Solazyme, Amyris, Neste Oil, Ceres and Bunge among winners of Biofuels Digest Awards

December 29, 2010 |

In Florida, Biofuels Digest announced that Solazyme, Amyris, Neste Oil, Ceres and Bunge led this years roster of Biofuels Digest Award winners. The awards, first established in 2008, recognize excellence in the research, development and commercialization of biofuels, renewable chemicals and bio-based products. The awards are voted by the Biofuels Digest editorial board, based on nominations submitted by the Digest’s readership.

This year’s honoree for Company of the Year, went to Solazyme. “Solazyme made the decision several years ago to grow heterotrophic algae in the dark and harvest renewable oils – and have become the unquestioned leader in the quest to make an integrated biorefinery commercially successful in the production of renewable oils for fuels, foods and other bio-based products,” noted Digest editor Jim Lane. “Along the ways they’ve racked up an impressive array of partners, and won contracts to supply biofuels to the US Department of Defense. More importantly, in every way, they have personified throughout their organization what it means to be an advanced bio-based company – in the ways that they have triumphed, and in the ways they have faced adversity.”

The award for Product of the Year (fuels) went to Amyris for its farnesane molecule, which it is now producing in Brazil. Made by adding hydrogen to farnesene (itself produced via Amyris’s novel modified yeast fermentation technology), it can be utilized as a drop-in replacement for fossil-based diesel fuels.

Product of the Year (renewable chemicals) went to OPX Biotechnology for its work in reducing the production cost of bioacrylic by more than 85 percent in its pilot production process, using sugars and syngas as feedstocks.

Product of the Year (bio-based products) went to Genencor for its development of bioisoprene and, in partnership with Goodyear, the development of renewable technology for the production of tires, using a novel fermentation process based on  an engineered molecule.

Project of the Year went to Neste Oil for the completion and start-up of its massive 240 million gallon renewable diesel plant in Singapore.

Technology of the Year Awards went to LanzaTech, the partnership of Rentech and ClearFuels Technology, the partnership of Taurus Energy and SEKAB, and Renewable Energy Group. These awards recognized pre-pilot, pilot, demonstration-scale and commercial-scale installations.

LanzaTech is commercializing the fermentation of waste steel gases into ethanol and other bio-based chemicals, with a pilot in New Zealand and a forthcoming demonstration of its technology in China. Rentech and ClearFuels have combined on a gasification and Fisher-Tropsch processing of biomass into synthetic jet or diesel fuels, in a project that will be built at Rentech’s Product demonstration Unit in Colorado, and has been supported by a $23 million grant from the US Department of Energy.  Taurus Energy and SEKAB have combined on a cellulosic ethanol process, using Taurus Energy’s yeast strains and SEKAB’s demonstration-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Sweden. Renewable Energy Group was honored for its novel continuous-flow, multi-feedstock processing technology that has allowed the company to pioneer the acquisition of a wide variety of hard-to-process, low-cost feedstocks such as tallows and yellow grease.

The town of Emmetsburg, Iowa was recognized as Community of the Year for the transformation of the small local community’s economy through corn and cellulosic ethanol. The town is the site of POET’s Project LIBERTY, a 20 million gallon cellulosic ethanol demonstration, bolted onto an existing corn ethanol plant, which also is home to advanced work by POET BIOMASS in corb cob and agricultural residue harvest and logistics.

For Project Structure, Biofuels Digest recognized ZeaChem, for creativity in financial structure, as well as BlueFire Renewables, for off-take and feedstock contracting. Sapphire Energy received the “Plan for Scale” award for its design of its  algal biofuels system with planned demonstration scale facility in 2014 and first commercial facility in 2018.

The Digest recognizes Iowa State University as Institutional Research Facility of the Year, the Joint BioEnergy Institute as Government-Institutional Research Facility of the Year, and the Energy Biosciences Institute as Public-private Research facility of the Year. JBEI’s researchers have been notably active in the development of novel technologies utilized by, among others, Amyris and LS9, while EBI has lately funded research that resulted in a newly engineered yeast strain, that can simultaneously consume glucose, a six-carbon sugar that is relatively easy to ferment; and xylose, a five-carbon sugar that has been much more difficult to utilize in ethanol production. Iowa State’s BioCentury Research Farm provides researchers with the opportunity to integrate harvesting, transportation, storage, and processing, as well as test plant breeding, genomics, cropping systems, soil conservation and nutrient management.

