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Today's News

RIN prices sink to 5-year low ahead of White House RFS proposals

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 06/04/2018 - 6:21pm

In Washington, Reuters reports that RIN prices sank to five-year lows at just 18 cents each on Monday ahead of an anticipated proposal from the White House to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard. RIN production from ethanol exports as well as year-round E15 are two of the proposals previously batted around by the USDA and EPA that will likely be included in the White House announcement. The Renewable Fuels Association is concerned that trade partners will see RIN generations from exports as a direct subsidy.

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JBEI develops closed-loop biorefinery concept use waste lignin as process solvent

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 06/04/2018 - 6:20pm

In California, a closed-loop biorefinery could dramatically lower the cost of biofuels and related products. In this approach, the refinery produces the solvents it needs, rather than “importing” them. Scientists at the Joint BioEnergy Institute are developing a closed-loop biorefinery concept that uses waste lignin as a potential process solvent. How? They synthesized a new and renewable class of deep eutectic solvents. These solvents work well. When mixed with other liquids and used for biomass pretreatment, these solvents released sugar from grassy feedstocks for fuel and chemical production.

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Biofuel and farmer groups demand EPA boost RVO to make up for waiver volumes

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 06/04/2018 - 6:19pm

In Washington, a coalition of biofuel and agriculture groups petitioned the U.S. EPA to change its regulations to account for lost volumes of renewable fuel resulting from the unprecedented number of retroactive small refinery exemptions from Renewable Fuel Standard obligations recently granted by EPA. The parties on the petition are the Renewable Fuels Association, American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, National Biodiesel Board, National Corn Growers Association, Biotechnology Industry Organization, and National Farmers Union.

This petition comes days after several ethanol and farm groups challenged three specific small refinery exemptions granted by EPA. While the lawsuit in the Tenth Circuit challenged those exemptions as wrongly decided, this petition to EPA seeks a broader, forward-looking remedy to account for the collective lost volumes caused by the unprecedented number of retroactive small refinery exemptions.

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The Carbon Rescuers: 20 Top Waste projects and breakthroughs that capture used carbon from the waste pile for new uses

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 06/04/2018 - 3:33pm

In these top 20 projects, we usually say that we are using waste, but really we are converting something from a state of waste to a state of value — and that’s not just good for the project owners in question, it’s good for every stakeholder connected with that waste stream. A successful waste project is the beginning of the death of waste — where technology permits, that’s about the fastest path one can take to a more sustainable society and a more affluent one.

Here we look at the top 20 waste projects and R&D breakthroughs of the past year. They involve food waste, crop waste, municipal waste, orchard waste, forest waste, waste CO2, industrial wastewater, manufacturing waste gases and more. 

It’s a global effort – we’re profiling work throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia — typically, based on international partnerships.

From these previously useless and odious streams, they are making fuels, chemicals and materials for everyday use — only with an attractive low-carbon footprint since in most cases these are cases of “rescued carbon” where we are capturing old carbon for a new use.

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Strategic Intent: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to DSM

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 06/04/2018 - 3:17pm

Royal DSM is a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials. By connecting its unique competences in Life Sciences and Materials Sciences, DSM is driving economic prosperity, environmental progress and social advances to create sustainable value for all stakeholders. DSM delivers innovative solutions that nourish, protect and improve performance in global markets such as food and dietary supplements, personal care, feed, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, automotive, paints, electrical and electronics, life protection, alternative energy and bio-based materials.

DSM is a frontrunner in creating bio-based and environmentally sound solutions within its Bio-based unit as well as through DSM Nutrition. The company focuses on enabling technology in biofuels and bio-based chemicals and materials made from renewable biomass, and demonstrating the commercial viability of these technologies in collaboration with strategic partners along the value chain.

DSM gave this corporate update this month on the company’s progress, technologies, investments and direction.

