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Sempra Supports Plant-based CCS R&D (Funding, R&D Report)
Sempra Energy, Salk Institute
Date: 2020-11-13
In the Golden State, San Diego-based Sempra Energy is donating $2 million to the Salk Institute for Biological Studies Harnessing Plants Initiative (HPI) to help fund a five-year study to advance plant-based carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies.

The institute's Harnessing Plants Initiative aims to fight climate change by optimizing a plant's natural ability to capture and store carbon and adapt to diverse climate conditions.

With the Sempra Energy funding, Salk researchers will develop a drought-tolerant, carbon-sequestering grass (sorghum) variety designed to grow on land in Southern California and store carbon in the soil for use with grain production, grazing or bio-energy feed stocks.

HPI aims to develop crop plants that have significant global acreages to store long-lasting carbon in the soil. Crop plants that are engineered to store more carbon in the soil for longer can lead to a potentially enormous reduction in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).

HPI estimates that if, worldwide, 70 pct of the target crops are converted into carbon-sequestration-enhanced crop plants, 1.5 to 6 gigatons of CO2 can be sequestered per year, the equivalent of up to as much as one-third of human-caused CO2 emissions that accumulate in the atmosphere each year. (Source: Sempra Energy, PR, Power Engineering, 13 Nov., 2020) Contact: Salk Institute, Professor Wolfgang Busch, Pres., Harnessing Plants Initiative (HPI), 858-453-4100, www.salk.edu; Contact: Sempra Energy, Kevin Sagara, HPI Committee, Dennis V. Arriola, VP, Chief Sustainability Officer, (619) 696-2901, www.sempra.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Sempra Energy,  CCS,  Carbon Capture & Sequestration,  


Global Ethanol Production Recovery Expected in 2022 (Ind. Report)
US Grains Council
Date: 2020-09-16
The US Grains Council is predicting s global ethanol production will be 20 pct lower this year as the market goes through the COVID-19 crisis, while recovery in output back to pre-pandemic levels will not be realized until 2022, according to a release.

About 23 billion litres of ethanol production has been lost in 2020, which has shuttered more than 250 ethanol plants across the globe, according to NCGA. U.S. ethanol production, however, has nearly recovered from the worst of the pandemic and is currently 10 pct lower compared with the levels for Aug. 16, 2019.

The U.S. Grains Council develops export markets for U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products including distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and ethanol. With full-time presence in 28 locations, the Council operates programs in more than 50 countries and the European Union. The Council believes exports are vital to global economic development and to U.S. agriculture's profitability, according to its website. (Source: US Grains Council, UK Reuters, Sept., 2020) Contact: US Grains Council, Brian D. Healy, Director Global Ethanol Market Dev, Bryan Jernigan, bjernigan@grains.org, www.grains.org

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


Sweet Sorghum Ethanol Market Predicts 2026 Growth (Ind. Report)
Report Ocean
Date: 2020-09-09
Sweet Sorghum Ethanol Market, the latest report from Report Ocean offers in-depth study of Market Size and Share, Product and Services, Regional Forecast, Consumer Preference, Market Competition, and Industry Chain Structure. It also identifies sweet sorghum ethanol industry companies or players along with product specifications, revenue generated, pricing strategies, contact information and other relative information.

Sweet Sorghum Ethanol Market report information is HERE. (Source: Report Ocean, PR, 9 Sept., 2020) Contact: Report Ocean, 888 212 3539 (US), +91-9997112116 (Outside US), sales@reportocean.com, www.reportocean.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Sweet Sorghum Ethanol ,  


$1.3Mn Funds Fungus-Sorghum for Biofuels Study (R$D, Funding)

Date: 2020-09-02
According to a Northern Arizona University (NAU) release, researchers have been trying to harness the crop-growing benefits of the symbiotic relationship between plants and fungi. To that end, the US DOE is particularly interested in producing sorghum more efficiently to reduce the need for irrigation and fertilizer, and has awarded Regents' Professor Nancy Johnson of NAU's School of Earth and Sustainability a $1.3 million grant to study the beneficial associations between biofuel sorghum and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF).