Partnerships were recognized in several awards this year. The Corporate partnership of Boeing, Air China and PetroChina is recognized for pioneering the testing and availability of jatropha-based aviation biofuels for the key China aviation market. Algenol and Lee County (Florida) were recognized for Public private partnership (county) of the Year, a partnership which has resulted in a state-of-the-art algal biofuels research center in southwest Florida as well as a future pilot-scale algal farm. Enerkem and the US state of Mississippi were recognized for Public private partnership (state or province) of the Year for their work in developing the Pontotoc, MS cellulosic ethanol project using municipal solid waste. Ineos BIO and the US Department of Energy are recognized as Public private partnership (National) of the Year for their cooperation in bringing the Vero Beach, Florida cellulosic ethanol demonstration plant to fruition on schedule. The US Department of Agriculture and the US Navy are recognized for Public-public partnership of the Year for their cooperative work in developing advanced biofuels for naval onshore and fleet operations. Finally, Cosan and Shell are recognized as Joint Venture of the Year for their $14 billion combination of ethanol, advanced biofuels, sugarcane and fuel distribution assets in Brazil.

In Feedstock development, Ceres is recognized as Feedstock research project of the year (new feedstock or traits) for its development of seawater-tolerant energy grasses. SG Biofuels is recognized as Feedstock domestication project of the Year (new feedstock or traits) for its development of the JMax platform for jatropha in Cehtral America. Genera Energy is recognized as Feedstock grower development project of the year for its work in developing a switchgrass-grower network in Tennessee.

The Bio-XCell project in Iskandar, Malaysia is recognized as Multi-project (co-location, or symbiosis) development of the Year, for its custom-built biotechnology park and ecosystem being developed by Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation and UEM Land Holdings, which will become home to the GlycosBio demonstration-scale project among other tenants in 2012.

Statoil was recognized as Downstream partner of the Year for its work with Inbicon, Bioarchitecture Lab and other partners in creating investment and distribution for advanced biofuels.

Bunge was recognized as Strategic Investor of the Year for its investments in Solazyme, Renewable Energy Group, and its strategic alliances with Verenium, and SG Biofuels.

Company of the Year SOLAZYME

Technology of the Year (pre pilot) RENTECH, CLEARFUELS

Technology of the Year (pilot) LANZATECH

Technology of the Year (demonstration state) TAURUS ENERGY, SEKAB

Technology of the Year (commercial stage) RENEWABLE ENERGY GROUP

Product of the Year (fuel) AMYRIS – FARNESENE

Product of the Year (renewable chemicals) GENENCOR – BIOISOPRENE

Product of the Year (bio-based products) OPX BIOTECHNOLOGY – BIOACRYLIC

Project of the Year NESTE OIL, SINGAPORE

Project Structure of the Year (off-take and feedstock contracting) BLUEFIRE RENEWABLES

Project Structure of the Year (creativity in financing) ZEACHEM

Community of the Year EMMETSBURG, IOWA

Institutional Research Facility of the Year IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY

Government Research Facility of the Year JOINT BIOENERGY INSTITUTE

Public-private Research Facility of the Year ENERGY BIOSCIENCES INSTITUTE

Corporate partnership of the Year BOEING, AIR CHINA, PETROCHINA

Public private partnership (county) of the Year ALGENOL – Lee County, FL

Public private partnership (state) of the Year ENERKEM

Public private partnership (federal) of the Year Ineos BIO, US Department of Energy

Public-public partnership of the Year US Department of Agriculture, US NAVY

Joint venture of the Year COSAN, SHELL

Plan for Scale SAPPHIRE ENERGY

Feedstock research project of the year (new feedstock or traits) CERES

Feedstock domestication project of the Year (new feedstock or traits) SG BIOFUELS

Feedstock grower development project of the year GENERA ENERGY

Multi-project (co-location, or symbiosis) development of the Year BIO-XCELL – ISKANDAR, MALAYSIA

Downstream partnership of the Year STATOIL

Top Strategic Investor BUNGE

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