust tech and can be applied to attractive, low-cost wet feedstocks (ag resid, sludge, manure) that exploit HTL attributes and minimize deployment challenges associated with pumping. It’s conceptually simple (feed preparation, pump, heated pipe, gravity separate biocrude). HTL biocrude is thermally stable and can be readily upgraded. There’s high carbon efficiency to product; greater than 50% to HC product. Perhaps most importantly in the near-term, the economics compare favorably with other biomass conversion technologies. Yet HTL has not been commercially deployed. Issues include pumping to high pressures, scalable reactor configurations, and capital costs.

The DOE has launched a project to provide scientific and engineering data for the successful commercialization of hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) technology — including overall process performance and economics to meet the Conversion Program goal of $3/gge. At DOE Porject Peer Review, these slides were prepared by the project team led by Justin Billing, Rich Hallen, Andy Schmidt, and Lesley Snowden-Swan at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

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Genomatica goes big with Bio-BG

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 6:58pm
The secret is out about new 1,3 butylene glycol

In California, Genomatica continues to innovate in big ways with its latest Bio-BG butylene glycol using their new GENO BG process, which makes a naturally sourced 1,3 butylene glycol. This isn’t a pie in the sky innovation either as production already started in 85,000 liter fermentation tanks at EW Biotech in Leuna, Germany.

Ranked #7 in the Digest’s 2017 “50 Hottest Companies in the Advanced Bioeconomy” Genomatica develops biobased process technologies that enable the production of widely-used chemicals from alternative feedstocks, with better economics, sustainability and performance than petroleum-based processes. Check out the Digest’s Multi-Slide Guide to Genomatica.

Why GENO BG is BIG news

We thought GENO BDO (1,4 butanediol) was pretty cool, especially when it was scaled up so quickly, so why do we think GENO BG is too? Genomatica’s new biobased process technology makes a naturally sourced butylene glycol that can replace the existing fossil fuel derived acetaldehyde that is toxic, an irritant and a carcinogen. Not good considering butylene glycol is used in many cosmetics to improve moisture retention and as a carrier for plant extracts, and many consumers are now demanding healthier products.

Genomatica’s innovation now offers personal care companies a more naturally derived, nontoxic option with its plant based ingredients. Even better, Genomatica’s version is a distinctively pure product and a simpler process design compared to fossil fuel-derived, chemistry-based processes, making it a great choice for large scale deployment.

While the GENO BG process was developed in stealth mode, the secret is out and its advancement has been super-fast, even beating out Genomatic’s GENO BDO process which quickly hit milestones on plant performance guarantees and worldwide production.

We should have known something exciting was going on, as the Digest recently caught up with Jeff Lievense during the Digest’s 10th anniversary “Then and Now” celebration, who said “It’s been great to watch Genomatica’s expertise grow as it developed its landmark 1,4-butanediol process. Last month, we announced that our process met its performance guarantees at Novamont’s plant in Italy. Now we’re on to piloting our next new product; growing our alliance with Ginkgo Bioworks; and building a robust opportunity pipeline.” Little did we know how exciting this next new product would be and how quickly it would happen.

“The GENO BG process marks our entry into specialty chemicals, complementing our leadership in intermediates,” said Christophe Schilling, Genomatica’s CEO. “GENO BG is another example of how quickly we can commercialize our bioengineering innovations and enable products with better performance and greater sustainability.”

ICIS, the world’s largest petrochemical market information provider, didn’t waste any time on applauding this hot innovation, naming Genomatica a finalist for the 2017 ICIS Innovation Awards (winners will be announced in October). These awards recognize innovation in products and processes with better use of energy and raw materials, improved economics, safer performance, and lower environmental impact.

Paving the pathways

Genomatica has been hitting quite a few milestones lately like reaching 10K tons for biobased 1,4 butanediol (BDO) worldwide, and meeting big milestones at the Novamont’s Bittrighe, Italy plant, as reported earlier this summer in the Digest. Following startup in late 2016, the Novamont Bio-BDO plant operations were notably smooth and added to volumes previously generated during production campaigns in 2012 and 2013. The earlier campaigns generated a few thousand tons and validated commercial scale performance and helped pave the way for the first dedicated Bio-BDO plant that uses the GENO BDO licensed technology.

