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Today's News

Deep Stabilization: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to fast pyrolysis and bio-oil upgrading

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 11:57am

Within the ChemCatBio set of core catalysis projects lies Fast Pyrolysis and Upgrading, which has as its goal “to develop cost competitive biofuels through catalytic stabilization and deoxygenation of Fast Pyrolysis Bio-oil. The near-term DOE goal is advancement of the State of Technology for upgrading FPBO by demonstration of gasoline and diesel blend stocks at a mature modeled price of $3.50/GGE by advancing stabilization catalyst lifetime, leveraging catalyst and process efficiencies, and targeting modelled conversion cost of less than $2.53/GGE, for the nth plant.

Project leaders Alan Zacher of PNNL and Jae-Soon Choi of ORNL prepared this overview of Fast Pyrolysis and Upgrading at the 2017 DOE Project Peer Review meetings — here are the slides from that presentation.

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From sugars to affordable hydrocarbon fuels: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to Catalytic Upgrading R&D

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 9:25am

The US Department of Energy has set a goal to “Select and develop at least one route for catalytic upgrading of sugars/related intermediates and/or biologically derived intermediates into fuel blendstockswith conversion performance than can achieve a MFSP of $3/GGE by 2022 with >25% (GGE basis) of the fuel in the jet or diesel ranges”.

In this slide deck., project leaders Rick Elander, David Johnson, and Derek Vardon of NREL; Chaitanya Narula and Zhenglong Li of ORNL; Andrew Sutton of LANL; and Mike Lilga and Asanga Padmaperuma at PNNL outlined efforts to “develop and evaluate several routes for catalytic upgrading of sugars/related intermediates into hydrocarbon fuels and co-products, including:Ethanol → HC fuels, Other fermentation intermediates → HC fuels, and Sugars/sugar-derived intermediates → HC fuels”. The slides were originally presented at the DOE Project Peer Review.

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Don’t be selfish, save the shellfish! Shellfish are more useful than ever imagined

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 8:46pm

In Colorado, researchers are fighting nasty, deadly, stubborn bacteria with chitosan, a material derived from shellfish shells like lobsters, crabs, and shrimps. The new material helps prevent superbug bacteria biofilms from forming in about 85 percent of their lab testing.

Chitosan is also being used as an ingredient in biopolymers that form bioplastics and biodegradable packaging, but it’s use is going beyond consumer products and into a host of other new uses like biomedical research, cow feed, and antibacterial surfaces.

Chitosan for food

Lobster, crab, shrimp and other shellfish are delightfully delicious, but some devourers may feel a twinge of guilt over the pile of shells discarded after consuming the scrumptious crustaceans. Fear no more – there are more and more uses every day for these creatures due to the chitosan hidden away in those shells often destined for landfills.

As reported in NUU in February, researchers in Brazil examined the impact of supplementing beef cattle feed with chitosan. The work evaluated whether adding variable levels of chitosan into the animals’ diets would affect “total apparent digestibility, ruminal fermentation, microbial protein synthesis, nitrogen utilization, and urea and creatine metabolism of grazing beef steers.” The results were favorable, with the researchers recommending 900 mg of chitosan per kilogram of concentrate for grazing steers. “Chitosan effects on [dry matter] intake are likely related to both greater impact of [crude protein] and higher [dry matter], [natural detergent fiber], and [crude protein] digestibility,” they said. The researchers also theorized that chitosan’s antibacterial activity stems from its positive charge. It binds to the negatively charged surfaces of bacteria, altering permeability and, ultimately, leading to cell death.

So not only are shellfish fun to eat for humans, but they are also quite healthy and valuable for cow feed.

Chitosan for health

The recent Colorado State University research demonstrates the usefulness of chitosan for medical uses, but there are countless other examples over the last few months all over the world.

As reported in NUU in May, researchers in India determined a spray made from chitosan from crab shells and silver nanoparticles is effective at preventing the proliferation of malaria-carrying mosquitos. The spray, developed by researchers at Bharathiar University in Tamil Nadu and National Taiwan Ocean University, was sprayed over water reservoirs in Coimbatore. In addition to killing mosquito larvae and pupa effectively at low concentrations, it was also found to be safe for mosquito predators, like goldfishes. “This research highlighted that chitosan-fabricated silver nanoparticles are easy to produce, stable over time,” said Jiang-Shiou Hwang of the National Taiwan Ocean University. “Hence it can be employed at low dosages to strongly reduce populations of the malaria vector, the Anopheles sundaicus mosquito without detrimental effects on the predation of natural mosquito enemies, such as goldfishes,” Hwang said.

