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Two new biogas contracts signed in Argentina

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 6:56pm

In Argentina, two new contracts for the RenovAr 2 program were signed for the supply of renewable power, which will be built in the province of Buenos Aires and San Luis. The Biogas Pacuca Bio Energy Thermal Power Plant will be located in the town of Roque Pérez, in the Province of Buenos Aires, and belongs to the company Pacuca SA. It will have a power of 1.00 MW and will generate electricity using the pig slurry as an input.

The Yanquetruz II Extension will be located in the town of Juan Llerena, Province of San Luis, and will be an annex of the CT Yanquetruz project in Ronda 1, which is already in commercial operation. The installed power will be 0.8 MW, and it will use pig manure and corn fodder as feedstock. The project belongs to the company Asociación de Cooperativas Argentinas Limitada.

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Bioethanol producers seek molasses imports approval to meet demand

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 6:55pm

In the Philippines, bioethanol distillers and producers asked the government, Sugar Regulatory Administration which is part of the Department of Agriculture, to allow molasses imports, in order to meet the yearly demand of 500 million liters of bioethanol and help grow the P30-billion bioethanol industry. Currently, they only can reach about 60% of demand because of limited feedstock.

Center for Alcohol Research and Development chairman and Absolut Distillers Inc. chief operating officer Gerardo Tee told the Manila Standard the importation they request would only be temporary while the industry works on improving agricultural production. “The more efficient the farms will be, the more molasses we will have and the more sugarcane. And importing ethanol is not a good idea.  [It is] better to import molasses because it will convert to manufacturing and more labor,” Tee told the Manila Standard.

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Ethanol hits new export record of 1.4B gallons

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 6:53pm

In Washington, D.C., the U.S. Grains Council has been able to help promote corn ethanol sales globally for a new export record in marketing year 2016/2017 of nearly 1.4 billion gallons, by partnering with the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) – and with support from the Market Access Program (MAP) program funds and state check-off contributions.

Calendar year 2017 saw Council ethanol promotion programs in China, Japan, South Korea, Colombia, Peru, Canada, Mexico, India, the Philippines and Taiwan. Additionally, the Council provided public comments and scientific data on numerous foreign countries’ biofuel regulatory framework processes.

As a result of these efforts and the competitiveness of US corn-based ethanol in the marketplace, nearly 1.4 billion gallons of the biofuel (valued at $2.37 billion) were exported worldwide. Top customers included Brazil, Canada, India, the Philippines and China. This export figure beats the previous record of nearly 1.1 billion gallons exported in marketing year 2011/2012, before USGC developed an ethanol program. Additionally, the U.S. market share of total global ethanol exports jumped from 50 percent in 2016 to nearly 65 percent in 2017.

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Trade disruptions impacting soybean, corn and ethanol industries

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 6:53pm

In Iowa, a new study by researchers at the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University reveals the impacts that current trade disruptions are having on Iowa’s economy.

The CARD study calculated that Iowa’s soybean industry faces losing between $159 million and $891 million. The state’s corn industry may lose between $90 million and $579 million. The hog industry faces losing $558 million to $955 million. Ethanol producers are estimated to lose approximately $105 million.

“For farmers, the obvious question is where and how much of your product will you sell this year and next year, and for what price?” said John Crespi, interim director of CARD and professor of economics. “But the harder question is what happens in two, three or 10 years if the trade wars continue? You could find that the U.S. loses so much market share that a decade from now, even if you get rid of the tariffs, the U.S. may be a smaller player.”

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Trump to promise new biofuel blend policy to corn belt states

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 6:52pm

In Washington, D.C., President Trump is likely to announce a new policy soon to allow more ethanol blended gasoline to be sold year-round, according to E&E News sources. Corn and biofuel advocates have been pushing for the allowance of gasoline retailers to sell E15 during the summer months, when fuel demand is at its highest.

The Trump Administration is expected to visit Iowa or Indiana soon to outline an EPA proposal that would issue a Clean Air Act waiver to allow year-round sales of E15 as soon as next summer, according to E&E News.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler could be caught between oil and agriculture industries as a result, esp. with oil companies pushing for an end to RFS. “Any EPA administrator is going to be trying to find a delicate balance between two interests that can’t both be accommodated,” Janet McCabe, who led EPA’s air office at the end of the Obama administration, told E&E News.