For Prof. Johnson's study, a series of field and greenhouse experiments will examine the genetic and environmental factors that cause the variable performance of mycorrhizal symbioses in field conditions. The research study will also conduct shotgun (metagenomic) sequencing to understand what microscopic communities exist in samples of sorghum roots and how the plant can select which fungi it associates with to form mycorrhizal symbioses.

The researchers will be growing more than 350 different genotypes of sorghum at agricultural experiment stations in Maricopa, Arizona and near Athens, Georgia to examine how sorghum genetics are interacting with AMF and other organisms in their microbiome.

Systems models will be constructed that link sorghum performance with the communities of AMF and other microbes in the field experiments, and these models will be tested in the NAU Research Greenhouse complex.

The study findings will help advance basic understanding of the genetic mechanisms by which plants control their associations with potentially beneficial root-associated microbes. (Source: Northern Arizona University, PR, 30 Aug., 2020) Contact: Northern Arizona University, Regents' Prof. Nancy Johnson, 928-523-6473, Nancy.Johnson@nau.edu, www.nau.edu

More Low-Carbon Energy News Sorghum,  Biofuel,  US DOE,  


LBNL Explores Cheaper Biofuels Production Costs (Ind. Report, R&D)
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Date: 2020-08-31
As previously reported, researchers at the US DOE Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) have designed simulations to determine how much biofuel is needed for the whole bioproduct extraction process to decrease the demand for petroleum-based gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels and to be labeled as "cost-efficient." Their study results found the target levels to be modest and that Biofuels can compete with petroleum-based fuels in terms of cost production, according to a release.

Conventional biofuel production often involves genetically engineered plants that can produce essential chemical compounds, or bioproducts. These bioproducts are extracted from the plant, and the remaining plant parts are converted into fuel. This led LBNL scientists to investigate exactly how much bioproduct does a plant need to determine if the whole extraction process to be determined efficient, and how much bioproduct should be produced to reach the target ethanol selling price of $2.50 per gallon.

To do this, the researchers studied existing data of well-studied plant-based bioproduct production. They used this data to make simulations that will determine the factors involved in extracting bioproducts using the context of bioethanol refinery, which means that bioproducts will be extracted from the plant and the remaining plant materials will be converted to ethanol. Their results determined that the bioproduct levels needed to accumulate in plants to offset the production cost recovery is quite feasible. Using limonene as an example, they calculated that an accumulated 0.6 pct of biomass dry weight would already produce net economic benefits to biorefineries. To illustrate, it means harvesting 10 dry metric tons of sorghum mass from one acre will only need 130 pounds of recovered limonene from that biomass to say that the whole production process is efficient, according to the release.

The LBNL researchers note this new finding can provide new insights into the role of bioproducts to improve biorefinery economics and offer the first quantitative basis for implementation of this cost-saving strategy for future studies on plant-based biofuel breeding and engineering. The scientists also recommended that crops need to be engineered to produce a broad range of bioproducts in order to provide options and diversify products in the market. (Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, April, 2020) Contact: LBNL, Laurel Kellner, Media, 510-590-8034, LKellner@lbl.gov, www.lbl.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory news,  Biofuel news,  


Mustard Family Member Seen as Biobutanol Feedstock (Ind. Report)
National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research
Date: 2020-08-14
In Peoria, Illinois, a research team at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (ARS) is working to rekindle the production of butanol from Lesquerella (a.k.a. Fendler's bladderpod and Yellow Top), a member of the mustard family that's native to the U.S. Southwest. Other possible feedstocks include wheat straw, sweet sorghum bagasse, penntcress, corn stover and other food wastes and processing byproducts like dried distillers grains, solubles and "presscake" (the crushed remains of lesquerella seed whose oil has been extracted).

The ARS team's efforts are part of a broader umbrella effort to create new, value-added markets for agricultural commodities, especially those that serve as sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based fuels.

In laboratory trials, the researchers produced 11-14 grams of butanol per liter of lesquerella presscake. The total chemical production (combined butanol, acetone and ethanol) was 19 to 29 grams per liter -- a nearly 67 pct increase over using corn and glucose sources to produce these three same chemicals. The research team plans on scaling-up their experiments using two-liter bioreactors and, if successful, even larger ones.

