Jim Lane – Biofuels Digest http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest The world's most widely-read advanced bioeconomy daily Thu, 19 Jul 2018 22:50:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 Did Trump’s renewable fuels policy really cost corn growers $3.65 billion in 2017? http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2018/07/19/did-trumps-fuels-policy-really-cost-corn-growers-3-65-billion-in-2017/ Thu, 19 Jul 2018 20:28:20 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=94123

In Washington, new evidence has appeared that a Trump Administration shift on US low carbon fuel policy may have cost US corn growers an estimated $3.65 billion.

The mechanism? A secretive effort by Administration officials installed at the US Environmental Protection Agency that destroyed an estimated 1.37 billion gallons of annual demand for low-carbon renewable fuels, in favor of fossil fuels.  

Officials at the agency exploited a loophole in US low carbon fuel legislation that allows small oil refineries to gain hardship waivers in cases of severe distress from complying in full with US low carbon fuel laws.  Now, evidence on the scale and nature of hardship waivers has appeared in response to Freedom of Information Act and Congressional requests.  The EPA has now acknowledged that the number of hardship waivers granted in 2017 by the Trump Administration is nine times the average annual level granted from 2013 to 2015.  

Based on EPA’s admissions, the Renewable Fuels Association estimates that “small refiner exemptions have resulted in effectively lowering the 2017 required volume of renewable fuels by 1.37 billion gallons, or 7%. The data also show that small refiner exemptions also effectively reduced the 2016 RFS requirement by 523 million gallons.”

The losers? Corn growers, it appears. In 2013 the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University published a study which looked at the impact on corn prices from a 1.4 billion gallon decrease in ethanol demand. The Center found that the impact was 25 cents per bushel. Applying that figure to the 14.6 billion bushel 2017 corn crop leads to the lost profits figure of $3.65 billion.

Hardship exemptions spike in 2016-17

Here’s what we know. 

The US Environmental Protection Agency granted 19 economic hardship waivers, out of 20 applied for during 2017 and applying retroactively to the 2016 compliance year.  EPA granted 29 waivers out of 33 applied for in 2017, and has not made a determination on the fate of the other four applicants. More on the data here.

By comparison, in the 2013-2015 period, the average number of hardship waivers granted each year was three, according to analyst Geoff Cooper, incoming CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association.

The unique nature of retroactive small refinery exemptions

The retroactive nature of the exemption is important to this story. The normal procedure is to re-assign any fuel volumes impacted by hardship waivers to the larger refineries. 

Last month, a coalition — consisting of the Renewable Fuels Association, American Coalition for Ethanol, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Growth Energy, National Biodiesel Board, National Corn Growers Association, and National Farmers Union — said that it appears that EPA is setting the obligations for the larger refineries before granting retroactive waivers to small refineries, so that larger refineries are not picking up the slack.

The coalition petitioned EPA in June to change its methodology for calculating renewable fuel volumes owing to the “flood” of retroactive hardship waivers, writing:

Each year since the 2010 Final Rule, EPA has calculated the value of the annual standards according to the Annual Standard Equations … [and] accounted for the small refinery hardship exemptions granted before the final RVOs each year by assigning…” a proportionally higher percentage standard for remaining obligated parties. The Annual Standard Equations do not, however, account for small refinery exemptions granted retroactively after EPA has finalized a given year’s RVOs…The volumes of required renewable fuel attributable to retroactive exemptions—which, as just discussed, appear to be the vast majority of the recent wave of hardship exemptions—are simply lost.”

Hardships granted rising from 24% of petitions to 100% 

The coalition estimated that 9 out of 38 petitions for hardship waivers received for the 2013-2015 compliance period were granted, or 24% of petitions. 

In 2017 with the inauguration of the Trump Administration, petitions began arriving at EPA relating to appeals for retroactive waivers for the 2016 compliance period. Reuters reported in April that “the Trump Administration has encouraged small refiners to apply for the hardship waivers. A surge of applications has come to the EPA.”

Meanwhile, EPA, in a letter this week to Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, acknowledged that 95% of petitions for the 2016 compliance period were granted, and the agency also stated that no applications for hardship waivers received for the 2017 compliance period have been denied. 

