Jim Lane – Biofuels Digest http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest The world's most widely-read advanced bioeconomy daily Tue, 22 Jan 2019 21:49:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 From Take-Off to Offtake – Driving Sustainable Aviation Fuels to Commercial Scale http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2019/01/22/from-take-off-to-offtake-driving-sustainable-aviation-fuels-to-commercial-scale/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 21:38:13 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=101718

In a tale of two Washingtons, the sustainable aviation fuels movement will gather in Washington state in March and in Washington, D.C. in April to seek breakthroughs in the adoption rate of jet biofuels, which have been stalled for some time between the successful certification/demonstration efforts of the last decade and the widespread deployment which is the focus of all the effort.

The world is demonstrably interested in $2.00 fuels and demonstrably capable of mitigating aviation’s contributions to climate change at something around $5.00 per gallon. To put this in the context of flights and dollars, a jet burns roughly 31 gallons of fuel per passenger, flying from Seattle to Washington, D.C., or around $80 or so per passenger. So, switching to a $5.00 biofuel in a 10 percent blend (as a starting point in a journey towards sustainable fuels) would cost a passenger a premium of approximately $9. There’s plenty of evidence in totting up the sale of sandwiches, drinks, onboard wireless, premium economy seats, upgrades, lounge access and so forth that there’s substantial support for $10 price add-ons in aviation, these days. The lack of a direct benefit appears to be at issue.

One of these days, governments might impose a tax for carbon capture and storage, and then simply allow airlines to minimize that tax via utilizing low carbon fuels. It doesn’t seem unreasonable that taxes should be paid to clean up and store the residues of industrial or personal activity — after all, we pay to have garbage picked up and stored at the landfill. Think of it as a carbon storage charge — we pay data storage, why not carbon storage accounts?

And, that would set up a healthy competition between the purveyors of carbon storage and low-carbon fuels to rescue the costs that society pays to enjoy energy use, consequence-free. When carbon storage is costly and biofuels are cheap, we switch to more alternative low-carbon fuels. When low-carb fuels become costly and storage is cheap, why not store more?

That’s a basically rational market, for the long-term, and allows for expansion of energy consumption over time, as population grows and economies become more sophisticated. Bids for carbon capture storage might simply follow what in markets are called Dutch auctions (learn more about those, here). And a nice business opportunity for energy companies, long-term, would be gained for energy companies and others — competing both in the low-carbon fuels and carbon storage businesses. All it would require is the appointment of an authority to clean up the carbon trash — as, years ago, authorities were appointed to clean up bodies of water, or clean up alleys that stank from garbage and waste.

It’s worth pausing for a moment here, since one of these aforementioned events is being hosted by the Port of Seattle, to remember a Seattle-based civic pioneer named Jim Ellis, who pushed a series of municipal bond issues a generation ago to clean up Seattle’s Lake Washington (among many other objects aimed at greening Seattle). You might be surprised to learn that this successful civic effort aimed at environmental transformation was generally led by Republicans.

A group of young GOP leaders named a series of transformative bond issues “Forward Thrust” (using imagery from the development of supersonic transport by Boeing in the 1960s that also led to the nicknaming of Seattle’s NBA team the Supersonics). The same GOP leadership group also pushed through the establishment of Washington state’s Department of Ecology, which became one of the models for some of better aspects of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

All of which to say, from Iowa to Washington state, you more than occasionally run into the bipartisan spirit, albeit at a state level, when you visit the western United States and look into the nexus between environmental and development policy.

And we certainly could use some bipartisan spirit to establish a meaningful and enduring cost of carbon — but why not calculate the cost of carbon by comparing capture/storage to the cost of low-carb alternatives? In our current system we usually mandate some level of low-carbon fuels, and have a cap-and-trade system that gets invariably more expensive as the intensity of carbon reduction increases — because we are comparing to a petroleum baseline instead of a carbon storage baseline.

All that? Discussion for a future date — for now, we have the low-carbon legislation we have, (California, Oregon and British Columbia), plus the various mandates around the world that, none of them, directly address jet fuels at this time. And the discussion thereby becomes one of R&D, site selection, infrastructure, policy, offtake, financing — ultimately, feasibility.

