Biofuels Digest The world's most widely-read advanced bioeconomy daily Mon, 09 Dec 2019 23:06:49 -0400 en-US hourly 1 MSC says is first to use 30% biofuel blending in sea vesssels Mon, 09 Dec 2019 23:06:49 +0000

In the Netherlands, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) says the company has started to use biofuel in its vessels calling in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Following successful trials with biofuel blends earlier this year, MSC has decided to continue bunkering responsibly sourced biofuel blends on a routine basis.

The trials were completed with a minimal 10% blend fuel and following further trials the company is now using much higher 30% blends. MSC’s decision to use biofuel is complementary to the company’s broader strategic approach to sustainability.  The company remains committed to implementing concrete plans to modernize its green and efficient fleet via the largest container shipping investment program in the industry.

BPCL’s 2G ethanol plant in Odisha seen commissioned by end-2020 Mon, 09 Dec 2019 23:05:54 +0000

In India, the Denton Daily newspaper reports that BPCL’s second-generation ethanol plant under construction in Odisha should be commissioned by the end of next year, ramping up to produce 30 million liters of ethanol annually from rice straw. Burning of rice straw has caused major air pollution challenges in India, culminating in suffocating New Delhi in recent months, so the government is under extreme pressure to take action to curb the air pollution. The facility is the first of a dozen 2G ethanol plants planned nationwide to start construction.

Thailand to phase out subsidies on biodiesel and E10-E85 blends Mon, 09 Dec 2019 23:04:53 +0000

In Thailand, the Bangkok Post newspaper reports that Energy Fund Administration Institute plans to stop subsidizing E85 sometime in 2020 after a decade of trying to get motors to use the fuel. The agency is also planning to roll back subsidies on 10% and 20% ethanol blends as well as biodiesel. With the subsidies in place, E85 is about 25% cheaper than E10 while E20 is about 10% cheaper than E10. Only 1.28 million liters of E85 was sold per day on average this year through October compared to 6.46 million liters of E20 daily and nearly 25 million liters of two different octanes of E10.

Platts survey shows Brazil ethanol production through H2 November at 672 million liters Mon, 09 Dec 2019 23:03:56 +0000

In Brazil, Platts reports that its survey of analysts shows ethanol production through H1 November to be 672 million liters against its own estimates of 630 million liters and UNICA’s estimate of 712 million liters. As the sugarcane crush winds down, analysts estimate slightly more than 75% of the 10.58 million metric tons of cane crushed during the last half of November would go towards ethanol production rather than sugar. The crush estimate is 28% lower than during the same period last year. 

Lack of state cabinet holding up permission for 15 mills to start ethanol production from heavy-B molasses Mon, 09 Dec 2019 23:02:44 +0000

In India, the Indian Express newspaper reports that 15 sugar mills in Maharashtra who had planned to divert sugar production towards ethanol through the use of heavy-B molasses are still waiting for permission to start producing ethanol. It is taking longer than expected for the state to finalize its cabinet who needs to sign off on the licenses. Already ethanol production in the state was expected to fall due to lack of cane availability and the delay in securing permission to use molasses will hinder that production even further.

Air New Zealand launches trial of edible coffee cups Mon, 09 Dec 2019 23:01:23 +0000

In New Zealand, Air New Zealand has begun trialing edible coffee cups with customers in the air and on the ground as it explores new and innovative ways to meet its sustainability challenges. The airline currently serves more than eight million cups of coffee each year.

The ‘twiice’ edible cup trial backs up Air New Zealand’s recent switch to plant-based coffee cups on board all aircraft and in lounges. The plant-based cups are made from paper and corn instead of plastic, which enables the cup to break down in a commercial composter. Switching to plant-based coffee cups is expected to prevent around 15 million cups from going to landfill annually. The airline is also encouraging customers to bring their own reusable cups on board aircraft and into its lounges.

Göteborg Energi and Siemens take next steps in converting CHP plant to biofuels Mon, 09 Dec 2019 23:00:24 +0000

In Sweden, by 2030, the ambition is that all district heating in Gothenburg, Sweden, will be produced by renewable or recovered energy sources. With this in mind Göteborg Energi and Siemens have come together in a cooperation agreement with the aim of testing state-of-the-art gas turbine technology that enables the operation of renewable fuels in the Rya combined heat and power (CHP) plant, which is today powered by natural gas. As a first step an SGT-800 test turbine has been installed at the Rya combined heat and power plant (CHP) for the validation of 3D printed burners which would then allow for testing of different fossil-free fuels in the plant. The production of gas turbine burners using additive manufacturing (AM) makes a decisive contribution to accelerating the research and development process for new technologies that contribute to a greener energy supply.