“Our GENO BDO technology is fully de-risked and is continuously producing at scale,” said Christophe Schilling, Genomatica’s CEO. “Its reliability, attractive economics, sustainability advantages and continually-improving performance make GENO BDO a leading choice for new BDO plants. GENO BDO plants look even better given four straight quarters of increasing costs to produce petroleum-based BDO. Bio-BDO is here for brands and consumers of derivative products increasingly looking for greater sustainability and performance.”

Genomatica knocked everyone’s socks off in the past with its successful scale-up in Loudon, Tennessee, as reported in the Digest in January. The campaign produced millions of pounds of product in a six-week run and proved to the world that Genomatica not only had a great headquarters building and cool science, you could actually make real money running their process. Two things about that scale-up — they assembled a world-class team inside Genomatica, and partnered with a world-class facility in Loudon where the original scale-up of DuPont’s PDO (propanediol) biotechnology had taken place several years back.

As reported in the Digest in December 2016, Genomatica has been working with the AVAPCO, LLC ($3.7 million) project as well, with their demonstration-scale integrated biorefinery which is producing cellulosic renewable diesel and other bioproducts with Genomatica.

Genomatica knows who to make friends with as back in September 2016, the Digest reported the new alliance between Ginkgo Bioworks and Genomatica to accelerate the transition of the mainstream chemical industry to biological process technology. Bringing together a full stack of best-in-class capabilities with clear industry leadership, the alliance provides a compelling new reason for mainstream chemical firms to explore and adopt these new biological technologies. Jason Kelly, CEO, Ginkgo Bioworks said “Genomatica is the perfect ally to help bring the power of our foundries to mainstream chemical markets. Genomatica is proven at high-yield bio-based processes, which is essential for widespread deployment of cost-effective technology to produce major-market chemicals.”

Genomatica also partnered with Versalis on advancing the production of bio-butadiene specifically for Versalis’ use of it to make bio-rubber or more specficially bio-polybutadiene (bio-BR), as reported in the Digest February 2016. This was a huge milestone for the rubber industry with the use of sugars as feedstock rather than the usual hydrocarbon feedstocks. The project started with the establishment of a technology joint venture between Versalis and Genomatica in early 2013 which developed a complete process to make bio-BDE and license the resulting technology.

Genomatica has also held hands with Braskem since 2015 while jointly developing a commercial process for the on-purpose production of butadiene made from renewable feedstocks, as reported in the Digest in November 2015. Genomatica also expanded the scope of their license agreement with BASF for the production of 1,4-butanediol (BDO) from North America to Southeast Asia, as reported in the Digest in September 2015.

What does it all mean?

Rate. This Genomatica advance matters to a great extent because of what it says about rate. We’ve written so much about rate, but you can never emphasize it enough. In biorefining, we look carefully at the rate of bioconversion — which will determine whether a first commercial plant will reach its nameplate capacity. But there is also the rate of discovery, development and deployment. When venture capitalists began funding advanced bioeconomy ventures around a decade ago — they were not only interested in the opportunity to disrupt large fuel and chemicals markets with new technology, they were interested in disrupting the rate at which companies develop and bring forth molecules and processes. We have seen plenty of grief along the way with the downside, from time to time, of a “Step 1, Step 2, skip a few, Step 99, Step 100” approach to scale-up.

But Genomatica’s most recent advance gives us a window into the progress that is being made on the rate of development. BG? No one’s heard anything about it, it’s come up that quickly, been developed with that much speed. All the way from concept through the transfer to 85K fermenter scale. That’s significant.

Some time ago we wrote about a SynthBio Plug-and-Play model — about companies with the capability to produce a giant range of molecules of interest, and swap out organisms based on market demand, on price and volume — swinging from target molecule to target molecule and surfing the margins. Inherent in delivering on that vision was a rate of discovery and deployment — there’s going to be no margin surfing with the kind of development and deployment time that was typical in the 1990s and 2000s.

