Biofuels Digest The world's most widely-read advanced bioeconomy daily Fri, 03 Apr 2020 11:31:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Reporters’ Notebook: The 10 Most Overlooked bioeconomy stories of the week Fri, 03 Apr 2020 00:00:43 +0000

Amidst a tsunami of wall-to-wall ‘Rona coverage, a series of storylines have been lost in the shuffle that will have impacts near and wide-ranging for the bioeconomy, some of them relating directly to testing, scale-up and deployment of health remedies — some in the broader bioeconomy.

Out of reporter’s notebook and into your hands, here are the Top 10 Stories That Went Overlooked.

It’s not just demand destruction on the fuel side, there’s some demand shifting also from gasoline to diesel. And we understand that the impact of gasoline markets in the US alone could be up to 230 million gallons a week. How does that happen, exactly?

For starters, consider that there are about 128 million households in the US and 88 percent of them use a car to do the shopping, says this source. And shoppers, it says, make 6-7 trips per week and drive just under 4 miles each way, to visit groceries, shopping clubs, pharmacies, and other retail outlets. They’re getting about 25 miles a gallon, it says here.

Put that together and it’s not the lion’s share of US sedan transport, but it’s not nothing. Something like 230 million gallons of E10 gasoline a week, or around 23 million gallons of ethanol each week (as much as a billion gallons a year of renewable fuel).

Where’s that headed? A whole lot of ordering is moving from “customer loads at the store and brings home, using gasoline” to “customer orders delivery by truck, using diesel”. We’ll keep looking for more data on actual demand destruction, but here’s a heads up that the bad news for ethanol in some cases means good news for renewable diesel and biodiesel.

More on the story, here.

Ethanol production falls 16.4% on week to lowest seen in six years Thu, 02 Apr 2020 21:56:13 +0000

In Washington, Biofuels International reports that Energy Information Administration data shows ethanol production suffered the largest week-on-week drop since the EIA began tracking 10 years ago as it fell to just 840,000 barrels per day last week, the lowest seen in six years and 16.4% lower than the week before, as the industry slows down to face falling demand resulting from impacts from the coronavirus. Even so, ethanol stocks reached a new high of 25.7 million barrels, 6.5% higher than the week prior.

Chicago Argo prices hit fifth new low in three weeks Thu, 02 Apr 2020 21:55:09 +0000

In Illinois, Platts reports Chicago Argo ethanol prices fell to a new record low of 84.8 cents per gallon earlier this week, falling from the previous low set on March 23, the fifth time a new low has been hit in the past three weeks. Demand for ethanol continues to slump as drivers stay home to shelter in place from COVID-19. Even though ethanol producers are scaling back production in the face of negative margins, lack of storage capacity and falling demand, stocks continue to rise.

Gevo engages Citigroup Global Markets to help seek financing Thu, 02 Apr 2020 21:54:13 +0000

In Colorado, Gevo announced the engagement of Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. to assist Gevo in exploring financing for its operations, including its projects.  Gevo is seeking financing to expand its production capabilities to supply its renewable jet fuel and isooctane pursuant to Gevo’s “take or pay” contracts with Delta Air Lines, Inc. and HCS Group GmbH.

“We believe our projects make good economic sense based on the contracts we have in place, and with what we expect in the future.  As we raise capital, we will be looking at all strategic options, too.  We believe that Citigroup, as a leading investment bank, has a history of assisting companies in financings of the type we need for our capacity buildouts” stated Pat Gruber, Chief Executive Officer of Gevo.

European Investment Bank launches $759M initiative for agriculture and bioeconomy Thu, 02 Apr 2020 21:53:22 +0000

In Luxembourg, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU bank, announced the launch of a new financing initiative that aims to unlock close to €1.6 billion of investment in the agriculture and bioeconomy sector. The financing aims to support private companies operating throughout the value chains of production and processing of food, bio-based materials and bioenergy. It will be guaranteed by the EU budget under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which forms the financial pillar of the “Investment Plan for Europe”.

