Scania Greenlights Renewable Diesel in Trucks

scania truck1European truck maker Scania has approved hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) for use in its Euro 6 range of trucks. This news release from the company says the green fuel can cut carbon dioxide emissions by 90 percent.

Örjan Åslund is Head of Product Affairs at Scania. “We have decided to give our blessing to the use of HVO biodiesel in our diesel vehicles,” he says. “Scania is the leading manufacturer when it comes to offering power trains for alternatives fuels, and we have considerable experience with the practical side of driving using HVO. It’s an alternative fuel that has relatively few disadvantages when compared to diesel, while also offering a large reduction in CO2emissions.”

Earlier this year, Scania approved HVO for use in all types of Euro 5 vehicles and all types of operations. In cooperation with customers, the company also initiated a field test in Sweden involving some 100 trucks with Euro 6 engines.

“Thanks to the certification and our own decision, all Scania hauliers with Euro 6 engines can use HVO, including in buses,” says Åslund. “I know that interest is very high. The challenge for most operators will be in getting access to HVO, as both production and distribution facilities are still limited.”

New Seattle Ferry Running on Biodiesel

doc-maynardThe newest ferry for the Seattle area is running on biodiesel. This article from Marine Log says the M/V Doc Maynard, started service at the end of September, replacing her sister ship, the M/V Sally Fox, which is undergoing some scheduled warranty work.

Both the Sally Fox and Doc Maynard were built by All American Marine, Inc. (AAM), Bellingham, WA. The 105 ft x 33 ft aluminum catamaran ferries are the first U.S. Coast Guard Sub-chapter “K” inspected passenger vessels built and delivered under new guidelines that make it possible for boat builders to design and implement suitable structural fire protection in very low fire load spaces in the construction of weight-sensitive high speed passenger vessels.

Each ferry is powered by two Cummins QSK-50 Tier 3 diesel engines, rated at 1,800 bhp at 1,900 rev/min and driving twin propellers to provide a service speed of 28 knots. The ferries also burn a 10 percent biodiesel blend and have LED lighting onboard.

All American Marine is sponsoring a tour of the Doc Maynard at MARINE LOG’S FERRIES 2015 Conference & Expo, set for November 5-6, 2015 at the Hyatt Olive 8 in Seattle.

Virginia School Reviving Algae-to-Biodiesel Operation

hatcher1A Virginia farm that grew algae for biodiesel has been shut down, but researchers at a nearby university are helping the operation produce the green fuel from the green slime again. This article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch says Old Dominion University is working on the issue and hoping to make it commercially viable.

Patrick G. Hatcher, an Old Dominion University geochemist who was a major force behind the project, is trying to keep the dream alive.

“We are still actively pursuing the technology and trying to go commercial,” Hatcher said. “Right now is not the best time because the price of gas is cheap, the price of oil is low, and nobody gives a darn about biodiesel anymore.”

He said he hopes to find investors willing to put up $75 million to $100 million to produce biodiesel on a commercial scale.

“To make money, you need to do this on a large scale — thousands of acres,” Hatcher said.

ODU and the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium, a group created by the state legislature, started the project back in 2006, but it failed to take off. A new patented process could make this newest iteration of the project more successful.

Alliance BioEnergy Converts Coastal Hay to Sugar

Ek Laboratories, located in Longwood, Florida, has achieved a 63 percent conversion of Coastal Hay, at commercial scale, into fermentable sugars in less than 30 minutes. The Alliance BioEnergy Plus subsidiary used it licensed and patented mechanical/chemical CTS (Cellulose to Sugar) process.

Coastal HayAccording to Ek Laboratories, unlike most cellulose to sugar technologies, their CTS process does not use liquid acids, applied heat or pressure, enzymes, super critical waters, expensive precious metal lined with equipment or any hazardous materials. The company also says that also unlike other CTS processes, their technology can covert virtually any cellulose material into fermentable sugars in one step in just minutes.

