Biofuel, News Roundup

Biofuel News Roundup

My draft box on biofuels is filling up very quickly….sometimes I think I need help managing these news roundups *sigh*. As I finish this news roundup in Geneva, Illinois, don’t forget to follow today’s  and tomorrow’s tweets as the blog covers Roquette’s Green Chemistry and Fermentation Symposium under the hashtag #RoquetteUniv.

Enerkem starts Canadian biofuel project
Waste-to-biofuels and renewable chemicals company Enerkem launched a new research project with the Government of Canada. The project aims to develop new catalytic processes for the conversion of waste into drop-in biofuels that are fully interchangeable with hydrocarbon fuels like gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. The Government of Canada is contributing $1.1m to the project via Natural Resources Canada.

Edeniq surpass demo milestones
Biomaterials and biofuel firm Edeniq noted a completed successful performance test for its first cellulosic ethanol demonstration plant in Visalia, California, US. The facility reportedly exceeded the benchmark of 1,000 hours of continuous operation, and can process over one tonne/day of cellulosic feedstock to cellulosic ethanol exceeding the plant’s initial target.

AGP closes corn processing plant
Ag Processing has permanently shut down operations of its corn processing plant at Hastings, Nebraska amid challenging economic conditions. The Hastings industrial complex also operates a soybean processing plant, a vegetable oil refinery and an AminoPlus production facility, and the company said these operations will not be impacted by the announcement.

SGI, ExxonMobil in algae biofuel R&D
Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI) announced a new co-funded research agreement with ExxonMobil to develop algae biofuels. The research will focus on developing algal strains with significantly improved production characteristics by employing synthetic genomic science and technology. SGI and ExxonMobil started a R&D alliance in June 2009 that focused on naturally-occurring and conventionally modified algae strains.

REG buys Soy Energy biorefinery
Renewable Energy Group (REG) has purchased a 30m gal/year biodiesel plant in Mason City, Iowa, from Soy Energy for $11m in cash and the issuance of a $5.6m promissory note to Soy Energy. The plant was idled in mid-2012 due to market conditions and manufacturing challenges. REG plans to repair and restart the plant in the future that would increase REG’s biodiesel production capacity to 25m gal/year.

Canergy picks Chemtex, Beta Renewables
California-based advanced biofuels company Canergy has selected engineering firm Chemtex and biofuels technology firm Beta Renewables for the development of Canergy’s 25m gal/year cellulosic ethanol facility in Imperial Valley of California. Construction of the facility is expected to start in the first quarter of 2014 and operation start-up targeted in 2016. Canergy has also partnered with agribusiness firm CHS for the biofuels project.

US Fuel, RWE in algae partnership
US Fuel Corporation has formed a joint venture with Renewed World Energies (RWE) to integrate RWE’s patent-pending photo bioreactor into US Fuel’s coal-to-liquid (CTL) plants planned for Muhlenberg county and Perry county, Kentucky. US Fuel’s CTL process will include the ability to capture the carbon dioxide, which will then be put to use to grow algae using the RWE photo bioreactor. When the algae are ready to harvest, an automated process sends the algae through multiple screening processes for final delivery to an oil processing plant, where it will be used to manufacture products ranging from synthetic biofuel, livestock feed to raw materials used in pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic ingredients.

Heliae in algae cosmetics
Arizona-based algae technology company Heliae has partnered with the Clarecastle Group to use Heliae’s technology platform Volaris in health and beauty products applications. The Clarecastle Group is a New York-based management consulting firm providing strategies in varied industries. The consulting firm reportedly boasts former cosmetic and personal care industry executives expert in designing, formulating, branding and launching novel cosmetic and personal care products.

Virent delivers jet fuel to Air Force
Virent said it has delivered 100 gallons of its biobased jet fuel to the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for testing purposes. Product testing at Wright Patterson Air Force will validate Virent’s jet fuel against standards required for qualification and approval of new aviation turbine fuels established by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), which will include fit-for-purpose, fuel system and combustor rig testing.

Airbus, Air Canada, BioFuelNet in aviation biofuels
Airbus, Air Canada and BioFuelNet Canada have formed a partnership to assess sustainable production of aviation biofuels with the long-term goal to supply Air Canada. The partnership will provide a preliminary study of the different processes and raw materials available for alternative fuel production, exploring innovative new pathways and overall sustainability of solutions. The first assessment is expected by the end of 2013.

UK Green Invesment Bank funds biomass
The Equitix managed fund, Energy Savings Investments, in which the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) is a cornerstone investor, has invested £4.9m into its first energy efficiency project. This investment mobilises a further £5.1m of investment from the Equitix Energy Efficiency Fund (EEEF). The project will see inefficient heating systems, in both public and private community facilities, replaced with biomass boilers. Energy service company Roundwood Energy will be responsible for financing, installing, maintaining and fueling the new renewable heating systems for up to 20 years.

JBEI’s new biomass pretreatment tech
Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), a bioenergy research center led by Berkeley Lab, has developed a new technique for pretreating cellulosic biomass with ionic liquids – salts that are liquids rather than crystals at room temperature. The new technique does not require expensive enzymes used in previous ionic liquid pretreatments, making it easier to recover fuel sugars and recycle the ionic liquid and ultimately lowering costs of producing advanced biofuels.

CME Group trades ethanol RINs
CME Group started its first Ethanol Renewable Identification Number (RINs) futures contract on May 15 over CME ClearPort. This trade was brokered by StarFuels Inc. RINs futures provide a useful hedge for the price risk associated with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s EPA renewable fuel standard (RFS2). The EPA has created a credit trading system for compliance with RFS2 for various types of renewable fuels based on units called RINs. The contracts are listed by and subject to the rules of NYMEX.

New enzymes tech for cellulosic biofuels
Researchers with the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) have employed a promising technique for improving the ability of enzymes that break cellulose down into fermentable sugars to operate in temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees Celsius, which would benefit production of biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass. The EBI is a collaborative partnership between BP, the funding agency, UC Berkeley, Berkeley Lab and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

IndianOil develops oil co-processing tech
IndianOil has developed and commercialised a technology to co-process non-edible vegetable oil such as jatropha to make biodiesel in the existing Diesel Hydrotreating (DHDT) units of a petroleum refinery owned by Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) at Manali. IndianOil has also developed a process for de-metallization and de-gumming of vegetable oils. The co-processing technology reportedly reduces operating cost by around 50% in comparison to a conventional biodiesel plant.

Bio Plant’s new biodiesel facility
Bio Plant Technologies LLC and GHP Biodiesel USA have joined to build a new biodiesel plant in Boulder, Colorado, that will have a capacity of 11.5m gal.year and is fully integrated in the joint used cooking oil collection business of Bio Plant operating as ClearEcos. GHP Biodiesel is a technology provider for biodiesel production.

Successful biofuel test flight in China
China oil refiner Sinopec reported successful first test flight of an Airbus A320 owned by China Eastern Airlines and powered by Sinopec’s newly developed aviation biofuel product. The biofuel is made of palm oil and recycled cooking oil produced by Sinopec Zhenhai Refining and Chemical Company.

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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