More news came from India in March, as reported in NUU, when Dr. Subhasmita Swain at SOA University developed a biomedical patch with chitosan that can coagulate blood flow in patients. Her cousin died due to excessive blood loss after an accident, leading this researcher to find a way to take advantage of chitosan and turmeric powder. Turmeric, something you may have in your spice cabinet, is known for its antibacterial and antibiotic properties. Swain found that turmeric works effectively with chitosan which is a strong but biodegradable polymer to form the biomaterial patch that aids patient blood coagulation within two minutes, resulting in less blood loss. Considering that injury and related blood loss is estimated to be the third leading cause of death in India by 2020 from the World Health Organization, this patch could save many lives.

As reported in NUU last November, Boston scientists at Harvard University Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering found that the antimicrobial and biodegradable properties of chitosan can be used in the medical industry as a kind of glue to help repair tissue or to hold together medical device implants. The coolest part? Once it has done its job, it biodegrades and there is no trace of it left behind in the patient, like a Band-Aid that automatically dissolves once the wound is healed. It’s also similar to the bandages we know of in another way – testing on punctured human intestines and lungs showed the chitosan biomaterial was actually stronger than the native human tissue.

Let’s not forget about the researchers in Portugal who were using chitosan combined with nano-materials for bone regeneration and bone grafting, as reported in NUU last October. They are doing further research to answer questions like how it degrades and how a human body accepts or interacts with the biomaterial.

Chitosan for biopolymers and bioplastics

Chitosan is useful as cattle feed and is increasingly purposeful for biomedicine, but it also is a prized ingredient for producing biopolymers and bioplastics. As reported in NUU in April, researchers at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology developed a faster, environmentally friendly way to depolymerize chitin and chitosan into low molecular weight, water-soluble oligosaccharides. Their process involves degrading chitin and chitosan by electron-beam plasma in a specially designed reactor, which reduces the time it takes to produce water-soluble oligosaccharides from days to just minutes. Conventional production is a multi-step, lengthy process that involves chemical depolymerization at high temperatures with hydrogen peroxide, organic and inorganic acids, and other “aggressive agents.” that result in large volumes of industrial wastewater.

Chitosan can also solve Egypt’s trash problem, as reported in NUU in January. In the United Kingdom, University of Nottingham engineering professor Nicola Everitt turned discarded shrimp shells into biodegradable plastic bags. Everitt is specifically targeting the Egyptian market, as the country has a large quantity of shrimp shell waste but lacks effective waste disposal systems with only about 60% of the nation’s garbage collected. “It occurred to me that we could use Chitosan extracted from shrimp shells and make biodegradable packaging,” Everitt told The Week. “So at least if it was lying around at the side of the road it would eventually degrade.” The shells are first boiled in acid to remove calcium carbonate, and then boiled in an alkaline substance to remove protein leaving just the remaining material, chitosan, a natural polymer. They found that 15 shopping bags can be produced from about 2 pounds of shrimp waste. The team is now working on cutting down process time.

Save the shells!

Now that shellfish shells are capable of being used in so many applications including cow feed, biomedical and health uses and biodegradable packaging and bioplastics, we are left with many questions. Can chitosan be commercialized and profitable? When will these innovative products containing chitosan be available on the market? How do we collect large volumes of shells?

While some shellfish waste can come directly from the fishing industry and fish processors, the challenge will be to collect enough discarded shells to continue expanding chitosan’s production and use. Now what we need is some serious investments from companies willing to take the research to the next level and bring it ashore, and perhaps a place to drop off cracked shells after chowing down on our shrimp dinner.

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Groundbreaking begins for Hawaii’s first hydrogen fueling station

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 8:43pm

In Hawaii, with a statewide goal of meeting 100% of its electricity with renewable energy by 2045, Hawaii is well on its way to being a clean energy state with the groundbreaking for its first public fueling station for hydrogen vehicles located on Oahu.

