The Digest’s Bioeconomy Achievement Awards for 2013-14

January 2, 2014 |

Bioeconomy-AwardsBeta Renewables, Abengoa, Enerkem, Proterro among the winners for Project of the Year — as residues and waste are keys to the big wins.

For Fuel of the Year, Renewable Chemical of the Year, Product of the Year, Yield Improvement, Process Improvement and more – who are the big winners?

Each year, the Digest recognizes projects, feedstocks, processing technology breakthroughs, novel or improved molecules, and bioeconomy pioneers in the Biofuels Digest Awards — selected by the Digest’s editorial board.

There’s nothing more fun than giving a shout out to companies, people and technologies that shined brightly in 2013. Congratulations to all the winners.

Project of the Year (Commercial scale – Fermentation) — Beta Renewables

The official opening was just in October, but the commissioning process has been going on almost throughout the year. And anyone’s who been to Crescentino — well, it’s not an easy experience to forget. Especially for those who have been looking at cellulosic ethanol pilots and demonstrations for the past few years. This project is, by contrast, a complete giant. Naturally, the owners and investors at Beta will not be satisfied until there are dozens of equally large (or larger) projects around the world utilizing the PROESA technology. And the 80 mgy M&G glycols project in China is a first shot across the bow in that process.

But for now — what a monster!

Project of the Year (Commercial scale – Thermochemical) — Enerkem Alberta

There’s going to be some extended discussion about whether a 10 million gallon plant is a demonstration of the technology, or a small commercial plant. Probably, a bit of both. But in every sense its a commercial facility, with a commercial feedstock supply agreement with the City of Edmonton as a signature part of the package.

As we observed in “McFly!” Enerkem announced this month that commissioning is underway at its commercial-scale municipal waste-to-biofuels and chemicals facility in Edmonton. Construction of the facility is nearing completion and Enerkem will complete the commissioning during the next few months. Production of biomethanol will start gradually during this period. An ethanol module will be added in 2014. This facility is a collaboration between Enerkem, the City of Edmonton and Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions. When fully operational, it will have a production capacity of up to 38 million litres per year and will help the City of Edmonton divert 90% of the residential waste stream from landfill.

The City of Edmonton and Enerkem Alberta Biofuels have signed a 25-year agreement to convert 100,000 tonnes of the City’s municipal solid waste into biofuels annually. The garbage to be used cannot be recycled or composted.

Enerkem Alberta Biofuels is among the world’s first commercial facilities to be built for the production of advanced biofuels. During construction, more than 600 direct and indirect jobs were created across North America for the modular manufacturing of its parts and systems and on-site assembly.

Project of the Year (demonstration scale) — Abengoa waste-to-energy plant, Salamanca, Spain

In July, Abengoa inaugurated its demonstration waste-to-biofuels plant, with a capacity to treat 25,000 tons of municipal solid waste from which it will obtain up to 1.5 million liters (400,000 gallons per year) of ethanol.

The demonstration plant, located in Babilafuente (Salamanca, Spain) uses waste-to-biofuels technology developed by Abengoa to produce second-generation biofuels from MSW using a fermentation and enzymatic hydrolysis treatment. During the transformation process, the organic matter is treated in various ways to produce organic fiber that is rich in cellulose and hemicellulose, which is subsequently converted into ethanol.

According to Abengoa, “the production of ethanol from municipal solid waste is a major technological breakthrough in the waste management model, since it increases the recovery rate, minimizes the carbon footprint and generates major benefits for society. It is a renewable and clean source of energy that helps to cut our dependency on fossil fuels while reducing greenhouse gas emissions per kilometer travelled by 70%. Furthermore, it maximizes the recovery of the organic fraction of the MSW and prevents more than 80% of the waste ending up in landfill.”

Project of the Year (Pilot) — Proterro

As we reported in September, industrial sugars developer Proterro has scaled up its novel photobioreactor design and is in the process of commissioning a pilot plant in Florida.
Among all pilots, it’s particularly of note because of the uniqueness of the process. Using synthetic biology, sunlight, CO2 and water to create industrial sugars.

