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Today's News

Good news for ethanol producers as federal court rejects EPA’s waiver of ethanol blending requirements

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 07/30/2017 - 9:43am

In Washington, DC, a federal court, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, rejected EPA’s decision to waive some ethanol blending requirements. In 2015, the EPA waived some RFS blending requirements and required oil refiners to blend 18.11 billion gallons of biofuels into their gasoline and diesel supply, which was below the goal set by Congress. Ethanol producers are quite happy with the ruling as they have been pushing the EPA for higher blending requirements.

As told in The Hill, the court ruling said “We hold that the ‘inadequate domestic supply’ provision authorizes EPA to consider supply-side factors affecting the volume of renewable fuel that is available to refiners, blenders, and importers to meet the statutory volume requirements. It does not allow EPA to consider the volume of renewable fuel that is available to ultimate consumers or the demand-side constraints that affect the consumption of renewable fuel by consumers.”

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Sustainable packaging: The Digest’s Multi-Slide Guide to SECOS

Biofuels Digest - Sun, 07/30/2017 - 12:14am

SECOS Group Limited is a leader in sustainable packaging and was formed through the merger of Cardia Bioplastics and Stellar Films Group in April 2015. It develops, manufactures and markets its proprietary high quality cast films and patented renewable resource-based materials and finished products derived from its proprietary technology for the global packaging and plastic products industries. The company holds a strong patent portfolio and its growth is fuelled by the global trend towards sustainable packaging. The company Headquarters and Global Application Development Centre is in Melbourne, Australia. SECOS has a Product Development Centre and manufacturing plant for resins and finished products in Nanjing, China, and manufacturing plants for high quality cast films in Melbourne, Australia and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. SECOS has sales offices in Australia, Malaysia, China, USA, and a network of leading distributors across the Americas, Asia and Europe.

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Ringneck Energy to start construction August 14

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 9:13pm

In South Dakota, at long last Ringneck Energy is set to start construction of its $150 million ethanol plant in Onida August 14 but last minute investors are still welcome to sign up to the equity drive until July 28. The company has managed to park $85 million in equity from a total of 175 investors in nine states even though it only was looking for $75 million so believes it’s well placed to implement the project successfully. All of the legal challenges have been put to rest, leaving the project wide open to move forward so it can eventually produce ethanol from 25 million bushels of corn a year.

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Odessa Public Development Authority opens RFP to sell biodiesel plant again

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 9:12pm

In Oregon, the Odessa Public Development Authority is yet again looking to sell or lease its 8 million gallon per year biodiesel plant after a previous deal fell through. The agency has opened an RFP that closes August 15. The biodiesel market in the state does not appear to be one that can support two biodiesel plants, however, nor is there enough canola grown to supply both of them, leaving the plant and any future owner/operator in a quandary.

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Sustainable Development Technology Canada awards C$2.6 million to Sustane Technologies 

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 9:10pm

In Canada, Sustainable Development Technology Canada is investing C$2.6 million in Sustane Technologies to support the construction of a new demonstration facility in Chester, about 65 km southwest of Halifax. At this facility, solid waste from landfills will be transformed into recyclable materials as well as high-value fuels that burn cleaner than fossil fuels. The emerging market for products converted from solid waste not only represents a new industry but will also result in less pollution and healthier communities.

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Sydney fueling station ends B100 sales after failing air quality tests

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 9:09pm

In Australia, Sydney’s go-to filling station for B100 has stopped selling the fuel after it failed to meet maximum sulfur levels. The station will continue to supply B5 and B20 blends that met set fuel standards following a January inspection by the federal Environmental Department. The country’s main biodiesel producer proved that it did not supply the fuel that failed the tests nor was the distributor contacted by the media responding to requests regarding its source, though some speculated it was imported.

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Valero beats profit estimates despite higher RIN costs and lower ethanol revenues

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 9:08pm

In Texas, Valero Energy Corp. still pulled off a quarterly profit despite an increase in RIN spend during Q2 that contributed to $255 million in blending costs from $173 million last year and lower ethanol revenues at just $31 million from $69 million last year. The increased profit was a result of higher throughput at its refineries, beating Reuters analysts’ expectations by 13 cents per share at $1.23 per share. The company has been a vocal proponent of changing the point of obligation under the RFS.

