BioEnergy Bytes

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  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Enerkem Inc. has announced that Vincent Chornet has been named in the prestigious 2017 Clean16 awards. Delta Management Group and the Clean50 organization announced Canada’s Clean50 Awards, which recognize 50 individuals, from 16 different categories (including Clean Tech), who have done the most to advance the cause of sustainability and clean capitalism in Canada over the past two years.
  • On September 15, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana issued an Order finding problems with certain of GS CleanTech patents subject to multiple lawsuits filed by GS CleanTech against many ethanol plants and technology providers, specifically, GS CleanTech’s corn oil separation patents. In a separate Order also issued on September 15, 2016, Judge Larry J. McKinney also dismissed with prejudice all cases against all ethanol plants and other defendants filed by GS CleanTech, including ICM.
  • The Missouri Times has reported that Governor Nixon has vetoed the state legislature’s approval to pay, in full, the $9.6 million debt of the state’s Qualified Biodiesel Producer Incentive Fund. Administered by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, the Missouri Qualified Biodiesel Producer Incentive Fund was established in 2002 to provide limited funding to Missouri-owned plants using soybeans and other products grown in Missouri to produce the fuel. Funds were available for a maximum of 60 months.
  • Two Finnish energy solution suppliers are joining forces through a merger in which KPA Unicon Group Oy is purchasing the entire share capital of Renewa Oy. The transaction will give the Finnish and European Cleantech sector a stronger, renewed player whose solutions will enable increasingly more responsible, more sustainable and more profitable energy production in the energy, forest and raw material industries.
Bioenergy Bytes

Virent Spearheads Strategic Biobased Group

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

In an effort to complete the development and ultimately bring to commercial production its BioForming technology, Virent has spearheaded a strategic consortium. Members include: Tesoro, Toray, Johnson Matthey and The Coca-Cola Company- companies who would all benefit from biobased products. The group will work together to finalize technical developments and commercial arrangements, with the goal of getting a commercial scale biorefinery online to produce cost competitive biofuels and bio-paraxylene, a key raw material for the production of 100 percent bio-polyester.

virent-logoEach member will provide to the project technical and engineering assistance, infrastructure, supply chain support and/or product off-take commitments. The Consortium will work jointly to develop the scale up strategy, including the size and location of the first plant, which will be strengthened by fuel and chemical offtake commitments. In addition, Johnson Matthey (JM) and Virent will create a technical team to conclude catalyst and process development, as well as the subsequent marketing and licensing of the resulting low carbon fuels and chemicals technology platform.

“This is a critical and innovative approach to address scale-up challenges inherent in the deployment of renewable technologies,” said Lee Edwards, Virent CEO. “We are delighted to share a common vision with a global group of respected industry leaders, recognized for their innovation and commitment to meet the changing needs of their customers who seek more sustainable products and services.”

Earlier this month, Tesoro announced plans to acquire Virent. Tesoro Executive Vice President of Operations CJ Warner says the Consortium will be a key to developing a commercial scale deployment plan for Virent’s technology. Warner added, “We are focused on fostering the development of high-quality, lower-carbon, renewable feedstocks and blendstocks that can either be co-processed in existing refineries or blended seamlessly with traditional fuels.

The combined capabilities and resources of the consortium members will provide significant advantages as the Consortium progresses the technology and commercial deployment. Other parties may join the Consortium over time to complement the current members and provide further support to the effort.

advance biofuels, biomaterials, bioproducts

JetBlue Embraces Biojet Fuel

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

JB_Sustainability_Chart_5.5x8.5_V3JetBlue has contracted with SG Preston to purchase renewable jet fuel for the next 10 years. According to JetBlue, this is one of the largest renewable biojet fuel purchase agreements to date and the largest, long-term, binding commitment by any global airline for HEFA (hydro-processed esters and fatty acids) based renewable jet fuel.

The future of aviation relies in part on renewable energy sources. We’re taking a leadership role in technology and other advancements including renewable jet fuels,” said Robin Hayes, president and chief executive officer, JetBlue. “JetBlue is preparing for a world where we must reduce our production of greenhouse gases. With this in mind, we have executed one of the largest renewable jet fuel purchase agreements. This is just one step of many in our work towards a lower carbon future.

