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Today's News

USDA awards $3 million grant for biomass-based chemicals

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 5:58pm

In Georgia, Meridian Waste Solutions, Inc. announced the award of a $3 million grant from the USDA to support the commercialization of patented and patent-pending lignin conversion and refining technologies owned by Meridian’s subsidiary, Attis Innovations, Inc. Attis Innovations is the combination of recent transactions with American Science and Technology Corp. and Advanced Lignin Biocomposites LLC.

To address this challenge, a team comprising Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee’s Center for Renewable Carbon, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, the Natural Resource Research Institute, Long Trail Sustainability, and Attis’ research and development unit, American Science and Technology Corporation, presented the U.S. Department of Agriculture with a pathway based on Attis’ technology to allow biorefineries to compete with petroleum.

That pathway relies on Attis’ patented and patent-pending AST-Organosolv process to fractionate biomass into cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, followed by the conversion of cellulose and hemicellulose into biofuel (butanol), and the conversion of lignin into acrylonitrile-butadiene-lignin (ABL Resin) using technology developed and patented by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and licensed to Attis.

The resulting ABL Resin product is proven to be a higher-performing renewable offset for the petroleum-derived resin acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS). With a market value of $1,500 to $2,400 per ton, abundant low-cost feedstock supplies, and robust multi-sector offset demand, Attis’ new ABL Resin product has the potential to make a significant and valuable contribution to reducing U.S. dependence on petroleum-derived chemicals and fuels.

Categories: Today's News

RFA says ethanol industry can’t negotiation with oil over RFS until they know what they want

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 5:57pm

In Washington, the CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association told DTN that a constructive discussion on the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard could not be held until the oil industry decides what its position is rather than half a dozen different positions all fighting for dominance. He said some oil companies made investments in blending and compliance with the RFS back when the law was approved leaving those who chose not to do so at the time or in the time since complaining now and trying to get the law changed.

Categories: Today's News

Affordable, green hydrogen — it is here, near, or nowhere in sight (again)?

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 1:03pm

News arrives from Israel’s Technion Institute that they have developed a stable catalyst that can split water at extravagantly low energy-levels – and haven’t ruled out being able to split water with energy levels obtainable from the sun.

Before you skip this story to check out more pulse-quickening items such as Oscar nominees or pre-Olympics coverage, let’s put it this way: splitting water via a stable industrial process using only solar energy would rank somewhere between the Discovery of the Wheel and the Taming of Fire as a scientific discovery.

In fact, the hope of rapid transformation in the field is one of the reasons that AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals and Gasunie New Energy have partnered in a project aiming at “large scale conversion of sustainable electricity into green hydrogen via the electrolysis of water.”

Intended for Delfzijl in the Netherlands, the installation would use a 20MW water electrolysis unit, the largest in Europe, to convert sustainably produced electricity into 3,000 tons of green hydrogen a year – enough to fuel 300 hydrogen buses.  A final decision on the project is expected in 2019.

Why — and why now — is green hydrogen such a big, big deal?

Two reasons, really.

One, you’d solve the energy-storage problem of solar power, in a snap — you’d just split water to make hydrogen. (Don’t worry, when you use the hydrogen to, for example, power a car, the water re-forms out of the tailpipe. This isn’t a Water vs Fuel situation.)

Two, you’d have an affordable, biobased (hydrogen fuel) fuel you could make anywhere, in quantities exceeding the petroleum industry.

In fact, “affordable hydrogen” is a convenient cocktail party answer to virtually any roadblock or opportunity in the advanced bioeconomy. Try it.

“Why are you having trouble beating petroleum on cost?” Affordable hydrogen.

“What do you need that would take you to true world-class liquid fuel scale? “Affordable hydrogen.

“What’s your break-through and why should I  invest in you?” Affordable hydrogen.

So, what’s the hold-up?

It’s a frustrating thing, because as many fourth-graders can explain, plants split water routinely, using only solar energy. In fact, photosynthesis is driven by it, and the oxygen you are breathing as you read this is in part provided by it.