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Fiberight may not produce energy until March 2018

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 9:07pm

In Maine, although Fiberight’s new MSW facility should be ready to accept waste by April 1 according to a new construction timeline, it won’t actually be able to begin processing the waste from more than 100 communities in the state until June when the technology is commissioned. And even then it could take until March 2018 to start producing ending. At least until June, the waste will be diverted to a landfill but to do so requires a transfer license that hasn’t been granted yet.

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American Society of Agronomy to host workshop looking at sustainability of crop residue removal

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 9:06pm

In California, significant scientific uncertainty exists about crop residue removal and potential effects on soil carbon. Advanced biofuels and bioproducts are being made from crop residues in the US and elsewhere; however, the market value and sustainability of this emerging industry is dependent on maintaining soil health.

The American Society of Agronomy will host a three-day workshop August 15-17 in Sacramento that will provide an opportunity to address critical research and policy issues associated with determining the carbon intensity of advanced biofuels from crop residues. This workshop is designed to improve mutual understanding of soil carbon results from crop residue removal, soil carbon modeling efforts related to residue removal, and current status of life-cycle assessment modeling to determine the carbon intensity of advanced biofuels from crop residues.

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Indian association wants UP to boost use of ethanol in public transport

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 9:01pm

In India, the ASSOCHAM industry association has asked the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh to push for use of ethanol in all public transport buses in the state in an effort to reduce pollution, especially in cities. By upgrading the quality of public transport, it would reduce people’s desire to use private transport and therefore reduce emissions even more. With UP producing the most ethanol of any state nationally, the association sees using ethanol as an opportunity to better the local environment.

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Then and Now: 120 Bioeconomy Pioneers look at yesterday, today, inspirations and challenges

Biofuels Digest - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 3:18pm

Four simple questions and such a variety of response as you might expect from the unusual collection of engineers, biologists, marketeers, customers, financiers, policy leaders, advanced R&D specialists, mathematicians, advocates and watchful critics that make up the advanced bioeconomy.

Where were you on July 27, 2007? Where are you now? What inspires you? What do you see as the challenges? 120 of the Digesterati took up the task — from industry rock-stars everyone has heard of, to new colleagues just establishing some visibility. These are your suppliers, your colleagues and your customers — telling you how they see your world.

Back then, they were in grade school, high school, college, R&D, the old petrochemical economy and more. Now, they are in every geography, role, and stage of progress towards commercialization you can imagine. From Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas — these are the faces and voices of the advanced bioeconomy and their stories are presented in alpha order via the page controls below.

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Ten Years After

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 11:30pm

Today, the Digest celebrates its 10th birthday — and we thank each one of you, our 2.6 million unique readers — for your support, your work as an actor or observer in this inspiring story of industrial transformation, your perseverance, sense of humor, and never-ending fount of innovation that has given us our story lines— some comic, some sad, some inspiring or just plain fascinating. Through the Valley of Death and Beyond, you’re even more diverse, creative, important and persistent than you were 10 years ago.

There was a British blues bang a generation ago called Ten Years After (they became well-known for their classic performance at 1969’s Woodstock). Hands down, their biggest selling hit was a song called “I’d Love to Change the World” (it’s an alt-culture classic, sample it here). Ten Years After the founding of the Digest, the number of innovators, companies, technologies and investors has brown by an order of magnitude — now, you are not only hoping to change the world, you have changed it — and the changes are only beginning to be felt in the way we live, in the decisions we are making about who we are as a society and how we assign value.

In that song, Alvin Lee wrote:

I’d love to change the world
But I don’t know what to do
So I’ll leave it up to you

You, that’s you. You’re the innovator chasing technologies this planet needs — who must struggle, fail, get back up and struggle some more. It is not an easy life, but you have chosen the hard journey, and the world is a better place because of you, and in generations they will look back on this age and wonder at it all, and say “wasn’t that a time?”

Companies come and go, technologies rise and fall in the creative destruction of capitalism, and I know that many of you look at $45 oil and wonder how you will ever succeed.

In my industry, media, we have seen our key revenue metrics — which is the cost per reader for advertisers and the investment per pageview by subscribers — drop by 97% in the past 20 years. And it’s true, AOL is more or less gone, CompuServe, MCI Mail, MySpace, Friendster — more than 98% of search engine technologies and 95% of social networks failed. Caving prices, failing technologies? That’s not the story. Media is bigger than ever. The story is Google and Facebook and Snapchat and LinkedIn and Instagram.