As part of the partnership, SG Preston will produce the aviation biofuel from various plant oils with the goal of the final product achieving a 50 percent or higher reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. JetBlue will purchase more than 33 million gallons of this biojet fuel each year consisting of a blend of 30 percent renewable jet fuel and 70 percent traditional jet fuel. This will equate to approximately 20 percent of its annual fuel consumption at New York John F. Kennedy International Airport.

This strategic relationship with JetBlue is a continuation of SG Preston’s commitment to develop reliable products from renewable resources at commercial scale and volume for stakeholders who recognize renewable has transcended buzzword status and is a critical component of responsible growth,” said Randy Delbert LeTang, SG Preston founder, chief executive officer and president. “Our strategy is to address the demand versus supply gaps in the industry and align development and delivery mechanisms to meet our customers’ demand in the least disruptive way.

The biojet fuel is expected to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) qualification for renewable fuel standards, as well as the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials certification standard for sustainable production of biofuels.

advance biofuels, aviation biofuels, biojet fuel

Growth Energy Honors Tom Buis

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

growth-buis-awardDuring the Growth Energy Advocacy Conference this week in Washington DC, former Growth Energy CEO and current co-chairman of the board, Tom Buis, was presented with the America’s Fuel award. The award is the highest honor given by Growth Energy, and is presented to an individual who has made significant contributions to the growth and well-being of the ethanol industry.

Buis served as Growth Energy’s CEO for seven years, and was an instrumental figure in advancing the ethanol industry to where it is today. His many achievements include: advocating for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS); submitting and receiving approval on the Green Jobs Waiver to allow E15 into 21st century engines; the launch of Prime the Pump and Growth Energy’s work with the USDA Biofuels Infrastructure Program to bring blender pumps into the marketplace; foreign market development initiatives and trade missions to expand ethanol globally; organizing the collection of tens of thousands of comments to the U.S. EPA for the 2014-16 proposed Renewable Volume Obligation rule that eventually led to the breaking of the so-called “blend wall” and many more.

Growth Energy CEO, Emily Skor, said of Buis, “It is because of Tom’s hard work and dedication that Growth Energy is the leading voice of the ethanol industry. He laid the foundation for a dynamic organization that began as a startup and is now the largest association of ethanol producers and supporters. His passion and dedication are an asset to this industry, and we are thankful that he will serve as co-chairman of the board of directors.”

The organization also honored several lawmakers for their support of renewable fuels during the event this week.

Ethanol, Growth Energy

Interest in EVs Growing Finds Survey

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The second annual survey on electric vehicles (EVs) has found that consumer interest in purchasing EVs, led by young adults, has increased over the past year from 31 percent in 2015 to 36 percent in 2016 while 50 percent of young adults (18-34) saying they would consider purchasing. The survey found that the more consumers know about EVs, the greater their interest in purchasing.

Commissioned by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), the survey also found that more choices are hitting the market and EVs are beginning more cost competitive with gas powered vehicles. In terms of sales, EVs have outpaced hybrids in their first years on the market with 2016 EV sales set to beat 2015.


Consumer interest in buying electric vehicles is growing at the same time these vehicles are becoming more available and more attractive,” said Jack Gillis, CFA Director of Public Affairs and author of The Car Book. “It does not surprise us that electric vehicle sales have grown more rapidly in their first four years than did those of hybrid vehicles.

The survey also asked consumers, “The next time you buy or lease a car, would you consider an electric vehicle if it costs the same as a gas-powered car, has lower operating and maintenance costs, has a 200 mile range between charges, and can recharge in less than an hour?” In response to this question, 57 percent said they would be interested in purchasing this EV. For those who say they know a lot about EVs, the figure was 62 percent. And for young adults, the figure was 70 percent.

“As the younger buyers enter the market, more attractive EVs are made available, and consumers learn more about these vehicles, interest in purchasing them is likely to grow significantly,” said Gillis. He added that CFA has updated its EV guide, Car Book’s Snapshot Guide to Electric Vehicles, in an effort to improve consumer understanding of EVs.

Alternative Vehicles, Electric Vehicles

RFA Hosting Illinois #Ethanol Safety Seminars

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

rfalogo1The Renewable Fuels Association is hosting two free ethanol safety seminars next week in Benton, Illinois. Attendees will receive in-depth information on proper training techniques that emergency responders and hazmat personnel need to effectively respond to an ethanol-related emergency. Certificates of Completion will be handed out to all attendees at the end of the safety seminar.