Scientists have not been able to crack the problem, in part because the catalyst that Nature evolved is complex, and has been described as the “the strongest biological oxidizing agent yet discovered”.

It comes down to controlling manganese, which is abundant and cheap, but the manganese catalysts yet developed never last and consume way too much energy.

The hydrogen vehicle and Toyota backstory

Consequently, though Toyota has been working very hard on hydrogen vehicles, hydrogen as currently obtained via natural gas reforming is not green, nor competitively affordable. So, there might be a hundred hydrogen refueling stations in the US, about half of them in California.

Toyota keeps at it with diligence because they see that vehicles that have only water as their tailpipe emission, are quickly and easily re-fueled, store energy very efficiently for range and weight purposes — these could be long-term winners in the marketplace.

More about hydrogen’s promise here: Are electrics a bridging technology, and hydrogen fuel cells the future?

And hydrogen’s challenges here: The Hydrogen Spring that became the Year without a Summer 

The breakthrough

In an article published in Nature Catalysis, Assistant Professor Galia Maayan of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology presents a molecular complex (also called an artificial molecular cluster) that dramatically improves the efficiency of water oxidation. It does so by biomimicry – a field of engineering inspired by nature (bio=life, mimetics=imitation). In this specific case, the inspiration comes from the process of photosynthesis in nature.

The water-splitting backstory

It’s a simple process to describe, a complete bear to achieve.  Each molecule of water, H2O, contains one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms, which are split using energy from an electric current. This is done with a cathode and an anode; the cathode contributes electrons to the water and attracts oxygen, and the anode takes electrons from the water and attracts hydrogen.

More on Hydrogen

It’s not an idle area of science.

Try this:US DOE tips $15.8M for Hydrogen, Fuel Cell technologies

Or this: U Can’t Have Enuf H2: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to renewable hydrogen via pyrolysis

Or this: The electrochemical approach: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to Upgrading Biorefinery Waste to Industrial Chemicals and Hydrogen

The manganese catalyst breakthrough

The molecular complex developed by Maayan is expected to change this situation. This cluster, which is actually a complex molecule called Mn12DH, has unique characteristics that are advantageous when splitting water.

Experiments conducted with this complex demonstrate that it produces a large quantity of electrons (electric current) and a significant amount of oxygen and hydrogen, despite a relatively low energetic investment. No less important, it is stable – meaning that it is not easily demolished, like other Mn-based catalysts.

The molecule in question

You’ll never decode this one if it ever comes up on Wheel of Fortune, Pat, I’d like to buy a parenthesis. But here it is:

[Mn12O12(O2CC6H3(OH)2)16(H2O)4].

For short they call it Mn12DH.

What’s happening?

According to Maayan, “In nature, evolution created a protein shell around the manganese core that stabilizes it and prevents its dissolution. Inspired by this natural structure, we developed an organic shell that enables the manganese complex to dissolve in water and stabilizes it.”

And according to grad student Naama Gluz, who carried out much of the work here as part of her M.Sc. studies under the supervision of Maayan:

A possible explanation for the electrocatalytic activity of Mn12DH may be related to the nature of the organic group shell – the phenol type hydroxyl groups of the 3,5-dihydroxybenzoate ligands. The surrounding ligands might act as additional proton acceptors in this reaction, shifting the reaction equilibrium toward the direct reaction side; thus, facilitating the oxygen evolution.

Next steps: solar energy only?

This is a low-energy option. But what about the “free energy option”, that is, solar. The one that would redefine civilization as we know it?It’s not out of the question (but it’s a long ways down the road, we suspect).

Gluz is continuing to research the unique manganese complex as part of her doctoral studies. In preliminary experiments, she was able to demonstrate that the complex is capable of splitting water through exposure to light from a simple lamp. In the future, this will make it possible to produce oxygen and hydrogen in large quantities and very rapidly. The idea is that eventually the process will work with solar energy, without requiring electricity.

