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Over 300 MEE biofuel outlets to open by 2019

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 08/05/2018 - 11:45am

In India, My Eco Energy, a renewable fuels company, is opening up more than 300 biofuel outlets in the state of Gujarat by 2019. MEE’s drop-in biofuel, called Indizel, is EN 590 compliant and can be used in any diesel engine without modifications or blending limits, according to The Hindu Business Line.

Indizel is the only renewable fuel in India that complies with EN 590 quality standards and BS-VI and EURO 6 emission norms, according to The Hindu Business Line.

Santosh Verma, Co-Founder, MEE, told The Hindu Business Line that “following this amendment, MEE plans to retail Indizel through franchisee-operated fuel dispensing stations across Gujarat.

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Renewables leading the way for Neste’s 2018 profitability

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 08/05/2018 - 11:38am

In Finland, Neste Corporation released its half-year financial report which shows the company had an operating profit during January-June of EUR 592 million compared to last year’s EUR 536 million. Neste’s cash flow before financing activities was super strong this year so far at EUR 373 million compared to last year’s EUR 58 million. Investors were happy to hear comparable earnings per share was at EUR 2.16 compared to EUR 1.24 during the same period last year.

President and CEO Matti Lievonen said, “Neste’s strong financial performance continued in the second quarter. We posted a comparable operating profit of EUR 277 million, compared to EUR 236 million in the corresponding period last year. Renewable Products was again able to exceed the previous year’s performance as a result of successful sales allocation and feedstock optimization, despite the scheduled maintenance activities. Renewable Products posted a comparable operating profit of EUR 177 million (EUR 101 million). The renewable diesel market remained favorable in Europe and North America. As a conclusion, we expect 2018 to be a very strong year for Neste.”

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Plastics proliferation transitioning to bioplastics boost

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 08/05/2018 - 11:27am

IHS Markit published a plastics report saying that the market value for biodegradable polymers exceeds $1 billion and will rise sharply by 2023 thanks to increased plastic regulations and bans in Western Europe. But it’s not just Europe that we are seeing bans on plastic. Multinational companies like Kraft, Starbucks, McDonalds, Marriott, Disney and more are all jumping on the anti-plastic bandwagon as consumers demand more responsible action from their favorite brands and products. And it’s not just IHS Markit that is optimistic about the future of bioplastics.

So what will replace the plastic bags, straws and ketchup packets? That’s where it gets interesting. While some companies are looking to use what we already have – recycled plastic – as a solution, others are getting even more innovative with all sorts of new bioplastics as alternatives. The funny thing is they aren’t even alternatives really, since they could completely replace plastics…and some companies are on a roll to get there.

Beyond recycling

While Kraft is looking at making its food packaging more recyclable, reusable or compostable, others are going beyond that and looking at creating a totally new way of looking at food packaging with biobased materials. As reported in The Digest in July, a consortium is trialing the use of seaweed sachets for fast food condiments, led by Skipping Rocks Lab. The sachets are made from alginate and are biodegradable.

In July, the Digest reported that a flexible plastic alternative for food packaging made from tree cellulose and chitin nanofibers (from crab shells) is a viable option. The bioplastic was flexible, transparent and compostable along with gas barrier properties making it perfect for food packaging.

Major players

Much has been happening with bioplastics beyond the research lab, however, and is now found in actual products around the globe.

With all the recent hype about straw bans by Starbucks, Disney, Marriott, and others, NatureWorks (a joint venture of Cargill and PTT Global Chemical) and Sukano already has biobased straws covered. As reported by The Digest in September 2017, additive and color masterbatch firm Sukano produced high-performance, compostable drinking straws using NatureWork’s Ingeo-brand polylactic acid bioplastic. Straws are currently produced from polypropylene, and any biobased alternatives must meet a number of functional requirements. Sukano was able to reduce PLA’s brittleness to avoid rough edges during straw production. And, by adding melt enhancers, Sukano increased PLA’s dimensional stability and added flexibility, so the straws would not crack at high temperature.

“At NatureWorks, we are helping rethink plastics,” says Steve Davies, Commercial Director at NatureWorks Performance Packaging. “The replacement of conventional oil-based polypropylene by Ingeo in drinking straws is just one example of how bioplastics can help address sustainability, while still providing the high performance material required for this application.