The Seattle event – Washington Sustainable Aviation Fuels Summit

The Washington Sustainable Aviation Fuels Summit will be held 07-08, March 2019 and accepting registrations. Here is the link:  https://www.washingtonsaf.org.

About the event: At the two-day Washington Sustainable Aviation Fuels Summit, you will hear from national leaders on engaging and aligning the entire sustainable fuels value chain as we bring Washington’s most innovative industries together to develop a local supply chain of clean and sustainable fuels for aviation.

Location:  Bell Harbor International Conference Center

Audience: Sustainable Aviation Fuel value chain

Port leadership and staff, local government, state government, fuel producers, feedstock providers, financiers, national and international thought leaders, academia, NGOs, airlines, aircraft manufacturers, and large corporates in the Region.

Objectives of the event:

1. engage and align the entire sustainable fuels value chain toward sustainable aviation fuel solutions for the state of Washington;

2. garner a broad-based coalition of support for sustainable aviation fuels; and

3. inform the discussion around sustainable aviation fuels as WA legislators are contemplating a low carbon fuel standard.

The DC event – the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Summit at ABLC 2019.

The 2019 Sustainable Aviation Fuels Summit is part of ABLC, and also is up and accepting registrations.  Here is the link:

About the event: At the 3-day Washington Sustainable Aviation Fuels Summit, you will hear from national leaders on engaging and aligning the entire sustainable fuels value chain as we bring Washington’s most innovative industries together to develop a local supply chain of clean and sustainable fuels for aviation.

Location:  The Mayflower Marriott in downtown DC.

Audience: The global sustainable Aviation Fuel suppliers, scientists, consortia, airports, project developers, airlines, aircraft manufacturers, policymakers, financiers and NGOs.. It’s a key part of the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference, which takes place throughout the week (on stage April 3-5, and with sideline events earlier in the week).

Objectives of the event:

1. engage and align the entire sustainable fuels value chain toward sustainable aviation fuel solutions, worldwide. Highlight emerging technologies, financing structures, infrastructure developments, offtake opportunities, networking of project developers and suppliers, presentation of market forecasts, review of policy status and proposals including new proposals for low carbon fuel standards.

2. foster, support and educate the broad-based coalition of support for sustainable aviation fuels

Around the world, the latest in aviation fuels

In Colorado, Gevo and Renmatix announced a joint development agreement to evaluate the commercial feasibility of creating renewable jet fuel by integrating Renmatix’s Plantrose® Process with Gevo’s GIFTTM technology and alcohol to jet process. Renmatix’s Plantrose Process converts cellulosic feedstocks such as wood, agricultural residues, or other cellulosic raw materials to cellulosic-based sugars, the basic building blocks of sustainable fuels. Together, Renmatix and Gevo will explore project opportunities for renewable and low-emission fuel, isobutanol, jet fuel and isooctane in markets where there is a convergence of low-cost biomass and low-carbon fuel incentives.

In India, on December 17, Experimental Test Pilots and Test Engineer from IAF’s premier testing establishment ASTE, flew India’s first military flight using blended bio-jet fuel on the An-32 transport aircraft. The project is a combined effort of IAF, DRDO, Directorate General Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA) and CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum.

In Japan, Euglena has completed its new biofuel refinery plant and launched the production of algae and waste oil based biojet fuel and biodiesel in order to achieve their goal of being the first company to provide biofuel for commercial flights in Japan by 2020. The 60 million yen, or about $53 million, facility can produce 125 kiloliters of bio jet fuel and biodiesel per year, and it plans to raise the production capacity to 250,000 kiloliters by 2025, according to Nikkei Asian Review. The biojet fuel should qualify for ASTM certification by next spring and biodiesel produced from the new refinery is expected to be sold as early as next summer.

In California, Greencar Congress reports that researchers from JBEI along with Chinese colleagues have produced three promising aviation jet fuel feedstocks whose results were recently published in open-access journal Biotechnology for Biofuels. Researchers undertook computational analysis looking at three sesquiterpenes—epi-isozizaene, pentalenene and α-isocomene—and found they were comparable to commercial fossil-based jet fuel. They were then produced using bioengineering to demonstrate possible viable pathways for producing the feedstocks that are highly energy dense and have low freezing points.

