BIOFUELS / ETHANOL
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Inter-American Development Bank has released a new version of its Biofuels Sustainability Scorecard, which will enable users to better anticipate the impacts of potential biofuel projects on sensitive issues such as indigenous rights, carbon emissions from land use change, and food security.
The first version of the Scorecard, an interactive, web-based tool that was released a year ago, addressed 23 key variables including greenhouse gas emissions, water management, bio-diversity and poverty reduction. The IDB subsequently held five regional meetings to solicit feedback on the Scorecard and began collecting and reviewing hundreds of comments and suggestions submitted by outside experts.
As a result, the updated version of the Scorecard includes new categories to more thoroughly capture the environmental and social dimensions of biofuels investments. Specifically, there are six new social categories that address issues relating to indigenous people, local grower arrangements and impacts on food security, among others.
“This new version of the Biofuels Sustainability Scorecard reflects the wisdom and experience of a wide spectrum of experts in academia, NGOs, multilateral institutions and the investment community,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. “Biofuels continue to be a compelling energy alternative for many Latin American and Caribbean countries, but it is essential to understand the full lifecycle impacts of a project first. This Scorecard now offers an even more effective way to ensure that proposed biofuel projects are truly sustainable.”
The new version of the Scorecard includes a spatial analysis tool that enables users to quickly access existing Geographic Information System (GIS) data regarding areas for biodiversity preservation. Future versions will add data layers to show the spatial dimensions of categories including water scarcity, cultural sites and high carbon sequestration areas, among others.
The new Scorecard also benefitted from the criticisms and suggestions of investors who used the original version. These included the financial backers of Biobahia Oil, a large biofuel complex planned for Northeastern Brazil.
Euroventures, the company behind the project, was finding it difficult to determine the full social and environmental impacts of this ambitious project, which aims to cultivate some 30,000 hectares of land and produce 200,000 tons of biodiesel per year. So Adrian Calvert, in charge of investors’ relations at the company, sought technical assistance for a feasibility study from the IDB’s Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Initiative.
In agreeing to help, IDB experts urged the Biobahia team to run their project through the Scorecard.
"In an increasingly competitive biofuels industry, sustainability has become the key issue in ensuring access to global markets,” said Guillaume Sagez, managing partner of Euroventures. “The IDB Biofuels Sustainability Scorecard has helped us to think through our project plans and find out how we can adopt certain practices to achieve a higher degree of environmental and social sustainability."
Among other things, Sagez said the Scorecard showed his project team that they would need to look more closely at the carbon emissions that would result from proposed land use changes in the project, along with nitrogen oxide emissions that can be expected from cultivation and fertilizer application.
After using the Scorecard, the Biobahia team suggested improvements to the tool that have now made their way into a new version. Going forward, the IDB plans to continue soliciting input on ways to strengthen the Scorecard. The Bank is part of the Global Bioenergy Partnership and the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels, both global efforts to develop sustainability criteria for biofuels, and IDB specialists will coordinate with the Food and Agriculture Organization to improve the Scorecard over the next year.
In an unprecedented initiative, Brazil recently proposed a new bill of law that will restrict the lands permissible for sugarcane farming and processing. If passed, the bill will be sent to the National Congress by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will prohibit the construction or expansion of sugarcane farms and production plants in any area of native vegetation, or in the Amazon, Pantanal (Brazilian Wetlands) or Upper Paraguay River Basin regions. Coupled with the areas not suitable for sugarcane farming, the bill would effectively make 92.5 percent of Brazil's national territory off-limits for sugarcane farming and processing. In addition to the sugarcane zoning mandates, the new bill includes a measure to end the practice of crop burning by 2017 in all areas suitable for mechanized harvesting.
Brazil's sugarcane harvests are used to produce food products as well as sugarcane-based ethanol, a biofuel alternative to gasoline. The proposal is timely, given that ethanol consumption surpassed that of gasoline in light vehicles in Brazil this year. Brazil has the largest fleet of flex-fuel cars in the world. Brazil is also currently the world's largest producer and exporter of sugarcane, using only 1 percent of its national land area.
The newly proposed bill is based upon the findings of the National Agro–Ecological Zoning for Sugarcane (ZAE Cana) study, which defined lands suitable for sugarcane production based on environmental, economic and social criteria. ZAE Cana is the largest crop survey in Brazil's history and the first ever to incorporate economic and social considerations into its proposed model for the sustainable development of the industry.
The ZAE Cana proposal addresses the need to regulate the expansion of sugarcane production in light of the growing global demand for food and biofuels. This proposal supports Brazil's goal to foster sustainable economic development and preserve its indigenous lands, its biodiversity, and its natural resources.
The new bill would restrict the expansion of sugarcane production plants to regions that meet the following criteria: areas that do not require full irrigation, thus saving resources such as water and energy; and areas with slopes less than 12 percent, allowing for mechanized harvesting and preventing producers' clearance of ground by fire. In addition, credit extension policies will favor expansion into underused or degraded pasture land.
These rules are not applicable to industrial facilities already in operation.
These criteria leave 64 million total hectares eligible for sugarcane planting, equivalent to 7.5 percent of the national land area. Sugarcane crops currently occupy an area of 8.89 million hectares (2008 crop year).
The proposed Bill of Law empowers the Ministry of Agriculture to direct the expansion of sugarcane production in order to prevent any risk to food production or food security.
In addition to regulating future sugarcane expansion, the federal government is proposing an end to burnings in existing production areas. The eradication will be enforced according to a transition schedule that ends burning by 2017 in 100 percent of areas suitable for mechanized harvesting. This measure will allow for the reduction of greenhouse gases by six million tons of CO2 equivalent.
The EPA must acknowledge the full extent of the uncertainty in its estimation of biofuels' lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions and ensure that biofuel technologies are not preemptively disqualified from participation in the Renewable Fuel Standard program. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) released official comments on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed rule and draft regulatory impact analysis for the Renewable Fuel Standard.
Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO's Industrial & Environmental Section, stated, "EPA's proposed methodology yields highly uncertain estimates of biofuels affect on international land use change, due in part to starting assumptions about future crops productivity and land constraint, causality, and the role of other countries' land use policies. EPA must acknowledge the limitations of the current state of the science of estimating international land use change and not preemptively disqualify biofuels from the program unless they are clearly demonstrated to exceed the greenhouse gas emission thresholds set in the law. Because of the high degree of uncertainty in the model and the embryonic state of the emerging science, EPA should expressly disclaim any intent to establish precedent in this rulemaking for how international land use change may be measured under a different regulatory program.
"Technology innovation is occurring at a rapid rate across the biofuels industry, even as petroleum exploration pursues more environmentally questionable sources of oil. EPA has already recognized the contributions biotechnology makes to a "best case scenario" for future conventional biofuel production. The agency should also recognize the contributions biotechnology can make in continuing to increase crop yields, decrease fertilizer inputs, increase drought tolerance and lower the overall carbon footprint of biofuel feedstocks.
"EPA's framework for categorizing biofuel production technologies is too inflexible. A better approach would be to allow biofuel producers to estimate the carbon footprint for their plant based on specific data plugged into a flexible, technology neutral analysis tool that can account for future improvement and innovation.
"Because commercial development of advanced biofuels has been slowed by the current recession – as investment in new technologies has declined in all sectors of the economy –rapid implementation of the rule, increased transparency of the methodology, and expedited consideration of new pathways is vital. Finally, EPA should take great care in implementing the cellulosic biofuel waiver and associated credits or 'allowances.' Cellulosic volumes under the RFS should be set prudently and allowances should not displace volumetric requirements for blending all biofuels, since the purpose of the renewable fuel standard is to increase blending of renewable fuel. Failure to effectively use the waiver provision and structure the RIN allowances correctly will lead to market instability."
Advanced biofuel producers announced the formation of the Low Carbon Synthetic Fuels Association (LCSFA), with members including TRI, Rentech Inc., Velocys, CHOREN, Flambeau River Biofuels/Johnson Timber, AP Fuels and World GTL. The LCSFA was formed to address existing legislative and regulatory inequities that have slowed or even hindered the development of advanced biofuels. To date, federal programs have resulted in incentives that do not necessarily promote or reward the best performing and most environmentally friendly fuels.
Specifically, the LCSFA represents the Biomass-to-Liquids (BtL) industry. One of the cleanest and most proven advanced biofuels, BtL is produced through the gasification of renewable biomass and the subsequent conversion of the gasified biomass using the Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) synthesis process. The renewable fuels produced are predominantly synthetic diesel and jet fuel, which are nearly identical to current crude oil-derived fuels, although significantly cleaner.
BtL fuels rely on an established synthesis technology which can be brought to market quickly, unlike many other advanced biofuels, which remain in the research and development or "pre-commercial" stages. BtL fuels can be produced from abundant, non-food organic materials such as wood waste from urban recycling programs, paper mills or forestry residues, without increasing land use. Moreover, BtL fuels are fully compatible with the existing fuels infrastructure, enhance engine performance, and reduce emissions.
"We look forward to advanced biofuels mandated by Congress that will ensure the safe use and performance of the more than 400 million engine products in use today. LCSFA members may offer a viable solution to achieving national renewable fuel mandates," said Kris Kiser, Executive VP of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute and Spokesperson for AllSAFE, a national manufacturing coalition of major on road and nonfood engine, vehicle, and equipment manufacturers whose members' products consume gasoline, diesel, and the variety of biofuels that are blended with those conventional fuels.
Through the LCSFA, participants along the whole value chain (from biomass feedstock producers, gasification and F-T technology providers, and project developers, to consumers of the product and manufacturers of affected engines, vehicles and equipment) can speak with one voice to achieve needed improvements and incentives.
