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Commonwealth countries get knocked down, but get up again

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 4:43pm

With 195 countries on the planet today, an impressive 53 countries are Commonwealth countries, including countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific. They include large, rich countries like Canada and Australia all the way to some of the smallest or poorest countries like Malawi and Sierra Leone. They are all meeting this week at their annual “Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting” in London. But what do many of them have in common, other than all being a Commonwealth, which usually means they were at some point part of the British Empire or a dependency of the British Empire? Why, biofuels course.

With about 2 million people, more or less, they are an impressive group of countries with huge potential. Some of them were probably knocked down at some point as part of British rule, but they got up again. While we don’t have space to write about all 53 Commonwealth countries, we’ll talk about some really exciting ones we are keeping an eye on in the continents of Africa – we’ll leave the Asia, Pacific, Europe, Caribbean and Americas for another day.

Here are the ones we think have been knocked down, but got back up again because like Chumbawamba’s song, you are never gonna keep ‘em down.

Malawi is one of Africa’s poorest countries and the only one in the top 10 poorest African countries list that is included in our list of Commonwealth countries in Africa to keep an eye on – why? Because it is one of the world’s least developed nations but agriculture accounts for over 90% of their export revenues and they have shown true promise in biofuels and bioenergy.

While the country has many challenges, they do have financial aid from the World Bank and the IMF, as well as some projects worth noting. For example, ABR Energy is teaming with Press Corp to produce power from ethanol near its Press Cane ethanol plant in Chikwawa in line with the company’s overall strategy to boost feedstock production that will allow its two ethanol plants to produce ethanol 100% capacity. Presscane and Ethco are investing $100 million in two sugarcane crushing facilities to produce syrup for ethanol production at their existing facilities. Ethanol cookstoves are taking off to help local cassava farmers and residents. The country runs on an E20 blend even though there is no blending mandate by the government, and is looking at E100 across the entire country. The old English proverb, “necessity is the mother of invention” seems to be true in Malawi and we have tremendous hope that they will no longer be on Africa’s Top 10 poorest countries list for much longer, thanks in part to their bioenergy and biofuel projects.

Nigeria is another Commonwealth country to keep an eye on, as we have covered so many stories coming out of Nigeria in the past year that we can’t even list them all here. Nigeria made a top story back in November 2017, as reported in The Digest, that Nigeria was “Rockin’ the cassava.” The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation signed a MoU with the Kebbi State Government to build an 84 million litres per annum capacity fuel-ethanol project, using cassava and sugarcane. WestAfricaENRG that collects MSW in Nigeria teamed with the UK’s Cranfield University and SynGas on a project to produce commercial-scale syngas from plastic waste for upgrading to fuels.

The support by federal and state governments in Nigeria for biofuels have been impressive in recent years with many new projects popping up around the country to diversify their economy and move away from their dependence on oil. With about 186 million people living in Nigeria making it the most populous country in Africa and seventh most in the world, it is set to be a leader in the biofuels future.

Botswana is a Commonwealth country to pay attention to due to their recent work with jatropha biodiesel, especially considering Mozambique recently gave up on jatropha biodiesel. Researchers are pushing hard on B10 using jatropha and aren’t giving up on demonstrating the viability of jatropha for their country’s energy and fuel needs, even with frostbite, heat waves and hailstorms for several years making it more challenging. Japanese researchers have joined them in some of the efforts and are smart about it, using native, indigenous plants like morula, morama and mongongo as well. Japan’s investments in Botswana means they see true potential there and so do we.

South Africa isn’t a surprise on this list as The Digest has covered many news stories about their sustainable aviation fuels, thanks in part to South African Airways vision and collaboration with Boeing, WWF, and SkyNRG. They have some challenges with the country’s powerful mining industry being wary of biodiesel, and they only used 11.4% of duty-free ethanol quota during the first yea of the Economic Partnership Agreement with Southern African Development Community countries. But with The Digest’s Hot 100 #1 winner, Lanzatech being involved in a Swayana (Pty) Ltd feasibility study that will use Lanzatech’s technologies to convert waste gas into a valuable commodity at a plant in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province, there is a lot of movement in the right direction.

