UL Approves Biobutanol Use for Storage & Dispensing

Butamax Advanced Biofuels, LLC, has announced that a joint research program with UL (Underwriters Laboratories) has determined that gasoline fuel storage and dispensing equipment meeting latest UL standards can safely and successfully use blends of up to 16 percent biobutabutamaxnol. This is the first time that UL has made such a determination.

Butamax’s Fuel Product Manager, James Baustian, said, “UL represents the gold standard for product safety, testing, and certification. This guidance clears the way for State Agencies to consider and approve dispensing of isobutanol gasoline fuel blends. This is a major milestone for the commercial distribution of biobutanol. Butamax will immediately begin to work with State and Federal authorities to complete final approvals for dispensing of gasoline containing isobutanol.”

State regulations require fuel dispensing equipment to be listed by independent product safety testing laboratories such as UL. Butamax says at the time current UL dispensing equipment test standards were finalized, biobutanol was not commercially available and was not tested. This announcement by UL means that if butanol had been available as a fuel, says Butamax, it would have been included for service use in equipment meeting latest UL standards.

Butamax CEO Paul Beckwith added, “UL has conducted a comprehensive assessment of isobutanol compatibility jointly with Butamax and we have found them to be an excellent technology partner. This milestone is a reflection of UL’s commitment to promotion of new product safety, together with Butamax’s fuel market expertise.”

OriginOil Launches Aquaculture Showcase

OriginOil has launched its Permanent Technology Showcase with a demonstration of its EWS Aqua Q60 and EWS Algae A60 models at Aqua Farming Tech, a sustainable fish farm in Thermal, California, located in the Coachella Valley.

OriginOil Aqua Farming Photo Jessica Sterling Photography“Worldwide, more fish is now being farmed than beef,” said Riggs Eckelberry, president and CEO of OriginOil. “While this is good news, the aquaculture industry will have to address the environmental and operational problems it faces if it is to continue to grow, including the fact that fish is often farmed under toxic conditions. Our Coachella Valley showcase is intended to serve as a living demonstration of the feasibility of clean, sustainable aquaculture.”

OriginOil’s commercial fish farming pond water treatment system can rapidly remove ammonia, bacteria and other aquatic invaders from pond water. And farmers who want a healthier and less-expensive alternative to fish meal can use OriginOil’s algae harvesting system to produce nutritious fish feed. Together, the OriginOil Aquaculture System can help spur the growth of sustainable fish farming on a global scale by reducing costs, eliminating the need for chemical treatment and improving the quality of the product.

Aquaculture is a fast-growing industry. The $100 billion industry is expected to increase by 33 percent between 2012 and 2022, compared to an increase of only 3 percent in capture fisheries, according to the United Nations (The State of World Fisheries, P. 206). But the growth is leading to operational and environmental problems, including the high costs of energy and fish feed, which have forced many fish farms in the Coachella Valley to close.

According to OriginOil, EWS works by recirculating water through a low-voltage electrical pulsing system that causes contaminants or algae to coagulate, or clump together. The clumped-up material then enters a second stage in which low-power electrical pulses generate a cloud of micro-bubbles that gently lift the concentrate to the surface for harvesting.

The EWS Aqua Q60 commercial fish farming pond water treatment system can service 50,000 liters daily, says OriginOil, while consuming less than 20 kilowatt-hours of electricity per day (about $2.40 worth). The system is designed to reduce fish stress and improve yields, while sharply reducing or eliminating the need for chemicals and antibiotics.

The EWS Algae A60 is a mid-scale harvester that can process up to 60 liters (16 gallons) per minute of algae water. Individual EWS Algae A60 units can be assigned to manage a pond or bioreactor assembly of up to 500,000 liters. Units can be combined to achieve massive parallel processing capability. The unit removes 99 percent of the water to produce an algae concentrate. Algae-based fish feed costs up to 60 to 70 percent less than traditional fish feed.

Amyris Increases Biodiesel Buses in Brazil

Amyris, Inc. has announced that the city of São Paulo is now operating 400 city buses using Amyris Renewable Diesel, which is branded locally as Diesel de Cana. In other news, Amyris announced it has successfully produced its first fragrance oil for its partner Firmenich SA.