Hawaii plans on selling hydrogen fueled cars, like the latest Toyota Mirai, by next year and the fueling station should be completed by early 2018. The Mirai has an estimated cost of $55,000 but can go about 312 miles before refueling and only takes a few minutes to refuel using electrolyzed water that splits into hydrogen and water. To sweeten the deal, Servco Pacific is looking into offering Mirai car owners with free fuel for three years. The only emissions from driving the hydrogen car? Water.

Servco Pacific is handling the construction and Toyota is collaborating to get hydrogen vehicles to Hawaii. While the exact fueling station cost was not disclosed, Servco Pacific said they are not using any grants or public funding for the multi-million-dollar project.

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Cassava production could bring more cash to Nigeria

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 8:42pm

In Nigeria, cassava could become a focus for the country’s industrial growth and provide increased income from their 47 million tons of cassava tubers that are produced in the country each year. Currently, cassava is used for food consumption in the country, but could be expanded for industrial use such as biofuel, livestock feed, flour, wine, or any of more than 2,000 uses of cassava in the world.

“Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava tubers in the world but cassava produced in the country is processed and consumed locally in various forms with little set aside for export.,” University of Port Harcourt Professor Aloy Ezirim told All Africa. Ezirim is asking the government to make cassava a national crop and give it more attention to expand its production and potential uses.

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OME synthetic fuel passes biodiesel test drives

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 8:40pm

In Germany, automotive manufacturing company, Continental, successfully tested its new synthetic fuel called oxymethylene ether in test vehicles. The tests confirmed that current diesel engines had no issues with a 15% blend of the OME synthetic fuel. On the environmental side, there is also good news since the 15% blend reduces carbon dioxide emissions by about eight grams per kilometer compared to standard diesel. Even better, it works fine with current diesel fuel that has an added 7% of biofuel. OME won’t be on the market quite yet, however, as they are still working on the manufacturing technology for the synthetic fuel.

Rolf Brück, head of the Catalytic Converters product line in the Fuel & Exhaust Management business unit of Continental’s Powertrain division told Foundry Planet, “In order to use higher concentrations of OME in diesel, we need to consider the entire reaction pathway. With its end-to-end expertise from injection molding to exhaust-gas aftertreatment including SCR, Continental is optimally positioned for this.”

 

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PCJ has new B5 castor oil biodiesel blend in the works

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 8:38pm

In Jamaica, the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, the government agency charged with leading the country’s energy resources, developed a castor seed oil blend for use in diesel vehicles. The blend should replace 97,000 barrels of imported oil and PCJ says the new B5 blend will save Jamaica an estimated $540 million per year in imports.

PCJ is making the effort to develop local alternative energy sources to rely less on imports and help advance Jamaica’s economy and agricultural sector with satellite farms even as small as an acre being able to grow caster plants. As reported in Biofuels Digest in June, small-scale trials with the new blend have been going on for a while but they are now working on further refinement in collaboration with the University of Technology.

PCJ’s Group General Manager, Winston Watson, told JIS News “This is very good for the clean energy sector[…]But what is more important is that when you use the castor oil, it reduces the sulphur. Because it has less sulphur, when you mix it with regular diesel, it reduces the amount of sulphur, which reduces the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.”

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Rapeseed meal prices drop 13% but soybean meal price stays steady

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 8:36pm

In Germany, UFOP reports that German wholesale prices for rapeseed meal dropped substantially over the past few weeks. Asking prices dwindled by almost 13 per cent to the recent level of EUR 186 per tonne ex production facility. The reasons for the decline in prices were rising new-crop supply and waning feedstock prices, Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft mbH (AMI) reported. At the same time, asking prices for Brazilian GMO-free soybean meal containing 48 per cent crude protein were slightly steadier in the reference period. Although prices also fell, buyers still had to pay EUR 442 per tonne FOT (Free On Truck) Brake, Germany, only 3.5 per cent less than at the beginning of June 2017. Consequently, rapeseed meal has become substantially more competitive. Recently, the price spread between 1 per cent crude protein in rapeseed meal and 1 per cent crude protein in GMO-free soybean meal even reached EUR 3.90 per tonne, a level last seen in mid May 2017.

