BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFThe Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) announced grant awards for renewable energy projects that advance the market for renewable energy in Maryland. This year’s projects represent significant opportunities for improved residential renewable energy approaches in the State, reflecting industry interest in the potential for smaller, more localized generation. Astrum Solar: Pioneering Residential Energy Storage was awarded $250,000. Astrum will implement an equipment leasing arrangement for up to 25 residential solar photovoltaic systems with backup battery storage. MEA’s grant will lower the cost of battery backup. Infinite Invention: Plug and Play Solar for Maryland Homes was awarded $79,910. Infinite Invention will use its innovative ConnectDER device at ten Maryland households to streamline residential solar photovoltaic system connection to the electric grid, without having to enter the household.
  • Transparency Market Research has released a new market report titled “Geothermal Power Generation Market for Dry Steam, Flash Steam, Binary Cycle Technology – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2013 – 2019.” According to the report, the geothermal power generation market was valued at USD 2.5 billion in 2013 and is expected to reach USD 8.9 billion in 2019, expanding at a CAGR of 23.58% from 2013 to 2019.
  • This week renowned experts in energy, innovation, and entrepreneurship convened at the New York Academy of Sciences to discuss strategic direction for New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) three clean energy proof-of-concept centers (POCCs). Each center is dedicated to helping inventors and scientists turn their high-tech, clean energy ideas into successful businesses. To further this goal, the Academy, which serves in an advisory capacity for the POCCs, in concert with NYSERDA, formed an Advisory Board of experts to provide strategic advice the POCCs. The Board was selected for their collective, extensive experience working across sectors, including academia, the private sector, government, and non-profits, in the areas of energy, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
  • The latest edition of the Energy Biosciences Institute Annual Report has been published and is now available in print and online. The 90-page report is a catalog of programs and projects being investigated at the EBI in its commitment to explore the applications of modern biology to the energy sector. Now in its 7th year of a 10-year contract with funding from international energy company BP, the public-private partnership continues to make progress toward fulfilling the promise of renewable, affordable transportation fuels developed from non-food sources like grasses and waste material.

Mosaic Launches New National Solar Tech Platform

Mosiac is going national. The first solar company to ever use crowdsourcing investments to finance solar projects has just launched another first of its kind technology platform: Mosaic Places. The technology will enable the nation to go solar one location at a time.

So how does it work? The public can nominate community centers, schools, libraries and places of worship as well as local businesses to go solar. The site already contains nearly 300,000 places across the U.S.

I went to Mosaic Places and checked to see if my friend’s Join Mosaic Put Solar On Western Hills Magnet Centerschool was listed. It wasn’t yet so I nominated Western Hills Magnet Center, an Omaha, Nebraska elementary school for solar energy. The building was built in 1952 and has had no upgrades since. In fact, some rooms have no air conditioning (no, a 100 degree room is not a good learning environment for children). With solar, the school can save money on energy and invest the funds back into the kids. And, it gives these students the opportunity to learn about solar first-hand. This is a perfect example of engaging kids in science, technology, engineering in math (STEM) that our schools need so much more of.

Now that I have my school in the system, it asks for as little as a petition – people just click support (which I already have) to participate. However, serious money can be raised to put solar on a place as Mosaic matches supporters with dollars.

Mosaic Places was born out of a successful New Years pledge launched by Mosaic and actor Mark Ruffalo asking people to #PutSolarOnIt in 2014. While a solar installation was installed, on average, every four minutes in the U.S. in 2013, the nation has put solar on less than 1 percent of the homes and commercial buildings that would financially benefit from solar on their roofs. With thousands of incoming pledges for the #PutSolarOnIt campaign, Mosaic built a platform that would help people achieve their commitments. The product launch comes days before the first national #PutSolarOnIt Day of Action this June 21st, the Summer Solstice and longest day of the year.

Put Solar On It“We have been dreaming about this product for years,” said Mosaic President, Billy Parish. “It’s based on our belief that every building can go solar if the community is behind it. Mosaic has built a product that enables everyone to participate in transitioning the country to 100% clean energy.”

