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EIA Data Questions RFS "Hardship" Waivers Effect on Ethanol Demand (Ind. Report)
EIA
Date: 2019-10-04
As previously reported, ethanol industry proponents have petitioned the EPA to cease issuing Small Refinery "Hardship" Exemptions (SREs) allowable under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The ethanol industry is trying to convince the EPA that the waivers are hurting their business and, therefore, the agency should stop issuing them.

Month-over-month, official government data tells a very different story. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the ethanol blend rate has remained within normal statistical variation, despite the flood of "hardship" waivers. EIA data shows:

  • The overall physical ethanol consumption for Q1 2019 (the most recent, complete data available) is higher than it was in 2018.

  • The average ethanol blend rate was higher in Q1 2019 (10.21 pct) than in Q1 2018 (10.09 pct).

  • In February 2019, the ethanol blend rate was 10.53 percent -- the highest in the 12 months preceding. And the March 2019 ethanol blend rate was 10.18 percent -- higher than the March 2018 blend rate of 9.75 percent.

    These blend rates have been stable for the past few years, underscoring the truth that ethanol demand is premised partially on the RFS, partially on demand for clean octane and partially on other factors -- not SREs.

    Similarly, when it comes to mid-level ethanol blends like E15, there is no data indicating that SREs are reducing demand. E15 and other mid-level ethanol blend sales have been growing all year and, in the case of E15, sales are higher at this point than they were last year, according to the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association.

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), EIA, Business & Industry Connection, 3 Oct., 2019) Contact: AFPM, Derrick Morgan, Snr, VP, (202) 586-8800, www.afpm.org; EIA, www.eia.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  "Hardship" Waiver,  Ethanol.Ethanol Blend,  EIA,  


  • Cielo's Alberta Biodiesel Project Delayed (Ind. Report)
    Cielo Waste Solutions
    Date: 2019-10-02
    Further to our 4th Sept. report, Vancouver-based Cielo Waste Solutionm is reporting the date to finalize an investor partnership agreement to construct renewable diesel refineries in Medicine Hat and three other locations in southern Alberta have been stalled to the end of the year.

    Cielo notes it is fine tuning the project's waste wood fibre-to fuel technology and awaiting waiting equipment orders and a permit from Alberta Parks and Environment. (Source: Cielo, Medicine Hat News, 1 Oct., 2019) Contact: Cielo Waste Solutions Corp., Don Allan, President & CEO, (403) 348-2972 Ext. 101, donallan@cielows.com, www.cielows.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Cielo Waste Solutions,  Biofuel,  Waste-to-Fuel,  Landfill Waste,  


    Diamond Green Diesel Plans $1.1Bn Expansion (Ind. Report)
    Diamond Green Diesel
    Date: 2019-10-02
    Honeywell is reporting the Valero Energy and Darling Ingredients joint venture Diamond Green Diesel facility in Norco, Louisiana, will invest $1.1 billion to expand its annual production capacity of renewable diesel using Honeywell UOP's Ecofining™ process technology to meet growing demand for renewable fuels in North America and Europe.

    Producing 275 million gpy of Honeywell Green Diesel™, Diamond Green Diesel is the largest commercial advanced biofuel facility in the US. The expansion, which will increase the facility's annual production by nearly 150 pct to 675 million gpy, will also produce about 60 million gpy of renewable naphtha when completed and operational in late 2021.

    Diamond Green Diesel's product is a qualified Advanced Biofuel under the US EPA Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). (Source: Honeywell, Hydrocarbon Engineering, Oct., 2019) Contact: Diamond Green Diesel, sales@diamondgreendiesel.com, www.diamondgreendiesel.com; Valero Renewable Fuels, Joe Gorder, Pres., (800) 324-8464, www.valero.com; Darling Ingedients, Melissa A. Gaither, VP IR , (972) 281-4478, mgaither@darlingii.com, www.darlingii.com; Honeywell UOP, Bryan Glover, VP Petrochemicals & Refining Technologies, www,uop.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Honeywell UOP,  Diamond Green Diesel,  Renewable Diesel,  Valero,  Green Diesel,  Darling Ingedients,  


    EPA Halts RFS "Hardship" Waiver Changes (Ind. Report)
    RFS,"Hardship Waivers"
    Date: 2019-10-02
    It is being widely reported by Fox News and others that the EPA has stalled on updates to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) biofuels policy regarding biofuel blending "hardship" waivers (exemptions) that have been issued at near wholesale levels.

    The EPA appears to be acting on instructions from Trump who is no doubt preoccupied with his own whistleblower and impeachment worries.

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: Fox News, Various Other Media, 2 Oct., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump,  RFS,  "Hardship" Waiver,  Biofuel Blend,  


    W2 Fuels Shutters Iowa, Michigan Biodiesel Plants (Ind. Report)
    W2 Fuel
    Date: 2019-09-30
    In the Hawkeye State, Crawfordsville-based biodiesel producer W2 Fuel LLC reports the shutdown of its 10 million gpy biodiesel plant in Crawfordsville in southeast Iowa, along with a plant in Michigan.

    The company cited RFS "hardship" waiver uncertainty and growing losses for the move. (Source: W2 Fuel, Des Moines Register, 25 Sept., 2019) Contact: W2 Fuel, Roy Strom, CEO, 319-658-2003, www.w2fuel.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biodiesel,  W2 Fuel,  Biofuel,  Renewable Fuel,  


    Biomass Residues to Fischer-Tropsch Products Validated (Ind Report)
    Fischer-Tropsch
    Date: 2019-09-27
    The EU news agency CORDIS is reporting production of biofuel by gasification of biomass residues has been successfully validated in the EU's COMSYN project in September. The process performance was verified with bark in an 80 hour-long test run by the Helsinki-headquartered VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd (VTT) -- the project coordinator.

    The syngas conversion to Fischer-Tropsch (FT) products was conducted by Karlsruhe, Germany-based IneraTec GmbH. The test studied and verified the performance of the gas cleaning train and the entire synthesis process with real wood-derived gasification gas. (Source: CORDIS, EU COMSYN Project, 26 Sept., 2019) Contact: EU COMDYN Project, www.comsynproject.eu; VTT Technical Research Centre, Nils-Olof Nylund, +358 400 703 715, nils.olof.nylund@vtt.fi, www.vttresearch.com; IneraTec GmbH, +49 721 86484460, www.ineratec.de

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Syngas,  COMSYN,  VTT,  Fischer-Tropsch,  Syngas,  


    TechnipFMC, BTG-BTL Plan Swedish Bio-oil Facility (Int'l. Report)
    BTG-BTL,TechnipFMC
    Date: 2019-09-27
    In the Netherlands, BTG-BTL reports it has teamed up with TechnipFMC to design and construct a production facility in Sweden to convert wood residues such as sawdust into bio-oil which will then be processed into a transportation biofuel for blending with other fuels.

    The facility will use pyrolysis technology to process approximately 35,000-40,000 tpy of wood residues into oil. The end fuel product will European REDII directive compliant.

    TechnipFMC and BTG-BTL have already been awarded an order to construct a similar production facility in Finland, with the option to extend to four. Construction of the facility is scheduled to begin in 2019, with production slated for 2021. (Source: BTG-BTL, Biofuels Int'l, 26 Sept., 2019) Contact: BTG Bioliquids BV, +31 (0 )53 486 2287, office@btg-btl.com, www.btg-btl.com; TechnipFMC, +31 (0)79 3293 600, tpbenelux@technipfmc.com, www.technipfmc.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News BTG-BTL,  TechnipFMC,  Bio-oil,  Biofuel,  


    Alberta Univ. Reports Renewable Jet Biofuel R&D (Ind. Report, R&D)
    University of Alberta, Forge Hydrocarbon
    Date: 2019-09-27
    Prof. Dr. David Bressler, researcher at the University of Alberta reports development of a hydrocarbon fuel from lipid wastes that could allow renewable biofuels to be used as jet fuel.

