Biofuels Digest The world's most widely-read advanced bioeconomy daily Sun, 16 Dec 2018 20:07:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fast Pyrolysis Technology: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide ABLC Guide to Biomass Technology Group Sun, 16 Dec 2018 15:31:08 +0000

Biomass Technology Group develops fast pyrolysis technology and FPBO applications as well as the commercialization of such technology and production of fast pyrolysis bio-oil.

Bert van de Beld from BTG gave this illuminating overview of their fast pyrolysis technology and commercial scale demo plant in the Netherlands at ABLC Global 2018 in San Francisco – and it’s ready for you now at The Digest online.

Cathay Industrial Biotech invests $500M to expand biobased materials production Sat, 15 Dec 2018 20:13:09 +0000

In China, Cathay Industrial Biotech takes a decisive step to expand its output of bio-based pentamethylene diamine and long-chain diacids with a $500 million investment. This will double Cathay’s production capacity of the respective products at the Wusu site and meet the expanding market demand. Cathay will apply its latest proprietary technologies.

Cathay has successfully completed the construction of the first phase of its Wusu manufacturing plant and has started up production of 30,000 tons of bio-method long-chain diacids, 50,000 tons of bio-based pentamethylene diamine and 100,000 tons of bio-based polyamides. According to the agreement, an additional investment of USD 500 million will be made in the same facility in order to expand the annual output by 30,000 tons of bio-process long-chain diacids and 50,000 tons of bio-based pentamethylene diamine.

Cathay operates two production plants. One has an annual capacity of 40,000 tons of bio-process long-chain diacids. It also operates over thousand tons of pilot production lines for bio-based pentamethylene diamine and bio-based polyamides. Cathay’s second production plant has output capacities of 30,000 tons of bio-method long-chain diacids, 50,000 tons of bio-based pentamethylene diamine and 100,000 tons of bio-based polyamides. The Wusu plant commenced production in the second half of 2018.


Stora Enso invests in sludge separation technology at mill resulting in biofuel Sat, 15 Dec 2018 20:10:25 +0000

In Finland, Stora Enso will invest $24.8 million (EUR 22 million) at Skoghall Mill in Sweden in an expansion of the existing water treatment plant which is used in the production of cartons where small particles of wood fiber remain. By expanding the plant, the separation of sludge is improved, which in turn improves the quality of the water that is returned to the near-by Lake Vänern. The sludge can also be used as biofuel.

Increased capacity and new, modern technology will enhance the water treatment process at the mill. This will reduce the environmental impact of the operations and help to meet future environmental requirements.

“We always strive to use as much of the wood as possible, to find new uses for our by-products, and to minimise our environmental footprint,” says Margareta Sandström, Environmental Manager at the Skoghall Mill.

The project consists of three larger pools for more efficient sedimentation, along with associated process and control systems. Work is due to start immediately and is expected to continue until early 2020.

Hurtigruten first to use liquid biogas in new ships Sat, 15 Dec 2018 20:08:26 +0000

In Norway, Hurtigruten revealed plans to use liquid biogas in new ships that were launched at Kleven shipyard in Norway.

Hurtigruten chief executive Daniel Skjeldam told Passenger Ship Technology that the new ships would “change the industry, push the boundaries and change the entire face of cruising.” He said these “hybrid cars of the ocean” would cut emissions by 20%.

“Hurtigruten is the first company to opt to use liquid biogas,” according to Passenger Ship Technology. “This will be added to the power mix of its six Norwegian coast vessels it is converting to LNG and battery power and now LBG as well.” Mr. Engebretsen told Passenger Ship Technology “We will blend the LNG with LBG, and the LBG will make up 10-15% of the mix with the LNG.”

RSB members approve new standard for advanced products Sat, 15 Dec 2018 20:04:15 +0000

In Switzerland, members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials approved their new Advanced Products Standard, calling it “groundbreaking.” The new standard was “The culmination of over 18 months of consultation, expert working groups and member dialogue,” and “provides the most robust set of sustainability requirements and criteria for the certification of non-energy products (including textiles, packaging, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and plastics),” according to their press release. “For the first time, products from recycled carbon and non-biogenic waste will be able to carry real and credible sustainability claims.”

