Righteous Heat: 10 hot slides from ABLC Next do the show-and-tell

November 19, 2014 |

ABLC-Hot-sm10 hot companies, 10 hot slides explaining where they are, what they’re up to, and where they are going, and when and how and why.

Here are new slides from the Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference – ABLC Next 2014, as presented in San Francisco.

We found these super-hot because they essayed three topics very much on the industry’s mind:

1. Who are the fresh faces and how are they redefining the sector at the start-up level?

2. How and when are some of the later-stage ventures now approaching their first commercial plants?

3. What are the outside-the-box thinkers thinking?

The Young Fresh Faces


What’s Up? It’s a diesel replacement technology — a biofuels, but not the ones you know. 

Why Hot? Cost, cost, cost. As this slide shows, and as every fleet manager knows, it comes down to the Benjamins.



What’s Up? Super-dense jet fuels offer the potential of longer range missions or heavier armament using the same planes — like an upgrade in jets without buying a new jet.

Why Hot? These guys are getting closer and closer to the real deal in super-advantaged fuels in probably the one arena where performance is everything – combat missions.


Leaf Energy

What’s Up? Sugars are the new oil if sugars can be cheap enough to replace the old oils. Leaf think they have cracked a part of that puzzle with massively advantaged yields for C6 sugars.

Why Hot? The absence of competition – only a handful of companies have technology for breakthroughs on sugar costs – here’s the wonder from Down Under.



What’s Up? E10 saturation has the US exporting ethanol – meanwhile, airlines are crazy for alcohol-to-jet fuels but the costs (driven by process yields) are a formidable barrier.

Why Hot? Here comes Vertimass with a breakthrough on yield, via a one-step process that removes oxygen from ethanol without removing energy-carrying carbon.


Later-stagers, heading for scale


What’s Up? Cellulosic biofuels are going mainstream and big time — now, the major players are lining up not only technology but an entire suite of allied services, including logistics and planning — to ensure they have the winning technology for the RFPs.

Why Hot? Here comes Clariant with a really broad array of services that exemplifies what the top-notch companies are a) capable of and b) doing, to attract the big-ticket customers in the race for dominance of next-gen fuels.



What’s Up? You’ve heard of the Plant Bottle from Coca-Cola — but, yawn, you mutter something about “there are no green premiums” and go back to sleep, confident that brands like Dasani will get brownie points (or is that greenie points?) but not much else from technologies like Virent’s that deliver all-renewable plant bottles.

Why Hot? Wrong, grasshopper. Dansani has been qa) rocking and b) pretty much saved by the plant bottle. It may not confer anything in terms of price, but it is punching well above its weight when it comes to grabbing market share — and big sales mean economies of scale in production, and there’s your green margin, and that’s what matters.



What’s Up? Projects have been tough to get going in the developing world – in addition to the usual barriers of feedstock, technology, market risk and policy risk — there’s the whole range of challenges that are summed up in “country risk” — and in steps Sustainable Energy For All movement to get things going from the bottom up to change that equation.The bottom up energy of new technologies and project developers combine with the top-down thrust of the UN and groups like the Asian Development Bank, to blow through the barriers.

Why Hot? If there’s anywhere where feedstock is sustainable, available, reliable, affordable, it’s the developing world. And they are often crying out for alternatives to petroleum. Here’s a strategy to break through the barriers.



What’s Up? Cost, cost, cost — that’s the mantra for naysayers these days on cellulosic biofuels. Used to be “five years away”. But still, a problem needing addressing, Here’s comes Edeniq with a frankly lower-cost approach.

Why Hot? Project developers to biofuels: “The best things in life are free, but you can give it to the birds and bees, I want Money, that’s what I want.”


Outside the box thinking


What’s Up? There are retrofits and retrofits, Some come with a case of wonderful, all have some challenges. This slides lines up the bad and the beautiful.

Why Hot? Benefuel is, bless them, telling it straight, and offering some breakthroughs that mean big things to big players. Is there anything hotter than the good guys getting traction?



What’s Up? Everyone wants diesel and jet fuels, no one wants to pay more, the new technologies are cool, but scale-up is daunting with all the new technology that has to be developed. But what about using the old ABE process — proven beyond a shadow of a doubt — and some proven chemistries. That’s the question that EBI’s Chris Somerville is asking — why not chose the simpler route?

Why Hot? Proven is the New Cool in a risk-adverse environment, and this clever route to “hybrid biofuels” might just be the ticket for a new path, or a revisit of an old path, to affordable, drop-in fuels.


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