DOE Offers Bioenergy Funding Opportunities

The Bioenergy Technologies Office has announced a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled, “Project Definition for Pilot and Demonstration Scale Manufacturing of Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biopower (PD2B3).” The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) says the FOA will be officially issued in May 2016 on the EERE Exchange website. The funding opportunity is for technology DOE logodevelopment for the manufacture of drop-in hydrocarbon biofuels, bioproducts, or intermediates in a pilot- or demonstration-scale integrated biorefinery. EERE says scale-up and validation of these process technologies is essential to enable the industry to build future pioneer- and commercial-scale manufacturing facilities. Plans for facilities that use lignocellulosic biomass, algal biomass, or biosolids feedstocks will be considered under this funding opportunity.

Under this FOA, Applicants must address one comprehensive topic area with three main priority areas. These priority areas are:

  • Pilot scale production of Biofuels from high impact lignocellulosic, algal, or bio-gas feedstocks.
  • Demonstration scale production of Biofuels from high impact lignocellulosic, algal, or bio-gas algal feedstocks.
  • Production of bio-power, bio-products, and Biofuels from biosolids and other waste streams.

If applicants wish to receive official notifications and information from EERE regarding this FOA, they should register in EERE Exchange. When the FOA is released, applications will be accepted only through EERE Exchange.

Flights Fueled by Neste’s Biojet Fuel

Neste Corporation has announced that KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will be using its renewable jet fuel in a series of flights between Oslo to Amsterdam. Over the next few weeks, KLM will use Neste Renewable Jet Fuel in about 80 flights with the EMBRAER 190 from Oslo to Amsterdam. Embraer will be conducting measurements during these flights to gauge the efficiency of biofuel in comparison with kerosene.

101903“We are very happy that KLM is using Neste Renewable Jet Fuel in dozens of flights from Oslo to Amsterdam. It shows that KLM is a pioneer in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation,” said Kaisa Hietala, Executive Vice President of Renewable Products at Neste.

KLM has reported CO2 emission reduction goals of 20 percent by 2020 using 2011 levels. The company hopes to achieve this goal in part through the use of biojet fuels and increasing flight efficiency.

“KLM believes that sustainable biofuel is important for the airline industry. For this reason, we have for some time been cooperating with different partners, including those united within the scope of the KLM Corporate BioFuel Programme, to stimulate the development of the market. Our new cooperative relationship with Embraer and Oslo Airport (Avinor) serves to underscore just how important this is,” added Boet Kreiken, Managing Director KLM Cityhopper.

Neste Renewable Jet Fuel is refined in Porvoo, and meets the requirements of ASTM 7566 for aviation fuels using sustainably produced camelina oil. The fuel is blended at a 50 percent blend ratio with Jet A1 fuel and transported to Oslo Airport where it is pumped into the airport’s existing hydrant system.

Air Canada Joins Biojet Initiative

Air Canada is joining in Canada’s Biojet Supply Chain Initiative (CBSCI), a three year project with multiple partners to assimilate 400,000 litres of sustainable aviation into the shared fuel system. This is not the first entree of Air Canada in terms of biojet fuel. The airline has flown several biojet flights but the aviation fuel was segregated and loaded separately into an aircraft via tanker truck. However the CBSCI initiative will build a framework that will allow the biojet fuel to be blended into aviation fuel used at the airport.

AirCanada plane“We are pleased to support this important initiative by facilitating the logistics involved in the introduction of biojet to an airport’s shared fuel system,” said Teresa Ehman, Director – Environmental Affairs at Air Canada. “In doing our part towards responsible growth and environmental sustainability, Air Canada has invested billions of dollars in fleet renewal to reduce our fuel consumption and meet our current emission reduction goals.”

Ehman added, “Biojet holds the potential to be an important part of our strategy for achieving our longer-term industry goals of carbon neutral growth from 2020 and a 50 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050, relative to 2005 levels. The CBSCI project will contribute significantly to advancing a biojet supply chain in this country.”