Avantium has also made huge strides with bioplastics with its YXY technology which converts plant-based sugar into chemicals and plastics, including 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid, a precursor to the promising bioplastic polyethylene furanoate.

The company is now safely emerged from its celebrated IPO, and is embarked on the development of the first commercial plant project with its JV partner BASF — so, its been a big period and even more critical thresholds lie ahead for Avantium. In fact, they just announced their first half of 2018 financial results which look promising with a 12% growth in revenues so far this year. The Avantium/BASF renewable plastics joint venture is looking up too, after a delay was announced back in January.

In April, the Digest reported that DuPont Industrial Biosciences and Archer Daniels Midland opened their joint pilot plant for producing furan dicarboxylic methyl ester. Made from fructose, FDME can be used to produce high-performing, renewable plastics. One of the first FDME-based polymers under development by DuPont is polytrimethylene furandicarboxyate (PTF), a novel polyester also made from DuPont’s biobased 1,3-propanediol. In bottling applications, PTF is a 100% biobased alternative to polyethylene terephthalate that enables lighter-weight, more sustainable, and better performing bottles.

California-based Origin Materials is another company making bioplastics a reality with their furanic chemicals. Instead of making the plastic-building chemical the traditional way using oil, they use plant-based materials like corn, wood chips and cardboard residues. The main product their chemical is currently being used for is in the making of plastic water bottles.

Another major player, TOTAL Corbion PLA, a joint venture of energy producer TOTAL and lactic-acid producer Corbion, recently launched a stereocomplex PLA reinforced with glass fiber for use in a broad range of industrial applications, including those that require a material to withstand temperatures close to 200°C. The stereocomplex PLA has long, regularly interlocking polymer chains to enable higher heat resistance than standard PLA. New application possibilities include biobased replacement for PBT and PA glass fiber reinforced products, as reported in The Digest in May.

“Over the past decades, the benefits of full stereocomplex PLA have been studied by universities and R&D departments on a laboratory scale,” Stefan Barot, Senior Business Director the Asia Pacific, tells Plastics Insight. “Now, Total Corbion PLA is the first company to scale up this technology and make it available for a broad range of industrial applications. The technology enables full stereocomplex morphology not only in the lab environment but also in commercial production facilities”.

TOTAL Corbion PLA also plans to start up a world-scale polylactic-acid facility in Thailand by the end of 2018. The U.S. accounts for the bulk of production for these polymers, but Thailand, with its proximity to growing markets in Southeast Asia, its expanding bio-economy, favorable investment climate, stable government, and access to cost-effective sugarcane feedstocks for fermentation, is becoming an increasingly important contributor to the biodegradable polymers market, the IHS Markit report said.

Italy-based biotech company Novamont is taking bioplastics seriously, now requiring a 40% minimum threshold for bio-based content in all of its MATER-BI compostable bioplastics, not just in Italy and France where those targets have been established for 2018, but across the board in the company.

Not without challenges

As amazing as bioplastics sound, they have some challenges still to overcome. For one, many bioplastics are often touted as compostable but many cities and regions don’t have suitable industrial composting facilities or composting programs.

Demand, while increasing, is still thought of as a challenge as well, according to Marifaith Hackett, director, specialty chemicals research at IHS Markit and the report’s lead author. “For various reasons, which may include consumer confusion regarding bio-based plastics versus biodegradable polymers, there is not as much demand for these more sustainable plastics as you might expect, despite heightened public awareness of the plastics waste issue,” Hackett said. “In addition, suitable disposal options for products made from biodegradable polymers are often lacking. The cost of establishing the infrastructure necessary to support their collection and composting remains a barrier to demand growth.”

Legislation and plastic bans are definitely helping the bioplastics industry, but not all places are on board. “More legislation is likely coming in Europe or at the E.U. level, and if that occurs, we could see major changes in this industry and pushback from producers of traditional plastic products,” Hackett said. “The last time we at IHS Markit assessed the global demand for biodegradable polymers, we noted the U.S. was the largest driver of demand growth for this segment, but due to legislation, Europe is by far the leading demand center. Europe is the place to watch, as Europeans are particularly motivated to reduce marine litter.”

