Novozymes & Fiberight Produce Biofuel from Trash

Joanna Schroeder

Fiberight has announced it has received key federal approval for its production process. The company, who has enlisted Novozymes as a partner, has developed technology to convert non-recycled municipal solid and industrial wastes into advanced biofuels. To achieve federal approval, the company proved its ability to separate recyclable paper, cardboard, plastics, rubber, textiles, metals and glass wastes from organic materials such as food waste.

“The days of waste ending in a landfill are gone,” said Craig Stuart-Paul, Fiberight Chief Executive Officer. “We are giving trash a new beginning – firing our plant and fueling cars and trucks – and providing a less expensive, domestically-made energy source for the country.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is looking to Fiberight to be one of the first cellulosic biofuels producers to begin producing fuel at commercial scale. According to a company statement, Fiberight is nearing commercialization of advanced biofuels, spurred by the mandates required by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2).

The company’s first plant online will be in Lawrenceville, Virginia in which $20 million has been invested. Once running at full production, the facility will produce nearly 1 million gallons per year. The plant is currently focused on putting the enzymes to work to break down the trash.

The next step is to bring a larger-scale commercial facility online in Blairstown, Iowa with a target date of 2013. The Blairstown facility will have capacity to produce six million gallons per year.

advance biofuels, Waste-to-Energy

Midwest Governors Calls for More B20 Use

Joanna Schroeder

In a letter, the Midwestern Governors Association (MGA) has asked diesel engine and vehicle manufacturers to support the use of B20 (20 percent biodiesel + 80 percent diesel) in all diesel run equipment. The call is joined by the Iowa Biodiesel Board along with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who is the Chair of MGA.

“As Governors, we see increasing the use of biodiesel as an important part of diversifying our nation’s energy portfolio,” the MGA said in the letter sent to 23 automakers and Original Equipment Manufacturers. “We will continue to encourage policies that will expand consumer access to higher blends of biodiesel…It is our firm belief that companies that support B20 will capture market share from those companies that choose not to support B20—especially in the Midwest.”

As states pass policies mandating the use of higher blends of biodiesel, equipment manufacturers will need to produce equipment that is designed for higher blends of biodiesel. Today, more than 65 percent of engine and equipment manufacturers support B20.

The letter outlines several other key reasons why supporting use of B20 is the correct action to take:

  • More than 13 states are encouraging use of higher biodiesel blends from B2–B20 through a variety of state policies.
  • The use of biodiesel reduces emissions as well as reduces the need for imported oil.
  • The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) calls for the use of 1 billion gallons of advanced biofuels in 2012 (biodiesel is categorized as an advanced biofuel) and increased the use up to 5 billion gallons per year by 2020.
Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board added his organization’s support greater use of higher blends of biodiesel. “This united call to action from 10 governors is an extraordinary show of support for B20, and we commend them for their bold leadership.”
advance biofuels, Biodiesel

New Ethanol Plant Opens Amidst Drought

Joanna Schroeder

Despite raging concerns about the effect the worst drought of 50 years on the corn harvest, the former Bionol ethanol plant in Pennsylvania is back up and running after being purchased by Zeeland Farm Services (ZFS). Production began last month at the now named Pennsylvania Grain Processing LLC and is producing ethanol, dry distiller’s grains and other products.

Nearly all of the former employees of the plant were brought back and there are plans to hire additional employees. Cliff Meeuwsen said the plant is up and running at full capacity. ZFS also owns and operates corn and soybean processing plants in Nebraska and Michigan and is no stranger to operating agricultural businesses in times of challenges.

Even when corn prices are not through the roof and various industries (i.e. livestock, ethanol, etc.) are competing for corn, not much corn is grown in the state; therefore, the plant, as well as producers, must ship corn to the state to meet needs.

Yet Meeuwsen said there’s ample corn to meet both the ethanol plant’s needs as well as other needs. “We’ve gotten a good corn supply from the farm people around here,” Meeuwsen said in an interview with Pittsburg Business Times. Meeuwsen has been in the industry for 60 years. He noted this is the worst drought he has experienced since 1988.