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Shell Aviation and SkyNRG collaborate on sustainable aviation biofuel

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 06/02/2018 - 4:44pm

In the United Kingdom, Shell Aviation and SkyNRG announced a long-term strategic collaboration to promote and develop the use of sustainable fuel in aviation supply chains. The agreement will see Shell Aviation and SkyNRG work together to develop long-term opportunities for low carbon solutions. These efforts are structurally supported by committed funding to a joint business development fund.

The agreement is a multi-year collaboration, with both companies acknowledging that the path to lower carbon emissions in aviation requires long-term commitment. The collaboration will focus on the joint development and funding of new opportunities to extend the use of and build more resilient supply chains for sustainable aviation fuels. This will be coupled with the development of a range of comprehensive carbon management options that will provide support to Shell Aviation and SkyNRG customers.

“We want Shell to be a leader in the low carbon transition in aviation fuels,” said Anne Anderson, Vice-President Shell Aviation. “Today’s agreement with industry pioneers SkyNRG demonstrates the type of progressive collaboration which can help us move us towards a lower carbon emissions future. Working together, we believe we can advance sustainable solutions for the benefit of our entire industry.”

 

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St1 Norge AS and C2Biotrade sign LOI to explore sustainable biofuels

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 06/02/2018 - 4:43pm

In Norway, St1 Nordic Oy’s Norwegian subsidiary, St1 Norge AS, signed a letter of intent with C2Biotrade to explore the afforestation of low alternative land in Colombia with the aim of biologically capturing and storing atmospheric carbon and at the same time producing biofuels with remarkably high greenhouse gas savings.

St1 is seeking a solution which both establishes a new sustainable biofuels supply chain to the Nordics and at the same time contributes to international afforestation activities. C2Biotrade is seeking to establish plant oil plantations on unfertile and low alternative land to capture carbon from the atmosphere and produce feedstock for the production of climate friendly biofuels with a greenhouse gas reduction of 134% vs. fossil fuels.

The letter of intent covers, among others, a framework for how to establish an off-take agreement that would enable an increase of biofuels supply to the Nordics in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable way. When successful, the project would help to increase the employment levels in the region, and thereby contribute to the ongoing peace attained less than two years ago.

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Roadchef partners with bio-bean for biofuel

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 06/02/2018 - 4:42pm

In the United Kingdom, Roadchef, a motorway service operator, is partnering with bio-bean to convert coffee grounds into biofuel. Olleco, a resource recovery company, transports the used coffee grounds from 28 Roadchef sites to bio-bean’s facility in Cambridgeshire where they are then converted into biofuel. Roadchef estimates about 7 million cups of coffee are drunk at its sites each year which provides over 200 tons of waste coffee grounds.

As reported in the Digest last week, bio-bean is working with waste management companies to collect used coffee grounds from over 1,500 small coffee shops and others to convert them into biofuel in either a log or briquette format that can be used in fireplaces, stoves or furnaces, or a biomass pellet for industrial and large scale use in heating buildings.

Simon Turl, chairman of Roadchef, told Forecourt Trader, “At Roadchef we are very proud to have partnered with bio-bean on an initiative that benefits the environment. Since working with bio-bean we have already seen financial savings due to a reduction in our waste weight and we look forward to a long and prosperous partnership.”

 

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10 green chemicals driving industry in UK

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 06/02/2018 - 4:40pm

In the United Kingdom, a new report by The Lignocellulosic Biorefinery Network, a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Network in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy, highlights how to ensure Britain becomes a world leader in bio-based chemicals.

According to the report, the UK government should focus on 10 specific bio-based chemicals, in order to boost industrial growth, jobs, trade and investment in the UK. The top ten includes green chemicals which can be used to make biodegradable plastics, superabsorbent sanitary products, nylon, perfumes, skin creams, and detergents. These products create billions of pounds of global revenue and are all currently made from petroleum. The 10 bio-based chemicals were agreed based on commercial viability, UK strengths to exploit, functionality and sustainability. They are 1. Lactic acid, 2. 2,5-Furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), 3. Levoglucosenone, 4. 5 Hydroxymethyl furfural (HMF), 5. Muconic acid, 6. Itaconic acid, 7. 1,3-Butanediol, 8. Glucaric acid, 9. Levulinic acid, 10. n-Butanol.