The CBSCI project, the first of its kind in Canada, is aimed at creating a sustainable Canadian supply chain of biojet using renewable feedstocks. Canada has abundant agricultural and forestry biomass resources, with globally recognized sustainable production and harvesting practices. The biojet fuel used in this project will be sourced from commercially available, certifiably sustainable Canadian oleochemical feedstocks using the Hydroprocessed Esters and a Fatty Acids (HEFA) conversion process. The biojet fuel will be blended with petroleum jet fuel to meet all technical quality specifications before being introduced into a shared fuel tank at a Canadian airport, yet to be determined. The CBSCI project will also identify and help solve supply logistic barriers that arise when aviation biofuels are introduced at major Canadian airports.

Gevo’s Jet Fuel Meets Approved ASTM Standard

Gevo has announced that ASTM International Committee D02 on Petroleum Products, Liquid Fuels, and Lubricants and Subcommittee D02.J on Aviation Fuel passed a concurrent ballot approving the revision of ASTM D7566 (Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons) to include alcohol to jet synthetic paraffinic kerosene (ATJ-SPK) derived from renewable isobutanol. With this approval, Gevo says Alaska Airlines will now conduct a commercial test flight using its biojet fuel.

gevo“We’re pleased that this newly-revised standard now supports isobutanol based alcohol-to-jet aviation biofuels and we look forward to flying it this year. Developing a domestic, competitively priced, sustainable supply of biofuels is fundamental to Alaska Airline’s long term sustainability goals,” said Joe Sprague, Alaska Airline’s Senior Vice President of External Relations.

Once the revision of ASTM D7566 is published by the ASTM, Gevo’s ATJ will be eligible to be used as a blending component, up to 30 percent, in standard Jet A-1 for commercial airline use in the United States as well as in several other countries.

Dr. Patrick Gruber, Gevo’s CEO, added, “This ASTM revision is a major achievement and supports one of Gevo’s key products. We believe that Gevo’s renewable ATJ provides a clear and cost-competitive path for commercial airlines to reduce their greenhouse gas footprints and reduce their particulate emissions from combustion. For Gevo, this step is expected to open a large and significant market to Gevo around which Gevo expects to build a profitable business.”

Air New Zealand & Virgin Partner on Aviation Biofuel

The aviation biofuel industry is flying to new heights. Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia have announced a partnership to investigate options for locally produced aviation biofuel. This comes on the heels of the announcement that week that United Airlines is now flying a number of its commercial flights with biojet fuel.

logosAs part of the initiative, the two airlines have released a Request for Information (RFI) on possible locally-produced biojet fuel. Both airlines say they are committed to ensuring that aviation biofuel delivers environmental, social and economic benefits, and respondents to the RFI are encouraged to address these principles. Companies can express interest through May 30, 2016.

Air New Zealand Chief Flight Operations and Safety Officer Captain David Morgan says the airline recognizes the impact aviation has on the environment and this RFI is a key initiative under its carbon management program. “By working in partnership with our alliance partner Virgin Australia we hope we can stimulate the local market, drive innovation and investment and potentially uncover a sustainable biofuel supply suitable for our respective operations,” said Morgan.

“Aviation biofuel offers a significant opportunity for the aviation industry to reduce emissions whilst also building long-term fuel security for the sector,” added Robert Wood, head of sustainability for Virgin Australia. “We are seeing the development of the aviation biofuel industry accelerate internationally but that is not yet the case for our region. We are confident that our collaboration with Air New Zealand to procure a large volume of aviation biofuel will de-risk investment in the sector, creating high-tech, high-skilled jobs in the region.”

United Airlines Takes Biofuels to New Heights

Aviation history has been made. United Airlines has become the first U.S. airline to begin regularly flying with sustainable aviation biofuel. The first flight (708) will take off from Los Angelos International Airport (LAX).

2016-03-11-BioFuel-mediumAs part of this new business initiative, United will purchase up to 15 million gallons of biojet fuel from AltAir Paramount over three years. AltAir is currently pursuing certification under the Renewable of Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) and their facility is the first dedicated, commercial-scale renewable jet fuel production facility in the world. The company produces renewable diesel from non-edible natural oils and agricultural wastes.

“Today’s historic launch of regularly scheduled service utilizing advanced biofuels represents a major next step in our ongoing commitment to operate sustainably and responsibly,” said Angela Foster-Rice, United’s managing director of environmental affairs and sustainability. “United is a leader in the advancement of alternative fuels, and, along with our partners at AltAir Paramount, we are taking action every day to minimize our impact on the environment and explore new ways to improve efficiency.”

