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DME’s Zero Emission Pathway: The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide Guide to Oberon Fuels

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 04/09/2019 - 6:57pm

Oberon Fuels is bringing DME to North America. DME (dimethyl ether) is a clean-burning diesel alternative. Oberon Fuels is facilitating the growth of the DME transportation industry by converting biogas and other hydrocarbon rich waste streams to higher valued commodities such as DME.

Rebecca Boudreaux, Ph.D., President of Oberon Fuels, gave this illuminating overview of why dimethyl ether can lead us to a pathway to zero emission mobility, DME as a hydrogen carrier, DME hybrid vehicles, and 100% DME vehicles, and more, at ABLC Global 2018 in San Francisco

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RFA says new study refutes NWF’s LUC claims about ethanol

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 8:28pm

In Washington, new study published in the academic journal Biomass and Bioenergy exposes the fatal methodological flaws and erroneous conclusions regarding biofuels and land use change (LUC) found in recent studies paid for by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). In addition, the new analysis found that U.S. biofuels expansion has not caused a detectable increase in the U.S. food prices.

“The real-world data showed no evidence of food price increases or other lands converting to agriculture because of biofuel,” according to the study, which was conducted by scientists at the University of Idaho and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The research was funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and USDA Office of the Chief Economist.

The new analysis found that the type of satellite data relied upon by NWF is error-prone, unreliable, and “misleading.” According to the report, “The automated [satellite] land use classification errors were biased towards classifying ambiguous land as agriculture.”

Specifically, the authors manually inspected actual land uses to see if the satellite imagery used by NWF correctly classified the land use. The researchers found that 10.9% of actual non-agricultural land was misclassified as agricultural land by the satellite data. Further, while automated classification using the satellite data showed an 8.53% increase in agricultural land from 2011-2015, the manual classification indicated no significant land use change at all.

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Country feeling pain of impacts of Midwest floods on ethanol industry

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 8:27pm

In New York, Reuters reports that the aftermath of the Midwest floods on the ethanol industry continue without abatement, sinking prices in the main producing areas where product can’t get out due to damaged infrastructure while fuel prices on the coasts are soaring in part due to a lack of ethanol supply. Gasoline prices in Southern California are seen heading towards $4 a gallon for the first time since 2014. About 13% of ethanol production is currently offline due to the floods.

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New Urban Air Initiative study says most vehicles fine with up to 27% ethanol

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 8:26pm

In Washington, a newly published study finds that most vehicles on the road today can adapt to mid-level ethanol blends, helping cars run more efficiently while reducing greenhouse gas emissions along with other pollutants. The study was conducted by North Carolina State University and commissioned by the Urban Air Initiative.

Researchers tested regular E10 with 10% ethanol to a mid-level blend with 27% ethanol or E27. They found that when splash blending or simply adding ethanol to regular consumer fuel, ethanol lowered particulate matter (PM), CO and CO2. The vehicles were also able to adjust ignition timing and properly control air-to-fuel ratios.

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Thai B20 mandate set for end-April

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 8:25pm

In Thailand, the Bangkok Post reports that the government has set the end of April as the start date for the B10 blending mandate, rising from 7% blending currently. B20 is being eyed for buses and trucks as well as the government looks for ways to absorb the palm oil surplus that is hanging over the market and weighing on prices. B20 is already sold in some fueling stations. Demand for B10 is seen at 2 million metric tons, up from 1.4 million tons for B7, effectively wiping out the 600,000-ton surplus.

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Canada looking to slap tariffs on ethanol imports following 2018 record

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 8:24pm

In Washington, DTN reports that Canada’s ambassador to the US says his country is preparing additional tariffs on imports from its southern neighbor for a wide variety of products that could include ethanol. A 45-day consultation period will be held after the proposal is announced to see which products will impact Canada the least but hurt the US the most. Canada’s Western Producer magazine reports that US ethanol exports to Canada rose 7% in 2018 to a record of 1.32 billion liters against its 2.25 billion liters of demand for E5 blending.

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Argentina raises biodiesel price to $635.5 per ton for April

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 8:23pm

In Argentina, Reuters reports that the government has increased the price oil companies must pay biodiesel producers again, this time to $653.5 per metric ton and is retroactive to sales made since April 1. The country’s biodiesel mandate is set at 10% and the government adjusts the price monthly based on the prevailing price of soybean oil feedstock. It also manipulates taxes and export tariffs on soy and soy products to ensure sufficient volumes of biodiesel are available for the blend.

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European bioeconomy could unlock 62 million tons of agri residues annually

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 8:22pm

In Belgium, education, training and awareness raising were identified as key factors to unlock the potential of 62 million tons of agricultural residues available annually in Europe during a policy conference organized by eco-innovation expert group Greenovate! Europe, where innovative examples of circular economy in the agro-food sector were presented.

