Flint Hills Licenses Edeniq’s Cellulose Technology

Flint Hills Resources has signed an agreement to license Edeniq‘s Pathway Technology for all of its ethanol plants. The ethanol group has been an investor in the company since April of 2012 and a customer since June 2012.

Edeniq-Logo“This comprehensive Pathway agreement is the seventh license agreement between our companies, including the installation of Edeniq’s Cellunators at three of FHR’s plants,” said Brian Thome, President and CEO of Edeniq. “Our work with Flint Hills demonstrates the value of our technology to increase profitability in the ethanol industry.”

Edeniq’s Pathway Technology integrates its Cellunator technology that includes cellulase enzymes to convert corn kernel fiber into cellulosic ethanol. The technology utilizes existing fermentation and distillation equipment to produce up to 2.5 percent cellulosic ethanol and a percent increase in overall ethanol yield. Edeniq’s technology also includes a technical validation process that allows ethanol plants to quantify the amount of cellulosic ethanol produced within their plants (the resulting ethanol is considered a D3 RIN under the Renewable Fuel Standard #RFS) and comply with federal registration record keeping and reporting.

Top 100 People in Advanced Bioeconomy Announced

The Top 100 People in Advanced Bioeconomy for 2016 has been released by Biofuels Digest. The top spot went to Tom Vilsack, USDA Ag Secretary. Other notables on the list included #3 Daniel Oh with REG; #10 Brent Erickson with BIO; #12 Terry Branstad, Iowa Governor; #21 Bob Dinneen with RFA; #22 Brooke Coleman with ABBC; #26 Joe Jobe with NBB; and #37 Ernest Moniz with the EPA.

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 8.48.32 PMComing in at #93 was Joanne Ivancic, executive director of Advanced Biofuels USA who recently commented on her inclusion. “Recognition by the readers and editors of Biofuels Digest, “the world’s most-widely read biofuels daily” motivates all of us who volunteer at Advanced Biofuels USA to continue our efforts to transition the world to a sustainable, renewable future,” she said. “It acknowledges the work done by all the volunteers who comprise the organization and without whom nothing would be achieved. My thanks to all who work so hard to make this possible and to those who voted to give the organization this honor.”

Advanced Biofuels USA is a technology neutral and feedstock agnostic nonprofit educational organization that advocates for the adoption of advanced biofuels as an energy security, economic development, military flexibility and climate change mitigation solution.

Read the full list here.

Sandia Labs’ Launches New Algae Raceway

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have developed a new algae raceway testing facility to bridge the gap between lab and real world. Today, scientists have not yet discovered a cost-competitive way to convert algae to renewable fuels. The new Sandia algae testing facility is comprised of three 1,000-liter oval raceway ponds that feature advanced monitoring.

The new algae raceway testing facility at Sandia National Laboratories will help scientists advance laboratory research to real-world applications. Shown here is one of the three 1,000-liter ponds, outfitted with custom lighting and 24-hour advanced hyper spectral monitoring. Photo credit Dino Vournas.

The new algae raceway testing facility at Sandia National Laboratories will help scientists advance laboratory research to real-world applications. Shown here is one of the three 1,000-liter ponds, outfitted with custom lighting and 24-hour advanced hyper spectral monitoring. Photo credit Dino Vournas.

“This facility helps bridge the gap from the lab to the real world by giving us an environmentally controlled raceway that we can monitor to test and fine tune discoveries,” said Ben Wu, Sandia’s Biomass Science and Conversion Technology manager. “The success of moving technologies from a research lab to large outdoor facilities is tenuous. The scale-up from flask to a 150,000-liter outdoor raceway pond is just too big.”

According to Wu, the “raceway” design features several benefits:

  • Easy scale-up to larger, outdoor raceways
  • Customizable lighting and temperature controls, operational by year end, to simulate the conditions of locations across the country
  • Fully contained for testing genetic strains and crop protection strategies
  • Advanced hyperspectral monitoring 24 hours a day

The new facility is already in use with researchers Todd Lane and Anne Ruffing testing genetically modified algae strains as part of a project funded by Sandia’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program. The algae raceway should enable the researchers to more quickly identify strains that promise improved performance.

“The bioeconomy is gaining momentum,” Wu said. “Biofuels from algae may be further off, but algae has sugar and proteins that can make fuel or higher valued products, such as butanol or nylon — products that currently come from fossil fuels.”

