Southeast Queensland’s Unitywater looking for renewable energy consultants

In Australia, as part of a broader energy and resource recovery strategy, Southeast Queensland’s Unitywater is inviting expressions of interest from suitably qualified parties with an interest in:

•           Providing proven technology solutions at a cost

•           Commercialising technology solutions and developing jointly owned intellectual property, or

•           Developing joint venture arrangements and new business opportunities with a proven, established statutory authority.

Innovative technology providers who are interested in the following renewable energy processes and resource recovery alternatives are encouraged to contact Heather Bone, Resource Recovery Project Manager

•           Biogas

•           Waste to energy

•           Biomass

•           Energy efficiency

•           Solar

•           Wind

•           Hydrogen

•           Micro turbines

•           Battery storage

•           Other demonstrable renewable energy solutions

Invitations close 28 February 2018.

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Four Swedish NGOs write MEPs demanding a shift in biofuels policy

In Sweden, a group of four NGOs have written an open letter to members of European Parliament urging them to rethink the proposals for the second version of the Renewable Energy Directive, claiming that Swedish forests are already in dire straights and that the RED proposals will only further diminish their quality. They want no targets for biofuel blending, a complete phase out of crop-based biofuels by 2030, including ILUC in GHG calculations and a list of more policy suggestions.

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Vietnam’s E5 blending mandate will be a challenge for smaller fuel retailers

In Vietnam, although the government is confident domestic ethanol production will be sufficient to supply the E5 blending mandate coming into force in January, and that major fuel retailers have put measures in place to sell the blend, it is concerned that smaller fuel retailers don’t have the financial capacity to invest in the additional infrastructure required. Consumer concerns about the fuel continue to persist in the market as shown by E5 sales only accounting for about 9% of current consumption.

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Croda inaugurates $170 bio-based chemicals plant in Delaware

In Delaware, Croda International inaugurated its new $170 million plant producing bio-based non-ionic surfactants, the first of its kind in North America to use bio-based ethanol rather than petroleum products as feedstock. The governor praised the project during the ribbon cutting for demonstrating the state welcomes innovative companies that bring good jobs and create sustainable business. The company has previously invested in CHP from landfill gas and installed solar panels at another of its Delaware facilities.

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T2 ethanol prices slump to 11-month low ahead of flood of beet-based supplies

In the Netherlands, T2 ethanol prices have slumped to an 11-month low of $542/cu m on the back of increased supplies from sugarbeet-based ethanol following the de-regulation of the European Union’s sugarbeet market. Spanish and South American cargos have also recently arrived in Rotterdam, helping to further bring down the price. Most beet-based ethanol is expected to arrive on the market in November. Demand is typically weak during Q4 which may see prices fall further.

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Members of House Biofuels Caucus urge EPA to rethink position on RFS

In Washington, 22 representatives from the House Biofuels Caucus wrote a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency urging it not to reduce the blending mandate for 2018 and 2019 as proposed nor to allow RIN generation from exported ethanol, saying farmers and biofuel producers in their states need more certainty from the agency. They say the proposals would “pick winners and losers” “inconsistent” with the legislative intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard, jeopardizing investments in infrastructure.

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Tennessee start-up licenses ORNL technology to synthetically engineer fuels and medicines

In Tennessee, SimPath has licensed a novel cloning system developed by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory that generates and assembles the biological building blocks necessary to synthetically bioengineer new medicines and fuels.

Knoxville, Tennessee-based startup SimPath will further develop ORNL’s cloning method into a multi-gene DNA assembly kit and software package for customers who use synthetic biology techniques. Synthetic biology leverages genome sequences of organisms, such as bacteria, yeast and plants, and reassembles the DNA parts to manufacture products that are difficult to obtain naturally.

ORNL researchers developed the cloning system to aid studies of drought-resistant plants that rely on a water-saving form of photosynthesis known as crassulacean acid metabolism, or CAM. The new system has been beta-tested at the DOE Joint Genome Institute, where it enabled a 50 percent increase in production.