“The modular photobioreactors, which are made from off-the-shelf materials,” said Proterro CEO Kef Kasdin, “including polyethylene, can withstand category 1 hurricane winds,” she explained, adding, “Because of the materials used and the innovative design, we also have been able to validate low fabrication costs.” Proterro has tapped top-ranking U.S. engineering, architectural and management services company Middough Inc. and also completed a preliminary design, layout and associated cost estimate for a demonstration-scale plant.

Using CO2, sunlight and water, Proterro lowers the cost of sugar production through a novel, scalable biosynthetic process that integrates its patented, highly productive microorganism with its unique, patent-pending photobioreactor. This process yields a fermentation-ready sucrose stream, rather than a mixture of sugars, allowing simple, low-cost downstream processing.

Fuel of the Year — Isobutanol (Gevo, Butamax)

When in early December Underwriters Laboratories announced a joint research program had determined that gasoline fuel storage and dispensing equipment meeting latest UL standards can safely and successfully use blends of up to 16% biobutanol — well, we knew we had a winner for fuel molecule of the year.

According to UL: “fuel storage and dispensing products intended to handle isobutanol-gasoline blends, up to 16 percent isobutanol by volume and compliant with applicable ASTM International fuel quality standards, will not require special investigation by UL if they have been Listed for use with applicable UL standards that require testing with 25% or higher ethanol blends. Bottom line – the fuel is getting cleared for market entry

The competing developers – Gevo and Butamax — well, we don;t call them the Montagues and the Capulets for nothing. They’re probably having a heart attack as you read, at the idea of sharing an award.

Why does the molecule matter?

As Gevo puts it: “We will sell the isobutanol we produce, using it for market development in the specialty chemicals market, in specialty oxygenated fuel blendstocks markets, and as a building block to make fuel products such as jet fuel and chemical products such as paraxylene for polyester used in the production of bottles and fibers.”

Butanol is a four-carbon molecule — as opposed to ethanol’s two — made from the same feedstocks as ethanol. As a fuel, it can be transported in existing infrastructure and does not require flex-fuel vehicle pipes and hoses. It has about 4 percent less energy density than gasoline, but that’s hard to notice compared to ethanol’s 27 percent drop compared to gas.
Its real beauty is in the fuel blending. Biobutanol, today, is approved for 16 percent blends (compared to ethanol’s 10 percent limit). If ethanol were approved for 15 percent blends by the EPA, biobutanol would be approved for 24 percent blends. Combined with the improved energy density, in a standard 13-gallon sedan tank you can carry up to 109,000 BTUs of E10 ethanol or 228,000 BTUs of biobutanol – a little more than double.

However, there are fewer blend wall issues. Right now, with E10 the US is right at the “blend wall” where farmers and processors will have to look for alternative, lower-margin foreign markets to market their ethanol. With biobutanol, the same amount of corn that results in 13 billion gallons of ethanol and hits the blend wall, produces 10.4 billion gallons of biobutanol.

Plus, the 16 percent biobutanol blend wall is encountered not at 13 billion gallons, but at 20.8 billion gallons.

One trouble spot? Octane – biobutanol is low-octane. But of course, you can top off with ethanol if needed as an octane booster.

Biobased Product of the Year — Solazyme Algenist

Back by popular demand — and as seen all over QVC this holiday season. As we noted when Solazyme first captured this award last year, “efreshingly touted less as a project about renewable resources and more about rejuvenating the skin, and promoting beauty. It’s got most of what it needs to be a monster – just lacks a celebrity endorsement or two.
Initially, Algenist was available on QVC in the U.S. and in over 800 Sephora stores, but now has expanded to over 1,100 retail locations worldwide, including Sephora US, EMEA, and Canada.

Renewable Chemical of the Year — BDO (Genomatica, Lanxess, BASF, Toray)

In November, we knew we had a winner in BDO when BASF announced that it had produced its first commercial volumes of 1,4-butanediol (BDO) from renewable raw material, and is offering this product to customers for testing and commercial use. The production process relies on a patented fermentation technology from Genomatica, based in California.

As we observed in 4C-able future: “Where’s Genomatica in the mix? Possibly counting all the money they are going to make.”

