Protec Fuel to Open E85 Stations in FL, GA and AL

Protec Fuel Management, a company out of Boca Raton, Florida that offers retailers a turnkey option in ethanol infrastructure, has received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to open thirty E85 stations throughout Florida, Georgia andd Alabama.

According to their press release, Protec has teamed up with General Motors, the Renewable Fuels Association and Urbieta Oil to open these alternative fueling outfits. A total of eighteen stations will be installed in Florida, ten in Georgia and two in Alabama. Eight E85 stations have already been opened under this funding:

Site #1 – Pembroke Road U-Gas, 6810 Pembroke Road, Miramar, FL 33023
Site #2 – West Hialeah U-Gas, 7950 West 28th Avenue, Hialeah, FL 33018
Site #3 – North 2nd U-Gas, 19570 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami Gardens, FL 33169
Site #4 – Coral Way UGas, 2200 SW 22nd Street, Miami, FL 33135
Site #5 – Deerfield Marathon, 1900 South Powerline Road, Deerfield, FL 33432
Site #6 – Coral Ridge Valero, 11600 Wiles Road, Coral Springs, FL 33065
Site #7 – Palm Avenue Marathon, 2090 Palm Ave., Hialeah, FL 33010
Site #8 – Red Road Marathon, 16701 NW 57th Avenue, Miami, FL 33055

“We’re pleased to work with Protec to increase E85 pumps across the country. GM has over 4 million flex-fuel vehicles in the U.S. and Florida is one of the most populated flex fuel vehicle markets. Today, Florida has hundreds of thousands of GM flex-fuel vehicle drivers supporting the rapid expansion of E85 infrastructure,” said Mary Beth Stanek, Director of Environment and Energy Policy and Commercialization for General Motors.

Waste Management Inks Deal with Enerkem

Waste Management Inc. has inked yet another deal to produce biofuels from waste. Today, they announced an investment in Montreal-based Enerkem Inc., as part of their new financing round. A portion of the CDN $53.8 million raised will be used by Enerkem to support the construction of its second waste-to-biofuels plant in conjunction with the City of Edmonton and Alberta Innovates. The funds were raised in combination with current investors and new investors Waste Management and Cycle Capital.

Back in December 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded Enerkem US $50 million for the plant planned in Mississippi. Also in 2009, the company’s commercial-scale demonstration plant in Westbury, Canada went online and reached 1,000 hours of production.

“This financing round validates Enerkem’s business and advances our path towards leadership in the waste and advanced fuels markets,” said Vincent Chornet, President and Chief Executive Officer of Enerkem. “The financial and strategic support of these world-class investors, bringing together our existing investors with Waste Management and Cycle Capital, will accelerate the transformation of the waste-to-biofuels industry that Enerkem is marshalling.”

Enerkem’s  proprietary thermo-chemical technology helps convert waste materials into biofuels such as ethanol. According to the company, its technology is able to process diverse carbon-based feedstocks, including sorted municipal solid waste, construction and demolition wood, as well as agricultural and forest residues.

Tim Cesarek, managing director of Organic Growth at Waste Management said of the strategic investment, “We want to extract more value from the materials we manage than anyone else in our industry through new and emerging processing and conversion technologies. Combining Waste Management’s industry leadership and expertise in the collection and management of a wide range of segmented waste streams with Enerkem’s leading clean technology solutions, we are broadening our portfolio of conversion technologies in the waste-to-biofuels market which is key to developing new, higher value added end markets for materials.”

American Process Begins Cellulosic Testing in Georgia

American Process had a ribbon cutting ceremony today celebrating its first cellulosic ethanol production at its pilot plant in Thomaston, GA. The plant was designed to test its proprietary technology, AVAP, American Value Added Pulping. This process co-produces pulp and ethanol from wood in an integrated biorefinery application. The wood is also used to provide energy for the plant.

According to the company’s website, AVAP utilizes alcohol sulfite cooking liquor to fractionate softwood chips into three lignocellulosic components. The addition of alcohol speeds the pulping, but still preserves the cellulose strength. Volatile cooking chemicals are stripped and reused in the cooking process at a high recovery rate, and lignosulfonates are precipitated and burned to produce process energy. The remaining liquid fraction contains hydrolyzed hemicelluloses. The company estimates that this sugar rich solution, when fermented, will annually yield up to 22.6 million gallons of bioethanol from a mill producing 500 tpd of pulp. The company notes that the value of converted hemicelluloses is 4-5 times greater for society as ethanol than as presently burned.

According to Bob Belling, the VP of Business Development, the site will produce about 80k gals/yr of ethanol. At this time, it will not be blended or sold and the pilot plant is being used for research only. The project has also created about 20 jobs in Atlanta and Thomaston.