“Ethanol has seen its ups and downs before, and although this time frame is going to be very tough on it and the margins are very bad, a great many of them will survive,” he said. “And when there is corn aplenty again, ethanol will continue to make sense. I think the industry will then go forward.”

biofuels, corn, Ethanol

Carrots Go From Orange to Green

Joanna Schroeder

If carrots go green will they still help your eyesight? You bet. Grimway Enterprises, the largest carrot grower in the U.S., is going solar with plans to install 3.4 megawatts of solar energy. Grimway will be installing solar projects at five of its production sites located throughout San Joaquin Vally in California. Construction is underway at three of the sites and when completed each facility should generate 1.15 MW of energy. A total of 4,760 Conergy PM 240 Watt solar modules will be used.

“Conergy is as committed to quality standards and environmental sustainability as we are and that’s one of the reasons we chose Conergy as a partner,” said John Noland with Grimmway. We are very happy with the team of Conergy and their local Construction Management partner SC Anderson, their professional attitude, attention to detail and expertise. I expect the additional solar plants to be as successful as the first – completed on time and in budget.”

Electricity, Energy, Solar

GROWMARK Picks Up 1st Truckload of Biodiesel at Ohio Terminal

Joanna Schroeder

GROWMARK’s network fuel supplier Trupointe Cooperative Inc. picked up the first truckload of biodiesel at the new New Lebanon Ohio Terminal owned by the Renewable Energy Group (REG). The facility is located outside of Cincinnati. The facility is producing REG-9000 branded biodiesel produced from natural oils, fats and greases and meets or exceeds ASTM quality specifications for biodiesel.

“GROWMARK and Trupointe Cooperative Inc. have been advocates for biodiesel utilization for many years,” said Gary Haer, VP of Sales and Marketing at. We look forward to growing our relationship with GROWMARK and its other cooperatives in the future. This Ohio terminal offers great opportunity for blenders like GROWMARK and Trupointe to expand their biodiesel offerings in preparation for harvest or to meet summer over-the-road diesel demand.”

Brigette Harlan, Renewable Fuels Product Manager for GROWMARK said they are pleased to take the first truckload of biodiesel from the new facility, and REG has been a valuable partner for many years. “REG is dedicated to quality and to the best possible customer experience which is very important to our customers like Trupointe Cooperative who are receiving this truckload. We appreciate and share that commitment as we all grow and help the marketplace understand the benefits of using biodiesel.”

advance biofuels, Biodiesel, GROWMARK, REG

Argentina Ups It’s Ethanol Game

Joanna Schroeder

Argentina is upping its ethanol game with the announcement that ICM has contracted with ACA Bio Cooperative Limitada (ACA Bio) to design a 40 million gallon per year (MGY) dry-mill corn ethanol plant. The biorefinery will be located on the outskirts of Villa Maria, a city in the central province of Cordoba. Project completion is expected in early 2014.

Last year the Argentinean government announced an ethanol supply quota to ACA Bio of 125 million litres per year. Experts anticipate that in 2013, producers in the country will produce at least 400 million litres, a country record. With a positive outlook on ethanol via governmental support, the biofuels industry continues to grow. Also making it an opportunistic market, the country has a vast supply of feedstocks and existing processing infrastructure.

“We’re thrilled to announce our latest global expansion project into Argentina, and we look forward to continued collaboration with ACA Bio to support the economic growth of the region by providing our process technologies and services to advance renewable energy,” said ICM President Chris Mitchell.

In addition to producing ethanol, the facility will produce several co-products including wet and dry distillers grains, a much needed food product because the country has large dairy and feedlot industries. The plan is to keep the majority of fuel and feed produced for use in the country.

“As the process design and technology company that has provided engineering, construction and operational services for 102 ethanol plants in North America, ICM is excited to expand into South America,” added Kevin Endres, ICM Director of International Business Development. “We value the opportunity to collaborate with ACA Bio, and continue to expand our global business strategy in the Americas and beyond. ACA Bio’s strong farmer cooperative and leadership will promote the use of grains to increase ethanol production capacity in Argentina, and we look forward to supporting biofuels production and sustainable development in this region.”

corn, Ethanol, International

Biofuel Producers Coordinating Council Formed

Cindy Zimmerman

Eight biofuel industry organizations today announced the formation of the Biofuels Producers Coordinating Council to jointly advocate for national policy for increased energy security through domestic biofuel production.

The new Council will include Michael McAdams from the Advanced Biofuels Association; Brooke Coleman from the Advanced Ethanol Council; Mary Rosenthal from the Algal Biomass Organization; Brian Jennings from the American Coalition for Ethanol; Brent Erickson from the Biotechnology Industry Organization; Tom Buis from Growth Energy; Anne Steckel from the National Biodiesel Board; and Bob Dinneen from the Renewable Fuels Association.

