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Irish Bioeconomy Foundation receives EUR4.3 million grant for innovation and piloting facility

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 01/01/2018 - 7:00pm

In Ireland, Lisheen Task Force and the Irish Bioeconomy Foundation (IBF) welcomed the announcement by Minister Heather Humphreys of EUR4.3 million of financial support through Enterprise Irelands’ Regional Economic Development Fund for the establishment of a Bioeconomy innovation and piloting facility at Lisheen Co. Tipperary. The facility will enable industry, entrepreneurs and researchers to scale technologies that convert Ireland’s natural resources to products of high value for use in a wide variety of sectors including food ingredients, feed ingredients, pharmaceuticals, natural chemicals, biodegradable plastics and more.

Categories: Today's News

International research team develop cost effective method to produce biochemical from biomass

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 01/01/2018 - 6:58pm

In Australia, researchers led by the University of Wollongong have developed a cost effective method to turn biomass into xylose and arabinose, furfural and HMF (5-hydroxymethylfurfural). The catalysts employed are recyclable, helping to reduce production costs significantly while resulting in very high yields of five carbon sugars and furfural. There is hope the technology can be implemented in countries like India and Bangladesh, where some of the international research team originate from, in order to take advantage of high value products with low production costs.

Categories: Today's News

Indonesia looks to attract mining industry biodiesel consumption through subsidy expansion

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 01/01/2018 - 6:56pm

In Indonesia, from May the government hopes to expand the subsidy for its biodiesel blending policy to non-public sector organizations with an eye specifically on the mining sector in an effort to boost demand for the fuel. In 2017, $712.3 million in subsidies were paid out, slightly less than the year before, but it was only available to two state-owned companies including Pertamina. For non-public sector players, the subsidy will be capped at 29 cents per liter.

Categories: Today's News

A New Years Resolution for EPA: Do Your Job!

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 01/01/2018 - 2:33pm

By Doug Sombke, South  Dakota Farmers Union

Special to The Digest

This time of year many of us wrestle with New Years Resolutions–what can we do that we did not do last year? What can we do better? How can we improve ourselves and maybe in the process make the world a better place?

Well, for the US Environmental Protection Agency, I have a couple of suggestions. And it is not just something they did not do last year, but something they did not do for the last quarter of a century, and that is to do their job and enforce the law.

I was struck by a recent report that Senate Environment Committee Chairman John Barasso (R-WY) wrote EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt admonishing him for “ignoring the will of Congress and the requirements of the Clean Air Act”. The Senator was referring to specific reporting and study requirements as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard. At the National Farmers Union and the South Dakota Chapter, we are all for that, assuming EPA uses the best available science and information as opposed to their outdated and archaic models. The bigger disconnect for me, however, is why that same outrage over failed implementation of Congressional directives has not applied to one of the most serious health threats facing the public today.

I am referring to the mandatory requirements in the Clean Air Act that EPA enforce section 202 (l), the “clean octane” provision designed to reduce the use of toxic aromatic compounds in gasoline. These Mobile Source Air Toxics are derived from a family of known or suspected carcinogens the petroleum industry uses such as benzene, toluene, ethyl-benzene, and xylene–street name of BTEX. The health threat these gasoline emissions pose is nothing short of shocking. Fine particulates and secondary organic aerosols are produced as a result of incomplete combustion and carry the lethal BETX compounds that travel great distances and can bypass our lungs and directly enter the bloodstream. This could explain the spike in not just respiratory diseases near roadways and in condensed urban areas but also neurological illness like autism and birth defects.

I recently wrote our own Senator from South Dakota Mike Rounds who sits on the Environment Committee, urging him to challenge Chairman Barasso to apply his logic of demanding EPA enforce the law to this issue as well. The BTEX health threat is significant but left unchecked likely to become much greater as higher octane fuels are needed to meet ever increasing mileage standards. The Section 202(l) provision requires EPA to regulate and reduce toxics in gasoline to the “greatest degree achievable”. In a review of air toxics in 2007 the agency acknowledged that other octane options, notably ethanol, could be the key to achieving that goal. But that is all they did– they gave it a nod and continued to ignore the growing problem of toxics in gasoline and the related public health risks.