Keeping feedstock costs down is key to making butanol competitive with gasoline, he added. At $25 a ton or less, lesquerella presscake would command a selling price of $2.27 or less a gallon -- about a dollar less than from sweet sorghum, another promising feedstock source, according to the release. (Source: National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, PR, Aug., 2020) Contact: National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Nasib Qureshi, Chemical Engineer, www.ars.usda.gov/midwest-area/peoria-il/national-center-for-agricultural-utilization-research

More Low-Carbon Energy News National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research,  


Harmick Touts Portable Woody Biomass Refinery (Ind. Report)
Harmick Engineering
Date: 2020-05-29
Minneapolis-based Harmick Engineering is reporting receipt of US, Canadian and Russian patents for its technology for the extraction of arabinogalactan and taxifolin from larch (tamarack) wood chips using its CelloFuel Portable Biomass Refinery.

The CelloFuel Portable Biomass Refinery, which is scalable to the sizes needed for large pulp and paper mills, allows mills to produce sugars and ethanol from sugar beet, sugarcane, sweet sorghum, softwood wood chips and straw.

The company aims to find partners in some of the large pulp and paper mills in Russia and Canada. These mills have access to millions of tons per year of larch wood and have the infrastructure in place for harvesting, chipping and pulping this wood. "The technology is a simple, low-cost add-on to existing pulp and paper mills", according to the company website. (Source: Harmick Engineering, Website, Cdn Biomass, 28 May, 2020) Contact: Harnick Enginering, CelloFuel, Ed. Harmick, Pres., info@cellofuel.com, www.collofuel.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Harmick Engineering,  Woody Biomass,  Ethanol,  Biofuel,  


LBNL Explores Cheaper Biofuels Production Costs (Ind. Report, R&D)
Berkeley National Laboratory
Date: 2020-04-10
Scientists at the US DOE Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) report they have designed simulations to determine how much biofuel is needed for the whole bioproduct extraction process to be labeled as cost-efficient. Their results showed that the target levels are actually modest and within reach, according to a press release.

The development of biofuels over the past years is part of the strategy to decrease the demand for petroleum-based gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels. However, biofuels are yet to reach the level where they can compete with petroleum-based fuels in terms of cost production. Conventional biofuel production often involves genetically engineered plants that can produce essential chemical compounds, or bioproducts. These bioproducts are extracted from the plant, and the remaining plant parts are converted into fuel. This led scientists from the Berkeley Laboratory to investigate exactly how much bioproduct does a plant need to determine if the whole extraction process to be determined efficient, and how much bioproduct should be produced to reach the target ethanol selling price of $2.50 per gallon.

To do this, the researchers studied existing data of well-studied plant-based bioproduct production. They used this data to make simulations that will determine the factors involved in extracting bioproducts using the context of bioethanol refinery, which means that bioproducts will be extracted from the plant and the remaining plant materials will be converted to ethanol. Their results determined that the bioproduct levels needed to accumulate in plants to offset the production cost recovery is quite feasible. Using limonene as an example, they calculated that an accumulated 0.6 pct of biomass dry weight would already produce net economic benefits to biorefineries. To illustrate, it means harvesting 10 dry metric tons of sorghum mass from one acre will only need 130 pounds of recovered limonene from that biomass to say that the whole production process is efficient, according to the release.

The BNL researchers note this new finding can provide new insights into the role of bioproducts to improve biorefinery economics and offer the first quantitative basis for implementation of this cost-saving strategy for future studies on plant-based biofuel breeding and engineering. The scientists also recommended that crops need to be engineered to produce a broad range of bioproducts in order to provide options and diversify products in the market. (Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, April, 2020) Contact: LBNL, Laurel Kellner, Media, 510-590-8034, LKellner@lbl.gov, www.lbl.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News Berkeley National Laboratory,  Biofuel,  


Global Sweet Sorghum Ethanol Market Report Offered (Ind. Report)
Sweet Sorghum
Date: 2020-03-16
Market Research Hub is offering Sweet Sorghum Ethanol Market Insights 2018-2025, an in-depth study of the current state of the global Sweet Sorghum Ethanol industry.