The Benton seminars will be held on Sept. 27, 2016 from 9:00 am –2:00 pm CT and 5:30 pm – 10 pm CT at the Benton Fire Department. Lunch and dinner will be provided. The seminars will be held with help from an Assistance for Local Emergency Response Training (ALERT) grant.

James Ball, the Emergency Response Administrator Chief in Rhode Island, previously attended an RFA ethanol safety seminar and praised the event. “The ethanol safety seminar was very educational and timely,” he said. “In Rhode Island, we have ethanol unit trains that arrive in downtown Providence twice a week in a highly congested area. The training provided first responders information on chemical properties and environmental fate that can be applied in an environmental emergency. They also discussed the application of AR-AFFF foam and the requirements for amounts needed to be applied based on the size of the incident.

The seminars are free to attend and open to the public, but are limited to the first 50 registrants. Click here to register.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, safety

Survey Says – Americans Want More Renewable Energy

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

A new survey has found that 78 percent of respondents believe the winner of the presidential race should prioritize faster adoption of renewable energy. The 7th Sense & Sustainability Study released by G&S Business Communications also found that opinion is split in relation to elected leaders and their understanding of the costs associated of fossil fuels. Fifty-two percent disagree while 48 agree that elected officials are well informed about fossil energy’s total costs. Regionally, Americans in the Midwest (59 percent) are more likely than those in the Northeast (49 percent) and in the South (47 percent) to disagree that elected officials comprehend the full costs associated with fossil energy.

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-10-50-54-amHowever, public uncertainty is not discouraging the view that the government can play a role in creating advantages for consumers with a marketplace that allows for broader competition among electric power suppliers. The survey found 85 percent believe customers benefit from having alternative energy sources that include rooftop solar and wind. Along the same lines, 77 percent responded government regulators should develop a pricing model that ensures utilities pay for excess power supplied to the grid by smaller scale independently owned device operators. In addition, 68 percent indicated it is more important to have a resilient power grid than to enjoy lower electricity costs.

Even the contentious nature of this year’s presidential campaign could not distract Americans from recognizing the importance of renewable energy to future economic growth and their own personal well-being,” said Ron Loch, G&S managing director and sustainability consulting leader. “It’s clear that public interest is served when there are discussions about the broader financial impact of fossil energy and the need to improve both energy efficiency and the infrastructure investment required to build a resilient power grid. Industry, government and civil society can better educate and engage by communicating about environmental and social responsibility in ways that tie back to stakeholders’ interests in choice, flexibility and security.

Another interesting finding is that there is an increasing trend among those who stay uninformed. While 50 percent say they turn to news media for information (down from 57 percent in 2014), 27 percent indicated they do not rely on any sources to learn about environmentally and socially responsible practices among businesses.

And for the second year in a row, the same three industries of agriculture, food and beverage, and energy lead with positive reputations for sustainability while manufacturing, leisure services and transportation lag again.

Climate Change, Renewable Energy, Utilities

ACE Ads Urge Congress to Fix RVP Legislation

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is calling on Washington to pass legislation that would fix arcane RVP (Reid Vapor Pressure) that keeps E15 from being sold in most markets during summer months. The two-week digital media campaign is focused on five target online publications and includes a daily video webcast for energy and environmental policy leaders. Featured in the campaign is Charlie Good, an ASE-certified mechanic and c-store owner. The campaign urges Congress to take action on bipartisan, bicameral legislation (S. 1239 and HR 1736) to allow gas stations to sell E15 year-round by updating EPA’s RVP regulation. The campaign runs September 19-23 and September 26-30 and will be featured on sites such as E&E Daily, Climatewire, Greenwire, and E&E TV.

ace16-007_ee_300x250_final1Even though E15, and all higher blends of ethanol, has fewer evaporative emissions than gasoline and E10, EPA refuses to allow E15 in conventional gasoline areas of the country from June 1 to September 15. As a result, most gas station owners can only sell E15 to flex fuel drivers. However, if EPA acts now on bringing RVP legislation in to the 21st century, then beginning in 2017, E15 could be sold year round.

It is imperative for Congress to take action on this legislation before adjourning for the year so c-store chains and gas station owners will be able to sell E15 to their customers year-round,” said ACE Executive Vice President Brian Jennings. “Our campaign includes retailer Charlie Good, in his own words, telling Congress how ridiculous it is for EPA to say E15 is okay to use one day, but not the next, when the fuel is cleaner than gasoline and E10,” said Jennings. “The ads make the case that the old RVP rule is out of sync with science and forces retailers like Charlie to halt sales of low-cost E15 during peak driving season.

