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Canada slows down Clean Fuel Standard ambitions

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 07/26/2018 - 12:57pm

In Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada recognizes the need for additional time to work with interested parties to conduct robust technical and economic analysis to ensure that the Clean Fuel Standard achieves its goal while maintaining Canadian competitiveness.

As a result, ECCC is adjusting its timelines for the development of the Clean Fuel Standard. The revised timelines will allow the standard to support the transition to lower-carbon fuels while maintaining Canada’s competitiveness, encouraging growth in Canada’s low-carbon fuels industry and creating new economic opportunities across the country.

The revised approach starts with the development of the standards for liquid fuels, followed by gaseous and solid fuels together. The new timelines are:

  • for liquid fuels:  publish proposed regulations in spring 2019 and final regulations in 2020, with requirements coming into force by 2022
  • for gaseous and solid fuels:  publish proposed regulations in fall 2020, final regulations in 2021 with requirements coming into force by 2023

In fall 2018, ECCC plans to publish two documents to guide further engagement on the design of the standard:

  • a regulatory design paper that will provide more information about the design of the policy, including the proposed allocation of the overall 30-million-tonne target among the three fuel streams.
  • a cost-benefit analysis framework outlining the proposed analytical approach (models, data and key assumptions) for assessing the costs and benefits of implementation of the Clean Fuel Standard for the liquids stream.
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Ethanol production soars thanks to increased exports and margins

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 07/26/2018 - 12:55pm

In Washington, Platts reports that Energy Information Agency data shows ethanol production rose to the highest level seen since December last week at 1.074 million barrels per day, likely as a result of the highest margins seen since early this year. Exports continue to draw down stocks in the Gulf Coast region, helping to reduce stocks overall on the week despite the ramp up in production. Nationwide stocks were 21.653 million barrels, down 115,000 barrels, while Gulf Coast stocks were 4.281 million barrels, down 370,000 barrels on the week.

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Lancaster University say little room for biofuels in a food secure future

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 07/26/2018 - 12:54pm

In the UK, researchers from Lancaster University have analyzed global and regional food supplies to reveal the flows of calories, protein and vital micro-nutrients from production through to human consumption, in a study published in Elementa, Science of the Anthropocene. Combining data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with food nutrient data, and information on animal grazing and on human nutritional need, they explore whether we could feed a growing population with the food we already produce.

The analysis shows little scope for biofuel production, according to Professor Mike Berners-Lee, of the University’s Institute for Social Futures, and director of Small World Consulting, which is based within the Lancaster Environment Centre. He said: “Currently, 16% of crops available for eating are diverted to non-food uses, mainly biofuel. Increasing market pressures for biofuels could further stress the global food system.”

The research does not take account of crop yield changes such as those that may result from new technologies, land use or demographic changes, farming practices or climate change, but simply keeps crop yields at 2013 levels.

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House Energy and Commerce Committee talks RINs

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 07/26/2018 - 12:52pm

In Washington, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held its fifth hearing on the Renewable Fuels Standard on Wednesday, focusing this time on educating members about RINs. The chairman of the committee said many of the members don’t understand RINs, so wanted an educational meeting to get them up to speed due to the importance RINs have on fuel prices and consumers.

The most effective way to reduce the prices American consumers are paying at the pump is to let Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) do the job they were intended to do by stimulating increased ethanol production and blending, the Renewable Fuels Association wrote in a letter the committee and its ranking members.

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EPA approves sorghum pathways for biofuel

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 6:33pm

In Washington, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a final notice approving a variety of pathways for renewable fuel derived from sorghum, including biodiesel. EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed the final pathway alongside Sens. Jerry Moran and Deb Fisher, Rep. Roger Marshall, the National Sorghum Producers, and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The newly approved pathways include biodiesel, heating oil, jet fuel, heating oil, and liquified petroleum gas produced from sorghum oil, a by-product of ethanol produced from using grain sorghum as a primary feedstock. These pathways meet the greenhouse gas emissions reductions requirements to qualify to generate credits or Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) for biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels under the RFS program.

