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Kenyans Investigating Water Hyacinth Biofuel Production (Int'l)
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,

More Low-Carbon Energy News water hyacinth,  Biofuel,  

PCJ Touts Upcoming Biofuel Crop RFP (Ind. Report)
Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica
Date: 2019-06-14
In Kingston, the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), in cooperation with the Urban Development Corporation and the Development Bank of Jamaica, reports it will issue a request for proposals (RFP) for the possible cultivation of biofuel feedstock crops at the Font Hill location by year end.

Font Hill has been used by the PCJ for research over the years, including experimentation on various biofuel crops -- including castor and jatropha -- between 2010 and 2017. Each of the 2,200 acre Font Hill plots to be available are conservatively expected to produce approximately 600,000 litres of oil annually for total revenue of $81 million, based on current ex-refinery diesel prices of $135 per litre. (Source: PCJ, Jamaica Gleaner, June, 2019) Contact: PCJ, Dr Peter Ruddock, Manager of Special Projects,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica,  Biofuel Crop,  Castor,  Jatropha,  

Palm Oil Producers Partner to Protest EU Directive (Int'l)
Palm Oil,Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries
Date: 2019-04-08
Reporting from Kuala Lumpur, the governments of Malaysia and Indonesian have announced the two major global palm oil producers will, under the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries, (CPOPC) embark on a joint mission to Brussels this week to register a firm objection to the Delegated Regulation Supplementing Directive 2018/2021 of the European Union Renewable Energy Directive II.

According to the release, "Malaysia has argued that the law discriminates against biofuels and bioliquids produced from palm oil and other oil crops. There is also significant lack of scientific data and reliable information used in the Delegated Regulation which classifies palm oil production as a high Indirect Land Use Change risk biofuel feedstock."

"Malaysia urges the European Union to provide equitable treatment across all oil crop biofuels and bioliquids in line with the World Trade Organization non-discriminative principles. Malaysia will continue to overcome disruptive and discriminatory practices on suppressing the palm oil trade," the release added. (Source: Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries, Bernama, Sun Daily, 6 April, 2019) Contact: Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel,  Biochemical,  Palm Oil,  Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries ,  

McGill Biomass Cluster Scores $7Mn for Biomass R&D (Funding)
BioFuelNet Canada,McGill
Date: 2019-02-20
In Montreal, McGill University's Macdonald Campus in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue is reporting receipt of a $7 million investment in the Biomass Cluster under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The Cluster, which is led by the BioFuelNet Canada Network, will include an additional $3.1 million in contributions from industry, for a total investment of $10.1 million for biomass R&D.

BioFuelNet Canada is a network that brings together the Canadian biofuels research community to aggressively address the challenges impeding the growth of an advanced biofuels industry, while focusing on non-food biomass as biofuel feedstocks. BioFuelNet includes renowned, multi-disciplinary experts from academia, government, industry and investment working together in a concerted and synergistic way. This group is working to develop and apply novel and innovative science, engineering and socio-economic strategies that will enhance environmental sustainability for future generations. (Source:BioFuelNet Canada Website, , McGill University, Montreal Gazette, 19 Feb., 2019) Contact: McGill University, 514.398.4455,; BioFuelNet Canada, Dr. Donald L. Smith, CEO, (514) 398-7861,

More Low-Carbon Energy News BioFuelNet Canada,  Biomass,  

Midwest Perennial Grasses Biofuel Feedstocks Investigated (R&D)
University of Minnesota
Date: 2019-01-30
In ongoing research to discover the ideal growing conditions for alternative biofuels feedstocks, researchers at the University of Minnesota College of Biological Science are investigating the advantages and environmental implications of perennial grasses on abandoned and degraded agricultural land on the US upper mid-western prairies.

A potential benefit of perennial grasses is tied to their deep root systems. According to researchers, deeper root systems -- as opposed to those seen in annual crops like corn -- are able to store large amounts of carbon below ground that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. However, because perennial grasses on marginal lands can have low yields due to less fertile soil, researchers examined ways to maximize growth of the grasses without negative effects on the environment.

In the 10-year study published in Nature Sustainability, researchers utilized 36 plots at an abandoned agricultural site in the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve to plant 32 species of prairie and savanna plants that are native to Minnesota. In 2007, researchers divided the plots into several groups and assigned them a combination of two treatments: water addition (i.e., irrigated or non-irrigated) and nitrogen fertilization (i.e., 0 g/m2, 7 g/m2, 14 g/m2). Over the next decade, researchers found that:

  • moderate treatments (irrigation and 7 g/m2 of nitrogen) had the best biomass yields and soil carbon storage, while having negligible effects on the stability, diversity and nutrient loss to groundwater;
  • compared with the control (non-irrigated and no additional nitrogen), moderate treatments resulted in almost twice the yield and soil carbon storage and -- if the plants were converted into bioenergy to displace fossil fuels -- it would result in twice the greenhouse gas savings;
  • compared with the moderate treatment, the more intensive treatment (irrigation and 14 g/m2 of nitrogen) had 30 percent lower greenhouse gas savings, 10 times greater nitrate leaching and 120 pct greater loss in plant diversity.

    Compared with corn ethanol, researchers found biomass yield from the best performing native prairie grasses was moderately lower -- six tons per hectare versus the average corn yield of eight tons per hectare in the U.S.. However, researchers found that because of lower nitrogen use and larger amounts of soil carbon storage, the native prairies would result in higher overall greenhouse gas savings when converted to bioenergy.

    The research was funded by the National Science Foundation's Long-Term Ecological Research program and the Global Climate and Energy Project. (Source: University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences, PR, 28 Jan., 2019) Contact: College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota, Prof. David Tilman, Prof. Clarence Lehman, Lead Researcher, 612-625-5734 Fax: 612-624-6777,,; Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel Feedstock,  

  • JAL Commits to Sustainable Aviation Biofuel Flights (Int'l)
    Japan Airlines
    Date: 2019-01-09
    Japan Airlines (JAL) is reporting it plans to operate select flights from San Francisco to Tokyo (Haneda Airport) with an aircraft fueled by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) supplied by Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K., beginning the month. In January 2009, JAL operated a test flight in Japan with SAF using a mixture of three second-generation biofuel feedstocks and in November 2017, the airline operated a passenger flight with SAF from Chicago to Tokyo. The airline also reports it plans to operate a charter flight with SAF made from recycled clothes.

    The SAF initiative is part of JAL's Medium Term Management Plan to actively contribute and tackle Global Sustainable Development Goals, including the reduction of CO2 emissions. (Source: Japan Airlines, PR, 8 Jan., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Aviation Biofuel news,  Jet Biofuel news,  Sustainable Aviation Fuel news,  

    Norwegians Ban Palm Oil Biofuels (Int'l Report)
    Date: 2018-12-14
    In Oslo, the Norwegian parliament has voted to ban the country's biofuel industry from purchasing palm oil and other dangerous biofuel feedstocks and biofuels that are linked to deforestation and harmful environmental practices, effective 1 Jan., 2020. The EU has also banned palm oil biofuels beginning in 2030.