The method offers flexible cloning with fewer biodesign restrictions and can be automated so that multiple genes can be connected seamlessly in a chain, creating better compatibility when connecting various protein-coding DNA parts.

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New York City write to the EPA protesting any rollback of the RFS

In New York state, New York City submitted comments to the U.S. EPA Oct. 19, protesting any rollback of the Renewable Fuel Standard, which calls for minimal use levels for renewable fuels like biodiesel. Biodiesel has proven a reliable and effective fuel for NYC fleet and buildings and has helped reduce air pollution in the city while lowering greenhouse gas emissions. NYC continues to grow its implementation of biofuels in buildings and fleet and calls on Washington to do the same nationally.

Biofuels can be produced in many ways including recycling of used grease from restaurants and the use of farm products such as soybean oil.

Already a leader in biodiesel use, NYC is set to expand the use of biofuels:

-Mayor de Blasio signed Local Law 119 of 2016, one of the most ambitious biofuels laws in the country. This law will transition all fuel oil used in heating to B20 by 2034. The first stage of the expansion is happening now with all NYC public and private buildings transitioning from B2 to B5 effective Oct. 1.

-NYC-owned government buildings will meet this goal eight years before the law requires, going from B5 to B10, effective the winter of 2017-’18.

-NYC will also introduce the use of renewable diesel for the first time with a 1 million-gallon purchase scheduled for use by city agency fleets in spring 2018. Like biodiesel, RD uses renewable and natural feedstock’s to replace fossil fuels.

These efforts require a healthy and growing national biodiesel industry and set of suppliers. We object to any effort to rollback the RFS on the part of the EPA and call on them to go even further, expanding biodiesel and renewable fuel requirements.

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Methane for Supper: The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to Industrial Microbes

iMicrobes designs and builds microorganisms, including industrial strains of bacteria and yeast to produce chemicals from natural gas and carbon dioxide. Their green, bio-based methods are “more cost effective than sugar or oil, helping to make consumer goods cheaper” and the company picked up a joint development agreement with AkzoNobel’s Specialty Chemicals business to help bring their ideas to market — not to mention a $300K Green Chemistry EPA award.

CEO Derek Greenfield presented these slides at ABLC Next 2017 in San Francisco.

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The Brazilians Are Coming!! The Brazilians Are Coming!!

By Dave VanderGriend, CEO, ICM
Special to The Digest

The legend of Paul Revere was that in 1875 he rode through the towns of Massachusetts and warned of the impending attack by the British. He used lanterns that would reveal how they were advancing- one of by land, two if by sea. If Paul was still with us today and was watching what was happening with our friends in Brazil, he might be warning us with a slightly different message: one if by ethanol, two if by corn. And he would use both lanterns because they are coming after both markets

The recent effort by Brazil to impose import duties on U.S. ethanol has received considerable press coverage and should send a clear message that we need to develop long term reliable markets here at home so these kinds of whimsical trade actions do not tum us upside down.

What has not received much coverage, and what may turn out to be even more devastating is the potential for Brazil to become a major corn producer and enter the global market. The combination of closing out a current export market for U.S. ethanol, while possibly taking away other export markets with their own ethanol; and then rubbing salt in the wound by producing corn and encroaching on those markets as well, could leave us battered, bruised, and in a serious situation.

Brazil has been the sugar cane center of the universe and it was always assumed that the ethanol they produce would be from cane. But times are changing, and the realities of world markets have caused Brazil to re-assess their agriculture strategy and pivot to corn. Currently Brazil is producing more corn than they consume internally, and that corn is finding its way to the world market. It is being produced significantly cheaper than U.S. corn and we will soon find ourselves going head to head with them.

But it gets worse–the Brazilian ministry of agriculture has announced they plan to double current production. This would mean another 4 billion bushels on the world market over the next 8 years, or they produce more ethanol for export, possibly capturing markets we have been developing over the past few years. However this plays out, corn is the currency. They can produce at half our costs and at the moment the only edge we have is that our cost of transportation is significantly lower. So they can beat us on the price of corn and beat us on the price of ethanol. But it gets worse – wait, didn’t I say that already? Well, I’ll say it again because their current cost of approximately $2 per bushel to get corn to the coastal ports could be cut in half, or even more, if they develop rail from the inland growing areas. And they will – if the Brazilian government is serious about doubling corn production they know they need to get it to market, and as we know here in the U.S., rail is often the difference between being competitive or not.