The lending program will enable direct lending for private sector investments ranging from €15 million to €200 million, with the EIB loan amount ranging from €7.5 million to €50 million. Targeted investments will support environmental protection and natural resource efficiency, renewable energy, innovation, competitiveness, and energy efficiency. The program will contribute to safeguard and create employment in rural areas and therefore promote rural development and territorial integration across the EU.

Green Maritime Methanol successfully starts engine on 100% methanol Thu, 02 Apr 2020 21:52:12 +0000

In the Netherlands, within the Green Maritime Methanol project a new milestone has been achieved, the successful start of the engine test program on 100% methanol. New tests are being planned and two important new partners have joined the consortium recently. 

In January 2020 Pon Power started its engine testing program with a Caterpillar 3508 spark ignited high speed gas engine. With customized cylinder heads and a customized engine control management system the engine operated on 100% methanol as a fuel. The tests were performed successfully and the test setup enables the researchers to study questions with regard to optimization of ignition timing, lubricating requirements, emissions of e.g. CO2 and NOx. In the coming months Pon Power and the Netherlands’ Defense Academy will continue to perform more engine tests on this Caterpillar 3508 engine.
The Netherlands’ Defense Academy (NLDA) is also preparing a test program for their MAN engine (type4L20/27). These tests include methanol injection direct in the cylinder blended with diesel which acts as pilot fuel for igniting the mixture. The tests are planned to include both a mixture stabilized by an emulsifier and a mixture blended mechanically. In the longer run also tests are planned with methanol intake via the air inlet and ignition using diesel injected direct in the cylinder. The behavior of several diesel, methanol and emulsifier compositions is currently being studied in collaboration with TNO Eindhoven and the Netherlands’ Navy Chemical Laboratory in Den Helder. At a later stage tests are planned with methanol intake via the air inlet and ignition using diesel directly injected into the cylinder. During 2020 more engine tests will be executed, providing essential data for several future ship designs and propulsion trains on board.

USDA seeks public comments on research goals to achieve Agricultural Innovation Agenda Thu, 02 Apr 2020 21:51:14 +0000

In Washington, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is soliciting comments and suggestions on objectives and opportunities leading to research goals and informed product goals to facilitate transformative breakthroughs to enable U.S. agriculture to meet the Department’s goal of increasing agricultural production by 40 percent to meet the needs of the global population in 2050 while cutting the environmental footprint of U.S. agriculture in half. This effort is part of USDA’s Agricultural Innovation Agenda, the Department’s commitment to the continued success of American farmers, ranchers, producers, and foresters in the face of future challenges.

Written comments must be received by August 1, 2020, to be assured of consideration. Comments received after that date will be considered to the extent practicable.

University of Cordoba researchers determine best valorization paths for restaurant food waste Thu, 02 Apr 2020 21:50:00 +0000

In Spain, research into the field of the bioeconomy and the search for waste valorization strategies, such as agricultural by-products, is the field of research for the BIOSAHE (a Spanish acronym of biofuels and energy-saving systems) research group at the University of Cordoba. They are now taking a step further: they aim to establish the best valorization paths for restaurant food waste. Among the possible lives for restaurant scraps, they are looking to find which one is most effective and which provides the most value and developed a methodology that assesses food waste and selects the best valorization path.

After analyzing food waste from a variety of different kinds of restaurants with varying degrees of caliber, the main chemical components were characterized, those being starches, proteins, lipids and fibers. The aim of this process was to find out what amounts of what compounds are held in food waste in order to link it to the best option for its transformation.

Once the chemical compounds of the scraps were identified, a statistical study was performed to analyze the variability (how compounds vary and the amounts of some waste compared to other waste).

Identifying compound typology and variability makes it possible to predict the most optimal valorization process depending on the waste, thus helping industries within the circular economy and the resource valorization sector to make decisions.

In this way, the lives of restaurant scraps can be turned into biodiesel, electricity or bioplastic.

European biofuels value chain concerned about derogation of biofuel policies Thu, 02 Apr 2020 21:49:05 +0000

In Belgium, last week a consortium of associations representing the European biofuels value chain wrote a letter to the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal to highlight the challenges the value chain is facing, especially the proposed derogations of biofuel blending mandates, saying they can provide both fuel as well as feedstock required for hand sanitizers and disinfectants without derogations.