“The new RSB standard for Advanced Products will be a critical standard supporting both the development of a circular and bio-based economy. It is unique in that it covers a broad range of possible feedstocks and supply chain options including bio-based products, carbon recycling and the use of bio-based feedstocks in complex integrated production systems and supply chains,” Said Dr. Susanne Veith, EU Government Affairs Manager, DowDuPont Specialty Products (DuPont) Division.


Biodiesel prices rise sharply Sat, 15 Dec 2018 20:02:53 +0000

In Germany, UFOP reports that for several years now, bumper crops have led to global oversupply and, as a consequence, a build-up of stocks at high levels. At the same time, the shares of biofuels in the top agricultural commodity exporting countries in Asia and North and South America reached new record highs. Governments have responded to the surpluses by raising the national biofuels mandates to stabilise producer prices. The current biodiesel hype, which has little impact on selling prices of raw rapeseed oil, shows that fuel prices have little influence on agricultural commodity prices. Demand for rapeseed methyl ester over the past few weeks caused a decline in supply, but feedstock remained abundant at all times. Consequently, rapeseed oil prices only rose slightly. At the same time, the price gap between rapeseed oil and palm oil widened to approximately EUR 300 per tonne, according to information published by Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft mbH (AMI). The key issue affecting the product chain of rapeseed processing and biodiesel production in Germany is the uncertain transport situation due to low water levels in Germany’s rivers that have curtailed the flow of goods and led to rising prices.

Ethanol production 3.9% lower than last year at this time Sat, 15 Dec 2018 19:37:18 +0000

In Washington, D.C., ethanol production averaged 1.046 million barrels per day (b/d)—or 43.93 million gallons daily, down 23,000 b/d (2.2%) from the prior week and 42,000 b/d (3.9%) lower than last year at this time, according to government data released and analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association. The four-week average for ethanol production pared back to 1.051 million b/d—3.0% below last year at this time—for an annualized rate of 16.11 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol were 22.9 million barrels. That is down marginally from 23.0 million barrels the prior week. There were zero imports recorded for the fourth week in a row. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of October 2018.)

Average weekly gasoline demand climbed 1.8% from the previous week to 9.036 million barrels (379.5 million gallons) daily. This is equivalent to 138.52 billion gallons annualized. Refiner/blender input of ethanol grew 1.6% to 910,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.95 billion gallons annualized. Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to 11.58%.

Brazil challenges India’s subsidies on sugar at WTO Sat, 15 Dec 2018 16:36:46 +0000

In Brazil, Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, UNICA, has been working with the government of Brazil to demonstrate the damages India’s subsidies caused to Brazilian exports during the last sugarcane harvest. In a meeting held last week, the Brazilian Foreign Trade Chamber (CAMEX) decided to initiate proceedings at the World Trade Organization (WTO) for challenging India’s subsidies to sugar production and exports. It was understood that the country’s subsidies for the commodity violate international rules and have had a negative impact on the global market for the product, which has already declined by 40% in 2018. UNICA has been working with the government of Brazil to demonstrate that these measures are not only questionable under WTO rules, but have also been responsible for significant losses to the local industry.

The Indian government has established a support for local producers that exceeds the maximum volumes allowed for developing countries, as a percentage of total value of the production. In addition, it has provided direct subsidies to mills, with a minimum total export quota of 5 million MT and indirect subsidies to cover logistics costs on exports.

NRRI lab moves solid biofuel toward commercialization Sat, 15 Dec 2018 16:34:23 +0000

In Minnesota, the Natural Resources Research Institute is helping a new start-up in John Day, Oregon, open a new market for the biomass by developing a coal alternative for energy production. The goal of Restoration Fuels is to convert trees thinned from the Malheur National Forest into a compressed renewable fuel that has energy content similar to Powder River Basin coal while reducing pollutants. Producing a high value product from forest waste makes the effort to harvest the wood more profitable and appealing. The key to moving this forward is NRRI’s complex roasting capability with a rotary torrefaction kiln system.

“Like many states, Oregon is looking to green-up their fuels to reduce carbon emissions,” said NRRI’s Kevin Kangas. “And with the downturn in the paper and lumber industries over the last few decades, forests just aren’t being managed like they once were. A new forest products industry could help.”

$$$ from Neste, Fulcrum, others making renewable diesel a dream come true Sat, 15 Dec 2018 16:31:10 +0000

There is huge news for renewable diesel right now and not just with one company or one country. It’s a global ‘wahoo’ type of ‘holy cow, is this really happening’ news. The kind of news that you have to pinch yourself to make sure it’s not just a dream.