    Unlike ethanol and other biofuels, this technology can use lower quality oils in its production, allowing it to not only release an estimated 85 pct less carbon emissions than petroleum-based fuels, according to Bressler.

    Bressler's lab is considering two options for producing jet biofuel -- a low-risk approach which requires giving their hydrocarbon biofuel another treatment and adding in hydrogen or to continue work on already partially developed chemistry which would keep the fuel stable, even at lower temperatures.

    The University of Alberta spin-off company Forge Hydrocarbons is working on commercializing the product as airlines and both the Canadian and American militaries are increasingly investing in the renewable option. Currently, Forge runs a pilot plant near Edmonton's Waste Management Centre that is expected to produce around 19 million lpy of biofuel. (Source: University of Alberta, 26 Sept., 2019) Contact: University of Alberta in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences, Prof. Dr. David Bressler, 780-492-4986, dbressle@ualberta.ca, www.ualberta.ca; Forge Hydrocarbons, 905-815-7786, thaig@forgehc.com, www.forgehc.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Jet Biofuel,  Forge Hydrocarbons,  


    MPOB Seeks Funding for Palm Oil Biojet Fuel R&D (Int'l. R&D)
    Malaysian Palm Oil Board
    Date: 2019-09-25
    In Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) could partner firms from Japan, China and the US to develop palm-based jet fuel using byproducts from the country's second-biggest export commodity, palm oil. The project, which is expected to get underway in early 2020, will include a pilot plant for the blended fuel.

    The Primary Industries Ministry is seeking roughly RM6 million ($1,453,000 US) in the upcoming budget to support the biojet fuel project. Potential project collaborators include Chinese, U.S. and Japanese firms.

    "The funding will be used for the initial setup to produce biojet fuel on a small scale and we will work from there on how to expand into commercial production. The project will also test the sustainability of using other renewable sources such as biomass in producing aviation biofuel," according to the release. (Source: Malaysian Palm Oil Board, PR, 23 Sept., 2019) Contact: Malaysian Palm Oil Board, Dr. Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir, www.mpob.gov.my

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Malaysian Palm Oil Board ,  Palm Oil,  Biofuel,  Aviation Biofuel,  


    Automaker Participating in Spanish Biomethane Fuel Project (Int'l.)
    European Commission,Strategic Research Institute
    Date: 2019-09-25
    With the goal of boosting the circular economy, energy efficiency and emissions reduction, Spanish auto maker SEAT S.A. reports it will participate in the Life Landfill Biofuel project which will obtain renewable gas from municipal landfills. The project, which was recently approved by the European Commission, is intended to produce biomethane from an indigenous, abundant biomass energy source. The 4-year project is budgeted at €4.6 million of which the European Commission will provide 55 pct.

    SEAT is currently working on the Life Methamorphosis project to obtain biomethane from previously selected waste and animal slurry from a farm in Lleida, Spain. The new Life Landfill Biofuel project is a step further as the raw material originates directly from the landfill, without prior separation.

    Other project participants include FCC, IVECO, The University of Granada, the CARTIF Foundation, SYSADVANCE and Gasnam. SEAT previously developed a similar project with Aqualia to convert waste water into biofuel. (Source: SEAT S.A. Website, Strategic Research Institute, 24 Sept., 2019) Contact: Universitat de LLeida, Departament de Produccie Vegetal, www.pvcf.udl.cat; SEAT, www.seat.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Landfill Gas,  Biomethane,  Waste-to-Fuel ,  


    Dow, UPM Biofuels Partner on Bio-Based Plastics (Ind. Report)
    Dow Chemical, UPM Biofuel
    Date: 2019-09-25
    Chemicals giant Dow Chemical Company rports it is partnering with advanced biofuels producer UPM Biofuels for the commercialization of a plastics offering for the packaging industry made from a bio-based renewable feedstock.

    Dow is integrating wood-based UPM BioVerno renewable naphtha -- a key raw material used to develop plastics -- into its slate of raw materials, creating an alternative source for plastics production. Dow is using this feedstock to produce bio-based polyethylene (PE) at its production facility in Terneuzen, The Netherlands, for use in food and other packaging applications.

    Following a successful year-long trial program, Dow is now planning to scale production and address the increasing global demand for renewable plastics.

    UPM BioVerno naphtha is produced at UPM's biorefinery in Lappeenranta, Finland, from crude tall oil, which is a residue of paper pulp production. (Source: Dow Chemical Co., PR, 24 Sept., 2019)Contact: Dow CHemicals, www.dow.com; UPM Biofuels, Sari Mannonen, VP . +358 45 265 1345, sari.mannonen@upm.com, www.upmbiofuels.com, www.upm.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News UPM BioVerno,  UPM Biofuel,  Dow Chemical,  Woody Biomass,  


    Algae Biofuel Market Valued of $9.88Bn by 2024 (Ind. Report)
    Zion Market Research
    Date: 2019-09-23
    Zion Market Research is touting its recently published Algae Biofuel Market by Type (Bioethanol, Biodiesel, Methane, Jet Fuel, Biobutanol, Biogasoline, Green Diesel, and Others) and for Application (Transportation, Aerospace, and Other Applications): Global Industry Perspective, Comprehensive Analysis and Forecast, 2017 -- 2024 report.

    The report covers crucial data associated with worldwide Algae Biofuel Market, highlights the newest technological developments and new launches, and other related developements that impact the algae biofuel market. According to the report the Algae Biofuel Market will will be valued at $9.88 billion by 2024.

    Report details are HERE. Request sample copy of Algae Biofuel Market Research Report HERE. (Source: Zion Market Research, Sept., 2019) Contact: Zion Market Research, +49-322 210 92714, USA/Canada Toll-Free No.1-855-465-4651, sales@zionmarketresearch.com, www.zionmarketresearch.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Zion Market Research ,  Algae,  Algae Biofuel,  


    Clariant, ORLEN Seal Polish Plant Sunliquid Deal (Int'l. Report)
    Clariant, ORLEN
    Date: 2019-09-23
    Basel, Switzerland-based specialty chemicals company Clariant reports it has inked a licensing agreement for its sunliquid cellulosic ethanol technology with Polish company PKN ORLEN Group's member ORLEN Poludnie.

    ORLEN Poludnie will use the technology to design, construct and operate a new commercial scale cellulosic ethanol from agricultural plant in Jedlicze , southeastern Poland where it will produce cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residues. (Source: Clariant, Sept., 2019) Contact: Clariant, Markus Rarbach, Biofuels and Derivatives, Clariant, Markus Rarbach, Hariolf Kottmann, CEO, +41 61 469 5111, www.clariant.com; PKN ORLEN, Armen Artwich, Member of the Management Board, www.orlen.pl

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Clariant,  ORLEN,  cellulosic ethanol,  


    Van Oord Testing Marine Biofuels (Int'l. Report)
    Van Oord
    Date: 2019-09-20
    Netherlands-based marine dredging firm Van Oord reports it is working with Shell to test the use of biofuels for its fleet of dredgers during a dredging project in Germany. The biofuel being used in the pilot is made from used cooking oil and other wastes and reduces CO2 emissions by more than 40 pct compared with conventional marine fuel. The biofuel also enables Van Oord to comply with sulfur emission regulations.