    Norwegian palm oil consumption reached an all-time high in 2017 when fully 10 pct of the country's diesel consumption was based out of palm oil. (Source: Good News Network, 12 Dec., 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Palm Oil,  Biodiesel,  Biofuel,  

    NREL, Forest Concepts Collaborate on Biofuel Feedstocks, Biomass Conversion (R&D, Ind. Report)
    Forest Concepts
    Date: 2018-12-12
    Recognizing the importance of enhancing biomass conversion processes for industry, a team of NREL scientists partnered with Auburn, Washington-based Forest Concepts to perform detailed thermochemical conversion simulations for biomass feedstocks. The simulations relate feedstock attributes to expected product yields and necessary pyrolysis conversion process conditions. The work by NREL will allow Forest Concepts to better convey the value of their feedstocks to biorefinery customers.

    Forest Concepts, a manufacturer of precision woody and herbaceous feedstocks for bioenergy and bioproduct applications, leveraged NREL's capabilities in biomass conversion modeling to help quantify the impact of their feedstock characteristics based on various particle shapes and sizes. The NREL team is part of the Consortium for Computational Physics and Chemistry (CCPC), which uses high-performance computing to support the U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO).

    Prior to the development of the NREL models, Forest Concepts provided feedstock pricing based on volume and size of the biomass particle. Using the NREL models, Forest Concepts can now provide information to their customers such as standardized performance, required conversion conditions, and expected yields based on the size and shape of feedstock particles.

    BETO recognized early on the value of developing detailed biomass feedstock particle models to understand how the properties of each particle impact the yield and composition products from the conversion process. Moving forward, these capabilities will be leveraged by the newly established Feedstock-Conversion Interface Consortium (FCIC) whose mission is to quantify, understand, and manage variability in biomass from field through downstream conversion and to understand how biomass composition, structure, and behavior impact system performance.

    FCIC is an integrated and collaborative network of eight national laboratories dedicated to addressing technical risks and understanding how biomass properties influence collection, storage, handling, preprocessing and conversion technologies with the goal of improving the overall operational reliability of integrated pioneer biorefineries. (Source: NREL, PR, 10 Dec., 2018) Contact: NREL, Peter Ciesielski, Scientist,; US DOE BETO,; Forest Concepts, James H. Dooley, CTO, (253) 333-9663,; Feedstock-Conversion Interface Consortium,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NREL,  Forest Concepts,  Bioenergy,  Biofuel,  Biomass,  BETO ,  

    Diverse Biofeedstock Ethanol Yields Investigated (R&D Report)
    Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center
    Date: 2018-11-16
    Biorefineries are picky eaters. They only consume one or two types of plant matter. Researchers at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison processed and experimentally measured ethanol production from five different herbaceous feedstocks. They examined two annuals (corn stover and energy sorghum) along with three perennials (switchgrass, miscanthus, and restored prairie). They determined that a lignocellulosic ethanol refinery could use a range of plant types without having a major impact on the amount of ethanol produced per acre, or per land area.

    Many biorefineries consume one, or sometimes two, feedstocks grown and harvested nearby. The feedstock contains lignocellulose. That chemical is processed and fermented into biofuels or bioproducts. Accepting a variety of feedstocks could improve the refinery's environmental footprint, economics, and logistics. The team's study showed that a lignocellulosic refinery could be relatively agnostic in terms of the feedstocks used.

    Refineries to convert biomass into fuels often rely on just one feedstock. If the refineries could accept more than one feedstock, it would greatly benefit refinery operation. Scientists investigated how five different feedstocks affected process and field-scale ethanol yields. Two annual crops (corn stover and energy sorghum) and three perennial crops (switchgrass, miscanthus, and restored prairie) were pretreated using ammonia fiber expansion, hydrolyzed, and fermented separately using yeast or bacteria.

    Researchers found that both biomass quality and biomass yield affected the amount of ethanol each acre produces. However, the effect differed. Biomass quality was the main driver for the ethanol yields for high-yielding crops, such as switchgrass. Biomass yield was the main driver for the ethanol yields for low-productivity crops, such as corn stover. Therefore, to increase ethanol yield for high-yielding crops, focusing efforts on improving biomass quality or conversion efficiency may be prudent.

    For low-yielding crops, focusing on increasing biomass yield may be the best strategy. When measuring the amount of ethanol produced during fermentation, most feedstocks fell within a similar range, especially when scientists used bacteria to ferment the biomass. In total, the results of this study suggest that a lignocellulosic refinery may use a variety of feedstocks with a range of quality without a major negative impact on field-scale ethanol yields. (Source: Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, US DOE, 12 Nov., 2018) Contact: Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, Tim Donohue, Dir., John Greenler, Dir. Outreach, (608) 890-2444,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center,  US DOE,  Biofuel Feedstock,  ,  

    Conservationists Upbraid EPA Over Biofuel Crop Legislation (Reg. & Leg., Ind. Report)
    Date: 2018-11-02
    Following on the heels of the Trump administration's allowance of year-round E-15 ethanol blend sales,several U.S. Conservation groups have petitioned and accused the US EPA of failing to enforce the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) and thus turning a blind-eye to the illegal destruction of wildlife habitat nationwide.

    The petitioners contend that rather than follow the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, which only allows land cultivated before 2007 to grow corn and soybeans for biofuels, the EPA, at Trump's instruction, has been adhering to a change in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) which allows new land to be farmed as long as the total amount of U.S. farmland dedicated to biofuel feedstock production doesn't exceed 402 million acres.

    The EPA estimates cropland in the U.S. has increased somewhere between 4 million and 7.8 million acres since 2007, but is uncertain how much of that is cultivated for biofuel feed stock production.

    The petitioning conservation groups say recent mandates to increase the use of corn and soybeans in gasoline have led to more habitat destruction, water pollution, and greenhouse gases. (Source: wfiy, National Public Radio, Oct., 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel Feedstock,  E-15,  RFS,  

    Michigan-Penn State Partner on Algae Biofuel R&D (R&D, Funding)
    University of Michigan
    Date: 2018-10-08
    In Ann Arbor, University of Michigan researchers report they will partner with colleagues at Penn State University to evaluate how best to grow algae, transform it into a diesel fuel and maximize its performance during the combustion process. The effort is being funded with a $2 million grant from the US DOE.

    According to University of Michigan Biology professor Bradley Cardinale, researchers are "one of the first teams in the world to go all the way from designing sustainable biofuel feedstocks in outdoor ponds, to refining fuel." Algae-based biofuels are seen as an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional diesel fuels, which produce high levels of greenhouse gases when they burn. (Source: Univ. of Michigan, AP, witf, 7 Oct., 2018) Contact: University of Michigan, University of Michigan, Biology Prof. Bradley Cardinale, (734) 764-9689,,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News University of Michigan,  Algae Biofuels,  Algae,  

    AZOLLA Touted for Biofuels Potential (New Prod & Tech)
    Date: 2018-07-03
    Venezuelan international trade expert, banker and entrepreneur Leonardo Gonzalez Dellan is touting the development of AZOLLA in Latin America as a feedstock for biofuels, "green manure" fertilizer for rice fields, a feed supplement for aquatic and terrestrial animals, and various other applications.

    AZOLLA is an aquatic plant that produces a substantial biomass quickly when planted in contaminated waters which improves by consuming chemicals in the contaminated waters. AZOLLA can "potentially produce up to 20.2 tons per hectare per year of bio-oil, and up to 48 tons per hectare per year of bio-char" while doubling in mass within 2-5 days.