This new feedstock is estimated to produce around 21 million gallons providing flexibility in meeting volume standards of the RFS program. It also adds diversity to the biofuel mix in the country.

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Avril back to producing biodiesel at 100% capacity for at least two months

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 6:32pm

In France, Reuters reports that Avril has been able to run at full production capacity since June thanks to increased demand and will continue to for another two months, but it plans to scale back down to running at half capacity for the next six months as it waits to see what the European Commission will do about Argentine imports. In September the EU might rules to apply new import duties on Argentina that could further support demand and higher running rates of production.

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BBGI will invest $46.6 million in boosting Thai ethanol and biodiesel production

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 6:31pm

In Thailand, BBGI will invest $46.6 million to boost daily ethanol production capacity to 800,000 liters from the current 500,000 liters, with an eye on future expansion to 1 million liters per day, while boosting biodiesel production to 1 million liters per day from the current 930,000 liters. The company’s CEO said the expansion plans will come through partnership rather than investment in machinery, but didn’t elaborate, indicating that policy shifts that will increase demand as well as deregulate feedstocks allowing the use of molasses were key.

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India will only allow grain unfit for human consumption for biofuel feedstock

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 6:31pm

In India, the oil minister assured the parliament that only grains unfit for human consumption would be allowed on a conditional basis to be used as feedstock for ethanol production in an attempt to quell concerns that deregulation of feedstock allowing grains would potentially negatively impact food security. He said the policy deregulation was to help sugarcane mills use cane juice in addition to molasses to help ease the cash crunch but that using damaged grains will also help farmers who would otherwise have limited, low value markets for their products.

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Indonesia developing 100% palm oil drop in fuel

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 6:30pm

In Indonesia, in an interview with the industry minister, Reuters reports that the country is offering incentives to developers of drop-in diesel made from 100% palm oil and has already identified a process that will be ready to go commercial in three years. He said the prototype HVO fuel developed by Elevance Renewable Sciences and Wilmar International doesn’t have the same challenges FAME does at higher blends. The minister said the country’s biodiesel program has already reduced its fossil fuel import bill by $21 million per day.

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Alberta investing up to C$70 million for green energy and biotech challenge

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 6:28pm

In Canada, the Alberta government and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) are encouraging biotechnology, electricity and sustainable transportation innovators to develop new clean-technology projects to cut their energy costs, while reducing greenhouse gases.

Up to C$70 million is available through the Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) Biotechnology, Electricity and Sustainable Transportation (BEST) Challenge. The challenge will help attract new investment, create jobs, cut energy costs, deliver improved environmental outcomes and build a more diversified economy.

ERA’s BEST Challenge is open to technology developers, industry, industrial associations, small and medium-sized enterprises, research and development organizations, post-secondary institutions, municipalities, not-for-profit organizations, government research labs and individuals. Collaboration and engagement with Alberta’s post-secondary and research institutions is encouraged.

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Argonne Lab researchers develop two-faced membranes for industrial use

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 6:27pm

In Illinois, named for the mythical god with two faces, Janus membranes — double-sided membranes that serve as gatekeepers between two substances — have emerged as a material with potential industrial uses. Creating two distinct “faces” on these delicate surfaces, however, is a process fraught with challenges.

By applying a common high-tech manufacturing technique in an uncommon way, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a new way to chemically deposit a second face, resulting in Janus membranes that are more robust and precisely structured than previous incarnations. Recently described in an article in Advanced Materials Interfaces, the patent pending technology could help optimize or enable a wide range of industrial processes, from treating wastewater to making biofuels.

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Acting EPA administrator to continue on Pruitt’s path with RFS reform

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 6:26pm

In Washington, Reuters reports that the acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency will continue with reforms of the Renewable Fuel Standard unpopular with the biofuel industry including RIN generation from ethanol exports. He said he was open to some of the changes sought by the biofuels industry but will require compromise as well. Year-round E15 is still on the table, however, as well as assigning greater RIN compliance to some refiners in exchange for those waived for smaller refiners.