Ghana’s work on ethanol using cassava is not letting up either and showing movement forward. China New Energy is constructing a new ethanol plant in Ghana and several others are looking at adding and expanding cassava-to-ethanol plants. Caltech is also expanding into biogas, liquefied carbon dioxide and electricity production. Ghana also has a sugarcane mill that they are eying for ethanol exports while cutting their sugar imports.

Kenya is all about croton – not cotton – for biodiesel and other byproducts like animal feed and briquettes. Penn State researchers have been involved in several related croton projects in Kenya and we see potential there as well. Kenya is also looking at waste-to-energy projects, ethanol cookstoves, and other innovations that make it a Commonwealth country to check out.

Uganda stands out for recent investments being made into the country, like Bionas East Africa’s investment of $70 billion over the course of 25 years in four major bio-based economy projects based on jatropha that will create more than 1.8 million jobs. And the World Bank is now funding a three year project to scale up used cooking oil for biodiesel in Uganda. The government support is there too, with the President pushing for E10 blending mandate to become law. Big investments + government support = lots of potential for Uganda. Zambia almost made our list due to some recent investments there too, but they still need commercial biofuel production and more support to make it happen.

Bottom Line

One thing we noticed is that all of the African continent Commonwealth countries we listed here are part of the Commonwealth Foundation. Why is this interesting? This means that they belong to a group that promotes civil society, democracy and development among members. It means they don’t operate in a silo, but collaborate together. They share governance ideas. They support each other. They focus on equitable and peaceful societies. They learn from each other and share their stories. And they share innovative solutions with each other, making them countries that can make a huge impact on the biofuels economy worldwide. And that’s worth keeping an eye on.

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Jet fuels from crops: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to the SPARC regional biojet consortium

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 10:26am

Sometimes, what an engine needs to roar to life is a spark. Or a SPARC, as in this case.

As in the Southeastern Partnership for Advanced Renewables from Carinata (SPARC), a consortium consisting of the University of Florida (lead), the University of South Florida, the University of Georgia, Auburn University, and other institutions, government agencies, the civil aviation industry, and Agrisoma Biosciences and Applied Research Associates (ARA) from the private sector.

This group has embarked on a $15M project to develop the inedible oilseed carinata as a winter crop — that is, a regionally adapted Brassica carinata, as the source of a new biofuels and bioproducts industry that will be deployed in the southeastern region of the United States. The Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative is leading the supply chain development effort, which also includes ARA (conversion and co- products) and Agrisoma (feedstock and animal feed co -product).

SPARC’s Sheeja George gave this illuminating overview of the consortium’s promise and progress at ABLC 2018 in Washington DC.

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US February ethanol exports reach record high of 218.7 million gallons

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 5:24pm

In Washington, the United States recorded the highest-ever monthly exports total for U.S. ethanol in February 2018 at 218.7 million gallons, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. February sales bring U.S. ethanol exports to nearly 768 million gallons thus far in the 2017/2018 marketing year (September 2017-February 2018), a 6 percent increase over last year’s record-setting pace.

Brazil applied a 20 percent tariff in September 2017 on all imports of ethanol after a 600 million liter (158.5 million gallon) tariff rate quota (TRQ). Even with the full tariff applied, 103 million gallons of U.S. ethanol were shipped to Brazil in the month of February—the most ethanol exports to Brazil in a single month. Overall, Brazil has imported nearly 253 million gallons of U.S. ethanol this marketing year.

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Spanish February ethanol sales jump 25% but biodiesel sales slip

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 5:23pm

In Spain, Platts reports that ethanol sales in February reached 19,470 metric tons, more than 25% higher on the year but just over 2% lower than in January. With higher gasoline sales as well, the volumetric blend for the month was 5.53%, 10 points higher than in January and nearly 1% higher than February 2017. Biodiesel sales fell 4.5% on the year, however, to 99,778 tons but was still higher than in January. The volumetric blend fell to 5.55% compared to just over 6% the year prior.