The funds raised are designed to bridge the gap for community buildings whose solar installations may need a few thousand dollars to be financeable by conventional means. For every 50 people that click “support” on a Place’s page, Mosaic will donate $100 to put solar on it. In addition, homeowners who go solar through a Mosaic Place’s page will be eligible to receive a $500 gift, which they can donate to put solar on that place.

Any individual can use Mosaic Places by going to, finding or adding a Place and sharing their chosen Place with their friends to get supporters and raise funds to put solar on it. Schools, places of worship and other community groups can fundraise to put solar on their buildings by asking their community members to support their Place’s page and put solar on their homes through their Place’s page.

So I want to #PutSolarOnIt on Western Hills Magnet Center. Where do you want to put solar on it?

Honeywell Green Jet Fuel Flies FIFA Teams

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, has announced that Honeywell Green Jet Fuel produced from its UOP Renewable Jet Fuel process will power 200 commercial flights on GOL Airlines during the 2014 FIFA World Cup currently taking place in Brazil. GOL Airlines, the official airline of the Brazil soccer team, has selected to use Honeywell Green Jet Fuel for flights carrying the team to cities across Brazil that are hosting World Cup matches.

The Honeywell Green Jet Fuel was made from inedible corn oil and used cooking oil. Each flight will use a blend of Honeywell Green Jet Fuel with petroleum-based jet fuel. UOP supplied nearly 92,000 liters of Honeywell Green Jet Fuel for the flights. Compared with petroleum-based jet fuel. According to Honeywell, this renewable fuel will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 185 metric tons of CO2 over the course of the event based on life cycle analysis.

GOL Airlines official 2014 FIFA World Cup airline“Honeywell Green Jet Fuel offers lower emissions than traditional petroleum-derived jet fuel and can be made from a variety of non-edible feedstocks, providing a flexible, renewable solution to meeting the current and future needs of Latin America and elsewhere,” said Veronica May, vice president and general manager of UOP’s Renewable Energy and Chemicals business unit. “We are pleased to continue our presence in Latin America and help meet the region’s growing need for sustainable energy solutions.”

Blended up to 50 percent with petroleum-based jet fuel, Honeywell Green Jet Fuel requires no changes to aircraft technology, meets all critical specifications for flight, and can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65 to 85 percent compared with petroleum-based fuels.

Together, Brazil and the United States account for 70 percent of the world’s total consumption of biofuels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and Brazil is the world’s second-largest biofuel producer.

The first fully commercial production of renewable jet fuel in the U.S. is expected to start up this year and produce approximately 30 million gallons of Honeywell Green Diesel and Honeywell Green Jet Fuel per year. AltAir Fuels will produce low-carbon, renewable jet fuel and other renewable products using UOP’s Renewable Jet Fuel Process with the flexibility to adjust the product mix between diesel and jet fuel to meet market demands. United Airlines will purchase 15 million gallons of this fuel over a three-year period, with the option to purchase more. The AltAir facility will be the first refinery in the world designed to continuously produce both renewable jet and diesel fuels.

HP Hood Converts Fuel Oil to CNG

HP Hood’s plant located in Lafargeville, New York is converting from fuel oil to compressed natural gas (CNG) as a boiler fuel. According to the company, CNG is much less expensive than fuel oil, therefore the new technology will make the plant more competitive. After the conversion, the plant will emit 26 percent less CO2, much less SO2 and NOx, and almost no particulates.

HP Hood’s Lafargeville plant is not located on a gas pipeline so needed another conversion HP Hood CNG truckoption. NG Advantage LLC provided the answer. NG Advantage trucks CNG using its “virtual pipeline” of 27 trailers to deliver the natural gas from existing pipelines to large institutions and industrial facilities in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts and is now expanding into eastern New York State.

HP Hood LLC was founded more than 160 years ago and has grown to be a national company distributing dairy products throughout the United States. Today, HP Hood is now one of the country’s largest branded dairy operators with 15 manufacturing plants throughout the United States. As a leader in its industry, Hood is committed to conducting business in a way that maintains a vigilant focus on sustainability.

