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Jet fuel from hooch comes closer as ASTM clears way for ethanol-to-jet, higher ATJ blends

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/08/2018 - 7:31pm

In Washington, an ASTM International Sub-Committee has voted in favor of revising specification D7566 (Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons) to include ethanol in addition to isobutanol; and increase the approved blend levels from 30% to 50% — that is, the percentage of alcohol-to-jet fuel allowed when blended with petro-based jet fuel.  These revisions to the D7566 specification will now go to the full ASTM International for final approval which is expected later this year.

In other news, up to 25 small refineries have been granted waivers from complying with ethanol blending mandates under the US Renewable Fuel Standard — and makes the advent of new alternative markets for ethanol of greater-than expected importance for producers.

The news comes just as US ethanol exports are on the rise, as well — another important market for rising US production.

Ethanol exports rebound

In Washington, the US Energy Information Administration is reporting that U.S. ethanol exports totaled a record 218.7 million gallons (mg) in February—up 148% from January—and nearly 50 mg more than the previous record set in December 2011. 

According to analysis by the Renewable Fuels Association, U.S. exporters sent a record 103.2 mg of ethanol to Brazil—besting the previous monthly high to Brazil set more than six years ago. February marked the fourth straight month that Brazil was the top U.S. export customer, taking nearly half of all ethanol exports. According to the data, China increased its purchases of U.S. ethanol to a 22-month high of 33.1 mg. Canada and Singapore captured the third and fourth spots at 22.0 mg and 14.8 mg, respectively. These four markets netted 80% of all U.S. ethanol shipments, with the remaining volumes scooped up by 30 countries. Year-to-date exports stood at 307.0 mg through February, marking the strongest start in history.

Shipments of undenatured fuel ethanol in February expanded by an astounding 183% to 135.6 mg, with all the largest markets boosting U.S. imports. Sales gains in Brazil equaled 139% over January at 97.3 mg (72% market share). China (11.1 mg), India (8.9 mg), the Philippines (8.6 mg), South Korea (3.6 mg), and Mexico (3.1 mg) were other top markets for undenatured fuel ethanol in February.

The NLACM problem

Why are ethanol producers not raging with happiness at the news of a new aviation fuel market Although it sounds more like a goose trying to say “You’ll like him” — it’s the Natural Law of Alternative Commodity Markets, and it’s the biggest single impediment, globally, retarding the advance of renewable transport fuels as a world-scale low-carbon alternative to petroleum.

NLACM states that no one will make a fuel, however attractive to customers (such as a drop-in hydrocarbon fuel) if the market value of the intermediates (such as an alcohol) is higher when sold separately.

In other words, no one will ever make a hydrocarbon fuel from Johnnie Walker Black Label scotch, excepting a complete emergency, no matter if the technology exists or not. And no one will make one gallon of $2.00 aviation fuel from 2.1 gallons of $1.51 ethanol unless extraordinary circumstances apply.  We look at the NLACM problem here.

The Alcohol to jet fuel backstory

The aviation sector is now subject to global de-carbonization compliance regulations beginning in 2020 under the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). Given such great demand, and now with the ATJ specification in place, a full supply chain exists to effectively scale up and drive production costs down over the coming years while carbon offset policies are advanced.

Jet from booze, and booze from waste gas: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to LanzaTech/PNNL Syngas-to-ATJ Fuels

Renewable jet fuel’s progress: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to Gevo’s ATJ

Jet fuel from (any) bio-alcohol: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to Byogy Renewables

Affordable, renewable hydrocarbons made from ethanol: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to Vertimass

Reaction from the stakeholders

Bob Dinneen, CEO, Renewable Fuels Association

“We now may have a viable means whereby ethanol can play a significant role in support of de-carbonizing the aviation sector. It is exciting to have yet another market opportunity for ethanol.”

Kevin Weiss, CEO, Byogy Renewables

“It’s one thing to have a great commodity product, but without an operative supply chain it’s difficult to sell.” The new ASTM specification allows jet fuel, produced from ethanol under the ATJ process, to be sold commercially on a global basis. We now have the ability to supplement and leverage the existing downstream petroleum industry with a well distributed ATJ Sustainable Aviation Fuel that can be produced anywhere by building on the existing global ethanol supply chain.

