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Financing Bioeconomy Ventures, Pt. 8: Planning for Plant Startup and Operations

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 6:50am

By Charles Loos, Bernard Cooker, and Mindy Collier, Lee Enterprises Consulting
Special to The Digest

To get a new plant started, management must provide the operating staff with training and a full complement of written procedures covering safety, operations, emergencies and environmental compliance. Though the process of defining and creating the necessary training and procedures is well known, management is often blindsided by; 1) The complexity of the task, 2) The limitations of the equipment vendor’s technical information and, 3) How early the task must be started. This article helps owners and managers plan a robust, timely and professional training/procedure program, while avoiding common mistakes.

Training programs and procedures must both rest on several bedrock principles. The foremost is the safety of personnel and equipment. Also fundamental is operating efficiency, in close alignment with plant economics. Operational experience has also shown that starting early, and involving plant personnel, are essential to success.


The word “training” frequently evokes images of droning lectures, stuffy rooms and boring equipment manuals. Nevermore. Imagine instead a spirited presenter with a whiteboard eliciting lively questions and frank discussions. Imagine laughter, tabletop demonstrations and attendees writing their own notes. Picture an audience of not just operators, but laboratory technicians, maintenance staff and administrative personnel. Imagine a program which engages many styles of learning, including hands-on, written word and visual. Picture a program that empowers every employee to say something if their senses detect something awry in the plant. Imagine a training program which inserts safety and a respect for lockout/tagout procedures into the very DNA of the plant.

Classroom Training

This caliber of classroom training is only achieved through proper planning. Reliance on “standard” classroom training from equipment suppliers is a common mistake. In addition to being dull, such training covers only certain pieces of equipment rather than the entire system. The best solution is some combination of 1) Third-party trainers, 2) In-house training by subject-matter experts and, 3) Specifying custom training requirements as part of the equipment purchase orders.

Operators and laboratory technicians also require detailed training which is not appropriate for administrative staff. Such training must cover the very serious subjects of managing transients, emergency shut downs, optimizing operating conditions and truly understanding the process.   Training must also cover regulatory requirements such as air and water discharge permits.

Undesirable though it is, something will eventually go wrong, whether a ruptured pipe, an unbalanced vessel or a separator whining which indicates that something is amiss. Operators who are physically stationed in the processing area, may become accustomed to noises and odors. The concerns of office or laboratory personnel that something does not smell or sound right should never be underestimated. They come from another part of the plant and may notice something that the operator has become desensitized to. One of the authors of this article was frequently called “the nose” for identifying leaks and overheating components.

When the unforeseen strikes, operators, like soldiers, default to their training. Training must include the gritty details; block flow diagrams, corrosion, instrument failure, personal protective equipment (PPE), seal failure, fire and unexpected vibration being examples. Classroom training in safety and compliance procedures is important, since they are integral to everyday operation. Lock Out Tag Out (LOTO) training is essential and can be via video, as well as written material.

Hands-On Training

In addition to classroom training, hands-on training is essential. A classic form requires the student to walk through the process plant with a Piping and Instrumentation Diagram (P&ID) in hand, verifying that every component on the P&ID actually exists in the field. This teaches the student where things are located, their appearance, and the physical arrangement of the system.

Instructor-led plant tours should be interactive. Which student can remember how long a reaction takes in a given vessel, or what is the optimum temperature? The instructor should emphasize the particular concerns, including safety issues, relating to specific unit operations in the process. He should discuss the personnel hazards and the required PPE, discuss the feeds and exit streams from each piece of equipment and talk about internals, troubleshooting, repairs and ordering correct spare parts.

Factory Training

Training courses offered by equipment suppliers can give trainees an inside look at equipment on the factory floor and in the test cell. Under the tutelage of factory representatives, trainees can examine the equipment and review components. Safe operation can often be best demonstrated at the plant. Sometimes a raw material, additive or solvent is employed where important properties and/or safety hazards are best demonstrated on the shop floor.

Ongoing Training, Management of Change

Training should be ongoing; learning continues because processes, equipment and safety protocols frequently change. Ongoing training may include refresher presentations, equipment vendor presentations, and ongoing safety presentations. Training should include communication skills and team building exercises. Management also must provide training for new hires and encourage suggestions for safety improvement and efficiency from the operators and laboratory staff. The Management of Change protocols must be rigorous, describing changes accurately and in detail, reviewing them for safety hazards and identifying means for their elimination, control and mitigation. This entails implementation of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), modification of procedures, engineering controls and documentation through P&ID revision. Training in LOTO, confined space entry and other life critical procedures must be given to operating and maintenance personnel on a periodic basis.

Operating and Maintenance Procedures

Written operating procedures must be developed for everything from equipment operations to break times. This may appear excessive to small businesses, but it provides clarity, direction, safety and definition of the process through which the facility operates, maintaining operational efficiency, regardless of the size of the corporation. It is best to have approved written operating procedures in place, so that all staff work to the same expectations, with the same understanding. Operating procedures can and do change, depending upon needs and events but these changes must be well managed for safety and optimal performance.

Experienced plant operators should help draft the operating procedures, under the guidance of the supervisory staff. This prompts deeper thinking about the hazards, process and equipment which they will deal with. The Operating Procedures should cover start up, steady state, transients, normal shut down and emergency shutdown conditions. All required safety procedures, including use of PPE and emergency equipment operation, should also be included.

Procedures must also cover environmental requirements, notably the specific requirements of the plant air and wastewater permits.   The entire suite of facility permits must be distilled down to a set of requirements for incorporation into the operating procedures. Responsibility to translate these requirements to clear, concise and readable procedures rests with management.   Typical permit requirements include sampling, emissions limits, data archiving, incident reporting and routine reporting.

It is wise to have the unit operating procedures printed and in a binder, making them independent of electrical power, and also accessible on all control screens. The binder must never leave the site and preferably never leave the control room.