    Other maritime shipping firms, including Maersk and Finnish shipowner Meriaura , have recently undertaken similar biofuels tests and limited use. (Source: Van Oord, PR, 19 Sept., 2019) Contact: Van Oord, Ronald Schinagl, Director Business Unit Netherlands, www.vanoord.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Van Oord,  Marine Biofuel,  Biofuel,  


    WIU Funded for Pennycress Biofuel Research (Ind. Report, Funding)
    Western Illinois University
    Date: 2019-09-18
    Western Illinois University (WIU) reports agriculture professor Win Phippen has been awarded a $10 million USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant to investigate the use of pennycress as a new cash cover crop and biofuels feedstock.

    Researchers from Illinois State University, the Ohio State University, the University of Wisconsin at Platteville and the University of Minnesota will join Phippen's team.

    The integrated pennycress crop program will focus on improving pennycress genetics for plant breeding and preservation, agronomic management, ecosystems and supply chain management for post-harvest seed control, with the goal of commercially launching pennycress as a cash cover and biofuels crop in 2021. St. Louis-based CoverCress Inc. is working closely with Phippen and his team for some of the breeding and post-production side of the research.

    The end goal is to produce 50 billion gallons of biofuel in the next 25 years. (Source: Western Illinois University, Journal-Courier, 18 Sept., 2019) Contact: Western Illinois University, Prof. Win Phippen, (309) 298-1251, WB-Phippen@wiu.edu; CoverCress Inc., Funded for www.covercress.com; USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, https://nifa.usda.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Pennycress news,  Biofuel news,  


    Minnesota Governor's Biofuels Council Launched (Ind. Report)
    Minnesota Ethanol
    Date: 2019-09-18
    In St.Paul, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) has announced the signing of an executive order creating the 15-member Governor's Biofuels Council. The council will include representatives from the agriculture, biofuels and transportation industries, as well as from environmental and conservation groups.

    The Council will be commissioned to create a report advising Walz -- chairman of the national Governors' Biofuels Coalition -- and his cabinet on to how to expand the use of biofuels and increase their carbon efficiency. The Council will also look at using biofuels as part of the state's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in transportation. Walz's executive order mandates that the biofuels report be completed by November 2020. (Source: Office of Gov. Tim Walz, Star Tribune, 16 Sept., 2019) Contact: Office of Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, 651-201-3400, https://mn.gov/governor

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Gov. Tim Walz,  Ethanol,  Minnesota Ethanol,  


    Delta Invests $2Mn in Forest Biomass Biofuel Study (Ind. Report)
    Delta Air Lines,Northwest Advanced Bio-fuels
    Date: 2019-09-18
    U.S. air carrier Delta Air Lines reports it is partnering with Northwest Advanced Bio-fuels (NWABF) for a $2 million study to determine the feasibility of building a facility in Washington State to produce sustainable aviation fuel and other biofuel products.

    The facility would utilize forestry waste and wood "slash" to produce sustainable fuels. The result would qualify under an approved carbon-reducing pathway recognized by the American Society of Testing and Materials.

    Delta expects the study to be completed by the middle of 2020, at which time it will "evaluate the next steps in moving forward with the project's development" with the expectation that the project would be in production by the end of 2023. Biofuels produced at the facility could provide around 10 pct of the airline's annual jet fuel consumption in the West Coast region.

    As previously reported, Delta operated its first carbon-neutral delivery flight, using biofuels on a new A321. The airline also purchases offsets for domestic flights into and out of seven high-traffic airports. (Source: Delta, Air Travel, Sept., 2019) Contact: Delta, Graeme Burnett, VP Fuel Management, www.delta.com; Northwest Advanced Bio-fuels, Dave Smoot, www.nifa.usda.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Woody Biomass,  Biofuel,  Aviation Biofuel,  Delta Air Lines,  


    Trump Plan Would Boost Biofuel Quotas 10 pct in 2020 (Reg & Leg)
    Teump
    Date: 2019-09-16
    Reuters is reporting U.S. Pres. Trump has tentatively approved a plan to increase the amount of biofuels that oil refiners are required to blend each year to compensate for the large number of financial "hardship" exemptions granted to "small" -- 75,000 bpd or less -- refiners by the EPA.

    Under the plan, the EPA will calculate a three-year rolling average of total biofuels gallons exempted under its Small Refinery Exemption program and add that figure to its annual biofuel blending quotas each year -- about 1.35 billion gallons in 2020. That would come in addition to a tentative agreement to boost 2020 blending volumes by 1 billion gallons, including 500 million gallons for conventional biofuels like corn-based ethanol and 500 million gallons for advanced biofuels like biodiesel, according to the Reuters report.

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: Reuters, Various Media, 16 Sept., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  "Hardship" Waiver,  Ethanol Blend,  


    Associations Call for Canadian Clean Fuel Strategy (Ind. Report)
    Wood Pellet Association of Canada
    Date: 2019-09-13
    Advanced Biofuels Canada, Canadian Biogas Association, Canadian Gas Association, Electric Mobility Canada and Wood Pellet Association of Canada are forecasting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions of over 50 million metric tons (Mt) per year by 2030 through greater production and use of renewable energy in Canada.

    Collectively, the associations say they represent technologies that can, with the right policy measures in place, exceed the proposed federal Clean Fuel Standard's objective of 30 Mt of annual GHG emission reductions by 2030.

    To that end, the associations are calling on the Canadian federal government to adopt a Clean Fuel Strategy by 2020. The strategy would include setting a clear path to clean and renewable fuel use by 2030 by: establishing clear market signals for clean fuels and electric vehicles; aligning clean and renewable fuel regulations to meet targeted clean fuel and EV use; establish clean fuel program funding to support clean and renewable fuel production capacity and infrastructure investments, and support EV adoption; and Support research and development programs to maintain Canadian leadership in clean fuel technologies and innovation. (Source: Wood Pellet Association of Canada, Biomass Mag., Sept., 2019) Contact: Wood Pellet Association of Canada, www.pellet.org; Canadian Biogas Association, (613) 822-1004, www.biogasassociation.ca; Advanced Biofuels Canada, Ian Thompson, Pres., (604) 947-0040, ithomson@advancedbiofuels.ca, www.advancedbiofuels.ca

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Advanced Biofuels Canada,  Canadian Biogas Association,  Wood Pellet Association of Canada,  Clean Fuel,  Biofuel,  


    Gevo, Leaf Resources Ink Joint Development Agreement (Ind. Report)
    Gevo,Leaf Resources
    Date: 2019-09-13
    Englewood, Colorado-based renewable fuels and chemicals manufacturer Gevo, Inc. and Queensland, Australasia-based Leaf Resources, a specialist in converting plant biomass into industrial sugars, are reporting a joint development and commercialization agreement under which Gevo will explore the potential use of cellulosic-derived sugars and glycerol from Leaf Resources and the ability to convert these to hydrocarbon molecules useful as fuels or chemicals.

    Leaf Resources' Glycell Process pre-treatment technology breaks down plant biomass to generate a higher yield of cellulose than conventional approaches. The pretreatment is followed by enzymatic hydrolysis which converts cellulose into cellulosic sugars. The process also yields lignin, hemicellulose and refined glycerol.

    Gevo has developed technology for producing isobutanol from renewable feedstocks using a yeast that has been developed to produce isobutanol and a product recovery technology that continuously removes isobutanol as it is formed. Gevo adds its proprietary yeast to fermentable sugars to convert the sugars to isobutanol. (Source: GEVO, Green Car Congress, 12 Sept., 2019) Contact: Leaf Resources, +61 7 3188 9040, www.leafresources.com.au; Gevo, Patrick Gruber, CEO, 303-858-8358, pgruber@gevo.com, www.gevo.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel,  Isobutanol,  Leaf Resources,  GEVO,  Cellulosic,  


    Trump Asked to Honor RFS Pledge (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    NBB,National Biodiesel Board
    Date: 2019-09-11
    "DearMr.President,

    "We are writing to express dismay at your recent decision to grant 31 waivers from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. Plainly stated, that decision is putting U.S.biodiesel producers out of business and worsening the year's outlook for soy farmers. And while you have expressed concern to save small petroleum refineries, you should also understand that small U.S. biodiesel producers need a positive signal.