Wu expects the facility will expand opportunities for Sandia researchers to develop algae as a robust source of biofuels and increase collaborations and partnerships with the private sector, particularly in California where efforts to transform transportation energy are prevalent.

Students Discuss Biodiesel Research Projects at #NBB16

Students who are part of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel had the opportunity to share their research during the recent National Biodiesel Conference and Expo. The students all have one thing in common – their passion for the biodiesel industry.

nbb-16-thomas-kwanI spoke with several of these budding biodiesel leaders during the poster session. Thomas Kwan is a PhD candidate at Yale and is part of the Center for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering. While doing his undergraduate he looked at emissions from diesel fuel, particularly locomotives. He then leveraged this interest into looking not at the tailpipe, but the fuels themselves for emission reductions.

Thomas’s research is framed around an integrated biorefinery with algae as the foundation. In other words, the “plant” accepts some biomass and then produces biodiesel and other biobased products. Enabling technologies for the idea of an integrated biorefinery. Used micro algae that has high content for biodiesel lipids as well as other compounds, in particular, astaxanthin, a powerful antioxident. IN the case of algae, the bioproduct is not yet approved for human consumption but Thomas hopes this research will help change that. Ultimately, they looked at how to tweak the biorefinery to get more lipids for biodiesel, or to get more astaxanthin. To learn more, listen to my interview with Thomas Kwan here: Interview with Thomas Kwan

nbb16-eric-william

Clemson University Biosystems Engineering students Eric Monroe and William O’Connell, present their biodiesel research during the poster session.

William O’Connell is a senior at Clemson University in Biosystems Engineering. He became interested in biodiesel while doing his undergraduate research, and then attended the conference last year. He’s back and this year presented his research during the poster session.

The focus on the project is to reanalyze the school’s current process of collecting used cooking oil and converting it to biodiesel. William said they are looking to see if there is a more efficient way to produce the biofuel. What they have discovered is using interesterification is more efficient. To learn more, listen to my interview with William O’Connell here: Interview with William O'Connell

nbb-16-james-davisJames Davis is in his fourth year of his PhD at the University of Nevada, Reno. He has a keen interest in fatty acids of seed crops such as canola or camelina sativa. He explained that his research is focused on altering the lipid profile of camelina sativa.

The idea is to apply a cutting edge gene editing technology to knock out certain genes. Essentially, his goal is two-fold. One, to alter the fingerprint of the lipid profile and they are also trying to eradicate erucic acid, a semi-negative toxic lipid that is bad for livestock making camelina seed meal restricted for use in feeding livestock. James notes that if they can get rid of some of the negative profile, they can create a more high-value byproduct. To learn more, listen to my interview with James Davis here: Interview with William O'Connell

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Primus Green Produces 100-Octane Gas

Primus Green Energy has achieved a milestone by producing 100-octane gas and methanol from methane and other hydrocarbon gases at its commercial demonstration plant in New Jersey. According to the company, the feat was achieved due to a “breakthrough” improvement to its STG+ technology that enables its plant to produce high-octane gasoline in addition to RBOB gasoline and methanol.

Zero sulfur, zero benzene gasoline in front of New Jersey commercial demonstration plant. Photo Credit: Hal Brown.

Zero sulfur, zero benzene gasoline in front of New Jersey commercial demonstration plant. Photo Credit: Hal Brown.

The resultant fuel contains zero sulfur, zero benzene, zero lead gasoline. Primus says as such, their fuel could qualify for European Union (EU) and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) requirements. I addition, the gas has the potential to meet U.S. fuel needs including 100LL aviation gasoline (avgas) market totaling 150-200 million gpa in the the U.S. alone.

“This breakthrough in our proprietary technology directly addresses the demand from our customers in Europe and the CIS – markets that require high-octane gasoline,” said Sam Golan, CEO of Primus Green Energy. “This accomplishment demonstrates the advantages of Primus’ technology team and business model, which focus on the continual improvement of our technology and the development of new products to meet customers’ needs.”

Primus’ STG+™ technology can transform a number of natural gas feedstocks including wellhead and pipeline gas, dry or wet associated gas, “stranded” ethane, excess syngas from underutilized reformers or mixed natural gas liquids. The company says with its technology, it can save gas from being stranded or flared due to lack of traditional natural gas pipeline infrastructure. Their modular system can be trucked and assembled onsite.