The coalition noted the spike in hardship waivers but did not see a spike in actual hardship. The coalition contended, “RIN prices are at multi-year lows, oil prices are increasing, and refineries are enjoying solid margins and corporate tax cuts.”

Let’s look at that.

The 2016-17 Refinery margin and profitability environment

During 2016 and 2017, the US oil refining industry enjoyed above-average crack spreads — the spread between crude oil and refinery product prices and a primary indicator of refining profitability. 

The US Energy Information Administration in its latest monthly report on refining prices offered this indicative chart on refining margins and profitability.

Refinery shutdowns in the era of low-carbon fuels

According to the US Energy Information Administration, 22 US oil refineries permanently shut down since the initial establishment of the US Renewable Fuel Standard in 2005 — an average of 1.57 per year. The US EIA reported 23 shutdowns in all, but the Paramount refinery in Southern California shut down petroleum refining in order to convert fully to renewable fuel production.

How does this shutdown rate compare to the past? During the 15 years prior to the passage of the Renewable Fuel Standard, the Energy Information Administration reported that 57 refineries permanently shut down, a rate of 3.8 per year.

A complete table of refinery shutdowns can be downloaded here.

The low-carbon demand destruction, in detail

In an industry note, RFA’s Geoff Cooper wrote:

“The EPA data strongly imply that small refiner exemptions have resulted in effectively lowering the 2017 required volume of renewable fuels by 1.37 billion gallons, or 7%. The data also show that small refiner exemptions also effectively reduced the 2016 RFS requirement by 523 million gallons. 

“The volume of gasoline and diesel exempted from RFS blending obligations jumped dramatically in the 2016 and 2017 compliance years, compared to previous years. The data strongly support the argument that EPA has recently changed its criteria for granting small refiner exemptions.  These estimates are corroborated by additional EPA data showing the projected renewable fuel volume obligation at the time the final RVO rule was published compared to the volume obligation reported by obligated parties after any exemptions and gasoline/diesel consumption changes are taken into account.”

Cooper adds:

“While EPA has refused to provide the public with information regarding the number and magnitude of its small refiner exemptions, monthly compliance data published by the Agency sheds bright light on the impact of the exemptions. Indeed, the data appear to confirm previous concerns and suspicions raised by stakeholders about the size, scale, and seriousness of the secret small refiner exemptions.”

The HollyFrontier case

The rmulti-association renewable fuels coalition writes:

In 2017, EPA granted HollyFrontier two retroactive small refinery hardship exemptions for calendar year 2016 that saved the company about $58 million in RIN compliance costs….During that same 2015 to 2016 period, the company was in the midst of a $1 billion stock repurchase plan that had been approved in 2015. At the end of 2016, the company had spent over $800 million for share repurchases. Id. Thus, EPA appears to have determined that HollyFrontier could afford to pay its shareholders almost one billion dollars but could not scrounge together $58 million for compliance with its RFS obligations. 

The CVR Energy case

The coalition writes:

CVR Energy, which reportedly received an exemption for its two refineries for 2017, appears to have been profitable that year. According to its investor disclosures, the margin per barrel of crude oil throughput at CVR Refining, LP’s Wynnewood Refinery increased to $9.85 in 2017 from $8.07 in 2016. See CVR Refining, LP, 4th Quarter 2017 Earnings Report (Feb. 22, 2018) at 16, attached hereto as Appendix S. Due to its retroactive exemption, CVR expects its 2018 cost of compliance with the RFS to be $120 million less than the amount it had estimated just two months prior.

The Disproportionate Economic Hardship backstory

In a letter to Senator Grassley, EPA Assistant Administration William Wehrum wrote:  The [Clean Air Act] directs EPA, in consultation with the Department of Energy, to consider the DOE Small Refinery Study and “other economic factors” in evaluating small refinery petitions.

“Other factors”include whether the refinery had other business lines besides refining and marketing, renewable fuel blending activity, special hardship events impacting refinery operations, and the extent to which compliance impacts the economic viability of the refinery. The DOE has extensive documentation on the standards for a finding of disproportionate economic hardship, here and here.

