Shock omissions as Hot 50 nominations reach halfway point

January 10, 2022 |

Earlier this month, the Digest announced the official opening of nominations for the 50 Hottest Projects in the Advanced Bioeconomy for 2022.

The 40+ projects so far nominated by readers paint a fascinating portrait of an industry shifting to new technologies. 

Shocking highlights

1. Ethanol shockers. No existing ethanol manufacturing site nominated, despite a number of advanced technologies on site.

2. SAF shockers. No nominations received for any of Red Rock Biofuels, Fulcrum Bioenergy.

3. Heavy duty shockers. Renewable Energy Group’s portfolio including the fabulous complex in Geismar, Louisiana that in many  Neste’s plants overlooked. 

4. Where’s hydrogen? Excepting Ways2H, no green hydrogen projects nominated.

5. Synbio at scale? Amyris was overlooked, Calysta. What about the organism manufacturing of Ginkgo, Zymergen? Also, any site manufacturing a COVID-19 vaccine. You’d think PfizerBioTech or Moderna would get an attaboy from someone. 

6. Corn oil extraction or use? Nary a project nominated. 

7. Where’s algae? Hard to believe even the old Sapphire Energy green crude farm did not get support from readers.

8. Where are enzymes and yeast? Metgen, Novozymes, Leaf, Lallemand, all missing.

9. 2G ethanol shocker! Praj is here, but where’s Clariant? 

10. Enerkem – Varennes, oui, Edmonton, no? Amazing that Enerkem’s landmark first commercial in Edmonton has not wangled a nod from our parsimonious readers.

11. Where’s carbon capture? Summit Ag’s ethanol pipeline project may have not struck readers as a true production project, but what about Monolith Materials? Delta Clean tech? CarbonBuilt? Carbon Cure?

12 Where’s DME? The fuel gets a lot of attention from the Digest editors — apparently, readers not so enamored.

13. Where’s POET, Green Plains? NovoNutrients? Air Protein? Shocking to see some major companies overlooked.

14. Where’s biogas? Hard to believe it, but not one anaerobic digester project has so far been favored by readers.

Projects nominated to date

Aemetis, California

Alder Fuels

AltAir, Paramount, CA

ArcelorMittal, Gent, Belgium

BASF-Octanol from carbon oxides, EU


BioTfueL project located in France 

Bridgestone Americas, Phoenix, AZ. 

Carbon Engineering CO2 to SAF, UK

Cellulosic Biomass Technology Co., Ltd 

Cemvita Factory and Oxy Low Carbon Ventures CO2-based Bioethylene

DG Fuels, St. James Parish, Louisiana, USA

E-Fuel Corporation, Austin Texas.  

Enerkem Varennes 

Essential Energy Green Project in Uruguay. 

Forbes Energy, llc, Penuelas, Puerto Rico. 

Freedom Pines Fuels (SAF, Lanza Jet, Soperton, GA)

Genomatica’s second commercial plant (by Cargill/HELM, for biobased BDO) Eddyville, Iowa

Gevo Net Zero 1 Project in Lake Preston, SC.

Indian oil corporation ltd (IOCL), 2 G ethanol plant

Mango Materials, Redwood City CA

Mura Technologies Limited (Waste plastics to higher value chemicals – Washington State)

Panipat refinery in India

Perfect Day project 

Pyran Inc. es. Madison, WI, USA

Red Leaf Pulp, Regina SK  

Shell, SAS and Vattenfall CO2 to SAF, Sweden

Sierra Energy, Ft. Hunter Liggett, Monterey, CA

SkyNRG Americas biogas to SAF, USA


Strategic Biofuels, LLC (RD – Louisiana)

Sugar Valley Energy, owned by California Ethanol + Power, Brawley, Imperial Valley, CA

Sweetwater JV with GEVO to produce SAF from wood at a new facility to be constructed in SW Minnesota

Sweetwoods Project – Fibenol, Imavere, Estonia

Twelve, products from CO2, USA

Velocys, Inc. (SAF – Mississippi)

Ways2H VALECOM Martinique 

Nominate projects here.

Project eligibility

Any advanced bioeconomy project at pilot, demonstration or commercial scale is eligible for the Hot 50. Projects can be nominated by anyone — the owner/operator, investors, technology developers, customers, suppliers, or members of the general public.