Pat Gruber, CEO, Gevo

“Gevo’s proprietary ATJ process technology applies to ethanol as well as isobutanol. At Gevo, we appreciate the optionality that is created by adding ethanol to the list of acceptable feedstocks for ATJ. Our demonstration plant located at South Hampton Resources in Silsbee, TX has the unit operations already installed to convert ethanol into jet fuel, however to date we have been producing higher value added products from Silsbee. That said, our ATJ technology could leverage certain, already installed ethanol capacity, depending on the GHG footprint, such as our Luverne Plant, and only require a buildout of the hydrocarbon section of the plant. Our Luverne Plant uses documented ‘low carbon corn,’ and that puts the Luverne Plant in the position of being able to take advantage of isobutanol and/or ethanol to ATJ as we build out the Luverne Plant for hydrocarbons.”

Gerard Ostheimer, Senior Advisor, below50 campaign

“below50 translates corporate sustainability commitments into increased demand for Low Carbon Fuels to de-carbonize transport. We are particularly interested in reducing GHG emissions from difficult to electrify sectors. We are thrilled by the progress of the ATJ platform because it is one of the few technologies that can produce sustainable, full replacement hydrocarbon fuels that aviation, heavy transport, and maritime demand. We look forward to working with Byogy to accelerate the uptake of drop-in fuels with GHG emissions less than 50 percent of their fossil fuel counterparts.”

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The Cannabis Opp: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to novel high-value feedstocks for advanced medical applications

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/08/2018 - 7:12pm

Medicinal Hemp and Cannabis Products…The endo-cannabinoid system and importance thereof…Pain management and many, many more applications…Thousands of patents…billion Dollar companies already overseas…and Big investments in non-US players. These are some of the highlights identified by veterna industry consultant Brian Goodall in an illuminating overview of opportunities to develop, cultivate and deploy high-value oils from algae and other green plants.

Goodall’s presentation on the topic was a recent highlight at ABLC 2018 in Washington DC.

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No Crop Left Behind: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to USDA/NIFA’s Coordinated Agricultural Projects

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/08/2018 - 7:06pm

You might be wondering what the heck this map signifies — enthroned as it is on the website of the National Insitute of Food & Agriculture, the USDA’s primary intersection with the academic community — and also visible in an updated form at ABLC Next when USDA Energy Policy director Harry Baumes took the floor.


You’d be forgiven if you mistook Ahb Subi Banr-Sbar for a well-placed official in the Iranian government — but, in fact, it’s a 9-project network to facilitate the development of regionally-based industries producing advanced biofuels, industrial chemicals, and other biobased products.

Seven of them were established in a $156 million NIFA commitment to AFRI Regional Bioenergy System’s  Coordinated Agricultural Projects, plus two grants that NIFA awarded in recent months that have similar goals.

Because it’s a mouthful, they generally call them CAPs, rather than Coordinated Agricultural Projects. They occasionally get decoded as Challenge Area Partnerships, or even Crop Advancement Projects, or Centers for Agricultural Progress. Under any decoding, it’s CAP and they are about pushing yields, growing regions, logistics for harvest and distribution, and especially for emerging crops and varietals.

Or, as we like to think of it, as No Crop Left Behind.

The really interesting thing, if you look at the USDA’s map, here — is that the only state in the Lower 48 that isn’t in a project area is Oklahoma. Since the EPA has apparently moved to Oklahoma, perhaps this is balancing things out a little in terms of federal spending.

In any case, NIFA’s Bill Goldner gave this illuminating overview of the USDA’s (and NIFA’s) coordinated agricultural project strategy, at ABLC 2018 in Washington DC.

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The Flava: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to bioindustrials and the flavors & fragrances industry

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 04/07/2018 - 6:46pm

The Flavor & Fragrance industry is highly fragmented and differentiated and this slide deck from Scott Chaplin of SMC Consulting gives the overall picture.

The industry sector is valued at $46 Billion worldwide and is divided into three areas; Flavors, Fragrances and Ingredients. The Major Globals have a 50% sales split between Flavors & Fragrances, while the top three F&F companies represent ~ 24% of the Global industry sales. The remaining F&F global companies represent 76% of the business, and in total well over 180 F&F companies worldwide.

Scott Chaplin gave his illuminating overview of the opportunities for bioindustrials in the F&F Market at ABLC 2018 in Washington DC.