For now, it’s important to note that refining margins are not the sole criteria in determining hardship. Also, it should be noted that refiner profitability varies regionally in the United States. 

However, as the coalition noted in its EPA petition:

“Congress had mandated that all small refineries were exempted until 2011, 75 Fed. Reg. 14,716, and after that, EPA did not anticipate granting additional small refinery hardship exemptions prospectively except in rare circumstances. Although EPA later extended the small refinery exemptions for 2011 and 2012 to 13 of 59 small refineries based on a 2011 DOE study, those extensions should, per the CAA, have been determined before the RVOs for 2011 and 2012 were finalized and thus there would have been no reason to expect those exemptions to be retroactive. And for a long time thereafter, EPA granted exemptions on a case-by-case basis sparingly.”

More on the Story

The Digest has also covered this topic in these earlier stories:

EPA backs off from plan to reallocate RINs lost to hardship waivers

EPA went rogue on several hardship waiver decisions against DOE recommendations

EPA grants free RINs to oil refiners denied hardship waivers in 2014 and 2015

EPA lifts renewable fuels in 2018-2020 proposal: industry welcomes volumes, warns on refinery waiver impact

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Low-carbon jet fuel and diesel, at scale: The Digest 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to AltAir Fuels http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2018/07/19/low-carbon-jet-fuel-and-diesel-at-scale-the-digest-2018-multi-slide-guide-to-altair-fuels/ Thu, 19 Jul 2018 18:41:59 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=94098

Established in 2013, AltAir Fuels was created to produce low carbon fuels and chemicals derived from sustainable feedstock. For its first commercial project, AltAir partnered with Alon Energy USA to use its existing refinery in Paramount, California retooling idled refining equipment to increase the nation’s energy supply, while positively impacting the southern California economy. Through process technology developed by Honeywell’s UOP, AltAir retrofitted the existing refinery to produce renewable biofuel.

Now, the facility will convert non-edible natural oils and agricultural waste into approximately 40 million gallons of low-carbon, advanced biofuels and chemicals per year. Ultimately World Energy acquired AltAir and also the Paramount Refinery.

AltAir CEO Bryan Sherbacow gave this illuminating overview of AltAir’s technology, milestones and progress at ABLC 2018 in Washington DC.

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Heard on the Floor at the BIO World Congress: Dinneen steps down at RFA, Cooper succeeds; EPA hearings in DC; organic solar cells and more http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2018/07/18/heard-on-the-floor-at-the-bio-world-congress-dinneen-steps-down-at-rfa-cooper-succeeds-epa-hearings-in-dc-organic-solar-cells-and-more/ Wed, 18 Jul 2018 19:57:00 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=94072

Dinneen steps down as Renewable Fuels Association CEO, Geoff Cooper to succeed; EPA hearings in DC; Lygos rockin’; biomaterials advance; organic solar cells are on the docket; iffy news for algae tech.

The Shocker

News spread like wildfire at the 2018 BIO World Congress in Philadelphia that Renewable Fuels Association CEO Bob Dinneen will transition into the role of RFA’s Senior Strategic Advisor, and Executive Vice President Geoff Cooper will assume the position of President and CEO in October 2018.

Dinneen has been with RFA for more than 30 years, including serving as the organization’s president and CEO since 2001. During his tenure, Dinneen led the industry and achieved a number of landmark legislative and regulatory victories for ethanol, including passage of the original Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in 2005 and significant expansion and extension of the RFS program in 2007. Dinneen also played a crucial role in the creation of the reformulated gasoline and oxygenated fuels requirements; securing the RVP waiver for E10; working with states to adopt bans on MTBE; and multiple extensions of the ethanol blender’s tax credit and secondary tariff on imported ethanol, among other important victories.

Cooper joined RFA in 2008 as the organization’s director of Research and Analysis and had ascended to executive vice president by 2016. He previously worked on ethanol issues for the National Corn Growers Association and served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, specializing in bulk petroleum product logistics.