European Commission extends biodiesel AD duties on Indonesia for five years Mon, 09 Dec 2019 22:59:26 +0000

In Belgium, Bloomberg reports that the European Commission is published in its Official Journal the five year extension on anti-dumping duties for Indonesia biodiesel imports, a move that is wide expected to create further trade tension between the bloc and the Southeast Asian country who is fighting against Europe’s pushback on palm oil for biodiesel. The duties range between 8% and 18% for a market that is worth $10 billion to Indonesia. Indonesia has threatened to hit back with tariffs on European dairy products.

9 Hot New CO2 Applications Mon, 09 Dec 2019 22:57:59 +0000

By Sam A. Rushing, President – Advanced Cryogenics

Special to The Digest


The CO2 industry expands organically, say 3% annually in some markets. The best way to grow more rapidly in the industry, is via the development and implementation of new and unique applications in a wide variety of markets. CO2 applications, of a traditional nature, are tried and true, such as many uses in food processing, beverage carbonation, and a range of industrial uses. On the other hand, new and green applications help sustain the industry.

As for new or newer applications for the product, most of these are of an industrial nature, generally outside of the food and beverage demands. Food and beverage applications often account for 70% of all tonnage consumed in the merchant sector. There are also demands of a captive and sequestration nature, which in my view, are generally categorized outside of the merchant markets, such as large EOR (enhanced oil recovery) usage. There are many conceptual ideas for the application of CO2 in industry, many of which have a green take, a form of sequestering CO2 molecules in everyday products. There are other applications, which are relatively new to the industry, which are being applied and expanded in the markets, such as concrete dosing.

On a long-term basis, given the global interest in reducing carbon emissions, concerns for climate change, and a warming globe, more applications are being developed all the time, many of which have been initially developed in academia, and have not been scaled up, or commercialized. Some of the technologies outlined in this article, may plan to use subsidies in order to make them economically viable, at least for the short term. Of so many technologies which claim to produce a fuel, chemical, plastic; or recover flue gas cheaply, the longer term viable commercial results will speak for themselves. Of the technologies being announced all the time, some will eventually be commercialized, and make their place in the CO2 and sequestration industries; while others will not.


There have been a number of emerging technologies which are proposing the use of CO2 in the production of various plastic and building materials; some of which could replace hydrocarbons in plastics, which is a truly green usage. Further on this subject, the ultimate goal of successfully using CO2 from flue gas to produce useful products, along with sequestration would represent a double achievement. Some of the concepts below, could eventually yield true break throughs, when scaled up. The problem with flue gas over the years, has been the very high cost of recovery and production into a viable CO2 product which would meet required standards and specifications. Of course, the industry is often concerned with producing a CO2 product which will meet the standards for use in soft drinks and food processing. Such applications which represent a high percentage the CO2 merchant market in the US, are not those which sequester carbon dioxide, but use the BTU value, and perform via their physical properties to achieve results, and such CO2 is eventually returned to the atmosphere. Some new or conceptual applications are as follows.

  1. Carbon nanotubes, via molten electrolysis, the process requires electric power for converting CO2 into carbon fibers, or nanotubes. Such nanofibers could be used in carbon composites. Such composite materials are light weight, alternatives to metal, to make a variety of products such as bicycles, one of which I have which is very light and rigid. Other products could be airplanes, and turbine wind blades. Such sources for the raw CO2 for this process, could ideally be flue gas from a power plant, or other such stream, like a cement kiln. The startup is staffed by university researchers, now under the name C2CNT.
  2. Concrete dosing with CO2 is an outstanding way to create a form of sequestration, as well as strengthen the concrete via increasing the calcium carbonate content in the concrete. This is a relatively new application, now being used throughout the country, to a degree.
  3. Bioplastics – nanoparticles for plastics and building materials such as coatings and concrete is a possible sink for CO2. In some cases, bioplastics have been developed among those in universities, where some technologies have moved to the field, and are looking to commercialize. One startup combines CO2 with by-product waste materials such as the products of coal and coke combustion, using fly ash, for example.
  4. Another technology with a startup is bioplastics again, using flue gas as a CO2 feedstock; while microbes along with hydrogen and oxygen yield a biopolymer, which is a plastic material which can be used in the manufacture of many consumer goods and building materials. This licensed technology is a California based company under the name Newlight Technologies.
  5. Methanol is the product of a team looking to develop an artificial photosynthesis process to convert CO2 into methanol. Of course methanol is a common solvent or industrial chemical, used as a fuel, and in a variety of personal and industrial products. Here is another example of a sequestered or converted CO2 into a useful common solvent. A team in India under the name Breathe is working on this process.
  6. Chemicals and bio composite foam plastics. This is another take on recovered CO2 for the production of ethylene glycol, methanol, and foam based plastics. In this case, natural materials such as sawdust, wood, and rice hulls are the backbone for such products. The entity looking to produce such products is C4X, a Chinese company.
  7. Enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), using CO2 as a working fluid. Supercritical CO2 could be utilized in these systems as a circulating heat exchange fluid. In this case, using the density difference between cold CO2 flowing down the injection wells, and the hot CO2 traveling up these wells would eliminate a need for a circulating pump. Further, CO2 could be used as a working fluid in supercritical power cycles. This application works well with compact turbo machinery.
  8. Polymer production, where CO2 could be used as a feedstock via transformation of CO2 into polycarbonates, using proprietary zinc catalysts.
  9. Transformation of CO2 from power plant flue gas could be chemically transformed into industrial fuels and chemicals. Such a process which is under development, would use renewable electricity to reduce CO2 to CO. the carbon monoxide is a key product used in various industrial processes. The CO2 would be fed into catalytic reactors which chemically transform CO2 into fuels and chemicals which emit only oxygen. Some technologies like this, are being developed by university researchers.