In the letter, they said, “If implemented, such derogations would exacerbate the negative effects already experienced by our sectors and:

  • Quickly lead to a shutdown of biofuels production units due to a further reduction of demand;
  • Jeopardize the continuous supply of strategic products due to their integration in our industrial production;
  • Reduce the production of the much-needed hydro-alcoholic gel;
  • Impact the proper functioning of the EU internal market for fuels, since biofuels are distributed cross-borders;
  • Increase difficulties in the supply of the European animal feeding stuffs;
  • Go against the proposed European Green Deal and jeopardize the European renewable energy and climate commitments, while the Commission clearly stated that “climate action must not be obscured by more urgent and immediate challenges.””
The Competitive Edge: Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) Thu, 02 Apr 2020 21:45:28 +0000

Q: What was the reason for founding your organization – what was the open niche you saw that could be addressed with a new product or service? What was the problem, or gap, or opportunity?

The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) was founded in 2007 by a small group of leading organisations from civil society, industry and academia with a mission of promoting the global sustainable production, conversion and use of biofuels. Working with our multi-stakeholder community, we developed a sustainability standard that is widely considered to be best-in-class globally as it asks producers to meet the very highest requirements of social and environmental sustainability.

Since 2007, RSB has evolved to cover all aspects of the sustainable bioeconomy from fuels to plastics, textiles to packaging under our leading multi-feedstock and multi-product sustainability standard which is globally recognised and regionally applicable. What was once a vision to ensure biofuel sustainability has grown into a global sustainability certification for all biomaterials that is being used for certification, sustainability solutions and policy development the world over.

Q: Tell us about your organization. What do you do?

The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) is a global, multi-stakeholder independent organisation that drives the development of a new world bioeconomy through sustainability solutions, certification, and collaborative partnerships.

It provides tools and solutions that mitigate business risk and contribute to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and has the world’s most trusted, peer-reviewed, global certification standard for sustainable biomaterials, biofuels and biomass production.

Through certification, advisory services, projects and policy support, the RSB is actively working with organisations around the world to advance the sustainable bioeconomy in a truly sustainable way ensuring a real reduction in greenhouse gas emissions while supporting community development and biodiversity, as well as environmental and social sustainability for generations to come.

Q: What stage of development are you?  Choose one:

Commercial stage – have mature products or services on the market.

Q: What do your technologies, products or services do and accomplish – how does it (they) work, who is it (they) aimed for?

All of RSB’s work – membership, advisory services, partnerships, projects, advocacy and certification – is directly contributing to a just transition to a net positive world. Everything RSB does is focused on supporting the biomaterials and biofuels industries to increase circularity;

decouple economic growth from fossil demand; ensure the protection of environment and society; and achieve a 1.5 degree warming limit.

Q: Competitively, what gives your technology, product or service set an edge in cost or performance, sustainability, or any other aspect, that makes it stand out from the crowd, In short, what makes it transformative?

RSB’s approach to sustainability offers unparalleled credibility and practicality. Endorsed by leading NGOs and developed by a multi-stakeholder community that includes producers, end-users, civil society and government, RSB’s approach is the most trusted globally. Constantly on the cutting edge of innovation and policy development, RSB has evolved to meet the development of new advanced technologies as well as the latest policy instruments around the world.

Q: What are the 3 top milestones you have accomplished in the past 3 years?

  1. World first Advanced Product Certification with INEOS
  2. World first low ILUC Certification
  3. Innovative partnership with Boeing in Brazil, Ethiopia and South Africa

Q: What are the 3 top milestones you will accomplish in the next 3 years?

  1. Customers around the world recognise the RSB label on many different types of consumer products available to purchase.
  2. Passengers are assured that all alternative aviation fuel globally is RSB certified with meaningful GHG reductions as well as environmental and social sustainability guaranteed.
  3. RSB is recognised as supporting the best practices in all types of feedstock production from agriculture to recycled carbon.
  4. The RSB Standard is embedded into relevant global and national policies.

Q. Where can I learn more about RSB?

Click here to visit RSB’s website.