So, this Genomatica advance is a milestone on that journey towards plug and play — we’re far from the end of that journey, but let’s pause and note the progress that has been made on rate.

Bottom Line

We predict more innovations coming from Genomatica in the future as they build on their accomplishments and focus forward on finding sustainable, renewable feedstock technologies and processes to replace traditional fossil fuel chemicals. The fact that they have several smart, strategic collaborations and partnerships going on with other major players in the field shows that slow and steady may win the race sometimes, but if you are fast and furious with good people running with you, it’s even better.

Will Genomatica continue to move quickly and be an example to other companies? We think so. There are many clues, but perhaps the most telling one is Genomatica’s CEO, Christophe Schilling’s response when we asked him back in 2015, “If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change?” His response: “Incumbents often move slowly to embrace new technology, even once it’s been proven. We believe early-movers can gain real market advantages that translate to higher share, revenues and profits. At Genomatica we ease those transitions by showing how readily our process technologies leverage existing infrastructure and capabilities.”

 

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Cosan could move more cane production to biofuels than sugar

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 6:53pm

In Brazil, Cosan SA Indústria e Comércio expects ethanol sales to yield better returns than sugar across some Brazilian states, and say they could adjust the amount of sugar and ethanol produced if biofuel prices improve and sugar prices continue to decline. Raízen Energia, a 50-50 joint venture between Cosan and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, set aside 57% of cane for sugar production, a little higher than last year’s 55%, but they decreased sugar hedging for the year. Cosan posted a net quarterly loss last week but Cosan Chief Executive Officer Mario Silva told Reuters “Raízen continues to search for potential acquisitions following the purchase of two sugar and ethanol plants from Tonon Bioenergia SA.”

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Amyris posts 168% increase in revenue for 2017 Q2 over 2016 Q2

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 6:52pm

In California, Amyris announced its net income of $620,000 and total revenue of $25.7 million for the second quarter, which was good news for investors who saw a 168% increase over the same period last year. Product sales were up over 159% from last year’s Q2 as well, with Biossance sales delivering outstanding results and plans to expand to SEPHORA in over 60 locations across Canada next year. With equity financing completed, investments, and an agreement from Royal DSM for a food and nutrition molecule, they were able to significantly reduce their total debt.

John Melo, Amyris President & CEO said in the press release, “We are continuing to experience very strong product sales growth in our personal care and health and nutrition segments and expect most of our products to generate improved gross margins with the value share component of our business.”

As reported in the Digest last week, Amyris announced the closing of the second and final tranche of its previously announced financing. The second tranche of $50 million in a private placement was led by a $25-million investment from Koninklijke DSM N.V. with the remaining $25 million contributed by Vivo Capital.

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Sunflower seed harvest forecast down significantly in EU due to hot and dry weather

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 6:49pm

In Germany, UFOP reports that in its latest monthly estimate, the EU Commission cut its outlook for the EU sunflower seed harvest substantially. Whereas in June, production was still estimated at just over 9 million tonnes, the forecast was reduced to 8.7 million tonnes in July. This would be up 33,000 tonnes from 2016, but down around 0.3 million tonnes from the previous month’s estimate. According to Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft mbH (AMI), the harvest for France was forecast slightly higher than the 2016 crop. However, the surge cannot offset the decline projected for the Romanian, Bulgarian and Spanish harvests. Although sunflower area rose 1.3 per cent from the previous year, sunflower output will probably only grow 0.4 per cent in 2017. The reason is excessively hot and dry weather conditions in parts of southern and eastern Europe in June, which had a significant negative impact on crop yields.

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Evogene reports Q2 financial results with $1.2M total revenues

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 6:47pm

In Israel, Evogene Ltd. announced total revenues for the second quarter of 2017 of $1.2 million, compared to $1.8 million for the second quarter in 2016. The decline in revenues reflects the net decrease in research and development cost reimbursement, in accordance with the work plans under Evogene’s various collaboration agreements, according to their press release. They also noted that during the first half of 2017 they saw a negative impact on expenses due to the depreciation of the USD in comparison to the Israeli Shekel. Evogen’s expenses, mostly salaries, are denominated in Israeli Shekels while their reporting currency is USD.

