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King County purifying biogas into RNG

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 05/27/2018 - 7:19am

In Washington, at its South Treatment Plant in Renton, King County is purifying the biogas into renewable natural gas, an alternative to fossil fuels that generates revenue for the county while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. King County — which has converted methane to natural gas for more than 30 years — is now a leading producer of clean, renewable biofuel that can be used by commercial vehicles.

Renewable natural gas sales last year yielded more than $6 million in revenue for King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division. Clean Energy, the leading provider of natural gas fuel and renewable natural gas fuel for transportation in North America, is currently delivering the renewable natural gas produced from South Plant to its Washington fueling station network.

The five stations fuel about 1.5 million gallons of renewable natural gas annually, sourced from this local production facility. One of the largest local end users is Recology, an employee-owned waste management company that uses the renewable natural gas for their garbage trucks that roam the region’s neighborhoods.

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Neste to acquire the share majority of the Dutch animal fat trader IH Demeter B.V.

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 05/27/2018 - 7:18am

In Finland, Neste, a producer of renewable fuels from waste and residues, and IH Demeter B.V., a trader of animal fats and proteins, have agreed that Neste acquires sole control and 51 % of the shares of IH Demeter B.V., making Neste the controlling shareholder. The current owners shall remain as co-owners. The transaction is awaiting for and is subject to regulatory approval.

“This is an important step for Neste in our strategy of building a global waste and residue raw material platform to secure raw material availability and competitiveness. We are very happy that the owners of IH Demeter B.V. accepted our offer and trust us to develop the business further,” says Kaisa Hietala, Executive Vice President of Renewable Products business area of Neste.

The sale and purchase agreement has been signed and parties have agreed that the purchase price will not be disclosed. The new company is planned to be called Neste Demeter B.V.

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Hydrous ethanol sales grow 35% for Brazil’s Centre-South

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 05/27/2018 - 7:12am

In Brazil, Centre-South ethanol producers have sold 759.75 million litres (200.70 million gallons) of hydrous ethanol in the domestic market in the first 15 days of May, which is a 34.68% year-on-year increase, according to Renewables Now. “Anhydrous ethanol sales amounted to 327.29 million litres for a 9.87% decrease from the volume registered in the same period last year, local sugarcane industry association Unica announced on Thursday. In all, the total ethanol sales for the first half of the month amounted to a little over 1.13 billion litres, of which about 47.13 million litres of the biofuel were intended for export. Some 1.41 billion litres of hydrous ethanol were produced in the first 15 days of May, while anhydrous production was of 657.30 million litres. From the start of the sugarcane harvest up until May 15, the total volume of ethanol produced in the country’s Centre-South region added up to a little over 4.81 billion litres.”

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2.8% gain in ethanol stocks to 22.1 million barrels

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 05/27/2018 - 7:10am

In Washington, DC, according to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol production averaged 1.028 million barrels per day (b/d)—or 43.18 million gallons daily. Output tightened by 30,000 b/d from the week before to a four-week low. The four-week average for ethanol production reached 1.040 million b/d for an annualized rate of 15.94 billion gallons. Stocks of ethanol were 22.1 million barrels. That is a 2.8% gain over last week. There were zero imports recorded for the 24th week in a row.

Average weekly gasoline demand climbed 1.7% to 406.9 million gallons (9.689 million barrels) daily—just 1.7% below the record set five weeks prior. This is equivalent to 148.53 billion gallons annualized. Refiner/blender input of ethanol edged 0.2% higher to 944,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.47 billion gallons annualized and outpacing demand posted the past 20 weeks. The ethanol content in gasoline supplied to the market averaged 9.74%, down from 9.88% the previous week. Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to 10.61%.

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Diesel fuel prices draw level with palm oil prices

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 05/27/2018 - 7:07am

In Germany, UFOP reports that asking prices for diesel fuel and palm oil have reached virtually the same level. The reason is contradictory price trends for crude and palm oil. Pointing to the fact that the vegetable oil markets face oversupply worldwide, UFOP expects that the preference for using palm oil as a feedstock in biofuels production will grow, especially in non-EU countries that impose virtually no sustainability requirements on the feedstocks.

German wholesale prices for diesel have soared virtually 47 per cent to around 51 euro cents per litre since their last low at the end of June 2017. The reason is the significant rise in crude oil prices, which have a determining influence on diesel pricing. Crude oil prices are driven up by steady demand based on the global economic upswing, OPEC’s and Russia’s cut in production levels and the threatened US penalties against Iran’s oil industry. In contrast, asking prices for palm oil have dropped around 19 per cent year-on-year.