In Australia, Virgin Australia announced it has achieved an Australian first, with the successful completion of a trial to deliver sustainable aviation fuel through Brisbane Airport’s general fuel supply system. Working in partnership with the Queensland Government, Brisbane Airport Corporation, US-based biofuel producer Gevo, Inc. and supply chain partners Caltex and DB Schenker, Virgin Australia led the procurement and blending of sustainable aviation fuel, or biojet, with traditional jet fuel for supply into the fuel infrastructure at Brisbane Airport.

In Indonesia, Reuters reports that the country is playing hardball with the US and France, demanding that its companies be able to set up aviation biofuel production plants using palm oil as feedstock in those countries in exchange for buying Boeing and Airbus planes, respectively. The country’s trade minister said he received positive feedback from the US’s secretary of commerce during meetings in late July and has also communicated the requirement to Airbus. Local media reports that the country said it would stop buying from Airbus if the EU banned palm oil use in biofuels.

In Canada, the Minister of Natural Resources issued a nationwide challenge to Canadians to develop the cleanest, most affordable and sustainable aviation fuel for the aviation sector to further reduce its carbon footprint and fight climate change. The Sky’s the Limit Challenge stimulates the development of sustainable aviation fuel supply chains so that the Canadian aviation industry can further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and lower the flying public’s environmental footprint. While the Canadian aviation sector has made significant investments in a fuel-efficient fleet, other measures such as sustainable aviation fuel will be required to achieve industry targets of carbon-neutral growth by 2020 and a 50 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.

New Energy Risk’s new performance insurance for TCG Global’s gasifiers and a significant project advance from Velocys in the UK are on the docket. These companies have key project components in common: the Red Rock Biofuels project which breaks ground in Lakeview, Oregon next month, aiming to supply 15 million gallons per year of renewable jet fuel to FedEx, Southwest Airlines and potentially the US Navy, made from waste woody biomass. TCG supplies the gasifier system and Velocys microchannel FT technology is converting that syngas to fuels.

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Algae Solutions to Global Dilemmas: The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide Guide to Global Algae Innovations http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2019/01/21/algae-solutions-to-global-dilemmas-the-digests-2019-multi-slide-guide-to-global-algae-innovations/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 02:43:17 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=101702

Global Algae Innovations was founded in 2013 and focuses on algae for commodities with initial technology development nearly complete.

Dave Hazlebeck from Global Algae Innovations gave this illuminating overview of how the algae industry can provide a solution to the protein crisis, algae production process, and more at ABLC Global 2018 in San Francisco – and it’s ready for you now at The Digest online.

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World Energy and Valero Lead Rebound in Biofuels M&A: 2018 Review http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2019/01/21/world-energy-and-valero-lead-rebound-in-biofuels-ma-2018-review/ Mon, 21 Jan 2019 23:17:28 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=101675

by Bruce Comer, Founder and Managing Director, Ocean Park

Special to The Digest

Convergence reigns as the North American biofuels industry witnesses a resurgence in mergers and acquisitions, including exceptionally large deals

Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in biofuels picked up considerably in 2018 after a slowdown in 2017, and by historic standards, the deals grew considerably in size. A total of 12 M&A transactions in the North American biofuels industry closed during 2018. In ethanol and biodiesel, nine deals took place worth an estimated $752 million, involving 15 facilities with 770 million gallons per year (MGPY) of capacity. In advanced biofuels, three transactions occurred involving two cellulosic ethanol facilities and one demonstration facility.

Two of these deals included the largest publicly reported biofuels M&A transactions since 2015. In ethanol, the sale of three Green Plains’ operating plants to Valero for $319M became the largest transaction in the ethanol sector since 2015. Post-transaction, Valero becomes the second largest ethanol producer in the U.S., accounting for 11 percent of total U.S. ethanol production capacity.