    "Within a week of your decision on the 31 waivers, one U.S. biodiesel producer announced plans to close three plants -- in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Mississippi. Other producers have announced closings and laid off workers. More than 200 million gallons of domestic biodiesel production has been idled this year, due to instability in federal policy. We anticipate that additional facilities will close over the next several months if you do not take quick action to restore RFS volumes for biodiesel and renewable diesel.

    "Every small refinery waiver issued by the EPA has the potential to put a U.S.biodiesel producer out of business. A small oil refiner processing 75,000 barrels of oil per day can produce nearly 1 billion gallons of fuel in a year. The RFS program requires that oil refiner blend about 20 million gallons of biodiesel or renewable diesel during the year -- a very small fraction of overall fuel production. However, there are dozens of biodiesel producers who produce 20 million gallons of fuel or less each year; three-fifths of U.S. producers are small, non-integrated facilities.

    Small refinery waivers destroy demand for all biofuels across the board, with a significant impact on domestic biodiesel and renewable diesel producers. According to University of Illinois economist Scott Irwin, the exemptions especially harm biodiesel and renewable diesel producers because of the way the RFS is constructed. The 1.4 billion gallons of renewable fuel eliminated from the 2018 RFS through the 31 waivers includes hundreds of millions of gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel in the biomass-based diesel, advanced and overall volumes.

    "The small refinery exemptions are compounding the policy headwinds our industry is facing. Biodiesel producers have waited more than 20 months for Congress to address expired tax incentives. Additionally, your U.S. Department of Commerce is proposing to virtually eliminate countervailing duties on unfairly subsidized Argentine biodiesel. Those duties were put in place to counteract years' worth of unfair trade practices by Argentina. Soy farmers have faced closed markets, depressed crop prices, and weather-related challenges. Those forces have reduced soy planting by 15 percent for the current marketing year. Biodiesel is a value-added market driver for America's soybeans, at a time when markets have been shut or diminished.

    "The biodiesel industry continues to rely on the RFS to incentivize growth. Biodiesel and renewable diesel can be used in any existing diesel engine without special equipment for blending or dispensing. Producers therefore rely on a positive signal and support from federal programs to continue opening the transportation market to higher volumes.

    "Biodiesel producers and soy farmers rely on the RFS program. Growth in the biodiesel market is the only way to keep domestic producers operating and protect U.S. workers' jobs. Unfortunately, EPA is proposing zero growth for biomass-based diesel. We have asked the agency to do two things: first, properly account for the small refinery exemptions handed out over the past few years and going forward; and second, provide growth in the biomass-based diesel market for 2020 and 2021.

    "We ask that you continue to support the RFS and save small biodiesel producers. (signed) National Biodiesel Board (NBB)" (Source: NBB, 9 Sept., 2019) Contact: NBB, Donnell Rehagen, CEO, Kurt Kovarik, VP Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.biodiesel.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NBB,  Biodiesel,  RFS,  


    US Transit Buses Switching to Alternative Fuels (Ind. Report)
    American Public Transit Association
    Date: 2019-09-11
    The American Public Transit Association (APTA) reports the share of conventional diesel buses in public transit fleets dropped from 70 pct to 42 pct and were replaced with alternative fuels -- CNG, LNG, Biodiesel -- and advanced hybrid drive-trains powered vehicles in 2017 and 2018.

    In the ten-year period from 2008 to 2018, natural gas and diesel hybrid drive-trains have replaced the greatest share of diesel buses followed by biodiesel, propane, hydrogen and electric. (Source: American Public Transportation Association, 2019 Public Transportation Fact Book, Washington, DC, April 2019, Green Car Congress, 10 Sept., 2019) Contact: American Public Transit Association, (202) 496-4324, www.apta.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Alternative Fuel,  Biofuel,  CNG,  


    Ethanol Fastest Growing US Agricultural Export (Ind. Report)
    US Grains Council
    Date: 2019-09-11
    According to recent research by the Washington, DC-headquartered US Grains Council (USGC), non-beverage ethanol has been the fastest growing US agricultural export at 18 pct over the past five years.

    In 2018, American ethanol export totaled over 6.1 billion litres (1611449519.385 gallons) worth roughly $2.7 billion. In total, exports increased by over $330 million year-on-year. (Source: US Grains Council, Various Media, Biofuels Int'l, 10 Sept., 2019) Contact: U.S. Grains Council, Tom Sleight, Pres., (202) 789-0789, (202) 898-0522, www.grains.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News US Grains Council ,  Ethanol,  Ethanol Export,  


    WPA Takes Canadian Clean Fuel Standard to Task (Ind Report)
    Wood Pellet Association of Canada
    Date: 2019-09-09
    Since 2017, the government of Canada has been developing the Clean Fuel Standard (CFS), a low carbon fuel standard-type policy, to reduce the life-cycle carbon intensity of fuels and energy used in Canada. The CFS aims to achieve 30 million tonnes CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) of annual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2030.

    The Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC) has been providing input to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) as it works to design and shape the CFS. And, upon review of ECCC's proposed regulatory approach, WPAC is seriously concerned that the government will not allow end-use fuel switching in the buildings/stationary fuel use sector.

    WPAC believes it is unfair for ECCC to recognize fuel switching from gasoline to electricity or hydrogen in transportation, but not to recognize switching from heating oil to solid biofuels -- wood pellets or chips -- for Canada's second largest renewable energy product -- solid biomass heating. To that end, WPAC made the following representations to ECCC:

  • One of the three primary objectives of the CFS is low-cost compliance. By prohibiting recognition of fuel switching for stationary applications, ECCC will actually significantly increase the cost of CFS compliance, exclude the forest sector from participation in the short-term, and inhibit investment in the most proven commercial technology for displacement of heating oil -- wood pellet and chip boilers.

  • Canada consumes approximately three billion lpy of heating oil, the majority of which is consumed by Canadians in rural and Atlantic Canada. The latter accounts for 44 pct of heating oil consumption in the residential sector and 50 pct of heating oil consumption in the commercial/institutional sectors. Rural and Atlantic Canada also have among the lowest per capita income. ECCC's proposed regulatory approach will make CFS compliance for these low-income areas significantly more expensive than for those living in cities.

  • Under ECCC's proposed regulatory approach, the principal mechanism for ensuring compliance from heating oil primary suppliers will be to blend renewable diesel with heating oil. Since heating oil has low carbon intensity (CI) relative to other liquid fuels and much of the crude used to produce heating oil is sourced from outside of Canada, there is less opportunity for upstream reductions than with other liquid fuels. The 2030 target of 74 g CO2e/MJ is less than heating oil combustion emissions, meaning upstream efficiency improvements will be insufficient to meet the requirements. The only heating oil-miscible fuel that can also be stored outside in winter, as is often the case with heating oil, is renewable diesel.

  • Renewable diesel has a useful heat fuel cost of $65-82 per gigajoule (GJ) ($234-295 per MWh. In contrast, wood pellets, at $300-350 per tonne for residential sales, have a useful heat fuel cost of $20-24 per GJ. Wood pellets also have half the of default renewable diesel (29 g CO2e/MJ). Wood chips are half the carbon intensity of wood pellets which means, on an implied carbon price basis and assuming wholesale $0.75 per litre for heating oil, blending renewable diesel with heating oil has a fuel cost of $630/ per tonne CO2e to 884 per tonne CO2e. Switching from heating oil to wood pellets saves money on a fuel basis, in addition to avoiding taxes on heating oil. In this case, there is little reason to implement a complex policy such as the CFS.

