Biofuel News Roundup

I’ll post the weekly news roundup later this week. In the meantime, my biofuel news since from last month are piling up….By the way, I just finished an article on how oil firms such as Shell, Petrobras and BP have been investing multi-million to multi-billion dollars in Brazilian ethanol. This will come out on ICIS Chemical Business’ June 20 issue under Biofuels column (subscription only).

COMPANY NEWS:

  • Virent makes gasoline from cellulosic biomass (I am writing a story on Virent’s biogasoline and bio-paraxylene projects, which will come out on June 27 ICB issue).
  • Shell and Cosan officially launched $12bn biofuel JV Raizen
  • US-based Diamond Green Diesel LLC, Darling International’s joint venture project with Valero Energy, has secured financing for the planned construction of its renewable diesel facility in Norco, Louisiana. Financing will be provided internally by a subsidiary of Valero Energy.
  • Endicott Biofuels and Holly Biofuels has formed Sabine Biofuels LLC for their 30 million-gallon-per-year biorefinery currently under construction in Port Arthur, Texas. The facility, using a Davy technology, will convert a full range of inedible, renewable fats or oils, in any proportion, to high quality biodiesel.
  • SG Biofuels has signed customers for the deployment of 250,000 acres of Jatropha using its JMax™ hybrid seeds. Jatropha is a non-edible energy crop that produces large volumes of sustainable plant oil used for biodiesel, bio jet fuel and specialty chemicals.
  • US algae developer OriginOil says its joint venture partner in France Ennesys is working with large institutions to develop two separate large-scale algae projects.
  • AE Advanced Fuels Keyes has restarted operations at the 55m gal/year ethanol production facility located in Keyes, California. Approximately 50 full time employees have been hired at the AE Keyes facility.
  • Albemarle Corporation expanded its presence in the biofuels market with the acquisition of Catilin Inc. Based in Ames, Iowa, Catilin develops heterogeneous biodiesel catalysis.
  • KiOR and Catchlight Energy, a 50-50 joint venture between subsidiaries of Chevron Corporation and Weyerhaeuser have signed a feedstock supply agreement where Catchlight Energy will supply forestry-based feedstocks required by KiOR’s first commercial renewable fuel production facility in Columbus, Mississippi.
  • The United Parcel Service (UPS) is now using biodiesel blends at its most vital hub in Louisville, Kentucky. It will allow fueling operators to blend specified percentages of biodiesel “on the fly,” starting with 5 percent biodiesel (B5), and working up to 20 percent biodiesel (B20).

RESEARCH:

  • Scientists from NASA’s Langley Research Center have been testing chicken fat-based biofuel mixed with regular jet fuel on a NASA DC-8 aircraft to measure its performance and emissions as part of the Alternative Aviation Fuel Experiment II, or AAFEX II. The Air Force bought thousands of gallons of the animal fat to burn in some of their jets and provided about 8,000 gallons (30,283 liters) to NASA for the experiment.
  • A team of bioengineers from Georgia Institute of Technology have modified a strain of bacteria to increase its ability to produce ethanol. The research reveals how adaptation and metabolic engineering can be combined for strain improvement, a positive development for the biofuel industry.
  • Two chemists at Brown University have streamlined the conversion of waste vegetable oil into biodiesel, eliminating the need for corrosive chemicals to perform the reactions.

STUDIES:

  • Economics, physics are roadblocks for mass-scale algae biodiesel production, a study from Kansas State University researchers reported.
  • A 10-month study by Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest (SAFN) finds political support at the state and federal level is critical in the early stages of development for aviation biofuels.
  • A study from Forisk Consulting and the Schiamberg Group finds 11-year gap between announced wood biofuel production and commercial viability of in-development Technologies, and that cellulosic ethanol won’t materially contribute to EPA Renewable Fuel Targets by 2022.

  • A new study from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) shows that 17% of the US’ imported oil for transportation could be replaced by biofuel made from algae grown in outdoor raceway ponds located in the Gulf Coast, the Southeastern Seaboard and the Great Lakes.

  • New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that second-generation biofuels have the capacity to replace first-generation biofuels based on edible feedstock with non-edible cellulosic materials.



GOVERNMENT:

  • Several members of the US congress are calling to waive or repeal biofuels provisions included in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), including the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). A letter from the Advanced Biofuels Association, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Renewable Fuels Association, Advanced Ethanol Council, and American Coalition for Ethanol is urging Congress to leave RFS alone.
  • The BIOfuel From Algae Technologies (BIOFAT) project, largely funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Program, aims to demonstrate that biofuels made from microalgae can offer energy efficiency, economic viability and environmental sustainability.
  • The European Biodiesel Board welcomes an announcement confirming the adoption by EU Member States of Regulations preventing the circumvention of the anti-dumping and countervailing duties on US biodiesel in place since 2009.
  • The US Department of Energy (DOE) announces up to $36mn grant to support the development of drop-in biofuels and bioproducts. Companies receiving the grant include General Atomics, Genomatica, Michigan Biotechnology Institute, HCL CleanTech, Texas Engineering Experiment Station, and Virent.




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