We have had a love-hate relationship with Brazil for decades as it relates to ethanol. Well, maybe not so much love. And what is happening right now is beyond irony. All the years ethanol received a tax incentive, Brazilian ethanol received it as well, despite their protestations. It was a disingenuous argument they raised as they constantly fought the import duty of 54 cents. They moaned and groaned and complained about the lack of fair trade when the reality was they received the same tax incentive once their product was used.

It was in the truest sense of the word, a “wash”. The 54 cent duty was offset by the 54 cent excise tax exemption (51 cent VEETC in later years) all ethanol received. Like all ethanol it was built in to the price and everyone was on a level playing field.

What they have proposed now is purely protectionism for their indigenous product– it is meant to give them an advantage over US ethanol. And in a way that’s ok–it is certainly understandable. I would expect a swift reaction from Congress to this situation, effectively knocking Brazil out of our markets. It may have the perverse effect of helping us as we no longer have to deal with this nonsense that sugar cane ethanol is somehow superior to corn ethanol in its carbon footprint.

But the bigger issue is; regardless of whether we send some of our ethanol to Brazil or they send some of their ethanol here, there is a new player at the table in the world of corn and we’d better find some domestic uses for ours because we may not be able to beat them in the world market. This increase in production is certainly not limited to Brazil. It is happening everywhere! Places that never grew corn are taking advantage of advances in seed technology– Canada is going to be able to produce more corn in colder climates than ever before. They are even talking about a significant corn crop in Alaska through a combination of greenhouse breeding and seasonal transplanting.

So what do we do? No sane person could argue the critical importance of the ethanol industry to U.S. agriculture and corn. Despite the fact that we are essentially below the cost of production, without the ethanol markets we would be in a full blown farm crisis. We don’t need to look far to see what can pull us out of this stale demand – and it is ethanol.

Can you imagine 15 billion gallons of new demand over the next few years, and the 5 billion bushels of corn it would gobble up? In a global economy that is starch long and protein short, processing corn to remove the starch (2/3 of the corn) and market the protein (1/3 of the com) we can expand food production in many of the protein deficient developing countries, corn we do not have to export, and hold our breath that markets will remain intact. Corn that can be converted to ethanol, we can use here and also not be subject to an unsettled trade outlook. That is a realistic goal as we head towards 25, 30, and even 40 or 50% blends. Conventional vehicles using higher blends today can be the springboard to a next generation of internal combustion engines and hybrids that take advantage of ethanol’s superior properties of high octane and low carbon. Automakers, the Department of Energy, and energy experts across this country have recognized that Henry Ford was right — ethanol is a superior fuel and is the most pragmatic and practical way to reduce emissions and stimulate the economy.

The ethanol industry needs to unite in its call to create a truly free market. A market not held back by hopelessly out of date modeling and interpretation that drives bad policy. We have identified a series of regulatory relief measures that would make these higher blends a reality and it would unleash the continued productivity of the American farmer to increase yields so that we can fuel and feed the world. And finally the markets and opportunities that corn ethanol would create would open the door to cellulosic and other feedstocks that currently have no market demand because there is nowhere to put the ethanol.

Let’s grow our own corn, make our own ethanol, and use it right here at home. And if someone says the Brazilians are coming, we can say they ain’t coming here.