Two Women Share Their Biodiesel Research

There is a growing number of women who are forging paths and leading the way in innovative biodiesel research. Two such women are Megan Hums, a student at Drexel University, and Jennifer Greenstein, a student at North Carolina State University. They are both members of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel program and they both presented posters during this year’s National Biodiesel Conference & Expo. I spent some time with both young women to learn about how they became interested in biodiesel/bioenergy. These are some amazing young ladies!

nbb16-greensteinJennifer Greenstein used to work in bioethanol and she says biofuels is something she can really get behind. As such, she headed to North Carolina State University to pursue her PhD and while there began working for Piedmont Biofuels, a biodiesel producer. (She will be graduating soon. Contact her here.)

For her research, Jennifer is working on developing lipases, which are a catalyst to make biodiesel. She is looking at an improved production system for making the lipases and immobilizing them. So in other words, she is looking for a way to express the lipases on the surface of the bacteria rather than intracellularly. The cool thing is that the process she is looking at will use an enzyme to replace chemicals in the production process. To learn more about her research, listen to my interview with Jennifer Greenstein here: Interview with Jennifer Greenstein

nbb16-megan-humsAfter Megan graduated with her undergrad degree she said she felt she still had more to learn. With her interest in sustainability and biofuels she found a project at Drexel University (She’s in her fifth year of her PhD program and graduating soon. Contact her here.) that interested her using waste greases for biodiesel production. She has been involved with this project and it was the focus on her poster.

Megan is looking at the environmental impact of using low quality greases, or kitchen waste greases, which have gone down the sink, to produce biodiesel using nonconventional biodiesel conversion. She then takes the whole process and applies environmental impacts to it through a lifecycle assessment and tries to figure out the footprint of production. To learn more, listen to my interview with Megan Hums here: Interview with Megan Hums

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Students Benefit From Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel

James Anderson discusses his research with an attendee during #NBB16.

James Anderson discusses his research with an attendee during #NBB16.

It’s never too early to encourage the next generation of biodiesel and bioproduct scientists and this is just what NBB is doing through its Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel program. Several members of the group attended this year’s conference and presented posters, attended educational sessions and networked, networked, networked.

James Anderson, from University of Illinois, serves as co-chair for the group and he presented his research looking at fatty acid profiles and studying divergent plants. His goal was to identify not the fastest growing soybean plant or the plant with the best resistance, but the plant with the best profile. The idea is that they would identify soybeans that would be even better suited to biodiesel production. He and his team checked their results against some USDA studies and found positive results.

James is finishing up his project soon and will be awarded his PhD and will soon be looking for a job…hint, hint. He can be reached via email to discuss both his research and future opportunities.

Listen to my interview with James Anderson here: Interview with Co-Chair James Anderson

Jesse Mayer and James Anderson, Co-Chairs of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel.

Jesse Mayer and James Anderson, Co-Chairs of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel.

Jesse Mayer, from the University of Nevada, Reno, is also a co-chair of Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel. Originally planning on going to medical, he switched gears when the only lab he could find work in was a plant lab. Well, he got hooked. He said he loves the field and the sustainability aspect of it.

He became involved in the group two years ago through his professor. He encourages everyone to join. “It’s really great opportunity to understand all the different aspects of biofuels. Like the students here you’ve got a lot of different fields…. So finding a student organization like NBB, joining them, and getting an idea of what those other aspects are, talking to people in the industry, really helps diversify you as a student and really helps going on to grad school or into the workforce.”

Jesse is also graduating soon and if the networking I saw him doing at the conference is any indication, he won’t be on the market long. You can reach him here.

Listen to my interview with Jesse Mayer here: Interview with Co-Chair Jesse Mayer

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Bringing #Biodiesel to the Northeast

Paul Nazzaro is no stranger to the biodiesel industry and has been a huge champion for the advanced biofuel in the Northeast for nearly two decades. During the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Tampa, Florida, Nazzaro participated in several panel discussions focused on how to get more biodiesel into the Northeast as each year, more legislation is passed to curb emissions and ultimately promote renewable energy. BioHeat in particular is really gaining ground.