The Bottom Line

As the researchers write:

The use of Mn and readily available carboxylate ligands makes this result particularly pertinent to the search for efficient, cheap and environmentally benign catalysts that are highly active and robust in aqueous media.

Checks most of the boxes, already. Cheap, benign, efficient. Oorah! as the Marines might put it.

Categories: Today's News

The Pitch: The Digest 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to presenting biotechnology scale-up during fundraising

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 11:09am

Warner Advisors LLC is a consulting firm focused on delivering commercialization assistance for emerging technology clients in biofuels, biochemicals and food —  focus is on early stage technology start-ups in the emerging bioeconomy. The company’s expertise in commercialization ranges from bench-top, through pilot to commercial scale facilities.  Founder Mark Warner has penned many thought leadership columns for the Digest., including this one today – and recently, this companion article to today’s slide presentation, one “Lessons Learned Presenting Biotechnology Scale-Up During Fundraising,” here.

Warner gave this illuminating overview on presenting biotechnology scale-up during fundraising at ABLC Next in San Francisco.

Categories: Today's News

Bringing Innovative Foods to Market

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 11:02am

By Mark Warner, PE, Founder, Warner Advisors LLC

Special to The Digest

Food is a rapidly changing landscape with many emerging technologies; meat without the cow, eggs without the chicken and sushi without the fish to name a few. These products come from advanced biotechnology, deeply rooted in technology used for pharmaceutical production. Key compounds are commonly produced by aseptic fermentation and standards require pure products, with no contamination. Only the target organism can exist in the broth at the end of a fermentation.

Alternatively, traditional food production has been developed from centuries of farming animals and plants, harvesting and processing as needed to allow storage in a manner to be safe to eat.   Based on natural processes, food products are not typically pure, containing microorganisms, with items like yogurt having them as a key ingredient. Can these two different approaches emerge into a successful novel food industry?

The primary question is what type of company these ventures are, biotechnology or food? Without question, they are first and foremost a food company. Maintaining this understanding is critical to commercial success. The technology learnings from pharmaceutical and advanced biotechnologies are valuable, but that technology must fit within the food regulatory framework to become commercial. This can be a frustrating journey for many, but can be achieved by having a broad mix of backgrounds involved, including food industry expertise.

Some specific lessons learned commercializing novel foods follows:

Don’t fight City Hall – the food regulatory approval process can seem foreign and often does not make sense to people with a long history in pharmaceutical production. The GRAS approval process is a prime example. There are many in the novel food industry that assert the process does not make sense and the standards are not appropriate. My advice? Complying with the current regulations is your fastest and most cost effective path to commercial success. If you want your model to be based on “blowing up the status quo” like UBER, make sure you raise billions like UBER has. If your series A round is $7-$15 million like most of the industry, I suggest finding a way to work inside the process.

Food Certification – One of the biggest challenges for novel food companies is to scale their process in a manner consistent with food safety regulations, including production at a facility permitted to manufacture food. Most advanced biotechnology host sites used to scale-up fermentation technologies are not approved for food production, which brings a complexity to the process that needs to be managed. The basic technology can be demonstrated at these sites, but the ability to taste product and provide market samples is significantly hindered.

Fermentation is just the beginning – While fermentation is often the key technology to producing the novel food product, it is usually just one step in an overall process. Much like an engine is key to operating a car, an engine without a body and wheels is of no value either. The ability of fermentation to be matched with the proper recovery and purification process, and scaled-up as a system, is key to a commercially viable operation.

Scale-up options are limited – Early stage technology companies are continuously faced with the choice of building their own demonstration scale-facility or contracting with an existing facility. As most ventures discover, this is a difficult choice between two costly and time consuming options. Building a demonstration-scale facility typically costs tens of millions of dollars, however finding a cost effective contract manufacturing location can be as challenging. The number of available facilities has been declining in recent years, at the same time early stage biotechnology companies are raising impressive amounts of cash to commercialize their technology.