As such, says Ek Laboratories, for the first time, biofuel producers will be able profitably produce cellulosic ethanol, diesel and other biofuels without subsidies.

“We have completely redesigned and custom manufactured the mill and went from 1g in the lab to a mill capable of processing 2,500kg (2.5mt) a day, in a single leap, while seeing the efficiency and conversion rates increase and energy consumption decrease,” explains Dr. Peter Cohen, Director of Analytics at Ek Labs. Unlike traditional chemical processes or industrial scaling, this is a mechanical process where the chemistry happens thousands of times at a micro scale by a kinetic process therefore aided by size and increased impact pressure.

Cohen noted that they should see 70 to 80 percent conversion rates by the time they are finished with the first commercial plant for sub-license RRDA in early 2016. The plant is in construction in Georgia and will convert 1,000mt a day of yellow pine waste and Vidalia onion waste. He added that existing plants can easily be converted to the CTS process.

Nebraska Firefighters Train on Safety with Biodiesel

beatriceFD1Firefighters across the country have been getting special training to work with renewable fuels, such as biodiesel and ethanol. One example is in Beatrice, Nebraska, where local firefighters are working with the Duonix Biodiesel plant. This article from the Beatrice Daily Sun says they want to make sure they are ready when the plant goes into production later this year.

“These drills are a part of our normal practice to get ready for our plant to be in operation,” Flint Hills Resources venture manager Michael Harris said…

As Duonix looks to open the biodiesel plant by the end of the year, the Beatrice Fire and Rescue team wants to stay prepared in case of any emergencies.

Fire Chief Brian Daake said he has been working with Duonix and they have provided information packets, lessons, videos and plans to help assist in emergency situations.

The tabletop exercise was the fourth time members of the Fire Department have met in person with the plant staff.

“These are good and help improve the readiness of everyone and gives the Fire Department knowledge and awareness of the surroundings,” Harris said.

Biodiesel Helps Keep Heating Oil Prices Down

noraGood news going into the fall and winter chill: heating oil prices are expected to stay lower throughout the winter. And part of the reason for that is biodiesel. The National Oilheat Research Alliance says increases in production and the addition of biodiesel into the supply chain is helping keep the price of home heating oil down to levels not seen in years.

Prices have dropped across the entire heating oil marketing footprint. Heating oil closed on the NYMEX this past Friday, October 2 approximately 15% lower than the same time last year and almost half the price at the close of October 4, 2013-just two years ago.

According to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), heating oil prices state-wide on September 14, 2015 are lower by $1.20 per gallon than the same time last year, a 31.9% reduction. New York is the largest heating oil consuming state.

John Huber, President of the National Oilheat Research Alliance, stated:
“It is a really exciting time for oil heating customers. Prices are low and the oilheating industry is transitioning to a superior fuel product. By adding biodiesl, a renewable, carbon neutral fuel to low-sulfur heating oil, heating oil retailers are actually delivering a better product at a significantly lower price. What could be better?”

NORA says homeowner’s savings could approach $1,000 for the year.

German Quality Group to Test Biodiesel Heating Oil

AGQMThe German quality group AGQM (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Qualitaetsmanagement Biodiesel e. V.) will offer a test to assess oxidation stabilisers for Biodiesel (FAME) intended as blend component for heating oil. This news release from the group says the tests are meant to rule out probable harmful effects of the fuel itself as well as undesired interactions with other fuel components.

Since 2008 already, AGQM has offered a no-harm test for oxidation stabilisers used for Biodiesel blended to conventional Diesel fuel. Successfully tested products are published in AGQM’s ‘No-harm List’ which is available to the public and contributes considerably to improve the quality of Biodiesel blends.

The new test for oxidation stabilisers used for Biodiesel intended as blend component for heating oil is AGQM’s reaction to an increasing demand for Bio heating oil. Since this application of FAME must also be safely handled at all times and negative interactions with additives must not occur, this new test program was developed by AGQM in cooperation with the German mineral oil industry. In addition tests are carried out concerning the relative effectiveness to also be able to adapt the use of additives to the individual application from an economical point to view.