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When Markets Misbehave, Send the Marines! (World governments get a case of bioeconomy interventionitis)

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 4:50pm

The European Court of Justice has ruled that organisms altered via genome editing are GMOs and subject to GMO regulation in Europe, including warning labels for foods.  

And in the US, President Trump announced $12 billion in relief for farmers impacted by the Administration’s trade policies in a move that was sharply criticized by Republican farm-state lawmakers, and US conservatives. As Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips acidly observed, “The US is essentially borrowing from China to offset the costs of tariffs imposed by China. It doesn’t get more Washington than that.”

Meanwhile, Acting EPA Administration Andrew Wheeler announced an expanded set of approved pathways for sorghum as a biobased feedstock under the Renewable Fuel Standard. And isobutanol got a push from EPA, too.

In short, central governments are intervening with force in the bioeconomy again. Let’s look at the action on both sides of the Atlantic, and the reaction.

The European ruling on gene editing: Nature good, people bad

In a ruling, the European Court of Justice said it “takes the view, first of all, that organisms obtained by mutagenesis are GMOs within the meaning of the GMO Directive”. 

What  does “mutagenesis” cover?  ECJ Advocate General Michal Bobek found in January that “an organism obtained by mutagenesis can be a GMO if it fulfills the substantive criteria laid down in the GMO Directive. A Directive does not require the insertion of foreign DNA in an organism in order for the latter to be characterized as a GMO, but merely says that the genetic material has been altered in such a way that does not occur naturally.”

The court’s ruling upends an opinion released in January that “The Directive does not, however, apply to organisms obtained through certain techniques of genetic modification, such as mutagenesis. And that organisms obtained by mutagenesis are, in principle, exempted from the obligations in the Genetically Modified Organisms Directive.

The EU’s GMO Directive regulates the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms and their placing on the market within the EU. In particular, the organisms covered by that Directive must be authorized after an environmental risk assessment. They are also subject to traceability, labelling and monitoring obligations. 

EuropaBio’s Secretary General John Brennan highlighted industry’s concerns about the judgement. He warned that in the absence of improved legal clarity in this area, Europe could miss out on significant benefits of certain applications of genome editing.

“In addition to providing consumer and environmental benefits, such as enhanced nutrition, improved health or a more circular economy, innovations made possible by genome editing hold enormous promise to keep Europe at the forefront of socio-economic development, continuing to generate jobs and growth in the EU. Unfortunately, this court ruling, which is inconsistent with the Advocate General’s Opinion published in January, does not provide the necessary regulatory clarity needed by EU researchers, academics and innovators.”

The Farm Aid program, financed by bonds sold to China, to mitigate economic damage caused by…China

In Washington, the Trump Administration announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has crafted a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers impacted by Trump Administration’s tariff policy. Specifically, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated $11 billion impact of the unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods. These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet the costs of disrupted markets.

The legion of critics said that the Administration should be working harder to open markets, rather than erecting barriers that led to trade partner retaliation against US agriculture.

“This is a short-term solution to allow President Trump time to work on long-term trade deals to benefit agriculture and the entire U.S. economy,” Secretary Perdue said.

USDA will use the following programs to assist farmers:

• The Market Facilitation Program, authorized under The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and administered by Farm Service Agency (FSA), will provide payments incrementally to producers of soybeans, sorghum, corn, wheat, cotton, dairy, and hogs. This support will help farmers manage disrupted markets, deal with surplus commodities, and expand and develop new markets at home and abroad.

• Additionally, USDA will use CCC Charter Act and other authorities to implement a Food Purchase and Distribution Program through the Agricultural Marketing Service to purchase unexpected surplus of affected commodities such as fruits, nuts, rice, legumes, beef, pork and milk for distribution to food banks and other nutrition programs.

• Finally, the CCC will use its Charter Act authority for a Trade Promotion Program administered by the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) in conjunction with the private sector to assist in developing new export markets for our farm products.

Reaction from farm state Republican lawmakers was hostile.

Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina: “It can’t just be about agriculture”.

Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska: “America’s farmers don’t want to be paid to lose — they want to win by feeding the world,” Sasse said in a statement. “This administration’s tariffs and bailouts aren’t going to make America great again — they’re just going to make it 1929 again.”

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin: “This is becoming more and more like a Soviet-type of economy here: Commissars deciding who’s going to be granted waivers, commissars in the administration figuring out how they’re going to sprinkle around benefits. I’m very exasperated. This is serious.”

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds: “The $12 billion in farm aid announced today will provide a short-term fix, but it’s not a long-term solution. Nobody wins in a trade war.”

Senator John Thune of South Dakota: ”It’s a Band-Aid. It’s a short-term solution and it doesn’t solve any of the problems agriculture has got right now. I appreciate the fact that they realize the farmers are being hurt by this, but this is not the right remedy.”

After 10,000years in cultivation, EPA says sorghum is OK for bioenergy

In Washington, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved a variety of pathways for renewable fuel derived from sorghum, including biodiesel. EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed the final pathway alongside Sens. Jerry Moran and Deb Fisher, Rep. Roger Marshall, the National Sorghum Producers, and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“Today’s approval sets the stage for more homegrown fuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard and adds diversity to our mix of biofuels in the U.S.,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This is a win for American sorghum farmers and biofuel producers alike.”

“USDA welcomes this decision by EPA that biofuel made from sorghum oil qualifies for advanced biofuel and biomass-based diesel designation under the RFS,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “This decision recognizes the environmental benefits of home-grown renewable energy and will create new markets for agricultural commodities.”

“Kansas farmers are hurting – low commodity prices and falling farm revenue have made it increasingly difficult for producers to make ends meet,” said Senator Jerry Moran (KS). “Approving the pathway is long past due, and I applaud Administrator Wheeler for acting quickly to finalize the pathway after assuming leadership of the agency. It is critical for EPA to recognize the challenges faced by farmers and ranchers and to make certain it pursues biofuel policies that will benefit rural America.”

“More and more farmers are growing sorghum in Nebraska, and it’s an important commodity in our state. EPA’s approval of a sorghum oil fuel pathway under the RFS is good news for Nebraska ag producers and rural America. I look forward to continuing to work with the administration to provide opportunities for Nebraska farmers,” said Senator Deb Fischer (NE).

Yes, 16% isobutanol fuel blends are not only OK, they’re officially OK

In June we reported that the Environmental Protection Agency announced the approval of isobutanol at a 16% blend level in gasoline for on-road use in automobiles.  Previous to this isobutanol had been approved for on-road use up to a 12.5% blend.

On the expansion of isobutanol blend levels, Sam Nejame wrote this for the Digest this week:

Last month, when EPA announced it had approved higher iso-butanol content in gasoline blends, you’d be forgiven for not paying much attention. But then GEVO’s stock popped 700% over a few spicy days.  That got traders and all those numbers guys chattering as if GEVO was the latest crypto-chit. 

I’m not going to recount all the physical and economic benefits butanol has over ethanol.  That’s a story too many times told elsewhere under brighter skies. But the truth is large scale production of butanol has the potential to disrupt many markets, some obvious others less so.  If implemented it could drastically increase corn production and spur construction of new plants along with the retrofitting of existing ethanol plants.  Refiners would be able to blend and retake margins (and RINs) long lost to fuel distributors/retailers.  In many parts of the country refiners could avoid expensive reformulated blendstock for oxygen blending and simultaneously utilize inexpensive heavier natural gas liquids from midstream suppliers. In the US, the largest blenders of butanol fuel oxygenate would likely include: Valero, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, BP, Marathon Petroleum, Chevron and Sunoco.

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$200 oil in 2020? The impending energy crisis and biofuels’ role in relieving the refining capacity crunch

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 07/24/2018 - 4:07pm

“The global economy likely faces an economic crash of horrible proportions in 2020, not for want of a nail but want of low-sulfur diesel fuel,” writes renowned energy analyst Phil Verlager in a note this month titled “$200 Crude, the Economic Crisis of 2020, and Policies to Prevent Catastrophe”. Not good timing for a White House re-election effort if, as expected, the blame falls on lack of preparedness in the 2017-2020 run-up to the projected crisis..