Case in point. In June, Lanxess said has run a production campaign of bio-based PBT in Lanxess’ world-scale production plant using 20 metric tons of bio-based BDO made with Genomatica’s commercially-proven process. The world-scale PBT plant, with a capacity of 80,000 tons per year, is located in Hamm-Uentrop, Germany and operated as a joint venture in which Lanxess has a share of 50 percent.

This — for Genomatica, after announcing that Toray had produced some PBT from Genomatic BDO, and that Versalis and Genomatica announced this past spring the establishment of a technology joint venture for bio-based butadiene from non-food biomass. The resulting process will be licensed across Europe, Asia and Africa by the newly-created joint venture. Versalis — the chemical subsidiary of Eni — aims at being the first to license the process and build commercial plants. It will also provide over $20 million in funding to Genomatica to support development of the integrated end-to-end process.

Process Improvement Award — Iogen

It’s been a long ride for Iogen. The fundamental technology dates back to the 1970s. The Foodys have been working all their lives to bring it to scale. It’s taken eight big design revisions and rounds of improvement.

And here’s the good news. Scale is arriving.

As we reported last month, “Raizen has started construction on a 10 million gallon per year cellulosic ethanol plant using Iogen Energy technology. The $100 million project, located adjacent to Raízen’s Costa Pinto sugar cane mill in Piracicaba, São Paulo, is expected to start up in Q4 2014.

Since 2004, Iogen has produced more than 2 million litres of cellulosic ethanol in its $100 million demonstration plant using agricultural residues such as wheat straw, corn stover and bagasse as feedstocks.

The project is the first in the world, at commercial scale, that integrates the technologies for conversion of bagasse and cane straw into the process of conventional sugarcane ethanol.

The construction announcement follows one year of development, engineering, and design work associated with the commercial cellulosic biofuels facility. After concluding that Iogen had the most advanced technology for building co-located commercial plants at Raízen’s sugar cane ethanol facilities, Raízen committed an initial investment for the project through the Iogen Energy JV in July 2012, revealing those details publicly in October of last year.

Industrial Sugars  & Pretreatment Award— Renmatix

Renmatix has had quite a year. But of all the deals they’ve announced with the likes of Finnish forestry giant UPM, there’s nothing quite as shattering as a signature (and non-exclusive) deal with the world’s largest chemical company. And sure enough, in December that’s what Renmatix and BASF announced. A non-exclusive joint development agreement to scale up the Renmatix Plantrose process for the production of industrial sugars based on lignocellulosic biomass. The parties have agreed to key financial terms for future commercial licenses, which BASF can exercise at its discretion. The collaboration follows BASF’s $30 million investment in Renmatix in January 2012.

As we commented last month, “here comes the whale”.

“The train is out of the station,” said Renmatix CEO Mike Hamilton, “in terms of the demand for renewable materials. What has to happen now is to enable very cost effective, sustainable solutions to meet that demand.”

The news follows closely on an announce last week by Renmatix and Virent of a strategic collaboration to convert affordable cellulosic sugars to renewable chemicals and bio-based packaging materials. Specifically, under the terms of the multi-phase development project, Renmatix’s Plantrose platform will be evaluated and potentially optimized to provide an affordable sugar stream for Virent’s Bioforming process for the large-scale production of bio-based paraxylene. This is a project which led the Coca-Cola Company to invested in Virent.

Yield Improvement — Algenol

There’s nothing like cracking the 10,000 gallon per acre barrier en route to nabbing The Digest’s yield improvement award, as Algenol announced in September at the Algae Biomass Summit. Now, that’s peak production of 10,400 gallons per acre —  continuous production is in the 8000 gallon per acre range.

It was the first major update from Algenol since March, when the company said that it had exceeded production rates 9,000 gallons of ethanol per acre per year. Woods said at the time that “I fully expect our talented scientific team to achieve sustained production rates above 10,000 by the end of this year.” With that, Woods said that his ethanol production cost, at scale, would be in the $1.18 per gallon range, and that with further development of the technology, Algenol is now able to produce diesel, jet fuel, renewable gasoline in addition to ethanol, via hydrothermal liquefaction technology.

“This is no Disney movie, there’s no magic wand, I’ve been at this 29 years,” said Woods. “It’s not easy, it’s not quick, but it’s here.”

And it’s exciting, we might add.