The Renewable Fuel Standard sets a path for energy security, reduced reliance on foreign oil, and a cleaner, healthier environment by setting annual standards to increase production and use of biofuels in the United States. The members of the Council jointly pledged support for maintaining this policy and continuing to achieve its goals. Since adoption of the Renewable Fuel Standard, U.S. production of biofuels has tripled and reliance on foreign oil has been cut by nearly one-third. The RFS is producing demonstrable results for U.S. energy security.

ACE, advance biofuels, AEC, algae, BIO, Biodiesel, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Growth Energy, NBB, RFA, RFS

Algae Plant in Australia Commissioned

Joanna Schroeder

The first algae production plant, owned by Algae.Tec, was commissioned in New South Wales, Australia yesterday. An event was held today at Shoalhaven One and New South Wales Minister for Resources and Energy, Chris Hartcher, was on hand to participate in the celebration. The facility is connected to the Manildra Group’s facility in order to capture the carbon dioxide and feed it to the algae to aid in the growth process.

The plant officially went online when Minister Hartcher activated the state of the art lighting system that delivers the Algae.Tec super yield capabilities. Prior to this momentous moment, Algae.Tec Executive Chairman Roger Stroud said the biorefinery offers New South Wales and Australia energy security at a time when traditional fossil fuel companies are leaving the local market.

Algae.Tec offers the promise of home grown transport fuels (aviation and diesel), which is the number one energy security priority for countries like the USA and increasingly Australia,” continued Stroud.

Algae.Tec has recently recruited biofuels and aviation fuels specialist engineer Colin McGregor as General Manager Project Operations. He will be participating in the work third party SGS will undertake to inspect, verify, test and certify the technology.

advance biofuels, algae, Carbon Dioxide, International

Cobalt & Rhodia to Build Biobutanol Plant

Joanna Schroeder

Cobalt Technologies and Rhodia, a member of the Solvay Group, is partnering to develop and operate a biobutanol demonstration facility in Brazil. The plant will use Cobalt’s technology to convert bagasse (sugarcane by-product) and other local feedstock into bio n-butanol, which can be used as both a transportation fuel or industrial chemical.

“This agreement puts us on a clear path towards commercialization, which will result in the development of the first commercial-scale biorefinery using bagasse as a feedstock for the production of biobutanol,” said Bob Mayer, CEO of Cobalt Technologies. “We are very pleased to be working with Rhodia. Our corporate values and goals are aligned and Rhodia’s experience in the global chemical markets and long history of success in Latin America position us well for success.”

Work on the construction of the demonstration facility will begin in August 2012 and will be moved to a sugar mill site in early 2013 for testing. Operational testing is expected to be completed by Mid-2013.

Vincent Kamel, president of Rhodia Coatis Business Unit, added about the partnership, “We are convinced that Cobalt’s technology will provide an unmatched cost advantage over the long term, while also enhancing our sustainable development strategy related to our Augeo range of biosourced solvents. We look forward to our continued partnership, working closely with Cobalt to capitalize on the massive market opportunity for bio n-butanol in Latin American and beyond.”

advance biofuels, biobutanol, Brazil

Farmers Look to GROWMARK for Reliable Fuel, Stable Prices

John Davis

It was originally started as a way for a group of farmers to make sure they were able to get a reliable source of fuel. Today, our friends at GROWMARK Energy are helping producers make sure they have those quality fuels at prices that remain stable throughout the seasons. Marty Wieland, GROWMARK director of energy operations and risk management, explains that since they are also putting product into the pipeline that has to match the standards already there “that allows us to buy that product from any other vendor or shipper on the pipeline and know that it’s going to meet certain specifications so we really know what we’re getting.” Plus, he says they can put in their own additives at certain terminals specific for the needs of that area.

Wieland says their analysis, advisory and broker services give GROWMARK cooperatives a chance to lock in fuel prices as much as a year in advance. “It allows them to know what their pricing will be well out in the future,” and allows them to pass along these stable prices to the end-users.

Wieland concluded they’re looking at expanding into other pipelines where they don’t currently have a presence.

Listen to Cindy’s interview with Marty here. Marty Wieland, GROWMARK