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U.S. ethanol exports increase to Canada, big declines to Brazil

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 8:34pm

In Washington, DC, U.S. ethanol exports totaled 92.7 million gallons (mg) in June, down 22% from May shipments, according to government data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association. Canada and Brazil were again the top destinations for U.S. exports, combining to receive nearly half of total exports in June, although volumes to both destinations fell sharply from May. Canada took in 24.8 mg in June (down 21% from May), while Brazil imported 20.9 mg (down 68%). Meanwhile, India jumped back into the market for the first time since March, importing 13.6 mg. U.S. ethanol exports to all destinations for the first half of the year stood at 686.8 mg, indicating a record annualized export total of 1.37 billion gallons.

For the second month this year, the United States recorded fuel ethanol imports. The U.S. brought in 10.6 mg of fuel ethanol in June from Brazil, an 11% increase from May. Imports for the first half of 2017 totaled 20.2 mg–63% (7.8 mg) higher than the same period last year and indicating an annualized total of 40.4 mg.

 

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Researchers converting contaminated alfalfa to biomass fuel

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 8:31pm

In Idaho, researchers at the Idaho National Laboratory are taking alfalfa contaminated with inorganic bromide and figuring out what farmers can do with the otherwise useless bales, like biomass fuel. The alfalfa was contaminated from methyl bromide, a highly toxic pesticide after a potato pest issue led to its spraying on fields, but that meant the alfalfa can’t be fed to cattle as it was causing them to have lesions, stillbirths and other health issues. Researchers are hoping to help farmers with bales and tons of alfalfa that can’t be used by converting it into biomass fuel that local potato processing companies can use for daily operations in their coal-fired plants.

However, locals wanted to make sure it was safe to burn since they wondered if it was hurting cows, what would it do to people when burned. Researchers burned alfalfa at their facility and monitored the air to ensure bromide wasn’t being released. The results showed bromide in the ash but not in the air making it a good candidate for biomass fuel instead of destined for a landfill.

 

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Parliament passes bill to build Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 8:29pm

In India, Parliament lawmakers discussed ways to decrease the country’s reliance on fossil fuel and increase renewable energy and biofuels and overall energy independence. At Friday’s session, they also discussed the approved bill to set up an Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy to help achieve those goals, saying the government needs to do more to achieve energy independence and keep up with other countries’ developments in the renewable energy, biofuels and biomass sectors.

The IIPE already has a constructed foundation and will be built on about 200 acres of land that was set aside for it at Sabbavaram Mandal in the Visakhapatnam district. The IIPE will have courses in petroleum and energy studies and is temporarily being hosted at the Andhra University campus where they have two programs in petroleum engineering and chemical engineering.

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Ukrteplo to invest US$96.5 million in CHP and ethanol in Ukraine

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 7:05pm

In the Ukraine, Ukrteplo plans to invest US$96.5 million in a 12MW combined heat and power plant in the Odesa region to be fueled by agricultural waste along with an ethanol plant co-located with the CHP. Both will be sited at the Zaplazky sugar refinery in the Liubashivka district. The CHP plant is planned for 2018 commissioning with the 50,000 metric tons per year ethanol plant coming online by 2021. The company currently owns 110 CHP, hydro and biogas facilities around the country with a total installed capacity of 158MW.

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Didion Ethanol ramps back up ethanol production following May explosion

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 7:04pm

In Wisconsin, Didion Ethanol has begun producing ethanol again following the explosion in its corn milling facility May 31. Though it will take the plant a few weeks to be back at full production capacity, it is already accepting corn. Most of its employees are back to work except for those finishing up assignments at offsite businesses where they were sent during the plant’s downtime while still receiving pay from the company. Initial plans are underway for a new, modern milling plant as well.

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Prairie Green Renewable Energy set to break ground in Spring 2018

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 7:03pm

In Canada, after 10 years of development, the Prairie Green Renewable Energy (PGRE) plant in Saskatchewan is finally set to break ground in the spring with an 18-24 month construction period. Long term financing is being finalized now and most permits have been secured. The 196 million liter per year facility will consume 25 million bushels annually of barley and five million bushels of peas for feedstock. Other crops can also be used if needed, according to the plant’s design.

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Neste’s Q2 profits hit by biodiesel blenders credit expiry

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 7:01pm

In Finland, the expiry of the biodiesel blenders credit in the US negatively impacted Neste’s Q2 profits, which fell 16% on the year to $279 million, also weighed upon by maintenance stoppages at its fossil fuel refineries. Biodiesel sales grew 39% on the year to 674,000 metric tons. The company is contemplating an investment in further biomass diesel production in either the US or Singapore, depending on feedstock logistics as well as incentives and other factors.