Industrial Symbiosis — POET-DSM

Symbiosis — you might call it a “bolt-on” strategy, or “co-location”. Unlocking the power of symbiosis is what led us to conclude in our 10 Part Bioenergy project of the Future series: “First, start with an ethanol plant.”

That’s what POET-DSM has done in Emmetsburg, Iowa. It’s a traditional corn ethanol plant with a cellulosic bolt-on, that boosts overall capacity by 20 percent. Known as Project LIBERTY, it will produce 20 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel per year – later ramping up to 25 million gallons – from corn cobs, leaves, husk and some stalk. Commissioning for select parts of the process is scheduled to begin in January.

When operational, the facility will accept 300,000 tons of biomass but for now, area farmers harvested 56,000 tons of corn cobs, leaves, husks and some stalk this past fall. Farmers had been waiting to deliver the biomass to POET while guidelines for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) were finalized. Farmers on last week began completing the application process, and they started delivering bales soon after.

“Removing approximately one ton of biomass out of the average 4.26 tons available per acre,” POET said in a release, “will not require any drastic changes in fertilizer management for producers choosing to participate in the program.

The facility will eventually consume 300,000 tons or more of biomass, which according to POET’s released figures could be sustainably harvested from a 468 square-mile area. By contrast, a 100 Mgy corn ethanol plant can be sustained by a 325 square-mile area using POET’s process.

Best New Feedstock (trial) — Yulex, Guayule

In biofuels and related industries, there may be a hundred feedstocks or so. Some developed, some merely domesticated, some hardly improved over the wild types in the field.
100 feedstocks in what – 10,000 years since the dawn of agriculture? When does a “plant of promise” become a feedstock. That’s when a group of developers take a plant off “the shelf of the possible” and putting it into a modern breeding program, based on the latest genetics, to coax the last gram of yield — and it’s big news when it happens. That’s the story of guayule.
That’s pronounced “Y-U-Lee” for those outside its heartland in the American Southwest and northern Mexico.

It started to get attention as an industrial crop in World War One and Two when access to traditional rubber supplies was interrupted. You may recall seeing or hearing of tire and rubber drives during the Second World War. Another form of response was to scale up guayule production in California. The trouble with guayule has nothing to do with the usefulness of the rubber. It’s just that the yields were too low from native plants as they had evolved in Mexico.

That’s where Yulex came in — recently, teaming up with SGB.

“When they looked at guayule,” said Yulex CEO Jeff Martin, “they only looked to large commodity markets, like tires. They didn’t see the economics, and didn’t put the effort into it. When Yulex started out, it was not just acreage for tire markets — but novel applications like medical devices, consumer products. No one envisioned those markets and therefore made the investments. We’ve built up markets and demand — now, the last stage is the crop improvement.”

Feedstock Production System of the Year — Heliae Volaris

Last spring, Heliae announced the launch of its new microalgae production platform, Volaris. Volaris is the result of five years of targeted innovation, investment and commitment to delivering a commercially validated technology platform for producing high purity microalgae at competitive prices. “Volaris is a game-changer that will enable large-scale production for diverse markets and provide a natural, sustainable, and consistent supply of algae-based products to meet worldwide demand,” the company said in a release.

Deployment of the Volaris platform is expected to support commercial activities in Heliae’s target markets including nutrition, therapeutics, health & beauty, and agrosciences.
The company is at the heart of Heliae’s new 20-acre commercial facility currently under construction in Gilbert, Ariz., which opened this past fall — and other commercialization activity (think expansion to Indonesia) to begin later this year.

Heliae who?

Here’s what you need to know. It’s a 2008 spin-out from Arizona State University that attracted the support of the Mars family — and ultimately, $15 million in funding from international conglomerate Salim Group’s agribusiness company, PT PP London Sumatra Indonesia. In all, the company has raised $50 million in funding.

The Heliae system, we knew last year — was going to look something like a greenhouse, and is expected to be built out to a 160 acre-demonstration, with groundbreaking on its pilot plant scheduled for later this month in Arizona – and includes a patent-pending extraction process in its IP portfolio.

Volaris utilizes both sunlight and waste carbon feedstocks to optimize facility economics. “The algae industry has been hindered by the limits of conventional technology,” stated Lee Tonkovich, Heliae’s vice president of research & development.