On September 25, the LCSFA urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its comments to promote clean, renewable advanced biofuels that improve air quality, reduce GHG emissions, and are compatible with the existing engines, equipment and fuels infrastructure. This week, the EPA will begin considering comments on its "Changes to Renewable Fuel Standard Program" ("RFS2 Proposal"). The LCSFA's comments are endorsed by a range of partners including Auburn University, Audi America, Chemrec AB, Mercedes Benz USA, Pacific Renewable Fuels, Renewable Energy Institute International, and Volkswagen.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a compilation of critiques of America’s ethanol industry. Containing little in the way of new information or analyses, the report does nothing to address the issues facing America regarding its reliance on foreign oil. Specifically, the GAO suggests elimination of the tax incentive for ethanol, yet provides no comparison with the subsidies received by fossil fuel interests. According to the Environmental Law Institute, fossil fuel interests receive nearly three times the federal incentives provided to renewable energy industries.
Responding to the report, the Renewable Fuels Association issued the following statement:
“This amounts to little more than a book report, rehashing many of the criticisms that have been leveled at the ethanol industry from a variety of special interests without introducing any new information. As is the nature of reports such as these, they are out of date as soon as they are completed.
“America’s ethanol producers continue to innovate at an astounding rate. New technologies are improving overall efficiencies at existing facilities and making better use of natural resources. In just the past five years alone, ethanol producers have reduced water use and energy use by over 20 percent in both cases. Next generation technologies, such as conversion processes for cellulosic materials, are expanding the basket of feedstocks from which ethanol is made.
“Likewise, on-the-farm innovations are yielding more corn per acre while reducing inputs needed. This year is perfect evidence, with yields per acre expected to set records well above 160 bushels per acre. Seed technologies just on the horizon promise even greater improvements. Farming practices, such as no till and GPS guidance, are reducing erosion and making more efficient use of fuel and fertilizer inputs.”
Responding directly to the charge that the tax incentive is no longer needed, the RFA stated:
“The tax incentive has been instrumental in helping to build a renewable fuels industry in this country. It should remain. As long as petroleum and fossil fuel companies that dominate the energy market continue to receive preferential tax treatment and hidden subsidies, incentives are needed to develop renewable alternatives such as ethanol.”
Following the release of a report by the Government Accountability Office examining the production of biofuels in the United States, Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis issued the following statement:
“If the Environmental Protection Agency is going to amend the Renewable Fuels Standard, they need to do it right. This report by the Government Accountability Office, the non-partisan investigative arm of Congress, has weighed in on EPA’s proposal, and we are not surprised to see that many of its findings mirror the positions of Growth Energy.
“On the unsettled science of International Indirect Land Use Change, the GAO has come down firmly on our side of the debate: there is no scientific consensus on ILUC. As we’ve said all along, ILUC is a concept and a theory – it is not proven, and there is no agreement in the scientific community that if it exists, how it can be accurately measured. We agree completely with GAO’s assessment that the proposal to incorporate ILUC into RFS would greatly complicate the agency’s ability to complete writing this rule.
“Further, GAO’s assessment of the challenges to overcome before RFS can increase biofuel volumes is dead-on with Growth Energy’s assessment in that we need to build out the nation’s ethanol-delivery infrastructure. As clearly stated on p. 10 of the GAO report, the nation faces limits on the distribution, use and storage of ethanol because of a lack of appropriate infrastructure. That is why we support bipartisan legislation, authored by Sens. Tom Harkin and Richard Lugar, to build out ethanol pipelines and curb-side delivery systems such as blender pumps, and increase the number of Flex Fuel Vehicles on the market. Only by taking these measures can we meet the intent of Congress, increase the volume of renewable fuels in this country, and give consumers more choice about what they pump into their vehicles.
“The members of Growth Energy know that the Renewable Fuel Standard was designed to promote the nation’s ability to produce renewable fuels – not to build new regulatory obstacles to domestic, renewable fuels. Congress passed RFS because ethanol is the only alternative we have to foreign oil, and we have it right now. Ethanol creates U.S. jobs, it cuts greenhouse gas emissions and it reinforces our economic and national security.”
U.S. ethanol producers continue setting new records for production, as demand for renewable alternatives to gasoline grows. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), American ethanol facilities produced 728,000 barrels/day in July 2009. That is up 114,000 barrels/day from a year ago.
Ethanol demand, as calculated by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), continues to outpace production. According to RFA calculations, demand was 748,000 barrels/day in July, up from 635,000 b/d a year ago.
EIA also reports fuel ethanol imports of 42.4 million gallons in July 2009.
The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) September 25, 2009 submitted formal comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in response to the agency’s proposed rule to implement the expanded Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) provided for in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007(EISA).
“There are significant energy securities, environmental and economic benefits associated with domestic biodiesel production and use,” noted Joe Jobe, CEO of the NBB. “Successful implementation of RFS2 is in the nation’s best interests, and NBB’s comments provide the EPA with input, that if incorporated in the final rule, will allow for implementation of a workable RFS2 program.”
EISA was enacted on December 19, 2007. The legislation expanded the Renewable Fuels Standard and for the first time specifically provided for a renewable component in U.S. diesel fuel. RFS2 requires the use of 500 million gallons of Biomass-based diesel in 2009, increasing gradually to 1 billion gallons in 2012. From 2012 through 2022, a minimum of 1 billion gallons must be used domestically, and the Administrator of the EPA is given the authority to increase the minimum volume requirement. To qualify as Biomass-based Diesel, the fuel must reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50 percent compared to petroleum diesel. Biodiesel is the only fuel available in commercial quantities in the U.S. that meets the definition of Biomass-based Diesel.
On May 26, 2009, the EPA issued the proposed rule to implement the RFS2 program. The proposed rule contains several significant flaws that would impede successful implementation of the RFS2 program’s Biomass-based Diesel and Advanced Biofuel volume requirements. NBB’s comments highlight these shortcomings and provide guidance on how to constructively remedy these issues.
NBB’s comments highlight:
• EPA’s GHG methodology relies on outdated data that artificially penalizes U.S. biodiesel. GHG emission reductions associated with biodiesel produced from vegetable oils compared to petroleum will significantly exceed the 22 percent assumed by EPA in its proposed rule if the agency relies on scientifically valid analysis and practices. Even with EPA’s assumptions and methodology, correcting the outdated data pertaining to nitrogen fixation, energy balance and co-product allocations would give biodiesel produced from vegetable oil a 62 percent GHG reduction compared to baseline petroleum. When just some of the major flawed assumptions from EPA’s indirect analysis are corrected, the GHG emissions lifecycle reduction for biodiesel from vegetable oils is 99 percent lower than diesel fuel. This number includes penalties to biodiesel for international indirect land use change.
• EPA should not include international indirect land use change in its GHG emission calculations. EISA does not require the EPA to include speculative assumptions relating to international indirect land use change when determining a fuel’s GHG emission profile. Further, the methodology employed by EPA does not rise to the level of certainty required to use for regulatory purposes. Lastly, EPA’s modeling pertaining to international indirect land use changes has been severely compromised by inaccurate assumptions, lack of credible data on land use change, and methodological shortcomings. Additional research and data is required to produce a sound, science based estimate of the impact, if any, and that U.S. biofuels production has on land use decisions abroad.
• EPA should take interim steps to ensure that the 2009 and 2010 Biomass-based Diesel volume requirements are met. Congress envisioned implementation of RFS2 on January 1, 2009. Delays associated with implementation of RFS2 have imposed significant hardship on the U.S. biodiesel industry, and the EPA should take interim steps to provide regulatory certainty and enforce the program’s volume requirements.
• The proposed rule should be modified to delete unnecessary regulatory and compliance burdens that do not further the goals of the RFS2 program. Provisions in the proposed rule that essentially require identity preservation of crops and unnecessary reporting burdens should be deleted. EPA has the ability to ensure that environmentally sensitive lands are protected without imposing many of the new regulatory burdens called for in the proposed rule.
“I hope the EPA will review our comments with an open mind and constructively address the issues we have raised. "We stand ready to work with the EPA to ensure that the RFS2 renewable goals are met,” concluded Jobe.
Imperium Renewables participated in the public comment process on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rulemaking on the Renewable Fuels Standard-2 (RFS-2). Imperium submitted a 10-page document detailing its concerns, hopes and requests for the EPA as it evaluates changes to the RFS-2. Among the key requests were for existing biodiesel facilities to be grandfathered in the Advanced Biofuels Program, and for the EPA to revise its methodology for calculating greenhouse gas lifecycle analysis of biodiesel.
Imperium stated its concerns that the EPA has not yet implemented the biomass-based diesel requirements under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and that the lifecycle analysis in the proposed rule has essentially eliminated U.S. biodiesel from being able to meet the biomass-based diesel requirement. The company advocated policies that would ensure that the Advanced Biofuel goals established by statute would be met, including:
· Recognize that existing facilities produce biodiesel that can be met using existing feedstock which does not have any land use impacts, and should for practical purposes be grandfathered in the Advanced Biofuels program.
· Utilize a greenhouse gas emission methodology for rulemaking purposes that is based on sound science, is consistent with applicable case law concerning consideration of international impacts, and does not unfairly penalize U.S. biofuel production for unrelated land use shifts in foreign nations.
As the EPA moves forward with the RFS-2 rulemaking, Imperium noted that it is important to remember that the U.S. biodiesel industry produces the only renewable fuel in the marketplace when it comes to commercial-scale production of biomass-based diesel as defined in RFS-2. Imperium also stressed that there is no indication that Congress sought to impose a penalty on existing production of biodiesel, which does not significantly impact land use change.
The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) responded to an anti-ethanol ad campaign launched by the American Meat Institute (AMI), Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA), Environmental Working Group (EWG) and others. The coalition of strange bedfellows paid for an ad that is running in Roll Call, a popular Capitol Hill newspaper, insinuating that moving from 10 percent ethanol in gasoline up to E15 would be bad for consumers, the environment, and rural communities.
“If the products sold to consumers by Big Food are as half-baked as their ethanol claims, we have a life threatening food safety crisis in America,” stated Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President of ACE. “Never before has more corn been used to make more ethanol, and yet retail food prices have fallen sharply this year.”
Because ethanol disrupts the profitable status quo for Big Oil and Big Food, attacks from groups such as NPRA and GMA are to be expected. But the fact that groups claiming to care about the environment have teamed up on this smear campaign is disappointing to ACE.