NG Advantage will begin delivering natural gas to very large energy users that do not have access to a pipeline in upstate and eastern New York in Q4, 2014. The company said it is committed to bringing the economic and environmental benefits of natural gas to customers located beyond the reach of pipelines. Customers do not need to build storage tanks as the tractor/trailers automatically arrive 24/7 and gas is drawn directly from the trailers into the boilers at the plant.

Freeman Covert, Director of Operations at the HP Hood Lafargeville plant, expressed his support of the conversion to CNG. “As we strive to work smarter and better, we are pleased that the partnership with NG Advantage creates both environmental and business efficiencies.”

According to NG Advantage, their customers save 20-40 percent off the cost of their process and comfort heating bills by replacing fuel oil as their primary source of heat with cleaner, less expensive, North American natural gas.

NG Advantage CEO Tom Evslin added, “We are pleased to have the opportunity to bring the benefits of natural gas to HP Hood, its customers, employees, and neighbors. We are looking forward to bringing natural gas beyond the pipeline to New York institutions just as we have already done in New England where we got our start.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFThe U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will hold its 2014 EIA Energy Conference on July 14 and 15, 2014. The EIA Energy Conference has become a great forum for addressing energy issues in the United States and around the world. This event will bring together thought leaders from industry, government, and academia to discuss current and future challenges facing domestic and international energy markets and policymakers. The conference will feature keynote speakers including: Congressman Fred Upton, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency; Eric Slifka, President and Chief Executive Officer of Global Partners LP; and Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Vice Chairman of IHS.
  • SolarCity Corporation has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Silevo, a solar technology and manufacturing company whose modules have achieved a unique combination of high energy output and low cost. The transaction was announced, and its significance described in detail, in a post from SolarCity Chairman Elon Musk, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Peter Rive and Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Lyndon Rive on SolarCity’s blog.
  • Sunetric Designs (subsidiary of RSG Energy) has deployed a 198.8 kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic (PV) system with automated curtailment and smart-grid controls at a popular beachfront resort on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. The system is funded and owned by Kairos Energy Capital, a Hawaii-based merchant bank which finances and invests in solar. The system assures all electricity generated by the PV system is consumed by the local facility and not fed back into the utility grid. This reduces the impact on the local circuit and makes it easier for the island’s electric utility provider, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC), to manage the grid.
  • First Reserve, a global private equity and infrastructure investment firm exclusively focused on energy, has announced the closing of its second energy infrastructure fund, First Reserve Energy Infrastructure Fund II, L.P. Formally launched eight months ago, the Fund was oversubscribed beyond its initial target of US$2 billion, ultimately closing at its US$2.5 billion hard cap. First Reserve now has over US$4 billion dedicated to investing in energy infrastructure opportunities. FREIF II will continue to focus on long-lived energy infrastructure investments throughout the energy value chain, including (1) contracted midstream, such as pipelines, storage and LNG facilities; (2) contracted power, which includes both renewable and conventional generations; (3) regulated transmission and distribution; and (4) contracted energy assets including floating storage facilities and other essential large-scale energy infrastructure assets.

Ceres Initiates Field Evaluations of Sugarcane Traits

CeresLogoSmoothCeres has announced that it will evaluate a number of its biotech traits in sugarcane in South America. The company recently completed several plantings and preliminary performance observations will be available by the end of the year. Company expects the receive sugar yield results in the second half of 2015 when the first growing cycle is completed. Sugarcane is an additional out-licensing opportunity for traits in addition to its sorghum projects.

The pilot-scale field evaluations include a number of Ceres’ leading traits for high sugar and drought tolerance. According to the company, these first field evaluations in sugarcane are designed to measure the performance of the traits in leading commercial varieties, with a goal of advancing the best plants for broader evaluation. Evaluations will be managed by a South American sugarcane developer.

Roger Pennell, PhD, vice president of trait development for Ceres, said that the company’s biotech traits could provide significant benefits to sugarcane production. Higher sugar yields and greater resilience to drought and other stress conditions would not only increase output, but also lower production costs.