It’s a dire scenario but there’s hard data behind it, and though few go as far as Verleger, almost every expert is warning of a low-sulphur diesel; refining capacity crunch. You can read the Verleger note in full here.

The root cause? A rule agreed by the  International Maritime Organization in 2008 and confirmed in 2016 to reduce sulphur content in marine fuels from 3.5 percent to 0.5 percent beginning in January 2020.

The proximate cause? Neither shipping owners nor oil refiners found a way to comply either through fuel-switching, crude-switching to bring in less sulphur-laden “sour” crudes, or to add enough refinery equipment to remove sulphur.

What’s driving prices? The need to ncrease ULS diesel supply, as this Verleger chart analyzed.

As the National Biodiesel Board’s Technical Director Scott Fenwick told The Digest:

The IMO (International Maritime Organization) has set new sulfur specifications for all marine fuels to not exceed 0.50% sulfur by the year 2020.  Right now, vessels are able to use high sulfur fuels in international waters but must use the same fuels within coastal waters (up to 200 mile radius) in what are called ECA (Emission Control Areas).  Typically, marine vessels use the dirtiest fuels available.  In order for ships to meet these new criteria, significant amounts of ULSD (ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel) will be need to be used for blending or in place of typical marine fuels.  Biodiesel is another option for blending.

NEXANT’s Ron Cascone added:

Instead of “playing checkers” with refinery modifications or scrubbers for a short term fix, we should be “playing chess” with low-sulfur, low NOx, and low-carbon solutions like biofuels or  methanol, LNG,  or DME, which can be bio-based. The stakeholders needing to examine strategies in this area include, besides the refiners, fuel brokers, and ship owners, also companies that use ocean shipping (that is, nearly all manufacturers, retailers, etc.)  and have commitments to lowering carbon footprint  (that is, many companies).

Why were refiners and shipping companies caught flatfooted?

There was an expectation that everyone would kick the can down the road, and extend the deadline to 2022. But the deadline was not extended.

Why can’t the US and others simply frack their way out of a supply problem, as in the past?

It’s not something you can frack your way out of. It’s not only about crude inventories but about low-sulphur refining capacity.

Tough timing for a shortage

The shift in demand — 2 million barrels per day — comes at a time when global diesel demand for road transport and other uses is on the rise. The resulting shortage of low-sulphur diesel leads to the bid-up in “light sweet” crudes and a shift to producing more diesel and less gasoline from those crudes — and the price increase that facilitates this supply and demand shift is in the $160 to $200 range. Enough to tip the global economy into recession or depression, says Verlager.

As Verlager points out, there’s already a world commodity except perhaps wine that has so much variance, and especially so in sulphur content. As Verlager notes, “the diesel fuel produced from Nigeria’s best crude oil has a sulfur content of 0.13 percent when refined, while the diesel refined from Middle East light crude oil, one of the most common crudes, contains 0.53 percent. The Arab Heavy crude that generally upticks in supply to meet demand increases contains between 1.8 and two percent sulfur. Shale oil from fracking operations is loaded with sulphur — so it is not a case where fracking operations will necessarily save the day.

So, the swing producer necessary to moderate prices when demand shifts is going to be hard to find, despite the fact that, as Verlager notes, “the public-health arguments for the IMO 2020 rule are incontestable and compelling,” and the refiners and shipping owners have had 12 years to make ready.

The impact?

Verlager writes: “The crude price rise will send all product prices higher. Diesel prices will lead, but gasoline and jet fuel will follow. US consumers could pay as much as $6 per gallon for gasoline and $8 or $9 per gallon for diesel fuel.”

Verleger included this striking analysis of the short-term impacts of marine diesel rule changes, compared to other oil price events from history.

Will compliance be forgotten? Can the world simply embrace sulphur-laden marine fuel forever?