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Ethanol production reaches 9-week high

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 06/02/2018 - 4:39pm

In Washington, DC, according to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol production averaged 1.041 million barrels per day (b/d)—or 43.72 million gallons daily. averaged 1.041 million barrels per day (b/d)—or 43.72 million gallons daily. That is a 13,000 b/d jump from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production reached a 9-week high of 1.042 million b/d for an annualized rate of 15.97 billion gallons. Stocks of ethanol were 21.3 million barrels. That is a 3.6% trim from last week and the lowest supplies on hand in six weeks. There were zero imports recorded for the 25th week in a row.

Average weekly gasoline demand flattened at 406.9 million gallons (9.689 million barrels) daily. This is equivalent to 148.53 billion gallons annualized. Refiner/blender input of ethanol eased 0.3% to 941,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.43 billion gallons annualized. The ethanol content in gasoline supplied to the market averaged 9.71%, down from 9.74% the previous week. Ethanol blending has averaged 938,000 b/d over the past four weeks, down 7,000 b/d from the average during the same period a year ago. Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production climbed to 10.74%.

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German biodiesel exports rose strongly

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 06/02/2018 - 4:38pm

In Germany, UFOP reports that in the first three months of 2018, German exports of biodiesel rose strongly. Above all, demand from the U.S., but also from Belgium and Austria saw a sharp increase.

In the first quarter of 2018, biodiesel exports increased just less than 31 per cent from same period last year to 428,620 tonnes. Around 84 per cent of these exports were shipped to EU-28 countries. This was up 16 per cent from the previous year. The top purchaser of German biodiesel continued to be the Netherlands, with imports rising 6 per cent to 156,860 tonnes. Belgium moved up to second place, outstripping Poland and doubling its imports to 47,650 tonnes. Nevertheless, Poland’s biodiesel purchases from Germany went up around 18 per cent. The US recorded the biggest growth in imports, absorbing 42,651 tonnes. In the same period last year, US imports were very low at 24 tonnes. According to Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (mbH), Austria, Sweden and Switzerland also imported considerably more German biodiesel than in the 2017 reference period. In contrast, biodiesel deliveries to France, the Czech Republic and especially Great Britain declined. Demand from the UK crashed 40 per cent to just less than 7,800 tonnes. The Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen (UFOP) has underlined the importance exports have for the German biodiesel industry. The association pointed out that in view of the forthcoming rapeseed harvest exports took pressure off the market.

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U of I Faculty Member Gets $750K to Study Biofuels

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 06/02/2018 - 4:36pm

In Idaho, University of Idaho College of Natural Resources (CNR) Assistant Professor Tara Hudiburg was awarded $750,000 to study the sustainability of biofuels. The grant, award by the Department of Energy (DOE), is part of a $104 million project to create a new generation of sustainable, cost-effective bioproducts and bioenergy.

Hudiburg is a co-principal investigator and will lead the biogeochemical modeling as part of the sustainability initiative of the project. Biogeochemical modeling includes assessment of greenhouse gases, improving predictions of future crop yields and determining the impacts of different cropping systems on soil health, biodiversity and water quality.

“This project will advance the energy security of the U.S. while examining the economic sustainability and environmental impact of a bio-based economy,” Hudiburg said. “We are taking a holistic approach to help improve U.S. energy supply and reduce environmental impacts. I am grateful and excited to represent the University of Idaho as one of the investigators and be part of such a large and talented multi-disciplinary group.”

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Farmers request block for French oil refineries using palm oil

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 06/02/2018 - 4:35pm

In France, the largest farmers’ union asked that French oil refineries be blocked in protest at a decision allowing Total to use imported palm oil at a new biofuel production site. Earlier in May, the French government gave Total permission to use palm oil as a feedstock at its La Mede biofuel refinery.

