10,000 articles later, biofuels still rock as KiOR, Core, PetroAlgae, USDA, Boeing, ATA surge

July 27, 2010 |

In Florida, Biofuels Digest celebrates its third birthday today, and while a look back at the 10 Most Overlooked Stories of the Year is one of our annual offerings for “birthday week”, we are also reporting on a series of breakthroughs. In finance, upstream sustainable feedstock development, midstream next-generation bioprocessing, and downstream market development – today is filled with news, by companies everyone has heard of, many have heard of, and in some cases few have heard of.

It signifies that the biofuels industry has moved from the development of first generation fuel capacity to a sophisticated stream of development in all phases of advanced biofuels from field to wheels. It continues to attract heavy support from financial backers in Silicon Valley and elsewhere who see strong potential returns from the sector’s advanced technologies.

After 3 years, and 10,000 individual articles, we salute all of you – the producers, financiers, policymakers, scientists, consumers and supporters of biofuels, for continuing to be the most interesting industry in the world to write about, and for continuing to fascinate us with your ideas, resilience, and imagination. You make each weekday a whole lot of fun.

…and now to the news…

Finance: KiOR announced that it has raised $110 million in its latest round, and said that it is producing 229,000 gpy at its Houston-based pilot plant. The company’s pyrolysis-based technology is producing biocrude from wood and agricultural waste residues, which can be upgraded into a drop-in replacement fuel. The company is a JV between Khosla Ventures and the Dutch biofuels pioneer BIOeCON.

Upstream feedstock development: In Washington, the Air Transport Association of America announced the official launch of the “Farm to Fly” partnership initiative. ATA, USDA and Boeing are backing the project to accelerate the availability of sustainable aviation biofuels in the United States, establish regional supply chains and support rural development.with private industry, federal agencies and academia to advance a comprehensive sustainable aviation biofuels rural development plan.

USDA, ATA and Boeing will designate a “Farm to Fly” working team to promote the production of sustainable feedstocks and the development of aviation biofuels production facilities. USDA commits to work to ensure that feedstocks showing particular promise for biojet fuel are eligible for relevant USDA bioenergy and biomass programs. The working team will issue a preliminary report on its work in Q1 2011, with a final report expected in mid-2011.

Midstream process technology development: In Canada, Ontario-based CORE BioFuel announced the engagement of RECAT Technologies to complete a pilot of its gasoline production reactors. Upon completion of the planned pilot activities, CORE will have demonstrated the critical gasoline production steps in its MKS Process.

CORE BioFuel is commercializing its MKS Gasoline Synthesis Process. This process is a ground- breaking development that addresses the biofuel challenge. The technology is industrially proven and the process is a scalable, efficient, and cost effective approach to producing carbon neutral, 92 octane gasoline.

Downstream market development:
PetroAlgae announced that it has signed a non-binding commercial offtake agreement with South Korea-based Eco-Frontier. Under the agreement, Eco-Frontier would be prepared to commit to purchase from PetroAlgae’s licensees up to 850,000 metric tons of biocrude over a three year period beginning in 2012.

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