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SynSel Energy secures funds for $300 million 2G ethanol plant

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 5:21pm

In Michigan, Illinois-based SynSel Energy has secured the funds required to start construction on the planned $300 million cellulosic ethanol plant in Ontonagon at a former Smurfit-Stone Paper mill. Site work and utility work is expected to take place while engineering is finalized over the next 14 months. Last year, project developers announced SynSel’s biorefineries utilize a thermocatalytic process to convert non-food biomass feedstock like wood waste from mill operations and forest residue into synthetic gasoline, diesel, and aviation fuel.

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South Korean March ethanol imports jump more than 52%

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 5:20pm

In South Korea, Platts reports that ethanol imports reached 28,946 metric tons in March, more than 52% higher than March 2017 and more than 10% higher than February. With traders eyeing Brazilian B grade ethanol in hopes that growing supplies thanks to the start of the 2018/19 sugarcane crush will push down prices, in March they took advantage of predominantly Australian origin undenatured ethanol while 62% of denatured ethanol came from the US, followed by Pakistan and South Africa.

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Trump promises year-round E15

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 5:19pm

In Washington, President Trump has already backtracked on his promise to let the Renewable Fuel Standard reform discussion quiet down for three months and has instead promised to move ahead with E15 year-round. The announcement came via tweet before going into a meeting with farm state Congressmen but he also indicated he would also be helping refiners, which could indicate a cap on RIN prices as has been advocated by Texas Senator Ted Cruz to the chagrin of the biofuels industry.

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Qatar University works to develop aviation biofuels in phase 2 of national biofuels project

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 5:18pm

In Qatar, researchers at Qatar University’s Sustainable Development Centre have revealed the second phase of the Qatar Biofuel Project will research aviation biofuel from algae-based bio-crude following the first phase launched in 2012 that looked at biodiesel, bioethanol and bio-crude oil. The program will support Qatar Airways’ efforts to diversify into aviation biofuel that will help the company and the country comply with goals set out during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP18) in 2012 in Doha.

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EU researchers design and test cellulosomes to breakdown biomass waste into chemicals

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 5:17pm

In Belgium, EU researchers designed and tested cell structures, cellulosomes, that help breakdown abundant biomass waste to produce value-added chemicals, such as advanced biofuels.

Key to producing advanced biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass is the efficient conversion of the cellulose contained within cell walls into fermentable sugars – a major bottleneck for large-scale production. Efficient breakdown of biomass into sugars, called saccharification, can reduce the cost of the process and lower also the amount of feedstock required for production of biofuels with milder or shorter pre-treatment time.

Some microbes have natural structures called cellulosomes that contain cellulases, enzymes that break down cellulose efficiently into sugars. The EU-funded CELLULOSOMEPLUS project developed designer cellulosomes (DCs) to achieve high yields of fermentable sugars from the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) to create advanced biofuels at a low process cost.

The consortium produced the basic components of natural cellulosomes as well as other lignocellulosic enzymes and, after their assembly into DCs, characterised the hydrolysis of the OFMSW substrate. They also studied the cellulosome’s physicochemical, atomic and supramolecular structure, and the interactions of its various components.

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National Biodiesel Board submits FOIA request to understand small refiner exemptions

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 5:15pm

In Washington, the National Biodiesel Board submitted a Freedom of Information Act Request aimed at shedding light on small refiner exemptions requested and issued under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“The EPA’s decision to grant upwards of 25 exemptions, with at least one significant waiver in the dark of night to a large and profitable refiner, raises urgent questions as to what else might be going on behind closed doors,” said Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s vice president of federal affairs. “Transparency and certainty are key to maintaining a competitive market for biodiesel, and it is critical we understand the impact any waivers could have on the industry and fuel choice for consumers.”

