Biofuels Digest The world's most widely-read advanced bioeconomy daily Sun, 16 Jun 2019 18:40:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 4 Key Bioenergy Technologies: The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide Guide to SoCalGas Sun, 16 Jun 2019 18:40:21 +0000

The Southern California Gas Company is the primary provider of natural gas to the region of Southern California and has a vision to become the cleanest natural gas utility in North America. As California works to achieve its climate change goals, SoCalGas is working on low carbon energy resources and energy conversion technologies to help California advance its clean energy agenda.

Ron Kent, Advanced Technologies Development Project Manager for Southern California Gas Company, a Sempra Energy Utility, gave this illuminating overview of 4 important technologies that are pathways for renewable fuels and GHG emissions mitigation—low-cost concentrated solar thermal, hydrothermal processing, biomethanation, and BECCS. Find out how these technologies perform and more.

ANA and LanzaTech Sign Offtake Agreement for Sustainable Aviation Fuel Sun, 16 Jun 2019 12:00:47 +0000

In the land of the rising sun, things are looking a whole lot brighter for All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest airline, and for LanzaTech and their sustainable aviation fuel. ANA and LanzaTech signed an offtake agreement for sustainable aviation fuel – a big step in ANA’s efforts to minimize its environmental impact and meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a target date of 2021 for the delivery of the sustainable aviation fuel.

Biofuels is not new for ANA, though. They purchased 70,000 gallons of sustainable aviation fuel from Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. earlier this year in January. “This bio jet fuel will be mixed to the current fuel ANA is using on the San Francisco flights and lead to the reduction of roughly 150 tons of carbon dioxide,” according to ANA.

As for U.S.-based LanzaTech, in case you have been stuck on a deserted island for the last few years and don’t know much about the #1 company of The Digest’s 2019 “50 Hottest Companies in the Advanced Bioeconomy” rankings, you can read The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide Guide here.

In a nutshell, LanzaTech is using their advanced microorganism-powered gas fermentation technology to create ethanol and commercializing technology developed in collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Labs (PNNL) that allows for the production of sustainable aviation fuel. LanzaTech has already launched operations of a commercial plant in China, which uses this technology, and together with PNNL has also established catalyst technology to produce SAF fuel from ethanol, according to the Mitsui & Co., Ltd. press release. This is a huge win for the DOE and PNNL as it’s proof that research and work conducted in labs can lead to commercialization of new fuels technology.

“Also we have a grant from the DOE for Phase 1 work to get a demonstration plant shovel ready,” LanzaTech’s CEO Dr. Jennifer Holmgren told The Digest. “We will have completed that work later this year. It is going really well. So we are ready to start construction on our demonstration plant.” LanzaTech is now raising cash to build the demo and then quickly after that plan on building three commercial 30 million gallon per year plants, according to Holmgren.

Dr. Holmgren sees the big picture of all this too and is sharing that vision with others. “At a time when there is a real need to reduce our global carbon footprint, doing everything serially is not going to get us to where we need to be,” Holmgren told The Digest. “While I personally have burnt out on traveling, it would be a sad world, indeed, if travel becomes so expensive that the far reaches of our beautiful planet are not accessible to most people. This means that bold action is needed, so raising cash to enable building a demo and then 3 commercial plants in parallel will help change the dynamics of the sustainable aviation fuel market. We are talking a minimum of 100 million gallons per year of sustainable aviation fuel (aka LanzaJet) in ~ 4 years from today.”

And that is pretty incredible when you think about current SAF production.

LanzaTech Freedom Pines Biorefinery, Soperton, GA

So how is Mitsui involved? You may remember them as a lead investor in LanzaTech in 2014 and then as a strategic investor back in 2018. They are working with LanzaTech to jointly develop a sustainable aviation fuel manufacturing business that utilizes LanzaTech’s catalytic technology. ANA signed a partnership agreement with Mitsui & Co., Ltd., and “ANA plans to implement these exciting breakthroughs by testing LanzaTech’s sustainable aviation fuel made from industrial waste emissions on our new delivery flight this fall,” according to ANA’s press release.

According to Mitsui, “The companies are now progressing with business collaboration, and as part of the MOU Mitsui and ANA will jointly conduct a delivery flight of a newly built aircraft from the USA to Japan in fall 2019 using SAF produced by LanzaTech.”

Why LanzaTech? Why biofuel?

Curious on the why behind this latest decision? Did ANA choose LanzaTech because they were the #1 company of The Digest’s 2019 “50 Hottest Companies in the Advanced Bioeconomy”? We’d like to think so, but here’s what we do know:

ANA knows sustainability for the aviation industry is of utmost importance right now. According to their press release, “As ANA increases its global presence, the airline is working to ensure that it maintains its reputation for global leadership on issues of sustainability. With sustainability emerging as a crucial question for all modern businesses, ANA remains committed to upholding its values and preserving our shared home. ANA has always aimed to challenge the norms and raise the bar in the airline industry, striving to set the standard for service, comfort and sustainability. By working with LanzaTech to implement sustainable aviation fuel, ANA hopes to enhance the quality of fuel used in its aircraft while also meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of its efforts to become the most eco-friendly airline group in the world.”