Voting Rules

Voting will be open to all registered subscribers of The Digest and invited selectors. Votes will be weighted as follows: 50 percent based on votes received from the invited International Selectors; 50 percent based on votes received from registered subscribers of The Digest.

Nominations — You Gotta Be in It, To Win It

Each project that receives a nomination will be included on the ballot. Nominations will remain open through Thursday January 27th  at 5pm ET.

Nominate projects here. 

Voting period

Hot 50 voting will begin Monday, January 31st and continue through Monday, February 28th at 5pm ET. 

Announcement of Hot 50 results at ABLC 2022 – March 17, 2022 and Hot Party

Hot 50 rankings will be announced simultaneously on Thursday, March 17th at ABLC 2022 and in The Daily Digest. We will honor the owners, investors, technology developers, customers, suppliers and team at the annual Hot Party at ABLC 2022 in Washington DC, on March 17th, 2022.

Recognition of Hot 50 projects

The Digest will recognize the owners. operators, investors, financiers, consulting and technology partners, suppliers and site partners.

Selector balloting

Selectors will receive their official Hot 50 ballots from The Digest during the week of February 14th and must return them via email no later than Monday, February 28, 2022 at 5pm ET.

Subscriber balloting

For the Hot 50, subscribers will receive a link to their official ballot in each e-mail newsletter issue of The Digest published between Monday, January 31st and Monday, February 28th, 2020. Balloting will close at 5pm ET on February 28th.

Photo voting

In addition to the written ballot, projects may earn votes from Photo Votes. Any person may submit one Photo Vote for any project they support, and that project will earn a bonus 20 votes. Each project may accumulate up to one Photo Vote per weekday during the voting period, or a maximum of 21 Photo Votes per project. The image should be submitted to [email protected], and must be an original photo of the project (wide shot of the entire project landscape, or close-up of a particular operational unit), and include the phrase Hot 50 somewhere in the image. The most creative Photo of the Day as selected by The Digest will earn an additional 20 Photo Votes. All Photo Votes will be posted in social media as recognition of the project and the Photo of the Day will appear in the Digest. Photo Votes can be submitted starting on Monday January 31st, 2022 through 5pm ET on Monday February 28, 2022.

Write-in votes

All projects that registered for the Hot 50 Rankings are included in the Official Ballot, but if there is a deserving project that did not register for the Official Ballot, voters are welcome to cast a write-in vote for that company.

Voting criteria

Voters may judge for themselves what makes a project “hot”. In our view, we believe that “hot” represents an ideal blend of risk and reward. Projects that have the promise of impactfulness but are far from proven and high-risk may be exciting, but they are not hot. Likewise, projects that are proven and low-risk but have limited impact may be worthy, but not hot. Hot is not the same as “Zero Risk” – nor is it the same as “High Reward” – and the Rankings are neither intended to be a popularity contest nor a definitive risk rating system. If you wish, you may consider the hottest projects that those which are most worthy of financing at commercial-scale because they represent for you something which has an optimal blend of risk and reward.

Prohibited voting practices

Voters may not attempt to spam the ballot box through deceptive practices, nor may competing companies or projects organize spam balloting efforts. The Digest reserves the right to reject any ballot it deems to be the product of a spamming campaign — or to cancel all ballots from that voter, or remove a company from the competition — and such a determination will be made in the Digest’s sole discretion, and its decision is final.

Prohibited voting practices include but are not limited to: creating multiple digital accounts in order to submit multiple ballots; using faked or borrowed digital accounts to submit multiple ballots in violation of daily ballot restrictions; or encouraging potential voters to create, borrow to otherwise use multiple digital accounts in order to submit multiple ballots.

In general, any practice designed to prevent a fair ballot is prohibited, and may result in the suspension of a company from the Hot 50 or the cancellation of any and all ballots which the Digest, in its sole discretion, deems to be tainted.

Permitted voting practices

Companies or individuals may exhort colleagues, friends or the general public to vote for a deserving project – campaigning for the Hot 50 is not prohibited so long as the voting itself is fair and ethical. Voters are permitted to vote for companies they are personally, directly or indirectly, affiliated with.

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