Procedure Readability

Procedures, like training, are often verbose, dull and hard to use. The useful information is frequently buried in pages of boilerplate. These deficiencies can and should be avoided. Procedures should be concise, clear and specific. Towards this end, we recommend the following;

  • Operators write the procedures in conjunction with the supervisor, who has the final word
  • Safety hazards are summarized at the beginning. Specify the details of the PPE and engineering controls wherever they are needed in the main body.
  • The text is in brief sections (less than 1/3 page), each with a clear, explanatory title. The sections are in order of process flow, processing, input and output or chronological, whichever is most appropriate.
  • Operating Procedures use a hierarchy of major sections and subsections.
  • The process purpose, reaction chemistry, separations physical chemistry are explained after Safety.
  • Operating Procedures then explain the process unit operations via the Block Flow Diagrams and P&IDs
  • Sections follow on Starting Up the Plant for the First Time, Normal Start Up. Normal Steady State Operation, Transients, Normal Shut Down and Emergency Shut Down.
  • The complete set of Material Safety Data Sheets follows.
Computerized Maintenance Management Systems

Computerized Maintenance Manager Systems (CMMS) are highly beneficial when used properly. However an initial investment of time and effort is required enter components, identification numbers and the parameters of the maintenance required for each piece of equipment. The adage “garbage in, garbage out” applies here. Equipment operating manuals should have the information needed, including frequency and type of maintenance required, depending upon usage. Usage is key to proper equipment maintenance and it is probably best to err on the generous side when estimating it.

Technical staff must contact the equipment vendor if the standard and emergency maintenance information is inadequate, and correct the deficiency. These details should be in a written data base, with links to the vendor information. Occasionally, the vendor’s information is incorrect or out of date, and the internal plant records must be corrected. This is a good example of Management of Change, including informing every one of the correction. Once the CMMS is set up, procedures for completing and recording the required maintenance must be developed. This includes who is responsible for the maintenance, how are they informed, and where they enter the results of the maintenance. CMMS is a great system but requires disciplined effort to yield maximum benefits.


Training and procedures, so foundational to successful plant startup, often fall short of excellence. Dull lectures and verbose procedures reduce operator effectiveness and must not be tolerated. Best practices dictate that training and procedures be started early, crafted well, and presented to end users as crisp, reliable, user-friendly tools.

About the Authors

Charles Loos, P.E. is a member of the Lee Enterprises Consulting. He has 35 years of experience in the power industry with skills in engineering, operations management, startup, project development and environmental permitting. He was responsible for the EPC contracting process at power development companies. Whether a wood-fired project in timberland, or an industrial cogeneration plant, he excels at judging the suitability of a proposed plant site, with due consideration for technical, operational and environmental factors.

Bernard Cooker, Ph.D , a member of Lee Enterprises Consulting, has 37 years in industrial process R&D, design and scale up. Most recently, Bernard worked for two start-ups in lignocellulosic biomass deconstruction and p-xylene synthesis from cellulose. Previously, he gained wide experience in applied powder mechanics, polymer and monomer synthesis and recovery, development of new propylene oxide processes and catalyst development, testing and manufacture. He also improved the yield of the commercialized PO/TBA epoxidation process. He is an inventor on two biotechnology process patent applications and 20 issued U.S. patents. He has 47 publications in all.

Mindy Collier, a member of Lee Enterprises Consulting, has a B.A. from Indiana State University and an M.A. in Planning & Management from Indiana University. She is the founder and President of Collier & Associates and has over 25 years of consulting experience, including “hands on” experience in renewable fuel plants. Mindy is also an experienced grant writer and has successfully written grants for solar, biodiesel and other alternative fuels projects. She works with clients in identifying and writing all types of alternative and renewable grants.



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Gevo teams with Virgin Australia on alcohol-to-jet deal

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 7:40pm

In Colorado, Gevo, Inc. announced that it expects to supply its renewable alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) to the Virgin Australia Group, a leading Australian airline group. The Virgin Australia Group will be responsible for coordinating the purchase, supply and blending of the ATJ into the fuel supply system at Brisbane Airport in Queensland, Australia. Gevo’s ATJ is expected to be blended with traditional jet fuel and supplied on flights departing Brisbane Airport, including Virgin Australia flights.  It is currently contemplated that Gevo will ship the first gallons of ATJ to the Virgin Australia Group in October 2017.

Gevo will supply the ATJ from its hydrocarbon plant based in Silsbee, Texas. The ATJ is derived from isobutanol produced at its commercial isobutanol plant located in Luverne, Minnesota.

Gevo is looking to expand its isobutanol production capabilities at the Luverne Facility to enable larger production volumes of its ATJ in the future. Gevo has a goal in 2017 of obtaining binding supply contracts for a combination of isobutanol and hydrocarbon products (ATJ and isooctane) equal to at least 50% of the capacity of the anticipated expanded Luverne Facility. These supply contracts are expected to form the basis on which Gevo would set the specific configuration of the Luverne Facility in terms of end product mix between isobutanol, ATJ and isooctane.

The Queensland government is supporting the arrangement as a first step in the development of a renewable jet fuel production industry in the state. Queensland is looking to leverage carbohydrate-based feedstocks, abundant to its local agricultural sector, to support the build-out of renewable jet fuel production plants in the future. Gevo is well positioned to play a role in this growth, as the company believes its ATJ is cost advantaged in comparison to other renewable jet alternatives derived from carbohydrate-based feedstocks.

Gevo: The Digest’s 2015 5 Minute Guide

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Italy’s ENI may invest in Nigerian biofuels industry

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 7:39pm

In Nigeria, Italy’s ENI is one of the potential international investors interested in setting up a joint venture with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to develop domestic biofuel production. The move is in line with the national strategy to wean itself off of petroleum products as it primarily exports crude and imports refined products. Though both ethanol and biodiesel are planned under the national program, it isn’t clear yet what ENI’s role will be or what kind of production it is likely to support.

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Ukrainian biofuel blending mandate proposal nearly ready to submit to Parliament

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 7:38pm

In the Ukraine, a proposal for a legal framework to support the establishment of an ethanol and biodiesel market nationally will soon be presented to Parliament. The State Agency on Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving developed a proposed blending mandate based on energy content for ethanol of 3.4% by July 1, 2018 and 4.8% by July 1, 2019 while for biodiesel it would be 2.7% by July 1, 2018. The head of the agency estimates the country has the capacity to produce 1 million metric tons of biofuels per year.