How’s that for a lofty goal? Most eco-friendly airline group in the world? Watch out KLM, Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines, JetBlue and all the others out there working on lowering their impact via aviation biofuels. All in all, it’s amazing to see the aviation industry coming together on sustainability and working to improve their products and services not just for people but for planet too.

So ANA’s focus on sustainability and wanting to be the most eco-friendly airline group in the world “led the airline to conduct a comprehensive search for the most efficient sustainable aviation fuel, selecting LanzaTech’s unique product for its flexibility and high energy density.”

So what did they love the most about LanzaTech’s fuel? “The sustainable aviation fuel developed by LanzaTech does not contain any sulfur and as per current international standards for all sustainable aviation fuel used in commercial flights will be blended with at least 50% conventional jet fuel, easing the transition to full sustainability,” according to ANA.

As for LanzaTech, they are super happy about seeing airlines talk about SDG goals. “More and more globally you see corporations trying to ensure they and their products meet these criteria,” Holmgren told The Digest. “It is an important focus and links beautifully to what we do and our ambitions as a company to make a better world for all. The ANA release also mentions RSB (Round Table for Sustainable Biomaterials) which is, of course, critical to getting it right.”

LanzaTech Freedom Pines Biorefinery, Soperton, GA

Reactions from the majors


“ANA has always been guided by our values, and our decision to transition to sustainable aviation fuel reflects how seriously we take our commitment to the environment,” said Akihiko Miura, Executive Vice President of ANA. “Adopting this advanced fuel will allow us to reduce CO2 emissions and meet the ambitious sustainable development goals that we have set for the airline. At ANA, we seek innovative solutions to the most pressing problems, and we will continue looking for ways to reduce our ecological impact in order to create a better world.”


“Amid an upward trend in demand for air freight, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has set a goal for the industry to cap CO2 emissions beyond 2020. Reflecting the growing need to align business activities with ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mitsui will work towards the successful establishment of a low-carbon society through the stable and long-term supply of SAF, and contribute to measures to tackle global warming and other challenges currently facing our planet.”


“LanzaTech is committed to scaling and commercializing Sustainable Aviation Fuel quickly to ensure gallons are available for airlines focused on meeting their CORSIA obligations,” Holmgren told The Digest. “Success is only possible through strong collaboration including the aviation industry and the environmental community. We are thrilled to be working with Air Nippon Airlines and Mitsui who are commitment to creating a low carbon future through the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel. These companies are well aligned with our vision of creating a better world for all through their commitment to following the guiding principles of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Roundtable for Sustainable Biomaterials.”

Bottom Line

ANA wants to be the most eco-friendly airline in the world.

LanzaTech wants no carbon left behind and wants to change the world for the better and bring sustainable aviation fuel to global commercialization asap.

Mitsui wants reduced CO2 emissions through its supply chain to Japan and other markets around the world.

Can it be done? Sure can, and these three companies are on the right path to making it happen. In the land of the rising sun, things are looking brighter indeed.

Scientists better understand how proteins move out of cells Sun, 16 Jun 2019 03:46:34 +0000

In Missouri, Gavin King and a team of scientists at the University of Missouri used an atomic force microscope to study the movement of the E.coli proteins. Unlike previous studies where proteins were frozen, the atomic force microscope allowed researchers to observe the proteins moving in a fluid environment that closely resembles their natural environment.

These findings provide basic knowledge on how a cell sends and receives material and information. For instance, a drug can pass through membranes in order to affect a cell, and similarly, some information must pass through membrane channels to exit the cell. While other cells besides E.coli may not have E.coli’s exact protein transportation system, King said a similar system exists in all cells.

Senate bill focusing on small refiner exemptions from RFS introduced Sun, 16 Jun 2019 03:43:57 +0000

In Washington, D.C., Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced the RFS Integrity Act of 2019 on Friday. The bill sets a June 1 deadline for small refiners to submit petitions for exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), requires transparency in filing in place of the current confidential waiver process, requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to account for exempted gallons when determining annual renewable volume obligations (RVOs), and requires the EPA to report to lawmakers on the methodology used to determine granted waivers. The June 1 deadline would also give the EPA time to calculate the volumes waived and apply them to the next year’s blending mandates, the senators said in a statement according to Reuters.

Largest volume in 44 weeks for ethanol production Sun, 16 Jun 2019 03:42:25 +0000

In Washington, D.C. ethanol production expanded by 52,000 barrels per day (b/d), a 5.0% increase, at an average of 1.096 million b/d—equivalent to 46.03 million gallons daily and the largest volume in 44 weeks, according to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association.