And Your story is the biggest story of all. This is the biggest industrial transformation ever attempted — to decarbonize a sophisticated global economy — you’re on the right side of history, and you are disrupting fuels, chemicals,  materials, nutrition, genetics, robotics, and big data. Keep bringing those products to market and don’t listen to the naysayers. I’ve heard them all my life in the media business, and they are never right in the end.  As Gerry Ostheimer wrote very elegantly in The Digest a few weeks ago, “The world really does want an advanced bioeconomy, it just doesn’t know it yet.”

The Digest has published more than 30,000 news items and columns since we began. Today, we’ll hope to entertain with the 35 Most Bizarre Things ever used to make a Biomaterial, the 10 Strangest Storylines of all time. Later in the day, we’ll be back online with a special feature, Ten Years After: 120 Digesterati, as you were then and as you are now — and your thoughts on what inspires you ands challenges you today as you continue your own journeys in the advanced bioeconomy.

We started the Digest because it seemed to me then as now that the industry could use a good 5-minute round-up of what’s going on around the globe. Nuu followed in time to address the closely related innovations in advanced nutrition, agriculture, genetics, robotics, and big data. It seems like a big leap from the family-owned ethanol plant to silk ties made from spider silk and meat without the cow and milk without the cow — but not really.

It takes a village to make a Digest, as it turns out, and we are lucky to live in the virtual village we have. We are very grateful for all our sponsors, conference volunteers, guest columnists, event staff, and technology service providers. We also have been blessed to have the help of Flavia Lane (since Day 1) Bill Lundberg (since 2009) and Dave Clark (2011-12) to direct our conferences and serve our marketing partners. The Digest and Nuu have been written and produced by Helena Tavares Kennedy (2016-now), Isabel Lane (2010-2015), Lucas Santucci (2010-now), Tom Saidak (2011-2015), Meghan Sapp (2011-now), Briana Sapp (2012-2014), Gary Scoggins (2016-mow), and Michael Theroux (2011).

For me, meeting you via events, email, calls, and the occasional visit at our local Starbucks — that’s been the most rewarding. Thank you and God Bless you in every thing you do.

your online pal,

Jim Lane
Editor & Publisher
Biofuels Digest and Nuu

Categories: Today's News

The 10 Strangest Bioeconomy Storylines of All Time

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 11:22pm
Trains to Nowhere, a nation run on coconuts, reviving the Woolly Mammoth for Pleistocene Park, and the country that wants to pay you to poop for energy security.  These classics have stood the test of time for sheer bizarreness — and sometimes, as inspiring testaments to the creativity of the innocvative mind. 10. 3D-printed, biobased cabin available for rent

In Amsterdam, DUS Architects has unveiled a 3D-printed “urban cabin” built out of linseed oil-based plastic. The “cozy” 86-square foot building includes a small park and outdoor bathtub. The building method is cheaper, faster, and less wasteful than conventional construction. The materials can also be shredded and reused, making the concept well-suited for disaster areas or any other circumstance in which small, temporary shelters are needed. The cabin can technically be rented for short stays, but DUS Architects sees the project more as a prototype for “compact and sustainable dwelling solutions.”

3D-printed, biobased cabin available for rent

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The 35 Most Bizazze Things ever used to make biofuels

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 11:16pm
Bunnies, liposuction fat, Prince Charles’ leftover wine, day-old whale, the human poo bus, fire ants dipped in hexane, old beer, raging fireballs, vibrating blobs, dope, and even the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Take your pick and, yep, it’s all true, as the Digest discovers.

IF YOU’RE ONLY AN OCCASIONAL READER in the world of the advanced bioeconomy — you’re probvably used to corn, sugarcane and veggie oils as raw materials — and maybe add in cellul;osic residues from agriculture, the landfilll, industrial manufacturers or forestry companies for some of the more regular readers.

By most counts, the number of feedstocks is well over 100 in total. And there are dozens of bizarre organisms used in bioconversion. But nature offers a tremendous array of life – life that survives by making energy for life and growth out of the materials around. Accordingly, the story of the advanced bioeconomy and its sources would not be complete without a look at some of the oddest materials and organisms ever used.