The report provides key statistics on the market status of the Sweet Sorghum Ethanol manufacturers and in-depth insights into the 2018-2025 global Sweet Sorghum Ethanol market. The report depicts the global total market of Sweet Sorghum Ethanol industry by geographic region, product type and key players -- Poet, Valero Energy Corporation, Green Plains Renewable Energy, Flint Hills Resources, Chemguide, Shrijee Group, Anchor Ethanol -- the company profile, product specifications, capacity, production value, and 2018-2025 market shares for each company.

Reports details HERE . Report purchase information HERE. (Source: Market Research Hub, 1Daily Science, 5 Mar., 2020) Contact: Market Research Hub, 800-998-4852, sales@marketresearchhub.com, www.marketresearchhub.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Sweet Sorghum,  Ethanol ,  


Wascon Blue Planing Four Mexican Biorefineries (Int'l Report)
Wascon Blue
Date: 2020-03-09
Miguel Hidalgo, Mexico-based gasoline company Wascon Blue reports it will invest $720 million in four new "green" biorefineries to produce gasoline from byproducts of the process of refining crude oil and natural gas. The company's "innovative formula of BluePower® Biofuels , its Additive acts at the molecular level by increasing the octane in gasoline and cetane in Diesel", according to its website.

Wascon will source the raw material from the state oil company Pemex, which currently exports the byproducts and later imports them after they've been converted to gasoline. The Wascon biorefineries will produce a gasoline with a lower concentration of aromatics, which are base components of gasoline that are a main source of octane and also one of the leading pollutants in the fuel. Conventional gasoline contains around 30 pct aromatics, but the goal of Wascon Blue is to reduce that to 20 pct an replace the remaining 10 pct with sustainably produced sugar cane and sorghum ethanol.

The first of the 4 new biorefinery complexes will be constructed in Veracruz and will have 30,000 bpd capacity beginning in 2021. The company plans to supply 100,000 bpd of "green" gasoline by 2025. (Source: Wascon, Wascom Blue, El Financiero , 7 Mar., 2020) Contact: Wascon Blue, Enrique Olivera, Pres., contacto@wasconblue.com, +55 6385 5542 www.wasconblue.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Wascon Blue,  


NIFA Supports Bio-jet Fuel Technology R&D (R&D Report)
USDA,National Institute for Food and Agriculture
Date: 2019-12-18
In the Cornhusker State, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is reporting receipt of grant funding from the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to support collaborative research by Washington State University and University of Nebraska-Lincoln on the use of camelina oilseeds and other vegetable oil crops in renewable bio-based jet fuel manufacturing.

The research is aimed at developing new bio-based jet fuel manufacturing technology and crop feedstocks with vegetable oil compositions tailored for this technology.

The research team will use camelina as an oilseed platform to develop vegetable oil formulations with shorter carbon chains that are better suited for the processing technology. These genetic strategies will be transferred to other vegetable oil feedstocks, such as soybean and oil-rich sorghum, which are currently being developed by university faculty for the U.S. DOE Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI).

Research at UNL builds on prior US DOE and Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research'funding. (Source: University of Nebraska, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UNL IANR NEWS, 17 Dec., 2019) Contact: UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 402-472-2081, www.unl.edu; National Institute for Food and Agriculture, www.nifa.usda.gov; U.S. DOE Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation, www.cabbi.bio

More Low-Carbon Energy News Camelina,  Oilseed,  USDA,  National Institute for Food and Agriculture,  


GRYFN, Purdue Univ. Partnering on Sorghum Biofuel Crop (R&D)
GRYEN
Date: 2019-12-09
West Layfayette, Indiana-based drone technolgy pioneer GRYFN, which was formed by eight Pudue University professors, reports it is partnering with Purdue to research the rapid genetic improvement and production of sorghum crops for biofuel with $4.5 million in grant funding from the US DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

Multi-sensor, drone data-collection tech enables breeders to scale research operations and empowers them with precise, repeatable analytic solutions for high throughput phenotyping in the field. GRYFN is using the technology licensed through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. (Source: GRYFN, Drone Life, Dec., 2019) Contact: Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization, www.prf.org; GRYFN, Matt Bechdol, (260) 553-9993, info@gryfn.io, www.gryfn.io

More Low-Carbon Energy News Sorghum Biofuel,  


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 ,  


Ag.Groups Call for Biodiesel Tax Credit Extension (Reg & Leg.)
NBB,National Biodiesel Board
Date: 2019-05-24
Thirteen trade groups representing farmers, rural lenders, crop and biobased oil producers, and biodiesel producers today wrote leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate, asking them to act on bipartisan legislation to extend the biodiesel tax incentive:

"America's farmers and rural communities are facing a mounting economic threat. With your leadership, Congress can help mitigate the crisis by taking immediate action on a policy that enjoys bipartisan, bicameral support. We are writing today to ask you to renew and extend the biodiesel tax incentive at the earliest opportunity.