That led me to try to understand where and why this has happened, again keeping mind there has been a 25 year directive of Congress, which essentially made its own endangerment finding as it related to these aromatic emissions. My search led me to the Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ) at EPA and the realization that a handful of technocrats has controlled fuel composition in this country and in the process been unduly influenced by the petroleum industry. The current OTAQ Director Christopher Grundler has been in that position for several years and sees the same data we see but chooses to blame pollution on everything from cheating diesel carmakers to leafblowers. EPA prides itself on reducing particulates in the PM 10 and PM 2.5 range which are primarily derived from smokestacks and diesel, respectively. But these gasoline derived nano particles that defy capture by current vehicle technology are unchecked. Whats worse is that EPA’ s left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing as evidenced by the agency’s Office of Research and Development which last year acknowledged that gasoline exhaust is the predominant source of urban secondary organic aerosols.

I wrote Mr. Grundler asking how he can ignore the reality of gasoline being such an obvious source of air toxics and how the mountains of evidence we and others have accumulated on urban and near-roadway health issues is not being linked to gasoline. I am eagerly awaiting his response along with that of those elected officials who seem to selectively choose which laws they feel should be enforced.

From my seat overlooking our frozen fields following a barn busting harvest, it saddens me to know we have the tools at hand to improve fuel quality in the form of renewable ethanol yet we are stymied by EPA. In addition to not recognizing the threat of today’s gasoline, EPA has refused to remove unnecessary regulatory roadblocks that would open the market and allow us to meet the Clean Air Act requirement of achieving the greatest reductions possible.   In so doing it would not only protect public health but shore up the rural economy and solidify our position in terms of energy security. Protecting public health need not be done in a vacuum or looked at in isolated terms– we can combine multiple public policy objectives through a clean fuel and clean octane program. We have billions of bushels of excess feed grain corn that can be converted to both food and fuel if given access to the market.

So to our friends at EPA, consider this as you look to the new year and think about a worthwhile resolution: Enforce the law and make 2018 the year of fuel quality.

Doug Sombke is the President of the South Dakota Farmers Union

Categories: Today's News

Biofuels Mandates Around the World 2018

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 01/01/2018 - 9:35am

In Florida, the Digest today releases its annual review of biofuels mandates and targets around the world, looking at the state of biofuels mandates in 65 countries.

The bulk of mandates continue to come from the EU-27, where the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) once specified a 10 percent renewable content by 2020 but has been scaled back to the 5-7.5 percent range — and has seen proposals for first-gen fuel mandates fall below 4% in an effort to shift more aggressively towards advanced biofuels.

14 countries in the Americas have mandates or targets in place or under consideration, 12 in Asia-Pac, 11 in Africa and the Indian Ocean, and 2 from non-EU countries in Europe.

Besides the EU, the major blending mandates that will drive global demand are those set in the US, China and Brazil – each of which has set targets –  or, in the case of Brazil, is already there – at levels in the 15-27 percent range by 2020-2022.

Visual guides to the LCFS and the RFS.

LCFS vs RFS: As two contend for the Renewables Heavyweight Championship, who is the Greatest?

What’s new? What’s happening?: The Digest’s Multi-Slide Guide to California’s LCFS, and the RFS

Are Mandates a thing of the past?

Lux Research thinks so. A report out from Lux in December 2016 concluded that “a new generation of policies is based on technology-agnostic carbon intensity metrics, led by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Low-Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). Renewable diesel and conventional electricity will be the near-term winners according to the Identifying Winners in Low-Carbon Fuels report,” said lead author Yuan-Sheng Yu. The next big winner? Renewable electricity, he said.

Hmm, not so fast. We’re seeing countries shifting in terms of obligated volumes — banded on sustainability, domestic production, cost and availability of advanced technology. Europe’s been wobbling down, the Americas and Asia have been wobbling up.

It’s mostly a war of words. Whether a distinct low-carbon market is established based on volumetric or carbon-content standards, they are mandated alternative markets, aimed to resolve the “externality” problem in which reduced carbon benefits society, rather than investors without establishing a direct carbon tax.

California has been the model for low carbon standards. Currently, California uses seven different low-carbon fuels derived from 26 different feedstocks, making up 11.3% of its fuel consumption. Under the state’s new regulations, growth of petroleum consumption has slowed to a mere 0.5% quarterly, while low-carbon fuels grew at 1.6% quarterly.  But along comes Canada now with its proposed Clean Fuels Standard —± and that’s the biggest news on the biofuels mandate front.

