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What Will it Take?: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide ABLC Guide to Policies for the Biofuture Take-off

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 12/02/2018 - 8:53am

Promote short term deployment of mature options, stimulate the development and deployment of new technologies, deliver the necessary feedstock sustainably, backed by a supportive sustainability governance system, and develop capacity and catalyse investment via a coordinated international collaboration effort. That’s the message from the International Energy Agency on how to deploy a low carbon transportation system.

Dr. Paolo Frankl, Head Renewable Energy Division of the International Energy Agency gave this illuminating presentation at the Biofuture Global Cooperation Forum, part of ABLC Global 2018 in San Francisco.

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A Summary of Federal Programs: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Technology Incentives

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 12/02/2018 - 8:48am

A wide array of federal incentives supports the development and deployment of alternatives to conventional fuels and engines in transportation. These incentives include tax deductions and credits for vehicle purchases and the installation of refueling systems, federal grants for conversion of older vehicles to newer technologies, mandates for the use of biofuels, and incentives for manufacturers to produce alternative fuel vehicles. The current array of incentives for alternative fuels and related technologies does not reflect a single, comprehensive strategy, but rather an aggregative approach to a range of discrete public policy issues, including goals of reducing petroleum consumption and import dependence, improving environmental quality, expanding domestic manufacturing, and promoting agriculture and rural development. 

This year, the bipartisan Congressional Research Service undertook to prep this comprehensive overview of programs available in support of the bioeconomy.

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Turning Grams into Tonnes: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide ABLC Guide to Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 12/02/2018 - 8:42am

The Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant aims to enable the transition to a sustainable bio-based economy through development, scale-up and custom manufacturing of bio-based product and processes.

Hendrik Waegeman, Head of Business Development at BBEU gave this illuminating overview of the pilot plant at ABLC Global 2018 in San Francisco.

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More sustainable: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide ABLC Guide to intensification response & landscape design in bioenergy production

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 12/02/2018 - 8:35am

Many prominent bioenergy critiques are feedstock-focused — for example, iLUC (Searchinger et al. 2008), carbon debt. Marginal land strategies identify areas where energy crops likely have competitive advantage for productivity and/or conservation based on Biophysical characteristics (land capability classification) and past/current land use (pasture/rangeland, ‘abandoned’ land.

How can marginal land be best utilized? John Field of the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University gave this illuminating presentation at ABLC Global 2018 in San Francisco.

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Brain regeneration, data storage with biocomputers, plastic from waste gases, bamboo diapers, gene-edited wheat, jackets from bison fluff : The Digest’s Top 10 Innovations for the week of November 29th

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 10:22pm

The pace of bioeconomy invention and change continues at a frenetic pace. Here are the top innovations for the week of November 29th.

#1 Brain regeneration can happen thanks to silk biomaterial

In Spain, researchers from the Polytechnic University of Madrid developed a silk biomaterial that can increase the survival of transplanted stem cells into the brain, improving recovery after a stroke or brain injury, according to Labiotech.
While stem cell transplants are promising for regeneration of the brain, most cells don’t survive due to the inflammation that occurs after an injury. The researchers found that by encapsulating the stem cells with a silk protein based biomaterial, the cells were protected and had a higher chance of survival.
“In many cell therapy studies, most of the mesenchymal stem cells implanted don’t survive beyond 1-2 weeks after the implantation,” Daniel Gonzalez-Nieto, researcher at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM), told Labiotech. “In this study we found that our biomaterial increases the survival of these cells in the brain to over 4 weeks. The changes were extraordinary, the treatment improved the sensory and movement ability of the animals that had suffered a stroke.”

More on the story, here.

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ICM to implement newest systems at FS Bioenergia’s second ethanol plant

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 4:46pm

In Kansas, ICM announced that it will implement its systems at the newest FS Bioenergia plant in Sorriso, Mato Grosso, Brazil. The Brazil-based FS Bioenergia will adopt ICM proprietary process technologies, including Selective Milling Technology (SMT), Fiber Separation Technology (FST), and Base Tricanter System (BTS).

FS Bioenergia broke ground on the new plant in mid-November and is scheduled to begin production in 2020. The new facility has a nameplate capacity of 630 cubic meters per day.