“Ethanol is a remarkable product that has an incredibly bright future filled with opportunity, and I am excited to help write the next chapter in our industry’s amazing story. I am truly grateful for the chance to build upon RFA’s legacy as the authoritative voice of the ethanol industry.” Cooper said.

IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw said:

“Few people in D.C. can say they’ve had as much impact on an industry over the past 30 years as Bob Dinneen and RFA have had on ethanol. Having worked for Bob for nearly 6 years, I know his love and dedication for the industry will not fade and I’m glad to see he’ll remain engaged in policy efforts. We look forward to working with Geoff Cooper at RFA and all ethanol supports to continue the growth of the industry.”

Donnell Rehagen, NBB CEO added:

“Congratulations to Bob on a distinguished career full of achievements. His efforts on behalf of American-made biofuels and our farmers across the country over the last three-plus decades have been vital to their growth and expanded success. While his passion will be missed, I know that RFA will be in good hands with Geoff Cooper taking the reins. NBB looks forward to continuing to work alongside the ethanol industry to advance our common interests.”

The Buzz: EPA hearings in DC

The floor was buzzing about EPA hearings in Washington, where farm leaders and renewable energy innovators urged Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to quickly reverse the damage done under former Administrator Scott Pruitt, who was dismissed after drawing scorn in struggling rural communities for destroying demand for crop-based biofuels.

“America’s farmers need a level playing field. Amid depressed farm incomes, the certainty of a strong RFS would go a long way to restoring confidence in the agriculture economy,” said Kevin Skunes, president of National Corn Growers Association. “The EPA should end the practice of granting unjustified RFS waivers behind closed doors and uphold the strong biofuel targets promised by President Trump. America’s corn growers are ready and able to do our part to increase American energy use and production, and hold down prices at the fuel pump.”

“Acting Administrator Wheeler should not pass up this opportunity to restore the bonds of trust between the EPA and supporters, farmers, and biofuel producers across the heartland,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “By enforcing a strong RFS, he can immediately unleash a new wave of growth in rural America and drive investments in America’s clean energy leadership. With fuel prices spiking, there could not be a better time to drive competition from American-made biofuels.”

“The targets proposed by the EPA seem promising, but they are meaningless unless the agency reverses the demand destruction caused by handouts to refiners,” said Brooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council (ABBC). “Placing a check on that abuse and upholding the strong targets promised by President Trump will unfreeze investments in the advanced biofuels, like cellulosic ethanol, made from agricultural residues and waste. These fuels are delivering new revenue streams to rural America and protecting the climate, but that leadership has been under threat due to regulatory uncertainty.”

“The ethanol produced at more than 200 plants across the heartland is vital to achieving our climate goals,” said Brent Erickson, executive vice president of the Industrial & Environmental Section at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). “It cuts carbon emissions by at least 43 percent, according to federal data, and displaces petroleum-based octane boosters linked to harmful air pollution and smog. It’s time for the EPA to send a clear signal that this administration will no longer entertain oil-backed proposals to roll back competition from homegrown biofuels.”

“The EPA’s past mismanagement of the RFS has placed a needless strain on workers, farmers, and rural families that are already bearing the burden of rising trade barriers,” said Kyle Gilley, senior vice president of external affairs and communications at POET. “President Trump and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue have promised their full support to rural communities, and now Acting Administrator Wheeler must deliver on that promise by restoring real competition at the fuel pump.”

Lygos raises $18M

Word came through from Lygos of a $15.5 million Series B financing led by IA Ventures and First Round Capital. Y Combinator Continuity Fund and OS Fund also participated in the financing. The Company has now raised a total of $40 million in equity financing, including non-equity government funding from the US Department of Energy, US Department of Agriculture, and National Science Foundation.

Lygos’ proprietary platform is based on a high-throughput combination of computational modeling, unique microbe engineering and screening, combined with deep learning to identify and develop new bio-routes to chemicals. Lygos uses modern biotechnology to deliver the benefits of petroleum-based and other industrial chemical technology at competitive prices. Lygos also develops new bio-routes to chemical functionalities uniquely available through biotechnology to expand the performance window in diverse materials systems. Lygos’ customers seek sustainable cost-efficient solutions enabled by biotechnology for applications where industrial chemistry uses expensive, environmentally degrading options or has none to offer.