In biodiesel, the $345M combination between World Energy and BIOX Corporation took the mantle as the largest publicly announced biodiesel merger ever. The dollar-per-gallon transaction valuation of $1.17/gal reflects the high-margin operating environment for biodiesel in the U.S. The two companies had a history of working together, having previously formed a joint venture in 2016 to acquire a biodiesel plant in Texas.

While a few large strategic players focused on acquisitions in 2018, other biofuels producers focused on plant constructions and expansions. Ocean Park tracked 1.0 billion gallons per year (BGPY) of announced expansions and greenfield projects in 2018.

In ethanol, six companies announced or began construction of 323 MGPY of new capacity, including:

  • POET’s new 80 MGPY plant in Shelbyville, Indiana.
  • The Andersons’ construction of a 70 MGPY facility with ICM in Colwich, Kansas.

In biodiesel and renewable diesel, six U.S. companies either announced or completed over 726 MGPY of new capacity, including the following:

  • Valero and Darling will invest $1.1B to expand their Diamond Green Diesel renewable diesel facility by 400 MGPY before 2021.
  • World Energy will invest $350M to expand its Paramount, California refinery that produces renewable diesel and alternative jet fuel, from 45 MGPY to 306 MGPY.
  • REG submitted plans to expand its Geismar, Louisiana renewable diesel facility by 47 MGPY.
  • REG completed an expansion of its Ralston, Iowa biodiesel facility from 12 MGPY to 30 MGPY.
  • Andeavor announced plans to convert its Dickinson, North Dakota petroleum refinery to process 12,000 barrels per day of feedstocks into renewable diesel.

The increase in M&A deal volume in 2018, particularly in the biodiesel and renewable diesel space, underscores the ongoing convergence of renewable fuels producers and traditional petroleum refiners. The growing costs of compliance are motivating players to add low-carbon capacity through M&A, expansions and new construction.

Ethanol M&A

After a slow year in 2017, ethanol M&A picked up, with the following two transactions involving four plants with 345 MGPY of capacity:

  • Mercuria acquired Noble Group’s ethanol plant in South Bend, Indiana. As part of a restructuring, Noble divested its only ethanol plant in the U.S. Noble had originally purchased the non-operating plant in 2013. A Swiss-based commodities firm, Mercuria has no other ethanol assets in the US.

Valero acquired three ethanol plants from Green Plains in the Midwest. With this acquisition, Valero expanded its production capacity 20 percent to 1,700 MGPY, across 14 ethanol plants. The plants, located in Indiana, Iowa, and Michigan, have a combined production capacity of 280 MGPY. The transaction helped Green Plains strengthen its balance sheet.

Biodiesel M&A

Following a relatively slow M&A year in 2017, 2018 became the busiest year ever for biodiesel deals. Seven transactions closed involving 11 facilities, as follows:

  • Innoltek acquired Evoleum in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. Innoltek plans to invest an undisclosed amount to restart the 5 MGPY facility.
  • World Energy acquired a renewable diesel/renewable jet fuel facility and other assets from Delek in Paramount, California. The biofuels producer acquired Delek’s interests in AltAir Paramount for $72M. The purchase included a 63-acre complex consisting of a 45 MGPY renewable diesel/renewable jet fuel production facility, 1.7M barrels of product storage, truck racks, rail storage and 71 miles of pipelines.
  • World Energy merged with BIOX Corp. World Energy partnered with an investment group led by CFFI Ventures on a capital raise and merger with BIOX Corporation in a $345M deal. The combined company has total biodiesel capacity of 296 MGPY, making it the second largest biodiesel supplier in the US.
  • HERO BX acquired a biodiesel plant from Midwest Biodiesel Products in South Roxana, Illinois. The non-operating 12 MGPY plant sold through an auction. HERO BX anticipates operating the plant at 15 MGPY with multi-feedstock capability.
  • HERO BX acquired a biodiesel plant from Tenaska in Clinton, Iowa. HERO BX acquired another non-operating biodiesel plant, adding 10 MGPY to its total production capacity.
  • Green Energy Biofuel purchased an idle plant in Warrenville, South Carolina. The biofuels producer plans to invest $4.3M in the 40 MGPY facility over the next few years.
  • Crimson acquired SeQuential in Salem, Oregon. The California-based biodiesel producer acquired SeQuential, a 17 MGPY operating biodiesel plant. The combined operations will form one of the largest biodiesel companies on the West Coast.

