– by Lisa Gibson, August 22, 2018, Ethanol Producer Magazine
Photo: Lisa Gibson / BBI International
An ethanol plant that will process sugar beet tailings, as well as potato and pasta processing waste held a groundbreaking ceremony Aug. 22, despite the fact that construction already has begun on the 11-acre site. “We’ve already started some of the activities on this site, so this is more ceremonial,” said Kashev Rajpal, of BioMass Solution. “But we wanted to take time out to celebrate.”
BioMass Solution’s plant in Grand Forks, North Dakota, will use up to 500,000 tons annually of the process wastes, producing 16.5 MMgy of ethanol and generating D3 and D5 renewable identification numbers (RINs). The plant will use sugar beet processing technology developed by Biotechnika, which has one sugar beet ethanol plant operating in Poland. The process, according to Jacek Chmielewski, principal of BioMass Solution, is much like the corn-to-ethanol process, once the feedstock hits the fermentation step. The difference is in the feedstock processing.
– by Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Mario Parker, June 7, 2018, Bloomberg News
A day after a tentative agreement to overhaul U.S. biofuel policy appeared to collapse amid farm-state concerns, EPA chief Scott Pruitt met to discuss the issue with the lead senator pushing for the changes: Ted Cruz.
Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, declined to comment on the June 6 meeting, but Cruz said it included discussion about the Renewable Fuel Standard and had been planned well before reports June 4 that a White House-brokered accord was unraveling. Cruz stressed that a deal to overhaul the biofuel policy could be revived.
“The conversations are ongoing,” Cruz said. “And I continue to believe that there is a positive win-win solution for everyone.”
– January 24, 2017, Phys.org
To make biofuels, tiny microbes can be used to break down plant cells. As part of that digestive process, specialized enzymes break down cellulose—a major molecule that makes plant cell walls rigid. Scientists showed that an enzyme, from the bacterial glycoside hydrolase family 12, plays an unexpectedly important role in breaking down a hard-to-degrade crystalline form of cellulose. Surprisingly, the enzyme breaks apart the cellulose via a random mechanism unlike other hydrolases.
Breaking down cellulose is a major challenge in developing more efficient strategies for converting plant biomass to fuels and chemicals. The discovery of a specialized enzyme that is highly effective at breaking down rigid plant cell wall components could be harnessed to solve this challenge.
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Cellulosic Biofuels, Food Security and Land Rights
On December 15 we spoke with Kelly Stone, Policy Analyst for ActionAid USA, who discusses a new cellulosic biofuels paper along with concerns related to food security and land rights.
– November 26, 2016, Farm and Dairy
Photo: Farm and Dairy
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized the increases in renewable fuel volume requirements across all categories of biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.
In a required annual rulemaking, the Nov. 23 action finalizes the volume requirements and associated percentage standards for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel for 2017, and for biomass-based diesel for 2018.
“Renewable fuel volumes continue to increase across the board compared to 2016 levels,” said Janet McCabe, the agency’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. “These final standards will boost production, providing for ambitious yet achievable growth of biofuels in the transportation sector.”
READ MORE at Farm and Dairy
– by Erin Voegele, November 16, 2016, Biomass Magazine
The White House has published a mid-century strategy on decarbonization that addresses biofuels and bioenergy. On Nov. 16, the report was filed with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change under the Paris climate deal.
The White House committed to release the strategy, titled “United States Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization,” in March. At that time, the administration made a joint statement with Canada that indicated the two countries would work together to implement the Paris agreement as soon as feasible. In addition to implementing their respective Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, the leaders of both countries also committed to completing mid-century, long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies pursuant to the agreement.
– November 3, 2016, CBS Minnesota
POET biorefining (Photo: POET)
Federal investigators have found multiple safety violations at a South Dakota ethanol refinery expansion project following the death of a worker in May.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says it cited the worker’s employer, North Dakota-based Bilfinger-Westcon, with five major safety violations.
Investigators found the 38-year-old pipefitter was removing a vent line May 6 when 190-proof ethanol spilled onto him, flowed through a grated floor and was ignited by welding operations on a lower floor. The fire engulfed the man.
– by John Stang, October 31, 2016, GeekWire
Photo: Alaska Airlines
One big hurdle in getting airlines to use biofuels is the cost difference biofuels and petroleum-based fuels. Right now, petroleum-based jet fuels are cheaper. But biofuels produce fewer carbon emissions.
So the Port of Seattle, sustainable jet fuel company SkyNRG and Sir Richard Branson’s nonprofit Carbon War Room announced today that they are partnering on a study to find out how to compensate airlines for the difference in fuel prices. Backers of the study hope to have some results by February.
– by Bob Adelmann, October 28, 2016, The New American
(Graphic: Taxpayers for Common Sense)
When the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 was signed into law by then-President George W. Bush, it was well-intended: It would increase America’s oil independence and reduce dependence on foreign oil, it would produce cleaner air, and it would help farmers.
The Act required refiners to add ethanol to every gallon of gasoline they produced. If a refiner decided it couldn’t (too costly) or wouldn’t (internal decision) do so, it would be required to buy ethanol credits. Those credits, called RINs (for Renewable Identification Numbers), are now being traded and reaping hundreds of millions of dollars in gains for the big oil companies. According to the New York Times, the Act has “inadvertently become a multi-billion-dollar windfall for some of the world’s biggest oil companies.”
– by John Siciliano, October 22, 2016, Washington Examiner
Hillary Clinton’s campaign mulled supporting the elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency’s renewable fuels program before a campaign tour through the corn state of Iowa last year, according to illegally obtained emails posted by the website WikiLeaks.
Senior campaign aides suggested in the April 2015 emails that coming out forcefully against the EPA would put her at odds with the Obama administration but would go “further” than any Democrat or Republican on the issue of EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard. Supporting the repeal of the standard, which requires certain amounts of ethanol and other biofuels be added into gasoline and diesel supplies, would put her at odds with many Midwest corn states and environmental groups that support the program.