    According to Gonzalez Dellan, AZOLLA would be especially effective in a Latin American context "by moving the production of bio-ethanol from arable land to wastewater, the reclaimed land can then be used for the development of further sustainable crops while continuing the production of bioethanol." (Source: Leonardo Gonzalez Dellan, NewsAnyway, 2 July, 2018) Contact: Leonardo Gonzalez Dellan,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel Feedstock,  

    Iowa Study Examines Switchgrass as Biofuel Feedstock (R&D)
    Iowa State University
    Date: 2018-05-07
    Where can Switchgrass Production be More Profitable than Corn and Soybean? An Integrated Subfield Assessment in Iowa, USA, a newly published research study by Iowa State University (ISU) examines converting underperforming areas in Iowa crop fields to switchgrass, which could provide an economic benefit from a future bioenergy crop market.

    The study, which examines how to grow dedicated bioenergy crops without converting land already under perennial cover, identifies areas within fields suitable for conversion from corn/soybean to switchgrass as indicated by publicly available agronomic, management and economic information.

    Under the assumptions that land is fully owned by farmers, and switchgrass sells for $55 per short ton, the study showed that 4.3 pct of the corn/soybean area in Iowa could break even when converted to switchgrass yielding up to 4 tons per acre. In some counties, converting corn/soybean areas to switchgrass could add up to millions of dollars in total annualized producer benefits. With a future bioenergy crop market for switchgrass, the researchers conclude their approach could be used beyond Iowa and could be applied to other intensively farmed regions globally with similar data availability.

    The study is available HERE. (Source: Iowa State University, High Plains AG Journal, May, 2018) Contact: Iowa State University, Alejandro Plastina, assistant Professor of Economics,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Switchgrass,  Biofuel Feedstock,  Iowa State University,  

    DOE Offering $78Mn for Biofuels, Bioenergy Crop R&D (R&D Funding)

    Date: 2018-05-07
    In Washington, the US Department of Energy has announced the availability of up to $78 million to support early-stage bioenergy research and development.

    Qualifying projects include those that develop highly efficient conversion processes for improving the affordability of fuels and products from biomass and waste streams. Funding is also being offered for research and development related to the production of affordable and sustainable non-food dedicated energy crops -- including algae, energy crops and various waste streams that can be efficiently and effectively converted into affordable biofuels, biopower and bioproducts. (Source: US DOE, Energy Live, May, 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel Feedstock,  Biofuel R&D,  

    Greenbelt, Young Foundation Ink DuckWeed DAYS Agreement (Ind. Report)
    Greenbelt Resources
    Date: 2018-03-30
    In the Golden State, Paso Robles-based Greenbelt Resources Corp. reports it has inked a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with Georgia-based Duckweed DAYS LLC. -- a new entity aiming to commercialize and further the research carried out by the not-for-profit Andrew J. Young Foundation (AYF). The Foundation aims to encourage farmers, both in the U.S. and around the world, to grow duckweed as a cash crop and sell it into the biobased products industry.

    The Duckweed Project features Greenbelt's ECOsystem model, which will convert the duckweed into bioethanol and a protein concentrate targeted as a nutritional supplement.

    Greenbelt's ECOsystem technology represents about $5.0 million of the total $14.0 project budget.

    Common duckweed is a very small light green free-floating, seed bearing plant. Duckweed has 1 to 3 leaves, or fronds, of 1/16 to 1/8 inch in length. A single root (or root-hair) protrudes from each frond. Duckweeds tend to grow in dense colonies in quiet, undisturbed water. (Source: Greenbelt Resources Corp., Nasdaq, 29 Mar., 2018) Contact: Greenbelt, Darren Eng, CEO, (888) 995- 4726 x 101, [stratlink][endlink],
    More Low-Carbon Energy News
    Greenbelt Resources,  Biofuel Fe target=_blank>[endlink]; Andrew J. Young Foundation, (404) 685-2786

    More Low-Carbon Energy News
    Greenbelt Resources,  Biofuel Fep;

    Cellulosics Beat Corn Ethanol for Climate Impact, says Study (R&D)
    Colorado State University
    Date: 2018-03-16
    A new study from Colorado State University is breathing new life into the concept of biofuels produced from native switchgrass as a better feedstock than corn and other cereal and oilseed crops for biofuel production.

    The researchers used modelling to simulate various growing scenarios, and found a climate footprint ranging from -11 to 10 grams of carbon dioxide per megajoule -- the standard way of measuring greenhouse gas emissions. By way of comparison, the impact of using gasoline results in 94 grams of carbon dioxide per megajoule. According to John Field, research scientist at the Natural Resource Ecology Lab at CSU, "What we saw with switchgrass is that you're actually storing carbon in the soil ... you're building up organic matter and sequestering carbon." "They (switchgrass) don't require a lot of fertilizer or irrigation. Farmers don't have to plow up the field every year to plant new crops, and they're good for a decade or longer," Field added.

    The study was published online Feb. 19 in Nature Energy. (Source: Colorado State University, Manitoba Co-operator, 12 Mar., 2018) Contact: Colorado State University Natural Resource Ecology Lab, John Field, (970) 491-1604,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Cellulosic,  Swithgrass,  Biofuel,  Biofuel Feedstock,  

    Vertimass Wins New Uses for Field Corn as Feedstock for Sustainable Chemicals Challenge (Ind. Report)
    Vertimass, NCGA
    Date: 2018-03-07
    The National Corn Growers Association named Irvine, California-headquartered Vertimass LLC as one of six awardees of the Consider Corn Challenge: New Uses for Field Corn as Feedstock for Making Sustainable Chemicals Competition.

    Vertimass believes their technology of converting sustainable ethanol into fungible gasoline, diesel, jet fuel blend stocks and the chemical building blocks benzene, toluene, and xylene (BTX) can substantially increase corn demand in the US. This innovative technology eliminates the ethanol blend wall that currently limits ethanol use and allows for further expansion of renewable fuels and chemicals while maintaining a low greenhouse gas footprint.

    According to Vertimass, "This innovative technology will be fully applicable to conversion of ethanol from cellulosic biomass such as agricultural residues and dedicated energy crops and sugars into BTEX and hydrocarbon fuels as it is to corn ethanol." (Source: Vertimass LLC, PR, 5 Mar., 2018) Contact: Vertimass, Charles Wyman, CEO, John Hannon, COO, (949) 417-4307,; : NCGA, (202) 326-0644,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NCGA,  Vertimass,  Corn,  Ethanol,  Biofuel Feedstock,  

    IATA Committed to Sustainable Aviation Biofuels (Ind. Report)
    Date: 2018-02-28
    In a statement, airline industry group The International Air Transport Association (IATA) rays it foresees over one billion passengers having taken flights powered by a biofuel blend -- aka sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) -- by 2025. Biofuels are a key to IATA's goal of cutting the airline industry's net carbon emissions by 50 pct compared to 2005 by 2050.

    According to IATA, SAF powered flights could reduce the life-cycle carbon emissions of that flight by up to 80 pct. The aviation industry has also vowed to use non-food, sustainable biofuel feedstocks. To that end, the IATA sees government incentives, grants, loan guarantees, support for SAF demonstration plants and supply chain R&D for the production of aviation biofuels as a key to getting the aviation biofuels industry off the ground. (Source: IATA, PR, 27 Feb., 2018) Contact: IATA, +41 22 770 2967,

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

    Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center Refocuses (Ind. Report)
    Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center
    Date: 2018-02-19
    The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC), led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, reports it has embarked on a new mission develop sustainable alternatives to transportation fuels and products currently derived from petroleum.