Advanced Biofuels

Ocean Park tracked three advanced biofuels M&A transactions during 2018.

  • Frankens Energy acquired the former INEOS Bio plant in Indian River, Florida. The deal included the non-operating cellulosic ethanol facility and 150 acres of land. Frankens Energy plans to convert a portion of the site into an industrial eco-district for sustainable industrial businesses. In December, Frankens announced plans to sell the surplus land and equipment through an auction.
  • VERBIO acquired DuPont’s cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa. A leading German bioenergy producer acquired the 30 MGPY plant, with plans to convert the plant to produce renewable natural gas. VERBIO expects to use corn stalks, husks and cobs as feedstock.
  • Tiger Capital Group acquired the physical assets of Inaeris Technologies. The assets included a demonstration facility, pilot plant and lab equipment located in Pasadena, Texas. Inaeris had previously used the site to convert cellulosic biomass into drop-in fuels.

North American Biofuels Outlook for 2019

Regulatory: The year 2019 starts out with the looming question regarding the extension of the biodiesel Blenders Tax Credit (BTC), also not in place for 2018. Similarly to the BTC for 2017, retroactively reinstated in early 2018, the industry actively seeks reinstatement, retroactively, in early 2019.

Elsewhere in renewable fuels policy in the U.S., the EPA finalized renewable volume obligations for 2019 and 2020. A big win came for biomass-based diesel volumes for 2020, which increased 15 percent to 2.43 billion gallons, up from 2.1 billion gallons in 2018 and 2019.

Ethanol: U.S. ethanol producers continued to face strong headwinds in 2018 as profit margins deteriorated significantly through the second half of the year. The industry’s most active acquirer over the last five years, Green Plains, opted to divest several ethanol assets. High ethanol production levels, coupled with pricing pressure in corn and oil markets, will likely lead to more asset divestitures.

Biodiesel: For 2018, the effects of the U.S. International Trade Commission’s ruling against biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia resulted in increased domestic demand and record profits. In August 2018, operating margins were as high as $0.66/gal, the highest since November 20131. As a result of this favorable operating environment, many companies now have healthy balance sheets. Ocean Park expects an active M&A environment to continue as companies look for expansion opportunities.

California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard has been a key driver of increased production and local consumption of biodiesel and renewable diesel. The long-term, stringent carbon intensity reduction targets are motivating the expansion of new renewable diesel plants and continued M&A. Cross-border M&A might also be a theme as the financial incentives offered by the program attract global players.

Advanced Biofuels: The permanent shuttering and subsequent sale of DuPont’s $400 million cellulosic ethanol facility highlighted the challenges for new advanced biofuels technologies. Difficult macro conditions are likely to continue throughout 2019 for advanced biofuels as a result of low oil prices and volatile public policy. Due to these increased investment risks, many financial and strategic investors may have little appetite for project financing of nascent advanced biofuels technologies. Existing advanced biofuels companies on a tight cash runway that are unable to stretch funding are likely to come under financial pressure and seek M&A as a strategic alternative.

 About Ocean Park

Ocean Park is a boutique investment bank that advises on mergers and acquisitions, financings and restructurings with extensive experience in the renewable fuels, cleantech, food and agribusiness industries. Ocean Park has completed 28 renewable fuels M&A transactions since 2006. Any securities are offered through Ocean Park Securities, LLC, a member of FINRA and SIPC. Ocean Park’s professionals are licensed registered representatives of Ocean Park Securities, LLC. For more information, please visit www.oceanpk.com.

1 Based on data provided by Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD), which tracks biodiesel returns over operating costs for a typical continuous flow plant.

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Wood Pellets – Beyond Heat and Power: The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide Guide to IEA Bioenergy http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2019/01/20/wood-pellets-beyond-heat-and-power-the-digests-2019-multi-slide-guide-to-iea-bioenergy/ Sun, 20 Jan 2019 17:09:26 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=101649

IEA Bioenergy’s Task 40 has been looking to clarify where wood pellets could play a role in the (longer-term) future.

