Biofuel, News Roundup

Biofuel News Roundup

The blog decided to separate the biofuel news from the weekly roundup as there are too many of them and its piling up quickly. Current activities going on in the biofuel industry is the wait-and-watch mode for the much anticipated decision by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on whether it will change or maintain the status quo for the Renewable Fuels Standard for 2013.

The RFS requires 13bn gallons of ethanol to be produced in 2013. Several industry food groups are arguing that the RFS requirement is aggravating food prices because of the use of corn. The biofuel industry is fighting to maintain the status quo for RFS2.

A decision by the EPA is expected to come out soon just came out denying the request to waive RFS.

“We recognize that this year’s drought has created hardship in some sectors of the economy, particularly for livestock producers,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “But our extensive analysis makes clear that Congressional requirements for a waiver have not been met and that waiving the RFS will have little, if any, impact.” – EPA

Europe is also going through the same “mandates” challenge as the US. The European Commission (EC) put out a proposal in October that will limit the use of food crops such as oilseeds and cereals for the production of biofuels. EC is also looking to introduce a new legislation to account for indirect land usage changes (ILUC), which will assess the greenhouse gas emissions performance caused by biofuels.

Under the EC’s proposal, the use of food-based biofuels to meet the 10% renewable energy target of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) will be cut from 10% to 5% by 2020. The intention is to stimulate the development of second-generation biofuels from non-food feedstocks, which reportedly emit substantially less greenhouse gases than fossil fuels and do not directly interfere with global food production.

Proposed ILUC emissions reductions assign 12 grams of CO2 equivalent per megajoule (gCO2eq/MJ) for cereals and other starch rich crops. The relative ILUC for sugars and oil crops are estimated to be 13 gCO2eq/MJ and 55 gCO2eq/MJ, respectively.

The proposal would establish incentives for biofuels that result in little or no ILUC emissions such as using feedstocks including algae, straw and waste.

You can read more about the proposals on this link. A joint statement from the European biofuels and agricultural groups said the new proposals were “set to decimate the biofuels industry in the midst of the European economic crisis.”

Finally, here are this week’s biofuel news roundup!

REG buys Texas biorefinery
Renewable Energy Group (REG) has acquired from North Texas Bio Energy a 15m gal/year multi-feedstock biorefinery located in New Boston, Texas, for $300,000 in cash and 900,000 shares of its common stock issued to North Texas Bio Energy. The facility began production in June 2008 and has been idled for four years. REG plans to start the facility in the first quarter of 2013 to produce biodiesel using animal fats and high free fatty acid feedstocks.

Edeniq partners with Usina for demo plant
Biomaterials and biofuel technology company Edeniq has begun engineering and construction of a bagasse to sugars demonstration plant together with its partner Usina Vale, a Brazilian sugar and ethanol producer. The plant will produce cellulosic sugars from bagasse, which will be converted to ethanol at Usina’s ethanol and sugar production site located in Sao Paulo. The plant will handle up to 20 tons/day of bagasse.

…and Aemetis for California plant
Edeniq has also partnered with biofuel/biochemical technology developer Aemetis to install Edeniq’s propietary Cellunators technology at the 60m gal/year Aemetis Advanced Fuels Keyes plant in California. The technology will boost ethanol yields by milling corn and other plant materials into right-sized particles of feedstock that can be easily converted. Aemetis is also testing the commercial feasibility of Edeniq’s cellulosic ethanol Pathway platform at the site.

Copersucar, Eco-Energy in ethanol JV
North American biofuel marketer and logistics company Eco-Energy has joined Copersucar, the largest sugar and ethanol trader in Brazil to build and expand their integrated biofuel platform. With this partnership, Copersucar and Eco-Energy add their global supply capacity of 2.6bn gal/year of biofuel to become the largest ethanol trader in the world.

Praj to build ethanol demo plant in India
Engineering firm Praj Industries is building a 10m liters/year lignocellulosic ethanol demonstration facility in India. The Company expects the project cost to be in the region of $25m-30m, and for the facility to break ground in early 2013. The plant will seek to demonstrate technical and commercial viability of Praj’s technology as well as optimization of water and energy integration and its impact on the capex and opex of the commercial financial proposal.

Eni to produce biodiesel using UOP tech
Italy’s largest energy company Eni S.p.A, will produce renewable diesel using Honeywell’s UOP Eni Ecofining process at Eni’s Venice refinery, which previously produces petroleum-based diesel. Eni will produce more than 100m gal/year of renewable diesel at its Venice facility beginning in 2014. In addition to technology licensing, Honeywell’s UOP and its affiliates will provide basic engineering, specialty equipment and training for the project. Eni plans to eventually convert its entire Venice refinery into a renewable diesel production facility.

Novozyme launches new biofuel enzymes
Novozymes has introduced Avantec® enzymes which reportedly improves the efficiency and profitability of biofuel production. Avantec enables producers of corn ethanol to squeeze an extra 2.5% ethanol out of the corn, thereby improving their profit margins. A typical US ethanol plant uses around 900,000 tons/year of feed-grade corn to produce 100m gallons of ethanol, 300,000 tons of animal feed (DDGS) and 8,500 tons of corn oil. With Avantec, a plant can save 22,500 tons of corn while maintaining the same ethanol output.

Campbell Soup partners in biogas plant
Campbell Soup Company has partnered with CH4 Biogas L.L.C. (CH4), to create Ohio’s first commercial biogas power plant to generate renewable electricity. Campbell will direct waste generated from its soup, sauce and beverage production in Napoleon, Ohio, diverting 35-50% of its current waste away from Henry County landfills. A 15-year power purchase and services agreement will allow Campbell to use 100 percent of the electricity generated at a flat cost. Construction is underway and slated for completion in mid-2013.

Global biofuel enzyme to reach $1.6bn in 2018
A new report published by Transparency Market Research estimated the global biofuel enzymes demand to be worth $1.0bn in 2011 and is expected to reach $1.65bn in 2018, growing at a CAGR of 7.6% from 2013 to 2018. In the overall global market, North America is the largest market; however Asia Pacific is expected to be the most promising market in the near future.

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.

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