Farmers who grow rapeseed and other local oilseed crops are upset about the palm oil approval because of the competition it brings as a cheaper oil feedstock and for its environmental and deforestation issues.

According to The Star, “The FNSEA farmers’ union was calling for refineries to be blocked from June 10 as part of nationwide protests, a spokeswoman said, confirming local media reports quoting FNSEA President Christiane Lambert. Farmers are also worried that ongoing trade talks between the EU and the Mercosur group of South American nations will lead to an influx of cheaper agricultural imports.

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E15 – People are pissed, tempers flare, the heat gets hotter as requests flood into EPA’s Scott Pruitt to lift barrier to summertime E15

Biofuels Digest - Sat, 06/02/2018 - 4:31pm

June 1st has come and gone and the E15 debate is hotter than ever as the weather also starts to heat up in most parts of the U.S. The influx of releases and news about E15 sales, recently allowed by the White House, and uproar that the EPA still has not lifted the outdated regulatory barrier to actually allow it to happen is all over the place and on everyone’s minds right now. In today’s Digest, we cover some of the hottest responses to what is going on and the pleads going to EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt to make E15 happen this summer.

The American Coalition for Ethanol

In South Dakota, The American Coalition for Ethanol is pretty teed off that “despite repeated public endorsements from the White House to allow the sale of E15 unleaded gasoline year-round, EPA has taken no action to lift the outdated regulatory barrier prior to today’s start of the low Reid vapor pressure (RVP) season. E15 was tested and approved in 2011 for use in any car or light truck from model year 2001 and newer. EPA’s interpretation of RVP regulations effectively bans the sale of lower cost, higher octane E15 from June 1 through September 15, even though E15 has lower RVP and emissions than the gasoline sold in most markets each summer.”

“EPA’s refusal to make good on the President’s promise to allow E15 use year-round hurts U.S. motorists and farmers,” said Brian Jennings, ACE CEO. “Gas prices are climbing to their highest levels since 2014, yet EPA won’t let most Americans fill up on E15 which costs about a nickel per gallon less than regular.  Allowing E15 year-round would also help spur demand for farmers who are suffering from low prices and surplus crops.  What a lost opportunity to do something to help Americans.”

“We have been told by single station owners and marketers operating hundreds of stations, that this ridiculous switching from E15 to flex fuel in the summer, and back again in the fall, is too much “hassle” for them to offer E15 at their stations,” said Ron Lamberty, ACE Senior Vice President. “This is the seventh year E15 retailers will have to switch from selling E15 to a flex fuel for the summer, which confuses their customers and hurts their business — it’s hurting E15 availability nationwide.”

“Delaying the change doesn’t protect the environment either. It only protects oil company market share. E15 unleaded fuel can be used by 90 percent of the cars and light trucks on the road, and it’s cleaner and costs less than any other gasoline cars are using today,” Lamberty continued. “EPA has been willing to stand the RFS on its head to give hundreds of millions of dollars in questionable regulatory breaks to very profitable refiners, yet they can’t seem to find time to make this small change that would help small businesses attract new customers and give drivers a break from high gas prices. We need EPA to move forward with the regulatory steps to make E15 use year-round a reality.”

National Corn Growers Association

In their press release, The National Corn Growers Association is “urging the Environmental Protection Agency to expeditiously take steps to remove this barrier and allow for year-round sales of ethanol blends greater than 10 percent, such as E15.”

“E15 is typically more affordable at the pump and is better for the environment,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “There is no good reason to limit access to E15 in the summer, which is an especially busy time for families making more stops to refuel.”

“NCGA believes EPA should address the RVP regulatory barrier separately and should not combine the agreed-upon RVP fix with proposals damaging to our export markets such as offering biofuels credits on ethanol exports.”

Iowa’s Response

In Iowa, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), called on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to remove the unnecessary barrier to summer time sale of E15.

“The state of Iowa is the national leader in biofuels production. This E15 sale restriction gives consumers less choice and will force them to buy more costly fuel at the pump. I call on Administrator Pruitt to take immediate action, follow through on President Trump’s commitment and use enforcement discretion to allow uninterrupted sales of E15 to all 2001 and newer vehicles this summer,” Naig said.