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Florida project investigating viability of sugarbeet-to-jet fuel shows promise

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 7:00pm

In Florida, Tropicana and local partners are finishing up an 18-month R&D project funded by an USDA Rural Development grant that is determining the viability of growing sugarbeet in St. Lucie county for aviation biofuel production. The crop’s cycle fits in well with citrus and could be an opportunity for local farmers to diversify and reduce impacts from citrus greening that has damaged the local economy. The results of the Farm to Fly – From the Ground Up Research Study so far have been promising.

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Former Gen-X co-conspirator pleads guilt to RIN fraud

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 6:58pm

In New York state, Andre Bernard, of Mount Kisco pleaded guilty on Wednesday for his participation in a multi-state scheme to defraud biodiesel buyers and U.S. taxpayers by fraudulently selling biodiesel credits and fraudulently claiming tax credits, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and Acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District of Florida.

According to his plea, Bernard conspired with Thomas Davanzo, of Estero, Florida, Robert Fedyna, of Naples, Florida, and Scott Johnson of Pasco, Washington in a scheme to defraud biodiesel credit buyers and U.S. taxpayers. The conspiracy involved having Gen-X Energy Group (Gen-X), headquartered in Pasco, Washington, and its subsidiary, Southern Resources and Commodities (SRC), located in Dublin, Georgia, generate fraudulent RINs and tax credits multiple times on the same material.

Bernard and his co-conspirators operated several shell companies that claimed to purchase and sell the renewable fuel. The co-conspirators also cycled the funds through these shell companies’ bank accounts to perpetuate the fraud scheme and conceal its proceeds.

From March 2013 to March 2014, the co-conspirators generated at least 60 million RINs that were based on fuel that was either never produced or was merely re-processed at the Gen-X or SRC facilities. The co-conspirators received at least $42 million from the sale of these fraudulent RINs to third parties. In addition, Gen-X received approximately $4,360,724.50 in false tax credits for this fuel.

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Iowa State researchers look at annual cover crops to compensate for corn stover removal

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 6:56pm

In Iowa, the phrase “a double-edged sword” describes something that is beneficial in some ways but problematic in others. One example is removing maize stover (the husks, stems and leaves of corn plants) from fields. Maize stover is used to make cellulosic ethanol, a renewable biofuel. And renewable biofuels are beneficial to the environment. However, removing the stover can harm the environment because it can cause the soil to erode and lose nutrients.

Researchers needed to find a way to remove the stover but preserve the soil quality. So, they turned to previous research for ideas and found that cover or companion crops can improve soil quality and liked the idea of using cover crops, but was curious about a different type of cover crop.

Instead of annual cover crops, which must be replanted every year, they continued research at Iowa State University (ISU) involving perennial groundcover, and specifically grasses. Using a perennial groundcover could be a win-win, including natural resources preservation in addition to reducing costs.

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EPA seen rejecting petition to change point of obligation

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 6:55pm

In Washington, ethanol producers scored another big win this week with unofficial confirmation that the Environmental Protection Agency won’t change the point of obligation for compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard as petitioned by oil refiners and the president’s advisor Carl Icahn. Politico first reported the news that should be confirmed next week that was later backed up by three sources reported by Reuters. Icahn owns a majority stake in independent refiner CVR which had led to controversy about his potential role in the point of obligation decision.

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The renewing of Nevada renewable fuels and the rise of Ryze Renewables

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 2:44pm

This is actually DuPont’s IsoTherming tech (click for a great YouTube experience)— but it gives you some very good ideas about how the technology works.

In Nevada, Ryze Renewables has two new renewable diesel projects totaling $250M now in planning for the Nevada and Las Vegas areas.

There’s been some confusion about the technology in question — described locally around Nevada as IsoTherming, which we understood as a DuPont trademark — but according to one of the Digesterati:

“IsoTherming was developed by Prof Ackerson’s company Process Dynamics Inc. — it was licensed to DuPont for petroleum refining applications. PDI’s MaxFlux hydrotreating technology is applicable to biofuels. The technology is most advantageous when H2 consumptions are relatively low, ca., <1000 scfb, but that’s not the case for renewable oils where the consumptions are high, ca., >2000 scfb.”