In an attempt to coin a new attack narrative on ethanol, the ad suggests that ethanol “dilutes” gasoline. “If ‘diluting’ gasoline is defined as making it safer by removing harmful carcinogens and reducing tailpipe emissions, ethanol does that. Real-world facts indicate when ethanol is added to gasoline, carcinogenic aromatics and carbon monoxide emissions are reduced,” Jennings said.
“Apparently the Environmental Working group wants more gasoline use in the U.S., leading to more air pollution, more pain in the pocket for consumers, and a greater reliance on foreign oil,” Jennings said.
“This coalition of strange bedfellows is both desperate and naïve,” Jennings said. “Oil and food companies are desperate and will resort to anything to protect the status quo of cheap corn and expensive oil. Some environmental groups naively believe getting rid of corn ethanol today, in hopes that some other potentially promising but not yet commercialized technology will be available tomorrow, will somehow reduce air pollution.”
Manning Feraci, Vice President of Federal Affairs for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), testified before the U.S. House Committee on Small Business regarding the pressing need to extend and reform the biodiesel tax incentive. The incentive is currently set to expire on December 31, 2009.
“It is difficult for entrepreneurs and investors to make long-term business decisions based on year to year extensions of the biodiesel tax incentive. Thus, a multiple year extension of the incentive is needed to provide certainty and stability in the marketplace. In addition, the U.S. biodiesel industry supports reforming the biodiesel tax incentive by changing the current blenders excise tax credit to a production excise tax credit. This will preserve the elements of the existing tax credit that have effectively incentivized the production and use of biodiesel, with the additional benefit of improving administration, eliminating potential abuses and simplifying tax compliance,” stated Feraci.
Feraci went on to explain that the biodiesel tax incentive, first enacted in 2004, helped grow a then nascent industry with 25 million gallons of annual production in 2004 to a commercial scale industry that produced 690 million gallons of fuel in 2008. Additionally, Feraci’s testimony pointed out the environmental, economic and energy security benefits of producing a low carbon diesel replacement fuel that is renewable and made right here in America.
“Yet, despite recent growth, the industry is in the midst of an economic crisis. Plants are having difficulty accessing operating capital. Volatility in commodity markets and reduced demand for biodiesel in both domestic and global markets are making it difficult for producers to sell fuel. Lastly, uncertainty relating to federal policy that is vital to the industry’s survival is sending inconsistent signals to the marketplace and undermining investor confidence in the industry.”
Without a renewal of the tax credit, Feraci explained, “It is safe to assume that if the biodiesel tax incentive lapses, biodiesel production in the U.S. will halt or at a minimum be severely curtailed, and the energy security, environmental, and job creation benefits that the nation realizes from biodiesel production will be lost.”
Duke Energy and ENN Group announced an agreement to accelerate the development of low-carbon and clean energy technologies. The announcement was made at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting.
Duke Energy’s agreement with ENN Group, one of China’s largest privately-held, diversified energy companies, includes potential development of commercial solar projects. It also encompasses joint technology development in coal-based clean energy, biofuels, natural gas, smart grid, energy efficiency and carbon-capturing algae.
Under the memorandum of understanding signed by senior executives from both companies, Duke Energy and ENN are launching a series of meetings to share information, view technology demonstrations and develop “best practice” models. The companies are also evaluating a partnership to pursue the commercial development of “utility-scale” solar photovoltaic projects in the U.S.
The announcement follows a similar MOU signed in August 2009 in Beijing between Duke Energy and China Huaneng Group, China’s largest electric utility, encompassing high-level discussions and information-sharing on a number of renewable and clean-energy fronts. The Clean Air Task Force, an environmental organization focusing on the deployment of low-carbon energy systems, played a key role in the MOUs signed with Huaneng Group and ENN.
EdeniQ, a California-based technology company serving biofuels producers worldwide with solutions that enhance productivity, profits and environmental results, announced deals with producers in the U.S. and Brazil.
E Energy Adams, a corn ethanol producer in Adams, NE has agreed to implement EdeniQ’s Corn3 Yield Enhancement Program. Corn3 employs three discreet phases of biological and mechanical processes to boost corn ethanol yields to over three gallons of ethanol per bushel of corn, which, for most corn ethanol plants, represents a 10 percent plus gain in productivity.
Several producers are implementing Phase 1 of EdeniQ’s Corn3 program that uses LGY-100™, a patented, low-glycerol yeast, to boost ethanol yields. E Energy is the first producer to implement Phase 2 of the Corn3 program. Phase 2 utilizes a device EdeniQ dubs the Cellunator™, a proprietary milling device that liberates more of the corn’s starch for fermentation by reducing the cornmeal made by the ethanol plant’s hammermill into uniformly smaller particle sizes. The Cellunator’s smaller particle sizes do not adversely affect the plant’s downstream separations.
EdeniQ has engaged ICM, Inc., the North American ethanol industry’s leading engineering and design firm of biorefineries, to conduct the installation of the Cellunator.
Comanche, a leading sugarcane ethanol producer in Brazil, has started implementing EdeniQ’s Eden3 Yield Enhancement Program at its Tatui and Canitar plants. Eden3 is roughly analogous to Corn3, but for sugarcane. Comanche is EdeniQ’s first customer in the Brazil, the world’s largest and fastest growing ethanol market.
GreenShift Corporation announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued U.S. Patent No. 7,601,858, titled "Method of Processing Ethanol Byproducts and Related Subsystems” (the ’858 Patent) for the extraction of corn oil to GS CleanTech Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GreenShift.
GreenShift’s patented and patent-pending corn oil extraction technologies enable GreenShift and its licensees to “drill” into the back-end of first generation corn ethanol plants to tap into a new reserve of inedible crude corn oil with an estimated industry-wide output of about 20 million barrels per year. This corn oil is a valuable second generation feedstock for use in the production of biodiesel and renewable diesel – advanced carbon-neutral liquid fuels, thereby enhancing total fuel production from corn and increasing ethanol plant profits.
The ‘858 Patent covers processes for recovering corn oil by evaporating, concentrating and mechanically processing thin stillage, a precursor to the distillers grain co-product of corn ethanol production (“DDGS”). Historically, ethanol production facilities have sold DDGS for animal feed, with all of the oil trapped inside. An estimated 3.4 million tons of corn oil passed unrecovered through the U.S. ethanol industry during 2008 alone.
GreenShift’s portfolio of patented and patent-pending extraction technologies can cost-effectively extract most of this corn oil, thereby increasing biofuel yields per bushel of corn by 7 percent while reducing the energy consumption and greenhouse gas (“GHG”) intensity of corn ethanol production by an estimated 21 percent and 29 percent, respectively.
POET is one step closer to gleaning the maximum value from each part of the corn kernel with a new ethanol co-product, "Inviz" which is set to replace petroleum-based ingredients in household products ranging from pill coatings to plastic packaging.
Inviz is POET’s brand of zein, a biodegradable, low-nutrient protein found in corn. It can be used as a gum base or in films, packaging, adhesives, coatings and glazes. Inviz zein is extracted using a patent-pending process developed by POET.
Inviz is derived from the less valuable protein in POET’s Dakota Gold HP® distiller’s grains. It differs from other zein products because POET’s production process fractionates the corn kernel and ferments ethanol without using heat. For that reason, Inviz is a more pure corn protein than other zein products, which are typically exposed to sulfur dioxide in the wet-milling process.
POET’s research into zein started in 2004 through collaboration with the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Peoria, IL. Those efforts ramped up considerably 2.5 years ago with the hiring of Senior Scientist John Lawton, a leader in zein research, from the NCAUR. Lawton was intrigued by the potential for zein in POET’s no-cook ethanol production.
"Inviz can be used to make biodegradable plastics, time-release capsules for pills and other substances, varnish, there are just so many possibilities" Lawton said. "It has been the focus of much of my research throughout my career, and I’m excited to see this product brought to market.”
POET CEO Jeff Broin sees a lot of unrealized potential in the zein market, and he expects Inviz to open up many new uses for corn.
Enerkem, a leading waste-to-biofuels and green chemicals technology company, participated in the sod-turning event held by its partners, the City of Edmonton and the Government of Alberta, to signify the start of construction on their joint advanced energy research facility.
The research facility is part of a comprehensive waste-to-biofuels initiative, which also includes a commercial waste-to-biofuels facility, to be built by Enerkem GreenField Alberta Biofuels, and a municipal waste processing facility, being built by the City of Edmonton.
The research facility, a collaboration between Enerkem, the City of Edmonton and the Alberta Energy Research Institute (AERI), will focus on the conversion of various types of waste from industrial sectors and from the municipal sector, to produce green transportation fuels and chemicals. It will be adjacent to the commercial waste-to-biofuels production facility, which will soon begin construction and will at term produce 36 million liters of ethanol per year.
Enerkem will conduct some of its advanced research at this research facility, which will be led by Dr. Esteban Chornet, co-founder of Enerkem and a world-leading scientist in the use of thermo catalysis for developing alternative fuels from waste. The research facility will include laboratory equipment and a well-instrumented pilot plant. Enerkem will develop the research facility in collaboration with the City of Edmonton. Construction completion is scheduled for the first quarter of 2010. Funding for the $10 million center comes from the Government of Alberta through AERI.
Gevo announced the formation of Gevo Development, LLC to develop a fleet of biorefineries based on retrofitting existing ethanol plants with Gevo's proprietary technology to produce biobutanol. Biobutanol is an advanced biofuel that can be blended directly into gasoline and be used to make renewable hydrocarbons ("green gasoline"), jet and diesel fuel, chemical intermediates and biobased plastics.
"Gevo took a very big step toward commercial deployment of advanced biofuels," said Patrick Gruber, CEO of Gevo. "The development company will enable us to secure production capacity by retrofitting existing plants to make commercial volumes to meet demand for advanced biofuels. Gevo Development's business model is open – it will include acquisitions, joint ventures and tolling arrangements providing flexibility to existing owners and lenders.