  • Despite the billions of dollars invested in lignocellulosic liquid transportation biofuels, all technologies are still pre-commercial -- especially forest feedstock-based liquid transportation biofuels due to the recalcitrant structure of wood fibre. Co-processing of pyrolysis oil or biocrude in existing oil refineries at a meaningful volume will not occur before 2030. The forest sector represents over 75 pct of annually-available biomass resources in Canada and its exclusion from participation in the liquids class will dramatically increase the cost of fuel, especially in rural communities where wood chips and bioheat are a cost efficient and convenient source of energy. (Source: WPAC, Canadian Biomass, Environment and Climate Change Canada, 26 Aug., 2019) Contact: Wood Pellet Association of Canada, Gordon Murra, Exec. Dir., ; Environment and Climate Change Canada, www.canada.ca › environment-climate-change

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Environment and Climate Change Canada,  Wood Pellet Association of Canada,  Woody Biomass,  Wood Pellet ,  


  • NEXT Renewable Fuels Planning Oregon Biodiesel Plant (Ind. Report)
    NEXT Renewable Fuels
    Date: 2019-09-09
    In Oregon, the Port of Columbia County has approved a long-term ground lease for NEXT Renewable Fuels to develop a $1 billion Advanced Green Diesel biodiesel production facility on 90 acres at Port Westward.

    NEXT Renewable Fuels' planned facility will convert used cooking oil and similar organic feedstocks into renewable diesel at the rate of of 37,500 bpd. The biofuels facility which could be increased to 50,000 bpd capacity, is expected to begin commercial operations in 2022. (Source: NEXT Renewable Fuels, Port of Columbia County, Biofuels News, 9 Sept., 2019) Contact: Port of Columbia County, 503-397-2888, www.portofcolumbiacounty.org; NEXT Renewable Fuels, Lou Soumas, Pres., info@nextrenewables.com, www.nextrenewables.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NEXT Renewable Fuels,  Biodiesel,  


    Univ. of Alberta Wins $1.6Mn for Jet Biofuel R&D (Funding, R&D)
    Natural Resources Canada
    Date: 2019-09-09
    University of Alberta Bioresource scientist David Bressler's work on renewable jet fuels is among 23 projects receiving $27 million in funding from Natural Resource Canada's Western Economic Diversification Canada. Bressler's lab scored $1.6 million to help with the $6.2-million project, which also includes funding from Alberta Innovates, private investors and other funding.

    With a biofuel research platform dating back to 2003, Bressler's lab has been the focal point of a push to test and validate renewable jet fuels. Oakville, Ontario-based Forge Hydrocarbons, a TEC Edmonton spinoff company based on Bressler's research, is already building a commercial plant. (Source: Univ. of Alberta, Sept., 2019) Contact: University of Alberta, David Bressler, TEC Edmonton, 780.492.8977, info@tecedmonton.com, www.tecedmonton.com; Forge Hydrocarbons, (905) 518-7786, www.forgehc.com; Natural Resource Canada's Western Economic Diversification Canada, www.wd-deo.gc.ca

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Aviation Biofuel,  Jet Biofuel,  


    NBB's EPA RFS "Hardship" Waivers Challenge Nixed (Reg & Leg)
    NBB,National Biodiesel Board
    Date: 2019-09-09
    In the nation's capitol, the US Court of Appeals has announced it will not review the Trump administration US EPA's refusal to account for its granting of numerous retroactive Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) "hardship" waivers, as challenged by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).

    The Court nixed the NBB's appeal on the grounds that the biofuel industry did not comment on the topic or give the EPA sufficient opportunity to address those comments. (Source: NBB, Biofuels News, 9 Sept., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NBB,  Biodiesel,  RFS,  "hardship" Waivers,  


    PetroBio Converting Tomato Grower from Nat Gas to Bioenergy (Int'l.)
    PetroBio,Maartens
    Date: 2019-09-06
    Goteborg, Sweden-based engineering company PetroBio reports it has been commissioned to convert the energy production at the Dutch tomato grower Zonnekreek Tomato in Groningen from natural gas to renewable bioenergy. The project is expected to be completed and commissioned by the year end.

    According to PetroBio, its "traditional market has been mainly the Nordic countries but since merging with the Belgian biofuel company VYNCKE in January 2018 the opportunities to take market shares in Europe have increased significantly." Via VYNCKE's European customer base PetroBio were able to establish contact with the Dutch pellet manufacturer Maartens and the tomato grower Zonnekreek Tomato. Maartens is responsible for funding and contracting the entire combustion equipment. The project is partly financed by the Dutch government as part of the incentive programme to encourage businesses to switch from combusting natural gas to biofuels. The plant in Holland is planned to be up and running at the end of 2019. (Source: PetroBio, Energy Global, 4 Sept., 2019) Contact: PetroBio AG, +46 31 335 49 50, www.petro.se

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Maartens,  PetroBio,  Natural Gas,  Biogas,  Wood Pellet,  


    Neste Opens Calif. Renewable Diesel Fueling Stations (Ind. Report)
    Neste
    Date: 2019-09-04
    Helsinki-headquartered renewable diesel producer reports the opening of three new cardlock renewable diesel commercial fueling stations in Northern and Central California' Neste's first California fueling station opened earlier this year, bringing the total number of commercial fueling stations to four.

    Neste MY Renewable Diesel is a cost competitive, low-carbon fuel produced from 100 pct renewable and sustainable raw materials that cuts greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 pct compared to petroleum diesel. (Source: Neste, Various Trade Media, Biofuels Int'l, 29 Aug., 2019) Contact: Neste, +358 10 458 4128, www.neste.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Neste,  Renewable Diesel,  


    Cielo Reports Alberta Renewable Diesel Refinery Progress (Ind. Report)
    Cielo Waste Solutions
    Date: 2019-09-04
    Following up on our 5th August coverage, Vancouver-based Cielo Waste Solutions is reporting receipt of a $250,000 joint venture (JV) fee from Renewable U Lethbridge, following a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement. The full fee secures the territory of Lethbridge, Alberta and the surrounding 100km radius. Cielo and Renewable U Lethbridge plan to construct a renewable diesel refinery at the location.

    Under the deal, Renewable U will be responsible for financing the costs associated with the refinery, including site acquisition, construction and commissioning of the renewable diesel facility. Cielo will manage the refinery, overseeing its construction, commissioning and operation, for which it will receive a management fee equal to 7 pct of the JV costs, and will continue to receive management fees once operations begin. (Source: Cielo, Biofuels News, 2 Sept., 2019) Contact: Cielo Waste Solutions Corp., Don Allan, President & CEO, (403) 348-2972 Ext. 101, donallan@cielows.com, www.cielows.com; Renewable U Energy, Lionel Robins, CEO, www.motivateu.ca/renewableu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Cielo,  Renewable Diesel,  


    Brazil Ups Tariff-Free Ethanol Imports Quota (Int'l Report)
    Ethanol, Brazil
    Date: 2019-09-04
    Reporting from Sao Paulo, the Brazilian government reports it has renewed and increased the size of its tariff-free ethanol imports quota to a limit of 750 million lpy (198 million gpy) for a one year period. Imports above the quota are subject to a 20 pct import duty.

    In 2018 Brazil imported 1.7 billion liters of ethanol, primarily from the U.S., surpassing that years quota. Imports this year have also surpassed the quota, reaching 991 million liters from January to July, according to Brazil's National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP) oil and fuels regulator. (Source: ET Auto, ANP Brazil, Brazil Reuters, 3 Sept., 2019) Contact: ANP Brazil, www.anp.gov.br

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Brazil Biofuel,  Ethanol,  Unica,  


    Clariant Completes Miscanthus Grass Biomass-to-Ethanol Tests (Int'l)
    Clariant
    Date: 2019-09-04
    Basel, Switzerland-based specialty chemicals company Clariant reports the completion of tests of technology that converts miscanthus biomass into lignocellulosic sugars and ethanol at its pre-commercial "sunliquid" plant in Straubing, Germany.