Mandates around the world

Who mandates what in biofuels? 64 countries have targets or mandates — but how much where, and when, and what?

Categories: Today's News

Top Cat: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to ChemCatBio

Biofuels Digest - Mon, 01/01/2018 - 9:18am

ChemCatBio is a research and development consortium dedicated to identifying and overcoming catalysis challenges for biomass conversion processes. Led by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories, we work with industry to rapidly transition R&D discoveries into commercial processes and grow the bioeconomy in the United States.

Current research encompasses the following five themes:

  • Upgrading of synthesis gas and synthesis gas-derived intermediates
  • Catalytic fast pyrolysis
  • Hydroprocessing of fast pyrolysis and catalytic fast pyrolysis bio-oils
  • Upgrading biogenic carbon in aqueous waste streams
  • Upgrading of lignin, carbohydrates, and other biologically derived intermediates

Josh Schaidle gave this illuminating update on ChemCatBio’s projects, rationale, promise and progress at ABLC Next in San Francisco.

Categories: Today's News

U Can’t Have Enuf H2: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to renewable hydrogen via pyrolysis

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 12/31/2017 - 6:59pm

Hydrogen, hydrogen, hydrogen — the most abundant element in the universe, but the advanced bioeconomy can never seem to get enough of it, and finding ways to produce renewable, affordable hydrogen — well, that’s real gold.

A team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Abhijeet Borole and including a number of ORNL colleagues and also collaborators from the University of Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Pall Corporation, OmniTech International and SainergyTech have been working on renewable hydrogen via Biomass Pyrolysis Aqueous Phase — and they’re supported by the US Department of Energy.

The goals? Reforming of aqueous phase organics to hydrogen via microbial electrolysis cell  technology, and developing energy-efficient separations to support MEC — and of course to demonstrate improvement in hydrogen production efficiency. The ORNL-led team prepared these slides which were presented at the DOE Project Peer Review event, outlining the progress, the promise and the milestones ahead for this project.

Categories: Today's News

Top 18 for 2018- 18 ways to support a biobased economy in the New Year

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 12/31/2017 - 11:12am

Happy New Year to all of you Digest readers! Some of you may have already embarked on your New Year’s Resolutions, or some of you may have vowed to not make any resolutions for 2018. Either way, the Digest has you covered with 18 ways you can support a biobased economy in 2018. We’ve already looked back at 2017, so today we are looking forward to 2018.

We are going beyond biofuels today, as we dig into how we can make a difference in the New Year by supporting a biobased economy – from biobased shoes, homes, and vehicles to biobased food, medicine and sports, check out these 18 ways you can support a bioeconomy in 2018.

  1. Biobased packaging

There are so many biobased packaging options out there today, with new innovations coming out all the time that it may be hard to keep up with, but one of our favorite ones is Braskem’s sugarcane-based bioplastic which reduces the carbon footprint of things like LeafGro packaging. In Maryland, Braskem’s bioplastic will be used to package over 500,000 bags of Leafgro, a soil conditioner for sale in lawn and garden retail locations along the U.S. East Coast. Braskem’s I’m green polyethylene is a bio-based resin made from ethanol produced from Brazilian sugarcane that is a drop-in substitute for conventional oil-based polyethylene.

  1. Biobased homes

Ok, you may not want to completely rebuild your home in 2018 to live in a hemp-based house or a 100% biobased tomato stems and seaweed house, or even switch to mushroom walls, but there are certainly things you can do in your home to support a biobased economy. You could start with mushroom based wall art instead, new nature-engineered pinecone blinds, or look into bioheat to stay warm in your home, or start collecting used cooking oil if it’s available in your area to be converted into biodiesel, or install new wallpaper that generates electricity and monitors the air quality in the home. You could also start a home garden or an urban rooftop greenhouse if you live in a city.

  1. Eat more greens

Eating healthier in 2018 is probably on many people’s to-do list, and one way to do that could be eating more eco-friendly produce. In New Jersey, AeroFarms built a 36-foot-tall indoor vertical farm on a former steel supply company site and now grow baby salad greens like kale, arugula, watercress. Unlike regular farming which uses soil and water or hydroponic farming which uses water, aeroponic farming uses fabric and only a light mist of water and nutrients to grow vegetables. Even better for the environment, aeroponic vertical farming produces no runoff and only uses a fraction of the water that conventional or hydroponic farming uses.