“From fuels to consumer care products, we continue to make progress on our commercialization of No Compromise renewable products that meet our customers’ needs,” said John Melo, President & CEO at Amyris. “We are not only building on our Biodiesel Bus in Brazilexisting fuels market opportunities but also expanding our portfolio of renewable products, as we have shown with our successful production of a fragrance oil, the third molecule we have taken from lab to industrial scale following artemisinin and farnesene.”

The announcement regarding the expanded use of Diesel de Cana took place with the São Paulo Public Transportation Authority (SPTrans) and its industry partners. The diesel blend is produced from locally-grown sugarcane using Amryis fermentation technology. In addition a trial will begin in 2014 to pilot the use of 100 percent Amyris Renewable Diesel in several city buses.

“We are pleased to increase our supply of Diesel de Cana in São Paulo, helping bring the city closer to its goal of 100% renewable fuels in public transport while reducing air pollution,” said Adilson Liebsch, commercial director at Amyris Brasil. “Our drop-in renewable fuel has been used commercially at blends of 10-30% for two years and logged over 30 million kilometers to date. Working with Mercedes-Benz, MAN and Volvo on a 100% Diesel de Cana trial, we will build greater confidence in our fuel’s quality and performance, paving the way to expand our commercial efforts in other metropolitan areas globally.”

The city of São Paulo has more than 15,000 buses consuming about 450 million liters (118 million gallons) of diesel per year. Amyris’s sugarcane-based diesel is helping the city meet its goal of reducing fossil fuel use in the public transit system. Under city law, São Paulo is working to reduce fossil diesel use by 10 percent every year through 2018.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFFrost & Sullivan has recognized Compagnie Industrielle de la Matiere Vegetale (CIMV) with Frost & Sullivan’s 2013 French Visionary Innovation Award. CIMV’s extensive research to find a viable substitute for petroleum has led to a biorefinery concept that focuses on second-generation biofuels and chemicals. These types of biofuels use only plant residuals (straws, forest residues, wood, miscanthus, and switch grass) and not the plant itself.
  • BASF and Renmatix Inc. will jointly scale up the Renmatix Plantrose process for the production of industrial sugars based on lignocellulosic biomass. The two companies signed a non-exclusive joint development agreement. The collaboration follows BASF’s $30-million investment in Renmatix in January 2012. The Plantrose technology developed by Renmatix enables industrial sugar to be produced, at competitive costs, from a variety of non-edible biomass (lignocellulose) sources. The proprietary process breaks down lignocellulosic sources (e.g. wood, agricultural-residues or straw) into industrial sugars using supercritical water (water at high temperature and pressure).
  • American Capital Energy & Infrastructure announced today that it has partnered with American Capital to create BMR Energy LLC (“BMR”), a new energy company focused on developing and investing in power and related energy infrastructure throughout Central America and the Caribbean. BMR’s first project is a 34 MW wind farm in Malvern, St. Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica. In September 2013, the Office of Utility Regulation in Jamaica selected BMR to build, own, and operate the wind project, which is expected to be operational in 2015.
  • Lignol Energy Corporation, a technology company in the advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals sectors, announced that further to its press releases dated September 30, 2013 and November 6, 2013, it has completed a A$1,488,000 subscription for secured convertible notes in Territory Biofuels Limited.

GTL & QTI Partner to Develop NextGen FracTM

GTL Resources USA, Inc. (GTL), owner of Illinois River Energy, LLC (IRE), and Quality Technology International, Inc. (QTI), through its subsidiary, QTI-AMG LLC, have formed a partnership to collaborate on a new, transformative hybrid fractionation technology for corn, dubbed “NextGen FracTM”. According to the companies, this technology solves the serious starch loss and co-product purity problems of current standalone dry fractionation technologies without the complexity and cost of whole kernel wet milling, potentially a major financial boon for corn ethanol manufacturing.

GTL Resources Logo“We believe that the NextGen FracTM process will be a game-changer in the corn bio-refining space by substantially improving co-product values, reducing ethanol production costs, and opening-up the potential in corn bio-refining to produce next generation biochemicals and biofuels from differentiated corn fractions,” said Richard Ruebe, Group CEO of GTL and IRE.

In dry grind corn bio-refineries retrofitted with the NextGen FracTM process, the kernels are dry fractionated into separate endosperm, germ and bran fractions. The endosperm fraction goes directly into fermentation while the germ and bran fractions are separately wet milled to recover bound starch for fermentation, consequently purifying the germ fraction for food-grade corn oil recovery and the bran fraction for ruminant feed or potential use in biochemical or cellulosic ethanol production.