According to ACE, year-round allowance of E15 could help save consumers between two to 10 cents per gallon, enabling retailers to sell a higher octane fuel for less than gasoline. ACE estimates that thousands of stations nationwide would start selling E15 if the RVP restriction was lifted by EPA or fixed by Congress.

ACE, E15, Ethanol, Reid Vapor Pressure

Renmatix Secures $14M

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

Sample applications for 1M tons of cellulosic sugar, produced by the Plantrose process

Sample applications for 1M tons of cellulosic sugar, produced by the Plantrose process

Renmatix has announced a $14 million investment led by Bill Gates. The company has developed a process called Plantrose that produces cellulosic sugars that can be used to produce bioproducts such as biofuels and biochemcals. The monies raised will be used, in part, to commercialize Plantrose through license sales.

To effectively address climate change, we need to develop an energy infrastructure that doesn’t emit greenhouse gas and is cost competitive,” said Gates. “A critical component in this effort must be to decarbonize the industrial sector. Another is the possibility of cost competitive biofuels. Renmatix provides an innovative process that is an exciting pathway to pursue.

Gates is joined in the round by Total the global energy major which, after an initial investment in 2015, has expanded its investment and has additionally signed a licensing agreement with Renmatix for 1M tons of annual cellulosic sugar production capacity, at Total’s discretion to build corresponding facilities. According to Renmatix, the license represents significant revenue potential for the company, extending over the lifetime of the agreement.

The Plantrose process uses supercritical water to reduce costs in conversion of biomass to cellulosic sugars, the critical intermediary for second-generation biochemicals and biofuels. According to the company, with faster reactions and virtually no associated consumable-expenses, its supercritical hydrolysis economically enables a multitude of renewable process technologies to access the market for ‘high volume, low cost, broadly sourced’ cellulosic sugars.

Renmatix CEO, Mike Hamilton added, “This continued progress marks the pronounced acceleration of a new, sugar based, chemistry regime. One that can go beyond conventional oil based products for cleaner, more sustainable solutions. While we’re working with partners to capitalize on the vast opportunity for biobased transformation in markets as diverse as the U.S. and India, this investment from Gates and Total together — shows recognition of our technological achievements, and magnifies our commercial momentum. That acknowledgment and Total’s signing of the million-ton license, are compelling indicators of our Plantrose technology’s maturation towards biorefinery scale.

biochemicals, biofuels, biomass, bioproducts

BioEnergy Bytes

Joanna Schroeder Leave a Comment

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1September 21, 2016 is Zero Emissions Day, the global 24 hour moratorium on the use of fossil fuels. On this day, people are challenged to not use or burn oil, gas or coal as well as to minimize (or eliminate) the use of electricity generated by fossil fuels.
  • Excelerate Energy L.P., in collaboration with Dubai Supply Authority, has completed the first commercial gas-up operation at DUSUP’s Jebel Ali LNG Import Terminal via Excelerate’s floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) Explorer on August 31, 2016. The FSRU gassed-up all five tanks of a 173,000 m3 LNG Carrier, in a 17-hour period. DUSUP’s ability to utilize the FSRU for these operations will allow LNG vessels departing regional dry docks avoid having to travel significant distances to perform this required step in the LNG cargo cycle, making Dubai a full-service LNG hub. A second similar gas-up operation was completed a few days later on another vessel.
  • Norway continues to lead the global market for electric vehicles, according to the most recent plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) index from IHS Automotive, part of business information provider IHS Markit. Based on analysis of new vehicle registrations during the first quarter 2016, one out of every three vehicles registered in Norway during the quarter was a plug-in electric vehicle, reflecting more market penetration in Norway than any other major market tracked by IHS Markit within the index.
  • The global biofuels market is expected grow at a CAGR of nearly 6% during the forecast period, according to Technavio’s latest report. In this report, Technavio covers the market outlook and growth prospects of the global biofuels market for 2016-2020. The market is further categorized into two fuel type segments, including ethanol and biodiesel, of which the ethanol segment dominated the market with almost 70% of the overall market share in 2015.
Bioenergy Bytes