"Income for America's farmers is falling, and the impact is beginning to be felt in other sectors of the rural economy. Biodiesel production adds value to oil seed crops and recycled oils, providing one bright spot for the agriculture sector. Congress can take rapid action to renew the biodiesel tax incentive -- a policy that enjoys broad bipartisan support -- to help U.S. biodiesel producers continue growing."

The letters group include the Agricultural Retailers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, CoBank, Corn Refiners Association, Farm Credit Council, National Biodiesel Board, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Farmers Union, National Oilseed Processors Association, National Renderers Association, National Sorghum Producers, and U.S. Canola Association.

A copy of the letter is available for download HERE. (Source: National Biodiesel Board , KTIC, 22 May, 2019) Contact: National Biodiesel Board, Kurt Kovarik, VP Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.biodiesel.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Biodiesel,  National Biodiesel Board,  NBB,  


USGC Wins $14Mn for Feed Grains, Ethanol Promotion (Funding)
U.S. Grains Council
Date: 2019-02-25
The Washington, D.C. headquartered U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is reporting receipt of almost $14 million in funding from USDA's Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) Program to help expand the organization's global footprint and dramatically increase its promotion for ethanol and other feed grains products. The program is part of a larger "trade aid" package in the wake of new tariffs and global market uncertainty.

The Council was awarded just under $14 million from the one-time program, which granted a total of $200 million for organizations working in overseas market development for U.S. agriculture and food products Much of the funding will be used to dramatically expand the Council's ethanol programs, which it coordinates with corn and sorghum checkoff organizations, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association, as well as USDA.

The funding will build upon existing market development and marketing programs operated with support from Council members and USDA through the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development program. (Source: US Grains Council, PR, 23 Feb., 2019) Contact: U.S. Grains Council, (202) 789-0789, (202) 898-0522, www.grains.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News U.S. Grains Council,  Ethanol,  


Nigerian Sweet Sorghum Ethanol Production Set to Begin (Int'l)
Nigeria Raw Materials Research Council
Date: 2019-01-14
In Abuja, the Nigerian Raw Materials Research Council (RMRDC) reports Nigeria will soon begin the production of ethanol and glucose syrup from sweet sorghum for for industrial and energy uses.

The RMRDC aims to develop a sweet sorghum value chain in Nigeria and to promote the venture as small/medium enterprises in rural areas using the village model system.

Nigeria imported over 71,900MT of ethanol between 2011 and 2017 for various industrial applications. (Source: Nigeria Raw Materials Research Council (RMRDC Nigeria Daily Trust, Jan., 2019) Contact: Nigeria Raw Materials Research Council, +234 70988 05375, ceo@rmrdc.gov.ng, www.rmrdc.gov.ng

More Low-Carbon Energy News Sorghum Ethanol,  Ethanol,  Biofuel,  


China Plans Tripling of Ethanol Production (Int'l Report)
China Ethanol,China National Renewable Energy Centre
Date: 2018-12-12
According to the China National Renewable Energy Centre in Guangzhou, China is set to more than triple its ethanol production capacity by 2020 to meet an expected surge in demand for clean fuels. The country is currently building or seeking approval for new ethanol plants totaling 6.6 million tpy capacit.

China produced 2.8 million tonnes of ethanol in 2017. Current capacity is estimated at approximately 3.38 million tonnes, including recently approved plants still under construction. Of those, corn-based ethanol capacity is around 1.45 million tpy, followed by cassava, wheat, sorghum and rice. (Source: China National Renewable Energy Centre, Reuters, 10 Dec., 2018) Contact: China National Renewable Energy Centre, Dou Kejun, Researcher, www.cnrec.org.cn/english

More Low-Carbon Energy News China Ethanol,  Ethanol Blend,  China National Renewable Energy Centre,  


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, www.glbrc.org

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


Cellulosic Ethanol Feedstocks, Production Strategies Explored (R&D)
Great Lakes Bioenergy Science Center
Date: 2018-11-14
Researchers at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Science Center led by by the University of Wisconsin, Madison, are reporting the investigation of how the quality of different biomass feedstocks -- corn stover and energy sorghum, switchgrass and miscanthus -- affect both the quality and field-scale ethanol yields per acre.