Rural areas cover more than 50% of Europe’s surface, and provide food and natural resources to millions of European citizens each day. Most of these resources are currently supplied to cities, but how can we move towards a more circular economy, and return to rural areas the benefits they bring to society? Whilst a traditional industry, the agro-food sector can benefit from opportunities arising from the development of circular business practices. In that sense, new business models are emerging across the world to address climate challenges and contribute to the revitalization of rural areas.

These topics were discussed at the conference “Towards a circular agro-food industry” on April 4, 2019 in Brussels, which identified solutions to deploy circular agro-food systems across Europe. The conference, which was also the final event of the EU-funded BIOrescue project, brought together over 80 participants, including policy makers and industry players, as well as key representatives from research institutions.

As an inspiration for participants, the event presented best practices from the agro-food sector in the adoption of circular business models, including the case of Monaghan Mushrooms, technical coordinator of the BIOrescue project, as well as replicable business models collected across Europe by the RUBIZMO project. Several innovative examples from the agro-food sector were featured, covering:

A novel biorefinery concept to transform used mushroom compost and other underutilised agricultural residues into bio-based products, developed within the BIOrescue project;

A Spanish cooperative Oleicola el Tejar, using olive pomace to produce local renewable energy;

A biomass boiler using miscanthus and flax waste installed by Stephan Henry, a rural entrepreneur based in Belgium.

“European research projects like BIOrescue can provide new solutions to create added value from what is currently considered as waste in the agro-food industry”, Inés del Campo, Senior R&D Engineer at the National Renewable Energy Centre of Spain (CENER), and coordinator of the BIOrescue project, said at the event. “Not only will the concept create new revenue streams for farmers, but thanks to its circular approach, it also provides the agro-food sector with sustainable products that can be produced and used locally, as a replacement to fossil-based alternatives, such as microscopic and biodegradable polymer capsules for targeted drug delivery, and biopesticides.”

Highlighting the benefits of circular economy for rural areas, participants also discussed the barriers faced by agro-food businesses in the adoption of circular business practices. The BIOrescue project presented and debated a set of policy recommendations towards the development of a circular economy in European agriculture.

Investment in research initiatives, and especially public-private partnerships such as BIOrescue, is still needed to help connect the agro-food sector with the potential offered by the bio-based industry. In agro-food value chains, collaboration and training, as well as investments in infrastructures and logistics, will also offer strong incentives to the sector to close the loop towards more circular business practices. But for the circular economy to become a reality in the agro-food industry, a clear and cohesive policy framework with stronger integration of policy objectives across sectors, promoting a cascading use of biomass sources, will be key to create a level playing field for bio-based products, avoiding competition with bioenergy while considering their contribution to climate change mitigation.

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Iowa congresswoman introduces bipartisan biodiesel tax credit extension bill

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 8:21pm

In Washington, Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) introduced the Biodiesel Tax Credit Extension Act, a two-year extension of the biodiesel tax credit. Congress had previously extended the tax credit retroactively for 2017 but left it expired for 2018 and beyond. Producers and businesses at every stage of the biodiesel production and consumption process rely on these tax credits to plan their investments, grow their businesses, and pass on the savings to consumers. Finkenauer worked with Democrats and Republicans to develop the legislation.

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Food and drink packaging from seaweed and animal hides, beer six-pack rings, mouse ears for humans, vehicle pigments, carbon fiber for building materials, hempcrete, and more: The Digest’s Top 10 Innovations for the week of April 8th

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 5:54pm

The pace of bioeconomy invention and change continues at a frenetic pace. Here are the top innovations for the week of April 3rd

In today’s Digest, food and drink packaging from seaweed and animal hides, beer six-pack rings, mouse ears for humans, vehicle pigments, carbon fiber for building materials, hempcrete — these and more, ready for you now at The Digest online.

#1 Dutch drinks manufacturer opts for plant-based polymer packaging

In the Netherlands, leading Dutch fruit drinks manufacturer Riedel has opted for SIGNATURE PACK from SIG to relaunch its popular CoolBest range of fruit juices. The aseptic carton pack made with polymers linked to plant-based renewable materials will help to strengthen Riedel’s ongoing sustainability pledge.

Riedel will relaunch CoolBest in SIGNATURE PACK Full Barrier packaging by SIG, which promotes the use of renewable raw materials to save fossil resources, while at the same time substantially reducing impact on the environment. The carton packs in 500, 1,000 and 1,500 ml are mainly composed of FSCTM certified paperboard made from wood, a renewable resource. The polymers used to laminate the paperboard have a clear link to 100% plant-based material via a mass balance system. This means that for the polymers used in the SIGNATURE PACK, an equivalent amount of bio-based feedstock went into the manufacturing of the polymers. To ensure the integrity of this process, the mass balancing is certified through internationally recognised third-party according to ISCC PLUS standard.
More on the story, here.