IMO’s secretary-general Kitack Lim told Platts recently: “At this point, the regulation which brings into force the 0.5% limit in sulfur in fuel oil from January 1, 2020 cannot be changed from a legal perspective, so there is no possibility of delay.” As far as individual countries simply ignoring the requirements for operating with low-sulphur fuels, it’s worth noting that the predictions for $200 oil do not relate to low-sulphur oil, but all oil.

Mitigation steps that might be taken

There are several options, although installing equipment faster at global refineries does not appear to be one of them. Fuel-switching to liquid natural gas is one. Adding sulphur-scrubbing equipment to ships is another (unlikely). Re-visiting the rule is a third, and very unlikely — the IMO recently voted 171-3 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The US could release light sweet crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Non-compliance is a risky option — shippers that violate the rule are likely to have their insurance invalidated, based on recent IMO moves.

The biofuels option: biorefining capacity eases the oil refining strain

As Fenwick told The Digest. “Biodiesel will play a role, whether it is on the ship, or backfilling the low-sulphur road transport volumes that are diverted from traditional oil refineries to serve the new demand for low-sulphur marine fuel.” Already biodiesel and renewable diesel have extended the global refining capacity and fuel supply by 4-4/12 percent. There’s an opportunity to step up here to supply more low-sulphur fuel, and it is estimated that one billion gallons per year could be added to the supply of low-sulphur fuels./

As we reported in March 2017, the International Standards Organization has created the new F class of marine fuels that allows for blending of up to 7% of FAME biodiesel, allowing for more 10 ppm sulfur automotive fossil diesel to be used in the marine fuel pool. Adding Cloud Point and CFPP (Cold Filter Plugging Point) to the specifications are meant to help increase the uptake of biodiesel in marine fuels by letting operators know when fuels need to be heated.

Fenwick commented, “A few years ago there were no grades. Those grades are minimal demand right now as shippers become used to them. I expect they will become significant in the next two years.”

And, there’s renewable diesel. Although production quantities are small, so far, in the context of the global marine trade, $160-$200 per barrel low-sulphur crude prices will shine more attention on sulphur-free biodiesel and renewable diesel. For example, a 7 percent biodiesel blend with Middle East light crude oil (0.53 percent sulphur), brings that fuel into compliance. And there’s reason to cheer on that score. 

An an Exxon Mobil found in a study on marine biodiesel:

The results obtained during the biodiesel trial have shown no negative impacts. Biodiesel has been used for many years in similar engines in land-based applications with no adverse effects. Biodiesel blends (B5 and B7) can be utilized in the marine environment onboard a properly operated and maintained vessel with a diesel engine. As with any fuel, proper storage and handling are key in maintaining fuel quality to ensure trouble-free operation.

How much excess capacity is available?

The estimates we have received suggest that as much as 1 billion gallons per year in excess capacity is in place around the world — or 65,000 barrels per day. Enough to support 7 percent blends of one million barrels per day. And, when you think about it, global biodiesel and renewable diesel could all be put to use in supporting a transition to low-sulphur fuels — and with as much as 4 billion gallons of capacity, there’s enough to support the 2 million barrels per day volumes that analysts say are needed — at 14 percent blends. That supports compliance via all that Arab Heavy .

Combined with some fuel switching to LNG, and targeting the right crudes for expanded diesel supply — we might find that global recession might well be averted. And, should actions not be taken to bring a supply of biodiesel and renewable diesel into marine fuels — we might find that $9 per gallon US fuel prices might well provide the incentive necessary to re-invigorate the discussions around alternatives.

Who is impacted?

Companies like REG, World Energy, Diamond Green (the Valero-Darling JV), Ensyn, Gevo, Fulcrum BioEnergy, Red Rock Biofuels — all of these are in the conversation when it comes to expanding diesel capacity. And a host of smaller biodiesel producers in the US, across the Americas and in Europe and Asia. Also, think DME – such as Oberon Fuels.

What can Congress do?