    GLBRC originally focused on corn stover ethanol production and developing perennial plants like switchgrass and miscanthus as biofuel feedstocks. Now, GLBRC goal is centered on designing advanced biofuels, such as isobutanol. These "drop-in" fuels could be used to replace gasoline without engine modification. By engineering bioenergy crops to enhance their environmental and economic value, and conducting research to generate multiple products from plant biomass, these advancements could optimize the bioenergy field-to-product pipeline.

    GLBRC scientists and engineers are also improving the yield and processing traits of dedicated bioenergy crops for cultivation on marginal, or non-agricultural, land. With smart management, these crops have the potential to benefit the ecosystem, help mitigate climate change, and provide farmers with an additional source of revenue.

    GLBRC is focused on enabling a new and different biorefinery, one that is both economically viable and environmentally sustainable. Realizing this goal will mean increasing the efficiency of biomass conversion and generating a mix of specialty biofuels and environmentally-friendly bioproducts, from as much of a plant's biomass as possible. One such discovery, breaks down lignin's six-carbon rings -- the "aromatics" -- into individual components. Traditionally sourced from petroleum, aromatics are used in a wide variety of products, including plastic soda bottles, Kevlar, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals, and are essential components of jet fuel. (Source: University of Wisconsin Madison, GLBRC, PR, 18 Feb., 2018) Contact: Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, Tim Donohue, Dir., John Greenler, Dir. Outreach, (608) 890-2444,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center,  University of Wisconsin Madison,  Biofuel,  Biochemical,  Ethanol,  Bioplastics,  

    Sweet Sorghum's Ethanol Potential Studied in Nebraska (R&D)
    University of Nebraska–Lincoln
    Date: 2018-01-26
    In the Corn Husker State, researchers at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln are investigating sweet sorghum, with its high sugar content and stability during droughts, as a potential ethanol feedstock crop on non-irrigated farmland in western Nebraska.

    Corn currently serves as the leading feedstock for ethanol production in the U.S. For sweet sorghum to compete with corn for ethanol production, it must be more lucrative than corn for farmers to produce,and more economical than corn for ethanol plants to process. Considering factors such as yield and the cost of processing, researchers estimate that the current sorghum to ethanol pathway is a barely break-even prospect in western Nebraska, according to the study.

    Currently, the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandates consumption of specific levels of renewable fuels made from various categories of feedstocks. Under the markets created by the RFS, ethanol plants would be almost certain to obtain a premium for sweet sorghum ethanol compared to corn ethanol. The current level of that premium makes the pathway much more economical. However, according to the researchers the volatility of this market premium and the contentious political opposition to the RFS make this benefit risky, the report says.

    Another consideration which could increase the potential of the sweet sorghum ethanol pathway, is an increase in yields. A separate $13.5 million multi-institutional research project led by Nebraska may provide the necessary yield increases. That effort aims to improve sorghum as a sustainable source for biofuel production. "If the research efforts raise biomass yields by 20-30 percent, or shows that yields are actually 20-30 percent higher than our estimate, the benefits to both the producer and the ethanol plant would be sufficient to make adoption of sweet sorghum for ethanol a sustainable possibility," Prof. Richard Perrin, Jim Roberts Department of Agricultural Economics, said. (Source: University of Nebraska - Lincoln, 24 Jan., 2018) Contact: University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Prof. Richard Perrin, Jim Roberts Department of Agricultural Economics, (402) 472-9818,,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Sorghum,  Biofuel Feedstock,  

    Biofuels Feedstock Study Supports Billion-tpy Estimate (R&D)
    North Central Regional Sun Grant Center
    Date: 2018-01-24
    Can farmers produce at least 1 billion tons of biomass per year that can be used as biofuels feedstock? That’s the question that researchers are trying to answer, according to South Dakota State University North Central Regional Sun Grant Center Director Vance Owens. The goal is to replace 30 percent of the petroleum consumed in the United States with biofuels.

    Analysis of up to seven years of production data suggests an estimated billon-tpy could be available annually by 2030.

    Field trial results and yield projections for herbaceous crops, including switchgrass, energycane, mixed perennial grasses on Conservation Reserve Program land, giant miscanthus and sorghum, as well as the woody feedstocks poplar and shrub willow, are available online in the January issue of GCB Bioenergy.

    The raw data from the field trials will be available for public use and can be accessed at Knowledge Discovery Framework at the U.S. DOE website. Among the herbaceous energy crops, field-scale trials using traditional agricultural equipment were conducted for switchgrass and mixed perennial grasses suitable for use on CRP land, while smaller individual plots were utilized for energycane and giant miscanthus due to a lack of vegetative planting materials for these species.

    South Dakota State University was the lead institution for the more than $20 million project which was funded by the U.S. DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and involved researchers from the U.S. DOE and USDA, 35 land-grant universities, Heidelberg University, INL, ORNL, ANL and several industry partners.

    Report details are HERE (Source: South Dakota State University, Jan., 2018) Contact: South Dakota State Univ. North Central Regional Sun Grant Center, Vance Owens, Dir., (605) 688-5476,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel Feedstock,  

    UPM Biofuels Scores RSB Sustainability Certification for Carinata Biofuel Feedstock (Int'l, Ind. Report)
    UPM Biofuel,Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials
    Date: 2018-01-15
    Helsinki, Finland-headquartered UPM Biofuels is reporting receipt of a sustainability certificate from the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) for the cultivation of Brassica carinata (Carinata) as an oilseed crop specially designed for sustainable production of biofuels.

    The RSB certification in biofuel feedstock production complements UPM Biofuels' existing sustainability certifications like International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) and RSB certifications for its UPM BioVerno biofuel production.

    RSB is one of the European Commission's approved voluntary schemes used to show compliance with the EU Renewable Energy Directive's sustainability criteria. In addition to EU RED criteria, the sustainability of biofuels is evaluated against 12 principles which have been approved by a wide variety of stakeholders, including NGOs and UN agencies. (Source: UPM Kymmene Corporation, NASDAQ, PR, 15 Jan., 2018) Contact: RSP, Rolf Hogan, Exec. Dir.,,; UPM Biofuels Development, Liisa Ranta, Manager Sustainability, +358 40 582 9338,,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials news,  UPM news,  Carinata news,  Biofuel news,  Biofuel Feedstochk news,  

    EPA Assessing Grain Sorghum as Advanced Biofuel (Ind. Report)
    National Sorghum Producers
    Date: 2018-01-05
    The National Sorghum Producer reports the US EPA has assessed the lifecycle of greenhouse gas emissions in grain sorghum refinement and found that once transformed into a biofuel the grain released approximately half the amount of greenhouse gases as compared to baseline petroleum fuels. The EPA finding helps qualify grain sorghum as an advanced biofuels under the metrics set by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

    The document published by the EPA states that depending upon the evaluation conducted by EPA of the lifecycle, the biodiesel and heating oil manufactured from distilling of sorghum oil through a process called transesterification, and the jet fuel, renewable diesel, and heating oil produced from distilling sorghum oil through a process called hydrotreating, to bring down greenhouse gas emissions by half. (Source: National Sorghum Producers, CMFE News, 2 Jan., 2018) Contact: National Sorghum Producers, John Duff, Bus. Gir., (806) 749-3475,,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News National Sorghum Producers,  Sorghum,  Biofuel,  Biofuel Feedstock,  GHGs,  RFS,  

    BETO Feedstock-Conversion Consortium Launched (Ind. Report)
    U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office
    Date: 2017-12-04
    In Washingto, the U.S. DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office is reporting the establishment of the Feedstock-Conversion Interface Consortium -- a research and development consortium dedicated to identifying and overcoming technical uncertainty in the development of biomass feedstock supply, pre-processing, and conversion technologies. The consortium aims to improve the overall operational reliability of integrated biorefineries (IBRs).