Until the formal rulemaking process to remove the E15 restriction is completed, Naig and Shaw are calling on Administrator Pruitt to not enforce the E15 summer time restriction given the order by President Trump. E15 is higher octane than the most commonly used fuel, E10, and is typically priced five to ten cents less. E15 is approved for use in all 2001 and newer vehicles, which account for over 90% of fuel purchases.

“The President has ordered EPA to remove the E15 restriction,” Shaw said. “It is unclear why it is taking EPA so long to follow through on the President’s order, but until the formal rulemaking process is completed, Pruitt should take action today to ensure motorists have access to the lowest-cost fuel choice on the market for regular vehicles. In Iowa alone, consumers could save tens of millions of dollars this summer if given the option of E15,” said Shaw.

Growth Energy

In Washington, D.C., Growth Energy is really upset at the EPA too. Their statement said, “Today marks the beginning of the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) restriction on E15 sales across most of the country during the summer driving season – June 1 to September 15. The ban on E15 comes at a time when American drivers would most benefit from relief at the pump. Instead, consumers are barred from purchasing lower cost fuel at a time when gas prices are approaching a national average of $3 per gallon – higher than they have been in years.

“Every summer, earth-friendly E15 is held to tougher standards than other fuels sold year-round, cutting off sales and imposing needless costs on retailers and consumers alike,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “The Environmental Protection Agency must act to fulfill President Trump’s promise to ‘unleash E15’ by cutting this arcane regulation – saving retailers millions of dollars in labeling costs and letting rural America succeed in the marketplace unhampered.”

E15 retailers face costs of up to $1.5 million dollars each year just to relabel pumps around RVP, while others markets are entirely shut off for consumers because retailers cannot adjust for these astronomical barriers.

“RVP relief now means lifting our rural economy out of the worst crisis in a generation, with farm income plunging to a 12-year low,” said Skor. “And it means putting our industry on the path to an additional 1.3 billion gallons of ethanol demand within five years.”

Through an ongoing digital advocacy campaign Growth Energy is mobilizing rural America to call on the Administration to follow through on President Trump’s promise to make E15 available year-round, a move that would boost farm income amid the sharpest agricultural downturn since the 1980s.

POET

In South Dakota, POET is also calling on the EPA to give summer drivers access to high-octane E15 fuel and save consumers as much as 15 cents per gallon, according to their estimates.

“Americans expecting a tax break this year could see those dollars eaten up by skyrocketing fuel costs,” said Kyle Gilley, POET Sr. Vice President of Communications and External Affairs. “President Trump has committed to fixing the regulatory problem and providing a long-term solution to fluxuating gas prices. We are calling on Administrator Pruitt and the EPA to act quickly to allow year-round sales of E15.”

“When drivers fill up with biofuels, they not only save money, they support American jobs, rural communities and national security,” Gilley said. “EPA approval of year-round E15 use will have a dramatic impact on our country. It needs to happen now.”

Renewable Fuels Association and Consumer Poll

It’s not just ethanol companies and ethanol industry groups that are pissed off either. Apparently, consumers don’t get the hold up and a new poll conducted by Morning Consult (and reported by the Renewable Fuels Association) said that, “American consumers are frustrated by the lack of choice that stems from the summertime prohibition on E15. In a poll of registered voters conducted by Morning Consult last week, four out of five respondents said they believe the federal government should allow E15 to be sold year-round. These drivers clearly understand that E15 offers a lower-cost, higher-octane fuel choice that is better for the environment.”

“EPA Administrator Pruitt leaves no stone unturned when it comes to addressing the grievances of the oil industry, most recently by printing $34 million worth of artificial RIN credits and handing them over to refining company HollyFrontier like a welfare check,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Farmers are tired of subsidizing some of the wealthiest companies in the country. It’s time for Scott Pruitt’s wholesale destruction of the RFS to end. It’s time for EPA to follow the law and the direction of the president. It’s time for EPA to create biofuel demand by eliminating this antiquated regulatory barrier and empower consumers to make the fuel choices that are best for their cars and wallets,” he added.