NBB requested:

•    Any records submitted to EPA in conjunction with a petition for a small refinery exemption pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 7545(o)(9)(B) for compliance with the 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

•    Any records summarizing information regarding petitions for a small refinery exemption under 42 U.S.C. § 7545(o)(9)(B) for 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, including but not limited to:

  • • The number of petitions for a small refinery exemption that EPA has received for each year.
  • • The number of petitions for a small refinery exemption that EPA has granted for each year.
  • • The total volume of renewable fuel that would be exempted under petitions for a small refinery exemption that EPA has received for each year.
  • • The total volume of renewable fuel that will be exempted under petitions for a small refinery exemption that EPA has granted for each year.
  • • The name of each refinery that submitted a petition for a small refinery exemption in each year.
  • • The name of each refinery for which a small refinery petition was granted in each year.
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Advanced to Go: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to Ensyn

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 4:16pm

Ensyn uses its patented and proprietary RTP fast thermal technology to convert wood residues and other non-food, cellulosic biomass to liquid biofuels. Ensyn has had continuous commercial operations for more than 25 years.  Its technology has produced over 37 million gallons of renewable fuels and chemicals in over 160,000 hours of successful plant operation.

For the latest on the technology’s progress and milestones, Ensyn chairman Dr. Robert Graham, the 2016 recipient of the Holmberg Award for Lifetime Achievement in Industrial Biotechnology, gave this overview at ABLC 2018 in Washington DC.

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Fortunately, Unfortunately: The Spring Saga of American Ethanol

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 4:12pm

The ethanol signals from Washington DC are more inexplicably mixed than cocktails with names like Sex on the Beach. Let’s parse through the wigwagging over the future of American biofuels supply and demand — ethanol and otherwise.

Fortunately: Trump backs year-round E15 ethanol blends

In Washington, President Trump endorsed year-round E15 ethanol availability as an emerging compromise between oil refiners and US farm sector. 

The Renewable Fuel Standard is a federal program that requires transportation fuel sold in the United States to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels. The RFS originated in a bi-partisan Congress with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and was expanded and extended by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

US RFS volumes have been stalled owing to the difficulty of moving from E10 to E15 ethanol blends — primarily outdated regulations that have led the US to an E10 saturation point at around 15 billion gallons.

Jubilant reaction from the US ethanol sector

RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen:

“We are certainly pleased to hear reports the president has endorsed year-round use of E15, providing consumers access to a higher octane, lower priced fuel option. It will be welcome news to consumers across the country, farmers who have worked to build value-added markets here at home in the face of increased uncertainty in export markets, and the investment community that has received conflicting signals regarding future markets for next generation biofuels. If true, the report suggests President Trump intends to fulfill his commitment to a 15 billion gallon RFS.”

American Coalition for Ethanol CEO Brian Jennings:

“ACE has been calling for a legislative or administrative fix to this outdated regulatory burden for a long time now. We’re grateful the president has publicly expressed his support to help the industry move in a positive direction. Allowing the sale of E15 year-round is not only a commonsense step to provide regulatory relief to retailers, it is a win for their customers, who save about a nickel to a dime with each gallon of E15 at the pump. It is also the quickest way to take pressure off RIN prices. E15 blending nationwide will increase ethanol blending which will increase the supply of RIN credits and help bring down their price.”

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor:

“We applaud President Trump for embracing a common-sense fix to create a level playing field for cleaner, more affordable fuel options during the summer driving season. The White House clearly understands that RVP relief will expand a growing market for America’s farmers while letting consumers pick the fuel of their choice. This simple fix allows retailers to offer better options alongside traditional blends all year long.”

Kyle Gilley, Senior Vice President of External Affairs & Communications, POET:

“We applaud President Trump for calling for regulatory reform that will permit year-round, nationwide sales of E15.  This action will grow biofuels and create market demand for the commodities raised by farmers struggling with economic hardships across the Midwest. Small refiners already received their reprieve through recently exposed waiver requests from the EPA. We are grateful President Trump is following through on his commitment to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard and support rural America.”

Advanced Biofuels Business Council Executive Director Brooke Coleman:

“The president clearly understands the need to help farmers, particularly after the EPA’s backdoor handouts destroyed a huge share of the market for biofuels. He knows that rural communities are hurting, and this is an easy way to help, simply by lifting an outdated regulation against wider choices at the pump. But refiners have held E15 hostage for years, and they always want more. For this to help farm families, it will be important that the White House continues to steer clear of refiner-backed changes that would gut the RFS.”

Unfortunately: Cautionary notes from US biodiesel interests

But the mood was less ebullient at the National Biodiesel Board, which joined the American Soybean Association and the National Renderers Association with concerns surrounding the seeming inconsistent signals from the administration.