Bottom Line

Bioplastics have made plenty of progress in recent years, and we are hopeful on it becoming more mainstream. The IHS Markit report clearly sees the demand and production rising. “Biodegradable plastics, which are largely starch-based compounds or polylactic acid (PLA)-based materials, have become more cost-competitive with petroleum-based plastics and the demand is growing significantly, particularly in Western Europe, where environmental regulations are the strictest,” said Hackett. “However, the demand for these biodegradable polymers is still a drop in the bucket when you compare it to demand for traditional plastics such as polyethylene (PE).”

“The properties and processability of biodegradable polymers have improved, allowing the use of these materials in a broader range of applications, but legislation is the single most important demand driver for these plastics,” Hackett said. “Restrictions on the use of non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags in Italy and France have led to a significant increase in the consumption of biodegradable polymers in those countries, and we expect European countries will continue to lead in legislative restrictions.”

In contrast, Hackett said, biodegradable polymer use has grown more slowly or stagnated in places that lack mandates. “Growing consumer awareness and activism regarding environmental issues could certainly increase the market for biodegradable plastics,” said Hackett.

Optimism abounds, however, with the current market value of biodegradable plastics exceeding $1.1 billion in 2018, and potentially reaching $1.7 billion by 2023, according to IHS Markit’s report. Things are surely looking up for bioplastics.

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Montana’s (bio) Materials Maestros: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to Blue Marble Biomaterials

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 08/05/2018 - 8:30am

When it comes to Blue Marble’s coordinates in the bioeconomy star-field, think advanced flavorings made from seemingly impossible materials. Most recently we reported that Missoula’s Masters of Metamorphosis this past summer released a highly sought after U.S. and E.U. Natural version of bacon dithiazine (bacon flavor ingredient) for use in food and beverage applications. Made from the above raw materials. We covered this in The Summer of Innovation, here.

CEO James Stephens gave this illuminating presentation on the company’s promise and progress at ABLC 2018 in Washington DC.

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Iowa Renewable Fuels Association launches speakers bureau online

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 5:29pm

In Iowa, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association announced the launch of a resource designed to make finding Iowa’s biodiesel experts easier than a Google search.

The Iowa Biodiesel Speakers Bureau is now live on the IRFA website. It is a collection of biodiesel experts from across the state who share the goal of educating Iowans about the benefits of using biodiesel.

Anyone looking for a biodiesel expert for an event or interview can visit and search by area of expertise. Areas of expertise range from biodiesel production, to the impact of biodiesel on Iowa’s economy and environment, to biodiesel use in different vehicles, and more. By clicking on the photo of an expert, additional information will appear such as a professional biography and travel requirements.

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South African company teams with California dairy on biogas and RNG project

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 5:28pm

In California, Business Live reports that South Africa’s JSE-listed Montauk Energy has entered into a 20-year joint venture with a California dairy to own and operate a biogas plant as well as build, own and operated a facility to convert the raw biogas into renewable natural gas. The project was designed to take advantage of both the Renewable Fuel Standard and California’s low carbon fuel standard and methane reduction policies. Thanks to those incentives, the project is financially viable.

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Ukrainian corn could benefit from China-US trade war but only if longer term

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 5:27pm

In the Ukraine, Platts speculates that the country could benefit from China’s ongoing trade war with the US where American corn exports face an additional retaliatory tariff of 25% but only if the tariffs are longer term because short term China’s corn stocks are full. On the other hand, with US corn no longer going to China where once it might have supplemented corn stocks going towards ethanol production, global corn prices could drop to the point where other countries like Egypt start to import.

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Braskem’s cane-bsed EVA used in new flip-flop sandals

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 5:25pm

In California, PlasticsToday reports that San Francisco-based Allbirds have launched new flipflop sandals that use Braskem’s ethylene vinyl acetate produced from sugarcane-based ethanol. The “SweetFoam” soles using the EVA are complemented by straps made from recycled PET bottles, bio-suede, and castor oil-based thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). Braskem believes there are opportunities for the same resin not just in footwear segments but also in automotive, transportation, construction, sporting goods, and wire and cable. Flexibility, lightness and resistance are among the traits sported by the EVA.