    BETO has identified inconsistent feeding, handling, and initial conversion operations at IBRs as limiting factors in the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to fuels and chemicals. According to the agency, IBR development and operation have suffered from failure to account for the complexity and variability of feedstock properties and composition and from a lack of fundamental understanding of the physics and chemistry of biomass-derived feedstock pre-processing and subsequent deconstruction, combined with poor equipment design and flawed integration. Solving this significant current challenge is essential for advanced biofuels to fully reach their potential and for the economic benefits of new jobs and improved security of our fuel supply to be realized, the agency says.

    The Feedstock Conversion Interface Consortium (FCIC) is an integrated and collaborative network of eight national laboratories dedicated to addressing technical risks in developing and scaling up biomass harvest, storage, preprocessing and conversion technologies with the goal of improving the overall operational reliability of integrated pioneer biorefineries. FCIC laboratories members include, Idaho National Laboratory , National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories. (Source: US DOE, BETO, Nov., 2017) Contact: FCIC,; BETO Multi-Year Program Plan HERE.

    More Low-Carbon Energy News U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office,  Biofuel,  Biofuel Feedstock,  Bioenergy Feedstock,  

    Biofuels Policy Boosts Carbon Emissions, says Study (Ind. Report)
    University of Wisconsin Madison
    Date: 2017-11-17
    According to a University of Wisconsin Madison study, U.S. renewable fuel mandates are boosting carbon emissions as farmers turn wetland, forest and other carbon-rich areas into biofuel feedstock crop lands. The report says it could take 50 years for biofuels to reduce carbon emissions as they were designed to do, since any reduction stemming from blending them into petroleum products is offset by more carbon emissions from clearing new farmland.

    The report's lead author Seth Spawn said the study showed the mandate had "far-reaching impacts on the climate through its effects on the land and the carbon that is stores." The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) questioned the research and said previous similar studies "have been thoroughly debunked and disputed."

    Download the full UW Madison report HERE. (Source: 15 Nov., 2017) (Source: UW Madison. Wisc. Public Radio,National Wildlife Federation, PR, Reuters, 15 Nov ., 2017) Contact: University of Wisconsin, Seth Spawn,,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuels,  Carbon Emissions,  RFS,  

    Aemetis Inks Cellulosic Ethanol Feedstock Supply Deal (Ind. Report)
    Date: 2017-11-08
    Following on our Oct. 20th coverage, Cupertino, California-headquartered Aemetis, Inc. reports its subsidiary Aemetis Advanced Products Keyes has inked a 20 year feedstock supply agreement to cellulosic ethanol production at a former US Army munitions facility in Riverbank, California, which is near the existing Aemetis biofuels plant in Keyes, California. Aemetis holds a 55-year lease on the Riverbank site where it plans to produce cellulosic ethanol.

    Under the agreement, Aemetis Advanced Products Keyes will supply more than 1.6 million tpy of waste orchard wood and nutshells generated from approximately 1 million acres of almond, walnut, and pistachio orchards in California's Central Valley. Aemetis' price of the feedstock is approximately $20 per ton delivered for the first ten years.

    . Aemetis' existing biorefinery in Keyes, California produces in excess of 60 million gpy of ethanol. The company plans to construct multiple phases of cellulosic ethanol production and add more than 40 million gpy of cellulosic ethanol capacity at the Riverbank, California site. (Source: Aemetis, PR, 2 Nov., 2017) Contact: Aemetis, Satya Chillara, (408) 213-0939,,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Aemetis,  Biofuel Feedstock,  Cellulosic,  

    Greenbelt Testing Wine Waste as Biofuel Feedstocks (Ind. Report)
    Greenbelt Resources
    Date: 2017-10-27
    In the Golden State, Paso Robles-based Greenbelt Resources Corporation reports it will work with Santa Maria, California-headquartered Central Coast Wine Services (CCWS) to test various wine making wastes for potential use as feedstock for Greenbelt's "Paso Robles ECOsystem" (PRECO) waste-to-energy project. The project will convert local wastes into bioethanol and other products.

    Other waste derived-feedstocks tested or being tested include pomegranate husks, mandarin oranges, pistachio hulls, bagels, brewery wastes, sweet potatoes, sugar beets, and a variety of waste sugar and/or alcohol containing beverages. (Source: Greenbelt Resources Corporation, PR, Markets Insider, 24 Oct., 2017) Contact: Greenbelt Resources, Darren Eng, CEO,; Central Coast Wine Services, (805) 318-6500,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Greenbelt Resources ,  Biofuel Feedstock,  Biofuel,  Bioproducts,  

    Woods Hole Seaweed Farming for Biofuel Pilot Funded (Funding)
    Woods Hole Ocean Institute,Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.
    Date: 2017-10-23
    In the Bay State, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution report they have been awarded $5.7 million over three years in grant funding from the DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to develop tools and technology to advance the mass production of seaweed for biofuels production. The researchers will establish a pilot farm in Nantucket Sound this fall to grow sugar kelp.

    Although using seaweed as a biofuel feedstock is considered feasible, challenge is developing a large enough biomass and feed stock at a viable price. (Source: Woods Hole,, 16 Oct., 2017) Contact: Woods Hole Ocean Institute, Scott Lindell, Erin Fischell, (508) 540-9900,; US DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Woods Hole,  Seaweed,  Biofuel,  

    Arizon Univ Funded for Biofuels, Bioproducts R&D (Funding, R&D)
    University of Arizona, Institute for Energy Solutions
    Date: 2017-10-20
    In Tuscon, the University of Arizona Institute for Energy Solutions reports receipt of up to $15 million over 5 years in grant funding from the USADA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to lead a new center focusing on the mass production of biofuels and bioproducts in the U.S. Southwest.

    The center will research guayule and guar, perennial desert shrubs that produce natural rubber and organic resins, as potential feedstocks for developing biofuel and high-value bioproducts such as rubber, polysaccharide and resin. Bridgestone Americas, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, New Mexico State University and the USDA Agricultural Research Servic are partnering in the research project. (Source: University of Arizona Research, Discovery and Innovation, Oct. 16, 2017) Contact: University of Arizona, Institute for Energy Solutions, Kimberly Ogden, Dir., (520) 621-2211,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News University of Arizona,  Biofuel,  Biofuel Feedstock,  Bioproducts,  Biochemical,  

    Alaskan Seaweed Biofuel Feedstock Study Funded (Ind. Report, R&D)
    US DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy
    Date: 2017-10-16
    US DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) reports it is in discussions with Kodiak College, part the University of Alaska and other interested and possible stakeholders to plan the first steps of a bi-coastal pilot project to modernize methods to grow sugar kelp -- seaweed -- as a biofuel feedstock. The project is bankrolled by a $500,000 grant to the University of Alaska/Fairbanks through a new DOE program called Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources (MARINER). To date the agency has funded 18 projects to develop new tools for the production of macroalgae (seaweed) as fuel, chemical feedstock and animal feed.