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Thai shrimp and algae-based inks: the surprisingly tight link that you never heard of

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 3:05pm

News arrived from Thailand that the Thai Union Feedmill Co., Ltd. will conduct a large-scale shrimp feeding trial using feed formulated with high-protein algae meal derived from Cellana’s EPA Omega-3-enriched algae biomass.   The Union Feedmill is a top producer and distributor of aquatic animal feeds for both domestic and international markets.

It may have surprised some industry observers after news broke last week that Cyanotech is purchasing Cellana’s six-acre production and research facility known as the Kona Demonstration Facility. 

Let’s look into that.

First — no, Cellana is not going away, despite the numerous pivots and challenges we’ve seen in the algae sector. Now that Cellana has its production strain and offtake partners, it’s time to build a plant and husband the limited equity available to the algae industry at the present time towards the construction of the same. 

As Cellana CEO Martin Sabarsky explained to The Digest, “Operating a science facility for $2 million per year or so is something that you would do more to support the industry’s R&D needs rather than directly to support the commercialization of Cellana at this stage. From a Cellana point of view, it is time to fully transition from an R&D company to a commercial company and the capital that we bring in from this point forward will be fully dedicated to our 54-acre commercial-scale facility.”

What’s worth focusing on, here?

What’s interesting about Cellana at this stage is that — aside from the commercial progress towards commercialization that we have elsewhere profiled and recapped below, we have a technology with two high-value products in the EPA oils and in algae-based ink. The algae ventures we’ve seen to date typically have one high-value product paired with one or more bulk products such as protein or fuels. And the volumes coming out of this project — 700-800 tons — are not likely to disturb the high-values available at the moment for inks and EPA oils.

More about ink here and EPA oil here.

The Multi-Slide Guide

You can see the Cellana story in depth in our Multi-Slide Guide, here.

The Cellana commercialization backstory

Based on a new commercial agreement with POS Bio-Sciences, and the company’s relationships with commercial partners Living Ink Technologies and Neste, in May 2018, Cellana signed a term sheet for $27 million of debt-based project financing with an undisclosed project financing partner for a proposed 54-acre commercial algae facility to be located adjacent to KDF. 

More about POS? In April 2018, based on the successful testing and validation of samples of KA32 provided to POS Bio-Sciences compared to other sources of EPA Omega-3 oils, Cellana announced the execution of a letter of intent with POS Bio-Sciences for the joint commercialization of high-value EPA Omega-3 oils from Cellana’s algae biomass. Cellana and POS Bio-Sciences are currently negotiating a definitive, nonexclusive off-take agreement for EPA Omega-3 oils derived from Cellana’s proprietary algae strain KA32.

The 54-acre commercial algae facility is expected to produce 700 to 800 metric tons of KA32 algae (on a dry weight basis) annually with estimated pre-tax cash margins of over 50%, based on the yield, price, and cost estimates provided to the project financing partner. The project financing partner has also indicated the availability of more than $100 million of additional debt-based project financing for subsequent commercial facilities, based on the success of the proposed 54-acre commercial algae facility. 

Cellana’s KA32 strain and ALDUO system

In late 2016, based in part on the yields demonstrated by Cellana and other grant consortium partners such as Arizona State University as part of the Algae Testbed Public-Private Partnership, Cellana’s proprietary algae strain KA32 was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the DOE’s “State of Technology” definition for the photosynthetic algae biomass sector. KA32 is a strain of the genus Nannochloropsis enriched with high-value EPA Omega-3 oils, and the algae meal remaining after extraction of EPA Omega-3 oils has been successfully demonstrated in large-scale animal feed trials and in commercial algae-based ink products sold by Cellana’s partner Living Ink Technologies.

Based on Cellana’s ALDUO process involving proprietary saltwater strains of non-GMO algae, production on non-arable land, and demonstrated ability to use CO2 captured from waste emissions, Cellana’s ReNew Feed algae meal has one of the lowest combined carbon, fresh water, and arable land footprints of any protein source in the world.

The Thai Union Feedmill backstory

Cellana has supplied Thai Union Feedmill with industrial-scale quantities of its ReNew Feed algae meal from its Kona Demonstration Facility, and Thai Union Feedmill will formulate the algae meal along with other conventional shrimp feed ingredients for a large-scale shrimp feeding trial.  

Algal Solutions, LLC will assist Thai Union Feedmill and Cellana in the analysis of the algae meal characteristics and the techno-economics of multi-product, commercial-scale algae biomass facilities in Thailand.

