Biofuel, News Roundup

Biofuel News Roundup

I am cleaning up my draft box as usual. Here are last week’s biofuel news roundup. Issues and debates on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) especially for cellulosic ethanol as well as E15 ethanol use continue but I won’t go in that direction. I will leave these debates for now in the capable hands of biofuel experts.

TMO Renewables in cellulosic ethanol JV
UK-based TMO Renewables and Usina Santa Maria Ltda plan to form a joint venture to build cellulosic bioethanol plant in Sao Paulo, Brazil, using sugarcane waste (bagasse) for feedstock.  The plant will initially have a capacity of 10m liter/year and will be followed by a full-scale industrial plant. Production start-up is scheduled in 2014. The bioethanol will primarily be used to power Flex-Fuel vehicles in the domestic market.

Waste2Tricity expands in Asia
UK-based Waste2Tricity (W2T) has launched its wholly-owned subsidiary Waste2Tricity International (Thailand) Ltd. and opened offices in the Rajchathewi district of Bangkok. The subsidiary will be seeking opportunities to deploy W2T’s Alter NRG Westinghouse plasma technology in multiple locations as well as future deployment of the company’s AFC Energy fuel cell. W2T is using plasma gasification to convert waste to energy.

SCS biofuel certification in Asia
SCS Global Services expanded its biofuel certification services in Southeast Asia and will now conduct audits under the “International Sustainability & Carbon Certification” (ISCC) program, which allow biofuel producers in Southeast Asia to meet the requirements for export into the European Union under the EU Renewable Energy Directive. SCS also offers certifications for responsibly produced biofuels under the Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels (now called Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials) and Bonsucro standards.

Biofuel group changes name
The Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) has changed its name to Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials reflecting the expansion of its scope on biomass use to other products such as bioplastics, cosmetics, food additives and bio-chemicals. If a biorefinery operator earns RSB certification, all their product lines are certified not just the biofuel portion, according to the organization.

Extreme Biodiesel in acquisition mode
Extreme Biodiesel is in discussion to acquire Promethean Biofuels, a cooperative corporation that manufactures biofuels and “earth-friendly” industrial chemicals and fertilizers as well as operate a waste collection services. With the exception of used motor oil and waste vegetable oil collection programs, Promethean Biofuels’ products and services are available only to members of the Cooperative. Its industrial products include methanol, solvents, surfactants, adjuvants and ion exchange resins among others. Extreme Biodiesel is also in discussion to acquire SoCal Biofuels, an waste cooking oil recycling company.

BIOX, Shell in biodiesel supply deal
BIOX will supply biodiesel to Shell Canada Ltd. by an inter-terminal pipeline from BIOX’s 67m liters/year Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, biodiesel refinery to adjacent Shell distribution terminal. The connection is expected to be completed by late 2013. BIOX will also be constructing a tank on its site to inventory product specifically for Shell’s use. Costs of the project will be shared by the two parties.

Neste Oil uses tall oil pitch in biofuel
Neste Oil claimed to be the first company in the world to begin using tall oil pitch, a residue produced by tall oil refiners, as feedstock for refining into traffic fuel. Finnish tall oil refiners produce around 100,000 tons/year of tall oil pitch as a byproduct. Neste Oil aims to use significant quantities of the new feedstock in the future. The company tested tall oil pitch in commercial refinery operations in March-April and is now ready to begin using it on a continuous basis. The fuel from tall oil pitch will be distributed to service stations in Finland this spring.

Abengoa starts waste-to-biofuel demo plant
Spain-based bioenergy company Abengoa started operations of its waste-to-biofuels demonstration plant in Babilafuente in Salamanca, Spain, that has a capacity to treat 25,000 tons of municipal solid waste and can produce up to 1.5m liters of bioethanol for fuel use. The technology is being implemented at Abengoa’s plant in Hugoton, Kansas, USA, which is expected to start operations at the end of 2013. The Hugoton waste-to-biofuel plant has a capacity to produce 100m liters/year of ethanol using biomass.

Joule’s CO2-to-medium chain hydrocarbons
Joule announced that it was able to directly produce medium-chain hydrocarbons, which are substantial components of its gasoline (Sunflow-G) and jet fuel (Sunflow-J) using waste carbon dioxide for feedstock. To date, renewable hydrocarbon-based fuel substitutes required complex, multi-step conversion of algal or other biomass feedstocks into fuel pre-cursors and subsequent chemical upgrading. Joule said it has engineered photosynthetic biocatalysts that convert waste CO2 into hydrocarbons using a patented, continuous process.

BDI to build biodiesel plant 
Austria-based BDI-BioEnergy International AG has been commissioned by a Southeast European company to build a multi-feedstock biodieesel plant with a capacity of 100,000 tons/year. The plant using BDI Multi-Feedstock technology can use byproducts such as used cooking oil, animal fats, trap grease or any vegetable oils. The main contract for construction of the plant is expected to close within the following months.

Global biofuels output to reach 62bn in 2023
A new report from Navigant Research estimated global biofuels production will grow from 33.6bn gal/year in 2013 to 61.6bn gal/year in 2023. Global biofuels production is expected to exceed the aggregated volume of blending mandates in more than 40 countries by 2020 even as the anticipated rollout of supply targets will exceed actual production in that same year. The next 10 years is expected to see a shakeup of existing policies around biofuels to better calibrate policy objectives and actual production, according to the study.

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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