The research found biomass feedstock quality was the main driver for the ethanol yields for high-yielding crops such as switchgrass. Biomass yield was the main driver for ethanol yields from low productivity crops such as corn stover. The re[prt concluded that to increase ethanol yield from 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 study suggests that a lignocellulosic refinery can use a variety of feedstocks of varying qualities without a major negative impact on field-scale ethanol yields. (Source: Great Lakes Bioenergy Science Center, US DOE, Nov., 2018) Contact: Great Lakes Bioenergy Science Center, Tim Donohue, Dir., (608) 262-4663, tdonohue@bact.wisc.edu, www.glbrc.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Great Lakes Bioenergy Science Center,  Ethanol,  Ethanol Feedstock,  Switchgrass,  Miscanthus,  Cellulosic,  


Indian Groups Testing Sorghum Ethanol Profitability (Int'l)
Indian Institute of Millet Research
Date: 2018-10-29
Reporting from Hyderabad, India, the Indian Institute of Millet Research (IIMR) reports that with India falling short of sugarcane ethanol production to meet its national Ethanol Blending Programme, it is investigating the use of sweet sorghum juice as an ethanol production feedstock.

According to IIMR's Dr. AV Umakanth, principal scientist and sweet and high biomass sorghum investigator, with ethanol prices at Rs 59.13 per litre, the time is ripe to push sweet sorghum.

The National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd (NFCSFL) reports it will test the profitability of sorghum ethanol at two mills. (Source: Indian Institute of Millet Research, New Indian Express, 27 Oct., 2018) Contact: Indian Institute of Millet Research, : +91 40 2459 9301, www.millets.res.in

More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol,  India Ethanol,  Ethanol Blend,  


EPA Approves Sorghum Oil as Biodiesel Feedstock (Ind. Report)
Renewable Fuel Standard ,National Sorghum Producers
Date: 2018-07-27
In Washington, the US EPA reports the issuance of a final notice determining biodiesel and heating oil produced from distillers sorghum oil via a transesterification process, and renewable diesel, jet fuel, heating oil, naphtha, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) produced from distillers sorghum oil via a hydrotreating process, would meet the lifecycle GHG emissions reduction threshold of 50 pct required for advanced biofuels and biomass-based diesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

The analysis considered a scenario where distillers sorghum oil is recovered from distillers grains with solubles (DGS) at dry mill plants that produce biofuel from grain sorghum and where the remaining reduced-oil DGS co-product is used as animal feed. The distillers sorghum oil is then used as a feedstock for conversion into certain biofuels.

Additionally, the EPA is amending the RFS regulations by adding a new definition of "distillers sorghum oil" and replacing existing references to "non-food grade corn oil" with the newly defined term "distillers corn oil." (Source: EPA, National Sorghum Producers, Green Car Congress, 25 July, 2018) Contact: National Sorghum Producers, (806) 749-3478, info@sorghumgrowers.com, www.sorghumgrowers.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Sorghum,  Biodiesel,  Renewable Fuel Standard ,  


Pruitt's Replacement Open to RFS Changes (Ind. Report)
EPA
Date: 2018-07-27
This week in Washington, the Omaha World Herald is reporting former EPA top dog Greg Pruitt's replacement, Acting EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler commented: "When everybody's complaining about a program (the Renewable Fuel Standard RFS) from every side, then we ought to take a look and figure out if there's a way to make the program better, and I'm certainly open to trying to make the program better." Wheeler also noted that "the EPA must ensure it's following both the letter and spirit of the law" and rejected changes to ethanol policy in "piecemeal fashion." (Source: Various Media, Omaha World Herald, 26 July, 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel,  EPA,  Sorghum,  Biofuel Blend,  Pruitt,  


Zambia Seeks Climate Change Mitigation Funding (Int'l Report)
Zambia
Date: 2018-07-05
In Lusaka, the Zambian Ministry of National Development Planning reports it intends to raise $400 million over the next three years to combat the effects of climate change in the country. The funds will be used to adopt and implement mitigation intervention strategies, proposals and projects to address the increasing frequency and intensity of climate induced hazards in the country.