“Recent Actions by the EPA have undermined President Trump’s commitment to support consumer access to domestic renewable fuel and rural economies supported by upholding a strong Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs. “The EPA’s decision to give large, profitable refiners free passes are hurting biodiesel producers, renderers and farmers. If the President is serious about keeping his promise, he needs to pay attention.” 

The letter states, “Contrary to your steadfast support, the EPA has undermined the RFS through recent actions granting so-called “hardship” exemptions designed for small refiners.  This has a direct impact on consumers, renderers, fuel marketers, biofuel producers and hundreds of thousands of American soybean farmers. The actions taken by the EPA undermine the integrity of the RFS and stand in direct contrast to your pledge of support in Iowa.”

Press coverage has indicated the EPA has granted exemptions to several refineries for the 2016 and 2017 compliance years, including one of the nation’s largest. EPA has apparently granted Andeavor a hardship waiver for its three smallest refineries, while their profits last year were approximately $1.5 billion dollars. At least two other refineries with hundreds of millions of dollars in annual profits appear to have also been granted exemptions.

Fortunately: Action on future fuels with super-high ethanol blends

The US House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on the Environment is holding hearings this Friday on “High Octane Fuels and High Efficiency Vehicles: Challenges and Opportunities.” The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers is expected to testify in support of higher octane, but only to the degree the standard can be met with petroleum.

Commenting on the position likely to be presented by witnesses for the oil industry tomorrow, Renewable Fuels Association chief Bob Dinneen said, “It will be a typical bait-and-switch from the refiners. They say a 95-RON standard could be good for biofuel producers, while also maintaining refiners could meet such a standard with current refining assets and not an additional drop of ethanol.”  The oil industry has readily admitted that using refinery processes and aromatic hydrocarbons to increase the octane rating of gasoline would result in higher refinery CO2 emissions, undermining the very purpose of vehicular GHG standards.

RFA also called into question whether 95 RON is a high enough octane rating to deliver the engine efficiency gains and emissions reductions sought by automakers. For example, Dan Nicholson, a General Motors executive who is testifying at the Friday hearing, has previously stated, “Higher octane is necessary for better engine efficiency…100 RON fuel is the right fuel for the 2020-2025 timeframe.” Dinneen’s full comments are here.

Meanwhile, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor added that “With a natural 113 octane, ethanol has a lower carbon content than the gasoline components it replaces and provides increased engine efficiency to reduce both tailpipe, greenhouse gas, and criteria pollutant emissions. Growth Energy has been a leader in pushing for higher octane, midlevel ethanol blends. We submitted the first proposal for a 100 Research Octane Number (RON), E30 fuel nearly 7 years ago.

“Robust research by national labs, automakers, and other scientific institutions has explored the myriad benefits of high-octane fuels and specifically a midlevel ethanol blend in the E20 to E30 range. When paired with various higher compression ratio engines, these fuels increase vehicle engine efficiency, lower tailpipe emissions, and increase use of renewable fuel. Her comments in full can be found here.

Unfortunately: RFS waivers starting a trend towards biofuels demand destruction

The Renewable Fuel Association’s EVP Geoff Cooper has been pointing industry towards ethanol demand destruction for some time. Looks like the EPA’s latest moves may well be contributing towards a significant undermining of renewable fuels demand,. 

“Over the past few weeks our concerns have been confirmed that the Environmental Protection Agency is secretly handing out RFS compliance exemptions to virtually every owner of a “small refinery” who comes knocking.,” Cooper writes in his latest post. “One refining executive went as far as saying the EPA “…was handing out those exemptions like trick or treat candy.”

“As we have pointed out, these recent EPA actions are rapidly destroying demand for ethanol and corn. The small refiner exemptions, the PES settlement, and EPA’s failure to enforce the statutory 2016 RFS requirement (as ordered by the courts) have effectively reduced the 2016 and 2017 RFS volumes each by 1 billion gallons or more. The result has been a glut of unneeded RIN credits and sharply lower RIN prices.”