    According an ARPA/E release. "By further developing this untapped resource, the U.S. could eventually produce enough seaweed to handle as much as 10 percent of our demand for transportation fuel. The group estimates the U.S could produce at least 500 million dry metric tpy of macroalgae which could yield about 2.7 quadrillion thermal units of liquid fuel.

    Kodiak College, in collaboration with the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, will investigate cost-effective ways to grow, harvest and transport large amounts of sugar kelp based on technologies applied in the fishing industry. (Source: DOE ARPA/E, SitNews, Oct., 2017) Contact: US DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy University of Alaska, Prof. Michael Stekoll, 796-6279,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Seaweed,  Biofuel,  US DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy,  

    $1Mn DOE Grant Supports Seaweed Fuel R&D in Mississippi (R&D)
    University of Southern Mississippi
    Date: 2017-09-22
    The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Lab at Ocean Springs has received two US Department of Energy grants totaling $1,000,000 for research on seaweed "ranching" and the use of seaweed as fuel or biofuel feedstock.

    The grants were announced by the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Thad Cochran (R.-Miss.) who commended the university for promoting research that could help the economy and the environment. (Source: US DOE, University of Southern Mississippi, Penn Energy, 20 Sept., 2017) Contact: University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Lab., (228) 872-4200,, University of Southern Mississippi, (601) 266-1000,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Seaweed,  Biofuel,  

    MSU Studying Camelina as Biofuel Feedstock (Ind. Report)
    Michigan State University
    Date: 2017-09-18
    Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing reports it will use a $10 million U.S. Energy Department grant to study the metabolism and genes of the camelina oil seed plant, a biofuel feedstock . The research is aimed at achieving a 300 percent increase per acre in production, according to AP coverage. Camelina, which requires less water or fertilizer to grow than most food crops, has been used to produce aviation Biofuels and other products. (Source: Michegan State University, AP, Various Media, 18 Sept., 2017)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Camelina news,  Biofuel Feedstock news,  

    U. Illinois Touts New Jet Biofuels Feedstock (New Prod. & Tech.)
    University of Illinois
    Date: 2017-09-13
    Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign estimate that a Boeing 747, which burns one gallon of jet fuel per second, could fly for 10 hours on "lipidcane" bio-jet fuel produced on 54 acres of specially engineered sugarcane.

    The University's Plants Engineered to Replace Oil in Sugarcane and Sweet Sorghum (PETROSS) project, funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E), developed sugarcane that produces oil (lipidcane) that can be converted into biodiesel or jet fuel in place of sugar that is currently used for ethanol production.

    The research project analyzed the economic viability of crops with different levels of oil. Lipidcane with 5 pct oil produces four times more jet fuel -- 416 gallons -- per hectare than soybeans. Sugarcane with 20 pct oil produces 1,666 gallons per hectare more than soybeans.

    "We estimate that this biofuel would cost the airline industry $5.31/gallon, which is less than most of the reported prices of renewable jet fuel produced from other oil crops or algae," according to Deepak Kumar, a postdoctoral researcher at Illinois, who led the analysis. This crop also produces a hydrocarbon fuel along with bio-jet fuel or biodiesel that can be used to produce various bioproducts. The remaining sugar could be sold or used to produce ethanol and biorefineries could use lipidcane bagasse to produce steam and electricity. (Source: Univ. of Illinois, Eureka Alert, 11 Sept., 2017) Contact: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology; PETROSS, Stephen Long, (217) 244-2999,

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

    Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center Funding Extended (Funding)
    Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center
    Date: 2017-07-21
    The U.S. DOE reports that the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) at the University of Wisconsin--Madison will receive an additional 5 years of funding to develop sustainable alternative transportation fuels from dedicated bioenergy crops such as switchgrass, poplar trees and sorghum. These bioenergy crops will be grown on marginal -- non-agricultural -- land. In its previous research, GLBRC worked with biofuels from crops grown on agricultural land. GLBRC has received a total of approximately $267 million funding for research.

    Established in 2007 by the DOE Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research program, GLBRC is based at the UW--Madison's Wisconsin Energy Institute and includes a major partnership with Michigan State University (MSU). The cross-disciplinary center draws on the expertise of biologists, chemists, engineers and economists, and employs over 400 researchers.

    Over 10-years, GLBRC's academic and industrial partnerships have yielded more than 1,000 scientific publications, 160 patent applications, 80 licenses or options, and five start-up companies. (Source: Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, 17 July, 2017) Contact: Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, Tim Donohue, Dir., John Greenler, Dir. Outreach, (608) 890-2444,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center,  Biofuel,  Biofuel Feedstocks,  

    ORNL Biofuels, Bioproducts R&D Receives Funding (Ind. Report)
    Date: 2017-07-19
    The US DOE reports it has chosen the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Center for Bioenergy Innovation (CBI) as one of four bioenergy centers to receive funding to advance a new bio-based economy with the production of fuels and other products directly from nonfood biomass. The DOE will provide a total of $40 million in initial funding for the four centers in Fiscal Year 2018, with plans for a total five years of funding.

    CBI will focus on the creation of high-yielding biofuel feedstock plants, using genetic studies to accelerate the domestication of perennial plants. CBI will create biocatalytic methods for high-yield production of advanced biofuels that can be blended with existing transportation fuels. The Center will also study ways to develop valuable byproducts from lignin left over after biomass processing.

    CBI will work with partners from the University of Georgia, NREL, Dartmouth College, GreenWood Resources, MIT, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, University of California-Riverside, University of Colorado-Boulder, Penn State and others. (Source: US DOE, ORNL, 17 July, 2017) Contact: ORNL Center for Bioenergy Innovation, Gerald Tuskan, (865) 576-8141,,; US DOE Office of Science,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ORNL,  Biofuel Feedstock,  

    ExxonMobil, Synthetic Genomics Tout Algae Biofuels R&D (R&D)
    ExxonMobil, Synthetic Genomics
    Date: 2017-06-21
    Following up on our Jan, 20, 2017 coverage, scientists from ExxonMobil and La Jolla, California-based Synthetic Genomics, Inc. (SGI) are reporting development of a new strain of algae capable of converting carbon into a record amount of energy rich fat -- about 40 pct -- that can be turned into biofuels on an industrial scale.

    Using CO2 to generate fat from algae is not necessarily new, but the amount of fat produced by this new strain of algae is hugely significant since fatty algae make the strain more fit to eventually produce biofuels at an industrial scale, according to the the researchers.

    Algae based fuel emits fewer greenhouse gases than most other energy sources,and could potentially play a vital role in the transition to emission energy sources. Just as significantly, unlike other biofuel feedstocks such as corn or sugar cane, algae production on an industrial scale would not have a negative effect on food production.

    SGI and ExxonMobil have been collaborating on algae biofuels R&D since 2009. (Source: ExxonMobil, Synthetic Genomics, Biofuels Int'l, Others, 20 June, 2017) Contact: Synthetic Genomics,; ExxonMobil, Media, (972) 444-1107,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ExxonMobil ,  Synthetic Genomics,  Algae,  Biofuel,  

    Giant Reed Leaf Biofuel Feedstock Potential Studied (R&D)
    University of Tuscia
    Date: 2017-06-09
    Researchers at the University of Tuscia in Italy are investigating Giant Reed (Arundo donax) as a potential energy crop for use in biofuels production. The researchers used RNA sequencing to characterize giant reed's leaf transcriptome. The highly productive, fast-growing reed is highly adaptable to marginal land.