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Brazilian crop technology company sets up shop near Perdue University

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 4:45pm

In Indiana, Solinftec, a digital agriculture company that grew quickly in Latin America by making sugar cane and row crop operations more efficient, announced Thursday that it plans to invest $50.6 million to establish operations at its U.S. headquarters near Purdue University to bring high-tech solutions to American farmers, creating 90 jobs in 2019 and up to 334 high-wage jobs by 2022.

Solinftec’s solution is present in more than 16 million acres, and its equipment is monitored in real time by more than 100,000 daily users, according to Hersz. The company serves large international growers such as Raízen, which reports more than 3,000 monitored equipment, the largest telemetry system in the world. Other international companies served by Solinftec include Tereos, Cofco and British Petroleum, all in the field of sugar cane crops, and Amaggi, Bom Futuro e Terra Santa, a grower in row crops.

Among the 10 largest companies in the sugar and ethanol sector, eight are customers of the company, and among the five largest producers of grains and fibers three are in its portfolio.

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EPA continuing to review hardship waiver applications after all

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 4:44pm

In Washington, contrary to Reuters’ report that the Environmental Protection Agency had temporarily stopped approving hardship waivers for small oil refineries, Bloomberg says that is not the case and the agency is continuing to review and issue waivers. It was confirmed by the EPA spokesman. Currently the EPA is said to be reviewing 15 applications. The agency has 90 days to respond to waiver applications, but the controversial program may be included in the review of the Renewable Fuel Standard “reset” that is under discussion.

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Brazilian biodiesel production jumps while ethanol production slips

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 4:43pm

In Brazil, Platts reports that ANP fuels agency data shows expectations of high biodiesel blending rates production jumped in October to more than 500 million liters, up 22% on the year, while total production for the year through October was 4.38 billion liters, 25% higher on the year. Ethanol production fell, on the other hand, as sugarcane mills wind up the crush early. October ethanol production was 3.25 billion liters compared to 3.46 billion liters last year.

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Coleman Oil fined $189,000 for spilling 3,840 gallons of biodiesel

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 4:42pm

In Washington, state Department of Ecology fined Lewiston-based fuel retailer Coleman Oil $189,000 for spilling 3,840 gallons of biodiesel from a corroded underground pipe at its bulk oil plant in Wenatchee.

The fuel contaminated nearby soil and groundwater, and seeped into the Columbia River, creating a visible sheen that appeared off and on for more than a year. The property is now a toxic cleanup site.

Ecology cited Coleman Oil for negligence and not monitoring levels in the 20,000-gallon above-ground storage tank connected to the corroded pipe. Although Coleman Oil believed the underground pipe had been in place since 1935, the company did not follow its own inventory control procedures or industry guidance for buried piping.

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India allows the use of surplus grains for ethanol feedstock

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 4:40pm

In India, the Hindu newspaper reports that the government has deregulated the use of surplus food grains as ethanol feedstock. Food and vegetable waste were also included in the list of deregulated feedstocks announced this week. Ethanol produced from the feedstocks will be accepted for blending during the 2018/19 supply year that begins December 1. The government is seeking ways to expand biofuel production supplies ahead of its 10% ethanol blending mandate set for 2022 in light of the lack of sugarcane and molasses-based ethanol supplies to fill the mandate on its own.

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Swedish researcher lead work on using fungi on food waste

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 4:39pm

In Sweden, wastes become resources in the project Ways2Taste, where researchers at the University of Borås are developing methods for growing fungi on material that would otherwise have become waste. The goal is to produce climate-smart materials–including a whole new source of protein.

The waste products used in Ways2Taste come from bakeries, ice cream factories, breweries, feed companies and food stores. They are divided into three categories: from relatively pure, such as day-old bread from bakeries, to really dirty, such as slaughterhouse by-products and fertilisers. The researchers will investigate how, via different processes, fungi can be grown on the waste to produce a fungal biomass. From this, several different end products can be created, including food.

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EIA study says RON95 requirement from 2022 won’t require additional ethanol

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 11/29/2018 - 4:38pm

In Washington, a new Energy Information Administration (EIA) study concludes that U.S. petroleum refineries would have “no problem” meeting a requirement to produce gasoline with a higher minimum octane rating (95 Research Octane Number, or “RON”) beginning in 2022, and assumes that refiners would not use more ethanol beyond current levels to meet such an octane standard.

