Global RFA Urges COP21 to Support Biofuels

global-rfaAs world leaders continue to meet in Paris for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21), the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) is asking them to signal their support for biofuels as one of the tools to fight climate change.

“This conference is a real opportunity for world leaders to recognize the role that renewable fuels have played, and will continue to play, in the transition to a low-carbon global economy,” said GRFA president Bliss Baker. “The climate problem is accelerating and biofuels represent one of the most cost-effective solutions to reduce oil use and greenhouse gas emissions from transport in the short and medium term.”

So far, 36 countries have already recognized the opportunity presented by biofuels in reducing GHG emissions and combating climate change, and have included them in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) plans. Studies have shown that most biofuels, like ethanol, are proven to reduce harmful GHGs from 40% to 90% compared to fossil fuels around the world.

“Given the significant contribution biofuel is making in reducing global GHG emissions today, we believe COP 21 participants should call for an increase in biofuel use through the introduction of supportive policies, particularly for advanced biofuels,” concluded Baker.

RFA Offers Webinars on International Buyer Program

NEC 2016aThe Renewable Fuels Association is offering two free webinars next week for ethanol producers to learn more about the International Buyer Program that will be part of the 2016 National Ethanol Conference, February 15-17 in New Orleans.

The National Ethanol Conference (NEC) has been selected to be a participant of the U.S. Department of Commerce International Buyer Program, which recruits pre-screened foreign buyer delegations and brings them to selected trade shows and conferences to allow U.S. companies to connect with international buyers. International trade specialists will be at the International Trade Center onsite at the NEC to provide export counseling, matchmaking services, market analysis and more. The registration deadline for U.S. exporters to participate in the IBP is December 31, 2015.

The webinars will provide an overview of benefits to U.S. companies under the International Buyer Program, as well as market insights including demand, policies, and key players. They will also give information on how to register for the Exporter Interest Directory that will be distributed to the international buyers.

The webinar topics, dates and times are:

Ethanol Opportunities in Asian Markets, including Philippines, China, and India
Monday, December 7
10AM EST/9 AM CST
Free registration link

Ethanol Opportunities in Latin American Markets, including Brazil and Mexico
Tuesday, December 15
11AM EST/10 AM CST
Free registration link

Any U.S. ethanol company interested in exporting product overseas or expanding sales to new markets is encouraged to learn more in the webinars and register for the IBP.

McD’s Cooking Oil Biodiesel Runs to Mars and Back

UAEflagBiodiesel made from McDonald’s used cooking oil in the United Arab Emirates hit an impressive milestone: running the equivalent of the distance to Mars and back. This article in the UAE’s The National says McDonald’s UAE fleet completed 5 million kilometres this month fueled entirely by biodiesel. The green fuel is possible thanks to a four-year partnership between Mickey D’s and Dubai-based biodiesel producer Neutral Fuels.

Sixteen vehicles collect cooking oil from McDonald’s 135 outlets up to twice a day, which is then converted into a renewable fuel, or biodiesel.

It is the first quick service restaurant in the Mena region recycling all of its “waste cooking oil for refuelling the company’s logistics fleet to transport its goods throughout the emirates”, said Rafic Fakih, managing director and partner at McDonald’s UAE.

Each litre of cooking oil can make about one litre of biodiesel, according to Karl Feilder, chairman of Neutral Fuels. And the price matches what customers would pay at the pump, although the company declined to comment on wholesale prices and discounts for providing the feedstock.

McDonald’s is not the only company using the alternative fuel. Neutral Fuels says there has been an increase in biodiesel purchased in the UAE, doubling sales each year for the past three years.

This month, the company produced and sold 400,000 litres of biodiesel to hotels, restaurants, transport companies, schools and for power generators.

Neutral Fuels’ one biodiesel refinery in the UAE produces about 120,000 gallons per month.