    The transcriptome was characterized to search for homologous transcripts of genes involved in important metabolic pathways, such as lignin and cellulose biosynthesis. Homologous transcripts of genes involved in stomatal development and those related to stress-associated proteins (SAPs) were also identified.

    This study provides the first available leaf transcriptome for giant reed. These data will be highly useful for studying the mechanisms underlying its extreme adaptability. The identification of homologous transcripts of metabolic pathways also offers a platform for genetic improvement. (Source: Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA), 7 June, 2017) Contact: University of Tuscia, +39 0761 3571,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel Feedstock,  

    Researchers Study Oak as Biofuel Feedstock (R&D)

    Date: 2017-05-24
    Scientists from the universities of Pittsburgh and Oklahoma have published research into using oak wood to create new hydrocarbons, compounds of hydrogen and carbon generally found in crude oil. The researchers claim the "second generation" biofuel reduced GHG emissions by 80 pct compared to diesel.

    The researchers used pyrolysis, heating the wood to high temperatures in the absence of oxygen, to create the fuel they claim could offer almost three times as much energy output per energy input compared to corn ethanol.

    Despite confirming the potential use of the oak biofuel, the researchers say questions remain around whether the production process is practical and if the fuel would offer the benefits and greenhouse gas reductions claimed claimed. The efficiency and energy needed for the fuel-creation process, as well as the source of the oak feedstock, is also unclear.

    The research was published in The Royal Society of Chemistry's Energy & Environmental Science journal. (Source: Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Professional Engineering, PR, 22 May, 2017)Contact: University College of London, Prof Mark Barrett Professor of Energy and Environmental Systems Modelling Bartlett School Env, Energy & Resources Faculty of the Built Environment,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel,  

    Marine BioEnergy Developing Kelp Biofuel Feedstock (Ind. Report)
    Marine BioEnergy,University of Southern California
    Date: 2017-05-17
    Researchers at the University of Southern California Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies will carry out a project proposed by Marine BioEnergy Inc., a California-headquartered company focused on growing and developing Pacific kelp as a source of biofuel.

    The plan includes submersible drones dragging lines seeded with kelp plants in deep, nutrient-rich waters during the night then floating it back up to shallow waters to take advantage of the sunlight during the day. The kelp would then be harvested at sea and processed into biocrude, the basis for biofuel.

    The test project has received over $2.1 million in grant funding from the U.S. DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy, and will be carried out off the coast of Catalina Island, California, over the next two years, beginning this fall. (Source: Marine Bioenergy, Daily Breeze, May, 2017) Contact: Marine BioEnergy, Cindy Wilcox, Pres., Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies , (213) 740-6780, wies@usc,edu,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Kelp,  Biofuel,  

    A Switch for Switchgrass -- Biofuel Feedstock Report (Report Attached (Ind. Report)
    University of Wisconsin
    Date: 2017-03-10
    Switchgrass has been lauded as a promising source of biofuel…. Genetically modifying switchgrass could boost crop yields and its commercial viability. But to close in on realizing that potential requires one small tweak: a genetic sterility switch that prevents the modified grass from contaminating the genes of nearby unmodified grasses. Dazhong Zhao, a UWM associate professor of biological sciences, hopes to build that switch.

    Under current federal regulations, only genetically modified grasses that are absolutely sterile in the lab can enter field trials. Zhao and his team aim to create a sterile switchgrass by introducing a fusion gene into its reproductive cells, using a harmless bacterium as a delivery vehicle.

    Access the A Switch for Switchgrass Report HERE. (Source: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee , 7 Mar., 2017) Contact: University of Wisconsin-Milwuakee, Ahao Dazhong, (414) 229-4214,,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Switchgrass,  Biofuel Feedstock,  Biofuel,  

    AHBN Project Studying Poplar Biofuels Feedstocks (R&D)
    Oregon State University,Greenwood Resources
    Date: 2017-02-27
    As part of the federally-funded Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest (AHBN) research project studying biofuel feedstocks, Oregon State University and its partners are cultivating 115,000 poplar-hybrid trees on 8o acres near Jefferson, in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

    The project has four sites throughout the Northwest and northern California. One acre of poplar trees can produce roughly 2,000 gallons of ethanol every three years. The poplar trees can be chipped and then converted into gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and ethanol, as well as other chemicals. (Source: Greenwood Resources, Albany Democrat Herald, 22 Feb., 2017) (Source: Contact: GreenWood Resources, Brian Stanton, CTO, Rick Stonex, Opereations Mgr., (800) 279-4509,; Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Oregon State University,  Biofuel,  Biofuel Feddstock,  Ethanol,  Poplar,  Greenwood Resources,  

    PNNL Lab Investigating Algae as Biofuel Feedstock (R&D)
    Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
    Date: 2017-02-03
    Dr. Michael Huesemann, a lead researcher at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's (PNNL) Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sequim, Washington, is working on a $6 million, three-year algae Development of Integrated Screening, Cultivar Optimization and Validation Research (DISCOVR) project to identify the optimum algae for biofuel production.

    The project is being pursued at various laboratories in five stages as follows: In Tier I, scientists in Sequim and New Mexico test up to 30 different algae strains to see how weather tolerant they are and the top third will go to Tier II.

    In Tier II, Sequim houses a unique climate-simulating system called Laboratory Environmental Algae Pond Simulator (LEAPS) that simulates climates and seasons around the world inside glass cylinder photobioreactors. Two other labs will evaluate the algae to determine it value and other potential uses that could make algae biofuel production more cost-effective. Scientists also will research how resilient certain algae strains are to predators, like protozoans, and other competing algae.

    In Tier III, researchers in New Mexico will further test top-performing algae strains, which includes forcing cells to grow faster or generate more oils, using state-of-the-art laboratory techniques.

    In Tier IV, algae strains will travel to outdoor ponds in Arizona to compare biomass output with earlier steps.

    In Tier V, scientists will study the algae strains that performed the best in different lighting and temperature conditions. Study data will be added to PNNL's Biomass Assessment Tool to help researchers generate maps that illustrate the expected biomass productivity of each algae species grown in outdoor ponds nationwide. Laboratory officials said work that could stem from this project includes converting harvested algae into biofuels, examining operational changes such as crop rotation to further increase biomass growth and assessing the technical feasibility and economic costs of making biofuel from algae selected through this process.

    Algae project details are HERE. (Source: PNNL, Sequim Gazette, 2 Feb., 2017) Contact: PNNL: Marine Sciences Laboratory, (360) 683-4151,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Pacific Northwest National Laboratory,  Algae,  Biofuel,  

    Neste, Bioenergy La Tuque Cooperating on Forest Residues Utilization (Ind. Report)
    Neste, Bioenergy La Tuque
    Date: 2017-01-18
    Renewable diesel producer Neste and Bioenergy La Tuque have started R&D cooperation with the objective of studying the potential of using forest residues as a raw material in biofuel production in La Tuque, Canada. The cooperation supports Neste's goals to expand the raw material selection available and increase the use of waste and residues.

    The agreement focuses on the technological and economical feasibility of the project and will assess the biomass availability at a competitive cost, identify technology bottlenecks in process lines, and validate the acceptable level of risk.