 

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Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre Officially Opens

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 05/27/2018 - 7:05am

In Canada, InnoTech Alberta, an applied research subsidiary of Alberta Innovates, announced the official opening of the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre (ACCTC). InnoTech Alberta is the owner and operator of this pioneering clean technology center. Users of the ACCTC will test and advance carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and conversion technologies that assist in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions, by enabling the conversion of CO2 into commercially viable, value-added products.

The first tenants of the ACCTC will be five finalist teams from the US$20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition.  The competition incents teams from around the world to develop innovative approaches to convert CO2 emissions from fossil fuels into valuable products. This includes a broad suite of solutions, such as alternative building materials, bioplastics and enhanced carbon derivatives and other chemicals used to manufacture a variety of industrial products and consumer goods. Following completion of the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE in early 2020, the ACCTC will continue as a test centre for new technology development in this area.

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U.S. DOE award gives $1.4M for biofuels research in Tennessee

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 05/27/2018 - 6:58am

In Tennessee, researchers with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture are getting $1.4 million from the U.S. Department of Energy over the next two years through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative. The projects are focused on the development of commercial applications for biofuels as well as biobased energy and biobased products.

David Harper, an associate professor of materials science in the UT Center for Renewable Carbon, told WGNS that “the research will build on existing science to use plant materials from grasses, hardwoods and softwoods to produce commercially valuable products like chemicals, fuels and industrial materials. The goal is to get the biobased products, including fuel, more cost effective. ‘We can do this by loading biomass into a solvent at greater than 20 percent in the presence of catalysts to deconstruct and separate plant sugars from lignin,’ Harper explains. ‘Plant sugars, cellulose and hemicelluloses, will then be upgraded to liquid aviation fuels, or alkanes. Lignin will then be readily converted into carbon foams and activated carbons. The carbon then becomes the basis for products like filters and high-temperature insulation. It can also be used for energy storage, such as in lithium ion batteries.’

 

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Indonesia considers stop on all palm oil exports to EU

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 05/27/2018 - 6:55am

In Indonesia, the government is considering a stop on all palm oil exports to the European Union altogether, depending on results of a current study that looks at the impacts of doing so and based on their growing exports of palm oil to countries in Africa, the Middle East and China.

The council has commissioned several research institutions and universities to help produce its research, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year at the latest.

Indonesia shipped out the highest value of palm oil ever in 2017, contributing to the year’s $12 billion trade surplus, with huge increases in Africa, the Middle East and China. “When we talk about the importance and significance of the EU on palm oil, this is the reality, which means the worst scenario can lead to a situation that palm oil can live without the EU. The question is of course whether the EU can live without palm oil,” Mahendra Siregar, executive director of the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries told Jakarta Globe.

 

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What do fish and ethanol have in common? A lot more than you think thanks to Fluid Quip Process Technologies

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 05/27/2018 - 6:36am

Feeding the Fish

Back in 2015, Fluid Quip Process Technologies made it to #149 on The Digest’s Hot 50 List, showing that it is worthy of attention, but it didn’t quite make it up to the actual top 50 that year. But here’s why we think they might be worth another look for next year’s Hot 50 list. Oh, clean sugar technology, how I love thee, let me count the ways…

First, FQPT has been around forever…well, these days over 20 years seems like forever. What started as engineering and manufacturing separation equipment for corn wet milling and pulp and paper applications, FQPT has more recently leveraged wet milling knowledge to develop enhancements for dry-grind ethanol plants.

But even though they’ve been around for more years than many tech companies around today, they are like Bob Dylan’s song and are a’ changin’. And that is key to survival and growth – new technologies, new innovations, new opportunities.

Second, they have some advanced technology that helps companies convert waste into highly valuable products, like fish feed for the aquaculture industry. Check out the scoop on their technology “Changing the Sugar Paradigm: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to Fluid Quip clean sugar technology.”

Lastly, they just announced their largest clean sugar technology order to date. FQPT reached an agreement with White Dog Labs to provide an 18 million bushels/year Clean Sugar Technology to WDL’s first full-scale production plant.

More on the White Dog Labs order

WDL has developed and scaled up ProTyton, a Single Cell Protein ingredient that exhibits upwards of 85wt% crude protein and over 35wt% essential amino acids. The product is highly digestible and performs well in multiple aquaculture diets with leading indicators of health benefits beyond nutrition. ProTyton fermentation, similar to that of ethanol, is a simple anaerobic process, thus allowing straightforward conversion of ethanol plants to ProTyton production.

