Heard on the Floor at ABLC Next

November 1, 2019 |

In California, ABLC Next 2019 opened with a record crowd of more than 420 delegates and 47 of the Next 50 Companies to Disrupt the World were on hand among more than 2300 companies across the spectrum of the bioeconomy including fuels, chemicals, nutrition, materials, and toolkit companies, researchers, policymakers and financiers.

The Digest announced the that US Department of Energy will be a co-sponsor and co-producer of ABLC 2020, the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference, which will take place March 25-27, 2020 at the Marriott Mayflower in Washington DC.

USDA releases Report on the Bioeconomy

The USDA released its Report on the Bioeconomy Imiplementation Framework. The Bioeconomy Initiative: Implementation Framework will serve as a guiding document for the BR&D Board member agencies to increase government accountability and efficiency, maximize interagency coordination on bioeconomy research and other activities, and accelerate innovative and sustainable technologies that harness the nation’s biomass resources. The cutting-edge research and development (R&D) described in this Framework can advance technologies to provide a secure, reliable, affordable, and enduring supply of U.S. energy and products. 

DOE: It’s LanzaTech!

Also on the ABLC floor, the US Departmenbt of Energy announced LanzaTech as the official downselectee for a long-standing project in the Pilot- and Demonstration-Scale Manufacturing of Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biopower.” As we reported in December 2016, , the Demonstration-Scale Integrated Biorefineries phase one grants were given to AVAPCO’s biomass-to-ethanol process with project partner Byogy’s alcohol-to-jet process, and to LanzaTech for an  integrated demonstration-scale biorefinery that will use industrial waste gases to produce 3 million gallons per year of low-carbon jet and diesel fuels. LanzaTech and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory had already successfully demonstrated their renewable jet fuel production technology.

In December 2016 we reported that  the projects would be evaluated in two phases, after the phase one defintion award, phase 2 award would be made based on construction and operation of the pilot- or demonstration-scale facility. Projects could receive additional federal funds of up to $15 million for pilot-scale facilities or $45 million for demonstration-scale facilities.

Genomatica: Asia goes BiG

Opening speaker this week was Christophe Schilling,who announced  Genomatica’s  multi-year agreement with Daicel Corporation to be the exclusive distributor of its award-winning Brontide butylene glycol in the Asia-Pacific region. The companies anticipate Daicel’s purchases will quickly grow to thousands of tons of Brontide butylene glycol per year for its customers, leveraging Daicel’s established and respected presence in the Asian cosmetics market and enabling market expansion with this innovative product. This partnership further realizes both companies’ commitment to advancing sustainability and is consistent with Daicel’s objectives of Environmental Preservation and their participation in the Nippon Keidanren Commitment to a Low Carbon Society.

Brontide butylene glycol is a natural, sustainably-produced butylene glycol for use in personal care products – for moisture retention, improved texture, antimicrobial properties and as a solubilizer for plant extracts, flavors and fragrances. The ingredient is a drop-in replacement for petroleum-derived ingredients, enabling manufacturers to address consumer demand for natural personal care products without compromising on functionality or sensory appeal. Brontide butylene glycol is made using a direct fermentation process that starts with renewable, plant-derived sugars instead of crude oil. More on the story here.

Sustainable Aviation Fuels

Today, a new study on pathways towards sustainable production of aviation fuel was released.  Nordic GTL – a pre-feasibility study on sustainable aviation fuel from biogas, hydrogen, and CO2.

The purpose of this pre-feasibility study was to identify technological pathways and processes for producing sustainable aviation fuel based on renewable feedstocks of biogas, bio-methane, electro-methane, hydrogen and CO2 and to make a preliminary assessment of their feasibility including their economic/commercial viability. The ability to integrate methane, CO2, electricity, and hydrogen in one supply chain is a key feature of this pathway. By using flue gas CO2 and atmospheric CO2 as feedstocks, it makes the pathway a sustainable and scalable solution. Since this process is based on biogas and CO2, the jet fuels will be close to CO2 neutral.

A benefit of the proposed pathway is that it builds on a backbone of existing large-scale technology, i.e. the so-called gas-to-liquid or GTL technology where liquid fuels are produced from methane via synthesis gas. Synthesis gas, or syngas, is a mix of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, being an intermediate in the conversion of methane to liquid fuels. Several such large-scale GTL plants are in operation across the world converting natural gas into liquid fuels. The same technology can be applied to bio-methane and green syngas, and more on the story is here.


News filtered up from Palo Alto on CO2 to fuels:  a novel approach from Stanford University engineers yields four times more ethane, propane and butane than existing methods for using carbon dioxide from car exhaust pipes and other sources and converting into fuels like natural gas or propane: 

Although the process is still just a lab-based prototype, the researchers expect it could be expanded enough to produce useable amounts of fuel. Much work remains, however, before average consumer will be able to purchase products based on such technologies. Next steps include trying to reduce harmful byproducts from these reactions, such as the toxic pollutant carbon monoxide. The group is also developing ways to make other beneficial products, not just fuels. One such product is olefins, which can be used in a number of industrial applications and are the main ingredients for plastics.

“One can imagine a carbon-neutral cycle that produces fuel from carbon dioxide and then burns it, creating new carbon dioxide that then gets turned back into fuel,” said Matteo Cargnello, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Stanford who led the research, published in Angewandte Chemie.

The Next 50

On stage at ABLC Next, the NEXT 50 Companies to Disrupt the World were in evidence. The awardees are:


AlgaPrime DHA by Corbion



Apeel Sciences






Clara Foods

ClearFlame Engines

Crop Enhancement

Culture Biosciences


Ecovia Renewables


Fulcrum BioEnergy



Gevo/Renmatix hydrocarbons

Ginkgo BioWorks


Impossible Foods


Industrial Microbes




Levadura Biotech



Mango Materials


Oberon Fuels

Opus 12

Perfect Day

Pivot Bio


Qualitas Health

Red Rock Biofuels

SBI Bioenergy

Sierra Energy


Sunliquid by Clariant







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