Uwe R. Fritsche and others from IEA Bioenergy gave this illuminating presentation on future markets for long-term viable wood pellet supply chains in a carbon-constrained world at ABLC Global 2018 in San Francisco – and it’s ready for you now at The Digest online.

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Wet Mill to Dry Mill: The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide Guide to FQPT http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2019/01/20/wet-mill-to-dry-mill-the-digests-2019-multi-slide-guide-to-fqpt/ Sun, 20 Jan 2019 16:57:54 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=101631

Fluid Quip Process Technologies provides fully integrated custom technologies and services to dry-grind ethanol and biochemical industries which include full plant design, process optimization studies, yield improvement technologies, new co-product technologies, and turnkey capital projects.

Neal Jakel of FQPT gave this illuminating overview of moving from wet mill to dry mill diversification model, and more at ABLC Global 2018 in San Francisco – and it’s ready for you now at The Digest online.

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Hot 50 Nominations 2019 now open! http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2019/01/17/hot-50-nominations-2019-now-open/ Thu, 17 Jan 2019 23:34:59 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=101587

 

Out of thousands of eligible organizations, who will make the Hot 50– who will get your vote? Expanded voting options via Twitter – special Photo voting

In Florida, The Digest announced the official opening of nominations for the 50 Hottest Companies in the Advanced Bioeconomy for 2019. Nominate companies here.

Voting Rules

Voting will be open to all registered subscribers of The Digest and invited selectors; this year, votes may also be cast via Photo Voting.

This year, votes will be weighted as follows: 40% based on votes received from the invited Panel of Selectors; 40 percent based on votes received from registered subscribers of The Digest, and 20 percent based on Photo Votes.

Nominations — You Gotta Be in It, To Win It

Each company or organization that receives a nomination will be included on the ballot, along with last years’ Hot 50 recipients. Nominations will remain open through Friday February 1st at 5pm ET.

Note: No company has yet made it into the Hot 50 as a write-in. So, nomination is virtually essential for a good result — “you have to be in it to win it,’ so make sure you nominate the companies you are a fan of.

Nominate companies here.

Company eligibility

Any company engaged in the advanced bioeconomy as a producer, supplier, investor or partner is eligible for the Hot 50.

Voting period

Hot 50 voting will begin February 11, 2019 and continue through March 15th, 2019 at 5pm ET.

Announcement of Hot 50 results at ABLC 2019 in Washington, DC – April 4th, 2019 and Hot Party

Hot 50 rankings will be announced at ABLC in Washington DC on April 4th, 2018 at 630pm ET, and we will honor the companies, their suppliers, industrial partners, investors and team at the annual Hot Party in Washington DC.

Selector balloting

Selectors will receive their official Hot 50 ballots from The Digest during the week of February 18, 2018 and must return them via email no later than 5pm ET, Friday, March 15, 2018.

Subscriber balloting

For the Hot 50, subscribers will receive a link to their official ballot in each e-mail newsletter issue of The Digest published between February 11, 2019 through March 15, 2019.

Photo Voting

This year, you may submit Photo votes in support of your candidate company. Each Photo Vote will count as five votes, and should be submitted between between February 11, 2019 through March 15, 2019 to hot50@biofuelsdigest.com.

Photo Votes will be distributed on the Digest’s Twitter and LinkedIn networks (subject to review for taste and originality) and each Like for each photo vote counts for 1 additional vote in the Hot 50.

The photo must be an original creative work — substantially created for the competition — and must contain the name of the company you are voting for and the words “Hot 50”. Repetitive photos (e.g. a photo of every employee in the company, holding a “Hot 50” sign), will not be counted.  The Digest retains the right to reject any photo on the grounds of lack of originality — e.g. repetitive photos for the same company, images that are from the public domain simply with a “Hot 50” inserted. Images from the public domain can be used if they are used as a springboard for an original creative effort representing an original idea.

PhotoVotes are unlimited in number, and can come from one person — if you submit ballot vote, you can still submit PhotoVotes.