The company also announced it has successfully produced biobutanol at ICM's one million gallon per year commercial demonstration plant in St. Joseph, MO. The Gevo-ICM team has demonstrated that a typical ethanol production process can be retrofit quickly and at a low capital cost to make biobutanol, an advanced biofuel.
Enerkem, recently participated in the announcement of a community energy initiative that will heat a Strathcona County neighborhood, using the residual heat and synthetic gas from its process employed at its Edmonton waste-to-biofuels plant.
The project received grant funding in the form of $7.45 million from the Government of Alberta as part of the ecoTrust program. The announcement was made by Alberta Environment Minister Rob Renner, City of Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel, and Strathcona County Mayor Cathy Olesen.
Enerkem's biofuels plant, operated under the name of Enerkem GreenField Alberta Biofuels, will provide the residual heat and synthetic gas from its process as heating and cooling energy for residents and institutions in the Emerald Hills area. Strathcona County will use this innovative alternative to natural gas in a heating loop in Sherwood Park. This renewable energy project will directly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by about 7,000 tons per year when operational in 2012.
Verdezyne, Inc., a privately-held synthetic biology company developing fermentation processes for industrial chemicals and biofuels, announced that they have been awarded a $1.7 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy And Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for a period of 1.5 years. The goal of this program is to quickly and reliably advance the construction of directed mutant gene libraries widely considered important technology tools for synthetic biology.
Verdezyne will apply their proprietary computational and bioinformatics programs to create highly diverse gene libraries to further enhance metabolic engineering tools. This enhanced capability will be directly useful to life science researchers, and serve as a platform for protein and metabolic engineering.
Aided by the warm, dry weather, U.S. corn production is forecast at a near-record level, according to the Crop Production report, released October 9, 2009 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
Corn production is forecast at 13.0 billion bushels, up 8 percent from last year and down only 0.2 percent from the 2007 record. Corn yield is expected to average 164.2 bushels per acre, up 10.3 bushels above last year. If realized, this yield will be the highest on record. Corn growers are expected to harvest 79.3 million acres, down 1 percent from the September 2009 forecast.
Soybean production remains on target for a record-high year and is forecast at 3.25 billion bushels, up 10 percent from 2008. Based on October 1, 2009 conditions, soybean yields are expected to average 42.4 bushels per acre, up 2.7 percent from 2008. If realized, this will be the third highest yield on record. Growers are expected to harvest 76.6 million acres of soybeans, which is the largest area on record.
For the last five years, Madison County farmer Mike Shuter has maintained the same crop rotation on his farm of two-thirds of his fields in corn and one-third in soybeans. He hasn’t seen the need to increase his corn acres even with the evolution of the biofuels industry and its need for corn.
This seems to be the trend across the state. Indiana farmers planted 5.7 million acres of corn in both 2008 and 2009, down from 6.5 million acres in 2007. The majority of Indiana farmers plant corn and soybeans in a two-year rotation, unlike farmers in the Western Corn Belt where you see a more continuous corn environment.
“The assumption that farmers are going to increase corn acres because of increased ethanol production has not and will not ring true,” said Shuter, who serves as president of Indiana Corn Marketing Council.
At the same time as farmers across the country reduced the number of corn acres planted, U.S. ethanol production increased from 6.5 billion gallons per year in 2007 to more than 9 billion gallons last year.
As harvest kicks into full gear around the state, Indiana farmers are expected to produce 30 bushels more corn per acre than they did just 10 years ago. In fact, there are about the same number of corn acres in Indiana this year as in 1999, but farmers are expected to produce more than 150 million more bushels on those same acres.
The trend of significant gains in yields is expected to continue. Forecasts show that over the next five years corn yields are expected in increase to 174 bushels per acre, more than 20 bushels better than the average in 2007.
POET’s task of securing 700 tons of cellulosic biomass per day of operation got a big boost recently from a $6.85 million funding increase to an existing grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
This is the first of two funding increases from DOE to help establish a market for corn cobs. The second, expected next year, is estimated to provide an additional $13.15 million. Cobs are the feedstock for POET’s effort to commercialize cellulosic ethanol, Project Liberty, which will be built in Emmetsburg, IA. The grant increases will play a key role in establishing corn cobs as a viable commodity and setting the stage for corn cob harvesting across the United States.
The additional funds will be used to develop the feedstock infrastructure for cellulosic ethanol production. POET will work with equipment manufacturers to help speed the process of getting cob-harvesting technology into fields around Emmetsburg and will incentivize early adopters of cob harvesting.
The Department of Energy has been a major supporter of Project Liberty. The two grant increases will bring the total financial commitment from DOE to $100 million. Project Liberty, which includes building the commercial plant, helping farmers and equipment manufacturers develop a feedstock infrastructure and other costs, will total about $250 million.
Fourteen farmers in the Emmetsburg area will run cob harvests this year with prototype equipment from a variety of manufacturers. POET will develop and test the feedstock infrastructure for cob pick-up, delivery, and storage, which can be a model for replication at other biomass facilities.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced that FDC Enterprises of Columbus, OH, was one of five winners to share in a $21 million grant to develop supply systems to handle and deliver feedstocks for cellulosic biofuels production.
FDC Enterprises is joined by the ANTARES Group, a renewable energy consulting and project management company, headquartered in Landover, MD.
The FDC team is comprised of a broad array of experts and organizations that include:
· Abengoa Bioenergy (www.abengoabioenergy.com/sites/bioenergy)
· ANTARES Group (www.antaresgroupinc.com)
· Kelderman Manufacturing (www.keldermanairride.com)
· Allied Freeman (www.alliedsystems.com)
· MacDon (www.macdon.com)
· Rotochopper (www.rotochopper.com)
· Noble Foundation (www.noble.org)
· Kansas Bioscience Authority (www.kansasbioauthority.org)
· Prairie Lands Bio-Products Inc.
· TR Miles Consulting (www.trmiles.com)
· Star Seed (www.gostarseed.com)
· Mendel Bioenergy (www.mendelbio.com)
· Kansas State University (www.k-state.edu)
· Idaho National Laboratory University (www.inl.gov)
· Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (www.iowafarmbureau.com)
· Greenhouse Gas Services LLC (www.ghgs.com)
· Show Me Energy (www.goshowmeenergy.com)
· Alliant Energy (www.alliantenergy.com)
Coskata Inc., a leading developer of next generation biofuels, has announced the successful start-up of their semi-commercial flex ethanol facility located in Madison, PA. The accomplishment represents the successful scale-up of the company’s technology, and will serve as a showcase for the world’s first commercially-viable flex ethanol process.
Unlike other technologies and facilities that may rely on one primary source of feedstock, Coskata’s flex ethanol facility will be producing ethanol from numerous feedstocks, including wood biomass, agricultural waste, sustainable energy crops, and construction waste. This flexible approach at the Madison facility is enabled by Westinghouse Plasma Corporation (WPC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Alter NRG, and their plasma gasification technology. The feedstock flexible nature of the Coskata approach also allows for true geographic flexibility, meaning facilities can be built anywhere a feedstock can be sourced or delivered.
Coskata’s technology, as demonstrated through Project Lighthouse, will be able to reduce greenhouse gasses by as much as 96 percent over conventional gasoline, while using less than half the water that it takes to get a gallon of gasoline. In addition, the company’s ability to produce non grain-based ethanol that is as much as 7 times as energy positive as the fossil fuel used in the process, addresses many concerns related to traditional processes, including energy efficiency and the use of grain.
“The integrated biorefinery – utilizing Westinghouse Plasma Gasification on the front end and Coskata’s syngas-to-biofuels conversion process on the back end – serves as an excellent example of two leading companies working together to deliver a viable process to the biofuel market,” said Mark Montemurro, President and CEO of Alter NRG. “We’re excited to be delivering the feedstock flexibility to Coskata’s efficient and affordable process.”
The facility is a demonstration of “minimum scale engineering”, an industry standard term which means it is the smallest size that will still allow the company to scale directly to 50 million and 100 million gallon Coskata facilities. Some of the ethanol that is being produced at the facility has been delivered to the General Motors Milford Proving Grounds for early testing, as well as to another major strategic partner.
Mascoma Corporation announced that it has entered into a feedstock processing and lignin supply agreement with Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV), a division of Chevron U.S.A., Inc.
Under terms of the agreement, CTV will provide various sources of lignocellulosic feedstock to Mascoma. Mascoma will then convert the feedstock to cellulosic ethanol through its proprietary process, which produces lignin as a by-product. Mascoma will provide this lignin to CTV for evaluation.
Lignin is a complex chemical compound derived from woody biomass. After biomass has been converted through Mascoma’s proprietary Consolidated Bio Processing method, which breaks down the sugars in the cellulose and turns it into ethanol, energy-rich lignin is left over.
The project will last for two years, and Mascoma is hopeful that the developed technology may be suitable for a wide variety of feedstocks.
In December 2008, Mascoma began creating ethanol from cellulosic biomass with positive results at its demonstration facility in Rome, NY. The company, in collaboration with its commercialization subsidiary Frontier Renewable Resources, is in the process of financing its first full-scale ethanol facility in Kinross, MI. The company plans to break ground on that facility during the first half of 2010.
Lignol Energy Corporation, a leading technology company in the cellulosic ethanol and biorefining sector, announced that a project led by its wholly-owned subsidiary, Lignol Innovations Ltd., has been awarded up to $4.72 million in funding contributions from Sustainable Development Technology Canada ("SDTC").
This new SDTC supported project builds on Lignol's world-class, fully integrated, industrial scale pilot plant facility now operating in Burnaby, British Columbia. The scope of the new work plan is concentrated on further improving the environmental and economic benefits of Lignol's cellulosic ethanol technology package. The primary objectives of the work plan are to: demonstrate new innovative technologies that will greater utilize hemicellulose derived sugars to enhance ethanol yields; and to demonstrate industrial, value added applications for Lignol's high purity lignin ("HP-L™Lignin") utilizing a wide range of non-food feedstocks including, long dead, beetle killed, Lodgepole pine.