    Approximately 30 tons of miscanthus provided by Croatian oil and gas company INA was tested with funding from the Growing Advanced Industrial Crops on Marginal Land for Biorefineries (GRACE) project -- of which INA is a consortium member. GRACE is supported by the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

    The project aims to optimize various miscanthus grass value chains in order to produce sustainable products and to develop miscanthus as a sustainable feedstock resource for cultivation on marginal, contaminated and abandoned land. Clariant tested miscanthus as a feedstock for the production of lignocellulose sugars and ethanol. (Source: Clariant, Business Standard, 3 Sept., 2019) Contact: Clariant, Markus Rarbach, Biofuels and Derivatives, Clariant, Markus Rarbach, Hariolf Kottmann, CEO, +41 61 469 5111, www.clariant.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Clariant,  Miscanthus,  Ethanol,  Biofuel,  


    Notable Quote
    POET, EPA
    Date: 2019-08-30
    "The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was designed to increase the use of clean, renewable biofuels and generate grain demand for farmers. Our industry invested billions of dollars based on the belief that oil could not restrict access to the market and EPA would stand behind the intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Unfortunately, the oil industry is manipulating the EPA and is now using the RFS to destroy demand for biofuels, reducing the price of commodities and gutting rural economies in the process." -- Jeff Broin, CEO, POET Contact: POET, Jeff Broin, CEO., (605) 965-2200, www.poet.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News POET,  EPA,  "Hardship" Waivers,  RFS,  


    Crown Oil Invests £4Mn to Encourage Alternative Biofuels (Int'l.)
    Crown Oil
    Date: 2019-08-30
    In Bury, UK, fuel, oil and lubricant's supplier Crown Oil reports it has invested £4 million in an initiative to encourage customers to switch from petroleum fuels to synthetic biofuels as an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels.

    According to Crown Oil managing director Matthew Greensmith, "We are always looking to reduce our footprint in every way we can and we're aware that the current supply of biofuels cannot sustainably match that of fossil fuels in a large economy such as the UK. We believe renewable sources are part of the solution to the current climate crisis, and we want to encourage businesses to switch to this versatile fuel. For that reason, we have invested in an industrial-sized supply of HVO fuel, as we expect demand for greener fuels to increase as businesses become more environmentally-conscious and we want to be able to cater to that demand."

    The company is also set to lobby Whitehall to give more concessions to producers of TVO and similar fuels. To that end, the company is calling for sufficient incentives for businesses and domestic customers to use biofuels, as aside from environmental concerns, there is little reason to choose renewable fuels. (Source: Crown Oil, Bury Times, 29 Aug., 2019) Contact: Crown Oil UK, Matthew Greensmith, +44 0 845 130 9777, Fax -- +44 0 0845 130 6888, www.crownoiluk.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel,  


    Sonny Says Trump Will Take Action on Ethanol Waivers -- Whatever That Means? (Ind. Report)
    RFS,Sonny Perdue
    Date: 2019-08-30
    Speaking Wednesday in Decatur, Illinois -- corn country -- U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said President Trump will "take action to soften the effects of oil refinery exceptions for blending corn-based ethanol in motor fuel." It is "disappointing" that the Trump EPA granted the waivers, Sec. Perdue added.

    Perdue either couldn't or wouldn't say what action the president will or might take, but noted that Trump believes the EPA waivers were "way overdone." Ethanol advocates contend that oil refinery waivers have reduced ethanol production by 2.6 billion gallons since Trump moved into the White House.

    When grilled on the Trump administration's biofuels, trade and Renewable Fuel Standard and related policies Perdue replied "EPA will continue to consult with our federal partners on the best path forward to ensure stability in the Renewable Fuel Standard. The president will always seek to engage with stakeholders to achieve wins for the agriculture and energy sectors." So sayeth Sonny!(Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, CBS, Various Media, 28 Aug., 2019) Contact: Office of US Sec of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, (202) 720-2791, feedback@oc.usda.gov, www.usda.gov, twitter.com/SecretarySonny

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  "Hardship" Waivers,  Ethanol,  Sonny Perdue,  Trump,  


    Woodland Biofuels Wins $4.7Mn NRC Investment (Funding)
    Woodland Biofuels
    Date: 2019-08-30
    In Ottawa, the Canadian government reports it will invest $4.7 million in Toronto-headquartered Woodland Biofuels. The company uses gasification and a series of catalytic reactions to convert biomass into renewable fuels.

    Of the total investment, $1.9 million, funded by Natural Resources Canada's (NRC) Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program, will support the company's development of a technology to produce cellulosic ethanol from wood and agricultural waste. A second investment of more than $2.8 million, funded by NRC Clean Growth Program, will be used to increase the efficiency of the company's cellulosic ethanol demonstration plant and support detailed engineering activities, enabling Woodland's first commercial-scale ethanol plant in Sarnia, Ontario. (Source: Woodland Biofuels, PR, Ethanol Producer, 28 Aug., 2019) Contact: Woodland Biofuel, Greg Nuttall, CEO,(647) 494-5553, www.woodlandbiofuels.com; NRC, www.nrcan.gc.ca

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Cellulosic,  Natural Resources Canada,  Biofuel,  


    Shell Sinks $7.7Mn in Punjab Biomass Supply Business (Int'l Report)
    Royal Dutch Shell,Punjab Renewable Energy Systems
    Date: 2019-08-30
    Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell Plc reports is subsidiary Shell India has invested $7.7 million in the Indian biomass supply company Punjab Renewable Energy Systems Pvt. Ltd. which is backed by Neev Fund and responsAbility.

    Punjab Renewable, is involved in the collection, processing, storage and supply of paddy straw, cotton stalk, soya husk, maize cob and mustard stalk biomass for use in to power plants, biofuel production and various other applications.

    Punjab Renewable notes it can handle more than 1,000 tpd and plans to scale up to 10,000 tpd in the next few years. (Source: VCCircle, Royal Dutch Shell, 29 Aug., 2019) Contact: Shell India, www.shell.in; Punjab Renewable Energy Systems, +91 22 2757 0498, www.prespl.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Royal Dutch Shell,  Biomass,  


    Trillium Quits Dubuque Landfill Gas Biofuel Agreement (Ind. Report)
    Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency
    Date: 2019-08-28
    In Iowa, the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency reports Ankeny, Iowa-based Trillium, the company it contracted to capture and move CO2 from the city landfill, has pulled out of the agreement. The CO2 was to be processed into CNG for transportation fuel.

    Under the 2018 agreement, Trillium would have constructed a compression system at the landfill and paid $300,000 annually in royalties to the agency. Although several companies reportedly bid on the project, Trillium's willingness to make a capital investment was apparently a major consideration in the contract award.In withdrawing from the contract, Trillium claimed the project is "no longer economically feasible" and cited the Trump EPA's policies as the prime culprit. (Source: Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency, PR, 26 Aug., 2019) Contact: Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency, 563-557-8220, www.dmaswa.org; Trillium, www.linkedin.com/company/trillium-cng?trk=guest_job_details_topcard_org_name


    Kenyans Investigating Water Hyacinth Biofuel Production (Int'l)
    Kenya
    Date: 2019-08-28
    In Kenya, the free floating, highly invasive water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), an aquatic plant native to South America, is being investigated as a possible biofuel feedstock because of its high ratio of carbon to nitrogen and its abundance and ready availability in Lake Victoria, Kisumu, Kenya.