The four-week average ethanol production rate moved 2.5% higher to 1.067 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 16.36 billion gallons (bg). Ethanol stocks dropped 3.3% to 21.8 million barrels—the lowest volume in 46 weeks. Stocks declined across all five regions (PADDs). Imports of ethanol were 44,000 b/d, or 12.94 million gallons for the week. This was the first time in 30 weeks (and first of 2019) that import volumes were logged. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of April 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied rose 4.6% to 9.877 million b/d (414.8 million gallons per day, or 151.41 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol grew 2.4% to 953,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.61 bg annualized. Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production increased to 11.10%.

German biodiesel exports rose substantially in Q1 2019 Sun, 16 Jun 2019 03:41:20 +0000

In Germany, UFOP reports that German biodiesel exports increased sharply in the first quarter of 2019, with exports to Great Britain seeing the biggest growth. In the first three months of 2019, German exports of biodiesel surged around 33 per cent to 581,248 tonnes year-on-year. Around 87 per cent of these exports were shipped to EU-28 countries. This was up just over 37 per cent from the previous year.

The top purchaser of German biodiesel was the Netherlands, with imports soaring 47 per cent to 230,465 tonnes. However, Great Britain recorded the biggest increase, purchasing 40,000 tonnes of biodiesel from Germany, which was more than five times as much as in the year-earlier period. Belgium, the US and Austria also recorded large quantities and strong growths. Belgium purchased a total of 88,350 tonnes, which means that the country almost doubled its imports year-on-year. On the other hand, exports to the US, at 53,696 tonnes, were up 26 per cent from the reference period. Austria followed with total imports of 43,450 tonnes in the period under consideration. This was also up almost 26 per cent year-on-year. According to Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (mbH) Sweden and the Czech Republic also imported larger amounts of German biodiesel compared to the same period a year earlier. In contrast, shipments to Switzerland and, first and foremost, France declined.

Neste’s Zero Island project cuts emissions on Lidö by 78% Sun, 16 Jun 2019 03:38:32 +0000

In Sweden, Neste and its partners set to turn the island of Lidö in the Swedish archipelago into a climate neutral Zero Island in just 12 months. As a result of the project, the island’s emissions were brought down by an impressive 78 percent from their previous levels and included solutions like using Neste MY Renewable Diesel in vehicles as well as in Räfsnäs Sjöstranport ferry traffic to the island, and Fortum’s solar power solutions. Several solutions helped improve energy efficiency and reduce waste, and recycling was given extra thought. The island also switched to using fossil free green electricity.

Neste tapped into the expertise of cleantech and sustainability specialists from Solved and Aktea and worked closely with Skärgårdsstiftelsen to make sure none of the natural values were compromised.

IRENA report shows cost of electricity from bioenergy down 14% Sun, 16 Jun 2019 03:35:01 +0000

In the United Arab Emirates, a new International Renewable Energy Agency report said that the global weighted-average cost of electricity from concentrating solar power (CSP) declined by 26%, bioenergy by 14%, solar photovoltaics (PV) and onshore wind by 13%, hydropower by 12% and geothermal and offshore wind by 1%, respectively.

The report, titled “Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2018”, said that costs for renewable power reaffirms renewables as a low-cost solution to boost global climate action. The IRENA report also said that costs for renewable energy technologies decreased to a record low last year. Cost reductions, particularly for solar and wind power technologies, are set to continue into the next decade, the new report finds.

Stora Enso to convert Oulu paper mill into packaging board mill Sun, 16 Jun 2019 03:33:51 +0000

In Finland, Stora Enso is investing approximately EUR 350 million (about $390 million) to convert the Oulu paper mill into packaging production. The typical end uses for kraftliner are in packaging segments that require high strength, quality and purity, such as food, fruit and vegetables as well as heavy duty packaging. Production will target global export markets.

Oulu Mill’s current capacity is 1 080 000 tonnes of woodfree coated papers annually. Typical end-uses for woodfree coated papers are e.g. high-quality advertising and magazines. Paper production is expected to continue until the end of September 2020.

The converted Oulu Mill will directly employ approximately 180 people. Wood consumption at the mill will increase by 0.5 million m3 to 2.4 million m3 annually. Wood will be purchased mainly from private forest owners in Northern Finland. Production on the converted machine is estimated to start by the end of 2020.

Cielo Waste Solutions’ opens Aldersyde renewable fuels refinery Sun, 16 Jun 2019 03:32:06 +0000

In Canada, Cielo Waste Solutions Corp. is holding the “Grand Opening” of its renewable fuels refinery in Aldersyde, Alberta on July 11th. Cielo has been working diligently since its temporary shut-down of the Refinery, as announced on May 7, 2019, in order to facilitate the installation of its new heater equipment and waste recovery process. Tours will be offered to interested parties.

Cielo’s contractors have assured Cielo’s management that the equipment installation will be completed and continuous-flow of the Refinery’s production will be achieved in advance of July 11th, 2019.  Cielo continues to make progress with respect to implementing a cost-effective desulfurization solution of its renewable diesel.