United has begun using the biojet fuel in its daily operations at LAX and is able to store and deliver the fuel the same as traditional fuel. For two weeks, the airline will operate flights between LAX and San Francisco using AltAir’s renewable fuel.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, said of the historic announcement, “Los Angeles is a global leader in sustainability, so it’s no wonder that the first U.S. flights to use commercial-scale, renewable jet fuel are taking off from our airport. LAX and United Airlines have broken new ground with fuel that reduces carbon emissions by as much as 60 percent when compared to standard jet fuel. Today, we set a new standard for sustainability in aviation — an example I hope the rest of the industry will follow in the coming years.”

Military Use of Biofuels Topic at BIO World Congress

World Congress-BIOsiteHeaderBanner_980x154Biofuel use and support will be a topic at the upcoming BIO World Congress. The Honorable Dennis McGinn, assistant secretary of the Navy, Energy, Installations & Environment, will be speaking about “Overcoming Challenges to Biorefinery Scale Up”. His remarks will take place Monday, April 18, 2016 at 4:30 pm. In 2009, under Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus established aggressive goals to increase the Department of the Navy’s energy efficiency, decrease its reliance on foreign sources of oil, and diversify its shore and operational energy supplies. On January 20, 2016, Secretary Mabus kicked off the Great Green Fleet (GGF), a year-long initiative highlighting the Navy’s efforts to transform its energy use to increase operational capability.

“The United States Navy and Marine Corps are diversifying our energy sources to increase our operational flexibility, which strengthens our ability to provide the global presence that is our mission,” said McGinn in advance of his presentation. “We’ve purchased drop-in, cost-competitive alternative fuel for our ships and we are helping to grow our domestic alternative fuel industry.”

Monday’s “Overcoming Challenges to Biorefinery Scale Up” General Plenary Session will address what is needed to ensure the successful scale up of a commercial industrial biotechnology process. The panel will be moderated by Dan Cummings, Chief Executive Officer, Guidewire Strategies and speakers include: Jeff Lievense, Senior Engineering Fellow, Genomatica; Dennis McGinn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy – Energy, Installations & Environment, U.S. Department of the Navy; and Alan Propp, Business Development Manager, Merrick & Company.

“The United States Department of the Navy has taken bold, determined steps toward energy security, by adopting cost-competitive biofuels and alternative energy sources. The Navy’s leadership has enabled advanced biofuel producers to create partnerships and put steel in the ground for new biorefineries,” added Brent Erickson, executive vice president for BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section. “We are looking forward to Assistant Secretary McGinn’s remarks about what the U.S. Navy has in store for the future.”

Masdar Institute’s Food & Fuel Facility Goes Online

Masdar Institute is celebrating the successful opening of its new research facility that will grow food and produce fuel in desert lands irrigated by seawater. The facility is located on a 2-hectare site in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and is funded by the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC), a group dedicated to advancing the use of sustainable jet fuels.

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SBRC officials and guests participate in mangrove plantation at the new SEAS facility. From right: Dr Alejandro Rios G., SBRC Director, HE Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost, Masdar Institute, and Mohammed Al Ghailani, student at Masdar Institute.

“We live in a resource-constrained world where the access to energy, water and food are interlinked,” said Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost of Masdar Institute, a research-based university in Abu Dhabi, and a founding member of SBRC whose organization will be operating the R&D facility. “Public-private collaboration to support cutting-edge research is needed to ensure that rising populations and industry can flourish sustainably, while, at the same time, also protect our finite resources. This project has the potential to turn resource scarcity on its head.”

The research facility is using coastal seawater to raise fish and shrimp for food (Aquaculture is one of the world’s fastest growing industries at six percent per year), whose nutrient-rich wastewater then fertilizes plants rich in oils that can be harvested for aviation biofuel production such as halophyte plants. These plants thrive in arid, desert conditions and don’t require fresh water or arable land, but according to Masdar Institute, the plant’s commercial potential is relatively unexplored. The final step in the process is diverting the wastewater to a cultivated mangrove forest, that further removes nutrients and provides carbon storage before the naturally filtered water and treated effluent flows back into the sea.