    BioEnergy La Tuque's (BELT) objective is to build the first Canadian large scale biorefinery to harvest and convert forest residues into biofuel feedstocks. (Source: Neste, PR, 17 Jan., 2017) Contact: Neste, Lars Peter Lindfors, SVP Technology, +358 50 458 3605,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Neste,  Forest Residues,  Woody Biomass,  Biofuel,  

    Camelina as Biofuel Feedstock Studied at Montana Univ. (R&D)
    Montana State University
    Date: 2017-01-18
    In Bozman, Montana State University scientist and associate professor Chaofu Lu has received a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science to research ways to improve the usefulness of camelina seed and oil as a potential biofuel feedstock. Chaofu Lu will work in cooperation with John Browse, professor at the Institute of Biological Chemistry at Washington State University.

    First, the idea is to selectively breed for larger camelina seeds. Typically, they are about the size of sesame seeds, but smaller seeds are less efficient for processing since there is not enough oil relative to the husk and rest of the seed.

    Secondly, Lu wants to improve the quality of the oil coming from the camelina seeds, which is too high in unsaturated fat and could render oil that is prone to oxidation and spoilage. The goal of the grant work is to make the oil more like olive oil and increase its proportion of oleic acid from about 15 pct naturally to about 80 pct. (Source: Montana State Univ. News, 17 Jan., 2017) Contact: Montana State Univ., Chaofu Lu, Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, (406) 994-5741,,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Camelina,  Biofuel Feedstock,  

    Croton Oil Identified as New Biofuel Feedstock (Ind. Report)
    Eco Fuels Kenya
    Date: 2017-01-16
    Nanyuki, Kenya-headquartered startup Eco Fuels Kenya is touting inedible croton tree nut oil as a biodiesel feedstock. Croton oil, which generates 78 pct (pdf) less carbon dioxide emissions than palm oil, can be used directly in diesel generators, water pumps or tractor engines but must be further processed for use in automobiles and truck engines.

    The oil sells for a bout 10 cents less per gallon the diesel Eco Fuels Kenya also sells the seedcake paste byproduct of the fuel production as protein-rich poultry feed. The waste nut husks are ground and sold as an organic fertiliser for depleted soil. Last year company processed about 1,000 tonnes of nuts and helped local farmers plant 100,000 croton trees as part of a plan to expand their operations. Eco Fuels Kenya plans to open a second production facility in 2018. (Source: Eco Fuels Kenya, Guardian, Others, 10 Jan., 2017)Contact: Eco Fuels Kenya,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel,  Biodiesel,  

    Miscanthus Yield 2.4 Times Higher than Switchgrass for Biofuel Production, says Research Report (Ind. Report)
    University of Illinois
    Date: 2017-01-09
    Scientists at the University of Illinois Energy Biosciences Institute at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology reports they have found that as a bioenergy crop Miscanthus yields more than twice as much as switchgrass. In making their determination, the researchers used BETYdb, an open-source bioenergy crop database which they say is gaining traction in plant science, climate change, and ecology research.

    The research team used BETYdb to definitively establish that Miscanthus is 2.4 times more productive than Switchgrass in the U.S. under a wide range of environmental and management conditions (e.g. fertilization rates, stand ages, planting densities), as reported in Global Change Biology Bioenergy. (Source: University of Illinois, Eurasia Review, Jan., 8, 2017) Contact: University of Illinois, Prof. Stephen Long,,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Miscanthus,  Switchgrass,  Biofuel Feedstock,  

    NWF Examines Unintended Consequences of Biofuel Crop Production -- Report Attached (Ind. Report)

    Date: 2016-12-21
    According to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has led to the destruction of millions of acres of wildlife habitat and has endangered water supplies by the conversion of previously uncultivated land to grow corn and soybeans for ethanol and biodiesel production.

    The Renewable Fuel Standard was intended to reduce reliance on imported oil and to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but critics say the government has failed to enforce the habitat protections in the law. Prior to the RFS, about 9 pct of U.S. grown corn was used for fuel production. Now, it's about 40 pct.

    NWF President and CEO Collin O'Mara points out that the problems stem not from farmers but from a federal policy that required a massive increase in agricultural production. The report also suggests reducing the mandate for first generation fuels made from corn and soy, as well as funding the protection and restoration of habitats and waterways.

    Download the Fueling Destruction The Unintended Consequences of the Renewable Fuel Standard on Land, Water, and Wildlife report HERE. (Source: National Wildlife Federation, 15 Dec., 2016) Contact: National Wildlife Federation, Collin O'Mara, CEO, (800) 822-9919,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Ethanol,  Biofuel,  Biofuel Feedstock,  Biofuel Crop,  

    NexSteppe Announces Chinese Sorghum Hybrids for Bioenergy Agreement (Int'l Report)
    NexSteppe,Longping High-Tech Arable Land Remediation Technology Company
    Date: 2016-12-05
    South San Francisco-based next-generation biofuel and bioenergy feedstock specialist NexSteppe reports it has inked a sorghum marketing agreement with Longping High-Tech Arable Land Remediation Technology Company, a subsidiary of Chinese seed company, Longping High-Tech.

    The agreement will see Longping provide distribution, marketing and sales for NexSteppe's Palo Alto biomass sorghum hybrids in China as well as evaluate joint R&D of improved hybrids suited to Chinese climate and growing conditions.

    NexSteppe Palo Alto high biomass sorghum is a dedicated product line for the biopower industry with multiple hybrids adapted for different growing regions. (Source: NexSteppe, Bioenergy Insght, Other Media, 30 Nov., 2016)Contact: NexSteppe, Anna Rath, CEO, (650) 887-5724,; Longping High-Tech Arable Land Remediation Technology Company,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NexSteppe,  Sorghum,  Biofuel Feedstock,  

    Indian Researchers Tout Moringa Oil as Biofuel Feedstock (Int'l)
    Advanced Biofuel Center
    Date: 2016-11-18
    The Indian bioenergy company Advanced Biofuel Center (ABC) reports it has developed a new variety of moringa tree seed -- Maru-Moringa (MOMAX3) -- the oil of which is well suited for biofuel production.

    The MOMAX3 cultivar produces significantly more moringa oil than other moringa seed varieties, has rust-resistance, improved germination rates, improved stress and insect tolerance, and early flowering and fruiting. It can also produce biofuel more efficiently than other well-known feedstocks, according to Advanced Biofuel Center researchers. (Source: Advanced Biofuel Center, Crop Biotech Update, 16 Nov., 2016)Contact: Advanced Biofuel Center, +91 804 325 9623,

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    Evogene's Ag-biologicals Program Tests Successful (R&D)
    Date: 2016-11-18
    Israeli plant genomics specialist Evogene Ltd. is reporting positive field trial results of its bio-stimulant products. The tests identified candidate microbial strains and predicted their ability to improve corn resistance to drought conditions and thus increased yield as a biofuel feedstock.

    Initiated in 2015, Evogene's Ag-biologicals program is focused on developing microbial based solutions targeting yield improvement and environmental stress tolerance in key crops, such as corn, soy and wheat, all of which have biofuel applications.

    According to industry reports, the market for Ag-biological products for 2015 was estimated at approximately $4 billion, and is expected to grow at an annual rate of 12-15 pct.(Source: Evogene, PR, 16 Nov., 2016) Contact: Evogene Ltd., Ofer Haviv, CEO and President, Karen Mazor, +972 54 22 88 039,,,

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