Scale the technology and the market – Scale-up is an engineering process that demonstrates the technology will work at a larger scale and drives much of the requirements for a demonstration scale facility. What is often missed is the need to seed the market at the same time. Proving a product can be made to meet cost and quality targets is great, but unless the market draw is demonstrated at the same time, the ability to raise the next-level of funding will be limited. This manifests itself if the need for a larger demonstration stage than often forecasted to fulfill both needs.

The key to novel food companies being successful is bridging the gap between biotechnology and traditional food. The emerging novel food technologies are robust and exciting, with the ability to focus development efforts into the existing food regulatory environment key to becoming commercially viable.

Mark Warner is a registered professional engineer with 30 years of experience in process commercialization, focusing for the last 10 years on taking first-of-a-kind-technologies from bench-top to commercial operation. He is a leader in commercialization of innovative food products, working for industry leaders such as Solazyme (TerraVia) and Impossible Foods. Mark is the founder of Warner Advisors, providing consulting services and acting in interim engineering leadership roles for advanced bioeconomy clients. He can be reached at mark@warneradvisorsllc.com or for more information, visit www.warneradvisorsllc.com.

Categories: Today's News

Aries Clean Energy Receives $25 Million Commitment of Project Equity from Spring Lane Capital

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 9:59am

We dreamed of the day waste projects would get the funding needed to gain ground, and that day may have finally come.

One of the most remembered parts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech is when he said “I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream.” We have heard many leaders in biofuels and biomaterials say the same thing as they overcome obstacles and challenges with financing, laws and regulations, market busts, and unforeseen trials and tribulations.

Today, we remember Dr. King and how he never gave up fighting for his dream, with a waste-to-energy project that could be making dreams come true in a different way.

In Tennessee, Aries Clean Energy issued approximately $21.4 million of new equity led by existing investors and received additional capital commitments from Spring Lane Capital of $25 million for equity in future gasification projects. Proceeds from the offering will be used to fund project development, retire debt and other general corporate purposes. Spring Lane Capital is a private equity firm focused on project finance investments for smaller-scale solutions in the energy, water, food and waste industries.

Aries plans to use the proceeds from the investment to deploy an immediate pipeline of customer-ready projects using their proprietary waste gasification technology, as well as to accelerate business development in new markets within the U.S, increase efficiencies in current products, and advance growth outside the U.S. borders.

Why the big deal?

The financing marks a significant milestone for the emerging set of municipal and industrial-scale solutions providers in the waste management industry, which has been historically challenged to access affordable financing tailored to the needs of sub-utility scale projects in the industry.

“I am pleased that Spring Lane Capital has recognized our award-winning, patented clean energy technology and wants to help share these solutions with more cities and industries,” said Gregory L. Bafalis, CEO of Aries. “Their model of financing distributed scale solutions is ideal for our business as we look to develop and operate a series of small-to-mid scale plants.”

“Aries Clean Energy is poised for growth, with a leading and proven technology, a wide-open market opportunity, and an experienced, high-execution management team,” said Nikhil Garg, General Partner at Spring Lane Capital. “This financing gives Aries the runway to accelerate the business and deploy their solution at scale while providing strong economic benefits to their municipal and industrial customers.”

Spring Lane Capital addresses some of the fastest growing segments of the energy, food, water and waste markets that more traditional forms of capital cannot work with at scale. The clean energy and waste/wastewater systems of Aries reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide other economic and environmental benefits for the communities around each of its plants.

Garg continued, “We believe in the long-term social and economic benefits natural resource efficiency brings to everyone. My colleagues and I are pleased to support Aries Clean Energy as it pushes forward to take its technology across this country and overseas.”

From algae to waste

Some of you may remember CEO Greg Bafalis from Aurora Algae, which had an unfortunate ending and auctioning off of its assets back in 2015 as reported in The Digest. While algae didn’t work out, waste gasification technology seems to agree with him much more.