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E10 still having a hard time in New South Wales despite communications push

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 7:37pm

In Australia, despite the state government investing nearly A$3 million in a myth busting communications campaign about E10 launched in May regarding the new ethanol blending mandate in New South Wales, not one of the 236 fuel retailers has yet to comply with the law requiring at least 60% of gasoline sold include 10% ethanol. Ethanol consumption had remained static during the first five months of the year, but more recent consumption volumes since the campaign was launched isn’t yet available. The government has been criticized for launching the blending mandate and the follow up communications policy as a way to prop up ethanol producer Manildra.

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Debate over molasses as advanced biofuels feedstock in EU revving up

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 7:36pm

In Belgium, the debate over the European Commission’s proposal to consider molasses from beet sugar production as a feedstock for second generation ethanol is getting flack from the yeast industry who uses it as a feedstock for yeast production. It is also used in confectionary and animal feed. The industries source 90% of their molasses demand from within the EU and are concerned that competition with biofuels could boost prices and force them to import more sugarcane molasses, primarily from Asia.

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EPA publishes notice for 15-day comment period on biomass-based diesel cut

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 7:35pm

In Washington, the 15-day comment period on the proposed cut to the volume obligation of biomass-based diesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2018 and 2019 opens Wednesday when it is published in the Federal Register. The Environmental Protection Agency justifies its proposal for reducing the mandate due to increased biodiesel prices for refiners following the expiration of the biodiesel blending credit and the increased prices of imported biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia following anti-dumping import duties.

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Agrisoma expands aviation biofuel partnership with University of Florida

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 7:34pm

In Canada, Agrisoma Biosciences Inc., is expanding its partnership with the University of Florida (UF) to advance the supply of bio jet fuel in the United States.

The Quebec-based company and its subsidiary, Agrisoma USA, is working with a network of 40 academic researchers from seven Universities associated with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Science.  Agrisoma’s goal is to maximize production of the tiny Carinata seed grown in the southeastern US, used to produce bio jet fuel.

The research project will operate under the oversight of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture, in conjunction with the Florida-based Southeast Partnership for Advanced Renewables from Carinata (SPARC).

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue is providing a $15M grant from the USDA to support the research initiative aimed at scaling commercial production of Carinata for aviation fuel.

The SPARC team consists of scientists from several Southeast U.S. universities, government agencies, industry and a consortium representing the commercial aviation industry.

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Biofuels industry teams on letter to Trump demanding quick action to stop EPA tearing down RFS

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 7:33pm

In Washington, the National Biodiesel Board, the Advanced Biofuels Business Council, the American Biogas Council, the American Coalition for Ethanol, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Growth Energy, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, the National Corn Growers Association, the National Farmers Union and the Renewable Fuels Association sent a letter to President Donald Trump, urging the White House to “act quickly to prevent actions” at the U.S. EPA that threaten jobs in rural America, freeze innovation in advanced biofuels and undermine the energy security goals of America’s Renewable Fuel Standard.

“The proposed changes are inconsistent with the law and threaten the growth and prosperity of the U.S. biofuels industry,” the letter reads. “EPA’s changes are also inconsistent with Administrator Pruitt’s assurances to uphold the law and your long-standing support of ethanol and the RFS. If the proposed changes are finalized, EPA’s actions would cause severe harm to our industry, undermining your efforts to drive economic growth and secure America’s status as the global leader in biofuel production.”

In the letter, industry leaders called on the White House to halt EPA consideration of “drastic, unprecedented changes” designed to benefit the same petroleum refiners that have repeatedly sought to curtail the growth of homegrown fuels. Specifically, the EPA issued a proposal that slashed EPA staff recommendations for higher cellulosic targets, published a Notice of Data Availability aimed at cutting total biofuel volumes including advanced and biodiesel, and may be considering Valero’s scheme to flood the market with export-subsidy credits, a move that would immediately devalue biofuel blends.

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A Blustery Day in the Bioeconomy’s Billion Acre Wood: The Latest from EPA, POET, Fuels America, Calyxt, Eligo Bioscience, Queensland, Gevo, Virgin, and Unilever

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 3:18pm

British author AA Milne is in the news this week with the impending release of “Goodbye Christopher Robin,” which brings to mind “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day”. It’s been bluster and bother and in the bioeconomy this week, all right, and significant players are feeling downright Eeyoreish and we’ll get to that. But some sectors have had a week steeped in pots of Hunny.

As Pooh himself might have observed, “When it feels like you can’t make any progress in the wind, just turn and look the other way, you’ll be blown along very quickly indeed.”


US road transport biofuels producers are up in arms this week. There are reports of  oil industry led-efforts within the EPA to create an export-subsidy RIN, cut biofuel targets with new “data,” and bypass EPA staff recommendations for higher cellulosic targets.

Tut-tut, it looks like rain.

Now, the industry has written a sharp letter to President Trump over news from EPA of proposed  “drastic, unprecedented changes” designed to benefit a few petroleum refiners.that the EPA is considering a major rollback in 2018 biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes, and/or the 2019 biomass-based diesel volume under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

What’s at stake. The EPA is seeking to test how much it can use the general waiver provision of EISA to roll back renewable fuel standards if they “make the price of biomass-based diesel fuel increase significantly.” The question becomes, what is significant, and how is policy stability to be achieved if there is political disagreement about what is a tolerable price impact?

POET chairman and CEO Jeff Broin observed:

“The oil industry is concocting new ways to cut biofuel volumes and aggressively pushing the EPA to roll back the growth of homegrown renewable fuels. Approving any of these proposed measures would be a severe blow to our nation’s public health, air quality and national security. These actions would put millions of dollars into the hands of a few oil companies at the expense of American consumers, family farmers and biofuel producers. President Trump has repeatedly committed to protecting the RFS, and we remain hopeful that he will hold his administration accountable and keep the EPA from following the dangerous path laid out by the oil industry.”