"Canada is committed to investing in new and innovative technologies to support the development of the renewable biofuels industry in Canada," said SDTC President and CEO Vicky Sharpe. "These next generation technologies could generate even greater environmental benefits than traditional renewable fuels by utilizing a diverse range of non-food feedstock including agricultural residues and long dead, beetle killed, Lodgepole pine. The technology developed by Lignol has the potential to bring Canada one step closer to this goal and to secure its place as a global leader in the production of next-generation biofuels."
"Working closely with SDTC over the past few years has resulted in very tangible results for Lignol. This partnership has culminated in the establishment of our world-class pilot plant, that has become a showcase to those looking for technologies that greater utilize the forestry and agricultural resources available to us here in Canada and indeed across the world," said Ross MacLachlan, President and CEO of Lignol. "We are striving to cost effectively produce renewable and sustainable biofuels with the lowest carbon footprint in the world. SDTC's contribution to this new work plan is vitally important for us to achieve the three goals of enhancing the economics of our next generation biorefinery, removing the need for long-term government subsidies and further improving the GHG footprint of Lignol's technology."
VIASPACE Inc., a clean energy company growing Giant King Grass as a renewable, low carbon, energy crop, released a summary of a presentation by Chief Executive Dr. Carl Kukkonen at the Biofuels Markets, Mexico & Central America Executive Briefing on October 7, 2009. The conference in Mexico City was held to discuss sustainability, regional policies, future feedstock, and production of biofuels.
According to Kukkonen, Giant King Grass has the highest per-acre yield of known energy crops, and its growing characteristics make it suitable for large-scale, long-term farming. Independent testing has confirmed its energy value, and it is carbon neutral; the carbon dioxide emitted when it is burned is offset by the absorption of carbon dioxide during its growth.
Kukkonen reiterated that VIASPACE is now growing Giant King Grass as a dedicated energy crop and is developing business relationships with electric-power providers and producers of second-generation, non-food biofuels, such as cellulosic ethanol and green gasoline. "Opportunities in multiple markets allow for diversified revenue sources and the efficiencies of scale in large energy farms."
"For example, VIASPACE recently signed a memorandum of understanding with DPCleanTech, which has built and is operating 19 power plants fueled entirely by biomass," Kukkonen remarked. "DPCleanTech has been using agricultural waste for fuel, but they tested Giant King Grass and found it suitable for their power plants. Just one of DPCleanTech's 30 megawatt (MW) power plants would need 175,000 metric tons of Giant King Grass per year; and the market for agricultural waste is currently around $36 per ton."
Other markets for Giant King Grass include natural gas (methane) production using anaerobic digestion and generating electricity by burning the natural gas in a small gas turbine; and liquid biofuels – cellulosic ethanol, methanol, green gasoline – that can replace gasoline for transportation. Conversion into paper, press-wood products, and biomass-based chemicals are other potential markets.
The 3rd Annual Algae Biomass Summit, the official conference of the Algal Biomass Organization, officially opened October 7, 2009 in San Diego, CA with more than 700 scientists, entrepreneurs, technologists and investors in attendance. The three-day summit features more than 70 expert speakers, 45 poster presentations and 25 exhibitors, and is designed to highlight scientific advances and encourage knowledge sharing to accelerate the development of algae-based solutions for global energy, environmental and economic issues.
The first day included a series of presentations and panel discussions, as well as a trade show and poster sessions. The keynote address was given by Paul Roessler, Vice President, Renewable Fuels and Chemicals at Synthetic Genomics, Inc. The day also featured plenary sessions exploring the science and technology of algal biomass production, including oil production, commercial-scale biomass production, and growth and productivity levels of algae as well as breakout sessions exploring the modeling and analysis needed to guide the commercialization and deployment of algal biofuel technologies.
The conference continued, with discussions on the application of wastewater to algae biofuels, non-fuel-based products made from algae such as nutraceuticals, international projects and applications for algae-based technologies, intellectual property, regulatory and legal issues, and the U.S. government's algal biomass program. In addition, attendees will hear critical perspectives from end-users of algae-based products, as well as updates from the CEOs of several promising emerging algae technology and production companies. The keynote was Jacques Beaudry-Losique, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
The Algae Biomass Summit's founding sponsors are Byrne & Co Ltd and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Additional sponsors include FedEx, Raytheon, The Boeing Company, Airbus, Stoel Rives, Invitrogen, and Sapphire Energy.
OriginOil, Inc. announced the completion of Phase 1 of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL).
OriginOil has been working with INL to develop a process model for the commercial production of algae for biofuels and other value-added products. Phase 1 of the CRADA focused on developing a comprehensive mass-energy balance of OriginOil’s proprietary process. This helped the company develop its comprehensive productivity model recently presented to the National Algae Association’s Quarterly Forum in Houston, TX. INL researchers provided core data on the projected efficiency and recovery values for the various steps involved in the algae-growing process, including lipid and biomass production from algae.
INL and OriginOil are currently negotiating the scope and terms of Phase 2 and 3 of the CRADA. The deliverables for additional phases will include biological and chemical feedstock evaluation needed for systems integration design and scale-up demonstration. This work will identify and incorporate minor feeds (such as trace nutrients for algae), recycle streams, intermediate storage, utilities needed, and waste streams. Equipment sizes and the appropriate number of parallel units will also be determined, resulting in a more robust economic analysis of industrial scale systems.
The company reported the results of Phase 1 as part of the first-ever productivity model for algae production. The model was well received by industry leaders because of its comprehensive data set, transparent assumptions, and clarity on the commercialization challenge. OriginOil plans to publish specialized calculators on the company’s website, and will make the detailed model available to researchers.
Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc. announced the unveiling of BioProcessAlgae, LLC's Phase I photobioreactor pilot project. Green Plains is hosting the event at its Shenandoah, IA ethanol plant on October 14, 2009 in conjunction with the Iowa Power Fund Board meeting. BioProcessAlgae has completed the installation of Phase I of the multi-phase pilot project and algae production has commenced at the plant. The company's research team will begin to collect production data over the next 120 days from the pilot project that will be instrumental in determining the scalability and functionality for future commercial deployment.
We have directly linked the carbon dioxide (CO2) from the plant into our algae producing Grower Harvester™ technology and we believe this to be the first ever deployment of this type in the United States," stated Tim Burns, Chief Executive Officer of BioProcessAlgae, LLC. "The objective of this multi-phase pilot project is to gather critical data to determine the scalability of our Grower Harvester technology as we look to commercialize it in the future. Our focus is to perfect the growing and harvesting of algae in an industrial process."
"We are excited by the opportunities this technology offers to sequester the CO2 emitted at our ethanol plants," said Todd Becker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Green Plains Renewable Energy. "Our plants have warm water, waste heat and CO2 which provide a perfect environment for the BioProcessAlgae Grower Harvester technology to be deployed. The algae produced have the potential to be used for advanced biofuel production, high quality animal feed, or as biomass for energy production, but our focus is solely on efficiently growing algae and sequestering carbon dioxide at this point.”
Solazyme, Inc., the renewable oil production company and leader in algal synthetic biology, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to research, develop, and demonstrate commercial scale production of algae-derived advanced biofuel that meets the United States Navy’s rigorous specifications for military tactical platforms. Solazyme will utilize its innovative large-scale algal oil production process to provide renewable F-76 Naval Distillate fuel for testing and fuel certification to demonstrate it meets all military specifications and functional requirements.
The contract will further advance research and development on large scale advanced biofuel production from algae. It includes both R&D and fuel delivery components and calls for delivery of over 20,000 gallons of Soladiesel®F-76 Renewable Naval Distillate fuel to the Navy for compatibility testing over the next year. F-76 Naval Distillate is similar to diesel fuel and is the primary shipboard fuel used by the Navy.
OriginOil, Inc. announced an innovative production system using a type of algae that attaches itself to growth surfaces. The new system helps pursue clean water goals while generating algae for fuel and other valuable products in wastewater treatment plants.
“Previous attempts at using surface-mounted algae were not very scalable,” said OriginOil CEO Riggs Eckelberry. “OriginOil’s Attached Growth System delivers scalability and throughput in an industrial process that delivers light more efficiently to grow algae for fuel and helps process wastewater at the same time.”
The company recently filed for patent protection of the new Attached Growth System, its tenth patent application, entitled “Methods and Apparatus for Growing Algae on a Solid Surface.” OriginOil will integrate the process into the demonstration algae system now being built at its headquarters.
Growing algae in water is a challenge because as it grows, the algae thickens and stops light. One solution is OriginOil’s Helix Bioreactor™ which puts the lights inside the tank. Another method is to rotate the algae periodically out of the water so it can be exposed to the light. OriginOil’s Attached Growth System uses types of algae that will attach to surfaces rotating in and out of the water, exposing the algae to sunlight or artificial light. At harvest time, the algae are scraped off as a sludge, greatly decreasing the energy cost of dewatering during oil extraction.
In wastewater treatment plants, OriginOil’s Attached Growth System can be configured to encourage bacterial growth in addition to the algae. Combining algal and bacterial growth makes for better nutrient extraction than either one of them alone, contributing to clean water goals while making fuel and absorbing CO2.
OriginOil Chief Scientist and clean water veteran Dr. Vikram Pattarkine said: “We demonstrated in our cost analysis, at the National Algae Association in Houston earlier this month, that algae can be far more profitable when located in wastewater treatment environments. This technology will multiply the benefit.”
Biodiesel is better than ever at harnessing the power of the sun and turning it into fuel. In fact, a study shows the fuel is returning more than four times the energy that it takes to make biodiesel.
Newly published research from the University of Idaho and U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that for every unit of fossil energy needed to produce biodiesel, the return is 4.5 units of energy. This energy-in, energy-out ratio is "energy balance."
Biodiesel made from soybean oil has a high energy balance because the main energy source used to grow soybeans is solar.
Biodiesel is also a source of valuable co-products, like glycerin, for which EPA did not credit biodiesel. The USDA/Idaho study finds key drivers that continue to make biodiesel an efficient fuel choice:
· New seed varieties and management practices are upping soybean yields.