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Cellulosic Biofuels: The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide Guide to Iogen

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 5:52pm

Iogen is a leading biotechnology firm specializing in transforming cellulosic ethanol biofuels into real, reliable and cost-effective fuels for today’s cars and trucks. Iogen specializes in developing, designing, de-bugging, scaling-up and deploying cellulosic biofuel technology.

Brian Foody, CEO of Iogen Corporation gave this illuminating overview of the cellulosic biofuels market today, biogas, and more, at ABLC Global 2018 in San Francisco

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Protected: ABLC 2019: The Complete Presentations

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 10:07am

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The Blue Revolution: The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide Guide to KnipBio

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/07/2019 - 3:32pm

KnipBio is a biotechnology company developing responsible and sustainable commercial feed solutions for the aquaculture industry. KnipBio’s game-changing single cell protein combines the attributes of premium, protein-packed fishmeal and carotenoids into a single effective and affordable fishmeal replacement — KnipBio Meal (KBM). KBM is a transformative breakthrough in the future of aquaculture feed.

Russ Heissner, SVP Commercialization at KnipBio, gave this illuminating overview of the aquaculture industry’s need for protein, the company’s single cell proteins and proven fermentation processes, and more, at ABLC Global 2018 in San Francisco

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Antarctic algae, alternative photosynthesis and art

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/07/2019 - 2:52pm

In Florida, Miami University microbiologists Rachael Morgan-Kiss and Xin Wang received a $750,000 grant from the Department of Energy to research how Antarctic algae use an alternative pathway during photosynthesis.

This pathway helps the algae to survive different environmental conditions such as light stress, high salinity and extremely low temperatures. Photosynthetic microbes such as algae fix 50 percent of the global carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas.

Their project uses cold-adapted algae from ice-covered lakes in Antarctica to address questions about alternative pathways for converting sunlight into energy for carbon fixation. With new state-of-the-art equipment in his lab he will investigate the assembly of a protein supercomplex that provides high rates of the alternative photosynthesis pathway. Photosynthesis, vital for agricultural yields, also has important applications in biofuel production.

This research supports future approaches for improving photosynthesis performance of organisms under environmental stress. It provides new engineering targets for artificial photosynthetic platforms.

Collaborating with Morgan-Kiss and Wang on this project are Ru Zhang, principal scientist at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and Petra Fromme, director of the Biodesign Center at Arizona State University.

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India offers the U.S. a resolution to trade issues

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/07/2019 - 2:51pm

In India, Union Minister Suresh Prabhu said that the commerce ministry made an offer to the U.S. to resolve trade issues between the two countries, including various agricultural and IT trade sectors. The trade balance is in favor with India currently with India’s exports to the U.S. in 2017-18 at USD 47.9 billion, while imports were USD 26.7 billion.

The trade requests from the U.S. involve more than one ministry such as IT and agriculture and the commerce ministry met with several of those departments to come up with an officer for the U.S. that takes into consideration all of the aspects. The U.S. is “demanding greater market access for its agricultural, dairy products and medical devices. Besides, they are seeking reduction in import duties on certain IT products and increasing their exports to bridge trade deficit with India,” according to DevDiscourse.

Details about the offer were not disclosed. The U.S. “recently withdrew benefits being provided by them to Indian exports under their Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) program and the US has decided to go ahead with its decision to scrap the preferential trade benefit under GSP scheme after 60 days, which is expected to impact India’s exports to the US worth USD 5.6 billion under this programme,” according to DevDiscourse.

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Ethanol production expands 2.5%

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/07/2019 - 2:50pm

In Washington, D.C., according to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol production expanded 24,000 barrels per day (b/d), or 2.5%, to an average of 999,000 b/d, equivalent to 41.96 million gallons daily. The four-week average ethanol production rate declined 0.6% to 996,000 b/d—equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.27 billion gallons. This represents the smallest 4-week average production rate in 99 weeks, and the first time since Oct. 2017 to fall below one million b/d.

Stocks of ethanol were 24.0 million barrels, 1.9% below the prior week’s high. There were no imports for the 20th week in a row. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of January 2019.)

Gasoline supplied to the market ticked higher to 9.131 million b/d (383.5 million gallons per day, or 139.98 billion gallons annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol decreased 1.2% to 909,000 b/d—equivalent to 13.93 billion gallons annualized. Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production increased to 10.94%.