“This technology addresses the dilemma of producing either high quality food or transportation fuel by producing both, economically,” noted Dan Hammes, President of QTI. “We look forward to a successful collaboration with GTL to demonstrate our technology and to provide the human food and animal feed markets with demonstrably superior co-products.”

According to the partners: a retrofit of traditional dry grind corn biorefineries that produce ethanol and distillers grains to NextGen FracTM has several major advantages: Continue reading

Ecotech Institute Reveals Top Green Jobs for 2014

Green jobs are on the rise and 2014 is slated to be a great year for growth in the sustainable energy sector, according to Ecotech Institute. The Ecotech Institute Clean Jobs Index measures the reality of green jobs and other sustainability factors across the United States. The Index’s latest data reveals a bright outlook in 2014 for cleantech leaders, educators, political leaders, students and job seekers.

Ecotech Clean  Job IndexWithin about the last 30 days, more than 72,000 green job positions with hundreds of job titles were available across the country correlating with trends seen all year. For example, the solar industry had almost 500 job listings since November 5, 2013-December 6, 2013 ranging from Installation Technicians to Sales Representatives and everything in between.

Jobs classified under the broad renewable energy umbrella had approximately 21,000 job listings offered in the last 30 days. This data includes many renewable energy sources with positions in the following areas: Energy Efficiency: 6,600; Electrical Engineering: more than 23,000; Power Utility: 744; and Facility Management: more than 6,470.

So what are Ecotech’s Sustainable Energy Job Predictions for 2014? Based on the last 30 days:

  • Solar had just under 500 job listings: That trend will continue in 2014 as both commercial and residential solar development increases.
  • Wind had less than 100 job listings:  However, requests for wind resumes has been very high and we predict those numbers will increase in 2014.
  • Energy Efficiency had about 6600 job listings: These include everything from medical jobs, to energy auditing, and many, many jobs in between. Most companies include energy efficiency in their job descriptions.
  • Electrical Engineering jobs included over 23,000 listings: The largest demand is for fluid and control Field Service Technicians, a category that is exploding and will continue to be in high demand for 2014.
  • Power Utility job listing were 744: With an aging workforce, the power utility industry will continue to have high job growth.
  • Facility Management had over 6400 jobs listed: As companies look for energy savings, this area will have significant growth in 2014.

Ag, Biofuel Industries Dealt a Blow From EPA

The agriculture and biofuel industry has been dealt a blow according to Adam Nielsen, director of legislation and policy development for the Illinois Farm Bureau. Nielsen, who spends a significant amount of time promoting the agricultural industry in Washington, D.C., said the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed 2014 reduction of the amount of corn ethanol blended as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is of great concern.

Adam Nielsen Illinois Farm BureauNielsen expressed his concern to Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL) during her recent visit to Patriot Renewable Fuels located in Annawan, Illinois. As Nielsen aptly points out, agriculture is the number one industry in the state of Illinois.

“We’re hoping to see an upward revision,” said Nielsen, “and we’re going to try to activate our members over the next couple of months and try to get as many comments as we can into the Federal Register.” He stressed that his organization is going to participate in as many forums and areas they can to try to get the proposed rule changed.

“It’s a blow to the renewable fuels industry and a blow to agriculture. There are so many things attached to the Renewable Fuel Standard,” explained Nielsen. “It’s been so significant in recent years that we need to do whatever we can to protect it.”

As a policy Nielsen said the RFS has done a lot to improve the lives of those in the agriculture industry and especially in the area around Patriot Renewable Fuels. He noted that biofuels and agriculture are completely intertwined. “It’s provided a market where there wasn’t one prior to the Renewable Fuels Standard,” he said.

“It is so intertwined right now that any time you make decisions like this it’s going to have wide ramifications. So that’s the message we need to get through to the U.S. EPA in the next couple of months,” added Nielsen.

Listen to my interview with Adam Nielsen here where he discusses both the RFS as well as the need for a Farm Bill and how the two bills are intertwined: Ag, Biofuel Industries Dealt a Blow from EPA

Check out the Patriot Renewable Fuels photo album.