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Back to Basics: Effect of D/T Ratio on Agitator Power for Flow Controlled Applications

By Gregory T. Benz, Lee Enterprises Consulting
Special to The Digest

Many agitator applications, such as blending of miscible liquids or suspending slowly settling solids such as starch and grain slurries used in ethanol production, may be classified as flow-controlled applications. That is to say, the process result depends on creating a certain characteristic velocity, Vb, which is calculated on a square-batch basis (liquid height equals tank diameter) by dividing the flow produced by the impeller (Q) by the cross sectional area of the tank (A):

1) Vb = Q/A

For other batch geometries, the calculations are done on the basis of a square batch with the same volume. The flow created by an impeller is equal to its pumping number, NQ, times its shaft speed, N, times the impeller diameter cubed:

2) Q = NqND3

The pumping number for a given impeller type is a function mainly of Reynolds number and D/T (impeller to tank diameter) ratio. Thus, the same amount of pumping can be created by a small impeller turning at a high speed or a larger impeller turning at a slower speed. As we shall see, the required power is very different as a function of impeller diameter.

Impeller power draw is equal to the impeller power number, NP, times the density of the fluid, times the shaft speed cubed and the impeller diameter to the 5th power:

3) P = NPρN3D5

Power number is also dependent on Reynolds number and D/T ratio. For the purposes of this article, turbulent flow will be assumed. Under such conditions, the pumping number and power number are both constant at a given D/T ratio.

For constant flow, power required decreases as D/T increases, though with limits. A D/T ratio greater than 1 does not seem to work well, for example. (More seriously, there are flow pattern effects at large D/T, as we will see later).

Example Problem

To keep it simple, we will use a square batch geometry. We choose a 20 foot diameter flat bottomed tank, with a 20 foot liquid level, giving us a volume of 47000 gallons or 178000 liters. The fluid in the tank could be a starch slurry, a dry grind corn slurry or other grain slurry common in the ethanol industry (but not cellulosic unless full hydrolysis has occurred), with a specific gravity of 1.2 and a viscosity of less than 50 cP, which will result in turbulent flow. By experience, it has been found that a characteristic velocity of 18 feet/minute or 0.091 m/s is adequate to maintain suspension of such slurries. Below we have calculated a table of results for D/T ratios ranging from 0.2 to 0.6. Sizing and impeller characteristics are based on a generic, 3-blade hydrofoil, typical of that produced by most agitator vendors. The impeller is located 4 feet off tank bottom.

Table 1 Grain slurry tank agitation parameters.
D/T Impeller diameter, feet Power number, NP Pumping Number, NQ Required shaft speed, rpm Power draw, Hp, at SG =1.2 Estimated capital cost, $K
0.2 4 0.35 0.68 130 15.4 55
0.3 6 0.3 0.53 49 5.5 42
0.4 8 0.28 0.44 25 2.8 44
0.5 10 0.26 0.38 15 1.7 47
0.6 12 0.28 0.36 9 1.0 67



As expected, the power draw dramatically decreases as the D/T increases. The capital cost, estimated by the author, goes through a minimum. Larger impellers cost more than smaller ones. However, the shaft design is often critical speed limited at smaller D/T ratios, so a more expensive shaft system may be required. At really slow shaft speeds, a more expensive gear drive system may be required. Under normal competitive bidding situations, an agitator vendor will tend to quote the lowest capital cost design, which in this case would be about a D/T of 0.3. However, when the present worth of electric power is taken into account, a D/T ratio of 0.4 or 0.5 may be a better choice. It is up to the buyer to ask the vendor to quote energy saving designs. We included a D/T of 0.6 as an extreme case, but it actually creates a poor flow pattern, as will be seen below.

D/T effects on flow pattern

As axial-flow impellers become larger, the flow pattern produced becomes more radial. There is also a tendency to get dead spots in the bottom center area of the tank, and at the junction of the side wall and the tank bottom, particularly in flat or sloped bottom tanks. In such areas, solid fillets tend to build up, which is not a desirable result. The progression of flow pattern changes is illustrated in the below series of CFD plots.

Based on the above figures, a maximum D/T of 0.5 should be considered for this application. Build-up of solids in the tank center and at the bottom sidewall is likely with a D/T of 0.6.


For flow controlled applications, agitator power input does not define process results. Within reason, significant energy savings may be achieved by using larger impellers rather than smaller ones, up to a D/T ratio of about 0.5 in low viscosity, turbulent flow applications.


The CFD figures used in this article were provided by Chemineer, a brand of NOV, Inc.