In a paper submitted to the online open-access Nature journal, Scientific Reports, entitled “Marine microalgae improves sustainability of global fisheries and aquaculture,” collaborators from Thai Union Feedmill and Algal Solutions describe a method for saving up to 30% of the world’s fish catch by producing fishmeal and fish oil replacements from microalgae – the natural source of proteins and oils in the marine food web.  This revolutionary technology is commercially viable.

In Thailand alone, which now makes 10% of the world’s unsustainable supply of fishmeal and fish oil, growing marine microalgae on just 1.5% of the land now used to grow oil palms could yield USD 650 million in annual net income on sales of USD 1 billion.  Applied globally, the effect of sustainable microalgae production could alleviate up to 30% of fishing pressure – which would contribute enormously to restoring marine ecosystems.

As the global shrimp aquaculture industry continues to grow annually at a rate of over 4%, the demand for sustainable feed ingredients from microalgae is expected to rise in the future.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Kona Demonstration Facility backstory

As we reported earlier this month,Cellana announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Cellana LLC has signed an Asset Purchase Agreement with Cyanotech Corporation for the sale of Cellana’s six- acre production and research facility known as the Kona Demonstration Facility (KDF). KDF is located adjacent to Cyanotech’s existing 90-acre site at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA). The acquisition includes all existing equipment and other assets necessary to operate the facility.

KDF is located adjacent to Cyanotech’s existing 90-acre site at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA). The acquisition includes all existing equipment and other assets necessary to operate the facility.

Over the past seven years, Cellana has directed over $30 million of investment, collaborative funding, and grant funding into developing and validating its ReNew Algae platform of high-value, non-GMO algae strains rich in Omega-3 nutritional oils, proteins, pigments, polysaccharides, and fuel-grade oils. 

During this time, Cellana produced over 10,000 kilograms of ReNew Algae at KDF in Hawaii for processing and testing of multiple high-value and high-volume biomass components, including multi-ton quantities of its leading commercial algae strain KA32.

What does it all mean? It means that Cellana has burned its boats, so to speak, in terms of continuing as a R&D entityt. Schools out, time for the commercial scale facility. Having worked up a strain, the ALDUO system and the debt — what remains is the equity component. That’s where those two high-value — and de-risking — products come in. Will Cellana climb the mountain? Everyone hopes so, and we don’t have to wait long to find out, now.

Reaction from Cellana

Mr. Rittirong Boonmechote, President of Thai Union Feedmill, stated, “Thai Union Feedmill is always in search for advanced technologies that can help improve the sustainability of marine ecosystems.  We would like to be the leader of change by developing new algae biomass that could potentially be a fishmeal replacement as well as an agent to enhance our aquatic feed products.  With a successful result of the first trial with Cellana’s algae meal, we are excited to move forward into the second trial to evaluate the viability of commercial-scale production.”

Martin Sabarsky, Chief Executive Officer of Cellana, said, “We look forward to the results from this second shrimp feeding trial with Thai Union Feedmill, which builds on the success of an earlier trial with Cellana’s algae meal.  The current trial involves even larger amounts of Cellana’s algae meal as well as a commercial-scale feed formulation process, and the results will inform our ongoing evaluation of the opportunities for commercial-scale deployment of multi-product algae biomass facilities in Thailand in cooperation with Thai Union Feedmill.”

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Nebraska to conduct E30 pilot program in state vehicles

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 7:25pm

In Nebraska, Governor Pete Ricketts and state agencies will start a new pilot program in the coming weeks now that the Environmental Protection Agency approved the project requested by the State of Nebraska to study the use of higher ethanol blends. In the pilot program, the state will study the use of E-30 in state-owned conventional vehicles.

The pilot program will assess the effects of E-15 and E-30 blends on “vehicle performance, fuel economy, and emissions control systems” in state-owned vehicles.  The fuel used in the pilot program will be supplied by Nebraska ethanol companies.

“This demonstration program is designed to evaluate the use of an E-30 ethanol blend in conventional vehicles compared to the same type vehicles operating on E-10 and E-15 blends,” said Sarah Caswell, Administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board.  “Fuel cost per mile, performance, maintenance and other factors will be included as a part of the project.  Several engineering consultants from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will help provide technical expertise during the duration of the project.  Approximately 50 vehicles will be involved in the demonstration program.  In addition to state fueling sites, six Nebraska fuel marketers have agreed to provide access to E-30 at fueling sites in the state.”