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Veolia to operate 2 new biomass-to-energy projects in Georgia

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 04/07/2018 - 12:56pm

In Massachusetts, Veolia Energy Operating Services, LLC, a division of Veolia North America, was selected by Georgia Renewable Power to operate and maintain three biomass-to-energy facilities. As a result of this expanded relationship with GRP, Veolia will support the startup and commissioning of the biomass projects located in Lumberton, N.C., Carnesville, Ga., and Colbert, Ga. Veolia has been operating the Lumberton plant for the past year under a short-term contract. The Lumberton plant uses both biomass and poultry litter for fuel and has a long-term power purchase agreement with Duke Energy.

The Georgia projects are both under construction and are expected to be online and operating by mid-2019. Each is expected to have a generating capacity of 66 Megawatts (MW) powered by converting biomass feedstock into energy. Electricity produced by the plants will be purchased by Georgia Power under long term power purchase agreements. When complete, each facility will use approximately 500,000 tons of biomass each year and employ 25 to 30 people.

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Gemma Power Finalizes Contract for a 475 MW Power Project in NC

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 04/07/2018 - 12:53pm

In Connecticut, Gemma Power Systems, LLC, a subsidiary of Argan which includes biomass, biofuel, and other types of facilities, entered into an Engineering, Procurement and Construction services contract with NTE Carolinas II, LLC, an affiliate of NTE Energy, to construct a 475 MW state-of-the-art natural gas-fired power plant in Rockingham County, North Carolina.

The NTE Reidsville Energy Center is similar to two previous projects being constructed by GPS for NTE; the Kings Mountain Energy Center, in Kings Mountain, NC and the Middletown Energy Center in Middletown, OH. Both projects are scheduled to be completed in 2018.

The NTE Reidsville project features an advanced class Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas M501GAC combustion turbine generator, a Vogt Power International supplementary-fired heat recovery steam generator and a Toshiba America Energy Systems steam turbine generator.

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Greener, cheaper technique for biofuel production from mushroom crop residue

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 04/07/2018 - 12:52pm

In Singapore, a team of engineers from the National University of Singapore discovered that a naturally occurring bacterium, Thermoanaerobacterium thermosaccharolyticum TG57, isolated from waste generated after harvesting mushrooms, is capable of directly converting cellulose, a plant-based material, to biobutanol.

Associate Professor He Jianzhong from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at NUS Faculty of Engineering, said, “The production of biofuels using non-food feedstocks can improve sustainability and reduce costs greatly. In our study, we demonstrated a novel method of directly converting cellulose to biobutanol using the novel TG57 strain. This is a major breakthrough in metabolic engineering and exhibits a foundational milestone in sustainable and cost-effective production of renewable biofuels and chemicals.”

The fermentation process is simple, and no complicated pre-treatment or genetic modification of the microorganisms is required. When cellulose is added, the bacterium simply digests it to produce butanol as the main product. The novel technique developed by the NUS team could potentially be a game-changing technology for cost effective and sustainable biofuel production.


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Ethanol production hits 4 week low

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 04/07/2018 - 12:51pm

In Washington, DC, ethanol production averaged 1.038 million barrels per day (b/d)—or 43.60 million gallons daily, according to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association. That is down 2,000 b/d from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production decreased to 1.038 million b/d for an annualized rate of 15.91 billion gallons. Stocks of ethanol were 22.4 million barrels. That is a 1.8% decrease from the previous week, trimming reserves to the tightest volume in 15 weeks and 5.5% below year-ago levels. There were zero imports recorded for the 17th week in a row.

Average weekly gasoline demand decreased 0.1% to 386.5 million gallons (9.203 million barrels) daily. This is equivalent to 141.08 billion gallons annualized, and represents a five-week low. Refiner/blender input of ethanol improved 0.3% to 903,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.84 billion gallons annualized. The ethanol content in gasoline supplied to the market averaged 9.81%, up from 9.77% the previous week. Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 11.28%.

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German rapeseed oil price falls to lowest in 3.5 years

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 04/07/2018 - 12:49pm

In Germany, UFOP reports that rapeseed oil prices fell to a multi-year low and weakened considerably, while soybean oil also came down sharply. The reduction of tariff rates on palm oil from Indonesia pushed through at the WTO and the lowered tariff rates on biodiesel from Argentina, which have been applied since September, increasingly weighed down prices of vegetable oils in Germany. Rapeseed oil, the domestic feedstock for biodiesel, was most heavily affected by the imports.