  1. Green your sports

If ARLANXEO can score major eco-friendly points with a biobased soccer ball for the 2018 World Cup, then we surely can green up our sporting goods as well. In the Netherlands, ARLANXEO is scoring big goals with its new Keltan Eco soccer ball. The rubber layer in the adidas soccer ball is made from bio-based EPDM rubber. The rubber is made with bio-based ethylene extracted from sugarcane – the world’s first EPDM rubber to do so – and reduces the carbon footprint of the soccer ball compared to conventional rubber.

  1. Biobased boots are made for walking

Need new shoes in 2018? There are plenty of biobased options now, but one of our favorites are the apple peel shoes. In Italy, designer shoe brand VEERAH launched a line of footwear made from…yes…apple peels. The vegan leather, which took six years to develop, is made from organic apples handpicked in the Italian Alps. Natural pores in the peels mean the shoes are breathable and UV-resistant. Another favorite is Vivobarefoot and Bloom’s amphibious Ultra III sneaker which is now available for sale and is made from invasive algae and algae blooms.

  1. Biobased beachwear for your vacation

Following on the greening up of shoes, let’s expand that to vacation time. Algae-based flip-flops developed by a trio of professors at the University of California are made from algae-derived polymeric polyols. Algenesis Materials are working on 100% biodegradable versions which would tremendously help green up the 3 billion flip-flops that are manufactured annually and contribute to ocean pollution.

  1. Dig down deep with Kona Deep and meat-free food

Instead of drilling for oil, support a biobased economy this year by digging down deep in a different way like Kona Deep. Kona Deep sources and bottles deep ocean water from 3,000 feet below the ocean surface in Kona, Hawaii that is rich in naturally occurring minerals and electrolytes. So knock out two New Year’s resolutions at once with this one!

We’ve also heard that cutting meat consumption helps lower GHG emissions by reducing methane, but we don’t have to give up meat entirely thanks to ever-increasing biobased alternatives. Alternatives abound like Memphis Meats who raised $17 million to make animal-free meat or Impossible Foods in California could help support a bioeconomy in 2018 as well. Heck, pretty soon you can even 3D print your own biobased food at home!

  1. Biobased bags

While some countries like Taiwan and Kenya are outright banning plastic bags, another way to support a bioeconomy in 2018 is to use biobased bags. Usually, cotton or natural fabric bags come to mind, but biobased bags can now be made from almost anything, including the fermentation of discarded bakery items like sliced bread and biscuits, fully compostable food packaging material made from Brazilian eucalyptus, cassava-based bags, or jute liners for food packaging in meal delivery.

  1. Animal-free leather

Biobased clothing goes beyond cotton and wool these days and we listed some of the latest cruelty-free leather substitutes back in September. Nine animal-free ways to make leather included fruit waste, vegetables and mushrooms, biobased  polyols from field corn, wood and cork, and even kombucha tea.

  1. Biobased bath time

Bath time just got more sustainable with Braskem’s biobased polyethylene to be used as packaging for Buhbli Organics’ Himalayan Bath Salts for sale at Walmart stores in the United States. Braskem says that, for every 1 ton of its biobased polyethylene used, Buhbli Organics is sequestering 3.09 tons of carbon dioxide “from a cradle to Braskem gate perspective.” So go ahead and enjoy that biobased bubble bath in the New Year.

  1. Green your grass

If you don’t already have forest or trees in your yard, you probably have a lawn with grass on it which requires watering, fertilizer, weed killer or a number of other toxic additives. But in Georgia, SYNLawn is greening your grass by introducing a new biobased and environmentally renewable polyethylene (PE) product made from Brazilian sugar cane. SYNRenew synthetic turf combines soy-based polyurethane BioCel and EnviroLoc backing technology with polyethylene fibers made from sugarcane technology to produce a new and completely biobased synthetic turf product. Possibly the best part is not having to mow it, ever.

  1. Bioplastics

As reported in the Digest in September, bioplastics are growing like crazy and we identified the top 10 trends to check out. From Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle to sugar and CO2 based bioplastics, there are plenty of options for 2018. Rennovia, Avantium, CARBIOLICE, Anellotech, and big names like DuPont Industrial Biosciences and Archer Daniels Midland are also making huge strides with new biobased plastics.