About the Author

Gregory Benz is a member of Lee Enterprises Consulting, the world’s premier bioeconomy consulting group, with more than 100 consultants and experts worldwide who collaborate on interdisciplinary projects, including those requiring the technologies discussed in this article.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and do not necessarily express the views of Lee Enterprises Consulting. Mr. Benz is also President of Benz Technology International, Inc.

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Heard on the Floor at ABLC Next 2017: Fulcrum prices bonds, GOP governors’ pro-biofuels march on DC

Fulcrum prices its bonds for pioneer first commercial plant to make drop-in diesel and jet fuel — closing set for October 27th.

In the biggest news sweeping the floor at ABLC Next 2017 and perhaps the biggest industrial biotechnology update of 2017, the long-awaited financing is approaching completion for Fulcrum Bioenergy’s highly-anticipated waste-to-fuels project in Nevada, that will produce jet fuels for investors such as United Airlines and Cathay Pacific and utilize municipal solid waste as an underlying feedstock. Air BP is also a customer for the projedct’s fuels.

One amazing tidbit heard on the floor — after a multi-year effort to secure financing for its first commercial biorefinery, Fulcrum had abandoned its USDA loan guarantee and instead priced an issue of tax-exempt municipal bonds, which finally found the backers that the company needed to build its project, located in the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, approximately 20 miles east of Reno, Nevada.

The Fulcrum backstory

We reported last November that BP announced the creation of a strategic partnership between its BP Ventures and Air BP businesses with Fulcrum BioEnergy, a pioneer in the development and production of low-carbon jet fuel, in which BP will invest $30 million.

Air BP, BP Ventures invest $30M in biojet producer Fulcrum Bioenergy; ink 500M gallon, 10-year offtake deal

Last September, we reported that Fulcrum is planning to develop eight of its MSW-to-biofuel facilities by 2022, including the first 11 million gallon facility that is expected be online during the second half of 2018. Those new facilities, five of which will be developed by United Airlines as part of their investment deal sealed in June 2015, will be between three and six times the size of the Reno facility.

Fulcrum Bioenergy eyeing eight plants by 2022

We reported in June 2015 that United Airlines announced a $30 million direct investment in advanced biofuels developer Fulcrum BioEnergy, obtained an option to invest in five future commercial-scale aviation biofuels plants, and signed offtake agreements for up 90 million gallons of biofuels per year.The offtake contracts are worth an estimated $1.58 billion over the 10-year offtake span, based on the current jet fuel price of $1.76 per gallon, according to Digest calculations.

The shift in United’s fuel purchasing represents 3% of its annual fuel consumption, reported by the airline at 3.2 billion gallons in 2013, and comes after Cathay Pacific invested in Fulcrum BioEnergy in 2014 and signed offtake agreements.

United Airlines invests $30M in Fulcrum BioEnergy; inks $1.5B+ in aviation biofuels contracts

We reported in May 2015 that Fulcrum selected Abengoa to build the first biorefinery using gasification technology to convert municipal solid waste into syncrude that will be upgraded into jet fuel. The contract is worth approximately$200 million.

Abengoa will be responsible for the turnkey execution of the plant including engineering, design and construction as well as a participating significantly in the development of the project. This project is expected to generate more than 500 jobs during the construction phase and 100 more jobs during plant operation.

Fulcrum’s $200 million pick: Abengoa for EPC contractor of first MSW-to-jet fuel project in the US

The Digest’s 2017 Muti-Slide Guide to Fulcrum Bioenergy is here:

The Digest’s 2017 Multi-Slide Guide to Fulcrum BioEnergy

Two-year, $5 million pilot collaboration to automate microbial engineering research technolog

In California, Lygos, saif the U.S. Department of Energy is providing multi-year funding for Lygos’ collaboration with the Agile BioFoundry (ABF) to automate research technology. Lygos’ pilot collaboration is part of a multi-company two-year, $5 million effort coordinated by the ABF.