· Farmers have minimized cultivation of the soil. These reduced tillage practices have cut how much fuel they need to grow soybeans.
· Modern soybean varieties have reduced the need for pesticides.
· Today's soybean processing and biodiesel plants are more energy efficient.
"Our research shows continued progress in the renewability of biodiesel production," said University of Idaho Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering Assistant Professor Dev Shrestha. "Farmers, soybean processors and biodiesel producers are getting even better at using non-fossil resources and adopting other efficiencies that are leading to greater energy returns."
The joint study is based on data sources from USDA and the Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) Model used by the U.S. Department of Energy and others. The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab and USDA produced the first major life cycle study for biodiesel in 1998. It found a 3.2 energy balance for biodiesel, while petroleum diesel yielded only 0.84 units of energy per unit of fossil energy consumed.
Both the 1998 and new study are based on biodiesel production from soybean oil, the largest share of the biodiesel market. Other abundant sources used for biodiesel included recycled cooking oil, fats and other plant oils, such as canola oil. Biodiesel is a cleanburning renewable fuel for diesel engines. It improves air quality and creates green-collar jobs. The NBB is the national trade association of the industry.
Hawaiian Electric Company announced it has signed a contract with a subsidiary of Iowa‐based Renewable Energy Group® (REG®) to supply 400,000 gallons of, renewable, clean ‐burning biodiesel to be used to conduct biodiesel operational testing and collect additional emissions data for the new Campbell Industrial Park Generating Unit.
REG emerged as the winning bidder from among eight companies seeking to supply the biodiesel for testing. As with all Hawaiian Electric fuel contracts, this contract has been submitted to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for review, as well as for input from the Hawaii Division of Consumer Advocacy, before the contract can be included in Hawaiian Electric’s fuel costs.
In August, Hawaiian Electric resumed the search for a biodiesel supplier for the Campbell Industrial Park Generation Station after the PUC rejected a previous contract with another potential supplier.
In addition to the 400,000‐gallon contract, a second request for proposals to supply 3 million to 7 million gallons of biodiesel per year for two years closed on September 30, 2009, with the goal of completing a contract for PUC consideration by the end of November.
In August 2007, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Hawaiian Electric established an environmental policy for procurement of biodiesel from sustainably‐produced palm oil and locally grown feedstocks.
REG’s response to the RFP proposes to supply high quality biodiesel processed from used cooking oil and waste animal fat. While the use of waste is not covered directly by the 2007 NRDC‐HECO Environmental Policy, the NRDC has indicated that this is likely to represent a positive environmental approach as compared to other feedstock that may produced through unsustainable management practices.
The Campbell Industrial Park Generating Station consists of one 110‐megawatt combustion turbine generator and auxiliary systems to be used as a peaking unit. Construction is complete and preliminary performance testing is underway.
Renewable Energy Group operates a national network of biodiesel production with the capacity to produce more than 300 million gallons of biodiesel per year. As a member of the National Biodiesel Board, REG adheres to the industry’s Biodiesel Sustainability Principles.
Darling International Inc. reported that it has joined with a subsidiary of Valero Energy Corporation to take initial steps towards the formation of a joint venture to build a facility capable of producing over 10,000 barrels/day or 135 million gallons per year of renewable diesel on a site adjacent to Valero's St. Charles refinery near Norco, LA.
It is contemplated that the proposed facility would principally convert waste grease – primarily animal fats and used cooking oil supplied by Darling – and potentially other feedstocks that become economically and commercially viable into renewable diesel.
Darling and Valero will jointly seek a loan guarantee for the proposed joint venture from the U.S. Department of Energy under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which makes $8.5 billion of debt financing guarantees available for projects that employ innovative energy efficiency, renewable energy and advanced transmission and distribution technologies.
Cavitation Technologies, Inc. is pleased to announce Producer's Choice Soy Energy (www.pcsoyenergy.com) Moberly, MO biodiesel production plant is performing above expectations.
According to Charles Mandeville, Chemist, SRS Engineering, Inc., "The CTI BioForce 9000 is doing its job very well, providing excellent conversion rates, exceeding all our expectations and performance requirements. The fuel quality is the best we have ever seen."
CTI's BioForce 9000 nano-cavitation biodiesel reactor is a unique low cost single stage ractor. The BioForce 9000 offers substantial savings over existing technologies, which reduce equipment, and production costs substantially. Its ability to process multiple feedstocks and reduce energy costs is a significant advantage for producers.
Maas Companies of Rochester, MN will auction $15.2 million of new, unused 60 MGY biodiesel process equipment on November 12, 2009 at the Hampton Inn in Harrison Village, NJ.
Currently in Harrison, NJ, the equipment was originally designed and built by Greenline Industries and was to be installed in a 60 MGY biodiesel facility in New Jersey. A change in business strategy leads to the auction.
The equipment is currently crated and warehoused in New Jersey and is ready for transport. The equipment will be sold in 10-MGY individual lines or as an entirety, whichever brings the highest dollar. The equipment may be purchased prior to auction, please contact the auction company for complete details. Buyers may participate on-site or live via the Internet.
Solazyme, Inc. has been selected by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to provide 1500 gallons of the world’s first 100 percent algae derived jet fuel for testing and certification by the U.S. Navy. Solazyme is the renewable oil production company and leader in algal synthetic biology, which earlier this month was awarded a separate Navy contract to provide R&D and delivery of over 20,000 gallons of renewable algae derived F-76 Naval distillate fuel for use in Navy ships.
In fulfillment of the jet fuel contract, Solazyme will utilize its innovative large-scale algal renewable oil production process in conjunction with renewable jet fuel processing technology from Honeywell UOP. Together they will provide renewable jet fuel for testing and fuel certification to confirm it meets all military specifications and functional requirements. The contract calls for delivery of 1500 gallons of SolaHRJET-5TM renewable algae derived jet fuel to the Navy for compatibility testing next year. Solazyme’s renewable SolaHRJET-5TM is designed to meet all of the requirements for Naval renewable aviation fuel. This agreement between Solazyme and the DoD comes almost a year after Solazyme announced making the world’s first 100 percent algae derived jet fuel. Solazyme’s algal – aviation fuel, as analyzed in September 2008 by the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), one of the nation’s leading fuel analytical laboratories, passed all eleven of the key specifications tested in order to meet the ASTM D1655 standard for Aviation Turbine Fuel. The tested specifications included the key measurements for density, thermal oxidative stability, flashpoint, freezing point, distillation and viscosity among others.
UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, announced that its renewable jet fuel process technology will be used to produce almost 600,000 gallons of renewable jet fuel for the U.S. Navy and Air Force as part of a joint program for the U.S. Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) for alternative fuels testing and certification.
Working with feedstock partners Sustainable Oils, Solazyme and Cargill, Honeywell’s UOP will produce up to 190,000 gallons of fuel for the Navy and 400,000 gallons for the Air Force from sustainable, non-food feedstocks including animal fats, algae and camelina. The initial fuel will be delivered in 2009 and 2010 to support certification and testing of alternative fuels for U.S. military aircraft.
DESC awarded a contract to Sustainable Oils for use of camelina as the feedstock to produce fuel, and Solazyme was awarded a contract for use of algae as the feedstock. UOP was awarded a contract for fuel made from tallow, or animal fat, provided by Cargill. These sustainable feedstocks do not interfere with valuable food, land or water resources.
The UOP process technology for the production of high-quality renewable jet fuel was originally developed in 2007 under a contract from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to produce renewable JP-8 fuel for the U.S. military. The technology was used to produce renewable jet fuel for demonstration flights conducted with Boeing, Air New Zealand, Continental Airlines and Japan Airlines earlier this year. In each flight, these biofuels met or exceeded performance specifications for petroleum-based jet fuel and displayed no adverse effects on any of the aircraft systems.
UOP’s renewable jet fuel process utilizes traditional refinery hydroprocessing technology to convert natural oils and fats to renewable synthetic paraffinic kerosene (SPK). SPK meets all of the critical specifications for flight and can be blended with petroleum-based jet fuel for use without any modification to the aircraft.
Sustainable Oils, a producer of renewable, environmentally clean, and high-value camelina-based fuels, announced it has been awarded a contract by the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) for 40,000 gallons of camelina-based jet fuel. The fuel will be delivered to the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) fuels team in 2009 and will support the Navy`s certification testing program of alternative fuels. The contract includes an option to supply up to an additional 150,000 gallons of camelina-based jet fuel.
Camelina was selected by the DESC because it does not compete with food crops, has been proven to reduce carbon emissions by more than 80 percent, and has already been successfully tested in a commercial airline test flight. In addition, camelina has naturally high oil content, is drought tolerant and
requires less fertilizer and herbicides. It is an excellent rotation crop with wheat, and it can also grow on marginal land.
Camelina is the most readily available renewable fuel feedstock that meets the Navy`s criteria, with the ability to scale up acreage to meet demand. The camelina for the contract was primarily grown in 2009 and harvested recently by farmers in Montana. The company also has several field trials in Washington State.
Sustainable Oils has the largest camelina research program in the nation. The company`s camelina breeding program began in 2005 and has steadily expanded to include more than 140 trials across North America from 2005-2009. The company is also evaluating more than 90 breeding populations of camelina to analyze agronomic and oil qualities and to develop new high-yielding varieties. Sustainable Oils leverages biotechnology resources from its Seattle-based agricultural biotech parent company Targeted Growth.
Camelina has also been proven to significantly reduce carbon emissions in aviation fuel. A life cycle analysis (LCA) of jet fuel created from camelina conducted at Michigan Tech University in conjunction with UOP LLC, a Honeywell Company, and Sustainable Oils found that the renewable fuel reduces carbon emissions by 80 percent compared to petroleum jet fuel.
Lignol Energy Corporation announced its financial results for the three-month period ended July 31, 2009. (All figures in Canadian dollars, unless otherwise noted).