“The EIA data show that after peaking at a record of 10.57% in the last week of November 2017, the average ethanol blend rate has trended lower. In fact, the blend rate has been below 10.0% for 17 straight weeks dating back to mid-December 2017. Cooper’s complete comments are (as always) a must-read, and can be found here.

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Aemetis secures $158 million USDA loan guarantee for 2G ethanol plant

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 4:21pm

In California, Aemetis has secured the $158 million loan guarantee from the USDA it has been seeking to help fund its proposed cellulosic ethanol after passing the last of the required hurdles in early March. The plant will use orchard wood waste as feedstock and could open as soon as 2019. As a result of the news, shares of the company jumped more than 9%. Low carbon fuels benefit from additional credits that help to make advanced biofuels viable in the market.

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Vivergo brings ethanol plant back online

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 4:20pm

In the UK, after more than four months offline due to unfavorable economics, Vivergo has brought its ethanol plant in Hull back online thanks to the government exploring the blending of ethanol at 9.75% by 2020. The company said the only way it will ever recuperate its investment is if there is an E10 policy in place, but last fall when it decided to temporarily stop production, the decision to go for E10 was still very uncertain.

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Brazil H2 March ethanol production up 79%

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 4:19pm

In Brazil, Platts reports that the early start to the sugarcane crush saw ethanol production jump 79% on the year during the second half of March at 445 million liters as mills sought to fill the ethanol supply gap that is currently being filled by imports form the US. Hydrous production was also 82% higher than during H1 March. Despite increased demand for ethanol and mills focusing more on ethanol production last season, due to the lower crush, ethanol production only rose 1.72% to 26.09 billion liters during 2017/18.

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Ringneck Energy to be commissioned by year’s end

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 4:18pm

In South Dakota, at long last and after several false starts, Ringneck Energy in Onida is set to begin producing ethanol by year’s end thanks to good weather in December that allowed construction to progress faster than expected. Delays in starting construction due to regulatory hurdles and legal challenges allowed time to upgrade designs that mean more modern technology and 80 million gallons of annual production rather than the original 70 million gallons the plant was designed for.

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EPA approves North Dakota request to manage its CCS program

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 4:14pm

In Washington, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it has approved the State of North Dakota’s request to implement and enforce its own Class VI Underground Injection Control (UIC) program, commonly referred to as Carbon Capture and Storage. This marks the first time any state has received primacy for Class VI UIC wells, which are used for the long-term storage of carbon dioxide captured from industrial and energy related sources. Red Trail Energy, and the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) were awarded $490,000 in 2016 by the North Dakota Industrial Commission’s Renewable Energy Program in support of a study examining the integration of carbon capture and storage (CCS) at RTE’s ethanol manufacturing facility near Richardton to reduce the carbon footprint associated with ethanol production.

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Latest Brazilian biodiesel auction sources 928.2 million liters at an average 71 cents per liter

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 4:12pm

In Brazil, the most recent biodiesel auction held on Tuesday to supply the domestic B10 mandate during May and June sold 928.2 million liters from more than 1 billion liters offered by 38 producers. Of the total volume offered for sale, 99.4% carried the social seal. Total income generated at the auction held by the Brazilian Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP) was $660.4 million at an average of 71 cents per liter. Nearly 80% of the volume contracted was sold during the first of the auction’s two days.

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute find “red mud” key to bio-oil production from food waste

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 4:10pm

In Massachusetts, researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute have determined that “red mud,” a waste product of aluminum refining, boosts energy recovery from food waste to 80% from the average 25% recovery using hydrothermal liquefaction  or the 40% recently achieved using a metal oxide catalyst called cerium-zirconia. With a third of the food produced annually on a global level wasted, using red mud as a catalyst—itself a waste product—could make bio-oil production from food waste economically viable.

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President Trump to take three-month hiatus from RFS negotiations

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 04/11/2018 - 4:09pm

In Washington, Reuters reports that President Trump will leave the issue of the Renewable Fuel Standard alone for the next three months in an effort to calm farmers concerned about the impact reduced demand for ethanol would have on rural communities, compounded with expected negative repercussions resulting from the trade war with China. The administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Secretary of Agriculture met with the president on Monday to discuss RFS reform options including year-round E15 sales and capping RIN prices.

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