“This DOE funding underscores the importance of our work with the Agile BioFoundry,” said Jeffrey Dietrich, Lygos’ Chief Technology Officer “Harnessing the power of microbes to produce important chemicals requires a less expensive, faster engineering cycle as well as new technologies to more effectively interrogate microbe performance. By pairing Lygos’ expertise designing, building, and optimizing pathways with the ABF’s capabilities in advanced automation we’ll be able to dramatically decrease the time required to commercialize new microbial products.”

Lygos’ “Innovation Engine” R&D team will work directly with the ABF on the shared mission of building engineered microbes to manufacture a set of new high-value chemicals. Lygos’ earlier success with its Bio-Malonate™ program and its “L-Series” of proprietary industrial yeast that led to products such as malonic acid and its esters, made it an ideal partner for the ABF.

This new collaboration will enable Lygos to accelerate its R&D capabilities and shorten the commercialization timelines required for subsequent  products using the improved automation and analytical capabilities being developed. Lygos expects to receive about $1 million over the first two years of the program for its participation.

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office established the Agile BioFoundry — a new consortium of nine Energy Department national laboratories working to standardize and streamline the entire biomanufacturing pipeline by uniting computer-assisted biological pathway design, process integration, process scale-up, and machine learning.

“We’re impressed with the capabilities, expertise, and elite staff at the Agile BioFoundry, and we’re excited about increasing the of power of our research to create more products and serve more customers,” said Eric Steen, CEO, Lygos. “The past five years have seen revolutionary reductions in the time and cost of engineering biology. Working with the ABF, I think we can do even more over the next five years.”

EU Finance Ministers declare carbon pricing key to low carbon economy

In the EU, the European Union Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) has declared that carbon pricing is one of the policies and incentives needed to drive investment in low carbon production, reduce subsidies to fossil fuels, and transition to an economy that consumes fewer natural resources and recycles them within the EU.

In a statement outlining the Council’s conclusions on climate finance, ECOFIN confirmed that “carbon pricing is a key component of an enabling environment for shifting investments towards green and sustainable production technologies, and for promoting innovative solutions”. It also confirmed that it “supports carbon pricing initiatives as well as initiatives promoting the phasing out of environmentally and economically harmful subsidies and inter alia the continued phasing down of financing for emission intensive projects.”

GOP governors take RFS defeense to DC

In Washington, four Republican Governors sent a letter to President Trump with concerns on the recently proposed changes to America’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), urging the president to keep his promises to rural America to support the RFS.

“The renewable fuels industry in our states—and others—is poised to grow if the EPA sends positive and consistent market signals through increases in the required volumes. That will enhance America’s energy

security, value-added agriculture and rural economic prosperity. We urge you to continue to fulfill your promises, to continue your support for all biofuels under the RFS and to continue to put America first, the governors write.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a request for additional comments on reducing previously finalized volumes required by the RFS program and on using waiver authorities to further reduce biodiesel volumes. The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) has serious concerns with EPA’s recent actions and coordinated closely with these governors to communicate their concerns to the administration. Specifically, the latest proposed cuts to the RFS volumes threaten jobs in rural America, negatively affect the companies who have invested to comply with the law and undermine the energy security goals of the RFS program.

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Ethanol Europe Renewables teams with UN Climate Change to promote biofuels deployment

In Germany, ahead of the UN Climate Conference in Bonn (COP 23, 6-17 November), Ethanol Europe Renewables Ltd (EERL) and UN Climate Change have partnered to boost the deployment of biofuels in the transport sector.

Transport is the second biggest source of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions world-wide, and the sector is rapidly growing. Biofuels such as ethanol have a much lower carbon footprint than fossil fuels, and can be added to gasoline to reduce emissions.

Ethanol Europe Renewables Ltd recently founded the Climate Ethanol Alliance, designed to bring together bioethanol producers for the promotion of climate action and the accelerated transition of the transport sector towards low carbon. Supporters of EERL’s initiative as a European ethanol producer are Marquis Energy, a leading US producer, Growth Energy a US ethanol trade association and Almagest a Bulgarian ethanol producer.

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Twenty-five countries reject ICAO’s aviation biofuel plans for 2050

In California, 25 countries convened by the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rejected the 2050 Vision on Sustainable Aviation Fuels that included volume-based targets for biofuels proposed by the ICAO Secretariat on October 13.