    In 2014, Nigerian academics reported better water hyacith biogas yields when the plant was mixed with sanitised chicken manure in anaerobic digestors. Kenyan scientists agree with the Nigerian claim that animal dung enhances the process of converting water hyacith into biogas. In India, scientists experimented with mixing water hyacinth with Cannabis sativa for better biogas yields.

    The Nairobi-based Biogas International company, the pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and the University of Cambridge's Institute for Sustainability are collaborating on a project to test whether water hyacinth biogas can provide an effective alternative to firewood and charcoal for cooking and other uses in rural Kenyan communities. (Source: Biogas International, Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism, Guardain, Aug., 2019) Contact: Biogas International, Dominic Kahumbu Wanjihia, CEO, +254 722 700530, www.biogas.co.ke

    More Low-Carbon Energy News water hyacinth,  Biofuel,  


    House Reps Call for RFS "Hardship" Waiver Investigation (Ind Report)
    Biofuel,Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2019-08-28
    In the nation's capitol, a dozen members of Congress, spurred on by Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa) have writtn to U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro urging the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine the review and approval of small refinery "hardship" waivers under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) , including the DOE's viability scores for the 40 waivers reviewed to date by the DOE for the 2018 compliance year.

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied.

    Download the letter HERE. (Source: Office of Rep. Abby Finkenauer, 21 Aug., 2019) Contact: Office of Rep. Abby Finkenauer, (202) 225-2911, finkenauer.house.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Renewable Fuel Standard,  "Hardship" Waiver,  


    UPM Raflatac Touts Wood-Based Polypropylene Film (New Prod & Tech)
    UPM Biofuels
    Date: 2019-08-28
    Helsinki-headquartered renewable diesel producer UPM Biofuels is touting "Forest Film", new product developed with UPM BioVerno naphtha, a 100 pct wood-based solution originating from sustainably managed forests.

    The new product replaces traditional fossil-based virgin materials and offers an efficient way to reach sustainability goals without compromising on product performance, according to a release.

    At UPM Raflatac, UPM Biofuels converts woody biomass pulp pulp production residue into renewable naphtha, a drop-in raw material for the chemical industry. (Source: UPM Raflatac, UPM Biofuels, Labels & Labeling, 27 Aug., 2019) Contact: UPM Raflatac, +44 1723 583661, www.upmraflatac.com; UPM Biofuels, Panu Routasalo, +358 45 265 1345, sari.mannonen@upm.com, www.upmbiofuels.com, www.upm.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News UPM Biofuels ,  


    More RFS "Hardship" Waivers! (Ind. Report)
    EPA,American Soybean Association
    Date: 2019-08-26
    On Friday the 23rd, the EPA announced it was granting 31 more Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) "hardship" waivers -- a whopping 31 of 38 total Small Refinery Exemption (SRE) applications for the 2018 compliance year.

    In July, EPA announced biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels volumes for 2021 will remain stagnant but again failed to account for the significant gallons lost because of SRE, which makes the proposed volume, in effect, a reduction for biofuels.

    The waivers announced Friday evening combined with those issued for 2016 and 2017 RFS volumes brings the total number to more than 80 retroactive waivers, which significantly reduces biodiesel demand and results in billions of dollars in economic harm to the U.S. biodiesel industry, including soybean farmers.

    Kentucky soybean grower and American Soybean Association (ASA) president Davie Stephens responded to the latest round saying "Of course ASA is unhappy. These exemptions undermine President Trump's pledge to support the RFS and undermine the Administration's efforts to support farmers who are already bearing the brunt of trade disruptions. EPA's decision is another blow to yet another market for soybean farmers." (Source: American Soybean Association, Daily American, Various Media, 26 Aug., 2019) Contact: American Soybean Association, Dave Stephens, Pres., (314) 576-1770, www.soygrowers.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA,  "Hardship" Waivers,  American Soybean Association,  


    Avfuel Supplying Aviation SAF at Jackson Hole Demo (Ind. Report)
    Avfuel Corporation
    Date: 2019-08-26
    Ann Arbor, Michigan-based aviation fuels and services provider Avfuel Corporation reports it will supply 7,300 gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to operators flying in and out of Jackson Hole Aviation airfield on September 3 and 4. The initiative is part of a demonstration event to encourage further commercial-scale SAF production and use.

    According to Avfuel, "We're committed to raising awareness on the viability of sustainable aviation fuel. Events like these show that the product exists, it is safe, it is simply jet fuel and it provides a great benefit to our environment. By raising awareness, we're hoping to garner commitments from more operators to use SAF and present those commitments to producers, in essence saying -- "Here are our customers. The demand is there. We simply need the supply." (Source: Avfuel Corporation, PR, 26 Aug., 2019) Contact: Avfuel Corp., Keith Sawyer, Alt. Fuels Manager, (734) 663-6466, www.avfuel.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Avfuel news,  Aviation Biofuel news,  Jet Biofuel news,  SAF news,  


    Trump Ups RFS Biofuels Quota to Placate Farm States (Ind Report)
    Trump. EPA
    Date: 2019-08-26
    Bloomberg is reporting President "The Donald" Trump, seeking to avoid political fallout in U.S. farm states essential to his re-election, last week ordered federal agencies to change, or simply rescind, many of the 80 or more recently issued "hardship" waivers relieving some oil refineries of requirements to use biofuel such as corn-based ethanol.

    Trump and his team have since apparently decided they wouldn't, or couldn't make changes to just-issued waivers without risking the wrath of the oil companies, which may also be crucial to his reelection plans. And so, to resolve his self inflicted predicament, Trump has ordered a boost in biofuels quotes to make up for expected exemptions beginning in 2021. In other wards, The Donald is trying to cover his political butt while siding with the farmers and at the same time ignoring his previous commitments to the ethanol sector.

    As previously noted, "hardship" waivers were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: Bloomberg, 26 Aug., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump,  EPA,  RFS,  "Hardship" Waiver,  


    Growth Energy CEO Rebuts EPA Zero Demand Destruction Claim (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Growth Energy, RFS, EPA
    Date: 2019-08-21
    In response to the EPA's recent claim -- "There is zero evidence that EPA's congressionally mandated small refinery exemption program has had any negative impact on domestic corn ethanol producers" -- Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement.

    "The latest reports say President Trump 'felt misled' about the EPA's most recent batch of small refinery exemptions. That's hardly a surprise. The EPA spent months trying to paper over the devastating impact these refinery (waiver) handouts have had on farm communities and rural workers in America's biofuel sector. They can't hide the simple fact that dozens of biofuel plants have cut production, and ethanol consumption fell for the first time in 20 years in the wake of these exemptions. Closures in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Florida, Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Nebraska are only the beginning.

    "Just today, the world's largest ethanol producer closed a major plant in Indiana and cut production across seven states. Hundreds of millions of gallons of production are offline, and hundreds of millions of bushels of grain are falling in value, just as farmers face the worst economic conditions in a generation.

    "The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) creates an incentive that opens the market to biofuel blends, including the E15 that President Trump personally embraced. These exemptions destroy that incentive, pure and simple. You cannot carve billions of gallons from America's biofuel targets and still keep this administration's promises to farm families. EPA needs to account for these lost gallons immediately and start repairing the damage before more rural communities lose hope for a comeback."