Tech advances of note

An advance in biomaterials addresses a pressing need in advanced dentistry, specifically implants. Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, together with experts for dental implants, have now developed a nanostructured surface to accelerate wound healing after implantation and to better protect it against the attack of bacteria.  

The problem in implants? If the gum is not in perfect contact with the abutment, pockets may form, via which bacteria can reach the jawbone and cause inflammation there. Now, grooves smaller than the width of a hair circulate the abutment and guide the cells responsible for wound healing into the right direction. In this way, wound healing is accelerated. “This system is our point of departure,” Patrick Doll, scientist of IMT, says. Further development focuses on two aspects: more precise structuring of the grooves for better guiding of the cells and search for an optimum nanosurface to which the bacteria cannot attach.

Organic solar cells are on the docket this week also. 25 researchers from seven research institutes have put their heads together to draw up rules for designing high-efficiency organic solar cells. The research is led by Feng Gao, associate professor at Linköping University, Sweden appears this week in Nature Materials.

Organic solar cells, made from carbon-based materials, present unique advantages compared with other solar cell technologies. For example, they can be manufactured through low-cost printing technologies, and they can be made semi-transparent with selectable colors, which can be used architecturally in building integration. Their flexibility and low weight make them perfect for powering the sensors for the internet of things applications. A key challenge facing the development of organic solar cells is that they usually have large energy losses. New design tules address the shortfalls.

In iffy news for algae tech, new evidence out this week shows there is little or no effect of omega 3 supplements on the risk of experiencing heart disease, stroke or death. A new Cochrane systematic review, published in the Cochrane Library, combines the results of seventy-nine randomized trials involving 112,059 people. These studies assessed effects of consuming additional omega 3 fat, compared to usual or lower omega 3, on diseases of the heart and circulation. Twenty-five studies were assessed as highly trustworthy because they were well designed and conducted. 

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Heard on the Floor at the BIO World Congress: Iowa, plastics, benzene, Queensland, skin care, jet fuel in the mix http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2018/07/18/heard-on-the-floor-at-the-bio-world-congress-iowa-plastics-benzene-queensland-skin-care-jet-fuel-in-the-mix/ Wed, 18 Jul 2018 04:29:31 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=94065

BIO CEO Jim Greenwood kicks off the World Congress plenary program with opening remarks.

Yep, the Congress heads to the Heartland

The rounds of applause at BIO have been loud and steady but the biggest ones were heard not for a presentation or a speaker — rather, BIO’s decision to stage the World Congress next year in Des Moines. It breaks a lengthy streak away from the industry’s heartland in the midwestern US. What has the industry cheering is the prospect for many of a “drive-in” World Congress, with so many companies within driving distance, including POET,  Dow, Cargill, ADM and Corteva’s dual HQs in Des Moines and Indianapolis. The airlines’ loss is the industry’s gain, and the kudos have been in plentiful supply.

Tech on the Move

DuPont’s effervescent Mike Saltzberg, whose energy levels are high enough as polymer presenters go that he might possibly qualify as a quasar, took the stage to introduce delegates to the world of biobased plastic alternatives, much in the news of late especially in ocean-protecting circles. 

Specifically, his presentation was on the FDME / Furan Polymer technology  that DuPont and ADM have been working on furaniously. to coin a phrase.

“What the heck is going on at DuPont?” Saltzberg posed the question on many minds, and gave the high level guidance. For those new to the story, last year there was the Dow-DuPont merger, aimed at forming three separate companies out of the joining of the two behemoths. One, is the new Corteva Agriculture, a combiantion of the old DuPont Pioneer and Dow AgroSciences that will be spun off next spring. Elsewhere, the rejuvenated and reshuffled Dow will focus on materials science and a reshuffled technologies under the DuPont name will focus on Speciality Products and a long tradition of world class application development.

We’ll have to see how it works out in packaging. The Dow and DuPont split, that is. Plastics have been a long-standing Dow speciialty. But what about biobased? DuPont Industrial Biosciences really has come up with something in its collab with ADM. 