Automakers have called for the broad introduction of higher octane fuels to facilitate fuel economy improvements and reduce tailpipe emissions.

The EIA-commissioned study, conducted by oil industry consulting firm Baker & O’Brien, Inc., examines a scenario in which all new vehicles beginning with model year 2023 require the use of 95 RON gasoline, which is equivalent to today’s premium grade gasoline.

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Green Plains repays $500 million senior secured term loan due 2023

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 6:17pm

In Nebraska, Green Plains Inc. announced that it has repaid its entire obligation for the $500 million senior secured term loan due 2023. All of the company’s assets and subsidiaries, not including Green Plains Partners LP, are unencumbered from term debt.

“When we announced our portfolio optimization plan in May, our priorities included proving the value of our assets and significantly reducing or eliminating term debt and I am pleased to say we have achieved those objectives,” said Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer of Green Plains Inc. “For the first time in Green Plains’ history, we have no term debt which is a direct result of our efforts to strengthen our balance sheet through the completion of the reported asset sales.”

“We continue to focus our efforts on additional asset divestments, investing in high-protein process technology, repurchasing shares and reducing controllable expenses,” Becker added.

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EPA puts hardship waiver program on hold and RIN prices jump in response

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 6:16pm

In Washington, Reuters reports that the hardship waiver program has been put on hold while the Environmental Protection Agency reviews how applications are scored and waivers are issued. Reuters also reports that on the back of the news, D6 RIN prices rose 4 cents to 14.5 cents. The expectation is that the review will lead to changes in the controversial program that has pitted the oil industry and against the ethanol industry. Already issuance of new waivers has been delayed for at least a week.

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Higher biodiesel blending next year will see Brazil consume additional 600,000 tons

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 6:15pm

In Brazil, DTN reports that biodiesel demand will increase by 600,000 metric tons per year next year when the B11 blending mandate comes in, a 1% increase over this year, as well as allowing use of B100 in transportation such as buses, bringing total demand to 3.3 million tons. Current production is around 4 million tons from 40 processors. Tests are currently underway on buses and engines that could potentially operate on B100. Despite annual production of 4 million tons, the national vegetable oil industries association says there is plenty of room to expand production should demand require it.

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UPM publishes biodiversity commitment to lead bioeconomy

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 6:14pm

In Finland, UPM has published a new biodiversity commitment, which is one of the company’s responsibility targets for 2030. The new commitment and programme will be presented today at the Conference of the Parties (COP14) of the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

The aim of the commitment is to continuously improve the diversity of UPM’s own forests in Finland. The company owns 570,000 hectares of forest, and managing these forests sustainably is essential to ensure the supply of wood.

The implementation of the biodiversity target and related actions are monitored by an independent group of researchers in the field. The researchers focus on the suitability of the actions taken and the use and development of measurement methods.

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Ethanol prices slide to 13.5 year lows on expectations EPA won’t raise 2019 blending

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 6:13pm

In Illinois, Platts reports that ethanol prices fell on Tuesday to the lowest level in more than 13 years at $1.1935/gal on the news that the Environmental Protection Agency wasn’t going to reallot RINs that had been waived under the controversial hardship waiver program and that volumes to be released by Friday would be in line with the original proposals announced in June. About 10% of oil refining capacity nationwide comes under the 75,000 b/d maximum that could apply for hardship waivers.

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BP sees bright future for Brazil with RenovaBio

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 6:12pm

In Brazil, Reuters reports that BP believes RenovaBio has put a positive spin on the future biofuels in the country and that the president-elect who comes into office on January 1 isn’t expected to put up obstacles to its implementation in 2020 as planned. The company has not discarded the idea of further acquisitions in light of the future demand for ethanol RenovaBio should generate. It currently owns three ethanol plants in conjunction with Copersucar.

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Japanese researchers develop biocontainment strategy for GMOs

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 6:11pm

In Japan, Hiroshima University (HU) researchers successfully developed a biocontainment strategy for genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Their new method prevents genetically modified cyanobacteria from surviving outside of their test environment, enabling ways to more safely research the effects of GMOs. Their results were published in ACS Synthetic Biology.

The applications of bioengineered microbes have appeared in a number of fields, including agriculture and energy production. Engineered microalgae, for example, can help clean up oil refinery wastewater and work as a source of biofuel. However, like many other GMOs, the safety of engineered microalgae is uncertain.

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