To that end, the government has provided incentives to the private sector to establish renewable energy facilities, and has accessed more than $84 million in grants from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to finance renewable energy and agricultural projects. According to the Ministry, people in flood prone areas need to start growing crops such as rice that do well in flooded areas while people in drought stricken areas need to start growing drought resistant crops such as sorghum. (Source: Lusaka Times, July, 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Climate Change Mitigation,  


Indian Cabinet Expands National Biofuel Policy (Int'l)
India Biofuel
Date: 2018-05-16
A meeting of the Indian Government Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved a new National Policy on Biofuels . The new policy categorises biofuels as First Generation (1G), which produce bio-ethanol from molasses and bio-diesel from non-edible oilseeds, and Second Generation (2G) ethanol which can be produced from municipal solid waste and Third Generation (3G) fuels like bio-CNG. Till now only 1G ethanol produced from sugarcane was permitted to be mixed in petrol.

The newly approved Policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of sugarcane juice, sugar containing materials like sugar beet, sweet sorghum, starch containing materials like corn, cassava, damaged food grains like wheat and broken rice, and rotten potatoes. It also permits use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee. The policy also encourages setting up of supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds, used cooking oil and short gestation crops.

Download the full National Policy on Biofuels HERE. (Source: Press Trust of India, 18 May, 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel,  Ethanol,  Biodiesel,  


Vsolar Shifts from Solar to Sorghum Biomass Power (Int'l)
Vsolar,KRU Energy Asia
Date: 2018-03-16
In Malyasia, Vsolar Group Bhd reports it is withdrawing from the solar industry and refocusing on biomass-biogas energy generation. The move is due in part to "shorter paybacks" and quicker returns on investment, according to a company release.

Accordingly, the company has terminated its joint venture with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) for the development of a 30MW solar plant and has inked an investment and shareholders' agreement with KRU Energy Asia Pte Ltd, Rangkaian Iltizam Sdn Bhd and Kenneth Lee Wai Tong for the development of a 10MW sorghum biomass/biogas energy generation plant.

The biomass-biogas project will be implemented in two stages, the first being the physical assets including the equipment to process sorghum. KRU Energy is the intellectual property holder of a planting technology for the sorghum crop. (Source: Vsolar, Sun Daily, 14 Mar., 2018) Contact: Vsolar, Ann Ling, IR, +603 7805 7877, ir@vsolar.com.my, www.vsolar.com.my; KRU Energy Asia, www.sgpbusiness.com/company/Kru-Energy-Asia-Pte-Ltd

More Low-Carbon Energy News Sorghum,  Biomass,  Biogas,  Bioenergy,  


Ag Groups Admonish The Donald to Leave RFS As Is (Ind. Report)
RFS
Date: 2018-02-28
A coalition of farm groups sent President Trump -- aka The Donald -- a letter on Monday asking him to leave the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) as is.

"Rural America supported President Trump last year, now we need the President to support rural America. Supporting policy changes that undermine the RFS will hurt farmers, renewable fuel plant workers, and rural America. Mismanagement of a single refinery should not be used as an excuse for undoing ten-years of sound policy," said National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Kevin Skunes in a statement.

The NCGA, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Wheat Growers Association, National Sorghum Growers Association and National Farmers Union all signed the letter which was also sent to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.

The letter notes that while some refiners, including the one that filed bankruptcy, say Renewable Identification Number's (RINs) cause financial hardship, last year the EPA investigated the issue and found they were "not causing economic harm to refiners." (Source: NCGA, AGPRO, 26 Feb., 2018) Contact: NCGA, (202) 326-0644, www.ncga.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Trump,  National Corn Growers Association,  RINS,  


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, rperrin@unl.edu, www.unl.edu

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, www.sdstate.edu/north-central-regional-sun-grant-center

More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel Feedstock,  


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, info@sorghumgrowers.com, http://sorghumgrowers.com

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

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