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Kenya’s Vivo Energy plans to expand clean cooking trial to 14 stations

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 5:24pm

In Kenya, BP’s local partner Vivo Energy plans to scale up its ethanol for clean cooking retail trade to as many as 14 outlets in the next 18 months following successful trials in Nairobi’s Eastleight neighborhood. The trial used imported ethanol but the company is currently negotiating with local ethanol producers in order to source domestically for the commercial roll out. The company aims to replace dirtier charcoal and kerosene currently used for cooking in urban areas to improve household air and reduce health impacts on women and children.

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UK biofuel consumption rose 5.2% during 2017/18

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 5:23pm

In the UK, Platts reports that Department of Transport data shows the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation achieved 5.2% more biofuel consumption in the year to April 14, 2018 at 1.621 billion liters. Consumption was slip 55/45 biodiesel versus ethanol, with 11% more biodiesel used at around 802 million liters while ethanol consumption fell nearly 2% to 744 million liters. Of the total, 1.306 billion liters complied with sustainability standards. Diversity of ethanol feedstocks increased including corn, wheat and starch slurry. Only a quarter of biofuel feedstock was grown or sourced from the UK.

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Massachusetts awards $160,000 grant to technical school for biofuel training

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 5:22pm

In Massachusetts, Greater Lawrence Technical School received a $160,000 grant from the Baker-Polito Administration to implement a clean energy program as part of their STEAM curriculum.

GLTS is one of just three schools statewide to receive the allocation from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, which will be used to prepare students to pursue higher education majors and careers in the clean energy field.

As part of GLTS’ STEAM Innovation Program, students pursuing biotechnology will research, develop and implement clean energy fuel sources through the design and planting of green roofs along with growing algae for transportation (biofuel). They will also learn the importance of design and technology as it relates to solving energy, social and community issues.

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Nigeria promoting jatropha among farmers again

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 5:21pm

In Nigeria, the government’s Raw Materials Research and Development Council wants to revive interest in jatropha as potential feedstock for biodiesel. The council’s director general says as much as 200,000 ha of jatropha should be planted for biodiesel feedstock as well as for presscake that can be used for biogas feedstock. The council has been promoting the crop since 1991 and reiterated the need to plant and develop the crop while distributing seeds to farmers recently.

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The Top 10 advances in renewable butanol: what’s speeding up, where are the slow-downs?

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 2:32pm

From Portugal comes the news that SilicoLife was awarded with a SME instrument phase 1 grant for the commercial evaluation of its BUTANOVA technology, a new biological process to produce n-butanol.

BUTANOVA technology consists on a novel and proprietary metabolic pathway designed computationally by SilicoLife and implemented and experimentally validated in collaboration with University of Minho, in Portugal. This new pathway, resulting from Artificial Intelligence methodologies developed at the company, for the production of n-butanol starts from a non-previously reported precursor. Conversely to competing solutions, the use of this new precursor opens the door to a great variety of hosts and feedstocks.

The news prompts one to ask, what became of butanol? In its isobutanol and n-butanol versions, we’ve seen numerous companies set forth on a butanol journey and we have yet to see massive commercial volumes of it.

The problem, more or less, has been the cost of production. In part, think “low oil prices” and “production scales too small to provide economies of scale”. In part also, there have been rough passages from technology-in-the-lab to technology-at-scale — cost overruns, disappointing yields or rates. Now, oil prices are on the rise again, Brent crude has jumped to more than $80 a barrel and retail premium gasoline has spiked to $4.14 a gallon near to Digest headquarters in Florida. Much higher, and we’ll begin to hear more about fuel-switching and electric-switching and fuel-efficient cars, as we have not heard so much in these 6 years of cheap oil.

The butanol backstory

Those familiar with butanol, its markets and applications can skip over the next paragraph of backstory.

The butanol backstory: Butanol is a 4-carbon alcohol generally used as an industrial solvent with a growing market, valued over 5 Billion € annually, and with a high potential as a renewable fuel. It is commonly produced from fossil material through pollutant processes, and thus requiring more sustainable and greener production alternatives. Biobutanol is a second-generation fuel with a higher energy density and lower corrosiveness and volatility than ethanol.

Market developments and applications

#1 Gevo says EPA approval of 16% isobutanol is good news all round 
In June we reported that the Environmental Protection Agency announced the approval of isobutanol at a 16% blend level in gasoline for on-road use in automobiles.  Previous to this isobutanol had been approved for on-road use up to a 12.5% blend.