But it’s real. By The Digest’s estimates, there’s been close to two billion dollars in investments in renewable diesel lately. And the capacity just keeps growing. Between World Energy, Zymergen, Phillips 66 and REG, Diamond Green Diesel, Fulcrum, Red Rock, Raj Renewables, Dynamic Fuels, and more, it’s really happening….More money going into renewable diesel than big timers Google or Tesla. Yep, that’s right. Go ahead and pinch yourself.

Neste’s investment in Singapore is the cherry on top. A very big $1.58 billion cherry on top. We aren’t talking about money going into R&D either…this is actual money to market. Money to make it happen. Renewable diesel is past the R&D stage, much like a 12 year old is past the Barbie or Transformers stage…well, some are.

The $1.58B investment

Neste’s been looking at the growing global market demand for low-carbon solutions in transport and cities, aviation, polymers and chemicals. Now it is acting on their research by such a major investment renewable products production capacity in Singapore.

The investment worth approximately EUR 1.4 billion (about $1.5 billion) will extend Neste’s renewable product overall capacity in Singapore by up to 1.3 million tons per annum, bringing the total renewable product capacity close to 4.5 million tons annually in 2022. The company’s target is to start up the new production line during the first half of 2022.

“Neste is in the business of helping transport and cities, aviation, polymers and chemicals customers make their business more sustainable and will continue to lead the way for renewable products. We are already a global leader in renewable products produced from waste and residues. This investment marks an important step in the execution of our profitable growth strategy globally,” says Peter Vanacker, President and CEO of Neste.

As a result of the investment, Neste will have more options to choose between different product solutions in the whole production system. In addition to producing renewable diesel, all Neste’s renewable product refineries are able to produce renewable aviation fuel and raw materials for various polymers and chemicals materials. The investment in Singapore will include additional logistics capabilities and enhanced raw material pretreatment for the use of increasingly low-quality waste and residue raw materials also for the existing refinery.

“The investment will strengthen our competitive advantages which are based on the global optimization of our production and waste and residue raw material usage. With our proprietary NEXBTL technology, renewable products can be refined flexibly from a wide variety of lower quality waste and residues while the end-products retain their high quality. We will leverage the experience gained at our existing sites in Singapore, Rotterdam, the Netherlands and Porvoo, Finland, and thanks to our continuous process and technology development, the new production line will be the best in class worldwide,” Vanacker continues.

Neste currently has a renewable products production capacity of 2.7 million tons annually. Of this total, over one million is produced in Singapore, the same amount in Rotterdam in the Netherlands and the rest in Porvoo, Finland. Before the new production line in Singapore, Neste said it will continue eliminating bottlenecks in existing production, bringing the existing capacity to 3 million tons by 2020.

Not just Neste…

Fulcrum Bioenergy gave us more news to jump for joy about this week too, with their new Centerpoint BioFuels Plant planned for Gary, Indiana, which will convert municipal solid waste into low-carbon, renewable transportation fuel.

“Launching our business in Indiana is an important next step in expanding Fulcrum’s capabilities to new cities rich in innovation and opportunity,” said Jim Macias, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fulcrum. “Fulcrum’s municipal solid waste-to-fuels process will help reduce the impacts from climate change and boost the economy by producing low-carbon transportation fuel as well as bringing high-paying jobs and investment to northwest Indiana.”

Construction is expected to begin in 2020 and will take approximately 18-24 months to complete. Once operational, the Centerpoint plant will divert and process approximately 700,000 tons of waste from the Greater Chicago area. The plant will process the waste, which will be converted offsite into a prepared feedstock, and will produce approximately 33 million gallons of fuel annually.

Centerpoint will deploy Fulcrum’s proprietary process which reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80% when compared to conventional fossil fuels and will generate hundreds of jobs in the region, creating 160 full-time permanent jobs and 900 construction jobs.

Bottom Line

So can money buy happiness? Ask a 6-year-old opening their favorite toy on Christmas morning and the answer is probably yes. But even if it can’t buy happiness, at the very least, money can tell a story. The story we are hearing from all these investments in deployment, not demonstration or development, tells a story that this stuff is getting into the market and that is pretty exciting.

Ten years ago, we couldn’t even dream of this kind of money going into renewable diesel. Today, it’s reality. A cool, amazing reality and that is cause for celebration.