Paul NazzaroYet distribution challenges need be overcome in order to get more biodiesel products into the northeast. Nazzaro said in an interview after the panel discussion that compared to other areas of the country, there are very few terminals where the fuel can be blended and distributed. When asked who is responsible for paying to get more terminals, such as the biodiesel industry or the petroleum industry, Nazzaro said ultimately the cost will fall on consumers. But if they keep asking for biodiesel products, he stressed, suppliers will listen and down the road, biodiesel is not only more environmentally friendly, it will cost consumers less.

Nazzaro is working with a team to help overcome distribution and supply challenges to help ensure that the biodiesel industry can deliver what they promise: high value, advanced, renewable bioproducts.

To learn more listen to my interview with Paul Nazzaro: Interview with Paul Nazzaro

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Eye of Biodiesel Winners Announced at #NBB16

nbb-16-livergoodThe “Eye of Biodiesel” awards were announced during the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Tampa, Florida this week.

First up was Mike Livergood who received the Lifetime Achievement award. He is retiring this year from ADM after nearly four decades with the company. In his acceptance speech, Livergood talked about how ADM become involved with the National Biodiesel Board back in 1999. “By 2011, we were running eleven biodiesel facilities on three continents with total capacity of nearly three-quarters of a billion gallons a year,” he said. “Biodiesel was truly the savior of the soybean crushing industry.”

Listen to his remarks here: Mike Livergood, Lifetime Achievement Award

nbb-16-climate-leaderThe National Biodiesel Board recognized three organizations in California this year as the Climate Leader award winners. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF); Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2); and the American Lung Association were all recognized for their environmental leadership to promote all clean fuels, including biodiesel, along the West Coast. These three organizations, along with other NGOs, bolstered and defended Low Carbon Fuel policies in California and Oregon. NBB Director of Sustainability Don Scott (L) presented the awards to representatives each organization – Mary Solecki of E2, Heather Palmer with the American Lung Association, and EDF’s Timothy J. O’Connor.

O’Connor spoke for the group in accepting the award. Timothy O'Connor, Environmental Defense Fund

nbb-16-calabottaBeth Calabotta, former Monsanto Director for Bioenergy and currently serving on the National Biodiesel Foundation, was honored with the Impact award for her tireless dedication to the advancement of biodiesel.

Beth’s experience in the field of agricultural yield technology and the markets that drive demand for protein give her a rare and valuable knowledge base that she has put 100 percent into her work to advance biodiesel. She has contributed greatly to the sustainability efforts at NBB and projects to analyze the real world indirect effects of biodiesel production.

Listen to her remarks on winning the Impact Award here: Beth Calabotta, Biodiesel Impact Award winner

nbb-16-pioneerJohn Maniscalco, who recently retired as the head of the New York Oil Heating Association after more than 20 years was honored with the Pioneer award. In 2013, Maniscalco received the Industry Partnership award.

Maniscalco was at the forefront of leadership in the heating oil industry, serving as the first treasurer of the National Oilheat Research Alliance before his time at NYOHA. He’s also been at the forefront of the industry’s move to Bioheat®, biodiesel in home heating. He was instrumental in New York City implementing legislation for B2 heating oil citywide. New York City continues to be a Bioheat® leader in the Northeast on both policy and public perception when it comes to cleaning up heating oil.

Listen to his remarks here: John Maniscalco, Biodiesel Pioneer Award winner

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

#Biodiesel Policy Update at #NBB16

nbb-16-steckelBiodiesel policy is laser-focused right now on two primary issues – the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the tax incentive – two policies that drive growth in the industry.

During an address to the membership at the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel said they should take credit in the success of getting higher volumes under the RFS. “The fact that biodiesel was able to achieve most of its policy goals while others did not…is something we should really be proud of,” said Steckel. “I am proud to say that a two billion gallon standard moving forward is a long way away from the original RFS that flat lined biodiesel at 1.28 billion gallons.”

Steckel noted that they will continue to work toward a producers tax credit. “We were successful in winning a two year extension (of the blenders tax credit) through the remainder of this year,” she said. “However Congress…stopped just short of converting the tax credit into a producers incentive.” She says the fight will continue.

Learn more here: Anne Steckel, NBB VP of Federal Affairs

Cindy Zimmerman also interviewed Anne about the 2015 biodiesel numbers that came out earlier this week and how they show the need for a producers tax credit as more biodiesel is being imported into this country to take advantage of the blenders credit.

Listen to that interview here: Interview with Anne Steckel, NBB

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album