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Trade dispute reduces U.S. soybean area

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/07/2019 - 2:47pm

In Germany, UFOP reports that because of the U.S. trade dispute with China and the resulting limited export potential, U.S. farmers are growing fewer soybeans. In most U.S. states, farmers have likely planted fewer soybeans in 2019. This assumption is based on figures published by the USDA, which expects the 2019 US soybean area to comprise 34.3 million hectares. This translates to an almost 2 hectare drop from the previous year.

The decline is probably first and foremost due to the trade dispute between the U.S. and China. For months, China did not by any soybeans from the US at all. The country now places at least sporadic orders, but these are always followed by long pauses. In addition to the 3 per cent increase in harvest, this has forced down producer prices for soybeans, which are around 7 per cent below the year-earlier level in the current season. Trade flows are not expected to return to normal while the conflict continues. Farmers are drawing the necessary conclusions and are likely to cut the production of soybeans in favour of other field crops. Moreover, many of them are still stuck with huge stocks. The USDA has put US soybean stocks on farms at 34.6 million tonnes as at 1 March 2019. This is up almost 50 percent from the same time a year earlier. In other words, in the first half of the running marketing year only 40 per cent of the harvest was marketed. This figure compares to 52 per cent in the same period a year earlier.

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U.S. sorghum sales continue to Spain, Italy

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/07/2019 - 2:46pm

In Washington, D.C., the U.S. Grains Council reports that recent sales of U.S. sorghum to Spain and Italy reinforce the importance of these European markets to U.S. farmers. Italy purchased 36,600 metric tons (1.44 million bushels) of sorghum the week of March 14, and Spain has purchased just under one million tons (39.4 million bushels) of sorghum since April 2018.

A combination of factors has resulted in the return of these two buyers to the sorghum market this marketing year. In addition to ample supply of U.S. sorghum, a drought in Europe has driven up the price of European feedstock. U.S. sorghum is an attractive alternative with duty-free access to the market and no biotechology-related concerns.

The Council worked with Spanish buyers last spring by bringing sorghum sellers to Spain and conducting two purchasing conferences, resulting in purchases of diverted shipments from China. These activities paved the way for renewed interest in U.S. sorghum, and the Spanish have continued to purchase since that time, with U.S. sorghum destined for hog production.

“There has proven to be some demand in Spain for sorghum,” said Reece Cannady, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) manager of global trade. “I look forward to Spain being a partner with the sorghum industry in the United States for years to come.”

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Neste’s palm oil and PFAD supply chain data for year 2018 published

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/07/2019 - 2:44pm

In Finland, Neste has updated its palm oil and palm fatty acid distillate (PFAD) supply chain data for year 2018 on its traceability dashboard. The dashboard supplements Neste’s sustainability reporting by providing detailed information about the company’s palm oil usage as well as its palm oil supply chain in 2018.

The dashboard can be found at

The site includes an interactive palm oil supply chain map, providing information about the supplying palm oil mills and estates, their locations, as well as their certifications, for example.

99% of PFAD supply chain mapped to palm oil mills, 44% all the way to plantations.

All Neste-sourced renewable raw materials are traceable to the point of origin as the law requires of biofuels producers (e.g. EU RED in Europe). In 2017, Neste committed to go beyond this requirement by mapping the company’s PFAD supply chain to oil palm plantations by 2020.

In collaboration with palm oil suppliers and sustainability specialists from the Consortium of Resource Experts (CORE), Neste has now mapped 99% of their PFAD supply chain to the palm oil mills supplying palm oil to refineries where PFAD is extracted as a processing residue from edible oil to meet the food industry’s quality standards.

Furthermore, 44% of Neste’s PFAD supply chain has been mapped all the way to oil palm plantations based on publicly available data (e.g. on RSPO, ISCC, ISPO certifications) and supplier reporting.

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Royal DSM and Lallemand conclude license agreement

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 04/07/2019 - 2:44pm

In Illinois, Royal DSM and Canada-based Lallemand Inc. signed a joint agreement under which DSM grants to Lallemand a non-exclusive, royalty bearing license to DSM’s low-glycerol yeast technology patents (U.S. Patent No. 8,795,998). The license agreement is part of a settlement that was reached following a 2018 US Federal Court jury verdict in Wisconsin. The referenced technology in the agreement is for use in the fermentation of first-generation biofuels.

Royal DSM is a global, purpose-led, science-based company active in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living. DSM and its associated companies deliver annual net sales of about €10 billion with approximately 23,000 employees.

Lallemand is a privately owned company specializing in the research, development, production, marketing and distribution of yeast, bacteria and other microorganisms for use in the food ingredient, human nutrition, animal nutrition, baking, wine, beer, distilled spirits, biofuels, plant care, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Lallemand has approximately 4,000 employees located in more than 40 countries, on all continents.

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