Commenting on the announcement, Patrick Gruber, Chief Executive Officer of Gevo, said, “Blends of isobutanol at a 16% level have previously been used for boats and off-road applications.  We congratulate Butamax in getting this registration done.  We all benefit.  16% blend levels allow more RINS per gallon, high octane, and many other benefits.  At Gevo we have been developing the markets for isobutanol containing gasoline, in particular to meet the demand for the “ethanol free” segment of the gasoline market.  A 16% blend option will give our customers and partners an option for an even better product for on-road use.”

#2 Green Biologics and Kreussler develop new corn-based dry cleaning solvent
In June we reported that Kreussler Inc. is working with Green Biologics and their facility in Minnesota to make a new biobased dry cleaning solvent, called SYSTEMK4, from corn grown by about 500 family-owned farms in the heartland of America.

Green Biologics will use their patented fermentation process to take locally-grown feedstocks from family-owned American farms and convert it through a low-energy, minimal waste process into the bio-based n-butanol used to produce SOLVONK4, the main solvent in the SYSTEMK4 dry cleaning process. SOLVONK4 will now be sustainable and bio-based while retaining the award-winning cleaning attributes of the original formula. Worldwide patented SOLVONK4 is the first and only bio-based solvent in the dry cleaning industry. Kreussler is actively applying for the USDA BioPreferred certification.

#3 Green Biologics delivers Jungbunzlauer Ladenburg first BioPure n-butanol shipment
In February we reported that Green Biologics Inc. announced an exclusive collaboration with Jungbunzlauer Ladenburg GmbH, the German operating unit of Jungbunzlauer Suisse AG in Basel, Switzerland. In February 2017, Jungbunzlauer received its first shipment of 100 percent renewable BioPure n-butanol from Green Biologics’ production facility in Little Falls, Minnesota. Jungbunzlauer aims to produce biobased Citrofol BI (tributyl citrate) and biobased Citrofol BII (acetyl tributyl citrate) for its customers with commercial shipments beginning next month.

Green Biologics announced the start-up of its first commercial production facility for renewable n-butanol and acetone in December, with its first bulk export shipment to Jungbunzlauer in mid-January.

#4 Gevo extends distribution deal with Musket to market isobutanol
In February we reported that Gevo announced that it has strengthened its existing relationship with Musket Corporation, a national fuel distributor under the umbrella of the Love’s Family of Companies, by amending its existing isobutanol supply agreement to provide Musket with the exclusive right to sell Gevo’s renewable isobutanol within a 300-mile radius of Houston, Texas.  This agreement establishes a market region that encompasses Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Oklahoma, Louisiana, as well as the majority of South and East Texas.

#5 Butamax buys Nesika Energy to add on isobutanol technology
In April 2017 we reported that Butamax Advanced Biofuel, a 50/50 joint venture between BP and DuPont, combining expertise in fuels with industrial biotechnology, announced the acquisition of Nesika Energy, LLC and its state-of-the-art ethanol facility in Scandia, Kansas. Butamax will now start the detailed engineering work to add bio-isobutanol capacity to the facility, while continuing to produce ethanol before and after adding this capacity.

“To drive growth in U.S. manufacturing, we must employ disruptive thinking and innovation to unlock the power of renewable raw materials,” said William F. Feehery, president, DuPont Industrial Biosciences. “With the purchase and planned build-out of the Nesika facility to include bio-isobutanol production, Butamax is taking the next step forward in advancing the bioeconomy, which supports economic growth and opportunity in rural communities.


#6 University of Bristol researchers develop way to convert ethanol into butanol from fermentation broths
In December we reported that chemists at the University of Bristol have made the first steps towards making sustainable petrol using beer as a key ingredient. Scientists from the University of Bristol’s School of Chemistry have been working for several years to develop technology that will convert widely-available ethanol into butanol.

This has already been demonstrated in laboratory conditions with pure, dry ethanol but, if this technology is to be scaled up, it needs to work with real ethanol fermentation broths.

These contain a lot of water (about 90 percent) and other impurities, so the new technology has to be developed to tolerate that.