“By doing research on integrated food and energy systems, we can begin to explore how the cultivation of biomass contributes to feeding the planet, preserving fresh water supplies and delivering cleaner, more sustainable fuels,” said Dr. Al Yousuf. “This research is very relevant for the UAE and all freshwater- and arable land-constrained countries.”

Marc Allen, president of Boeing International, once of the founding SBRC members, added, “The aquaculture and biomass facility in Abu Dhabi holds tremendous promise to turn the 25.5 million square kilometers of desert and arid areas of the world into productive farmland, supporting both food security and cleaner skies.”

New BioJet Program Collaboration in Mexico

The Mexico’s Sector Fund for Energy Sustainability (SENER-CONACYT) is supporting a new biojet collaboration with Boeing, Aeromexico and Mexico’s Airports and Auxiliary Services (ASA). The goal of the program is to advance research and development of sustainable aviation biofuel in Mexico. The Mexican government and participating institutions will fund the effort for four years, aiming to develop a self-sustaining business model. Research will be conducted on biomass sourcing, fuel production, sustainability and lifecycle assessment, and aviation biofuel market development.

boeing_logoThe project will be coordinated through the Mexican Bioenergy Innovation Center and will support Mexico’s aviation sector as well as help meet the country’s environmental and economic goals.  Executives at Boeing, Aeromexico, ASA and the Potosinian Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (IPICYT) formalized the initiative at a ceremony in Mexico City. In total, there are 17 organizations throughout the world participating in the program.

“To support customers and the aviation industry’s long-term growth, Boeing is proud to partner with Aeromexico and many key stakeholders to move Mexico’s sustainable aviation biofuel industry forward,” said Marc Allen, president, Boeing International. “Sustainable jet fuel will play a critical role in reducing aviation’s carbon emissions and will bring a new and innovative industry to Mexico.”

Aviation biofuel feedstocks will be sourced from Mexico and are expected to include jatropha, salt-tolerant Salicornia and sewage sludge. The initiative’s projects are expected to meet sustainability criteria established by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials.

“The success of these efforts would not be possible without the team work of Airports and Auxiliary Services (ASA) and our strategic partner Boeing,” said Sergio Allard, Chief of People & Industries Affairs Officer, Aeromexico. In Aeromexico, we recognize that conducting a sustainable operation is an everyday commitment. We are ready to assume the challenge and break the myth that you cannot be socially and environmentally responsible and competitive at the same time.”

Secy Vilsack: Continue to Tout Biofuel Benefits

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, spent the morning back in his home state of Iowa (Vilsack is a former Iowa Governor) to kick off the 10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit. He began his remarks by saying its great to be back in Iowa and great to be back in front of folks who understand the importance of the renewable fuels industry. He also mentioned he is proud of the work the USDA has done to help expand the industry.

The key focus on his speech was the amount of people, both consumers and legislators, who don’t see the benefits of this industry the way we see them, who are attacking the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in the courts, and attacking the Renewable Fuel Standard in the halls of Congress. “But we continue to point out to those who oppose this industry, the benefits of the country.”USDA Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack during 10th Annual Iowa Summit

For example, the ethanol industry has helped reduce the price of gas at the pump, even as gas prices go down, and given consumers choice at the pump. He also noted biofuels benefit the farm and rural communities, and help to reduce the trade deficit.

Vilsack discussed several of the programs the USDA has implemented to help grow and improve the industry including the Biomass Assistance Program, Biomass Research Centers and Loan Guarantees. But he said he was most excited of the new markets that are being developed. He also highlighted the Farms to Fly program that is looking at producing renewable biofuels for the aviation and shipping industry as well as biofuels for our military.

We need consumers to understand that every time they go to the pump, they are helping the industry. He also stressed the importance of the blender pump program and continuing to bring more mid-level blends to consumers.

In closing, Vilsack said expanding the renewable fuels industry is more than just the benefits (choice at pump, environment, national security, etc.). “It’s really about preserving the value system of rural America. This is an industry that allows us the process of diversifying the opportunities in rural America, to support production agriculture, to expand the biobased economy…so that we have more stable farm income and we give people opportunities to live, work and raise their families in rural areas. That is important to me.”

Listen to USDA Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack’s full remarks: Vilsack Remarks During IRFA Summit

10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit Photo Album