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Fines coming for companies that fail to distribute B20

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 7:24pm

In Indonesia, Economic Coordinating Minister Darmin Nasution threatened companies who don’t distribute a 20% blended biodiesel, or B20, with fines. The mandatory biodiesel blend came into force on September 1st. The threat came during a coordination meeting that was to discuss the implementation of the policy and Darmin said the fine would be imposed on any companies that fail to implement provisions stipulated in the regulation, whether they were a natural oil fuel company or a vegetable fuel company, according to The Jarkarta Post.

During the meeting, Darmin admitted the program had some challenges like the slow distribution process, but said that he expects it to improve soon. Darmin also told The Jakarta Post that relevant ministers planned to have another coordination meeting on Thursday to evaluate companies who had not distributed the B20. “We will summon all the companies so that we can evaluate the data,” Darmin told The Jakarta Post.

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Verbio posts record biodiesel production for 2017/18

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 7:23pm

In Germany, VERBIO Vereinigte BioEnergie AG posted a 5.6% decline in group sales revenue over the previous year due to lower prices for bioethanol and biodiesel, but exceeded record levels of biodiesel production set in the previous year. Biodiesel production amounted to 476,211 tons (2017/2018: 473,382 tons). Revenues in the Biodiesel segment in the financial year 2017/2018 amounted to EUR 456.8 million (2016/2017: EUR 471.6 million). Production capacity utilization was 101 percent.

The Bioethanol segment generated revenues of EUR 219.1 million in 2017/2018 (2016/2017: EUR 245.2 million) but production was not able to match the record levels in the previous year, with a total production volume of 246,300 tonnes (2016/2017: 248,755 tonnes). The production of biomethane increased by 8.8 percent to 608 GWh (2016/2017: 559 GWh).

In addition to making further investment in the expansion of sterol production, VERBIO concentrated on expanding and optimising the existing biomethane plants – with a focus on the straw biomethane technology which is key for entering new markets in Asia and the USA. The new straw biomethane plant at Pinnow is currently close to being brought into use.

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$1M NextGen Cup Challenge opens Oct 9

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 7:22pm

In California, OpenIDEO, part of IDEO’s open innovation practice, is launching the $1 million NextGen Cup Challenge on October 9, 2018 as a way to identify and commercialize existing and future solutions for the single-use, hot and cold fiber cup system. The Challenge, managed by Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy, is the first phase of a multi-year, multi-industry global consortium called NextGen Consortium that aims to accelerate the design, commercialization, and recovery of packaging alternatives. The consortium includes founding members Starbucks and McDonald’s. The Coca-Cola Company and Yum! Brands support the Consortium and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is an advisory partner. OpenIDEO is the Consortium’s open innovation partner.

Idea submissions are open October 9 – November 16, 2018. Top Ideas will receive a portion of $1 million in funding based on key milestones. Up to six of the most promising winners will receive the option to advance to a business accelerator program.

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August biodiesel sales more than double on year in UK

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 7:21pm

In the United Kingdom, S&P Global Platts reports that biodiesel sales in the UK hit a record high in August of 133 million liters, up 14% on the month and more than doubling on the year, according to customs data. Ethanol sales also reached the highest so far this year at 67 million liters, up 3.1% on the month and 4.7% on the year.

Biofuel consumption far outperformed the equivalent fossil fuel consumption. Diesel demand was unchanged on the month and up 1.9% on the year to 2.575 billion liters, bringing the August biodiesel incorporation rate to 5.2%, from 4.5% in July and 2.5% the previous year.

So far this year, biodiesel consumption totaled 736 million liters, an increase of 58% compared with the same period in 2017.

For 2018, S&P Global Platts Analytics expects biodiesel sales in the UK to increase to 812 million liters from 687.50 million liters in 2017, while ethanol sales are expected to increase to 760 million liters, from 753 million liters last year, despite the closure of the Vivergo plant. Both are expected to be supported by the rise of the biofuels mandate to 7.25% in April, from 4.75%.

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Biofuel ignites during lab experiment

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 7:19pm

In Oklahoma, a chemical being dried in an oven during a biofuel lab experiment by an Oklahoma University student at Sarkeys Energy Center caught fire, making it the second biofuel fire this week reported by The Digest after a Logistec biofuel facility had wood pellets catch fire. The student placed chemical called tetrahydrofuran in an oven to dry and somehow caught fire, though neither the student nore the fire marshal was sure what caused it to ignite, other than a possibility of a notebook close to the hood of the oven.

