Biofuels Digest The world's most widely-read advanced bioeconomy daily Thu, 21 Jun 2018 21:13:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Gevo signs supply agreement for alcohol-to-jet fuel with Avfuel Thu, 21 Jun 2018 21:13:14 +0000

In Colorado, Gevo announced that it has entered into a long-term agreement to supply its renewable alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) to Avfuel Corporation, effective July 1, 2018. Avfuel is a leading global supplier of aviation fuel and services to all industry consumer groups, servicing more than 3,000 locations worldwide. The Supply Agreement with Avfuel is Gevo’s first long-term commercial supply agreement for its ATJ.

The Supply Agreement contemplates two phases. During the first phase, Gevo will supply Avfuel from its smaller-scale hydrocarbon processing facility it operates in Silsbee, Texas, in partnership with South Hampton Resources, Inc. Currently, the Silsbee Facility has the capacity to produce approximately 70,000 gallons of renewable hydrocarbon products per year (50% of which is ATJ and 50% of which is isooctane).

During the first phase, Gevo expects to construct a larger-scale hydrocarbon facility at its existing ethanol and isobutanol production facility located in Luverne, Minnesota, to produce larger quantities of ATJ, subject to Gevo’s receipt of sufficient financing. Upon completion of the Luverne Hydrocarbon Facility, the second phase of the Supply Agreement would commence, which would have a term of five years, subject to extension upon the mutual agreement of the parties. During the second phase, Gevo would supply Avfuel with larger volumes of ATJ, ramping up to 1,000,000 gallons of unblended ATJ per year, which, when blended with conventional jet fuel, would produce many millions of gallons of finished ASTM D1655 jet-fuel product for distribution per year.

With further regard to the environment, for every one million gallons of ATJ produced, approximately 20 million pounds of animal feed and protein would also be produced and sold into the food chain. To produce ATJ, Gevo fractionates grain to produce protein and animal feed while using the residual carbohydrate portion of the grain for fermentation to produce the intermediate chemical: isobutanol. The isobutanol is then chemically transformed using a hydrocarbon processing facility into ATJ meeting ASTM D7566 (standard specification for aviation turbine fuel containing synthesized hydrocarbons). The ATJ made by this process has very low sulfur, low particulates, and higher energy density than petro-based jet fuel.

Thailand adjusts tax structure to promote B20 over B7 Thu, 21 Jun 2018 21:12:06 +0000

In Thailand, the government is changing the fuel tax scheme in order to make B20 cheaper than B7 to promote its consumption. A small tax will be added to B7 while the government will pick up an additional per liter subsidy financed through the Oil Fund. Promoting B20 is meant to help relieve some of the palm oil stocks that rose to 600,000 liters in May from less than half a million liters typically thanks to as much as 1.5 million liters of monthly B20 consumption expected.

Local residents upset by plans to introduce biodiesel storage by United Riverhead Terminal Thu, 21 Jun 2018 21:11:14 +0000

In New York state, local residents have come out against a proposal by United Riverhead Terminal to install biodiesel storage tanks that would allow it to blend 5% biodiesel with heating oil as required by state law as of July 1. The facility dates back to the 1950s and is currently zoned residential although it is allowed to continue operations under a special use permit. Back in 2014, the company tried to introduce ethanol storage for blending with gasoline but eventually backed off due to stiff opposition from the community.

WSU Tri-Cities researcher awarded $500,000 grant to study lignin Thu, 21 Jun 2018 21:10:07 +0000

In Washington state, WSU Tri-Cities associate professor Xiao Zhang is targeting the use of lignin — a common material that makes the cell walls of plants rigid — to create affordable biofuels and bioproducts.

Interested in the project, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture has granted Zhang, an associate professor in WSU’s Bioproducts, Sciences and Engineering Laboratory, $500,000 to complete the research. The laboratory is part of the university’s Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering.