20 Countries Pledge “Mission Innovation” at #COP21

Leading up to the World Climate Summit and #COP21 that kicked off in Paris today, three major announcements were make regarding the acceleration of technological developments in clean energy and clean technologies. The first announcement came from Bill Gates about the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, that will will working directly with Mission Innovation, a “pledge” by 20 countries to commit to doubling its governmental and/or state-directed clean energy research and development investment over the next five years. More countries are encouraged to join the efforts.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 11.29.02 AMThe third announcement came from President Obama who announced the U.S. will be participating in the Mission Innovation initiative.

According to the Mission Innovation website, all new investments will be focused on transformational clean energy technology innovations that can be scalable to varying economic and energy market conditions that exist in participating countries and in the broader world. The goal of the initiative is to reinvigorate and accelerate global clean energy innovation with the objective to make clean energy widely affordable.

The Mission Innovation website states that accelerating widespread clean energy innovation is:

  • An indispensable part of an effective, long term global response to our shared climate challenge;
  • Necessary to provide affordable and reliable energy for everyone and to promote economic growth; and
  • Critical for energy security.

In line with the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, Mission Innovation was formed to fill accelerate the time between innovation, scale-up and commercial scale availability.

Nanoparticle Helps Harvest Algae, Brew Biodiesel

ntuResearchers in Taiwan have made a magnetic nanoparticle for harvesting microalgae, extracting algae oil and converting the oil’s fatty acids into a methyl ester, used in biodiesel. This article from the Taipei Times says a National Taiwan University (NTU) team led by Wu Chia-wen developed the product.

The team used iron oxide and silicon dioxide to form nanoparticles, which, when applied to algae solution, magnetically attract algae and convert their fat into biodiesel with an alkaline-based catalyst, Wu said.

Traditional algae-harvesting methods require large amounts of energy to break down cell walls, but the team’s nanoparticles effectively convert algae oil to biodiesel with a maximum yield of 97.1 percent of the oil’s fatty acid methyl esters, compared with existing methods, which yield less than 60 percent, Wu said.

Microalgae contain the highest fat content among biomaterials commonly used to produce biofuel, so microalgae has replaced corn and barley as a favored source for the industry.

Referring to the past few years’ food safety and tainted oil scandals, NTU president Yang Pan-chyr (楊泮池) said that nanoparticles can also turn waste cooking oil into biodiesel.

BDI – BioEnergy to Build UK Biodiesel Plant

BDIAustrian-based BDI – BioEnergy International will build a new biodiesel plant in the U.K. This news release from the company says the plant is part of of a larger project by the company also constructing an industrial-sized algae plant.

BDI – BioEnergy International AG developed a new process for the production of high valuable products from algae in its in-house research and development department. The newly founded 100 percent subsidiary “BDI – BioLife Science GmbH”, now invests in the construction of an own production plant at the location in Hartberg/Steiermark.

The implementation of the follow-up order of an existing client in the UK was successfully started. The BioDiesel project for the same client – for the treatment of commercial and industrial waste fats – which has been started beginning of the year is already in the installation phase. The BioGas plant built in Austria for the Heineken Group is currently undergoing its biological start-up. In addition, the BioGas plant in Poland is close to completion.

Ethanol Report on the RFS and COP21

ethanol-report-adThe Renewable Fuels Association sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry this week urging him to highlight the role of the Renewable Fuel Standard in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions as he prepares to head to the international climate conference COP21 in Paris.

nafb-rfa-cooperAt the National Association of Farm Broadcasting, RFA Senior Vice President Geoff Cooper talked about the importance of the United States promoting biofuels as a means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the conference, how successful the RFS has been, the U.S. corn crop, and much more.

Listen to this edition of the Ethanol Report here: Ethanol Report on the RFS and COP21

Ethanol Industry Takes Clean Energy Mission to India

A team from the U.S. including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Growth Energy, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) recently returned from a clean energy mission to India. Led by USDA Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Micheal Scuse, the group met to discuss opportunities for developing clean energy solutions, technologies and policies. An additional goal of the mission was to strengthen the level of cooperation and coordination between the ethanol industries of the two countries.

logosDuring a series of meetings that involved ethanol producers, oil companies and government officials, the U.S. participant group of seven received an in-depth look at the local industry’s situation and outlook. There were extensive discussions on India’s economy, political environment, energy sector, and the role of government policy as a driver of the ethanol industry’s growth.