In short, less plastic that can do the same job. It’s taking advantage of the exceptional gas properties of FDCA-based plastics, which a number of companies have been working at, among them Corbion , Synvina and Origin Materials. Why make FDME instead of FDCA? Stabilization, shipping and purification issues apply, for now, says DuPont.  The feedstock? Corn sugars.

It’s got the industry buzzing. Customers have become more jaded of late about embracing alternatives that are plant-based and nothing more. But, spending less on packaging? That’s a pitch with perennial appeal. The applications abound for FDME — polyesters, polyamides, resins. The list is long, and will take years to unfold, we suspect. But, it’s packaging first.

It ties in to an interesting flip-of-the-usual-priorities as usually on display in the “We’re Biobased” Pride Parade. The renewable chemical priorities used to sum up as “same molecule, same price, only sustainable”

As Timothy Leary might have put it: Drop-in, tune out petroleum, turn on to sustainable.

“DuPont Biomaterials is focusing on performance first,” Saltzberg told The Digest. “That means high performance through application development. The other two legs of the stool? “Accessible & affordable through scalable supply” — and “Responsible biomaterials through Renewable Sourcing.”

When you compare the DuPont approach with the usual one, sustainability is there but not in the lead; it’s about performance edge instead of drop-in replacement. Why? 

“The drop-in idea was really popular, but people began to ask the obvious question,” Saltzberg noted, “if there’s no performance advantage all you have is the  remote possibility that companies would pay a green premium, or that you could beat an established petroleum-based chemical on price. With petroleum you start with a highly reduced feedstock and a century of refining the processes. What are the real chances that a biobased feedstock with so much oxygen in it to begin with would be able to compete at smaller scale refineries? There were specific opportunities like succinic acid, where you have a fantastic molecule that really is much easier to produce from biobased feedstocks — but then you have the problem that has plagued companies, no one wants it because they haven’t developed the applications for it.”

People on the Move

Amyris hosted the Welcome Reception at BIO this year and announced two executive appointments for Biossance, which it notes is ow the fastest selling skincare brand in North America. Caroline Hadfield was promoted to President of Biossance, and is recognized for leading its launch and subsequent success with consumers looking for clean, non-toxic skincare that delivers superior performance. In addition, Catherine Gore will join as Senior Vice President, Sales, Marketing & Education for Biossance. Formerly, a Global Vice President and General Manager of Kendo, including Marc Jacobs Beauty, and the Vice President of Merchandising for Sephora Collection, Ms. Gore will be responsible for revenue growth and sales channel execution.

Sustainable and eco-friendly bioplastics developer SECOS Group Limited appointed seasoned business finance and change management professional David Wake as a Non-Executive Director of the Company, effective 16 July 2018. Mr Wake brings commercial experience from a number of senior executive positions over a 30-year record in the global plastics industry.

At Queensland Life Sciences’ reception this week, the Queensland Government announced the appointment of former US Navy Director of Operational Energy Chris Tindal as a special strategic advisor to the government for sustainable fuels. Tindal is also serving as assistant director of CAAFI and as an adjunct professor at Queensland University of Technology in a busy post-Navy career. 

Organizations on the Move

Tindal and other Digesterati will be heading west early this week for Red Rock Biofuels’ groundbreaking ceremony for its first biorefinery this Wednesday in Lakeview, Oregon.  Once operational, each year it will convert approximately 136,000 dry tons of waste woody biomass into approximately 15 million gallons of renewable jet, diesel and gasoline blendstock fuels.  In addition to directly reducing carbon emissions, Red Rock’s usage of waste woody biomass as a feedstock will reduce the risk of devastating forest fires in the western United States.

IR1 Group LLC is the EPC Contractor for the project and on site construction is slated to begin in July with project partner Swaggart Brothers Inc., a subsidiary of Wood and based in Hermiston, Oregon.  Construction and commissioning are expected to take approximately 24 months to complete. 