Competition in the market grew further, with asking prices being on a steady decline. According to information published by Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft mbH (AMI) prices were recently reported at EUR 640 per tonne fob Hamburg. This was the lowest level in three and a half years. Asking prices for soybean oil also fell in the first quarter of 2018, averaging EUR 678 per tonne fob Hamburg in February and March. In the same months last year, prices stood at, on average, EUR 778 per tonne.

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Report says IMO at risk due to weak governance

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 04/07/2018 - 12:46pm

In Germany, a new study by Transparency International, an anti-corruption organization, said the International Maritime Organisation is at risk of unresolved conflicts of interest due to shortcomings in its governance. The report said that private shipping-industry concerns could have undue influence over the policymaking process at the IMO.

“The IMO was assigned the task of limiting and reducing emissions from shipping under the Kyoto Protocol back in 1997,” said Brice Böhmer, coordinator of the Climate Governance Integrity Program at Transparency International. “However, it took until 2016 for the IMO to even agree on a roadmap towards an initial strategy, due in 2018, and a revised strategy, due only in 2023. A well-functioning organisation’s governance structure should enable decisive action, but the governance flaws identified by our research suggests that this is not happening at the IMO because policy-making could be overly controlled by private companies.”


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UNICA and biofuel industry oppose lifting sugarcane for ethanol ban

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 04/07/2018 - 12:45pm

In Brazil, environmentalists and the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, UNICA, are protesting the Brazilian Senate’s consideration of lifting a ban on sugarcane production for ethanol fuel in the Amazon. UNICA is worried that if the bill is adopted, it would have a negative impact on the industry’s image, according to Euractiv.

“By changing the zoning guidelines, Bill 626/2011 could bring about a strong pressure for deforestation in the Amazon biome,” UNICA said in a statement to Euractiv. “The Brazilian biofuels and sugar industry does not support deforestation. Bill 626/2011 can tarnish its reputation and jeopardize the markets already conquered and the value of Brazilian products.”

According to Euractive, five former environment ministers also criticized the debated bill. A group of 59 NGOs published an open letter on 2 April, calling for the bill to be banished “to its only acceptable resting place: the archive”.

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Australian vine can boost soybean yield

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 04/07/2018 - 12:33pm

In Illinois, a new study from the University of Illinois shows that the unobtrusive perennial vine native to Australia, called Glycine tomentella, could hold the key to substantially increase soybean yields.

“We saw yield increases of 3.5 to 7 bushels per acre in soybean lines derived from crossing with Glycine tomentella,” said Randall Nelson, study author and adjunct professor in the Department of Crop Sciences at U of I.

The discovery happened by accident. Researchers from U of I and the USDA Agricultural Research Service had been working for years to introduce disease-resistance genes from Glycine tomentella into soybean. After developing thousands of experimental lines, they finally managed to move genes from the Australian vine into a new soybean line that was resistant to soybean rust. But the researchers noticed something else.

Nelson said, “We were very surprised. To look at it, Glycine tomentella has no agronomic characteristics — the seeds are less than a tenth the size of soybean seeds. We never expected to get high-yielding lines out of this cross.”

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Food waste to biofuels developments offer hope for when we don’t eat it all

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 04/07/2018 - 12:29pm

Parents may tell their kids to eat all the food on their plate, but according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, food waste is a huge issue globally with roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tons — gets lost or wasted. Maybe because we don’t want to “just eat it” or because it spoils easily, fruits and vegetables, plus roots and tubers have the highest wastage rates of any food.

It’s not just on the consumer end where the food waste occurs, but the production and retailing parts of the supply chain as well. The FAO chart below shows the per capita food losses and waste, at consumption and pre-consumptions stages, in different regions.

For years, researchers and companies have been looking at how to convert food waste to biofuels and useful products. With each new innovation, we get a step closer to utilizing something destined for landfills as a valuable product.

Most recently, in Massachusetts, chemical engineers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) developed an improved process that transforms waste food into biofuel. Their method improves the yield of oil from the waste food conversion process while also improving efficiencies using catalysts to the hydrothermal liquefaction.

Michael Timko, associate professor of chemical engineering, said his process could become an economical way to transform food that has spoiled or is being otherwise discarded into biofuel to power schools, restaurants, grocery stores, and even entire communities. He said he envisions reactors that would permit businesses and institutions that sell or serve food to process their waste to generate a liquid fuel they could use to generate power, saving money and helping the environment. And, he said, by keeping waste food out of landfills, where it decomposes to produce greenhouse gases and water pollution, the process will have significant environmental benefits.