Ofer Haviv, Evogene’s President and CEO, stated in the press release, “In our on-going Fusarium collaboration with Monsanto, we reached an important milestone, and our newly initiated collaboration with DuPont-Pioneer, is a testament to the important achievements reached in our internal bio-stimulant product program. We are making important progress in all three of our core activity areas: Ag-Biologicals, Seed Traits and Ag-Chemicals.” As reported in the Digest earlier this month, DuPont Pioneer and Evogene Ltd announced a multiyear collaboration for the research and development of microbiome-based seed treatments in corn.

 

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U.S. ethanol exports increase to Canada, big declines to Brazil

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 6:45pm

In Washington, DC, according to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 1.012 million barrels per day (b/d)—or 42.50 million gallons daily. That is up 10,000 b/d from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production edged higher to 1.013 million b/d for an annualized rate of 15.53 billion gallons. Stocks of ethanol were 21.3 million barrels. That is a 1.9% increase from last week. There were zero imports recorded for the week.

Average weekly gasoline demand decreased 0.5% from last week’s record volume to 411.5 million gallons (9.797 million barrels) daily. This is equivalent to 150.2 billion gallons annualized. Over the past 12 weeks, gasoline demand has averaged 148.2 billion gallons annualized. Refiner/blender input of ethanol decreased 1.4% to 938,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.38 billion gallons annualized. Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production increased to 10.33%.

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Biodiesel sales in Germany remain stagnate

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 6:45pm

In Germany, UFOP reports that in spite of the increase in the greenhouse gas reduction requirement from 3.5 to 4.0 percent introduced at the beginning of the year and the further increase in diesel consumption to almost 15 million tonnes (prior year: 14.15 million tonnes), biodiesel consumption has fallen once again from 0.912 million tonnes to 0.848 million tonnes. UFOP has reached this conclusion following analysis of data from the German Federal Office of Economics and Export Control for the period from January to May 2017.

This decline can be explained by the increase in the GHG reduction of biodiesel from 65.3 to 71.5 percent, according to analysis by the German Federal Office for Agriculture and Food. UFOP emphasizes that this also shows that the potential for the necessary decarbonisation of fuel is not being exhausted by the current reduction requirement quota. UFOP is calling for policy-makers to act now and align the GHG reduction requirements with the admixture proportion stipulated in the diesel fuel standard of 7 percent by volume.

 

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Highway grasses converted to heat and biofuel in Illinois

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 6:43pm

In Illinois, University of Illinois – Urbana researchers are implementing a pilot program based on a three-year study that showed nearly $2 million in energy could be recovered by harvesting more than 100,000 acres of unpaved public land along highways and other rights-of-way full of weeds and grasses that can be converted to biofuel. It would cover the cost of mowing the public areas as well as generate revenue for the state.

The implementation will begin on a 10-plus acre parcel as well as the original test plot in order to create standard operating procedures and plans to scale it up in other areas across the state. They plan on using the biomass for heating Illinois Department of Transportation garages and a new biomass boiler, as well as looking into biofuels using hydrolysis, fermentation, and gasification technologies.

Categories: Today's News

Pruitt says EPA shouldn’t be “used” to expand biofuel facilities

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 6:42pm

In Iowa, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told Radio Iowa during a radio interview that “Production levels and demand matter and that’s something that’s going to be a major part of how we set those limits,” when referring to renewable fuels. While Iowa officials and biofuel industry groups have asked EPA to raise soybean based biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol levels, which have been set in 2019 for lower levels than current consumption, it doesn’t seem like it will happen as Pruitt called it a “blue sky approach.” Pruitt also said “Has the infrastructure been built to increase production levels? The markets haven’t demonstrated that yet,” and that he doesn’t want the EPA “being used” to expand biofuel facilities.

Categories: Today's News

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