“If our greenhouse results are confirmed in the field, plants with Ceres’ traits could allow growers to leapfrog ahead of the incremental gains that have been made through plant breeding alone,” said Pennell. “Plant breeding is particularly cumbersome in sugarcane. The plants have long growing cycles and common breeding processes are difficult to implement due to limitations in how and when sugarcane plants produce pollen and flowers.”

Walter Nelson, Ceres vice president of product development, said that the company intends to work with mills and growers in South America and other sugarcane production areas once it has the field data it needs to determine more definitively the commercial value of these traits in sugarcane. Commercialization timelines will depend primarily on trial results and the regulatory review process in various markets.

Amyris & Total Prepare to Market Biojet Fuel

With the recently revised ASTM standard for jet fuel, Amyris and Total are now in the process of preparing to marketing their drop-in jet fuel that contains up to 10 percent blends of farnesane. The fuel, which has undergone extensive in-flight testing, meets all performance requirements set for Jet A/A-1 fuel used by the global commercial aviation industry.

“The ability of this renewable jet fuel to meet the criteria in the definitive standard for use in commercial aviation is a significant milestone in the ongoing collaboration between Amyris and Total. It unleashes the potential of our renewable jet fuel for the commercial aviation market, said Philippe Boisseau, Member of the Executive Committee of Total, President of Marketing & Services and New Energies divisions.

jet_a_1The ASTM standard involved an end-to-end evaluation program to verify and ensure that the renewable jet fuel product is compatible with aircraft and engine components and systems. The revised standard developed by ASTM Committee on Petroleum Products, Liquid Fuels, and Lubricants, now includes the use of renewable farnesane as a blending component in jet fuels for commercial aviation. This latest version of ASTM D7566, Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons, will allow a biomass-based renewable jet fuel, as developed by Amyris and Total, to support the commercial airliners’ goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“The introduction of our green fuel for the commercial aviation industry has the potential to lead to a meaningful reduction of greenhouse gas emissions with strong performance. As one of the world’s biggest suppliers of aviation fuel, one of Total’s objectives is to make breakthrough jet fuel solutions widely available to its airline customers, supporting their quest to meet high sustainability objectives,” Boisseau added.

John Melo, President & Chief Executive Officer of Amyris said, “Conformance to ASTM D7566 enables us to advance our ongoing discussions with several of the major international airlines seeking to fly commercial flights with renewable fuels capable of reducing emissions and improving performance,.”

“With our partner Total, we are paving the way for a new era for the aviation industry by providing a drop-in, low carbon jet fuel solution that will support the sustainability and environmental goals set by the industry without compromising performance. Achieving conformance to this standard in record time is a credit to the disruptive potential of our technology and the commitment of the global aviation industry to support innovative solutions,” Melo concluded.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFIn an effort to install an electric vehicle highway between Kansas City, Kansas and Denver, Colorado. Tesla has announced that the Goodland Kansas Supercharger station is now open featuring six charging stalls. The EV charging station is located at 2631 Enterprise Rd, Goodland, Kansas 67735 located at the Holiday Inn Express.
  • Between three to six million euros will be available in the Netherlands for research and development into biobased performance materials (BPM) over the next four years. The team in charge of the Top Sector for Chemicals (defined by the Dutch government as an investment priority) has approved a continuation of the BPM R&D programme which is currently coordinated by Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research. Funding of three million euros for the new programme will come from the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The BPM project office will apply for a 3 million euro grant with the Dutch organisation for scientific research (NWO). This application focuses on support of a specific basic research programme into biobased materials. Dutch companies will provide 35% of the funding. Biobased performance materials, such as bioplastics for packaging, biobased building materials, resins, textiles and carpeting, represent a sustainable alternative to plastics made ​​from fossil fuels.
  • CBD Energy Limited announced the pricing of its public offering of 1,810,000 ordinary shares, at an offering price of $4.00 per share. CBD has granted the underwriters a 45-day option to purchase up to 271,500 additional ordinary shares to cover over-allotments, if any. The ordinary shares of CBD will begin trading on The NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol “CBDE” on June 13, 2014. National Securities Corporation is acting as lead manager for the offering. Northland Capital Markets is acting as co-manager for the offering. Northland Capital Markets is the trade name for certain equity capital markets and investment banking activities of Northland Securities, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. The offering is expected to close on June 18, 2014, subject to customary closing conditions.
  • SunPower Corp. and Admirals Bank has announced a strategic relationship to provide a $200 million loan program for SunPower residential solar projects over the next two years. The partnership supports the SunPower Loan program in the U.S., expanding the financing options available to homeowners interested in owning high-efficiency SunPower solar power systems. Under the program, borrowers may apply for a loan of up to $60,000 to install a SunPower system. Each partner’s obligations are subject to the terms of the partnership agreement and all loans are subject to credit approval.