The science

According to WPI, Timko and his team added catalysts to the liquefaction reaction to see if they could reduce the amount of carbon compounds lost to the water phase and increase the yield of oil, thus making the process more efficient and economical. They experimented with two types of compounds: sodium carbonate (Na2Co3), a homogeneous catalyst, and a group of heterogeneous catalyst known as cerium-zirconium mixed oxides (CeZrOx).

Although sodium carbonate did not significantly increase the yield of oil, adding CeZrOx did (from under 40 percent to over 50 percent), while reducing the amount of compounds remaining in the water phase. “By adding these catalysts, we have been able to increase the yield of biofuel and decrease the loss of compounds to the water phase by 50 percent. A 50 percent change is very promising,” said Timko.

In ongoing research, the team is investigating other potential catalysts, including red mud—a waste created during the production of aluminum, which is inexpensive, stable, and reliable. The project was funded by a one-year, $168,373 SBIR grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Food waste to biofuels innovations abound

While the latest WPI discovery is another step in the right direction to utilizing some of that food waste, using food waste to produce biofuels is not new. The Digest reported about it as far back as 2010 and in 2015 we reported on food waste statistics and “The Food Waste Debacle.”

In January 2018, the Digest reported that in Uganda, engineering graduate Lawrence Okettayot is addressing food waste with his new Sparky Dryer, which is a food dehydrator that runs on biofuel from a farmer’s garden and burns with zero-carbon emissions. The dehydrator helps farmers avoid food loss and food waste due to spoilage, which is an issue in Uganda for many farmers. The dryers start at about $80 and can dehydrate 10kg of mango in two hours running on 2kg of biofuel.

In July 2016, the Digest reported that in Singapore, researchers developed a genetically modified a type of Yarrowia lipolytica yeast that can produce butanol from fats in food waste, as much as half the weight of the original feedstock. Ten genes are added to the original yeast to produce the butanol, a process that also reduces CO2 emissions by 75% compared to incineration, requires half as much energy and half as many CO2 emissions as biogasing the food waste would do. Only about 13% of the 785,500 metric tons of food waste produced in the country last year was recycled, which on its own is 30% more than in 2010. About 600,000 tons is incinerated annually.

In the UK, tech startup Entomics started using Black Soldier flies in February 2016 to digest food waste, and two weeks later the flies are ready for harvest. Acting as a conversion catalyst, their bodies produce an oil that can be transformed into biodiesel with protein animal feed and fertilizer as byproducts. Through local entrepreneurial support programs and a partnership with Sainsburys to use their food waste as feedstock, the team of four graduates from Cambridge University are improving the process to get costs down enough to be viable in the market.

Bottom Line

Since so many of us aren’t listening to Weird Al Yankovich’s request to “Just eat it” and retailers don’t want to sell apples that have blemishes, it is apparent that researchers and companies around the world are finding solutions to address the very real global food waste issue. While we can all do things to help decrease food waste in our own lives, we see an even bigger positive impact with new innovations and technologies, like WPI’s, that allow items destined for landfills to be converted into useful biofuel, biodiesel or other valuable products.

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PES lauds court decision approving DOJ’s RIN settlement deal

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 3:24pm

In Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Energy Solutions lauded the outcome of Wednesday’s court hearing confirming the settlement reached with the United States Department of Justice on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“We are pleased with the Court’s decision today to approve the agreement to alleviate a portion of PES’s RINs burden from 2017, and appreciate the EPA’s and Department of Justice’s continued support for the settlement. This is another important milestone in our quest to strengthen our financial foundation and ensure that PES can successfully emerge from the restructuring process. We are grateful for our many advocates, including the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, elected officials at all levels of government, the United Steelworkers and Building Trades, our valued employees, community, customers and suppliers for their unwavering support. During the comment period, the DOJ received over 1,300 comments, an overwhelming number of which supported the settlement. While this settlement is only a partial and temporary reprieve, we are hopeful that action will be taken by policymakers to address the flaws in the Renewable Fuel Standard program’s RIN compliance mechanism that adversely impacts independent refineries across the country.”

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RFA submits Freedom of Information Act requests to EPA and DOE regarding hardship waivers

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 3:23pm

In Washington, the Renewable Fuels Association on Thursday submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy in pursuit of more information and transparency regarding the recent issuance of Renewable Fuel Standard compliance exemptions to dozens of oil refineries.

