Biofuel, News Roundup

Biofuel news roundup

It seems all my anti-flu precautions did not work, unfortunately, as I am now a mass of sneezing, sniffling, virus-laden human being. Hopefully, this will pass very soon. Here are several announcements in the biofuel industry and there seems to be a lot of them coming out everyday.

Vinema to build ethanol plants in Brazil
Brazilian biofuel company Vinema Biorefinarias do Sul Ltda. plans to build six new cellulosic ethanol facilities with a total capacity of 600m liters in Rio Grande do Sul that will cost a total investment of Real (R) 720m using cereal crops such as rice, sorghum and barley for feedstock. The plants will be built in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul where it is unsuitable to grow sugar cane. Construction of the first facility in Crystal will begin in April and is expected to start operations in the first half of 2014. The other facilities are expected to be ready within eight years.

Eco-Energy ethanol marketing deals
Tenn., US-based biofuel supply chain company Eco-Energy has formed a multi-year ethanol marketing agreement with Corn Plus Ethanol, which has a 49m gal/year plant in Winnebago, MN. Eco-Energy also formed an exclusive marketing agreement with Lincolnway Energy LLC, which has a 50m gal/year ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa. Eco-Energy reportedly handles nearly 10% of the biofuels market in North America.

USEI to build biodiesel plants via JV
Energy firm US Energy Initiatives (USEI) Corp. has formed a joint venture with Methes Energies Canada to build several small-scale biodiesel plants in California which will use Methes’ Denami 600 biodiesel processor technology. The technology reportedly can be set up anywhere to produce 1.3m gallons/year of ASTM-quality biodiesel. USEI has also formed a joint venture with an undisclosed biodiesel-producing company located in Riverside County, California.

Pacific Ethanol uses Edeniq’s tech
Biomaterials and biofuels company Edeniq has partnered with Pacific Ethanol to install Edeniq’s Cellunator technology at the company’s Stockton, California, ethanol plant, which has a capacity to produce 60m gal/year of corn ethanol. Edeniq’s technology — which mills corn and other plant materials into ‘right-sized’ particles of feedstock that can be more efficiently converted into the plant sugars — is expected to increase the facility’s ethanol yields by 2-4%. Edeniq will also deploy at the Stockton plant its OilPlus™technology that combines thermal, mechanical, and chemical treatments to improve the recovery of corn oil, a co-product for use in feed and other bio-industrial products application.

Biomass power plant now in operation
GDF Suez power plant located in Polaniec, Poland, is now in commercial operation, delivering over 200 MWe of electricity to the country’s electricity grid solely from biomass. The plant is reportedly powered by the world’s largest biomass CFB (circulating fluidized-bed) boiler supplied by Foster Wheeler. The technology is said to be capable of fully firing a wide range of biomasses and other fuels from agricultural crops. The plant started commercial operation on November.

EQM exits biodiesel and sells plant
EQM Technologies & Energy will sell its biodiesel production facility in Cleburne, Texas, and related assets to Delek Renewables for $5.3m in cash. EQM and Delek Renewables previously have a tolling agreement where EQM produces biodiesel for Delek Renewables using Delek’s feedstock. The tolling deal will terminate upon completion of the asset sale. The transaction will enable EQM to exit the biodiesel business and focuses on other strategic environmental services.

Abengoa creates US subsidiary
Spain-based Abengoa has created its new American subsidiary Abengoa US, which will have assets in excess of $5.8bn and revenues accounting for 20% of the company’s total sales. At present, Abengoa US is engaged in projects such as Solana, a solar plant using parabolic-trough solar-thermal technology based in the Arizona desert, and a commercial second-generation bioethanol plants located in Hugoton, Kansas, which is expected to start operation at the end of this year.

Woodland Biofuels bags funding
Private venture firm, the MaRS Cleantech Fund (MCF) has invested in Woodland Biofuels in an undisclosed amount. Woodland Biofuels produces cellulosic ethanol from wood chips and other types forestry and agricultural waste using proprietary gasification and three-step catalytic conversion process. The company recently opened a demonstration plant in Sarnia, Ontario. MCF invests up to $3m per investee company.

Algae.Tec to raise $200m for expansion
Perth-based algal oils producer Algae.Tec plans to sell $200m of bonds in Europe to fund expansion in the Americas by financing new factories in Texas and Brazil that will produce algae for biofuels.  Algae.Tec’s enclosed bioreactor technology takes waste C02 from power and manufacturing facilities and uses it to grow algae oil for transport fuels. The company plans to expand after the US congress approved a $1/gal tax credit for algal fuels producers. US regulators are now also allowing airlines to fly passenger jets using a biofuel blend. Alga.Tec plans to hold a stake of more than 90% in the new factories in the US, where feasibility studies are expected to be completed this month.

…and gets $12m Aussie gov’t refund
Algae-Tec has been given approval from the Australian government for an AU$12.15m cash refund on Australian and overseas development expenditure for the financial years June 30, 2012 to June 30, 2015. The terms of the payment allow for an initial $27 million spend on Algae.Tec technology developments, of which the Australian Government will reimburse 45% or $12.15 million. The reimbursement will help funding of at least three algae bioreactor facilities in Australia, Asia and the USA.

Solarvest buys facility for algal production
Solarvest Bioenergy has acquired a 30,000 square foot facility in Summerville Prince Edward Island which will be used to produce the company’s algae. The facility, which originally was a yeast fermentation plant, can reportedly support up to 10,000 tons/year of algal production, and can still allow for future expansion. Solarvest expends the renovation to be complete in the second quarter of 2013 with pilot production to begin in mid- to late 2013. Initial algae application is to produce omega-3 nutraceutical products.

Southern Research gets $1.5m grant
Southern Research Institute has entered a cooperative deal with the US Department of Energy to test a method for producing liquid transportation fuels from coal and biomass. The not-for-profit research organization hopes to improve the economics and lifecycle impacts of coal-to-liquid (CTL) and coal-biomass-to-liquid (CBTL) processes by eliminating the typical Fischer-Tropsch (FT) product upgrading and refining steps and enhancing the ability of CTL and CBTL processes to compete with petroleum-based processes.

Pearson Fuels to install E85 stations
Pearson Fuels of San Diego, California, has been granted $1.35m from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to assist in its expansion of its retail flex fueling network by installing E85 into 19 traditional retail gasoline stations across California. The project is expected to displace 2.75m gallons of gasoline per year. Stations will be located in areas where significant numbers of flex fuel vehicles are undereserved by flex fuel stations.

AFPM cellulosic biofuel mandate petition
The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to waive the 2012 cellulosic biofuel mandate, citing a lack of domestic supply available for commercial use. The AFPM said the EPA’s timeline for introducing cellulosic biofuel into the fuel supply market continues to be unrealistic. The AFPM said just 20,069 gallons of cellulosic biofuel has been produced in 2012 to date and all was exported.

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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