  1. Biobased beauty products

Another big jump occurred in 2017 with biobased cosmetic and personal care products. Too many innovations and new products to name here but a few favorites include France-based cosmetics firm Lessonia which uses algae-based ingredients for its skin care products and soaked sheet masks that focus on natural exfoliating ingredients.

Green Biologics produces 100% bio-based n-butanol and acetone that serve as ingredients for personal, homecare and food products. For cosmetics, while acetone is most often used as a nail polish remover, their BioPure n-butanol can be combined with acids derived from natural plant based oils to produce a wide array of 100 percent renewable butyl esters. These esters can be utilized in natural lipsticks, moisturizers, and nail polishes.

  1. Biobased toys

For all the birthdays you might be invited to in 2018, you can support a bioeconomy by buying biobased gifts. One way is through biobased toys. As reported in NUU in December, a recent study found that parents preferred and would be willing to pay a limited price premium for bioplastic toys over conventional plastic toys and expect that bioplastic toys should be 100% biobased from locally sources, and preferably organic, non-genetically modified, and made from a non-food crop.

  1. Motorcycle madness

Driving a motorcycle that runs on biofuel is not such a crazy idea anymore thanks to ethanol, biodiesel and overall expansion of biofuels into mainstream vehicles, but motorcycles actually made from biobased materials is still pretty new. One example is a wood-framed motorcycle that runs on algae fuel.

  1. Fly high on hemp airplane

Ok, so a 2018 resolution probably shouldn’t include smoking more pot, but it sure can include flying on a hemp airplane. Yes, flying on an airplane powered by biofuel supports a bioeconomy, but it sure would be fun to tell people you flew on a hemp-based airplane. In North Carolina, Hempearth Group is working on a four-seater aircraft composed of 75% industrial hemp. The plane will be designed and built by small-plane maker Velocity Inc., which did some of its own testing on the material’s strength and durability before agreeing to the build. Hempearth hopes to hold the plane’s inaugural flight in Kitty Hawk, Virginia in 2018.

  1. Biomedicine

Hopefully you won’t get hurt in 2018, but if you do, you can even support a biobased economy in your recovery. Biomedicine advances abound and we are seeing more and more healthcare systems around the world using biobased materials for repair and implants and recovery, using chitosan from crustaceans for bone regeneration, and even creating cocktail concoctions of insect wings, shrimp shells and copper to fight superbugs that traditional antibiotics can’t kill.

  1. Eco-friendly burials – Green until the very end

We end our list with the end in mind…biobased burials. From reducing the minimum depth for burial to improve decomposition to removing restrictions on biodegradable caskets, “green” funerals are growing in popularity thanks to increased awareness and accommodation by local cemeteries. Green burials can also involve biodegradable urns made from cornstarch. So even in the end, you can support a bioeconomy.

Categories: Today's News

Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC Has $80.07 Million Stake in Ecopetrol SA

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 12/31/2017 - 11:05am

In Texas, Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC increased its holdings in shares of Colombia-based Ecopetrol SA by 7.8% during the 3rd quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The institutional investor owned 8,437,088 shares of the oil and gas company’s stock after acquiring an additional 608,262 shares during the period. Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC owned approximately 0.41% of Ecopetrol worth $80,068,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period. A number of other large investors have also bought and sold shares of the stock. 2.05% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Categories: Today's News

Stricter 2018 Chinese rules could hurt U.S. soybean exports

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 12/31/2017 - 10:49am

In Illinois, half of U.S. soybeans exported to China this year would not meet Chinese rules for routine delivery in 2018, according to shipping data reviewed by Reuters. As of January 1st, more stringent quality rules by China could require additional processing of U.S. oilseeds at Chinese ports to remove impurities, leading to increased costs and lower sales

Half of the 473 vessel shipments in 2017 and half the total 27.5 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans exported to China this year contained more than 1 percent of foreign material, exceeding a new standard for speedy delivery, according to USDA data compiled by grain broker McDonald Pelz Global Commodities LLC and reported by Reuters.

“It’s going to raise the costs of sending the soybeans to China,” Richard Wilkins, a Delaware farmer and former chairman of the American Soybean Association told Reuters. Wilkins said the change would deliver higher-grade soybeans to Chinese buyers without requiring a premium price. “They basically want to pay us for No. 2 grade but they want it to be No. 1 grade,” he told Reuters.