“Macroeconomic factors like population growth, continuing urbanization and increases in disposable income mean India is poised to use more gasoline and diesel fuels,” said USGC Past Chairman Ron Gray, who was part of the group representing the U.S. industry. “Given the negative effect that petroleum-based gasoline has on air quality, we feel that the expanded use of ethanol as an oxygenate can help India reduce smog and carbon emissions in this rapidly growing developing country, particularly in its cities.”

Ed Hubbard, general counsel for RFA said of the trip, “America’s commitment to using ethanol in our fuel has made it possible for our nation’s busiest cities to dramatically reduce levels of smog and other harmful tail-pipe emissions. By sharing our experiences with our friends here in India, we believe we can help them significantly improve the country’s air quality.”

In 2014, India imported $86 million of industrial ethanol mostly from the U.S. and Brazil and USGC expects imports to rise potentially researching $150-200 million in 2015. Even accounting for this level of growth, the U.S. ethanol industry believes there is still room for growth, especially in the transportation market. According to a press release sent out from the U.S. delegation, this view was echoed by India’s sugar and ethanol sector during last week’s meetings, with the country seeking ways to increase their blend rates from current low levels as a means to improving air quality while supporting India’s sugar producers.

Continue reading

French Biodiesel Maker Expands Output

avrilA French biodiesel maker is expanding its production capacity to help meet increased blending requirements in the European country. Reuters reports Avril, the European Union’s largest maker of biodiesel, has opened a 100,000-tonne-per-year refinery on France’s Mediterranean coast.

The facility at Sete, where Avril’s Saipol oilseed processing and refining branch already has a plant, will allow the group to raise biodiesel capacity to 1.7 million tonnes, Jean-Philippe Puig told Reuters in a phone interview.

Avril shut two plants in northern France in 2013, reducing its French capacity by 20 percent, after the government said it wanted to pause the rise in biofuel blending in fuels at 7 percent.

It raised the level by one percent for biodiesel late last year.

“The rise in capacity follows a rise in blending levels in France to 8 percent. Even if it’s not the case today in all gas stations, we should stretch towards 8 percent in the coming months,” Puig said.

Avril chose southern France over the north, where competition is high with Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands, which are facing overcapacity.

Biodiesel Technology Makes Brewery Greener

bdiheineken1A biodiesel technology company has teamed up with one of the world’s biggest makers of beer to open the world’s first major green brewery. This news release from BDI – BioEnergy International says the company teamed up with Brau Union Österreich, part of the international Heineken family, to open the BDI spent-grain fermentation plant that will generate energy from residual brewery materials.

As part of Heineken’s sustainability initiative “Brewing a better World”, the last milestone towards carbon neutrality was laid … with the opening of brewery Göss’ spent-grain fermentation plant.

The BDI spent-grain fermentation plant in Göss/Leoben was opened only six months after the official start of construction. In the presence of Styrian VIPs, Brau Union Österreich and BDI – BioEnergy International AG celebrated the last milestone towards achieving carbon neutrality of the Göss brewery plant.

Brau Union Österreich, part of the international Heineken family, has set itself the goal of using renewable energies throughout the entire brewing process.

In future the energy generated from the brewery’s residual materials will be used in the brewery for steam generation and excess gas will be converted into green electricity. In addition, the digestate, a by-product of the spent-grain fermentation plant, will be used as high quality fertilizer.

“With the construction of this industrial spent-grain fermentation plant, we were able, due to the optimal integration of our biogas process, to supply a convincing solution to this environmental project, and thus to help Brau Union Österreich on its way to a completely carbon-neutral plant”, says Dr. Edgar Ahn, Member of the Executive Board of BDI – BioEnergy International AG.