Fuels America letter to President Trump

October 3, 2017

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC

Dear President Trump,

We commend your commitment to reinvigorate economic growth in America’s heartland. The biofuels industry is poised to lead the next manufacturing wave across America. However, we are concerned about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) consideration of drastic, unprecedented changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that would undercut investments in the production of American-made biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. The proposed changes are inconsistent with the law and threaten the growth and prosperity of the U.S. biofuels industry.

EPA’s changes are also inconsistent with Administrator Pruitt’s assurances to uphold the law and your long-standing support of ethanol and the RFS. If the proposed changes are finalized, EPA’s actions would cause severe harm to our industry, undermining your efforts to drive economic growth and secure America’s status as the global leader in biofuel production. We urge you to act quickly to continue to grow the RFS, and we would look forward to working with you and your staff to do so.

Under the Agency’s most recent RFS proposal, and the follow-up Notice of Data Availability (NODA) released on September 26, EPA is proposing to implement a series of changes to the regulation that would discourage U.S. investment in new production capacity and biofuel blending infrastructure, undermine the energy and economic security goals of the RFS, and disadvantage America in the global race to develop new technologies and commercialize next-generation biofuels.

To that end, we would like to clarify where our industry stands on several key RFS issues. We are requesting that you act quickly to prevent actions that will freeze innovation, hurt numerous rural manufacturing sectors, and slow economic growth in America’s heartland.

The final 2018 RFS Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) must require 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels, as proposed. While EPA did not propose to invoke its general waiver authority to reduce the conventional biofuel requirement, it left the door open on the matter for the final rule. We oppose any weakening of the conventional biofuel standard.

The proposed rule rolls back the advanced biofuel requirement for the first time by flat-lining the 2019 biomass-based diesel standard and cutting the cellulosic biofuel standard by roughly 25 percent from 2017 levels. The volumetric cuts are unwarranted, and we have serious procedural concerns about how EPA reached its conclusions. According to the public record, EPA sent a stronger, pro-growth proposal to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), but EPA leadership intervened to make drastic changes to the proposal after OMB review. EPA leadership inserted a modified methodology that discounts projected advanced biofuel volumes based on “actual production” from 2016. This new approach would signify a major policy shift long sought by the oil industry. The original version of the proposed 2018 rule approved by OMB in early June warns against the exact path ultimately proposed, noting that “doing so could result in inappropriately low production projections for a commercially successful technology.” The new methodology should be dropped. The final proposal must be forward-looking and continue to grow advanced biofuel volumes. Already-finalized volumes for biomass-based diesel in 2018 must not be reduced.

On September 26, EPA published a Notice of Data Availability (NODA) exploring options for further reducing RFS advanced and total renewable fuel volumes. EPA is considering making biofuel imports ineligible for the RFS, while also reportedly exploring the prospect of making biofuel exports eligible for RFS compliance. These proposals originate from the same small group of petroleum refiners seeking to avoid the law by moving the RFS point of obligation, and would serve no purpose other than to paralyze growth in U.S biofuel markets, slow investment in blending infrastructure, strand investment in advanced biofuels, and export innovation overseas. Creating an “Export Subsidy RIN” may violate the statute and will almost certainly provoke a trade backlash – including potentially damaging tariffs on U.S. agriculture – via the World Trade Organization, which agreed in 2015 to abolish export subsidies. The current treatment of imports/exports under the RFS strikes the right balance and should be maintained.

For the first time, EPA is proposing to exclude new cellulosic biofuel gallons from facilities unable to secure registration from EPA the year before the actual compliance year. While we would not expect EPA to allow non-registered fuels to be eligible for compliance credits, there is no harm in receiving registration early in the compliance year and selling fuel thereafter. There is no better example of over-regulation than this one. If finalized, the new approach would slow down, rather than accelerate, the commercialization of cellulosic fuels.  

Mr. President, thank you for your strong support of the RFS. We look forward to working with you to ensure that EPA and your Administration remains firm in that commitment.


The Advanced Biofuels Business Council (ABBC), The American Biogas Council (ABC)The American Coalition for Ethanol (AEM), The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), The Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s (BIO)Growth Energy, The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), The National Biodiesel Board (NBB), The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA)


It’s not all been bad for the bioeconomy this week. On the whole, it’s been good.

In Queensland, the state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for State Development Dr Anthony Lynham unveiled a government-supported two-year agreement where Gevo will suppply aviation biofuels to Virgin Australia to support Virgin commercial flights and establish Brisbane as a biojet refueling hub.

“The biorefinery projects currently under development across Queensland have the potential to create 1100 jobs when they are operational,” the Premier said. “To get up and running, industrial-scale biorefinieries need a critical mass of customers to supply. That’s why it’s vital to get big industries like aviation and defence on board as potential customers.”

State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said biojet can be produced from a range of organic materials, including sugarcane bagasse, molasses, wood waste and agave. “Some of the existing refinery projects being developed in Queensland will have the capability to produce biofuel for commercial aviation,” Dr Lynham said. “Queensland has a vision for a $1 billion biofutures sector by 2026,” Dr Lynham said. “Queensland’s bio-industrial revolution is here, and the dividends it’s going to pay our state in jobs and economic growth will mean a greener and more prosperous future for all Queenslanders.”

Across the broad advanced bioeconomy, even more reason for cheer.

In London, Unilever has signed an agreement to acquire Brazilian natural and organic food business Mãe Terra, which operates in several categories with a portfolio that includes organic cereals, cookies, snacks and culinary products. The main Mãe Terra categories represent a Brazilian market worth more than €8 billion (Euromonitor). Growing at over 30% per year, Mãe Terra has a strong brand equity and a clear purpose of making nutritious food accessible to all. This fits clearly with Unilever’s own sustainable nutrition strategy and its commitment to sustainable growth.

In France, microbiome start-up Eligo Bioscience has secured a $20 million Series A round led by Khosla Ventures and Seventure Partners, including a $2 million award from the Worldwide Innovation Challenge. This comes just months after Eligo was selected as one of the 30 Most Innovative Companies in 2017 by the World Economic Forum. This funding will enable Eligo to strengthen its biotherapeutic platform, begin clinical trials for its lead indication and extensively grow its international team of scientists, engineers, and executives.