Aries’ latest project is the Lebanon Gasification Initiative in Lebanon, Tennessee. At full capacity, this plant annually will keep 8,000 tons of waste from landfills and eliminate 2,500 tons of carbon emissions from the air. The syngas converted from waste can generate 1.8 million kilo-watt hours of electricity in a year. That’s pretty significant and definitely promising.

As reported in the Digest in April 2017, Aries Clean Energy had a name change to reflect a shift to waste-to-energy technologies. What was formerly PHG Energy was renamed Aries Clean Energy to reflect the evolution of the clean energy and sustainable waste disposal company. Eight patents have been granted to the company for innovations in the gasification field. Most of those already have been deployed successfully in projects for both industry and municipalities, cleanly converting a mixture of wood waste, biosolids and scrap tires to electricity.

“The old name, PHG Energy, worked well for us when we basically offered industrial fuel gas conversion equipment,” said CEO Greg Bafalis. “Aries Clean Energy is a brand that much better represents what we do today as well as our product line and focus going forward.”

“Our downdraft and fluidized bed gasification projects have proven themselves viable with over 50,000 hours of commercial operation,” Bafalis added. “Putting these clean and sustainable energy innovations to work in more locations, and bringing some of our latest research and development efforts to the marketplace this year are going to be exciting steps for us and for the industry.”

They also have tapped into strong people with the necessary experience to get their project moving forward. As reported in The Digest in May 2017, Aries tapped Ben Gardner as vice president of engineering to direct all efforts in design, construction, and operations, as well as the company’s ongoing research and development programs.

“Ben’s experience in taking companies from early stages of development all the way through to commercialization will be invaluable to executive management and to our engineering teams,” Aries CEO Greg Bafalis said. “His previous work with fluidized bed gasification is especially important to us, and Ben brings a waste conversion and green energy knowledge base that is rare to find even in a global marketplace.”

Applauds and awards abound for Aries

All their hard work is paying off in terms of awards and recognitions as well. In May 2017, Aries Clean Energy’s biomass gasification plant just outside Nashville was recognized as the driving force behind the City of Lebanon’s receipt of a 2017 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award, the most prestigious conservation award in Tennessee.

Within 30 days of that news, the same gasification plant received recognition as a sustainability success with the Environmental Leader Product & Project Award. The award is national in scope from a leading environmental publication and named the facility a 2017 Top Project energy category winner.

Environmental awards aren’t the only kind of accolades Aries has been receiving lately either. In October 2017, the downdraft gasification plant in Lebanon, Tennessee, was the catalyst in two outstanding award programs. The Greater Nashville Regional Council (GNRC) presented the 2017 Local Government Award for Public Works & Utility Infrastructure to the City of Lebanon on Sept. 27. The GNRC recognized Lebanon for Solid Waste Management and Environmental Stewardship through the city’s gasification initiative, its use of public/private partnerships, and the city’s other energy-saving and recycling programs. The Industrial Water & Wastes Digest also included the waste-to-energy plant in its list of top projects for 2017.

In November 2017, the Lebanon Gasification Initiative received the 2017 project of the year honors from the Tennessee Chapter of the American Public Works Association (TCAPWA). This award recognizes a project in a Tennessee city that epitomizes outstanding planning, construction, and management. At the heart of the Lebanon initiative is the world’s largest downdraft gasification plant designed and built by Aries Clean Energy.

“This kind of recognition echoes how much teamwork it takes to build and implement a project like this,” said Gregory L. Bafalis, CEO of Aries. “We are pleased to bring the technology and expertise to this waste-to-energy plant. That combined with the support of the city public works team has made for a great partnership.”

Indeed, even Mayor Bernie Ash applauded Aries and said, “I’m pleased to say that with the detailed planning initiated by Aries, construction and implementation have progressed very smoothly. As with any power plant, we’ve had some bugs to work out, but overall, it’s been a great team-building experience.” Mayor Bernie Ash says tackling the solid waste issue is best done taking one step at a time. He sees this waste-to-energy plant as the first step toward a total MRF (material recovery facility) line for the city’s waste.