Breakthroughs were reported at Anellotech’s TCat-8 pilot plant in the company’s advance work on 100% bio-based plastic bottle prototypes, The company’s thermal catalytic process converts non-food biomass feedstock material into BTX aromatics, a group of renewable chemicals identical to their petro-based counterparts. These can be used to make a range of bio-based polymers such as nylon, polycarbonates, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and industrial chemicals such as LAB (linear alkyl benzene), which is used in laundry detergents.

Since the announcement of a successful two-week continuous pilot plant trial in March 2018, over 1,200 hours of cumulative on-stream time have been achieved at TCat-8, while BTX has been generated for product testing and evaluation and process development data collected for future commercial plant design. 

The first shipment of BTX has now been sent to joint development partners IFPEN and Axens for purification studies to make bio-paraxylene – the key aromatic chemical needed to make 100% renewable beverage bottles a reality. Bio-paraxylene from TCat-8 will be used to make renewable PET resin for prototype bottle manufacture and product testing.  

The news may bring benzene customers off the sidelines — many thought this key molecule would simply not ever have a sustainable alternative. Now with 1200 operating hours speaking to a stable catalyst and product is shipping to customers. Anellotech has long to travel on its journey — but benzene skeptics have to be reconsidering their positions right now.

Praj Industries CEO Pramod Chaudhari and QRFA executive director Larissa Rose ink Praj’s new membership in QRFA.

Queensland spent yet another day in the headlines  with news that Praj Industries joined the Queensland Renewable Fuels Association, and that QRFA signed an MOU with the Roundtable of Sustainable Biomaterials. 

RSB and QRFA will work to boost the profile and importance of certification of biofuels in the region in order to support the objectives of developing low-carbon fuel opportunities and projects that assist with decarbonizing transport across Queensland, Australia and the globe.

“Globally we are seeing the impact of regional initiatives, like the Queensland Renewables Fuels Association,” said RSB Executive Director, Rolf Hogan. “Developing global partnerships are important to support connectivity between current and emerging stakeholders within our domestic supply chain,” added Larissa Rose, Managin Director at Queensland’s Renewable Fuels Association.

What’s up with Synata? There’s a persistent rumor going around that Synata Bio’s facility in Kansas is for sale. This is the old Abengoa cellulosic ethanol plant that opened in 2014 with a lot of fanfare but shut down following the parent companies debt load problems which mostly flowed from their solar investments. Synata recently raised a large amount of capital — which typically would be used to fund deployment of technology at a first commercial plant.

Adidas dumps virgin plastics. Well, not really a rumor now, it’s out in international media now. In a blow to plastic manufacturers and possibly even alternative biobased suppliers, word surfaced that Adidas committed only to use recycled plastics by 2024. The brand appears to be phase our virgin polyester within six years.

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Heard on the Floor at BIO: Queensland to invest $100 million in bioeconomy project support http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2018/07/16/heard-on-the-floor-at-bio-queensland-to-invest-100-million-in-bioeconomy-project-support/ Tue, 17 Jul 2018 01:18:55 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=94024

In Philadelphia, the Australian state of Queensland announced $100 million in support of high-value resource recovery industryp.rojects as the state cemented its place ”at the vanguard of the bioeconomy” BioFutures program. The announcement at a Queensland Life Sciences evening event marked a memorable start to the 2018 edition of the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology which takes place in Philadelphia this week. 

From left to right: Queensland RFA managing director Larissa Rose, Queensland minister of State Development Cameron Dick, and below50 co-founder Gerard Ostheimer celebrating Queensland’s sign-up as a below50 member.

The Queensland Government announced a $100 million funding program to work with business and local councils to develop a high-value resource recovery industry.

The funding will target three areas of focus:

• Infrastructure or machinery up to $5 million on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
• Incentives for the development of new large-scale facilities.
• Support for advanced feasibility studies for innovative resource recovery, recycling and waste management projects.

The funding program is planned to open later in 2018.

Among the bio-glitterati spotted at the Queensland event was Spruce Capital co-CEO Roger Wyse, sporting in a traditional Australian drover’s hat.

“You know that in Queensland you will have a valued and trusted friend, someone you can rely on when you invest in our state,” said Queensland Minister of State Development Cameron Dick in announcing the investment program.

