Too many biofuel news!! It’s driving me nuts. Thank goodness I don’t focus on this industry as much or I won’t get any work done on my consulting gig for Tecnon OrbiChem. Still, the technologies and feedstock between biofuels and biobased chemicals are always intertwined so the blog always needs to pay attention to this market.
Here are compiled news announcements for the month of August:
- Praj Industries claimed to be the first company in South Asia to set up an integrated 2nd Generation (2G) Cellulosic ethanol plant. The 2G Cellulosic ethanol demo plant will use a variety of biomasss such as corn stover, cobs and bagasse with a capacity of 100 dry tonnes of biomass per day. The demo plant will enable Praj to consolidate its 6 years of R&D efforts, starting with laboratory trials to pilot scale trials. The same plant will also enable Praj to develop various biochemicals and bioproducts.
- CropEnergies AG, Mannheim, acquires the UK bioethanol producer Ensus Limited, based in Yarm, England. The company operates one of the largest production plants for bioethanol in Europe, in the northeast of England with an annual capacity of 400,000 cubic metres of bioethanol and 350,000 tonnes of dried protein animal feed (DDGS).
- Edeniq, a biomaterials and sustainable fuels company, and Pacific Ag, the leader in large-scale agricultural feedstock supply chains, signed a five-year exclusive collaboration agreement to integrate cellulosic ethanol production into installed corn ethanol production base. The deal will combine Edeniq’s bolt-on production technologies for corn ethanol plants with Pacific Ag’s agricultural biomass supply capabilities.
- Marathon Petroleum has acquired from Mitsui & Co. its interests in three ethanol companies for $75m in cash. MPC has acquired an additional 24% interest in the Andersons Clymers Ethanol LLC, a 34% interest in the Andersons Ethanol Investment LLC, and a 40% interest in the Andersons Albion Ethanol LLC.
- News reports in early August noted that energy giant Valero has pulled out of its partnership with cellulosic ethanol developer Mascoma in the development of a proposed $232 million cellulosic ethanol plant in Kinross, Michigan. The partnership was announced in December 2011 when Valero agreed to provide up to $50m needed to construct the 20m gal/year facility.
- BDI-BioEnergy International AG has been commissioned by Stocks del Valles for the implementation of a new type of pre-esterification equipment that will enable the use of waste oils (grease, waste animal fats, etc.) as feedstock for the production of biodiesel. Capacity of the biodiesel plant in Spain is 31 ktpy.
- Renewable Energy Group is now offering biodiesel at the International-Matex Tank Terminals, a full service complex at the junction of Kill van Kull River and Upper New York Harbor, 10 miles south of Manhattan. The New York harbor is one of the world’s largest petroleum trading hubs and the new location will allow REG to sell large volumes of biodiesel via barge or truck. In two other separate news, REG has completed upgrades to its 30m gal/year biodiesel refinery in southern Minnesota. The Albert Lea biorefinery upgrade enables the plant to use multiple raw materials such as waste animal fats and greases, and inedible corn oil in addition to the refined vegetable oils in the facility. REG has also completed the purchase of a 30m gal/year capacity biodiesel plant in Mason City, Iowa, formerly owned by Soy Energy LLC.
- Syntroleum is evaluating potential sales of the company, its assets and its intellectual property, and has hired Piper Jaffray to assist the company in evaluating these alternatives. Syntroleum believes this is the appropriate time to review its strategic alternatives with respect to its renewable and gas-to-liquid (GTL) intellectual property and its ownership and licensing interest in Dynamic Fuels.
- Neste Oil has participated in the Diesel 33 project, financed by the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Public Health, the European Union, and various partners. The aim of the program is to demonstrate a new blend called Diesel R33 which contains 26% NExBTL renewable diesel, 7% conventional biodiesel produced from used cooking oil, and 67% fossil diesel, The one year project will include around 280 different types of vehicles and will test the performance of the new blend in traffic. In another news, Neste Oil has added technical corn oil to the feedstocks used for producing its NExBTL renewable diesel. in commercial basis. Supplies of technical corn oil are currently sourced from the US.
- Cool Planet Energy Systems has picked Alexandria, Louisiana, as its first commercial biorefinery location with a capacity of 10m gal/year renewable gasoline. The location provides access to abundance of renewable biomass feedstock, the ability to load fuel onto barges, rail lines and trucks, and local talent to operate the facility. Construction is expected to complete before the end of 2014.
- Sundrop Fuels has hired IHI E&C International Corp., as contractor for its inaugural cellulosic gasoline facility near Alexandria, Louisiana. The combined commercial and demonstration plant will produce 60m gal/year of finished gasoline from natural gas, and will provide demonstration of Sundrop Fuels’ gasification technology for making green gasoline using woody biomass. Operations of the plant is expected to begin at the end of 2015.
- Airbus and RT-Biotekhprom (Rostec Group) will launch a large-scale analysis of Russian feedstock for production of sustainable aviation fuels. Analysis is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
- The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is working with Ecopetrol, the largest oil company in Colombia, to process the residue from sugar cane and palm oil harvesting into fuel ethanol for blending with gasoline. The $2.3 million 18-month project is being funded by Ecopetrol, which turned to NREL for its expertise on conversion of biomass. NREL has a pilot plant at its Golden, Colo., campus that has conversion capabilities from lab scale to pilot scale, processing up to one ton per day of biomass – everything from corn stover to switchgrass and poplar trees.
- NextFuels and its partner Enagra, a biofuel trading company, are looking to produce biofuels from palm plantation residue. Approximately 4.4 to 6 metric tons of agricultural waste is generated for each metric ton of oil. There are over 1,000 crude palm oil (CPO) mills in Southeast Asia and a single (60 tons per hour) mill can generate 135,000 tons of agricultural residue a year. NextFuels uses a system called bio-liquefaction that efficiently transforms agricultural biomass to green energy. Within two to three years, NextFuels anticipates it will start to build its first commercial scale modules capable of producing 250 barrels of oil equivalent a day.
- UK’s Department of Transport will grant £25 million of capital funding to enable the construction of demonstration-scale waste to fuel and other advanced biofuel plants in the UK. The funding will be provided over three years from 2015 following a competition to identify the best and most suitable industry proposals. The Department for Transport will commission a feasibility study to report on the detailed design of the proposed competition including eligibility criteria and funding scheme options, as well as ensuring the project complies with EU State aid rules.
- The US Department of Energy will grant over $22m in new investments to help develop cost-competitive algae fuels and streamline the biomass feedstock supply chain for advanced biofuels. Nearly $16.5m will be granted to four projects namely Hawaii Bioenergy, Sapphire Energy, New Mexico University and California Polytechnic State University. The projects aim at breaking down technical barriers and accelerating development of affordable algae biofuels. A project led by Columbus, Ohio-based FDC Enterprises that aims to reduce costs across the entire biomass feedstock supply chain will receive $6m.
- Covanta announced a 20-year deal with New York City’s Department of Sanitation to transport and sustainably dispose around 800,000 tons/year of municipal solid waste located in Queens and Manhattan beginning early 2015. Covanta plans to utilize capacity at existing facilities to convert the City’s waste into clean energy.