Bottom Line

If there is one thing we’ve learned from being in the biofuels industry, it’s that it’s never too late to rise from the ashes and you should never give up on your dreams. Aries Clean Energy is doing just that – it’s making progress and realizing its dreams of waste to energy projects that can be innovative, successful, profitable, employ people, and good for the environment. Spring Lane Capital and existing investors are helping Aries with their financial backing making it a true team effort to make their dreams a reality. We think Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be proud. After all, he said, “We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead.”

Categories: Today's News

Alkol Biotech LOI could lead to Europe’s largest biorefinery

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 9:47am

In the United Kingdom, Alkol Biotech signed a Letter of Intent with an EU-funded consortium called Bioforever to source up to 500,000 tons of biomass, which if it moves heads, it would lead to the construction of Europe’s largest biorefinery. Alkol’s crop strains grow in colder and drier climates with high pest and disease resistance with greater yields, making its first crop called “EUnergyCane” the “only native European variety that thrives in cold climates, according to Biobased World News.

The LOI was signed with one of the consortium members, Bio Refinery Development BV, and states that Alkol Biotech will provide the half a million tons of non-woody biomass each year from Spain and Portugal for now, and possible the United Kingdom later on, to an unannounced biorefinery site. Alkol Biotech CEO, Al Costa told Biobased World News, “Not only we have now a reliable and competitive source of biomass, but a quality one, which at the end will mean less costs in enzymes and pre- and post-processing, and thus cost-effective renewable chemical building blocks.”

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Steeper Energy in licensing deal with Silva Green Fuel advanced biofuel project

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 9:46am

In Denmark, Steeper Energy, a Danish-Canadian clean-fuel company, is partnering with Silva Green Fuel, a Norwegian-Swedish joint venture, to construct a EUR 50.6 M (nearly $62 million) industrial scale demonstration plant at a former pulp mill located in Tofte, Norway leading to a future commercial scale project.

Steeper will license its proprietary Hydrofaction technology to Silva, who will build the facility over the next 18 months. The demonstration plant will use woody residues as feedstock that are converted to renewable crude oil and, in turn, will be upgraded to renewable diesel, jet or marine fuel. Steeper’s Hydrofaction technology was selected by Silva after an exhaustive due diligence review of some 40 other technologies. Hydrofaction harnesses water brought to super-critical conditions, to cost effectively convert biomass to high value liquid biofuels.

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United Airlines Flies on Top of Newsweek’s 2017 Green Rankings

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 9:45am

In Illinois, United Airlines ranked number one among global carriers in Newsweek’s 2017 Global 500 Green Rankings, which conducts environmental performance assessments of the world’s largest publicly traded companies and ranks them accordingly. United placed 59th among 500 U.S. brands and 100th among 500 global brands.

Newsweek’s recognition of United’s green initiatives follows Air Transport World (ATW) magazine naming United the Eco-Airline of the Year last year for the company’s environmental leadership, innovation and action within the industry. Air Transport World has twice named United the Eco-Airline of the Year since the carrier launched its industry-leading Eco-Skies program.

 

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Brazil raises soybean and corn crop estimates for 2017-18

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 9:43am

In Brazil, Platts is reporting that Brazilian official crop agency Conab raised its crop estimates for soybeans and corn in 2017-18, as improved weather boosts yields and planted areas are revised higher. Conab said in a monthly report that the current soybean crop, which was already planted and is under development, will reach 110.44 million mt, up from 109.18 million mt in December but still below the record of 114.08 million mt in 2016-17. Brazil is the world’s largest soybean exporter and its production is second only to the US.

The area planted with soybean in Brazil was increased to 34.99 million ha, up from 34.96 million ha in December and from 33.91 million ha in 2016-17, according to Conab. Yields are now seen at 3,156 kg/ha, up from 3,123 kg/ha in December, but below the record of 3,364 kg/ha in 2016-17, when nearly perfect weather helped crops. Sowing in 2017-18, which started officially in mid-September, was initially hampered by insufficient rains in many areas, like Mato Grosso, the main grains state in Brazil. It harvests about as much soybeans as Iowa and Illinois combined. Precipitation improved in November and December, cutting down concerns about any relevant loss.