Butalco Set to Produce Cellulosic Ethanol

German-based Butalco has announced that it will begin producing biofuel from agricultural waste this summer using its proprietary new yeast technology. The pilot plant is located in Southern Germany and the company’s new microbial catalysts will enable up to a 30 percent increase in yields during cellulosic ethanol production.

As explained by the company, cellulosic biomass, like plant waste materials, contains different types of sugars like glucose (C6) and pentoses (C5). Traditionally, yeasts are used in bioethanol production as they can efficiently ferment glucose into ethanol, but they are unable to digest the C5 sugars. Companies such as Butalco are looking at enzymes to break the plant biomass into C5/C6 sugar mixtures.

Eckhard Boles, co-founder of Butalco, said in a press statement, “Our new technology now tells the yeast cells to also ferment the C5 waste sugars into ethanol which makes the production of cellulosic ethanol much more efficient and cheaper. Together with the new commercially viable enzymes launched last week by the enzyme companies Danisco and Novozymes, Butalco’s yeast technology will enable cellulosic ethanol as a competitive alternative to gasoline.”

The company will use Hohenheim University’s (Stuttgart, Germany) newly built pilot plant for the production of its first amounts of cellulosic ethanol. Last year, Butalco signed a research and development contract with the Institute of Fermentation Technology within the Department of Food Science and Biotechnology at Hohenheim University. The institute has been concerned with questions on the production of bioethanol for almost 30 years. The plant is able to convert both starch and lignocellulosic based raw materials into ethanol.

Propel Offers E85 for 85 Cents in Sacramento

On February 24th, E85 will sell for 85 cents per gallon at Propel Sacramento fueling locations within the state of California. This promotion will be in partnership with CALSTART to announce and celebrate expansion of the clean burning fuel throughout the state. The promotion is also an effort to bring awareness of E85 to the over 400,000 flexible fuel vehicles in California.

Propel’s E85 stations were partially funded through a US Department of Energy grant administered from CALSTART. According to a CALSTART press release, as a result of this grant, 14 new stations have been opened throughout California in the past 18 months.

“This growing network of E85 stations from our partner, Propel, offers California consumers more choice, while cleaning the air and boosting our efforts to cut petroleum use in the state,” said John Boesel, President and CEO of CALSTART.

A press event will kick off the promotion at 10:00 a.m. at 7741 Auburn Blvd. in Citrus Heights, CA. Propel currently has 11 E85 stations throughout the states of California and Washington. To see a listing of E85 stations that will offer the 85 cent promotion, click here.

Ethanol Industry Rep Appointed to California Panel

CA ARBAt least one ethanol industry representative has been appointed to an expert work group attempting to assess the true carbon footprint of all fuel sources under the California’s proposed Low Carbon Fuel Standard.

POET Senior Vice President of Science and Technology Mark Stowers has been appointed to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is one of 30 experts from around the world appointed to the group. The group has been charged with assisting the Board in “refining and improving the land use and indirect effect analysis of transportation fuels,” according to a CARB resolution. The group will come up with recommendations to present to CARB by Jan. 1, 2011. The group’s first meeting will be Feb. 26 in Sacramento.

“The Low Carbon Fuel Standard is an important piece of energy policy, too important to rely on theories or unproven models,” Stowers said. “As the lone representative for ethanol producers in the workgroup, I want to make sure than all carbon accounting is based on the wealth of facts and accumulated data regarding agriculture, energy and deforestation. I also want to ensure that all fuels, including oil and electricity, are held to the same accounting standards as biofuels so that the rule truly can lower carbon emissions.”

The group also includes Jesper Hedal Kløverpris of Novozymes, which produces enzymes to further the development of advanced biofuels, as well as a number of university and energy researchers – but Stowers is the only ethanol industry representative on the panel. Stowers has led efforts at POET to create new, efficient processes for producing grain-based ethanol that save energy, limit water use and improve ethanol yields. He also leads POET’s cellulosic ethanol effort, known as Project LIBERTY, which produces ethanol from corn cobs.

GreenShift Applies for Patent, Sues 3 Ethanol Plants

GreenShift Corporation has simultaneously announced that it has filed for its third patent on its corn-oil extraction technologies while at the same time, commencing legal action against Big River Resources Galva, Big River Resources West Burlington and Cardinal Ethanol for infringing on GreenShift’s U.S. patent covering its corn oil extraction technology.

GreenShift's Corn Oil Extraction Technology

The complaint against Big River alleges that they infringed upon GreenShift’s U.S. Patent No. 7,601,858, titled “Method of Processing Ethanol Byproducts and Related Subsystems” (the “858 Patent”). The patent covers processes for recovering corn oil by evaporating and mechanically processing thin stillage, a precursor to the distillers grain co-product of corn ethanol production (“DGS”). Greenshift is claiming that Big River has caused a loss of income and irreparable harm.

