Biofuel, News Roundup

Biofuel News Roundup

A lot of activities going on within the biofuel sector — M&As, the EPA’s proposed RIN changes, increasing biofuels use in aviation  — and coming from the ag industry, continued developments for new industrial crops suitable for biofuel use. The latter, I will try to post more especially information coming from my recent attendance at the Plant Bio-Industrial Oils conference last week.

Meanwhile, also check out some of the tweets today coming from the ongoing World Biofuels Market conference in the Netherlands.

Bunge Brazil starts biodiesel plant
Bunge Brazil has inaugurated its $60m biodiesel plant with a capacity of 150m liters/year, located in Nova Mutum, Mato Grasso. The facility, built next to an existing soybean crushing facility, will supply biodiesel in the Midwest, Southeast and Northern parts Brazil.

Extreme Biodiesel in oil recycling
Extreme Biodiesel has initiated discussions to acquire a Southern California based oil recycling company, which has developed a business model built on the successful conversion of used cooking oil that can be used as feedstock for biodiesel manufacture. Extreme Biodiesel also recently announced that its proprietary biodegradable glycerin based form and asphalt release product has successfully concluded its initial real world testing, with positive results.

Solazyme’s algae fuel test successful
Renewable fuel retailer Propel Fuels and bioproducts company Solazyme has released sales and survey results of its 30-day retail pilot program, which marked the first commercial availability of algal-based fuels under the brand Soladiesel. Sales went up 35% at Propel stations offering the algae-derived fuel compared to sites not participating in the pilot. In the consumer survey, 92% of participants noted that they would be more likely to purchase algae-derived fuel for its environmental benefits; 70% indicated that they would purchase the fuel more frequently if it were derived from algae; and nearly 40% of customers indicated they would pay a premium for algae-derived fuel.

Lignol invests in biofuels
Lignol Energy has subscribed for convertible notes with a principal value of AUS$1.18 million issued by Territory Biofuels Limited (TBF) and signed a collaboration deal that includes a package of technical and further assistance to aid in the restart of TBF’s 150m liter/year biodiesel plant and glycerine refinery located in Darwin, Australia. The terms of the notes provide Lignol an equity position of between 20% to 40% in TBF, depending on a range of criteria related to the development of the Darwin facility.

United Refining buys biodiesel plant
United Refining Company, through its subsidiary, United Biofuels, Inc., has acquired a partially completed 50m gal/year biodiesel facility in Brooklyn, New York as part of the acquisition by its parent company, United Refining, Inc., of certain assets of Metro Fuel Oil Corp. and its affiliates.  The facility is estimated to become operational in 12 months and upon completion, will be able to process a variety of feedstocks.  When completed, it will be one of the largest biodiesel facilities on the east coast.

Rentech closes demo unit
Rentech plans to close its research and development Product Demonstration Unit (PDU), in Commerce City, CO, and to eliminate all related alternative energy R&D activities. The Company’s strategy is focused on more immediate growth opportunities within the energy industry that do not rely on new technologies. Rentech will attempt to sell the PDU as well as approximately 450 acres of land in Natchez, MS it acquired for the development of an alternative energy facility. Rentech has a portfolio of patents and processes that utilize the Fischer-Tropsch process to turn carbon based feedstocks into synthetic fuels and other chemical products. The feedstocks range from garbage, grass clippings, lumber yard waste to traditional sources like coal and natural gas.

POET, Chromatin in sorghum pact
Crop breeder Chromatin has partnered with ethanol producer POET to use sorghum grown in South Dakota in the production of ethanol. The deal covers up to 4,400 acres of sorghum grain, which will be used in POET’s 110m gal/year ethanol plant in Sioux Falls. The plant current uses 35m bushels of corn annually. Chromatin said South Dakota growers are attracted to sorghum as a grain source because it is easy to grow, has low fertilizer and water needs and is tolerant to both heat and drought conditions.

Algenol Biofuel exceeds milestone
Algenol Biofuels has surpassed its planned algae-based ethanol production rates with more than 9,000 gal/acre/year compared to corn ethanol that has production of 400 gal/acre/year. Algenol projects it can produce ethanol for around $1/gal using its patented DIRECT TO ETHANOL algae technology that uses sunlight, carbon dioxide and saltwater. A pilot-scale biorefinery project is under development in Fort Myers, Florida.

INCBIO secures biodiesel eng’g contract
Portuguese engineering company INCBIO has signed a contract with Biofuel Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Green Energy Group Limited to supply an 8,000 MTY biodiesel plant, to be installed in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. The plant will incorporate INCBIO’s ultrasonic reactors, as well as solid catalyst acid esterification technology, to produce Biodiesel from grease trap oil (known as brown grease) with up to 100% FFA, collected from municipal wastewater treatment plants, local councils and waste grease collectors in Malaysia. INCBIO and Green Energy Group expect the plant to be complete during the summer of 2013.

Anaergia starts biogas facility
Anaergia‘s  biogas upgrading facility at Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana is now operational.  Anaergia designed, built and now operates the facility that converts biogas from cow manure into the equivalent of nearly 10,000 gal/day of diesel fuel for one of the largest milk hauling fleet. Manure collected from 11,000 dairy cows is anaerobically digested to produce a biogas composed of roughly 60% methane.  Anaergia cleans, compresses and upgrades the biogas to over 98% methane under a 15 year operations contract that could be extended in the future.  The biomethane, is odorized to form renewable natural gas (RNG) and then further compressed up to 4,000 psig into compressed natural gas (CNG) for vehicle fueling.

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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