$14.5M in Bioenergy, Biomass Funding From USDA

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development (RD) has announced up to $14.5 million in funding to two program funding through the 2014 Farm Bill. RD is accepting applications for companies seeking to offset the costs associated with converting fossil fuel systems to renewable biomass fuel systems. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is offering $2.5 million in grants designed to improve national energy security through the development of bio-based transportation fuels (biodiesel or ethanol, etc.) biopower and new bio-based products.

USDA Biomass Energy MapAs part of the programs, the USDA is also offering assistance to individuals, or companies interested in starting a bio-energy business called the Bioeconomy Tool Shed. The Tool Shed is a free portal offering users access to a complement of web-based tools and information, statistical data and other resources related to the sustainable production and conversion of biomass into products and fuel, a process often referred to as the bioeconomy.

“These USDA investments are part of the Obama Administration’s ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy, and they benefit our economy as well as the environment,” said Tom Vilsack, USDA Ag Secretary. “USDA’s support for bio-based technologies is good for the climate, and enhances rural economic development while it decreases our dependence on foreign sources of oil. These and other USDA efforts will create new products out of homegrown agriculture from this and future generations of American farmers and foresters.”

USDA plans to make up to $12 million in payments for eligible biorefineries through RD’s Repowering Assistance Program, which was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Biorefineries in existence on or before June 18, 2008 are eligible for payments to replace fossil fuels used to produce heat or power with renewable biomass. Since President Obama took office, USDA has provided $6.9 million to help biorefineries transition from fossil fuels to renewable biomass systems. Applications, deadlines and details will be published in the Federal Register on Monday, June 16, 2014.

USDA is also seeking applications for NIFA’s Sun Grants program that encourages bioenergy and biomass research collaboration between government agencies, land-grant colleges and universities, and the private sector. Congress authorized the Sun Grant program in the 2008 Farm Bill and reauthorized the program in 2014. The program provides grants to five grant centers and one subcenter, which then will make competitive grants to projects that contribute to research, education and outreach for the regional production and sustainability of possible biobased feedstocks. The project period will not exceed five years.

New Biofuel Station Coming to Inwood, Iowa

A new biofuel station will soon be coming to Inwood, Iowa. Oak Street Station, when completed, will offer higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel to motorists. More specifically, the station will offer ethanol blends E10, E15, E30 and E85, as well as biodiesel blends B5 and B99.9 for independent jobbers and special use customers.

Flex Fuel pump “We’re excited to have received a ‘Fueling Our Future’ grant that will enable us to grow our business and offer unique, locally-produced, clean-burning renewable fuels to Inwood motorists,” said Oak Street Station Accountant Lisa Van Regenmorter. “This funding will allow us to put in the infrastructure to offer higher blends of renewable fuels that are not currently available in the area.”

Oak Street Station was selected to receive $125,000 in funding for the new site from Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s “Fueling Our Future” program, administered by the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS).

“We congratulate Oak Street Station on becoming a center for renewable fuels by offering some of the highest levels of ethanol and biodiesel available in Northwest Iowa,” added Iowa Renewable Fuel Association (IRFA) Managing Director Lucy Norton. “This innovative approach will keep Iowa in the forefront of the biofuels revolution and provide motorists with greater access to the cleanest, lowest-cost fuels available.”

The new fueling site will feature three ethanol blender pumps and five biodiesel fueling positions, in addition to a vehicle service center and convenience store. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer, with completion expected in January 2015.