11 Unforgettable Classics 1. Human liposuction fat

It could only happen in LA, we suppose. In California a couple of years ago, the Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who used liposuctioned human fat to power two SUVs with biodiesel, faced an investigation from the California state public health authorities, for potential violation of a state law that prohibits the use of human medical waste for vehicle fuels. The “lipodiesel controversy erupted when Dr Craig Bittner was sued by three patients for removing excessive fat and causing disfiguration.  According to reports, Bittner, who closed his practice in November 2008, left the country for South America.

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CARB certifies additive that will make B20 the cleanest fuel nationwide

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 7:15pm

In California, the California Air Resource Board announced on July 20, 2017 that it has certified a biodiesel additive that will make B20 blends in California the cleanest proven and tested diesel fuel with the lowest emissions profile available anywhere in the U.S.

The additive takes already clean-burning biodiesel and ensures it reduces every measurable regulated emission, including NOx, when blended with California’s unique diesel formulation called CARB diesel. NBB led the initial research and development into the additive to maintain biodiesel’s competitive advantage under the state’s low carbon fuel standard.

Branded VESTA™1000, the CARB certified additive ensures compliance with the January 1, 2018 implementation of CARB’s Alternative Diesel Fuel Regulation. A 20 percent blend of biodiesel with VESTA™ 1000 reduced NOx by 1.9 percent and particulate matter by 18 percent compared to CARB diesel fuel. California Fueling, LLC will produce the formula, and Pacific Fuel Resource, LLC will deliver the product to market. The two companies will work cooperatively with NBB members as well as those in the California fuel community to support the ongoing use of biodiesel diesel blends up to B20.

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Canadian airlines see opportunity for country to be a global biojet powerhouse

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 7:14pm

In Canada, major domestic airlines believe the country can become a global leader in aviation biofuel thanks to an abundance of feedstock such as forestry residue and homegrown technologies that can be commercialized locally. Rather than looking to imports from long distances, they want to see a domestic industry grow. They encourage the government to support the growing industry to help bring down the costs of fuel that will lead to greater uptake by airlines.

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Brazil holds off decision on ethanol import tariff another 30 days and eyes quota

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 7:12pm

In Brazil, the country’s foreign trade chamber has delayed yet again the decision whether to rescind the waiver on import taxes lobbed against ethanol, this time for 30 days. The chamber’s representatives from eight ministries may decide on an potential 500,000 metric ton annual import quota with out of quota imports fetching 20% duty instead of reverting to import duties on their own because they could not come to a decision. The Brazilian ethanol industry is seeking a 17% duty to stem the huge increase in imports seen this year.

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Air BP extends aviation biofuel supplies to Halmstad airport

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 7:12pm

In Sweden, Air BP has extended its biofuel footprint in the Nordics with the supply of commercial jet biofuel (biojet) now available at Halmstad Airport, Sweden. The company has collaborated with Halmstad Airport (HAD/ESMT) and Swedish domestic airline, BRA (formerly Braathens Regional) to make this possible.

The first batch was delivered to Halmstad Airport on June 29th and was successfully uplifted by BRA when it refueled its ATR 72-600 aircraft. It is available to all airlines that refuel at the airport, initially for a period of one year.

This follows Air BP’s successful introduction of biojet at Oslo Airport in January 2016. Air BP has since continued to work towards growing its biojet footprint in the region and has supplied airlines and airports on an ad-hoc basis at Stockholm Arlanda (ARN/ESSA), Stockholm Bromma (BMA/ESSB) and Göteborg Landvetter (GOT/ESGG).

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Brazilian ethanol sales down around 8% during H1 July

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 7:10pm

In Brazil, a total of 1.89 billion liters of ethanol were produced during the first half of July against just over 1 billion liters sold into the domestic market and another 71.3 million liters destined for export. Of the total, 546.77 million liters of hydrous were sold, nearly 8% less than during the second-half of June. Similarly, anhydrous ethanol sales were more than 8% less than the previous two-week period at just 396.43 million liters.

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Belfast researcher develops method using dirty aluminum foil as biofuel catalyst

Biofuels Digest - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 7:02pm

In the UK, a researcher at Queen’s University Belfast has discovered a way to convert dirty aluminum foil into a biofuel catalyst, which could help to solve global waste and energy problems.

The researcher worked with engineers at the university to create an innovative crystallization method, which obtains 100% pure single crystals of aluminum salts from the contaminated foil. This is the starting material for the preparation of alumina catalyst.

Usually, to produce this type of alumina it would have to come from bauxite ore, which is mined in countries such as West Africa, the West Indies and Australia, causing huge environmental damage.

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