Categories: Today's News

Grain workers strike impacts soybeans

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 12/31/2017 - 10:47am

In Argentina, grains workers started a 48-hour strike in the city of Rosario, Argentina’s busiest port where 80% of Argentina’s agricultural exports are sent from on cargo ships headed to the shipping highways and byways of the South Atlantic. As the largest exporter of soymeal livestock feed and major supplier of corn and raw soybeans, this could impact prices on those commodities.

The grain inspectors and crushers called the strike after an explosion killed a worker and amidst safety concerns in the busy port, Guillermo Wade, manager of the Chamber of Port and Maritime Activities, told Hellenic Shipping News. The strike includes all workers at the Timbues, San Lorenzo and General San Martin port facilities and was announced by the URGARA labor union which represents grains and oilseed inspectors, according to Hellenic Shipping News.

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USGC takes trip to Indonesia and Thailand on biofuel collaboration

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 12/31/2017 - 10:45am

In Washington, D.C., U.S. Grains Council representatives traveled to Indonesia and Thailand to engage with their governments and help develop biofuel policies that include a larger role for ethanol trade. Indonesia’s mandate that was established in a national ethanol policy in 2006 has been mostly unmet, so USGC is hoping to help develop a consistent supply chain for biofuels there. USGC then traveled to Thailand which has a national blend rate of 12% with domestic sugarcane and cassava-based ethanol and has a strong flex-fuel vehicle program making it a good collaborator on engine technology as well as biofuels.

“Indonesia is forecast to be the sixth-largest gasoline market by 2022,” Brian Healy, USGC manager of ethanol export market development told Agriculture. “Additionally, Indonesia has a goal for renewables to represent 23% of their energy mix by 2025 and to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 29% by 2030. Ethanol has a great opportunity to help Indonesia meet these ambitious goals.”

Categories: Today's News

U.S. ethanol production stays strong for year-end

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 12/31/2017 - 10:43am

In Washington, D.C., ethanol production went back up to second-highest on record last week ending the year on a positive note, according to EIA data. Output totaled 1.090 million barrels a day, on average, which is up about 1.2% from 1.077 million barrels a week earlier. Output is up 6.0% than last year.

Ethanol inventories have dropped to the lowest level since Nov. 17, but is still 17.6% higher than a year ago, according to the EIA data. The decline in ethanol stockpiles was mostly in the Midwest. Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol demand, rose by 32,000 bpd, or 3.5%, to 914,000 bpd last week, while up 11,000 bpd, or 1.2%, year over year.

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German biodiesel exports climbed in 2017

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 12/31/2017 - 10:41am

In Germany, UFOP reports that between January and September 2017, biodiesel exports climbed around 11% to 1.16 million tons. Just about 94% were shipped to EU-28 countries. This was up 16% from the previous year. The biggest recipient of German biodiesel was the Netherlands with imports seeing a 1.5% rise to 428,000 million tons. Demand from Poland continued to climb strongly. Taking 189,000 million tons, the country was the second largest purchaser.

According to information published by AMI, many other EU countries also raised their imports from Germany. Denmark boosted its imports 183 per cent to 78,146 tons, outstripping France to move to third place. Exports to Great Britain were particularly dynamic, rocketing 276 per cent. France, Austria and Switzerland also imported clearly more biodiesel than in the same period a year earlier. By contrast, exports to the US continued to decline, falling 99.7 per cent to 89 tons. The reasons were the country’s political focus on domestic production from soybean oil and the firm euro that drove up prices for EU commodities in non-euro countries. Norway’s orders for biodiesel dropped on average 55 per cent in terms of quantity.

Categories: Today's News

Regulations and policy changes signal murky year ahead for biofuels

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 12/31/2017 - 10:39am

In the United Kingdom, ICIS reports that changes in antidumping regulations in the biodiesel market globally in the past year have left the outlook for European biodiesel murky for 2018, with concerns raised about a possible drop in production in the region as a result of the new antidumping landscape.

ICIS also reports that Europe’s fuel ethanol players will have wary eyes firmly fixed westwards in 2018, as a series of trading relationships with the US, Canada and the Mercosur countries are in a state of flux. A more outward-looking trend may be a wider theme, particularly with changes to sugar regulations which let EU sugar producers – a number of which produce ethanol – obtain access to the global market.