    Growth Energy represents producers and supporters of ethanol working to bring consumers better choices at the fuel pump, grow America's economy and improve the environment. (Source: Growth Energy, 21 Aug., 2019) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, Elizabeth Funderburk, (202) 545-4000, EFunderburk@GrowthEnergy.org, www.growthenergy.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Growth Energy,  RFS,  Renewable Fuel Standard,  


    Lufthansa Launches Sustainable Aviation Fuel Carbon Offsetting Platform (Int'l., Ind. Report)
    Lufthansa
    Date: 2019-08-21
    In Berlin, German airline Lufthansa's Innovation Hub is reporting the launch of its "Compensaid" sustainability platform focused on carbon-neutral sustainable renewable fuels (SAF). The new platform will allow airline passengers to offset their individual carbon footprint by using SAF, reducing up to 80 pct of their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

    "Compensaid" combines a global airline flight tracking tool with a sustainability platform that makes it possible to directly offset individual CO2 emissions. The platform offers two options for carbon offsetting -- the option to replace fossil fuel with SAF, which is calculated through a market-based surcharge on flights, or the alternative is to use Compensaid to support a reforestation project in Nicaragua, reducing CO2 emissions in the long-term. (Source: Lufthansa, Biofuels Int'l., 20 Aug., 2019) Contact: Lufthansa Innovation Hub, Gleb Tritus, Dir., https://de.linkedin.com/in/glebtritus, welcome@lh-innovationhub.com; www.lh-innovationhub.com, www.lufthansagroup.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Aviation Biofuel,  Sustainable Fuel,  Jet Biofuel,  Lufthansa,  Carbon Offsetting,  Carbon Offset,  


    Electro-Active Technologies Converts Organic Waste Into Hydrogen for Biofuels (New Prod & Tech)
    Electro-Active Technologies
    Date: 2019-08-19
    Tennessee start-up Electro-Active Technologies reports it has licensed two biorefinery technologies invented and patented by the company's founders to convert organic waste into renewable hydrogen gas for use as a biofuel.

    Electro-Active Technologies is developing a modular system that can be placed onsite or in a decentralized location to produce renewable hydrogen from organic waste. The system combines biology and electrochemistry to degrade organic waste such as biomass or food waste, to produce hydrogen which then combines the protons and electrons into hydrogen molecules.

    The company originally developed their processes to tackle the problem of liquid waste formed during biofuel production; however, the company will now focus on fighting food waste, according to its website. (Source: Electro-Active Technologies Contact: Electro-Active Technologies, Alex Lewis, CEO, https://electroactive.tech/contact.html, www.electroactive.tech/index.html

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel,  Hydrogen,  H2,  


    Notable Quotes -- Iowa Republicans Comment on "Hardship" Waivers
    EPA
    Date: 2019-08-19
    "It is unconscionable for Administrator (Andrew) Wheeler's EPA to continue to gut the RFS through small refinery exemptions while padding the pockets of oil refiners." -- Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R)

    "This is a small step in the right direction, but I'm very skeptical that every company receiving waivers truly needs them." -- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)

    "I'm committed to holding EPA accountable and ensuring they not only uphold the intent of the RFS but that they're more transparent and forthcoming in this exemption process." -- Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and those that suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: Various Media, Fort Dodge Messenger, 18 Aug., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  "Hardship" Waivers",  Ethanol,  


    Zimbabwe Rebooting Biofuels, Jatropha Biodiesel Projects (Int'l.)
    Jatropha, Ethanol
    Date: 2019-08-16
    In Harare, the Zimbabwe Information Ministry Monica Mutsvangwa has announced that as part of its proposed National Biofuels Policy a national jatropha biofuels production project abandoned during the Robert Mugabe administration will be rebooted.

    The Jatropha initiative was first introduced as an alternative source of fuel in 2012 but failed for lack of significant funding.

    "The proposed National Biofuels Policy will guide the biofuels sector during the period 2018 to 2030 in promoting the implementation of viable biofuels projects in the country. Its specific focus will be on ethanol production from sugar cane and biodiesel from jatropha, while exploring the possibility of other feedstocks, such as cassava and sweet sorghum for biodiesel production," the ministry said. (Source: Zimbabwe Information Ministry, NewZimbabwe.com. Aug., 2019) Contact: Zimbabwe Information Ministry, Monica Mutsvangwa, Minister, www.ictministry.gov.zw

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Jatropha,  Ethanol ,  


    "We've Had Enough!" -- NBB Comments on EPA's RFS Waivers (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    NBB
    Date: 2019-08-16
    "Here we go again. Last week, the U.S. EPA granted 31 out of 38 retroactive small refinery exemptions for 2018. I can't contain the frustration and utter disappointment I have with how this administration is handling its responsibility of administering the RFS.

    "Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) back in 2007, signed into law by George W. Bush -- a lifelong oil and gas guy. The law was passed to encourage investment in advanced biofuels like biodiesel, renewable diesel and renewable jet fuel. Biodiesel producers responded, making the investments and building an industry that today produces more than 2 billion gallons of transportation fuel each year. This market also provides added value to feedstocks such as soybean oil, used restaurant oil and animal fats.

    "The oil industry feverishly insists that the ethanol industry isn't harmed by small refinery exemptions because production has grown. But what about biodiesel? They never mention us because they know that small refinery exemptions disproportionately affect biodiesel because of the way the RFS is constructed.

    "We have said again and again -- biodiesel is very different from ethanol. The president (Trump) was instrumental in clearing the path for higher blends of ethanol year-round when he lifted the RVP waiver this summer, which we were supportive of. He and his EPA administrator have mentioned E15 when they have spoken about what they believe to be the minor impact of exempting RFS gallons. It's as though they think we are dumb enough to not understand that they are giving with one hand but taking away with the other.

    "Now, back to biodiesel. E15 does nothing to expand demand for biodiesel. Ethanol is not biodiesel. In fact, the RFS recognized this by establishing its own category for biodiesel, separate from ethanol, called biomass-based diesel. Policymakers at the time recognized the need to segment biodiesel and renewable diesel within the bigger RFS pool so that growth in those products could be differentiated in the overall program and we would see advancements of biofuels in both the gasoline and diesel sector.

    "Fast forward to 2019 and we now have an EPA that, two months ago, proposed a draft rule to hold the biomass-based diesel category flat for 2020, keeping it at 2.43 billion gallons for the second year in a row and then, just last week, the same EPA grants nearly one-half billion gallons of biomass-based diesel waivers. To highlight the hypocrisy in this action, while filing the draft rule two months ago, the EPA documented, in writing, the fact that they expected to grant zero (that's zero as in none, zilch, nada) gallons of small refinery waivers in 2020. And we're supposed to understand and accept that move?

    "Biodiesel and renewable diesel year after year fill more than 90 percent of the RFS volumes reserved for advanced biofuels. But EPA complains that advanced biofuels have not materialized quickly enough to meet the goals of the RFS. Now -- as seen last week -- the agency is holding its thumb on the industry and blocking growth. Not only blocking growth, but helping to reduce demand through small refinery exemptions.

    "As the agency continues to hand them out to every refiner that asks, the damage could reach $7.7 billion or 2.54 billion gallons, according to Scott Irwin, an agricultural economist from the University of Illinois. A 'small' oil refinery, by RFS definition -- one that processes 75,000 bpd of oil and produces nearly a billion gallons of fuel a year -- would have an RFS obligation to use just 20 million gallons of biodiesel or renewable diesel. Many U.S. biodiesel producers are smaller than that -- just one small refinery exemption would eliminate their entire market. And the EPA granted 31 of them.

    "President Trump vowed to protect and defend American farmers. In fact, he calls them patriots. But his actions will put the biodiesel producers those same farmers depend on for their market, out of business. It's already happening, and it's having a devastating impact on rural communities across the nation.

    "President Trump and EPA Administrator Wheeler should clearly know what this means to the workers, producers, farmers and investors in the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry -- their new round of unwarranted RFS exemptions just destroyed jobs and a valuable marketplace for hardworking Americans, including those patriotic soybean farmers who Trump has called on to be his willing allies in the trade dispute with China. If this is how the EPA administrator treats the president’s allies, I'd hate to see how he treats his enemies. (Source: NBB, 15 Aug., 2019) Contact: NBB, Donnell Rehagen, CEO, Kurt Kovarik, VP Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.biodiesel.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NBB,  Biodiesel,  

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