The patented CST technology was developed by FQPT as a bolt-on to dry mill ethanol plants to produce a sugar slip stream that allows diversification of co-products, thus providing additional revenue streams without detracting from existing co-products. The CST system, first commissioned in 2016, leverages many FQPT technologies in the ethanol space. It separates the slurry stream into clean sugar, spent grains, and corn oil. FQPT will provide the CST technology, separation equipment, process engineering, construction oversight, and startup support for the ProTyton plant.

CST is the 5th commercially proven ethanol industry technology released by FQPT in five years. Each of these technologies are designed to bring diversification in co-product revenue streams to the industry.

“We are delighted to be a part of WDL’s first ProTyton plant,” said Neal Jakel, Vice President of Strategy and Technology at FQPT. “In addition to their organism and process development work, WDL has completed an impressive process scale-up, using their 5000 gallon in-house fermenter.”

ProTyton, is estimated by aquaculture analysts to command a $2000/ton price while its production costs are estimated to be below $500. It thus offers the ethanol industry a profitable diversification into the large, and ever-growing aquaculture industry.

“We are privileged to work with FQPT,” said WDL’s CEO, Bryan Tracy. “They are the premier process engineering firm in the biofuels industry, and their track-record of successful MSC and CST installations will contribute to the plant’s start-up and production ramp.” Tracy added, “Our collaboration will start with the initial construction of our pre-production line.”

FQPT and Green Plains

As reported in The Digest earlier this month, Green Plains signed a Letter of Intent to implement Fluid Quip Process Technologies’ MSC Protein System at their Shenandoah, Iowa facility. In the discussion during a quarterly investors call, CEO Todd Becker also discussed starting there and rolling it out to other facilities.

This will be FQPT’s 5th installation of the patented MSC protein system. The fourth is at Flint Hills Resources Fairmount Nebraska plant and they are nearing completion with a startup planned for this summer, according to Michael Franko from FQPT.

“This proven bolt-on technology produces high-protein animal and fish feed ingredients from a portion of distillers grains and is expected to provide a consistent uplift of at least 10 cents per gallon to the ethanol margin structure,” said Todd Becker, Green Plains’ President and Chief Executive Officer. “After the careful evaluation of several technologies, we are excited to choose Fluid-Quip’s MSC for our first implementation at Shenandoah, Iowa. As we have indicated in the past, we believe the margin contributions of corn oil and high-protein feed ingredients will help our returns become more predictable and consistent over time.”

FQPT and Flint Hills

In January 2017, the Digest reported that Flint Hills Resources and Fluid Quip Process Technologies conducted over 15 NexPro feed studies with independent and well-respected university researchers to demonstrate value in tilapia, trout, shrimp, dairy, swine and poultry. The results of these studies have shown NexPro to be an excellent source of nutrients in the diets of these animals.

The new technology, called Maximized Stillage Co-Products, was developed exclusively for the dry mill ethanol industry by FQPT. FQPT provides the MSC technology, separation equipment, process engineering, construction oversight, and startup support for the Fairmount system.

The technology uses a series of mechanical processes to separate protein from the solids leftover after ethanol distillation. Centrifuges are used to isolate protein molecules from residual fiber and carbohydrates. Once the protein is isolated, it is sent to a protein dryer where it is dried into a fine powder. The drying process is essential to ensuring the high-quality of the protein product.

In addition to its high protein content, NexPro is expected to have about 3.5 percent crude fiber, 4.5 percent fat and 1.1 percent phosphorus. The feed also contains yeast leftover from the ethanol fermentation process. The remaining yeast contains lysine – an important amino acid essential for growth in animals – giving the product more total lysine than traditional corn gluten meal.

Bottom Line

Now that you’ve seen the latest and greatest on FQPT, keep an eye on them as we expect further announcements coming from them as more orders for their clean sugars technology and other innovative tools of the trade come pouring in. After all, the times are a’ changin’ and one day they just might be on the Hot 50 list.

Categories: Today's News

Integrated, hedged, evolving: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to Green Plains

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 05/27/2018 - 6:31am

Founded in 2004, Green Plains Inc. is North America’s third largest producer of ethanol. Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, Green Plains has grown rapidly, primarily through acquisitions, and today has operating segments throughout the ethanol value chain.

Operations begin upstream with a grain handling segment, continue through approximately 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol production capacity per year, and ends downstream with product marketing and distribution. GPRE focuses on generating stable operating margins through diversified business segments and its risk management strategy.

The investment rationale? Owning and operating assets throughout the ethanol value chain enables them to mitigate the effects of changes in commodity prices on our profitability and differentiates us from companies focused only on ethanol production.

We’ve edited down from this intriguing public company’s most recent presentation material as we look at Green Plains’ progress and promise.

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