The building was temporarily evacuated, no one was injured, and damage was contained to the oven, surrounding walls and a glass window that cracked from the high temperature. The chemical that the student was using for the experiment emits carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, so firefighters monitored carbon monoxide levels until they reached zero, according to OU Daily.

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MSU researchers harness algae and fungi to create new biofuel system

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 7:18pm

In Michigan, Michigan State University scientists found a solution using two species of marine algae and soil fungi to enhance oil production and harvest using what many consider sea sludge. The new proof of concept is a biofuel production platform that lowers cultivation and harvesting costs and increases productivity.

The species of alga, Nannochloropsis oceanica, and fungus, Mortierella elongata, both produce oils that can be harvested for human use; for example, they are components in products like biofuels that power cars, and in omega-3 fatty acids that benefit heart health.

When scientists place the two organisms in the same environment, the tiny algae attach to the fungi to form big masses that are visible to the naked eye. This aggregation method is called bio-flocculation. When harvested together, the organisms yield more oil than if they were cultivated and harvested each on their own.

The new approach feeds the algae with ammonium, one source of nitrogen that algae can quickly use for growth. However, the ammonium supply is controlled so the algae produce the maximum cell density and automatically enter nitrogen starvation. The closely monitored nitrogen diet can increase oil production and lower costs.

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RFA testifies at EPA/NHTSA’s 3rd and final hearing on fuel economy proposal

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 7:17pm

In Pennsylvania, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration held the third and final public hearing on their joint proposal for 2021-2026 fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards, at which the Renewable Fuels Association Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis testified. Davis said that “a high-octane, low-carbon fuel containing 20-40% ethanol used in optimized engines would be the lowest cost means of achieving compliance with fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for model year 2021-2026 and beyond,” according to the RFA.

“Research by the Department of Energy and others has demonstrated that ethanol is an ideal source of octane for such high-octane fuel blends,” Davis said. “A high-octane fuel (98-100 RON) could be produced today simply by blending 25-30% ethanol with existing gasoline blendstocks. However, due to the inertia of fuel and vehicle markets, this transition will not occur on its own. Action by the EPA is necessary to catalyze the development and introduction of high octane low carbon fuels into the consumer market, just as EPA action was required to eliminate lead, limit benzene, and reduce the sulfur content of our gasoline and diesel fuel,” she testified.

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Living interactive surfaces, color-changing biomaterials, California’s climate satellite; iPhones add bioplastic; hemp manufacturing, amino acids from wood The Digest’s Top 10 Innovations for the week of September 27th

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 3:12pm

The pace of bioeconomy invention and change continues at a frenetic pace. Here are the top innovations for the week of September 27th.

In today’s Digest, a new engineered surface with living interactive properties; motion-activated, color-changing biomaterials; California’s climate satellite; iPhones add bioplastic; hemp manufacturing; farm nutrient mapping; and making amino acids from wood — these and more, ready for you now at The Digest online.

#1 New biomaterial uses bacteria and synthetic biology

In Virginia, researchers from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and Pennsylvania-based Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh University created a new biomaterial that incorporates living bacterial constituents that interact with their environment using engineered surface display.

Their work can serve as an enabling technology for biomaterial synthesis and assembly. By engineering living cells that can sense, respond, and draw molecules from the local environment as the building blocks for a biomaterial, they experimentally validated a strategy for material formation using surface-displayed synthetic biology. Also, by exploiting synthetic gene constructs that enable cytosolic sensing and surface-display-based material formation, they have shown how synthetic biology may leverage spatial compartmentalization for discrete functions in the same cell. They envision their living biomaterial being used in a range of applications from biomaterial formation to biomolecule sequestration.

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North Dakota straw to fuel California cars with NewEnergyBlue’s groundbreaking

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 09/25/2018 - 6:14pm

In Massachusetts, NewEnergyBlue is about six months away from breaking ground on a renewable fuel refinery that is forecast to turn 280,000 tons of North Dakota wheat straw into 16-million gallons a year of some of the lowest carbon auto fuel selling in California. The refinery is expected to produce not only cellulosic ethanol capable of exceeding California’s rigorous air-quality standards, but also clean lignin—without using any fresh water in our designed process.