#7 Praj and Gevo team to adapt isobutanol technology for cellulosic feedstocks
Last July we reported that Praj Industries Ltd and Gevo, Inc. unveiled a new commercial opportunity in renewable bioproducts, jointly announcing that Gevo’s proprietary isobutanol technology will now be available for licensing to processors of sugar cane juice and molasses. This follows on the back of Praj’s development work, adapting Gevo’s technology to sugar cane and molasses feedstocks. A Joint Development Agreement and a Development License Agreement were entered into between Praj and Gevo in November 2015. The goal of these agreements was for Praj to adapt Gevo’s isobutanol technology to using non-corn based sugars and lignocellulose feedstocks. The process technology development was performed at Matrix, Praj’s R&D center located in Pune, India.

#8 Sierra Hotel: Los Alamos, Gevo to develop ultra long-range missile, aviation fuels
In October we reported that Gevo and Los Alamos National Lab will collaborate to improve the energy density of Gevo hydrocarbon products to meet product specifications for tactical fuels for specialized military applications such as RJ-4, RJ-6 and JP-10, which are currently purchased by the US Department of Defense (DoD). High energy-density fuels are currently used in air and sea-launched cruise missiles used by the US military forces. If this project is successful in scaling the fuels cost-effectively, there may be an even broader application in the general aviation sector, enabling higher energy density jet fuel that would provide superior mileage to traditional aviation fuels.

Policy advances

#9 Boating industry applauds isobutanol approval
In June we reported that US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt approved the registration of bio-isobutanol as a fuel additive. May’s American Boating Congress featured a special question-and-answer session with NMMA President Thom Dammrich and Pruitt. “We applaud Administrator Pruitt’s approval of bio-isobutanol as a biofuel additive, which will provide consumers a safe, efficient, and environmentally-friendly E15 alternative that is highly compatible with marine products,” Dammrich said. “This decision will promote an innovative fuel supply, with direct benefits to American boaters and consumers.

Arizona OKs isobutanol fuels for on-road vehicles, clearing path for Gevo
In May 2017 we reported that a bill signed by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey will let gas stations sell isobutanol-blended gasoline for on-road vehicles, enabling higher performing finished fuels with renewable content for drivers in the state. Bill HB2368 permits isobutanol to be used as an oxygenate in gasoline for on-road vehicles in Arizona. The new law takes effect in August 2017. While the law authorizes the use of isobutanol-blended gasoline for on-road vehicles, Gevo’s isobutanol is already being sold in Arizona for off-road applications such as boating, ATVs, motorcycles and landscape equipment.

Thought Leadership

Isobutanol: Now on the Radar for USA

Gevo & ButamaxRemind Me Why I Care

Multi-Slide Guides

Isobutanol’s horizons: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to Gevo

Engineering Clostridia: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to n-Butanol Production from Biomass and CO2

Butanol from forest waste: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to advanced fermentation of AVAP sugars

N-butanol and beyond: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to Green Biologics

Categories: Today's News

The Digest’s Multi-Slide Guide to the US Department of Energy’s Demonstration and Market Transformation programs

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 2:30pm

The goal of the US Department of Energy’s Demonstration and Market Transformation focus at the BioEnergy Technologies Office is to de-risk bioenergy production technologies through validated proof of performance at the pilot, demonstration, and pioneer scales and to conduct activities that will transform the biofuels market by reducing or removing commercialization barriers.

This is achieved through public-private partnerships that build and operate integrated biorefineries and through projects focused on infrastructure and end-use market barriers and opportunities. These activities are essential to resolving key issues in the construction and scale-up of IBR systems, primarily by reducing risk to help overcome the commercial financing barriers that currently face the bioenergy industry. By creating a pathway to market, DMT helps address the final links of the bioenergy supply chain and works to enable a robust demand for end products.

DOE Technology Manager Liz Moore gave this illuminating overview of the DOE’s progress towards its Demonstration and Market Transformation goals at the DOE’s Project Peer Review sessions.

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EIA says ethanol production capacity has passed 16 million gallons per year

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 5:46pm

In Washington, fuel ethanol production capacity in the United States reached more than 16 billion gallons per year, or 1.06 million barrels per day (b/d), at the beginning of 2018, according to EIA’s most recent U.S. Fuel Ethanol Plant Production Capacity report. Total listed, or nameplate capacity, of operable ethanol plants increased by 5%—more than 700 million gallons per year—between January 2017 and January 2018.