Perhapss most significantly if subtly of all, Calyxt’s first alfalfa product candidate has been designated as a non-regulated article under “Am I Regulated?” Process by Biotechnology Regulatory Services of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), an agency of the USDA. Significant, because it is a gene-edited varietal, and the first ever alfalfa product to receive the non-regulated distinction from the USDA. The collaboration between Calyxt and S&W Seed Company is focused on providing enhanced traits in alfalfa seed varieties that can drive improved productivity, while decreasing input costs to meet the growing global demand for higher quality alfalfa products.

The Bottom Line

In nutrition markets, we’re seeing the US government getting out of the way, and in fuel markets the EPA is taking a far more activist role in seeking to reduce the US biofuels market established by mandate under the RFS. Yet, we continue to see action in aviation circles to bring forward liquid fuels — which are right now being produced in small volumes and available at higher costs to consumers.

Cost — what will consumers pay more for? Same-old performmance with green, scoietal benefits? That’s proving to be a challenge. Significant benefits attract consumers — as we reported only yesterday, the real undeniable benefit driving adoption of electric cars in states like California is “access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes” for faster communting times.

So, faster is good, cheaper is good. Better for employment, energy security and emissions? The old triad that has long supported renewable fuels and the advanced bioeconomy is looking tired in some of it’s key constituencies.

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Financing Bioeconomy Ventures, Pt. 7 – Engineering Design Assessment: Front-End Engineering Design and Loading Evaluation

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 3:04pm

By Bernard Cooker, John Diecker, and Daniel Lane, Lee Enterprises Consulting

Special to The Digest

This article is the seventh in a series on the information needed by a Capital Investor, received from the Project Developer (PD), for the Capital Investor to make an informed biotechnology investment. Refs. 1 through 6 are to previous articles in the series. The target audiences are biotechnological capital investors, including venture capitalists, banks, equity investors and individuals. Investors are increasingly requested to commit funds earlier in projects, so engineers are pressured to make more accurate predictions of performance and cost. Front-end engineering design (FEED) and front-end loading (FEL) help this process by formalizing the development process in stages, each with its own work product. This article outlines project development, design and process financial assessment principles and the associated documentation which the Capital Investor should expect from the PD. While references are made to biochemical manufacturing facilities, the evaluation process is essentially the same for biomass power projects and other types of processes.

The critical need for this discipline is well illustrated by LEC consultant Zoltan Kish, who knows of a case where a lapse in due diligence resulted in project failure. Ignoring a consultant’s advice to the contrary, the Project Developer (PD) used inappropriate processing conditions and an incorrect mass/energy balance in their process implementation. After significant, multiple rounds of investment, the project collapsed: the cause could be traced to use of incorrect technical data. In addition to financial information, the underlying scientific/technology base of the business should be considered. Science should be an essential pillar of the company: the PD obtaining the appropriate information on the underlying science and technology is essential for the Capital Investor to make an informed decision to save money and time, and drive the project to profitability for the Capital Investor.

  1. Project Scope

The Capital Investor’s goal is sufficiently profitable investment in a project with minimized costs, which is safe, operable and reliable. The PD’s written Project Scope should include:

2.1 Product Identity and Composition. High value-added products, driven by the product properties, maximizing profitability, are particularly desirable. Examples include monomers, advanced materials, surfactants and drug intermediates. This is subject to the market size, product price and the product composition. The PD should document whether he is substituting a better alternative for an existing product or innovating a new one. The PD should inform the Capital Investor how the product is superior to any existing competition in performance, price or other ways. The PD should clarify whether the Capital Investor’s investment develops a process for licensing and sale or finances commercial product manufacturing.

2.2 Plant Capacity. The goal of commercial operation may be reached through one of the following routes:
1.  Advancing from the laboratory directly to commercial scale. However, we do not recommend this under any circumstances, since scale up reveals new obstacles which must be addressed.
2. Advancing to commercial scale from the laboratory via an intermediate scale, namely a pilot plant. The pilot plant can be purpose-built or adapted in-house or an outside toller employed. However, one scale-up of the process is very seldom sufficient.
3. Advancing to commercial scale from the laboratory via various intermediate scales, where capacity is increased about a magnitude at each step. This is the much preferred route.
4. Retrofitting or expanding an existing commercial operation. Here also, piloting should be very seriously considered, to address the scale up issues from the new process.

Advancing directly to commercial scale nominally reduces the capital required. However, with developing technology, the risk of unexpected obstacles and costs is very high indeed. Option 3, our much preferred route, has significant advantages: 1. Scale up at smaller, less financially risky, scale ratios. 2. It yields a pilot product supply for potential customers. 3. Demonstration of the process pilot plant equipment resembling commercial operation. The process equipment capital cost is a fractional power of its capacity and the equipment capital cost per unit of production falls with scale. The PD should disclose the smallest plant capacity making profit at the Capital Investor’s target percentage rate of return on capital. See Section 6.5. The commercial plant capacity and economics should be projected as early as feasible, even before the pilot plant stage. The PD should consider the product sales estimate and market development review in Section 2.1 in determining the capacity.

2.3 Raw Materials. The PD should document sufficient raw material supplies relative to planned production capacity, identifying specific sources and accounting for biomass seasonal sourcing. The costs of raw material transport to the plant and interim storage must be included. The PD should also consider raw material composition and the reliability of imported supplies.

2.4 Commercial Plant Location. The site choice directly affects the process costs. Biomass supplies are regional: the plant should be centered in their supply area. The PD must review the site utility costs, including water rights, sources and treatment options, other required resources, taxes and the impacts of government on costs, including permitting, licensing, regulation and insurance. See ref. 7. The site choice issues include “green field” plant, on undeveloped land, versus an established manufacturing site. Existing plant might be retrofitted and/or expanded. The PD’s detailed transportation evaluation should check feasibility and determine the added costs. The PD should document the site labor force potential and costs, from operational to managerial personnel. See ref. 8.

