Friday, July 31, 2009

Biofuel in Briefs.Biofuels market to triple from $76 billion to $240 billion by 2020

Pike Research: biofuels market to triple from $76 billion to $240 billion by 2020
In a positive outlook for the biodiesel industry, Pike Research, a new cleantech analysis firm headquartered in Boulder, Colo., has predicted robust growth over the long-term for the global renewables market. "The study started out as an assessment of technologies in the biofuels industries, but then it grew into a more of a market analysis," said Robert McDonald, author of the report. Growth on the supply side was linked to game changing technologies related to biofuels processing. "In the biofuels world, feedstock is king and any technology that provides additional feedstock is a game changer to me," McDonald told Biodiesel Magazine

British OK world's largest renewable energy plant
A 295-megawatt biomass electricity plant-the largest in the world-is expected to be operational and capable of providing energy for 600,000 households near Teesport, England, in late 2012, according to British company MGT Power, the company developing it. The Tees Renewable Energy Plant will run on 2.65 million tons of wood chips per year shipped over from sustainable and certified forestry operations mostly in Europe and America, including the Southeast U.S., according to MGT, which recently received consent from the British government to proceed with development of the facility

UK's largest anaerobic digestion plant approved
A proposal to build the largest anaerobic digestion facility in the U.K. has been granted planning permission by the North Yorkshire County Council. The $32.8 million Selby Renewable Energy Park project will power nearly 11,000 homes and divert 165,000 tons of food waste from landfills each year. Meanwhile,the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) announced that a coalition of universities and aviation companies will undertake a $148 million research program to reduce the carbon footprint of aviation and improve engine fuel efficiency. Funding is provided by the TSB and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
In the EU, a new report from RDC Aviation and Point Carbon concluded that the the airline industry will face carbon credit costs of $1.54 billion per year starting in 2012, based on the current carbon spot price of $20.26 per tonne. That year, the industry will enter the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. The report warned that costs could soar even higher if carbon prices rise as expected.

Oxnard, Calif.,-based Gills Onions, a fresh onion producer, will soon be able to achieve 100 percent of its electricity requirement, 600 kilowatts daily, through anaerobic digestion of its onion waste. The company's Advanced Energy Recovery System will convert 75 percent of the 300,000 pounds of waste produced daily into biogas to be fed into two 300-kilowatt fuel cells, according to the company.

Bacteria simplifies cellulosic ethanol production
Bacteria found in sweet gum wood may improve the preprocessing steps for cost-effective production of cellulosic ethanol. JDR-2, a strain of the wood-decaying bacteria, Paenibacilluscan, break down and digest hemicelluloses, which in traditional cellulosic ethanol production is broken down by acid hydrolysis. This bacteria is also isolated from anaerobic digesters, it is facultative and can work in both anaerobi and aerobic conditions.

Terrabon proves biomass-to-fuel process
Terrabon LLC has produced high-octane green gasoline from biomass at its advanced biofuels research facility in Bryan, Texas, using its MixAlco pretreatment and fermentation technology. In April, Terrabon received the first installment of an equity infusion for an undisclosed amount, from Texas-based oil refiner and lead Terrabon investor Valero Energy Corp., which owns and operates 16 oil refineries in the U.S. Its subsidiary, Valero Renewable Fuels, recently became the owner of some of bankrupt ethanol producer VeraSun Energy Corp assets, including five ethanol production facilities and a development site.

Covanta to acquire seven waste-to-energy facilities
Covanta Holding Corp. has signed a $450 million definitive agreement with Veolia Environmental Services to acquire seven municipal solid waste-to-energy facilities in North America, which collectively process approximately 3 million tons of waste each year. Covanta has 38 existing waste-to-energy facilities, which annually process an approximate total of 17 million tons of municipal solid waste.

Government funding to support biofuels research
U.S. DOE Secretary Steven Chu and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced July 22 the joint selection of up to $6.3 million in awards towards fundamental genomics-enabled research to improve the use of plant feedstocks for biofuel production. The seven grants will be awarded under a joint DOE-USDA program that began in 2006 to conduct fundamental research in biomass genomics that will establish a scientific foundation to facilitate and accelerate the use of woody plant tissue for bioenergy and biofuel. The DOE will provide $4 million in funding for four projects; the USDA will award $2.3 million to fund three projects. Initial funding will support research projects for up to three years. The government also announced up to $30 billion in new loan guarantees, funded partly through the Recovery Act and partly through 2009 appropriations.

The lending authority includes up to $500 million in subsidy costs to support loans for cutting edge biofuel projects funded by the Recovery Act. The solicitation is the seventh rounds of solicitations by the Department's Loan Guarantee Program, which encourages the commercial use of new or improved energy technologies to help foster clean energy projects.

Applications will be accepted over the next 45 days. In addition, the DOE has streamlined its processes to accelerate these new loan solicitations, and is absorbing up to $3 billion in loan guarantee administration costs that were previously charged back to loan recipients. The DOE said that additional loan guarantee solicitations funded by the Recovery Act will be announced soon.

