– 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.
– by Todd Neely, October 19, 2016, DTN/The Progressive Farmer
Biofuel refinery (Photo: DTN)
At some point before Dec. 9, Congress will need to vote on a budget bill to continue to fund the government, and one ethanol interest group is asking House and Senate leaders to take that opportunity to extend a number of biofuels tax incentives as well.
While the upcoming expiration of the biodiesel blenders credit has received most of the attention in recent months, the Renewable Fuels Association is pressing Congress to extend the second-generation biofuel producer tax credit, the special depreciation allowance for second-generation biofuel plant property, and the alternative fuel vehicle refueling property credit.
– October 12, 2016, Renewable Energy From Waste
Gevo, Inc., Englewood, Colorado, has completed production of cellulosic renewable jet fuel that is specified for commercial flights. Gevo successfully adapted its patented technologies to convert cellulosic sugars derived from wood waste into renewable isobutanol, which was then further converted into Gevo’s alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) fuel. This ATJ meets the ASTM D7566 specification allowing it to be used for commercial flights. The revisions to the ASTM D7566 specification, which occurred earlier this year, includes ATJ derived from renewable isobutanol, regardless of the carbohydrate feedstock (i.e. cellulosics, corn, sugar cane, molasses and so on).
– September 25, 2016, Industry Voice
Photo: Industry Voice
Can you invest responsibly in biofuels? What are biofuels and how are they derived? Can these be used in power generation?
These are just some of the questions commonly asked on biofuels and addressed in our latest SRI Expert Brief.
From the difference between first and second generation of biofuels; to the accusation that biofuels production diverts away valuable land that could be used for food production, or the claim that biofuels reduces greenhouse gas emissions; our SRI team goes into detailed explanation of this complex issue.
– by David Gelles, September 17, 2016, New York Times
Cartoon: Minh Uong
A decade ago, lawmakers in Washington tried to address a trifecta of thorny challenges with one simple fix that has turned out to be anything but easy to assess.
The problems: an overreliance on foreign oil, rising greenhouse gas emissions and tepid economic growth.
The solution: the Renewable Fuel Standard, commonly known as the ethanol mandate. Enacted in 2005 and expanded two years later, the legislation required that refiners blend an increasing amount of biofuel into the gasoline that powers most American cars.
– by Jim Lane, September 18, 2016, Biofuels Digest
In 2011, KiOR raised $150 million in its June IPO, claiming that it was generating yields of 67 gallons per ton in its Demo unit operations. But it was miles short of that.
In our previous installments, we have charted how KiOR moved from a promising early-stage technology to a public company with serious technological flaws that could have been fixed, but were ignored in what a senior team member speaking for the record, Dennis Stamires, characterized as a “reckless rush to commercial”.
– by Mariyana Nayeva, September 15, 2016, See News Renewables
Photo: Steve Jurvetson
Oil and gas major Total (EPA:FP) and Bill Gates lead the USD 14 million (EUR 12.7m ) funding round, recently completed by US-based biofuel specialist Renmatix.
The privately-held company is a technology licensor for the conversion of biomass into cellulosic sugar, an enabling feedstock for petroleum alternatives used in the global biochemical and biofuels markets. Its proprietary Plantrose process deconstructs non-food biomass faster than other processes, and enhances its cost advantage by using no significant consumables, the company claims.
– by Bill Loveless, September 14, 2016, USA Today
Photo: US Navy
U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has made alternative energy a top priority since taking office in 2009, but this week he took his commitment to new heights, literally.
The civilian leader for the Navy climbed aboard an EA-18G Growler fighter jet as a passenger on one of a series of test flights using 100% biofuel.
Biofuels are not new for the U.S. Navy and Air Force, which have been experimenting with blends on aircraft and ships for several years. In fact, all Navy ships and aircraft are now certified to run on up to 50-50 blends of conventional and alternative fuels.
– September 14, 2016, Renewable Energy From Waste
Graphic: Renewable Energy From Waste
Boskalis, Papendrecht, Netherlands, a global dredging and marine expert, and GoodFuels Marine, with North American headquarters in Afton, Minnesota, a provider of sustainable marine biofuels to the global commercial shipping fleet, announced the successful performance of live tests on a sustainable wood-based drop-in biofuel called UPM BioVerno.
The fuel supplied by UPM Biofuels, Helsinki, Finland, is the first ever biofuel derived from wood residue used in a marine fleet, GoodFuels Marine says.