The Minister also announced that Queensland would officially join as a member of the global Below50 movement,  formed by significant corporate and governmental partners working together and committed to lowering global carbon intensity by half. The Minister was joined on stage by Below50 co-founder Gerard Ostheimer and Queensland Renewable Fuels Association managing director Larissa Rose who has been spearheading Below50 efforts in Australia.

A glittering group of international biofuels and agricultural innovation luminaries were at the Queensland event, including Queensland Life Sciences CEO Mario Pennisi, former US Navy director of Operational Energy Chris Tindal, Byogy CEO Kevin Weiss and Mercurius Biorefining Karl Seck, and Queensland’s Biofutures Industry Envoy Ian O’Hara.

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The Digest’s Top 10 Innovations for the week of July 18th http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2018/07/16/the-digests-top-10-innovations-for-the-week-of-july-18th/ Mon, 16 Jul 2018 10:46:27 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=94006

The pace of invention and change is just too strong, we’ve realized, to highlight annual or even quarterly or monthly rankings and summaries of significant product and service advances. For now, we’re going to be tracking these on a weekly basis to keep pace with the changes. Here are the top innovations for the week of July 18th.

In today’s Digest, wool without the sheep, fuels from water and C)2, bacteria-powered solar cells, spectral imagery in the sky, artificial intelligence in the crop field, sugar-based straws and more, ready for you now at The Digest online.

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Surfactants, 100% renewable and biobased: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to Croda’s Eco Range http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2018/07/15/surfactants-100-renewable-and-biobased-the-digests-2018-multi-slide-guide-to-crodas-eco-range/ Sun, 15 Jul 2018 11:30:45 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=93983

Croda’s new Eco Range of surfactants is 100% renewable and 100% biobased. Croda’s is the first plant of its type in North America to produce 100% renewable, 100% biobased surfactants. The versatile bio-ethylene oxide plant can accept bioethanol from different renewable sources.

The new line is registered and tested with the USDA BioPreferred Program. Furthermore, products containing palm oil derivatives are RSPO Supply Chain Certified via Mass Balance, according to Croda (stand 1149).

Greg Smith gave this illuminating overview of Eco Range’s promise and progress at ABLC 2018 in Washington DC.

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Prior to take-off: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to renewable jet fuels and certification http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2018/07/15/prior-to-take-off-the-digests-2018-multi-slide-guide-to-renewable-jet-fuels-and-certification/ Sun, 15 Jul 2018 11:23:29 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=93970

Before renewable jet fuel production comes renewable jet fuel certification. What is involved?

FAA and CAAFI stalwart Mark Rumizen presented on the process, the steps, the milestones and more at ABLC 2018 in Washington DC.

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Algae for the Advanced Bioeconomy: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to Cellana http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2018/07/15/algae-for-the-advanced-bioeconomy-the-digests-2018-multi-slide-guide-to-cellana/ Sun, 15 Jul 2018 11:16:29 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=93960

Cellana uses the most productive plants on earth—marine microalgae—to photosynthetically produce its ReNew line of Omega-3 EPA and DHA oils, animal feed, and biofuel feedstocks. Cellana’s patented ALDUO system, a series of photobioreactors coupled with open ponds, enables low-cost, continuous production of diverse strains of microalgae. Since 2009, Cellana has operated its Kona Demonstration Facility, a 6-acre, state-of-the-art production and research facility in Hawaii.

Martin Sabarsky gave this illuminating update on the company’s prospects and progress at ABLC 2018 in Washington DC.

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Driving sustainability into the mainstream: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to Genomatica http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2018/07/14/driving-sustainability-into-the-mainstream-the-digests-2018-multi-slide-guide-to-genomatica/ Sat, 14 Jul 2018 18:18:08 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=93906

Genomatica is a widely-recognized technology leader for the chemical industry, delivering new manufacturing processes that enable its partners to produce the world’s most widely-used chemicals from alternative feedstocks, with better economics and greater sustainability than petroleum-based processes.

CEO Christophe Schilling gave this illuminating overview of the company’s promise and progress at ABLC 2018 in Washington DC.

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