Q1 FY10 Highlights:
· Completed first end-to-end production of cellulosic ethanol from fully integrated industrial-scale biorefinery pilot plant;
· Signed Memorandum of Understanding with BAE Systems PLC to explore and develop commercial applications for biochemicals from Lignol’s biorefinery process; and to develop and evaluate financing strategies for commercial scale biorefineries; and
· Subsequent to quarter end, Lignol was awarded up to $4.72 million in funding contributions from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (“SDTC”); and up to $1.18 million in funding assistance from BC Bioenergy Network Association ("BCBN"). These funding awards bring the total of current and potential resources available to the company to $20.5 million.
“During the quarter we achieved a major milestone with the completion of our first end-to-end production run of cellulosic ethanol from our industrial-scale pilot plant, making Lignol one of only six companies in the world with an operational facility producing cellulosic ethanol using non-food source feedstocks. We are refining our processes for a widening assortment of feedstocks under various operating conditions and evaluating key equipment components and modifications. We are also continuing our collaborations with leading enzyme companies and working with various companies to develop commercial applications using our high purity HP-L™ lignins,” said Ross MacLachlan, President and CEO of Lignol. “The government funding that we continue to benefit from provides important financial support for the ongoing advancement of our commercial development plan, and we believe also provides strong third party validation for the commercial potential of our unique biorefinery process. Looking ahead, our primary goals for the remainder of fiscal 2010 include: continued performance optimization of our pilot plant; advancing the evaluation of specific locations and strategic opportunities for constructing a larger commercial demonstration plant; and advancing the development of commercial applications for our biochemical co-products.”
For the three-month period ended July 31, 2009 (“Q1 FY10”), the company reported a loss of $1.87 million, or $(0.04) per share (basic and fully diluted) compared to a loss of $1.90 million or $(0.04) per share (basic and fully diluted) for the three-month period ended July 31, 2008 (“Q1 FY09”). When stock-based compensation is excluded, Lignol's Q1 FY10 loss was $1.60 million compared to $1.59 million in Q1 FY10. A decrease in general and administrative expenses was largely offset by an increase in research and development expenses in Q1 FY10 as compared to Q1 FY09.
Total gross research and development related costs were $2.36 million for the quarter ended July 31, 2009 as compared to $5.62 million in Q1 FY09. Of these amounts, $0.78 million and $4.09 million, for Q1 FY10 and Q1 FY09, respectively, were capitalized and $1.58 million and $1.53 million, respectively, were expensed during the periods. This reflects a year-over-year decrease in capital expenditures of $3.31 million which is attributable to the fact that in Q1 FY09 the construction of Lignol’s new industrial-scale biorefinery pilot plant was at its peak phase.
General and Administrative (“G&A”) expenses for Q1 FY10 totaled $0.51 million, compared to $0.91 million in the comparable first quarter of fiscal 2009. The overall decrease in G&A expenses is primarily due to a reduction in legal fees related to certain contract negotiations and corporate activities.
Government and corporate contributions for the quarter ended July 31, 2009 totaled $1.43 million, compared to $2.94 million for the quarter ended July 31, 2008. Of these amounts, $0.77 million and $2.42 million, for Q1 FY10 and Q1 FY09, respectively, were credited against plant and equipment capitalized on the balance sheet, and $0.66 million and $0.52 million, for Q1 FY10 and Q1 FY09, respectively, were credited against the statement of operations. This decrease in total government and corporate contributions of $1.50 million is directly related to the decrease in eligible research and capital expenditures incurred during Q1 FY10 as compared with Q1 FY09.
Verenium Corporation, a pioneer in the development of next-generation cellulosic ethanol and high-performance specialty enzymes, announced that the 1-for-12 reverse split of the company's common stock became effective September 9, 2009. Verenium's shares will continue to trade on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol "VRNM", with the letter "D" added to the end of the trading symbol for a period of 20 trading days to indicate the reverse stock split has occurred. The company's symbol will revert back to its original symbol "VRNM" on October 7, 2009. Verenium's common stock has been assigned the new CUSIP number 92340P 209.
Additional information about the reverse stock split is available in Verenium's definitive proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on August 4, 2009 and the Form 8-K filed on September 8, 2009.
Renewable fuels provider New Generation Biofuels Holdings, Inc. announced that it has signed a Letter Of Intent (LOI) with Ace Biofuels of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Under this LOI, Ace Biofuels would license product formulations, manufacturing technology and know-how from NGBF with the intent of constructing a biofuel manufacturing facility and marketing NGBF biofuel in Puerto Rico.
Under the terms of the LOI, Ace Biofuels will produce and market NGBF’s Biofuel to the manufacturing sector in Puerto Rico, which has annual market consumption in excess of 30 million gallons according to a market assessment study by the University of Puerto Rico. Ace Biofuels will pay NGBF a licensing fee per gallon of biofuel produced and sold.
Puerto Rico sustains over 2,300 diversified industrial plants – including many leading Fortune 500 multinationals - that produce everything from apparel and computer motherboards to pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Initial targets for the biofuel are boiler applications in locations with no access to natural gas and limited opportunity beyond fossil fuels to switch to a clean renewable energy source.
The terms of the LOI are subject to successful completion of a biofuel test in a Cleaver – Brooks boiler at a well known, reputable manufacturing site in Puerto Rico and the completion of technical due diligence by November 30th , 2009. NGBF will then jointly manage the project to start producing the biofuel in Puerto Rico sometime in the first half of 2010.
New Generation Biofuels Holdings, Inc. announced that it signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Eden Renewable Energy (EDEN) of New York, NY. Under this LOI EDEN, would (1) license product formulations, manufacturing technology and know-how from NGBF with the intent of constructing a biofuel manufacturing facility in Atlantic Canada, and (2) earn sales commissions on direct sales of NGBF products within the region.
Under the terms of the LOI, EDEN will be the granted the exclusive right to produce and market to the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. EDEN will pay NGBF a licensing fee of $0.10 per gallon of biofuel produced and sold. These terms are subject to product testing and manufacturing milestones which include that upon final completion and commissioning of a manufacturing facility of at least 20 million gallons of annual production capacity, EDEN shall be expected to generate minimum annual sales of 5 million gallons in the first year, 7 million gallons in the second year and 10 million gallons in the third year following the completion. Thereafter the minimum production quantity is expected to increase annually by 1.5 million gallons per year, up to 15 million gallons per year of annual sales.
China Bio Energy Holding Group Co. Ltd., a leading integrated bio-diesel producer & distributor, wholesale distributor and processor of heavy oil and finished oil products, and operator of retail gas stations in China, announced that the company changed its name from "China Bio Energy Holding Group Co. Ltd." to "China Integrated Energy, Inc., " effective September 18, 2009, to more accurately reflect the direction and business of the company.
"We are pleased to have successfully completed our name change to China Integrated Energy Inc. We believe that our new name better reflects our primary business operations and growth strategy in the alternative and traditional fuel markets", said stated Mr. Gao Xincheng, Chief Executive Officer. "We believe it communicates our strength, experience and focus on becoming the leading integrated bio-diesel producer & distributor, wholesale distributor and processor of heavy oil and finished oil products, and operator of retail gas stations throughout China." Mr. Gao Xincheng concluded, "We believe these changes to our name are in the best interest of our shareholders and will better reflect our vertically integrated platform to the investor community at large."
XcelPlus Global Holdings, Inc. had an active September – the company surpassed one million gallons in biofuel delivered, established a strategic partnership with Alterra Bioenergy of Gordon, GA, and made its first deliveries into Delaware and Idaho. The company also launched its new website and has retained auditing firm Carr, Riggs & Ingram, the fourth largest accounting firm in the southeast.
"September was a big month," says J. Michael Parsons, president and CEO of XcelPlus Global Holdings. "We reached a delivery milestone, had record sales despite bad weather in the South and have started work on audited financials. Our new relationship with Alterra Bioenergy increases our storage, blending and delivery capacity and improves access to customers in metro Atlanta, South Carolina and Alabama. We are already exceeding $1 million in sales per month, and expect another record for October."
Parsons stressed the company’s orders continue to grow, while it ramps up its supply and delivery infrastructure and awaits permitting in additional states. "Our test burns always go smoothly, but state bureaucracies do not move quickly,” he stated.
The company’s management team also met with institutional banks in September to increase credit facilities. "To date, we've used modest credit lines to grow the business,” Parsons explained. “However, we are securing larger lines of credit to support our improving growth pro forma.”
XcelPlus Global Holdings, Inc., manufacturer and distributor of industrial biofuels, reports August sales of $1.2 million, an increase of nearly 1600 percent over July 2009 – as the strategy of the new management team begins to show its effect. "We appreciate the support of our shareholders as we have worked to transform this company from a position of debt and no sales, two million-dollar-plus monthly sales and no debt," said J. Michael Parsons, president and CEO. "We believe this is just the beginning of XcelPlus's potential."
Strategic alliances with Freedom Fuels, LLC and Gen-X Energies have played key roles in implementing XcelPlus' successful game plan, according to Parsons. "Freedom Fuels has done a superb job securing new customers who are increasing their volumes with us," said Parsons. "Likewise, Gen-X Energies is managing operations and developing new products that we believe will open new markets." Gen-X also assists with quality control and product procurement.
One of the company's most important near-term goals, according to Parsons, is selection of an audit firm this month as a step toward producing audited financial reports, a key requirement for XcelPlus to advance from its status as a Pink Sheet stock. XcelPlus is also implementing new software for more cost-effective management. Its new website, scheduled for launch this month, will give the company a higher profile.
Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc. announced that its subsidiary, Green Plains Trade Group LLC, has entered into an agreement to provide third-party ethanol marketing services to Lincolnway Energy, LLC of Nevada, IA. With the addition of Lincolnway, Green Plains now provides ethanol marketing services to four third-party producers with expected operating capacity of 360 million gallons per year. The Lincolnway Energy facility, which has been operational since May 2006, has an expected production capacity of approximately 55 million gallons of ethanol per year.