“It’s no secret that clean energy producers covet the state’s monster fuel market,” says Thomas Corle, Blue’s CEO. “Carbon is the California regulator’s primary yardstick. The policy goal of the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard is shrinking greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by reducing fossil carbons in transportation fuels. Traditional grain ethanol is rated 20%-30% below the carbon baseline of gasoline. But with our process design, cellulosic ethanol can achieve 130% below gasoline’s baseline. The project gets paid on every ton of fossil carbon saved.”

Stephan Rogers, President of NewEnergyBlue and former head of Qteros, said, “We expect to finalize the $170 million financing and are shooting for steel in the ground by spring 2019.”

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Boskalis to use biofuel blend on wind farm project

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 09/25/2018 - 6:13pm

In the Netherlands, Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) will use a biofuel blend on the Borssele Renewable Energy project to install the export cable to the Borssele offshore wind farm resulting in a more sustainable realization of this renewable energy project. The Borssele Alpha project is being executed on behalf of TenneT and is aimed at connecting the Borssele offshore grid with the Dutch high-voltage grid. During this project Boskalis will run its vessels on a biofuel blend of up to 30%. As of last week, the large trailing suction hopper dredger Prins der Nederlanden is powered by a biofuel blend resulting in a substantial CO2 reduction.

Using biofuel is one aspect of the ‘Boskalis on Bio’ program, for which the company recently signed a long-term partnership with biofuel supplier GoodFuels. The program is aimed at achieving a 35% reduction in the CO2 emitted by the Boskalis fleet and equipment in the Netherlands in the next five years. Various sea trials conducted by Boskalis have shown that sustainable biofuels lead to an impressive reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 90% compared to fossil fuels, and are also much more effective than alternatives such as liquefied natural gas (LNG).

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United Airlines first U.S. airline to pledge GHG emissions reduction by 50% by 2050

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 09/25/2018 - 6:11pm

In California, United Airlines became the first U.S. airline to publicly commit to reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050, which represents the equivalent of removing 4.5 million vehicles from the road each year, or the total number of cars in Los Angeles and New York City combined. The airline will continue to invest in the company’s ongoing environmental initiatives to support this commitment, including expanding the use of more sustainable aviation biofuels, welcoming newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft into its fleet and implementing further operational changes to better conserve fuel.

“At United, we believe there is no point in setting challenging and ambitious goals without also taking tangible steps towards achieving them, especially when it comes to securing the health of our communities and our planet,” said Oscar Munoz, United’s chief executive officer. “While we’re proud to be first U.S. carrier taking such an ambitious step, it is a distinction we look forward to sharing as the rest of the industry catches up and makes similar commitments to sustainability.”

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School toilets power school kitchens via biogas

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 09/25/2018 - 6:10pm

In Rwanda, more than 80 schools are using biogas derived from the methane emitted from the school’s latrines to cook their meals. The schools also uses methane from dairy cows and use pipes to carry the methane into school kitchens as well as underground biogas digesters and bacteria that converts the solid waste into fertilizer. This is also saving schools’ money since they used to pay for a septic truck to remove the waste and were paying for firewood to cook their meals.

Rwanda’s government paid for and built the biogas system as part of their initiative to curb deforestation from firewood and charcoal for cooking. The schools pays for minor maintenance of the biogas system.

“By promoting alternative cooking energy, the government of Rwanda hopes to halve the dependence on biomass,” or energy from plants and plant materials, “as the main source of cooking energy by 2024,” said Oreste Niyonsaba, manager of social energies at the Energy Development Corp., the government agency leading efforts to promote alternative fuels.

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Government subsidies available for biogas plants

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 09/25/2018 - 6:10pm

In India, the state of Rajasthan is giving subsidies of about 1/3 to ¼ of the cost for constructing a biogas plant in rural areas to reach a target of 3,700 households to meet the requirements under the country’s National Biogas Policy that came into force on May 30. The goal is to help households where cow manure is easily available to set up biogas systems. Each state needs to reach their target by March 2019. The government will be able to geotag each biogas plant to track whether it is still working or whether it was shut down after receiving the government subsidies, according to Times of India.

The Biofuel Authority of Rajasthan will be implementing the scheme and Deputy CEO, Maninder Singh, told Times of India, “This is a government of India drive for green energy. We are connecting it with the technology available to make it more transparent. We are collaborating with different stakeholders working in the state to get help in the implementation of this policy. Though the target is 3,700 but we have asked the officers to perform quality work instead of focusing on quantity.”

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