We’ve seen work on what is called, in patent world, a V-Shaped Photobioreactor system that we suspect provides the “V” in the Volaris system. The claim, in several apps, is that a V-Shaped bottom will provide a point of entry for gases uses to mix the algae, and prevents material from settling on the reactor bottom and leading to contamination build-up.

Another key feature: a gas delivery system (separate from CO2 delivery). Heliae notes: “The gas delivery systems are placed strategically along or near the axis defined by the bottom of the V to keep solids in suspension, and to provide improved mixing of the culture medium. Mixing rate of the culture medium can be controlled by the gas delivery system alone, or in combination with other agitation means.”

New Partnership of the Year (fuels) — Sapphire Energy, Phillips 66

Last month, Sapphire Energy and Phillips 66 announced a strategic joint development agreement to work together to collect and analyze data from co-processing of algae and conventional crude oil into fuels, and to complete fuel certifications to ready Sapphire Energy’s renewable crude oil for wide-scale oil refining.

Remarkable because of the consistency of Sapphire’s fuel-centric approach, in contrast to so many algae companies that have downshifted into smaller volume markets. Remarkable also to have snagged the interest at Phillips 66, which has not to date shown an enormous interest in biofuels on a level comparable to, say, Total, BP or Shell. Though they ahve been active in algae research.

In initial testing by Sapphire Energy, Green Crude oil was upgraded into on-spec ASTM 975 diesel fuel, proving its compatibility with the existing network of pipelines, refineries and transport systems.  The company expects to be at commercial demonstration scale in 2015, commercial scale in 2018, and is eventually projected to produce 1 billion gallons per year by 2025.

Under the agreement the companies will expand Sapphire Energy’s current testing programs to further validate that Green Crude can be refined in traditional refineries and meet all of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) certification requirements under the Clean Air Act.  This includes determining the optimal operating conditions for processing algae crude oil into American Society for Testing and Materials-certified diesel, gasoline and jet fuel.  Once the study is finished, the companies will work together to complete the EPA certification process to register a new fuel product entering the market.

New Partnership of the Year  (biobased chemicals & materials) — LanzaTech, Evonik

For the second year in a row, LanzaTech nabs a partnership award. This time, for a three year research cooperation agreement with Evonik which will see Evonik combining its existing biotechnology platforms with LanzaTech’s synthetic biology and gas fermentation expertise for the development of a route to bioprocessedn precursors for specialty plastics from waste derived synthesis gas.

In this route, microorganisms placed in fermenters are used to turn synthesis gas into chemical products. Synthesis gases comprise mainly of either carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide and hydrogen and can come from a variety of gasified biomass waste streams including forestry and agricultural residues and gasified municipal solid waste.

“Industrial biotechnology is one of the core competences of Evonik. It enables new approaches to specialty chemicals and processes,” explains Prof. Stefan Buchholz, the head of Creavis. Creavis, Evonik’s strategic innovation arm, is committed to developing alternative bio-based pathways for the production of such specialty chemicals, to not only reduce dependence on fossil fuels, but also reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their manufacture. “The use of renewables and specific waste streams is one of the main focuses of our research and development work, and LanzaTech offers an additional interesting approach,” says Buchholz.

Microbe of the year (demonstration scale) — deinococcus bacteria (Deinove)

Deinococcus bacteria have been on the “promising” list for a long time — and are well known to many lab professionals. But it wasn’t until Deinove was founded in 2010, by investors like Truffle Capital, and industrial partners like the sugar giant Tereos — that the bacteria hopped from the lab to the front pages.

In the case of Deinove, they’ve built a library of 6,000 strains of Deinococcus bacteria, which works on both C5 and C6 sugars, is stable, can be readily modified as with e.coli. And they are toughies — for one, they are thermophiles and can tolerate very high temperatures and still produce, reducing the need to cool the water between processing steps. Plus, they can handle concentrations of up to 20% ethanol and keep metabolizing.

20% – that’s very much in the “don’t try this at home” category. Amazing little creatures, and Budweiser may well wish that we people were more like them bacteria.
Deinove generated a degree of global attention last year when a Deinove bacterium turned wheat-based biomass into ethanol, without additives (enzymes, yeast, antibiotics or antiseptics), a result that led to the afore-mentioned partnership with Tereos to carry forward the pre-industrial development of this process, which is still at low yield.