Special bonus votes for Photo Voting

The most original PhotoVotes of the Week will count for 100 votes — the Digest will determine the number of awards given each week, based on the flow and quality of submissions.

Write-in votes

All companies that registered for the Hot 50 Rankings are included in the Official Ballot, but if there is a deserving company that did not register for the Official Ballot, voters are welcome to cast a write-in vote for that company.

Voting criteria

Voters may judge for themselves what makes a company “hot”.

In our view, we believe that “hot” represents an ideal blend of visibility and credibility. Companies that are substantive but unknown may be credible, but they are not hot. Likewise, companies that are widely-known but hyped are visible, but not hot. Hot is not the same as “best” – nor is it the same as “popular” – and the Rankings are neither intended to be a popularity contest nor a quality rating system.

Prohibited voting practices

Voters may not attempt to spam the ballot box through deceptive practices, nor may competing companies organize spam balloting efforts. The Digest reserves the right to reject any ballot it deems to be the product of a spamming campaign — or to cancel all ballots from that voter, or remove a company from the competition — and such a determination will be made in the Digest’s sole discretion, and its decision is final.

Prohibited voting practices include but are not limited to: creating multiple digital accounts in order to submit multiple ballots; using faked or borrowed digital accounts to submit multiple ballots in violation of daily ballot restrictions; or encouraging potential voters to create, borrow to otherwise use multiple digital accounts in order to submit multiple ballots.

In general, any practice designed to prevent a fair ballot is prohibited, and may result in the suspension of a company from the Hot 50 or the cancellation of any and all ballots which the Digest, in its sole discretion, deems to be tainted.

Permitted voting practices

Companies or individuals may exhort colleagues, friends or the general public to vote for a deserving company – campaigning for the Hot 50 is not prohibited so long as the voting itself is fair and ethical. Voters are permitted to vote for companies they are personally, directly or indirectly, affiliated with.

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Advanced Biofuels Cost Reduction: The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide ABLC Guide to IEA Bioenergy http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2019/01/16/advanced-biofuels-cost-reduction-the-digests-2019-multi-slide-ablc-guide-to-iea-bioenergy/ Thu, 17 Jan 2019 00:27:37 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=101574

IEA Bioenergy is looking at how advanced biofuels could be more affordable and what sort of policy support might be needed?

Adam Brown from IEA Bioenergy gave this illuminating overview of the potential for cost reduction for advanced biofuels at ABLC Global 2018 in San Francisco – and it’s ready for you now at The Digest online.

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Sustainable plastics – If we want a sustainable future, it will be driven by companies http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2019/01/16/sustainable-plastics-if-we-want-a-sustainable-future-it-will-be-driven-by-companies/ Wed, 16 Jan 2019 23:27:59 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=101543

By Tomi Nyman, Principal at Pöyry

Special to The Digest

It seems like there is a never-ending deluge of negativity about plastics in the media. Yet for all the valid and important points being made about the environmental impacts of plastics, the most important question is all too often missed: can plastics be replaced?

Ending plastic use is not an environmental panacea – indeed, it could lead to greater harm – and changing how we use them is not as straightforward as some commentators would like you to believe.

While it’s clear that plastics are not the enemy, we need to face reality: firstly, the materials we use in the future will need to sustainable and secondly, we need to overcome legitimate challenges that plastics are causing today. In my mind it is also clear that this change will be led by companies, big and small, as they seek to manage their impacts on the environment – and as they seek to ensure a long-term commercial standing for their businesses.

Company-led progress

It is entirely possible to find sustainable replacements for plastic products and packaging – and it doesn’t need to undermine existing commercial models. However, given the wealth of different plastics, all with different fundamental traits and properties, too often the response I hear back is that the bottleneck is simply finding the right solution to meet a particular problem.

It means developing alternatives plastics alone cannot be the solution. We must also create a framework to allow organisations to find appropriate alternatives. One solution we’ve explored at Pöyry, has been to develop our own substitution methodology. We built a database and a set of tools that reflect the various applications of fossil plastics and the available bio-based plastics and fibre-based materials. Using this, we can sort through the wealth of substitution options to find the right one for any particular end use scenario, whether that is in industry or consumer products.