Categories: Today's News

South Korean ethanol imports up 39%

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 9:41am

In South Korea, ethanol imports increased 39% year on year to 261,584 mt in 2017, according to data released by Korea Customs Service. According to Platts, imports of denatured ethanol surged by 238% over the year to 117,782 mt in 2017. The U.S. remained the key import origin last year, accounting for 78% of total imports, followed by Pakistan at 10% and South Africa at 6%.

Undenatured ethanol imports however, fell 6% year on year to 143,802 mt in 2017. Australia overtook Brazil as the largest supplier of undenatured ethanol last year, accounting for 44% of total imports, followed by Cambodia at 16% and Pakistan at 14%. Volumes from Brazil accounted for only 9% of the total undenatured ethanol imports, down sharply from 49% in the previous year. South Korea has been importing more undenatured ethanol form Australia since December last year because of more favorable prices compared with Brazilian and Pakistani industrial grade ethanol.

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Rapeseed supply shortfall in EU

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 9:39am

In Germany, UFOP reports that the supply situation in the EU 28 rapeseed market continues to be tight in 2017/18. However, with production growing more strongly than consumption, imports are expected to decline. Stocks are set to remain stable.

The EU Commission anticipates a year-on-year rise in rapeseed harvest of around 1.7 million tonnes to around 21.8 million tonnes in 2017. Processing in the 2017/18 marketing year is likely to increase by 3.4 per cent to 24.1 million tonnes because of the larger output and to achieve efficient utilization of processing capacities. This means that there is a shortage of 2.3 million tonnes of rapeseed for the supply and demand balance to be level. The previous year’s gap amounted to 3.2 million tonnes. For this reason, Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft mbH expects imports from third countries to decline by 0.7 million tonnes to 3.5 million tonnes and projects supplies to grow slightly by 6 per cent to 1.1 million tonnes. The production increases in 2017 were due to favourable weather conditions at the time of sowing and warm and dry early-summer weather in many parts of northern and eastern Europe. Whereas the area harvested in the EU increased by 2.7 per cent to 6.7 million hectares from 2016/17, yields rose significantly more strongly, by 5.7 per cent to 32.5 decitonnes per hectare. In France, which is the biggest producer of rapeseed in the EU 28, farmers harvested 5.7 million tonnes (around 13.5 per cent) more than the previous year. Yields surged on average 25.2 per cent, whereas the area harvested declined 9.4 per cent. Farmers in Poland, the UK and Romania also saw a 20 to 30 per cent increase in quantity of rapeseed harvested.

Categories: Today's News

NASA and DLR conducting flight tests on alternative fuel emissions

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 9:36am

In Germany, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are set to conduct joint research flights in Germany for the first time. The focus will be on alternative fuel emissions and the characterization of ice crystals in condensation trails, using biofuel as an example.

The first joint DLR/NASA flights, which were conducted from Palmdale, California in 2014, showed that adding 50 percent alternative fuel for cruising flight reduces the soot particle emissions of an aircraft engine by 50 to 70 percent, compared to the combustion of pure kerosene. The planned research flights are intended to determine particle emissions and how they affect cloud formation through contrails, thus investigating their impact on the climate.

From 14 January 2018, NASA’s DC-8 research aircraft will visit Germany for three weeks and fly together with the DLR A320 Advanced Technology Research Aircraft (ATRA). For the international research mission, the DLR A320 ATRA will fly using various fuel blends, while NASA’s fully instrumented DC-8 ‘flying laboratory’ will follow at a safe distance, measuring soot particles, gas emissions and ice crystals in ATRA’s exhaust gas stream.