Renewable Fuels Topic at Senate Primary Forum

IMG_20131219_143610_334On the sixth anniversary of the signing of the expanded federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) into law, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) hosted a renewable fuels forum for Iowa’s leading Republican candidates seeking the GOP nomination to run for U.S. Senate in 2014. The seat is currently held by U.S. Senator Tom Harkin who is retiring after this term.

Forum Moderator and IRFA President Rick Schwarck began the event by stating, “The goal of the [RFS] is to reduce petroleum imports, enhance consumer fueling choices at the pump, boost the rural economy, and reduce the environmental impacts of petroleum-based fuels.” Schwarck then asked both candidates, “If elected to the U.S. Senate, would you support maintaining the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) with no legislative changes?”

The legislation has spurred the growth of the biofuel industry and helped to reduce the use of foreign oil but is the industry in is jeopardy with the Environmental Protection Agency’s current proposed renewable fuel volumes under the 2014 RFS. For the first time in six years, volumes are proposed to decrease rather than increase as the statute stipulates.

The forum was held at the Western Iowa Tech Community College Cherokee Campus Auditorium. State Senator Joni Ernst, Matt Whitaker and David Young were also invited to participate in the forum, but all three candidates declined the opportunity.

E15 Arrives in Fort Dodge, Iowa

STAR Energy logoE15, a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent ethanol, has arrived in Fort Dodge, Iowa. STAR Energy is the 14th E15 retailer in the state, offering the blend to drivers of cars manufactured in 2001 or later. STAR Energy also offers E20, E30, E85 and biodiesel.

“Fort Dodge-area residents are now able to benefit from E15, the lowest-cost fuel for most vehicles on the road today,” stated STAR Energy Manager of Retail Fuels Marketing and Business Development Jason Stauffer. “For motorists driving a 2001 or newer vehicle, E15 gives them another affordable renewable fuel option with the added benefit of higher octane.”

“The addition of STAR Energy in Fort Dodge grows Iowa’s list of registered E15 retailers to 14,” noted Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Managing Director Lucy Norton. “While Big Oil claims a reduction in federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) levels is needed due to the imaginary blend wall, retailers in Iowa continue to successfully crumble this fictitious barrier.”

STAR Energy is located at 2 North 27th Street in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

IL Sen. Todd Sieben “Retired To” Working for Ethanol

IL Farm Bureau Adam Nielsen and former IL State Sen Todd Sieben

Left to right: Adam Nielsen, Illinois Farm Bureau and former IL State Senator Todd Sieben

A good friend once told Todd Sieben, Chairman Central Bank and retired state senator, that when you get ready to retire, don’t retire from something, but retire to something. After 21 years as a state legislator, Sieben did just that and he “retired to” working on projects in his local community including helping to bring the idea of Patriot Renewable Fuels to reality.

Sieben is currently working with the Illinois General Assembly on passing legislation that would incentivize the use of E15 in Illinois. He explained that for many years there has been a sales tax incentive for E10 that enables consumers to purchase the biofuel at a lower cost. Now, says Sieben, they would like to see that tax incentive shifted to E15 and use some of the funds to help retailers build the infrastructure, such as blender pumps, needed to offer consumers E15.

In addition to this work, he is also working with Patriot to get their story out to consumers so they have a better understanding of the positive benefits of ethanol. Sieben noted that there are two stories. One is the local story focused on the economic benefits – the benefits they provide to the local producer. The second is the national story.

Patriot Renewable Fuel ethanol benefits“There is a need to tell a national story to go up against the false claims that are made by Big Oil companies or the food industry that talks about the negative things they believe in an effort to hurt the industry,” said Sieben. “So we’ve got to talk about the value of ethanol or our economy. The value of ethanol to our environment. The value of ethanol in improving our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. That’s the national picture – the big picture.”

He said that Patriot is now getting the message out in social media (Twitter, Facebook, website, etc.) and encourages other ethanol plants and biofuel plants and companies to do the same.

When asked how biofuels affects every single person in the country, he answered the number one positive effect is clean air. He said the second benefit is bringing the price of fuel down at the pump.

Sieben stressed, “We need everyone to step up and listen to this message and stand up for our agricultural industry. To stand up for corn. To stand up for ethanol. We need people to speak up and speak out.”

Listen to my interview with Todd Sieben here: IL State Sen. Todd Sieben 'Retired To' Working for Ethanol

Check out the Patriot Renewable Fuels photo album.