Distribution of this Verlager report on Capitol Hill might help. Experts tell us that ‘anything that educates the Congress that petroleum is a global market with a global price is a good thing. Also, the US government might well mandate more biodiesel to make sure those backfilling volumes of ULS diesel is available for road transport.

NBB’s Scott Fenwick observed, “Congress did create the RFS to extend and expand the nation’s refining capacity – and with low carbon, low sulphur technology in mind. They could not have foreseen this particular supply crunch but they did prepare us for a crunch with the RFS

Further reading

Here’s a relatiovely definitive report on the topic from NEXANT:

PERP 2017S7: Technologies to Meet New Bunker Fuel Specifications.

Bio-methanol  is covered, along with other feasible bio-bunkers in Nexant’s recent report, Biorenewable Insights: Biofuels for Land and Sea.  This report presents technoeconomics for a very wide range of land and marine biofuels . The TOC is here and the abstract is here.



Categories: Today's News

POET gets the green light for proposed Indiana biorefinery

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 07/24/2018 - 2:20pm

In Indiana, despite community concerns about having been left in the dark until the last moment in an attempt to keep competitors from catching on too soon, the community of Shelbyville’s planning commission unanimously approved planning permission for the proposed POET ethanol plant contingent on supply of a revised drainage plan. Earth movement can begin immediately while building permits are still in process at state and local level. The facility is expected to pump around $200 million into the local community every year.

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French E10 sales break record again in June at 393,000 cu m

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 07/24/2018 - 2:19pm

In France, Platts reports that an all-time high for E10 sales was set in June at 393,000 cubic m, up more than 12% on the year and up 1.3% from the record set in May. Even though gasoline demand rose, market share for E10 still rose slightly to 41.4% from 41.2% in May. E85 demand is having a hard time getting off the ground, however, with just 14,764 cu m consumed in June, not much changed from May but nearly 41% higher than in June 2017.

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Ubon Bio Ethanol to get more cassava feedstock thanks to bioeconomy scheme

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 07/24/2018 - 2:18pm

In Thailand, the Bangkok Post reports that Ubon Bio Ethanol expects an additional 80,000 metric tons of organic cassava grown on about 20,000 rai to be supplied through outgrowers next year as part of the government’s bioeconomy scheme that aims at boosting family farming income. Already about 20,000 tons from contract farming is expected for this year. In addition to ethanol, the company will be expanding its product offering to include maltodextrin, organic modified starch and pharmaceutical products.

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Indonesia looks to Boeing to help start aviation biofuel industry

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 07/24/2018 - 2:17pm

In Indonesia, the first steps towards an aviation biofuel industry were taken earlier this month when a trade ministry delegation met with senior executives at Boeing to discuss cooperation, including with palm oil-based aviation biofuel. A follow up meeting has been facilitated by the government between Boeing and the national biodiesel producers association to discuss what that collaboration could look like. The country is looking for ways to absorb its palm oil surplus while also reducing reliance on fossil fuel imports.

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Argent Energy buys Amsterdam Biodiesel plant

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 07/24/2018 - 2:16pm

In the Netherlands, Argent Energy Netherlands B.V. has reached an agreement to acquire the biodiesel production, tank storage and cleaning facilities of the Amsterdam-based Simadan Group and expects the deal to be completed by early September. The deal is subject to various conditions being met, including the agreement to the transactions from regulatory authorities. The addition of these facilities represents the first step for Argent Energy replicating its successful business outside the UK where it currently produces biodiesel from waste oils, fats and tallow.

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Philippines sets Q4 ethanol quota 50% higher than in 2017

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 07/24/2018 - 2:14pm

In the Philippines, Platts reports that the country’s Department of Energy has cut the quarterly ethanol quota and monthly allocations for domestic ethanol purchases for Q4 by nearly 10% compared to Q3 at 103,613 cu m. That level is more than 50% higher than in Q4 last year, however. The Q4 allotments will bring the year’s total to 367,686 cu m, more than 22% higher on the year due to increased ethanol production despite flat acreage for sugarcane production and molasses availability.

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