Bottom Line

People are pissed and the EPA needs to take notice and take action. Summer is here and there are plenty of groups, businesses and consumers out there that want to see E15 become a reality this summer. Only time will tell if Scott Pruitt is listening and can get rid of the regulatory barrier causing the E15 holdup this summer. In the meantime, we have a feeling that ethanol and corn industry groups and companies will keep tapping his shoulder with a “hey…let’s make this happen already, will ya?”

 

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The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to ARA’s ReadiJet drop-in renewable fuel technology

Biofuels Digest - Fri, 06/01/2018 - 2:11pm

Last September, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus rode aboard one of the EA-18G Growler fighter jets testing 100% biofuel flights this month to demonstrate his commitment to getting biofuel mainstream within the Navy. Currently all Navy ships and planes are certified to run on 50% biofuel blends. Last summer’s RIMPAC training exercises filled up with biofuel supplied by AltAir Fuels in California at $2.15 per gallon compared to $26 per gallon back in 2012 during the first green run at RIMPAC.

ARA’s Chuck Red gave this illuminating overview of ARA’s ReadiDiesel and ReadiJet technology at ABLC 2018 in Washington.

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French farmers to block oil refineries in protest of palm oil imports

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 05/31/2018 - 5:12pm

In France, much in the same way Brazilian truckers brought its economy to a halt by blocking ports in protest of high oil prices, Reuters reports that French farmers have called for a protest to block oil refineries as of June 10 to show their displeasure that Total will import 75% of the feedstock required for its La Mede biorefinery. France’s largest farm union FNSEA said that the protest is targeting unfair competition posed by palm oil imports.

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Norwegian dairy looking at biogas spin off for transportation and power

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 05/31/2018 - 5:11pm

In Norway, dairy giant TINE is looking to spin off his biogas production into a separate business that would provide transportation energy for its delivery fleet along with powering its dairies following a report from Turnbøll that showed likely economic benefits. The report also indicates the possibility to sell surplus energy to third parties. Using all of the company’s dairy waste for biogas could reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 13% but at the same time indicated the government needed to provide more supports so industry can invest in similar projects.

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Thailand sees B20 as way to mitigate rising diesel prices

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 05/31/2018 - 5:10pm

In Thailand, the government is calling on consumers to look towards using B20 as a way to combat higher fossil diesel prices that have increased significantly over the past few months, reflecting higher global oil prices. B20 is offered at a 9 cent discount to fossil diesel at the pump that is blended with just 7% biodiesel. The blend is expected to rise later in the year to 10%. There have been some complaints, however, that B20 is only available to buses and trucks rather than to the public at large.

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UK project receives funding to reduce waste CO2 production from industrial biotech manufacturing

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 05/31/2018 - 5:09pm

In the UK, Ingenza announced a collaboration with the University of Dundee and Drochaid Research Services on a highly innovative project that aims to reduce the waste carbon dioxide generated by industrial biotech manufacturing applications. Funded by Zero Waste Scotland, the proposal involves capturing and recycling the emerging CO2 waste streams that evolve during fermentative bioprocessing, and using them as a supplementary carbon feedstock for bio-based chemical manufacturing. This strategy is essential for the sustainable feedstock and energy inputs required for bio-based manufacturing approaches to be truly ‘circularized’ in the future.

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European imports of Indonesia palm oil slide following anti campaigns

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 05/31/2018 - 5:08pm

In Indonesia, Reuters reports that palm oil exports to the European Union fell drastically by 13% during the first four months of 2018 on the back of anti-palm oil campaigns as well as higher canola stocks. Seasonal exports to India ahead of Ramadan also fell, with the drops in two major markets contributing to a 24% cut in exports during the period, year-on-year, to 1.7 million tons. April exports specifically fell 13.6% to 2.22 million tons.

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