Microbe of the year (lab-scale) — pyrococcus furiosus (University of Georgia)

A few months back, a team from University of Georgia and North Carolina State, led by Michael Adams has revealed that they have engineered Pyrococcus furiosus to make 3-hydroxypropionic acid using hydrogen gas, and CO2.

Using no sunlight, no biomass, no sugars. Since 3-hydroxypropionic acid rarely comes up at cocktail parties — we’ll describe it as one of the DOE’s top 12 value added building-block chemicals from it’s 2004 survey, the same report that stimulated, for example, the rush to make succinic, levulinic and glucaric acids as well as glycerol. More importantly, if you can make that today — you can make fuels down the line.

This little archaeon is one for the books — whose name translates from a mash-up of Medieval Latin and Classical Greek as “raging fireball” — known for having a preferred temperature of 100 degrees celsius.

It’s other amazing property is that it doesn’t require sunlight for energy. It’s limitation? Historically, P. furiosus fed on carbohydrates — which put it squarely back into the biomass cycle, because plants make carbs using sunlight — and if you are processing carbs, you are dependent on their formation even if you don’t make them as an intermediate product yourself.

Enter our team from the University of Georgia and North Carolina State, who have inserted a clutch of DNA borrowed from another archaeon, Metallosphaera sedula, originally also discovered in the volcanic fields of Italy. Which have conferred on the newly-improved P. furiosus the ability to use carbon dioxide in the presence of hydrogen gas to directly generate the afore-mentioned 3-hydroxypropionic acid.

Deal of the Year (equity) — BioAmber IPO

In May, BioAmber sealed this award when they announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 8 million units consisting of one share of common stock and one warrant to purchase half of one share of common stock at $10 per unit, before underwriting discounts and commissions. The IPO is a relatively small one, raising $80M, compared to the nearly $200M hauled in by the likes of Solazyme and Gevo at the height of the IPO boomlet in 2011.

But getting an IPO done in this market? Well, it’s a huge achievement.

What went right? In general terms, BioAmber came later to the market than some of its peers — although still a development-stage company that lost $39 million in 2012 and $30M in 2011, the company has been ramping up revenue and recorded $2.2 million in product sales for 2012, with a 24% margin. In all there were 227 tons of biosuccinic acid sold to 19 different customers — and

BioAmber is the first to achieve biosuccinic sales on this scale.

BioAmber has been running at its demo plant for three years now in Pomacle, France at the 350,000 liter scale — far more progress towards scale-up than some of its peers. And, as BioAmber detailed in its last revised S-1A registration statement, “Our process requires less sugar than most other renewable products because 25% of the carbon in our bio-succinic acid originates from carbon dioxide as opposed to sugar. This makes our process less vulnerable to sugar price increases relative to other bio-based processes.”

Deal of the Year (debt) — Sapphire Energy, USDA

We went an unusual direction this year. Instead of honoring a new debt deal, w’re honoring a payback. In this case, Sapphire Energy’s repayment, in full, of their USDA loan guarantee, well in advance of schedule. The kind of loan performance we just don;t hear enough about in the Solyndra age.

In July, Sapphire Energy announced it has paid off the loan guarantee awarded to the company by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  In Dec. 2009, the company was awarded a $54.5 million loan guarantee through the Biorefinery Assistance Program, administered by the USDA Rural Development-Cooperative Service, to build a fully integrated, algae-to-crude oil commercial demonstration facility in Columbus, New Mexico.

Lifetime Achievement Award – William Holmberg, Chairman, Biomass Coordinating Council, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE)

With Lt.Col. Holmberg’s permission, we hope to ultimately name this Award the Holmberg Award for Lifetime Achievement in Bioenergy.

But under any flag, this first lifetime achievement award, albeit more generically named, goes to Bill Holmberg for his almost 70 years (got himself drafted into the Marine Corps as age 15 in 1944) of leadership in the US military and in the field of renewable energy.