The U.S. Fuel Ethanol Plant Production Capacity report shows EIA’s most up-to-date data tracking of the U.S fuel ethanol industry. Part of the increase in nameplate fuel ethanol production capacity in the most recent report is the result of EIA’s outreach to survey respondents that were operating at levels higher than their listed production capacities, which had resulted in utilization rates higher than 100%.

In previous surveys, these respondents reported the facilities’ original design capacity values and may not have accounted for expansions and modifications at the plants. This year, some respondents increased their nameplate production capacity values to be consistent with EIA’s definition. The remaining increase in production capacity was a result of plant improvements and process modifications such as equipment upgrades, plant expansions, improved maintenance routines, and installation of new equipment at some facilities.

Most of the U.S. fuel ethanol production capacity is located in the Midwest region (as defined by Petroleum Administration for Defense District, or PADD, 2). Total nameplate capacity in the Midwest was 14.8 billion gallons per year at the beginning of 2018 (967,000 b/d), an increase of 5%—more than 650 million gallons per year—between January 2017 and January 2018. Of the top 13 fuel ethanol-producing states, 12 are located in the Midwest. The top three states—Iowa, Nebraska, and Illinois—contain more than half of the nation’s total ethanol production capacity.

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France approves bio-isobutene and isooctane in list of biofuels

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 5:45pm

In France, bio-isobutene incorporated in the form of ETBE and isooctane is on the list of biofuels in the order related to the General Tax on Polluting Activities (TGAP) published in the Journal Officiel dated 18 July 2018 (text #8).

Thanks to public support, the road fuels consumed in France – gasoline and diesel – now contain on average nearly 7% of renewable and sustainable energy, in accordance with the environmental and social criteria adopted by the European Parliament.

With this new joint order by the Minister of Ecological and Inclusive Transition, the Minister of Food and Agriculture and the Minister of Action and Public Accounts, French road fuel distributors, especially oil companies and major retailers, are now being enticed to include these two renewable isobutene derivatives in the formulation of gasoline in addition to traditional sustainable biofuels like ethanol.

The plants to be built in the future to operate the bio-isobutene process will benefit from this order, which materializes as a favorable tax system. Bio-isobutene will be converted on-site into renewable, sustainable compounds, which will be directly usable by distributors to formulate quality gasoline, in accordance with the needs of all drivers, with no restrictions or changes to vehicles or to the distribution network.

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Belgium urges Malaysia to open diplomatic mission to EU to lobby for palm oil

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 5:44pm

In Malaysia, the Borneo Post reports that the Belgian ambassador to Malaysia suggested the country set up a separate diplomatic mission in Brussels specifically to lobby the European Union’s 28 countries, especially on issues such as palm oil. The new Malaysian government is seen as more open to negotiations with the European Union and European countries as indicated by the remarks made last week by the new deputy industries minister who said as much following support from the French ambassador.

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New EPA administrator to continue issuing hardship waivers but with more transparence

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 5:43pm

In Washington, Platts reports that the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency told Congress that between appropriations that “remind” the agency to grant hardship waivers to small refineries as well as the fact that the EPA lost two lawsuits during the Obama administration for not granting enough waivers, his agency will continue to issue them. He did say the process would be more transparent, however. Republican senators from Iowa and South Dakota urged the new administrator to reallocate the RINs waived to other refineries but he didn’t commit.

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Argentina looking at 27% ethanol blend

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 5:42pm

In Argentina, local press reports that the government is looking to boost its ethanol blend to 27% in line with Brazil. The country currently blends 12% ethanol which was raised from 10% upon the election of the new president and has been expected to increase but no moves have been made so far due to lack of consensus with stakeholders including auto makers and fuel companies. The local sugar industry is expected to welcome such a move as it would benefit directly from increased ethanol demand.

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Rajasthan first state to implement new national biofuels policy

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 5:41pm

In India, Rajasthan has become the first state to implement the new biofuels policy launched by the national government in May where it will focus on increasing oilseed production for biodiesel whereas much of the policy’s focus has heretofore been on ethanol from sugarcane and molasses to ease financial strains on the sugar industry. The state currently only has installed production capacity of eight metric tons per day. The state’s policy will also encourage the use of non-edible oils and used cooking oil for feedstocks.

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