The registration deadline for this test is Oct. 16, 2015.

Deal to Provide Biodiesel to Utility Approved

pacificbiodieselA deal that would provide locally produced biodiesel to a Hawaiian utility received approval from regulators. This article from Pacific Business News says the deal was approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission and has Pacific Biodiesel Technologies providing the green fuel to Hawaiian Electric Co. for a 110-megawatt power generation facility.

The contract calls for Pacific Biodiesel to supply Hawaiian Electric with between 2 million gallons and 3 million gallons per year of biodiesel at a lower price than either of the biodiesel contracts currently in place.

Hawaiian Electric noted that the impact of $3 million in incremental savings on the typical 600 kilowatt-hour residential customer bill equates to a reduction of 30 cents per month, or a 0.2 percent decrease.

Iowa’s Renewable Energy Group Inc. has the current contract to provide biodiesel processed from waste fats and oils to the Campbell Industrial Park plant. That contract ends in November.

The article went on to say the new contract will use up half of Pacific Biodiesel’s production volume.

MSU, ExxonMobil Partner for Algae Biodiesel

david-kramer1One of the nation’s premier research universities is partnering with one of the biggest oil producers to make renewable, algae-based biodiesel. This news release from Michigan State says the school and ExxonMobil will expand research designed to progress the fundamental science required to advance algae-based fuels.

David Kramer, MSU’s John Hannah Distinguished Professor in Photosynthesis and Bioenergetics at the MSU-DOE Plant and Research Laboratory, says that the overall goal of the partnership is to improve the efficiency of photosynthesis in microalgae to produce biofuels and bioproducts.

“Photosynthesis is the biological process that plants and algae use to store solar energy in biomass. It is how all our food is made, and we would starve without it,” said Kramer, who is leading the grant with Ben Lucker with the PRL and Joe Weissman, Distinguished Scientific Associate at ExxonMobil.

The key to bioenergy is the efficiency of photosynthesis, the process algae use to capture solar energy and the first step in converting the energy from the sun into a liquid fuel. Past research has shown that algae photosynthesis can be highly efficient under optimal conditions in the laboratory. Under realistic growth conditions however, this efficiency drops. There is a need to improve photosynthesis under simulated production environments.

“Fortunately, nature has provided us with a great potential for improvement. There are many different strains of algae that have adapted to work well in different environments,” Kramer said. “What we want to do is figure out how they are able to do this and what genes are responsible. With this knowledge, we can potentially combine traits to make strains that are more efficient even under harsh conditions.”

“We know certain types of algae produce bio-oils,” said Vijay Swarup, vice president of ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company. “The challenge is to find and develop algae that can produce bio-oils at scale on a cost-efficient basis.”

Men Accused of Running Religious Biodiesel Scam

scalesofjustice1Federal prosecutors are going after two men they accuse of running a scam to get money for a biodiesel operation by using religious persuasion. This article from The Oregonian says Jack Holden and Lloyd A. Sharp posed as devout Christians to get a Portland area Christian men’s group to invest more than $1 million in a biodiesel operation with no intent of ever producing the green fuel.

“Holden claimed, among other things, that he had 5 million acres of land in Ghana that was under contract with local tribes to grow jatropha trees,” according to the government brief. “Holden falsely told the investors that he would use their investment funds to buy a prefabricated refinery that would be shipped to and set up in Ghana, and that the plant would start producing biodiesel immediately.”‘

Holden and Sharp managed to take in $1.3 million with no intention of producing or selling biodiesel, Assistant U.S. Attorney Donna B. Maddux told the jury. Holden and Sharp rounded up new investors, and new investments by old investors, in Oregon and elsewhere.

Sharp is already serving five years in the federal prison in Seagoville, Texas, for conspiracy and fraud charges and has agreed to pay more than $6 million in restitution to investors.

Holden’s public defender says he never intended to bilk investors.

The trial is expected to run for the next month.