One of the longtime directors of the American Council on Renewable Energy, Holmberg is also the most highly-decorated graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, class of 1951, and so recognized by President George Bush during his speech to the USNA Class of 2001. He’s been a steadfast champion in nearly every fight that the renewable fuels movement has faced, now and in decades past.

Holmberg also holds advanced degrees in Personnel Administration, Soviet Affairs and the Russian Language.

He fought and was seriously wounded in Korea. During the Cold War, he operated behind the Iron Curtain. Bill was also one of the founders of the Marine Corps Combined Action Platoons –CAPS; a well recognized nation-building program in South Vietnam. He served for twenty-one years in the Marine Corps, nineteen as an officer. Later, as a Senatorial staffer on the Renewable Fuels Standard, he also work extensively and unsuccessfully (“gun fighters not to be involved in reconstruction”) to reconstitute a program similar to the CAPS in Afghanistan.

While at the EPA, FEO, FEA, and DOE, Bill helped to pioneer the ethanol and biodiesel industries. He retired from the federal government at the Senior Executive Service level. Bill spent an additional twenty-one years in the private sector, managing small businesses and associations relating to biofuels, including the New Uses Council and the Biomass Coordinating Council.

He is a founding member of the Sustainable Energy Coalition (SEC), which makes major contributions to the Senate and House Renewable and Energy Efficiency (RE & EE) Caucus. Bill is a member of core group promoting the annual Energy Expos on the Hill in concert with the SEC and the Senate and House RE & EE Caucus. He has been key member of the organizing committee of the Environmental and Clean Energy Inaugural Balls since 1989. He is on the board of the Latin American and Caribbean Council On Renewable Energy (LACCORE), Renew the Earth, Remineralize the Earth, and  the Industrial Hemp Council as well as serving on the Advisory Council to The International Biochar Initiative, ACORE, and a voluntary assistant to the U.S. Council on Energy Security. In this later capacity he assisting in developing a working relationship  between ethanol, methanol and the other alcohols.

A sampling of his advocacy and mastery of the facts can be seen in last year’s essay “Bringing Home the Bacon“:

“The top EPA priority literally crying for action is reducing aromatics in gasoline thereby limiting unconscionable damage to public health. EPA must deal with mounting scientific evidence that asthma, premature births, cancers, autism, heart disease, obesity, including type 2 diabetes, can be triggered by ubiquitous, nano-sized, particle-borne carcinogens known as PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). The primary urban source of the PAHs is gasoline aromatic compounds used to enhance octane ratings. PAHs are not only carcinogenic and mutagenic, they are genotoxic, and one of the most pervasive and persistent endocrine disruptor compounds found in the urban environment.

“Experts worry that with advanced direct-injected, high compression/turbocharged engines used to meet new fuel efficiency and carbon rules, urban PAH emissions will likely increase unless fuel quality is improved. When the medical costs associated with the PAHs’ carcinogenic/mutagenic emissions are considered, higher quality ethanol gasoline blends, thereby reducing aromatic levels, will save Americans many tens of billions per year in reduced health care costs. This would also substantially reduce the transportation sector’s carbon footprint and dramatically improve our quality of life, especially for urban youth and those who live near congested roadways. These claims have recently been substantiated by Harvard University and other studies.

“EPA’s failure to act on these major opportunities to protect public health and save taxpayers money is based on outdated models that fail to register the threats, as well as measures positioned to better advance our economy. Correcting models and evaluating new data is far too time consuming in light of the current knowledge and conditions. Actions can, and must be taken now.

“The President’s budget calls for a $400 billion cut in health care costs. An authorized and called for action by EPA to minimize aromatics in gasoline will offset a good portion of that reduction.

“EPA must now take the following legislatively authorized steps: Support the RFS and E15 with needed accommodations; replace aromatics to the maximum extent reasonable with alcohols to reach, overtime, a standard 94+ octane gasoline; continue and improve the incentives for FFVs while encouraging the advance of engine technologies to take advantage of rising octane numbers; and, support the rapid increase of blender pumps throughout America.

These measures will permit the attainment of Presidential and Congressionally approved goals (36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022 –adjusted as necessary; and 54.5 MPG average by 2025); break the stranglehold oil has on the transportation sector; save tens of billions in health care cost and additional tens of billions in fuel costs.”

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