 

Categories: Today's News

Malaysia fighting back on proposed EU palm oil ban

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 9:33am

In Malaysia, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas told Black Sea Grain that Sarawak palm oil producers are now under threat from the proposed European Union ban on palm oil as part of the Renewable Energy Directive. Uggah is also Minister for Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development and said the ban will negatively impact their revenues and communities. He is working on efforts to fight the ban such as a new campaign called ‘Faces of Palm Oil’ and communicating with European ministers.

In a statement to The Borneo Post, Uggah said “In Sarawak, there are many oil palm growers; either they are independent smallholders, organised smallholders…Salcra manages 19 oil palm estates with 51,072 hectares and five palm oil mills…Our authorities and small farmer organisations led by Salcra are determined to prevent this threat.” He said that about 60% of Malaysia’s palm oil exports to the EU are now in the non-food sector with biofuels a significant proportion, saying the impact of the ban on small farmers especially would be huge.

Categories: Today's News

The Long, Long, Long Journey to Green: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to Bioeconomy Investing

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 2:48pm

What are the true drivers of Innovation and what are the returns for investors — what’s up and what works? There is just not a more authentic authority on the subject than long-time venture capitalist Roger Wyse, managing partner of Spruce Capital Partners, who gave the following illuminating overview on challenges, opportunities, and learnings, at ABLC Next in San Francisco.

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Higher natural gas prices to bite into ethanol margins

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 5:59pm

In Illinois, higher natural gas prices as a result of the major cold snap across much of the US is expected to weigh on profits of ethanol producers as their costs rise in response. Logistical challenges in moving product to demand centers on the coast as well as the turnaround time for rail cars has already pushed ethanol prices higher on the coasts, but rising stocks in the Midwest mean those higher prices aren’t reaching producers.

Categories: Today's News

Tadweer to open UCO recycling facility in Abu Dhabi by year’s end

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 5:57pm

In the UAE, Tadweer will open the Abu Dhabi’s first used cooking oil recycling facility by the end of the year where it will produce biodiesel and other products. The project is in line with the government’s goal to reduce landfilling of waste by 60% by 2020. Most UCO in the emirate currently is either landfilled or put down the drain that later causes maintenance and other challenges for the sewage system. The company will be working on a communications campaign to educate the public about recycling UCO rather than other disposal methods.

Categories: Today's News

Cold weather pushes R11 rail premium to highest in more than a year

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 5:55pm

In Illinois, as cold weather continues to make transporting ethanol a challenge, Platts is reporting the premium for the R11 rail premium is at its highest against the Argo price in more than a year at $1.2750/gal Monday and higher again on Tuesday at $1.29/gal. Monday’s premium was 3.75 cents/gal. With the Illinois River almost frozen, halting barge traffic, getting product out of the Chicago region has become almost impossible. The premium for NY Harbor and NY Harbor barge continue to remain high as a result of the same weather challenges.

Categories: Today's News

EIA data shows ethanol production finally below 1 billion barrels per day

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 5:54pm

In Washington, according to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol production averaged 996,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 41.83 million gallons daily. That is down 37,000 b/d from the week before and the first time in 13 weeks that production has fallen below 1 million b/d. The four-week average for ethanol production decreased to 1.049 million b/d for an annualized rate of 16.08 billion gallons. Stocks of ethanol were 22.7 million barrels. That is a 0.4% increase from last week and the largest reserves in 32 weeks. There were zero imports recorded for the fifth week in a row.

Categories: Today's News

Global Green Chemical to approve plans for $218.5 million biorefinery by Q3

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 5:53pm

In Thailand, the Bangkok Post reports that Global Green Chemical expects to approve the plans for developing its $218.5 million biorefinery complex by the third quarter this year. The facility will be located near sugar miller Kaset Thai International Sugar Corporation, PTT Global Chemical’s 50% joint venture partner in the project. The first phase of the project will include ethanol production as well as co-generation power. The project has been on ice waiting for the new domestic sugar policy that will allow for ethanol production directly from sugarcane juice.

Categories: Today's News

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