Sologear, LLC, a Wisconsin-based company devoted to developing applications and technology for solidifying ethanol fuel, was awarded the highly competitive Qualified New Business Venture certification from the state of Wisconsin.
The company's certification by the Wisconsin Department of Commerce makes investors in Sologear eligible for a 25-percent tax credit on the amount they invest in the company.
The Department of Commerce selected Sologear for this award based on their development of new technology for solidifying ethanol, which offers numerous advantages over other technologies in this field including lower air emissions, improved safety and higher performance. With this certification, Sologear joins an elite group of businesses within the state.
Sologear was started in 2005 to develop a new heat source for existing cooking grills that offered a new level of simplicity, ease-of-use and safety – all the while being more eco-friendly. Development of the technology to solidify ethanol fuel has opened the door for a variety of future products that are now being pursued and offer significant relative advantage over existing options in the consumer marketplace.
Vega Promotional Systems, Inc. announced it will be cancelling 150 million shares of the company's common stock.
Vega recently announced that it was acquiring Natural Fuels Industries (NFI) and making the Montana company a wholly owned subsidiary of Vega. As the Company recently announced, it has decided to drop the subsidiary NFI and run all energy related business through the parent company, Vega Biofuels, Inc. As a result, 150 million restricted shares associated with the transaction are to be cancelled.
Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. announced that The Nasdaq Stock Market ("Nasdaq") has accepted the company's plan to regain compliance with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5250(c)(1), and that it has regained compliance with the minimum bid price Listing Rule 5450(a)(1), both of which were previously disclosed in a Press Release dated September 18, 2009.
In a letter to the company dated October 2, 2009, Nasdaq Staff indicated that based upon its review of materials submitted to Nasdaq by the company on September 25, 2009, an exception has been granted to enable the company to regain compliance with the exchange's listing standards set forth in Listing Rule 5250(c)(1) (the "Rule"). In order to regain compliance with the Rule, the company must file both its Form 10-K for the period ended April 30, 2009 and its 10-Q for the period ended July 31, 2009 (the "Delinquent Reports") on or before January 25, 2010. The company plans to file the Delinquent Reports as soon as practicable, but no later than January 25, 2010.
On October 6, 2009, the company received a separate letter from Nasdaq notifying the company that it has regained compliance with Nasdaq’s $1.00 minimum bid rule and that this matter is now closed.
Biofuel Energy Corp. announced that its operating subsidiaries have amended their secured Credit Agreement with BNP Paribas and a group of lenders, settling all outstanding issues among the parties and lifting all defaults previously asserted by the lenders. The subsidiaries, which own and operate the company's ethanol plants in Wood River, NE, and Fairmont, MN, have also converted their outstanding construction loans, which had provided financing for the construction of the plants, into term loans that mature in 2014. Following the conversion, the subsidiaries made their first principal payment of $3.2 million to the lenders, which left $195.4 million in aggregate principal amount of term loans outstanding as of September 30, 2009. Under the terms of the amended Credit Agreement, the lenders advanced $3.7 million to fund certain capital improvements at the plants and to pay for professional advisor fees, and have agreed to provide up to $9.7 million in additional loans to make future principal and interest payments under the Credit Agreement. Prior loan commitments in an aggregate amount of $1.7 million were terminated under the amendment. The company's working capital loans, with an aggregate principal amount of $20.0 million outstanding, were unaffected by the amendment.
Scott H. Pearce, President and CEO, stated: "We are extremely pleased that our lenders have agreed to support the company as it continues to pursue its goal to become a low-cost producer in the ethanol industry. With our bank financing issues behind us, we look forward to refocusing on our plant optimization initiatives that are currently underway."
BlueFire Ethanol Fuels, Inc. has announced the strategic relocation of its second planned biorefinery to Fulton, MS.
After having been awarded a $40 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a second planned facility in California, BlueFire Ethanol, in 2007, began development and licensing work to build their second biorefinery plant.
"Navigating the development and licensing process in California in a time effective manner coupled with the challenging business climate in the State convinced BlueFire to petition the DOE for a site change to Mississippi," stated Arnold Klann, BlueFire's President and CEO. "We determined the Fulton site located in north eastern Mississippi was best suited to fulfill our requirements for our second biorefinery plant after studying various locations in several states over the past year."
"The DOE has been supportive and helpful in BlueFire's project development activities targeted at fulfilling the current administration's goal of rapid deployment of cellulosic biofuel projects. DOE's approval of the site change should help BlueFire remain on track for executing our business growth strategy," added Mr. Klann.
The Fulton, MS project will allow BlueFire to utilize green and wood wastes available in the region as feedstock for the ethanol plant that will be designed to produce approximately 18 million gallons of ethanol per year. BlueFire is currently receiving funding under the $40 million DOE grant it was awarded in 2007 for the development of the plant in Fulton, MS.
BlueFire has completed a 20-month licensing process and is currently awaiting the final financing needed to break ground on its shovel-ready, fully permitted ethanol biorefinery in Lancaster, CA. The Lancaster facility will use post-sorted cellulosic wastes diverted from Southern California's landfills to produce approximately 3.9 million gallons of fuel-grade ethanol per year.
Alfa Laval a world leader in heat transfer, centrifugal separation and fluid handling has received an order from PetroVietnam Group. The order value is about SEK 100 million and includes equipment and engineering solutions to an ethanol production plant in central Vietnam. Delivery is scheduled for 2010.
Alfa Laval’s heat exchangers, decanters and tank cleaning equipment will be used in the starch-based fermentation, distillation and dehydration processes of the ethanol plant. The plant in Vietnam will produce about 330,000 liters per day of fuel ethanol from cassava chips.
The PetroVietnam plant is part of the biofuel development program, ratified by the Vietnam Government last year, aiming at partly replacing traditional fuels with renewable energy?
BioFuelBox Inc., a leader in waste-to-fuel solutions, announced the world’s first fully scaled refinery for converting waste fat, oil and grease (FOG) from wastewater into a clean-burning renewable fuel. The company’s first plant, located in Idaho, is processing waste FOG from trap grease and is producing a premium, low sulfur, ASTM compliant biodiesel for on-road use.
“The U.S. discards more than 4 billion gallons of grease through wastewater treatment systems every year that could be transformed into fuel,” stated Steven Perricone, BioFuelBox’s CEO. “Our patented NovoStream™ process provides the most environmentally friendly solution for remediating watery waste greases like trap grease, wastewater scum, industrial food processing DAF, and other wastewater FOG sources.”
Local governments spend more than $25 billion a year maintaining sewer systems, in large part due to grease clogs that cause sanitary sewer overflows. This sewer-fat crisis is causing municipalities across the country to establish and toughen wastewater FOG ordinances. State and federal laws are also becoming stricter making it more costly for industrial and municipal wastewater treatment facilities to dispose of grease removed from wastewater streams as typical disposal methods such as land application, land filling and incineration are huge contributors to the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) problem. The NovoStream process was designed to help reduce these problems and eliminate a significant source of GHG. Moreover, BioFuelBox’s biodiesel is clean-burning with an 85 percent reduction in GHG emissions compared to petroleum-based diesel.
Concurrently, BioFuelBox was awarded top honors by AlwaysOn in the Resource Recovery and Waste Management Category. Every year, AlwaysOn selects the most promising cleantech companies in several categories. BioFuelBox was recognized for its turnkey system, which generates energy from waste by processing and extracting value from wastewater streams.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announces the availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Abengoa Biorefinery Project near Hugoton, Stevens County, KS.
DOE's Proposed Action in the Draft Abengoa Biorefinery EIS is to provide federal funding to Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas, LLC (ABBK) to support the final design, construction, and startup of a commercial-scale integrated biorefinery to be located near the city of Hugoton, Stevens County, KS (hereafter referred to as the Abengoa Biorefinery Project). The Abengoa Biorefinery Project would use lignocellulosic biomass as feedstock to produce ethanol and biopower (electricity) sufficient to meet the needs of the biorefinery and to sell to the regional power grid. In the Draft EIS, DOE also evaluates an Action Alternative, under which the biorefinery would not produce electricity for sale to the regional grid, and a No-Action Alternative, under which the biorefinery would not be constructed. The Draft Abengoa Biorefinery Project EIS evaluates the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental impacts from the construction and operation of the Abengoa Biorefinery Project. DOE's preferred alternative is the Proposed Action.
Xethanol Biofuels, LLC, a subsidiary of the diversified renewable energy company, Global Energy Holdings Group, Inc., announced the execution of a definitive agreement to sell its ethanol facility in Blairstown, IA to Fiberight, LLC. Closing of the transaction is expected to occur on September 30, 2009. The Blairstown Facility consists of a 24,728 square foot ethanol plant on 25.5 acres of land, a 20.9 acre vacant lot adjoining the property, and warehouse and distribution facilities.
The Blairstown Facility was producing ethanol at a rate of approximately 5.6 million gallons per year, using corn as its feedstock, before Global Energy ceased production of ethanol at the facility as of May 1, 2008. In addition to ethanol production, the Blairstown Facility also produced distiller’s wet grains, or DWG, a by-product of the traditional corn-to-ethanol process.
Fiberight intends to convert the facility into an integrated demonstration plant to produce cellulosic ethanol using Fiberight’s proprietary sold waste to biofuels technology, with waste feedstocks sourced from the Cedar Rapids area.
Maas Companies of Rochester, MN will auction the 110 MGY partially-completed ethanol plant on October 28, 2009 in Carleton, NE.
Altra Nebraska, LLC began construction of this facility in 2006 and work halted in November 2007 when additional financing could not be obtained due to unseen economic challenges. The plant was expected to be one of Nebraska’s largest ethanol plants employing more than 50 people and utilizing 36 million bushels of corn for feedstock. The liquidation of assets is part of the Chapter 11 filing last month.
The option to purchase the plant as an entirety is available to potential buyers who submit bids prior to October 13, 2009. After this date, the property will be sold in piecemeal at auction. The auction manner of sale will include all real estate as one tract and the equipment or equipment lots individually. The auction will offer buyers the option of bidding on-site or live via the internet.
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