In China, researchers will publish a report in the Aug 20 issue of The American Chemical Society's Energy & Fuels of their success in developing a low-cost biodiesel catalyst from shrimp shells. The researchers say that their catalyst converted rapeseed oil to biodiesel faster than existing catalysts, and that the catalyst can be recycled.

In Taiwan, CPC announced that it would commence sales of E3 ethanol in Kaohsiung City, and added that it would incentivize sales with a discount of wNT$2 per gallon below the cost of gasoline. Kaohsiung joins Taipei as the only two cities with E3 fuels available - eight stations in Taipei offer ethanol blended fuel. A similar project, replacing diesel with biodiesel, is aiming to reduce diesel demand by 10 Mgy.

In California, SunEco and JB Hunt announced a cooperative agreement which could lead to J.B. Hunt becoming a significant purchaser of biodiesel made from natural algae oil using SunEco Energy's proprietary technology. The two companies said that they had completed a series of successful tests using biodiesel made by SunEco Energy from 100 percent natural algae oil produced at the company's pilot plant in Chino, California.

In Massachusetts, BP and Verenium have named their 50-50 joint venture company Vercipia Biofuels, and plan to relocate its corporate headquarters to Florida. Vercipia continues to focus on the development of one of the nation's first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facilities, located in Highlands County, Florida. The company is also developing a second commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol site in the Gulf Coast region.

The Energy Tribune ran an article by John Lynn of the Methanol Institute, which outlines that group's vision for the prospects and opportunities of methanol fuels. Methanol has been a controversial fuel option due to concerns over efficiency and safety. The Methanol Institute article gives an excellent introduction to the opportunities, as seen from the industry point of view.

In Finland, Neste Oil said that its new 170,000 tonne biodiesel plant at its Porvoo refinery has successfully completed start-up and is now running at full capacity. The plant doubles the company's biodiesel capacity at Porvoo, and the company is also expected to complete 800,000 tonne biodiesel plants in Singapore in 2010 and Rotterdam in 2011, which will be the largest plants in the world.

In New Zealand, Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee said that five companies have taken advantage of a three-year biodiesel grant fund. Meanwhile, a Green Party bill that establishes sustainability standards for biofuels production passed its first reading in the national Parliament. The bill would eliminate biofuels made from food crops or made from materials that led to the destruction of animal habitats.

In Jamaica, Jamaica Broilers Group secured a US$7 million loan from IIC, and guaranteed the debt with its JB Ethanol business, which the group has invested $42 million in to date. The ethanol business, which uses sugar cane as a feedstock, has been solidly profitable for the past two years although the operation was closed for six weeks in February for maintenance and in response to low global ethanol prices.

Oregon B2 mandate takes effect Aug. 5
Nine counties in northwest Oregon will adopt a B2 mandate beginning next week followed by the rest of the state later in the fall. The biodiesel blend will become mandatory Aug. 5 in Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Clatsop, Columbia, Tillamook, Yamhill, Polk and Marion counties. By October 1 the rest of the state will join the effort. The only exceptions to the biodiesel blend mandate are rail, marine, and home heating oil applications. The two percent requirement has been recently triggered by Oregon's biodiesel production capacity now reaching five million gallons.
Arkansas producers urge farmer comments to EPA
Hornbeck Agricultural has gotten responses from farmers in five states and broad news coverage for a large ad that appeared in the Delta Farm Press urging farmers to tell the U.S. EPA what they think of provisions in the proposed rule for the revised renewable fuels standard. The ad read as a letter to soybean farmers. "The question is simple: Will you and other farmers have greater opportunity to raise soybeans for the production of biodiesel-or will proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulations cripple that industry and limit your choices?" The letter is urging farmers to speak out in opposition to EPA regulations on indirect land use changes.

Dover Chemical markets new biodiesel additive
A new chemical additive for biodiesel fuel offered by Dover Chemical Corp. of Ohio is formulated to prevent engine deposits. "It acts as a detergent to prevent carbon contamination on engines," said Corky Thacker, spokesman for Dover. Polyisobutylene succinic anhydride (PIBSA) is a versatile chemical intermediate that adds functionality, particularly dispersion, to hydrocarbon products used in a wide range of applications including biodiesel.

Schroeder increases throughput of ColdClear
Enabling large continuous flow operations to conform to new cold soak requirements in the ASTM standard is now possible as Schroeder Biofuels has increased the handling capacity of its purification system for biodiesel. "This technology really has no top end" as to what capacity it can handle, said Jonathan Dugan of Schroeder Biofuels. In the past year ASTM published specifications for blended fuel-from B6 to B20-as well as pure biodiesel which means fuel terminals and distribution centers which perform blending operations also have to comply with ASTM specifications. The increased handling capacity of Shroeder's ColdClear product will allow them to purify blended fuel as well.

In Italy, Biofuels International is reporting that a consortium of eight biodiesel producers, working with researchers from the University of Florence, have developed a technology to replace corn and rapeseed as feedstocks with algae. The $14 million project is being coordinated by the Union of Biodiesel Producers, which heads the project.

In Ghana, allafrica is reporting on efforts by the The Civil Society Coalition on Land (CICOL) to persuade the government to accelerate development of a biofuels policy. The current draft policy was originally developed in 2005, not finalized, and contains deadlines as soon as 2015.