Companies that make the switch are finding that using more sustainable substitutes helps them overcome reputational challenges, drive customer preference, and get ahead of their competition.

Plastics today

With all that said, substitution won’t solve the problems we already face with unsustainable plastics – but here too there are commercial solutions. Plastic is valuable, even as waste. We spend money in drilling for oil and producing plastics and then, after use, we quite literally throw it away or burn it. All plastics products and packaging are in fact valuable raw materials and should be treated as such even after use.

This can be done through recycling – in theory, everything can be recycled, it is just a matter of will – or through pyrolysis. Pyrolysis and thermochemical treatment of waste materials can turn them into hydrocarbons, which are a good reusable raw material, for example new plastics production. Thus, the construction of pyrolysis capacity and conversion of incineration units to pyrolysis is something worth considering. Traditional oil refineries need converting into bio-based hydrocarbon producing and plastics recycling units or they will become obsolete.

It is perhaps an unexpected truth that plastics are a good form of storage for carbon dioxide (CO2). In fact, the more bio-based plastics or other products we produce, the more CO2 we absorb from the atmosphere.

Creating a sustainable materials economy

A sustainable plastics future is possible, and businesses will be at the heart of championing it. We must seek to substitute our existing plastics for sustainable alternatives and ensure that plastics that exist can be recycled and reused.

The plastics economy can be completely transformed. Replacing the crude oil (and shale) with bio-based hydrocarbons in plastics production is possible. We can invest into chemically recycling of plastics and bio-based raw materials in new or modified assets. When we ensure the materials are recycled and leakage to the environment (for example excess heat or littering) is minimised the new circular economy starts to take over and almost roll forward on its own.

The Author

Tomi Nyman is an experienced business leader in the field of service business, consumer and B2B business, bioplastics and specialty chemicals, and renewable and sustainable development. Mr. Nyman has over 15 yers of experience in the chemicals and plastics industry in various roles. Prior to joining Poyry’s Finnish practice in 2018, Mr. Nyman spent almost 5 years at Neste heading their bioplastics and biochemical development programs.

 

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Biomass Biocrude: The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide ABLC Guide to Ensyn http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2019/01/15/biomass-biocrude-the-digests-2019-multi-slide-ablc-guide-to-ensyn/ Wed, 16 Jan 2019 00:25:29 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=101523

Ensyn produces a biocrude from forest and agricultural residues using its proprietary thermal technology.

Dr. Robert G. Graham, Founder and Executive Chairman of Ensyn gave this illuminating overview of their growth in RFO, advancement in refinery co-processing, and start-up of a new 10 million gallon/year production facility in Quebec at ABLC Global 2018 in San Francisco.

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Porsche hemp race car, cigarette butt bricks, biobased boo-boo bandages, flax phone cases, bursting balloon bubbles, and more: The Digest’s Top 10 Innovations for the week of January 16th http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2019/01/15/porsche-hemp-race-car-cigarette-butt-bricks-biobased-boo-boo-bandages-flax-phone-cases-bursting-balloon-bubbles-and-more-the-digests-top-10-innovations-for-the-week-of-january-16th/ Tue, 15 Jan 2019 23:42:13 +0000 http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/?p=101504

The pace of bioeconomy invention and change continues at a frenetic pace. Here are the top innovations for the week of January 16th.

In today’s Digest, Porsche hemp race car, cigarette butt bricks, biobased boo-boo bandages, flax phone cases, bursting balloon bubbles — these and more, ready for you now at The Digest online.

#1 Porsche introduces race car with hemp body

In Germany, Porsche is using hemp within the body of one of its race cars.

Porsche’s 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport uses a composite made from organic hemp and flax fibers instead of the traditional carbon fiber/polymer resin material. According to the luxury sports car maker, the material is similar in weight and stiffness but is more environmentally friendly.

A $150,000 Trackday model of the Cayman GT4 is available, while a higher-performing, competition version will set you back $175,000. The company has not indicated if it might use the composite material in any of its consumer models.

Henry Ford reportedly produced a model car with body material made from cellulose from hemp, wheat, and soybeans, although the specs have since been lost.
More on the story, here.

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