Categories: Today's News

Engineered sugarcane, lipidcane, shows promise for U.S. biojet fuel

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 12/31/2017 - 10:36am

In Illinois, researchers from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are engineering sugarcane plants, called lipidcane, to produce more oil as well as sugar. Growing lipidcane containing 20 percent oil would be five times more profitable per acre than soybeans, the main feedstock currently used to make biodiesel in the United States, and twice as profitable per acre as corn, according to their research. They estimate that compared to soybeans, lipidcane containing 5 percent oil could produce four times more jet fuel per acre of land. Lipidcane with 20 percent oil could produce more than 15 times more jet fuel per acre.

Researchers estimate that if 23 million acres in the southeastern United States was devoted to lipidcane with 20 percent oil, the crop could produce 65 percent of the U.S. jet fuel supply at a cost to airlines of US$5.31 per gallon, which is less than bio-jet fuel produced from algae or other oil crops.

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American Farm Bureau Federation supports biofuel tax credit extender bill

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 12/28/2017 - 1:11pm

In Washington, a recently introduced bill would continue several expired tax provisions important to farmers and ranchers. Offered by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the Tax Extenders Act of 2017 (S. 2256) would extend several tax credits for biodiesel, renewable energy and for short line railroads. Most of the credits expired in 2016.

In a recent letter to House and Senate leaders urging them to pass legislation extending these key provisions, the American Farm Bureau Federation and more than 55 other organizations explained that these expired provisions impact sectors vital to the U.S. economy and support tens of thousands of jobs nationwide.

The Tax Extenders Act of 2017 would continue the following Farm Bureau-supported tax provisions, most of which expired in 2016, for 2017 and 2018:

The $1.01-per-gallon income tax credit for cellulosic biofuel 

The $1.00-per-gallon biodiesel and renewable diesel tax credits for biodiesel and blending biodiesel 

The 10-cents-per-gallon Small Agri-Biodiesel Producer Credit 

The $1.00-per-gallon biodiesel excise tax credit that can be taken against fuel taxes 

The 30-percent investment tax credit for installing alternative vehicle refueling property 

The 2.3 cents-per-kilowatt hour Production Tax Credit for energy from closed-loop biomass and the 1.2 cent-per-kilowatt-hour credit for closed-loop biomass 

The option of taking an investment tax credit in lieu of Production Tax Credit (Currently, it’s 24 percent for 2017, 18 percent for 2018, 12 percent for 2019 and expires in 2020.) 

The 50-percent Railroad Track Maintenance Credit for short line railroads 

More on the story.

Categories: Today's News

Spanish researchers develop 20x faster one-step biodiesel process

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 12/28/2017 - 1:10pm

In Spain, researchers at the University of Salamanca have developed and tested in a proof of concept the use of dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid as a catalyst for producing biodiesel from non-food sources in a single step. Traditional biodiesel production from non-food sources leads to foam production so it’s difficult to separate glycerin from the fuel so requires an expensive two-step process. This new process is up to 20 times faster and cheaper than the two-step process.

More on the story.

Categories: Today's News

Texas researchers find spider silk could help understand how to regenerate bones

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 12/28/2017 - 1:09pm

In Texas, some secrets to repair our skeletons might be found in the silky webs of spiders, according to recent experiments guided by supercomputers. Scientists involved say their results will help understand the details of osteoregeneration, or how bones regenerate.

A study found that genes could be activated in human stem cells that initiate biomineralization, a key step in bone formation. Scientists achieved these results with engineered silk derived from the dragline of golden orb weaver spider webs, which they combined with silica. The study appeared September 2017 in the journal Advanced Functional Materials and has been the result of the combined effort from three institutions: Tufts University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Nottingham Trent University.

Silky secrets to make bones

Categories: Today's News

Canadian canola benefiting from US duties on Argentine and Indonesian biodiesel

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 12/28/2017 - 1:09pm

In Canada, the Manitoba Cooperators reports that with the US all but shutting its doors to biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia, demand for Canadian canola is increasing so much that prices for ICE Canada canola futures rose to a two-month high on the back of stronger soy oil prices. Thanks to higher prices, crush margins for canola also rose this week by C$10 to C$84 above the January futures contract. The US’s International Trade Commission determined on December 21 that Argentine and Indonesian biodiesel imports had “materially damaged” the US biodiesel industry.

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