2.5 Operating Days Per Year. Equipment deteriorates and annual maintenance must be planned. Plants or sections are idled or reduced in rate for essential repairs. For advanced technology operations, the on stream factor is normally 90% or less in year 1. The PD should develop a detailed plan for the shut downs, identifying the needed repairs and including spare parts procurement and costs. Spare parts should be an early part of the techno-economic assessment and major spares should be identified individually. Spares should be in the initial project cost and not treated as later expense.

  1. Project Design Criteria Evaluation

3.1 Scale Up. Commercialization sufficiently profitable for the Capital Investor is on a scale orders of magnitude larger than the original laboratory experiments and benefits substantially from economies of scale. The PD and Capital Investor should be cautious regarding the scale up ratios from laboratory to pilot plant and thence to the commercial scale. Chemical and physical processing steps should be designed to minimize cost, complexity and development time. The number and relative magnitude of recycle streams should be minimized: they can disable the process through byproduct accumulation. The PD should also show the Capital Investor that these project design criteria have been addressed: site flood risk, site climate, including temperature and maximum wind speeds, and proximity to residential populations. A geotechnical survey is a requirement, which should be performed by a third party and the final report issued as an addendum to the PD’s package. Additionally, design for operations and maintenance should be considered, including operability, equipment access, hazard analysis and installed equipment duplication.

3.2 Process Uncertainties and Risk. The PD should identify the project technical hurdles, especially high risk elements, “show stoppers” and knowledge gaps, and have a plan to overcome them. Process Flow Diagram (PFD) preparation forces the PD to document and address what is reasonably estimated and what is unknown, reducing project risk. A new process, even in existing, repurposed commercial equipment, still has all the risks of the new process.

3.3 Safety Hazard Assessment. The PD should indicate a future plan for formal, systematic safety reviews, such as Hazard and Operability Reviews, yielding the reduction, mitigation and control of the hazards, as part of the design.

3.4 Environmental and Community Impact. The PD should prepare a thorough review of the potential project impacts on the environment and the local community, with plans for mitigation of adverse effects. The Capital Investor must have confidence that there are no environmental issues, real or perceived, that could prevent or delay project implementation.

  1. Process Design Documentation: Flow Diagrams

Every process step occurs under specific conditions, in equipment designed for the step. The three diagram types are: BFDs – Block Flow Diagrams, PFDs – Process Flow Diagrams and PIDs – Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams. The PFDs permit estimation of the commercial scale project economics. See ref. 9.

4.1 Block Flow Diagrams (BFDs). The PD’s BFDs show the process steps as blocks, connected by feed and exit streams. The process purpose identifies the equipment type in each block: no mechanical or utility information is displayed. Key process parameters are shown, including temperature, pressure and flow rates. See ref. 10 for an example. The BFD includes all process flow lines, from left to right, whenever feasible, and crucial material balance elements.

4.2 Process Flow Diagrams (PFDs). The completed PFDs contain enough process design and equipment information to prepare the cost estimates and process economics. Typical PFDs contain:

  • All process equipment, as icons, uniquely numbered (ideally using KKS or a similar system), with a descriptive name.
  • The equipment numbers and names along the top of the PFD.
  • The Equipment Summary, providing the detailed design and information for the capital cost estimate basis, in a separate table.
  • All process flow streams, identified by numbers, with their process conditions and compositions, displayed on the PFD or in an accompanying Flow Summary Table.
  • All utility streams, except electrical supplies.
  • Basic control loops, showing the essential control strategy.
  1. Estimated Process Economics

The PD must compute approximate project economics as early as possible, determining if the sales revenue equals the costs plus the Capital Investor’s required profit. Commercial economics include the installed equipment capital cost, raw materials costs, utilities, other consumables, depreciation and the rate of return on capital. The first process economics, with completed PFDs, probably has +/- 30 to 50% accuracy. See ref. 11. This is significant uncertainty but if the required product price is twice the market price, just to cover manufacturing costs, the process is uneconomic.

5.1 Capital Cost Estimation. The process economics estimate starts with the capital cost. The required information is in the PFDs and ancillaries. See Section 4.2.

5.2 Capital Cost Estimate: Type and Accuracy. Capital cost estimate accuracy depends on the degree of project definition. See ref. 11. The Class 4 Major Equipment Estimate, recommended for preliminary economics, is typically in the -30% to +45% range of accuracy. The PD determines individual equipment costs via: 1. Current equipment vendor price quotations. 2. Previously purchased equipment costs, corrected for capacity and time. 3. Databases, adjusted for capacity and time. See ref. 12. Method 1 is the most accurate and recommended.

5.3 Total Installed Plant Capital Cost Estimate. Ref. 13 gives the contributions to the total capital cost, including a process uncertainty contingency. The Lang Factor technique for the total installed plant capital cost can be employed for early economic estimates. The installed plant cost is the equipment purchase cost multiplied by a factor, K, of 3.10 to 4.74, depending on the phase nature of the process streams.

5.4 Depreciation of Capital Investment. The process plant, including utilities, and associated structures have finite lives, decreasing in value over time. The terminal plant value is the scrap value. The capital depreciation is the original capital investment minus the scrap value. The depreciation is charged over multiple years, which may be less than the actual life of the plant, as an operating expense. See ref. 14.

5.5 Estimated Operating Costs. The operating costs are for daily plant operation. They must be estimated for the process economics. The process information in the PFDs and ancillaries is required, with the total installed plant cost and the estimate of the number of operators. The operating costs are the sum of: direct manufacturing costs (varying with the production rate), fixed manufacturing costs (independent of the production rate) and general expenses (corporate overhead). The total operating cost is obtained from:

  1. Fixed capital investment, FCI, the installed capital cost of the plant. Section 5.3.
  2. Operating labor cost.
  3. Utilities cost, from the PFDs and unit costs.
  4. Waste treatment cost, from the PFDs and unit cost.
  5. Raw materials cost, from the PFDs and unit costs.

All other operating costs, listed in ref. 15, are computed from these five costs.

  1. Economic Analysis, Cash Flow, Rate of Return on Investment
  • The PD has computed all the cash flows to and from the project: capital investments, scrap value, depreciation, operating costs and sales revenue. The Capital Investor and PD must determine how much profit is generated, whether it meets the Capital Investor’s profitability target and compare it with alternative investments. This invokes the concepts of cumulative cash flow and the time value of money.