Kevin Kreisler, chairman and CEO of GreenShift said in a company statement regarding the lawsuits, “There was no market for corn oil extraction from dry mill ethanol plants before we invented our now-patented technology in 2004. We estimate that more than about 20 percent of the ethanol industry has begun to use our technology without a license. While we are eager to earn the business of each last producer, we expect to have the opportunity to do so by helping each to realize additional value.”

Kreisler continued, “We innovated corn oil extraction technology, created the corn oil extraction market, and subsidized disruptive value creation for the U.S. corn ethanol industry; we have earned our patents and we deserve the full measure of the first mover competitive advantage. This, and any other, continued infringement is causing GreenShift irreparable and immediate harm and it must stop.”

However, ICM has come to the defense of Cardinal Ethanol, as the suit is against ICM equipment. ICM built the ethanol plant that went online in November of 2008.

“ICM will defend its customers as a companion matter to ICM’s own litigation against GS CleanTech and its affiliate, GreenShift Corporation, which we filed in Kansas in October 2009,” said Chris Mitchell, ICM’s vice president of marketing. “ICM believes that GS CleanTech’s alleged patent claims will be proved to be invalid. In the Kansas litigation, we have asserted that GS CleanTech/GreenShift misrepresented the liability of ICM’s customers for operating the ICM system, and that various actions of GS CleanTech/GreenShift constitute unfair competition and wrongful interference with ICM’s existing and prospective business and contractual relationships. Our customers continue to operate their oil recovery systems acquired from ICM, and we continue to see strong interest from prospective customers for further orders for ICM’s equipment.”

And patents they seek. Continue reading

Ethanol Song Parody

A trio of ethanol industry executives showed their creative side as the live entertainment during the Tuesday night reception at the Renewable Fuels Association National Ethanol Conference last week.

“Green Floyd” is made up of Frontline Bioenergy CEO Bill Lee, Neil Koehler with Pacific Ethanol and bioenergy consultant Paul Kamp. The group played a variety of songs from blues to folk to rock, and entertained with a couple of original parodies designed with the ethanol audience in mind. Here are the lyrics to “The Blend Wall” (to the tune of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”) and a short video clip to enjoy.

We don’t need o-ver production
We could use some E-15
Lisa Jackson, approve our waiver
Listen to our man, Dinneen

Hey, Lisa –
Listen to Bob Dinneen!
All in all it’s just another wicked Blend Wall
All in all it’s just another wicked Blend Wall

(For those not in the industry, the references are to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, the waiver to allow up to 15 percent ethanol in regular gasoline, RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen and the blend wall faced by the industry if the allowable blend is not increased – trust us, it’s funny!)

DF Cast: RFS2 Talk at Biodiesel and Ethanol Conferences

Earlier this month, the EPA finally released its new Renewable Fuels Standard, better known as RFS2. It was just in time as both the biodiesel and ethanol industries held their national conferences just days after the announcement, prompting multiple sessions at each gathering to discuss the implications of the new rules.

In this edition of the Domestic Fuel Cast, we hear from National Biodiesel Board Vice Chairman Gary Haer with Renewable Energy Group, who spoke at the National Biodiesel Conference and Expo, and President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, Bob Dinneen, talking from the National Ethanol Conference in Orlando, Florida, and get their thoughts on RFS2.

It’s an interesting conversation, and you can hear more of it below.

You can also subscribe to the DomesticFuel Cast here.

Exciting Enzymes at Ethanol Conference

Three different companies announced the introduction of new enzymes for cellulosic ethanol production at this week’s National Ethanol Conference in Orlando.

Novozymes made the biggest splash with its Cellic® CTec2 for the production of biofuel from agricultural waste, but the other two are no less significant in the race towards commercialization of advanced biofuels.

VereniumVerenium Corporation‘s new introduction into the enzyme mix is called Xylathin, which is specifically designed to improve the economics of fuel ethanol production from cereal grains. According to the company, “Xylathin rapidly breaks down xylan, a compound found in cereal grains such as wheat, rye and barley and significantly reduces mash viscosity. This faster acting enzyme allows producers to shorten retention times and reduce enzyme dose. Xylathin also reduces grain water retention lowering grain drying energy requirements.”

GenencorAt the same time, Danisco’s Genencor introduced Accellerase® DUET, a step up from Accellerase® 1500. “Accellerase® DUET employs a whole broth formulation, which provides nutrients for fermentative organisms and lowers the chemical load introduced into our customers’ processes. Higher performance at lower dose will lead to significant improvements in enzyme cost in use for producers, which is critical to enable the cellulosic biofuels industry.”

Representatives from all three companies, as well as others in the field, made presentations at two different sessions during the National Ethanol Conference to talk about advanced biofuels technology and the path to commercialization. If you attended the conference, those presentations are now available on-line.