The above technologies are a few of those which have been discussed, developed and even implemented to a degree. The ultimate challenge is to move applications from the lab to a successful pilot project in the field, and scale up in order to make it economically feasible. As with all other developments, industries, and processes, such applications need to be competitive, as stand alone, scaled up technologies; or they would need to have ongoing subsidies in order to commercialize. I often think of most current day, proven technologies which have been used successfully, albeit expensively, to recover CO2 from flue gas. The agent of choice over the years has been MEA (monoethanolamine), or a similar amine solvent. In the front end of most commercialized plants, such as those which have operated by companies in the US like The AES Corporation. AES operated flue gas recovery operations from coal fired cogeneration facilities for decades in America, which were developed under now defunct energy laws which used the co-generated steam as a thermal host in the MEA process. This subsidy essentially included the capital cost of the expensive CO2 recovery plant in the cost of the power plant, thus considering the cost of CO2 production to only be that of utilities, labor, and maintenance. With today’s 45Q tax credits, a significant number of companies are looking to recover CO2 more cheaply, and/or apply the CO2 in useful products. This is a form of subsidy which would provide a performance – based tax credit to power plants and industrial facilities which capture and store CO2, which would have otherwise been emitted to the atmosphere. The credit is linked to the installation and use of CO2 recovery equipment on industrial sources, such as gas or coal power plants, or facilities which would directly remove CO2 from the atmosphere. The recovered CO2 would then be applied in products such as construction materials, biofuels, EOR, and sequestration into aquafers, for example. The value of the credit depends upon the type of CO2 storage which results from the process. Eligibility for industrial facilities begins with 100,000 metric tons per year, including ethanol and fertilizer production. The value of the credit is now $35/ton for EOR, and $50/ton for CCS. Of course, there is much more than EOR, as related to technologies and products which these developers hope to commercialize, such as fuels, plastics, and chemicals for industry. A technology developer recently has a discussion with me where they would use a cryogenic technology in part for the recovery of CO2, where their liquid product could be sold to the markets; with the CO2 source being power plant exhaust. This is another take on recovering CO2 for various markets, and many more news releases and articles will appear on new or novel means of recovering CO2, from primarily power plant flue gas; and the production of useful fuels, plastics, and chemicals which sequester or convert the CO2, thereby eliminating more carbon emissions.

There are many takes on technology, and desired products which could be produced should the technologies actually be scaled up successfully. Often, despite the initial cost estimates to achieve such ends fall short, possible subsidies, such as 45Q could be a means of making such advances work, at least for a period of time, until additional advances occur or improvements in such technologies take place. Long term, I believe some of these technologies will be scaled up successfully, and affordably, often with subsidies, so opportunities in these developments will eventually occur without subsidies. The earth is our home, and there is no replacement; therefore a reduction in carbon emissions is key for the earth to prosper. For the gas companies, all applications are important, as well as methods for sequestering CO2 into useful products for everyday life.

About the author:

Sam A. Rushing is president of Advanced Cryogenics, Ltd, and a chemist with massive consulting and merchant CO2 industry experience. The company focuses on CO2 – based consulting work, cryogenic gas expertise, and providing equipment to the industry. Contact Sam at Tel. 305 852 2597, Email: or Web:

On the Road to Success from Research to Product: The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide Guide to Cyclotron Road Mon, 09 Dec 2019 22:56:09 +0000

Cyclotron Road is a partnership between the non-profit and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to empower scientists to advance their technologies from concept to first product through a fellowship program. It’s a home for hard tech innovators.

Companies like Opus 12, MicroByre, Visolis, CinderBio, and others had their beginnings in Cyclotron Road, according to Tom Boussie, Managing Director/CTO who shared this presentation at ABLC NEXT in San Francisco. An impressive more than 90% of alumni companies are still operating today. Get details on this entrepreneurial research fellowship program and application information to be part of their next Cohort too.