6.2 Project Cash Flows. The initial capital investment, later expenditures and revenue occur at various times. These money flows should be shown in a Cash Flow Diagram (CFD). See ref. 16. The vertical axis shows money flows to and from the project and the horizontal axis is time, over the plant life. The Cumulative CFD shows the cumulative cash flow sum. This is an excellent opportunity for the PD to quantify the project’s long term net positive cash flow for the Capital Investor.

6.3 Time Value of Money: Discounting. When comparing capital investments at different times, not simultaneous with the revenue, timing must be considered. Calculation of an investment’s future value uses compound interest. An investment P over n years at an interest rate i gives a future value, F = P(1 + i)n and P invested now to accrue future value F is P = F/(1 + i)n.

6.4 Discounted Cash Flow.

Every cash flow in the Cumulative CFD is discounted or brought back to the end of year 1, each Discrete Cash Flow (DCF), being adjusted via the interest rate, i and the elapsed time, k: DCFadjusted = DCF/(1 + i)k.

6.5 Discounted Profitability Criterion. The profitability analysis is based on the Discounted Cumulative Cash Flow Diagram (DCCFD). See Sections 6.2 to 6.4. The Discounted Cash Flow Rate of Return (DCFROR) is the interest rate at which all the cash flows must be discounted for the net present value to be zero at the project termination. See ref. 17. The DCFROR is the highest interest or discount rate at which the project breaks even. Higher DCFRORs indicate higher profitability.

  1. Conclusions

The Capital Investor should now know what documented information to expect from the Project Developer for his informed assessment of the proposed investment. This article has outlined the usual design and financial analysis steps, consisting of 1. Introduction, 2. Project Scope, defining the key major project factors, 3. Project Design Criteria Evaluation, reviewing the technological design principals, 4. Process Design Documentation: Flow Diagrams, showing the central role of the drawings, the PFDs being the basis for the project costing, 5. Estimated Process Economics, summarizing cost estimation, and 6. Economic Analysis, Cash Flow, Rate of Return on Investment, using the cost information from Section 5 to chart the project cash flows over time, yielding the cumulative cash flow chart. The financial rate of return on the invested capital is computed from the cumulative cash flow chart via discounting, giving the Capital Investor an estimated quantitative measure of the proposed project profitability.


  1. “Financing Bioeconomy Ventures: Series Introduction”, W. Lee, Biofuels Digest, (2017)
  2. “Initial Project Assessment: The Proforma Analysis”, G. Kutney, Biofuels Digest, (2017)
  3. “Initial Project Assessment: Business Plan Analysis”, G. Kutney et al, Biofuels Digest, (2017)
  4. “Competitive Technology and Market Assessment: Competition and Strategy Analysis”, L. Bauer et al, Biofuels Digest, (2017)
  5. “Competitive Technology and Market Assessment: IP and Patent Analysis”, T. Mazanec et al, Biofuels Digest, (2017)
  6. “Pilot Site Assessment”, L. Bauer et al, Biofuels Digest, (2017)
  7. “Analysis, Synthesis and Design of Chemical Processes”, 3rd, R. Turton et al, Prentice Hall, (2009), p. 222 – 223
  8. ibid, p. 226
  9. ibid, p. 5
  10. ibid, p. 8 – 10
  11. ibid, p. 178 – 180
  12. ibid, p. 182
  13. ibid, p. 189 – 192
  14. “How to Depreciate Property”, Publication 946, Internal Revenue Service, Department of the Treasury, (2017)
  15. “Analysis, Synthesis and Design of Chemical Processes”, 3rd, R. Turton et al, Prentice Hall, (2009), p. 221 – 224
  16. ibid, p. 266 – 269
  17. ibid, p. 302 – 306


About the Authors

Bernard Cooker, Ph.D , a member of Lee Enterprises Consulting, has 37 years in industrial process R&D, design and scale up. Most recently, Bernard worked for two start-ups in lignocellulosic biomass deconstruction and p-xylene synthesis from cellulose. Previously, he gained wide experience in applied powder mechanics, polymer and monomer synthesis and recovery, development of new propylene oxide processes and catalyst development, testing and manufacture. He also improved the yield of the commercialized PO/TBA epoxidation process. He is an inventor on two biotechnology process patent applications and 20 issued U.S. patents. He has 47 publications in all.

John Diecker has 38 years’ experience in the electric power generation and transmission industry with over three decades of that experience in Southeast Asia. A member of Lee Enterprises Consulting, John has served as a technical, project management and project development consultant to power project owners, developers and contractors, including governments, state-owned enterprises, financial institutions and insurance firms. He has been involved in many types of renewable energy projects and his experience with biomass includes virtually all stages of project development from site selection, engineering, feasibility studies, fuel availability studies, environmental and community impact review, licensing, permitting and construction supervision through operations & maintenance.

Daniel Lane, Ph.D., a member of Lee Enterprises Consulting, has 20 years’ experience in process & technology development in fields including consumer products, specialty chemicals, and renewable fuels and chemicals. He has held executive and senior leadership roles with multiple start-up companies in the renewables industry focusing on biomass conversion and scale-up of technology and processes, including the design and construction of seven pilot- and demonstration-scale facilities around the world, producing first- and second-generation ethanol, cellulosic sugars, and bio-based animal feeds from a variety of lignocellulosic feedstocks. Dr. Lane spent the first half of his career in process engineering and project management, commercializing technology with such companies as Procter & Gamble and Degussa. With his proficiency in process simulation and technoeconomic modeling, he is a recognized expert in technical assessment for both private and government funding sources and has helped companies secure over $170MM in financing.



Categories: Today's News

YXY Marks the Spot: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to Avantium

Biofuels Digest - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 2:56pm

The company is now safely emerged from its celebrated IPO, and is embarked on the construction of the first commercial plant with its JV partner BASF — so, it’s a monster year for Avantium.