More on MaxFlux here.

The Ryze Reno project

When developed for the Reno area, the project was intended to cost $105 million for 40 million gallons of production capacity, would used corn oil and other feedstocks sourced from Noble Group, and was the subject of an $67.2 million USDA loan guarantee (or, 80% of the overall $84 million loan) with the Greater Nevada Credit Union as the lender of record.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “Ryze Renewables received tax abatements last year to set up a $140 million diesel plant at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center,” and Pearson told the Vegas paper that “equipment is starting to move into the facility”.

A new project in Las Vegas

After the Reno project applications were filed last fall, Ryze Renewables also surfaced in a series of Las Vegas market applications for tax abatements and incentives, typical for a newly inbound business. This project is bigger: equipment costs have grown from $44 million to $73 million, and capacity has expanded to 60 million gallons per year; however, the project will also employ 67 employees, and the company projected an average hourly rate of $26.16.

Documents filed with the city of Las Vegas reveal that “Ryze Renewables Las Vegas, LLC plans to acquire and repurpose an existing biodiesel processing facility located in North Las Vegas, Nevada. The plant is not currently producing fuel, but has extensive existing infrastructure,” and that “a major fuel company has agreed to purchase the entirety of the Renewable Diesel produced at this facility to sell into the southern California market.”

The Las Vegas application states that the company “is expected to begin production in the third quarter of 2018,” and the company said that it has a target date for the physical move into the former biodiesel facility in Q3 2017.

Good news for that project in the meantime, the state Office of Economic Development has green-lighted $9.4 million in tax abatements for the Las Vegas project.

The project location

To The Digest, the Las Vegas location sounds very much like the old Biodiesel of Las Vegas plant, which you can see below, and which was located in North Las Vegas. That venture stopped posting on its Facebook page in mid 2012. It had a production capacity of between 4 and 8 million gallons, depending on your source of hard data — either way, the Ryze project would involve a significant increase in the site’s production.

Better Carbon Score?

Ryze said in project-related documentation that it would “manufacture 100% renewable diesel which is converted from distiller’s corn oil, esters, fatty acids or other nonfood renewable feedstock. The company’s process utilizes a unique patented technology that introduces hydrogen within a hydrotreating reactor more efficiently than competing technologies. This allows the company to use feedstocks that have a better Carbon intensity value than the ones used by other processes.”

Ryze builds media attention

Ryze CEO Matthew Pearson spoke on camera with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to highlight the attractions of renewable diesel, which is available on YouTube here:

Super-high cetane values

We noted that the company proposes to produce renewable diesel with a 72 cetane value. That’s sky high. There’s lots to like about that — a cetane value of 55 is generally considered top of the line, but Fischer-Tropsch diesels are often seen in this range, according to the Fuels and Lubricants Handbook. from ASTM.

According to FarmWeekNow: “A high-cetane diesel fuel provides more complete combustion, improved cold starts, less engine noise and knocking, reduced white smoke and warm-up time, fewer misfires, lower exhaust emissions: nitrogen oxide, hydro carbon, carbon monoxide, and sometimes particulate matter.”

The proposed location at the time was the old G2 Diesel facility, just a few doors from the proposed location of Fulcrum BioEnergy’s 10 million gallon MSW-to-fuels project. G2 Diesel, which converted natural gas into a diesel substitute, operated for several years before the plant was idled in recent years primarily owing to the oil price crash.

Renewable diesel worth $4 a gallon?

What’s renewable diesel worth today in California? $4.02 per gallon is our current estimate, using this data:

$1.50 per gallon — ULSD price (CBOT)
$1.85 per gallon — RFS value ($1.09 for D4 RINs at 1.7 RINs per gallon)
$0.67 per gallon — CARB value (estimated from $50 carbon price and 10 gCO2/MJ estimate based on feedstock mix, and adjusted for higher energy density of diesel)
If the $1.01 per gallon biomass-based diesel tax credit returns, then that would boost the value to $5.03, using today’s prices.

Anatomy of A Project

You can see the project, as envisioned by its sponsors and stakeholders, in a series of public documents available online, and which we have conveniently collected in: Anatomy of a Project: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to Ryze Renewables’s proposed Nevada projects.

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