Segetis, Green Biologics land Minn. grants as state heads for B10 biodiesel, re-ups on biofuels

May 20, 2014 |

In Minnesota, beginning July 1, diesel fuel sold in Minnesota will contain a B10 blend during the summer months. The escalation to B10 was part of a bill passed in 2008 which called for the move to happen in 2013. Because of inadequate blending infrastructure in on area of the state and a regulatory concern, the move was pushed back to 2014. Legislation brought forward during the Minnesota legislative session that ended May 16, attempted to derail the bill but was unsuccessful. B10 will be available at the pump from April through September. Supplies will revert to a B5 blend the rest of the year.

Increasing the blend from B5 to B10 will mean an additional demand of 20 million gallons of biodiesel each year on top of the current usage of 40 million gallons. Minnesota’s current operating production capacity is over 60 million gallons per year. Plants are currently operating in Isanti, Brewster and Albert Lea.

The original 2008 legislation was also amended to push back an increase to B20 until 2018. However, many farmers, public transportation systems and commercial carriers already use the higher blends, particularly when the price is advantageous.

“This sends a very important message that Minnesota remains a leader, because the state’s B2 mandate back in 2002 really jumpstarted the biodiesel industry nationwide,” says Ed Hegland, an Appleton, Minn. farmer and member of the National Biodiesel Board’s governing board. “Proving that a state can now go to B10 is a significant step in the right direction for renewable fuels.”

Also in Minnesota, the Department of Agriculture has selected five innovative renewable energy projects to receive NextGen Energy grants, from a pool of 35 applicants. The grants fall under the Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation program to help creative and emerging agricultural projects acquire funding. Awardees are:

Easy Energy Systems, Welcome, Minnesota – $500,000
The project builds a showplace biofuel production facility capable of testing multiple feedstocks, verifying economic data, and confirming conversion rates in Welcome.

Central Minnesota Renewables LLC, Little Falls, Minnesota – $500,000
This project will receive funding for final engineering work needed to convert the existing 20 million gallon per year ethanol facility, Central Minnesota Ethanol Cooperative, to n-butanol production for the chemical industry.

Segetis, Inc, Golden Valley, Minnesota – $325,000
Grant amount is to be used for equipment, capital construction and materials for operation of a pilot plant for process development required to commercialize their biobased non-phthalate plasticizer.

University of Minnesota, Natural Resources Research Institute, Duluth, Minnesota – $217,500
In collaboration with Syngas Technologies, Elk River, this project will develop a more efficient biomass fuel pretreatment process for putting feedstock into a high-pressure gasifier, which produces drop-in biofuels.

Duluth Steam, Duluth, Minnesota – $150,000
Funds will help facilitate the detailed design, procurement and installation of an on-site biomass receiving, storage, and feed system. It utilizes up to 25 percent biomass feedstocks from local forestry operations and will displace the current use of western coal.

All projects required at least a 50 percent match from the grantee.

In addition to the $1,692,500 granted to these projects, $588,500 has been set aside for a separate RFP for biomass thermal projects, targeting overall project sizes of $200,000 to $300,000.  This RFP is due to be released early this summer.

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