Avantium’s YXY technology converts plant-based sugar into chemicals and plastics, including 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid, a precursor to the promising bioplastic polyethylene furanoate.

As the company observed, “In 2011, Avantium was the first company to build an FDCA pilot plant with a production capacity of 15 tons FDCA per annum. This pilot plant enabled Avantium to test PEF through its partners and to continue its process development efforts to improve the economics of the process and strengthen its engineering package in preparation for the scale up to commercial and industrial scale.”

The tempting target that investors could not ignore: Plastics

With 311 million tons produced in 2014, plastics are essential materials in people’s everyday lives. This number is expected to double in the next 20 years and increase to approximately 1 billion tons by 2050. Avantium’s market opportunity is driven by the increasing demand for renewable chemicals and materials, and increasing consciousness around the sustainability of products and production methods.

PEF has improved barrier properties for gasses like carbon dioxide and oxygen, leading to longer shelf life of packaged products. It also offers a higher mechanical strength, thus thinner PEF packaging can be produced and fewer resources are required. The end markets for packaging materials made of PEF represent an aggregate annual turnover of over US$200 billion.

The Avantium team prepped this illuminating update on the company’s progress and promise for its most recent shareholder annual meet-up.

Categories: Today's News

Thai ethanol plant shut for 45 days following wastewater spill

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 8:21pm

In Thailand, an ethanol plant in Suphan Buri province has been temporarily shut down for 45 days following the overflow of its wastewater treatment plant into nearby villages and waterways after heavy rains forced it to overflow. Fishkills have been reported as well as damage to communities, sugarcane fields and rice paddies. Local officials have begun testing the polluted waterways and have confirmed the polluters will be held responsible for the damaged caused by the faulty wastewater treatment system.

Categories: Today's News

T2 ethanol prices slip to 10-month low as beet sugar market deregulates

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 8:20pm

In the Netherlands, with the deregulation of the European sugarbeet industry, T2 ethanol prices have fallen to a 10-month low in expectation that more ethanol will soon be available on the market as the beet harvest kicks into gear. With lower prices expected in October, buyers stayed on the sidelines during the last week of September as they waited for new supplies. Crush margins for wheat and corn fell in line with the lower ethanol prices.

Categories: Today's News

UNICA says EU’s expected ethanol offer for Mercosur deal is unacceptable

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 7:07pm

In Brazil, UNICA says that the European Union will offer 600,000 metric tons of ethanol quota to Mercosur countries during the next negotiation round to be held this week in Brasilia, 400,000 tons of which would be for industrial use. It’s a far cry from the 1 million tons of quota offered back in 2004 before multilateral trade negotiations were put on hold for more than a decade. UNICA, however, has said the offer is not acceptable.

Categories: Today's News

Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium celebrates first harvest of Salicornia feedstock

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 7:06pm

In the UAE, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology’s Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC) – a non-profit entity supported by Etihad Airways, Boeing, Takreer, Safran and General Electric –announced that its flagship project, the Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (SEAS), has reached a critical milestone in its development of sustainable aviation biofuels through the first harvest of the biofuel feedstock.

Dr. Alejandro Rios G., Director of the SBRC, led a team of Masdar Institute researchers in harvesting the first crop of the biofuel feedstock Salicornia, which is a local salt-tolerant and oil-rich plant. The harvesting took place at a two-hectare SEAS pilot facility in Masdar City, where seafood and sustainable biomass are being cultivated using saltwater and desert land to contribute to the UAE’s sustainable food and fuel security.

Harvesting the Salicornia is the first in a series of steps before the oil collected from its seeds is ready to be refined. The steps include drying and grinding the plants, winnowing out the seeds, extracting the oil from the seeds by pressing, and finally cleansing the oil to remove any impurities.

In February 2018 the clean Salicornia oil is to be processed at the Takreer Research Center for conversion into aviation biofuel. Once the process is complete, the biofuel will be mixed at low concentration with regular jet fuel to power a flight by Etihad Airways on a Boeing aircraft.

Categories: Today's News

Argo ethanol premium falling for no real reason

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 7:05pm

In Illinois, the Argo premium over Chicago paper traded ethanol slipped last week, leaving the market unsettled with little clarity as to the shift in prices, despite recovering recently from lower prices in August when positions were swapped during front-month rolling. Ethanol production remains high but fell below 1 million barrels per day on average for the first time since June, but even though stocks fell as well, the premium is weakening for no real reason.

Categories: Today's News

China says major corn imports won’t be necessary to achieve E10 mandate

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 7:04pm

In China, despite analysts predicting the country will have to boost corn imports but as much as 20 million metric tons per year to satisfy the E10 policy set to come into place by 2020, a top government official responsible for agriculture policy said that significant imports will not be needed. The aim is to reduce the country’s stocks of old season corn, millions of tons of which is inedible. The supply and demand situation for corn isn’t expected to change very much as a result of ethanol blending.

Categories: Today's News

South Dakota researchers closer to extracting glucosinolate from camelina and carinata

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 7:03pm

In South Dakota, camelina and carinata may be one stop closer to becoming economically viable biofuel feedstocks due to extracting a substance called glucosinolate. Researchers from South Dakota State University developed a means of extracting glucosinolate from the oilseed meal, which may lead to high-value uses for the chemical. The presence of glucosinolate limits the amount of camelina and carinata meal that can be incorporated into animal diets to 10 percent due to its toxicity and it’s that toxicity that researchers want to utilize—to kill fungus and weeds or even cancer cells.

The research is supported through the South Dakota legislative funding of the South Dakota Oilseeds Initiative, industry partners and federal funding via the North Central Sun Grant Center.

Categories: Today's News

Argentina seeking deal with US to set floor price for biodiesel imports

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 7:02pm

In Argentina, rather than be saddled by anti-dumping tariffs of up to 64.17% that keep its biodiesel out of the US market, the government is instead negotiating with the US Commerce Department to set a minimum price for Argentine biodiesel that would ensure it didn’t compete unfairly with domestic biodiesel production. Though Argentina’s government is hopeful of reaching an agreement with its US counterpart, securing the support of the US biodiesel industry required to implement such a deal will be harder to achieve.

Categories: Today's News


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