The project will be conducted in partnership with Xuejun Pan, a professor in the department of biological systems engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Indian Oil looking to invest $132.6 million in 2G ethanol plant in Uttar Pradesh Thu, 21 Jun 2018 21:09:09 +0000

In India, the Business Standard newspaper reports that Indian Oil plans to invest $132.6 million in second-generation ethanol facility that will use crop waste, likely sugarcane, as feedstock in Uttar Pradesh. The project could end up being a joint venture between the oil company and the state’s sugar mills association. If the ethanol project doesn’t fly, however, a bio-CNG project using press mud from sugarcane processing could be put forward instead but that project wouldn’t be a JV.

Forest Concepts awarded $1.8 million BETO grant to improve biomass processing Thu, 21 Jun 2018 21:06:31 +0000

In Washington state, Forest Concepts LLC has been awarded a $1.8 million cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office to address the critical issues of poor flowability, high friction, and highly variable physical properties that have plagued the biomass industry.

Biomass materials have a wide range of moisture contents that are subjected to varying temperature, pressures, and forces which traditional metrics provide little-to-no value for the engineering design of hoppers, feeders and mixers. Many of the reported failures at advanced biofuel and bioproducts production facilities are due in part to feedstock handling related problems resulting from a lack of useful and accurate engineering data.

University of Michigan researchers find diverse algae species mix boosts oil yield and stability Thu, 21 Jun 2018 21:03:52 +0000

In Michigan, a diverse mix of species improves the stability and fuel-oil yield of algal biofuel systems, as well as their resistance to invasion by outsiders, according to the findings of a federally funded outdoor study by University of Michigan researchers.

U-M scientists grew various combinations of freshwater algal species in 80 artificial ponds at U-M’s E.S. George Reserve near Pinckney in the first large-scale, controlled experiment to test the widely held idea that biodiversity can improve the performance of algal biofuel systems in the field.

Overall, the researchers found that diverse mixes of algal species, known as polycultures, performed more key functions at higher levels than any single species–they were better at multitasking. But surprisingly, the researchers also found that polycultures did not produce more algal mass, known as biomass, than the most productive single species, or monoculture.


EPA announcement reassigning waived RINs likely postponed after oil uproar Thu, 21 Jun 2018 21:02:38 +0000

In Washington, Friday’s planned announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency administrator and the Secretary of Agriculture at a farm in Missouri on Friday that RINs waived would be re-allotted to other refineries will likely be postponed after uproar by the petroleum industry. So now the last minute deal must be rejigged but it won’t likely happen in time for an announcement this week. The head of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers called the expected proposal a “backroom deal” that betrays customers and voters.

High-Performance: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to Avantium Thu, 21 Jun 2018 15:55:01 +0000

The company is now safely emerged from its celebrated IPO, and is embarked on the development of the first commercial plant project with its JV partner BASF — so, its been a big period and even more critical thresholds lie ahead for Avantium.

Avantium’s YXY technology converts plant-based sugar into chemicals and plastics, including 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid, a precursor to the promising bioplastic polyethylene furanoate.

As the company observed, “In 2011, Avantium was the first company to build an FDCA pilot plant with a production capacity of 15 tons FDCA per annum. This pilot plant enabled Avantium to test PEF through its partners and to continue its process development efforts to improve the economics of the process and strengthen its engineering package in preparation for the scale up to commercial and industrial scale.”

Here we have combined a recent deck from CEO Tom van Aken with an illuminating overview by CCO Zanna McPherson from ABLC 2018 in Washington. to give a fuller picture company’s prospects and progress .

ADM and DuPont team up to develop, produce and market cellulase enzymes Wed, 20 Jun 2018 23:01:33 +0000

In Illinois, Archer Daniels Midland Company and DuPont Industrial Biosciences announced a collaboration to develop, produce and market cellulase enzymes for operators of grain-based ethanol plants.

Cellulase enzymes assist in hydrolyzing the corn kernel fiber, which consists mostly of cellulose and hemicellulose carbohydrates. Once the fiber is broken down, more sugars can be liberated and then fermented into ethanol, helping grain-based fuel ethanol producers get more out of existing feedstocks. As corn kernel fiber is part of a lower-value co-product stream, the potential to develop more valuable “Gen 1.5” ethanol is attractive. Ethanol from corn kernel fiber may qualify for D3 RINS under the Renewable Fuel Standard, which encourages producers to use technology in order to utilize non-starch components of grains and other waste products in the production of biofuels.