The FOIA request follows a January letter to EPA in which RFA asked for data and documents regarding small refiner exemptions and called for more openness and transparency in the Agency’s process to consider exemption requests. EPA never responded to the January letter.

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Global Bioenergies runs vehicles on 34% isobutene-derived compounds

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 3:21pm

In France, for the first time, Global Bioenergies will use an EN228-compliant gasoline blend containing over 34% of renewable, isobutene-derived, compounds to fuel a car on a circuit. Global Bioenergies will also present the results of preliminary engine testing conducted these past months by FEV, a European leader in engine testing.

In preparation of commercial uses, Global Bioenergies developed several gasoline blends with two isobutene-derived compounds:

– Isooctane, obtained by the condensation of two molecules of isobutene followed by hydrogenation,

– ETBE, obtained by the condensation of isobutene and ethanol.

Both compounds are high-performance additives (high octane rating equal or higher than 100) that have been in the past produced from fossil oil. Global Bioenergies’ unique process allows to produce the very same compounds from renewable feedstocks such as industrial-grade sugars, straw, residual wood and potentially syngas.

The blends prepared by incorporating both ETBE and isooctane were designed for compliance with the EN228 norm, and are thus already authorized for sale to any gasoline car owner without any specific labeling requirement.

FEV, a German corporation leader in the field of engine testing, analyzed the characteristics of these high octane fuel blends using a single cylinder engine, a reliable model of four-stroke engines.

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ACE releases controversial video discussing challenges of E15

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 3:20pm

In Washington, a controversial new video was released Thursday, addressing fuel retailer concerns about potential liability for vehicle damage from the new E15 fuel on the website. The video features current E15 marketers talking openly about customer E15 complaints and includes a collection of consumers who have had damage or had warranties voided by using E15. The video is the fifth in a series featuring current E15 and flex fuel retailers who share their experiences and answer common marketer questions about offering the new higher ethanol blends.

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Alliance Bioenergy sublicenses CTS technology for Georgia facility

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 3:19pm

In Florida, Alliance BioEnergy Plus, Inc announced that it has signed a sublicense agreement with Phoenix Biomaterials Thomaston, LLC for the use of their licensed and patented CTS process, in a plant Phoenix intends to build in Thomaston, Georgia.

Phoenix paid a substantial deposit, against the first sublicense fee payment, to grant them 60 days in order to finalize offtake agreements and site acquisition that is required under their overall funding terms. The initial sublicense fee payment of $1,250,000 is due May 25, 2018 with subsequent payments due throughout the construction and site development process.

Phoenix intends to build a new plant that will be processing up to 1,000 tons a day of chipped pine and paper waste into an industrial sugar syrup that will be sold and used to produce biodegradable plastics, biofuels and fine chemicals. Phoenix intends to break ground in the summer of 2018 with completion by early 2020 and has contracted with Ford, Bacon & Davis to oversee the engineering and construction of the facility. Once complete the Phoenix plant represents approximately $5.5 million a year in royalty income for the Company.

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OriginOil starts up wastewater business backed by blockchain

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 3:17pm

In California, the folks at OriginOil have been evolving their technology and applications into industrial water treatment as interest in algae biofuels died down earlier in the decade and are now evolving further by integrating blockchain technology into their new business WaterChain in an effort to offer wastewater treatment for industry powered by their own technologies mixed with blockchain. With their first project coming online in Bakersfield, California, the company is looking at opportunities in Puerto Rico to bring wastewater treatment back online in a more efficient way.

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USDA funds $1 million for miscanthus cultivar breeding

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 04/05/2018 - 3:16pm

In Illinois, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture has announced a grant for $1 million to support research led by a University of Illinois scientist. The research will address the need for better-adapted and higher-yielding biomass cultivars ready to plug into the biofuel supply chain in the United States.

Researchers at U of I, Alabama A&M University, and HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology will breed new miscanthus cultivars from an extensive repository of plant materials collected around the world. They will also field test already developed hybrids that show promise for both cold tolerance and high yields.

An important aspect of the work is the use of genomic selection tools, which will allow the team to make decisions about desired traits without having to grow plants to maturity. That process, on which traditional plant breeding is based, is extremely time-consuming and requires a lot of trial-and-error.

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