The ICAO Secretariat’s proposal intended to see 128 million tons of biofuels a year being burned in plane engines by 2040, going up to 285 million tons (half of all aviation fuel) by 2050. By comparison, some 82 million tons of biofuels are currently used every year in transport worldwide. The proposal would have led to an unprecedented expansion in biofuel production, more than likely in poorer countries. It would have accelerated the expansion of industrial palm oil which Friends of the Earth says is major driver of land grabbing across the tropics, threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions in the developing world.

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Indonesian biodiesel industry hoping US anti-dumping decision not as bad as thought

In Washington, the Commerce Department’s complaints against the Indonesian biodiesel industry supporting potential anti-dumping duties on imports have been narrowed down to two from an original eight, giving the Indonesian industry hope that when duties are announced by November 7 that they won’t be the maximum 40% that’s currently on the table. The two remaining reasons are concerns about subsidies given to biodiesel used in the domestic blending mandate, which the industry says are not applied to exports, and the country’s easy biodiesel export policies.

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Transport & Enviornment says 53% of EU biodiesel feedstocks are imported

In Belgium, analysis of the European Commission’s agriculture data shows that 53% of feedstocks (vegetable oils mainly from rapeseed, palm and soya) used to produce crop biodiesel in EU installations in 2015 was imported, not grown in Europe as the biofuels industry would like people to think. The Transport & Environment (T&E) analysis also shows that the ethanol industry is a minor player in the EU biofuels market today as four out of every five liters of biofuel consumed in Europe is biodiesel, according to the 2017 EU Energy Statistical Pocketbook.

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South Dakota county going E30 to support local ethanol industry

In South Dakota, Brown County is taking up Glacial Lakes Energy’s E30 Challenge and will develop a plan to run the county’s fleet on E30. The company has been running vehicles tests for the past two years on E30 that show fuel economy is the same or better than with E0 but is $3 to $5 per tank cheaper. The tests used vehicles from model years 2004 to 2016. The county sees the move as in investment in the major role the local agricultural economy plays in the area.

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Aemetis secures 55-year lease for planned cellulosic ethanol biorefinery

In California, Aemetis announced that its Aemetis Advanced Products Keyes subsidiary signed a 55-year lease at a former US Army munitions facility located in Riverbank, California near the existing Aemetis biofuels plant in Keyes, California. The long-term lease provides for the construction of a cellulosic ethanol biorefinery using patented and proprietary process technologies developed by Aemetis, Lanzatech, and InEnTec to convert waste orchard wood and nutshells into low carbon cellulosic ethanol. The project could generate more than 1,900 direct and indirect jobs, and will lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the Central Valley by significantly reducing the current practice of openly burning waste orchard wood. In addition, the low carbon cellulosic ethanol transportation fuel produced at this site will also lower GHG emissions in the state as it can run up to 80% cleaner than conventional gasoline.

Aemetis: The Digest’s 2015 5 Minute guide

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Big Island Biodiesel piloting UH Hilo biogas system

In Hawaii, Big Island Biodiesel has teamed with the University of Hawaii at Hilo on a lab scale of an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor, a single tank wastewater treatment system. A pilot scale model of the UASB reactor is located in Keaʻau at Big Island Biodiesel, a branch of Pacific Biodiesel, a company that converts used cooking oil and grease into biodiesel fuel. If the pilot scale reactor proves to work in its intended environment, the full-scale model will allow the plant to convert its waste products into biogas, which will supplement the energy needs of the plant.

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White House tells EPA to stand down on cuts to RFS mandates and RINs from exports

In Washington, the White House has told the Environmental Protection Agency to stand down from two proposals it had laid out to amend the Renewable Fuels Standard following strong pressure from Iowan politicians leaning against the president for not holding up his campaign promises to support biofuels. The lower blending mandate as proposed for 2018 and 2019 as well as issuing RINs from ethanol exports are expected to be withdrawn. Senators in favor of supporting the RFS have begun to stonewall EPA nominees until they get their way.

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