The 50 Top Advanced Bioeconomy Stories of the Year

top-50Here are the 50 most-read stories, out of the 3,400 we covered last year in The Digest.

1  Where are we with algae biofuels?

The page view champ this year, clocking in at 17,821 reads — though the “algae fuels” story is starting to look like a verse out of the song “In the year 2525”.

2 Beta Renewables CEO Ghisolfi dies in apparent suicide

Hands down, the saddest story we ever had to write — written at light-speed, real-time, with a heavy heart. The tributes to Guido would keep flowing in all year.

3  The 10 hottest trends in algae

Algae, algae, algae — we looked at DHA, EPA, fish feed, plastics and even occasionally at fuels.

4  Biofuels mandates around the world 2015

A perennial favorite — who’s mandaing what, where, and sometimes how and why. The 2014 edition is still popular too, and checked in at #7 for 2014-14 even 18 months past posting date.

5  BP’s exit from cellulosic ethanol — the assets, the auction, the process, the timing, the skinny

BP made news twice this year — first with a report that they would put the cellulosic business up for sale — and then, in January, this report on the timing of the sale and how it would all come to pass. In the end, not much was sold off that we learned about — the business shut down before then end of the first half.

6  BP to make major job cuts sell assets as energy prices fall lignocellulosic business goes on the block

7 Biofuels mandates around the world 2014

8 The great algae robbery

One of the most popular stories was a whodunit starring Roquette and Solazyme — a story we expect to come back to again when the courts fire up again as Solazyme and Roquette move from arbitraiton to the legal docket.

9 US Navy, DOE, USDA award $210m for 3 biorefineries and mil spec fuels

This story on grants to Red Rock, Fulcrum and Emerald Biofuels was the #1 story line for drop in fuels all year.

10 Saudi Aramco invests in Siluria: will bio rescue OCM and put the ROI back into GTL

When the world’s largest upstream petrochemical producer, by profit, invests in biotech — it’s a world turned upside down, right? Well, not really — we go through the whys and wherefores.

11 Granbio starts cellulosic ethanol production at 21 mgy plant in brazil

The big cellulosic start-up in Brazil drew a tom of global readership.

12 Eight under 70: which biofuels ventures can beat out cheap oil

When oil prices collapsed, this article provided some welcome ideas on potential winners in a world of lower-cost fuels.

13 On the mend: why INEOS Bio isn’t reporting much ethanol production

One of a couple of articles we wrote in the last year on “Where are the gallons?” — this one went into the detail of why INEOS Bio’s project wasn’t producing at the time, and when a technology upgrade would be delivered that might fix the problem.

14  World’s largest oil refinery adds algae demonstration project

When Reliance opted to install an Algenol demonstration project, it was big big news — here’s the skinny.

15  Shale vs OPEC: what’s going on with oil prices, will the bleeding stop and when?

Curious the readers are on what technologies do well in a world of low oil prices — but curiouser still as to when the bleeding will stop. Here was our take in January as the debacle unfolded.

16 Abengoa opens world’s largest cellulosic biorefinery as US energy secretary Moniz says lets get going on advanced biofuels

Another big opening. This one, Abengoa, with a host of big names led by Energy Secretary Ennest Moniz

17  Lanzatech, Granbio, Algenol and Novozymes take top slots in the 50 hottest companies in bioenergy for 2014-15

The Hot 50 announce story had a big storyline this year — LanzaTech toppled Solazyme.

18 Liquid co2 or liquid gold, maybe both, as Aemetis adds co2 liquefaction at its Keyes plant

A big opportunity to add to the bottom line for first-gen ethanol is in liquid CO2. Here’s the Aemetis project that undertakes that value-add.

19  EPA slashes biofuels targets for 2014 2015 2016 under renewable fuel standard

EPA struck hard at advanced biofuels this year, slashing targets and crushing investor confidence. Here’s the sad story of how the EPA transformed into the Emitter’s Protecion Agency.

20  Shell expects to be producing advanced biofuels at scale in US by end of decade

As companies like BP folded up on cellulosic fuels, Shell amped up the news with this announce that they expect to be producing at commercial-scale by 2019.

21  Earth to cellulosic ethanol: glad you’re here, buddy, what took so long?

A number of cellulosic ethanol projects opened in a flurry in late 2014 – welcome as a cherished baby who delivered later than expected. The who, how and why.

22  DuPont, Ethanol Europe Renewables ink pact for cellulosic ethanol in Macedonia

DuPont has been signing licenses even ahead of its first commercial opening. Most recently in China, but here was the first, in Macedonia.

23  Cargill acquires OPX biotechnologies

OPX Biotechnologies graced the Hot 30 for some time — troubled by the fall in oil prices and the expected impact on some of its development timelines, they found a willing suitor in Cargill.

24  Genomatica, Solazyme, Amyris, BASF take top slots in the 30 hottest companies in biobased chemicals materials for 2014

The  Hot 30 announce story – Genomatica topped than rankings for the 4th year in a row.

25  The top 125 people in the advanced bioeconomy 2015

Who are the movers and shakerss? Well, here’s our take on the Top 125, which shifted quite a lot this year towards producers, with less emphasis on policymakers and scientists.

26  Joule says will go commercial in 2017, solar fuels on the way

Joule — the Stealth Kings of New Mexico — opened the kimono just a little bit here, but the headline “commercial by 2017” caught everyone’s attention.

27  Top 10 bioeconomy and biofuels predictions for 2015

Each January we set our our predictions for the year, and we’ve made some reasonably good guesses and some real lu-lus over the years. Check them out.

28  The strange world of super strong, super light nanocellulose

As they might have said in Hawaii 5-0, the Biobased version: Book ‘em, Nano! The weird but increasingly commercially feasible world of nanocellulose. What is it, and why is it getting traction?

29  Algae’s secret investor trims the sails: Reliance re ups Algenol, Algae tec, drops Aurora Algae: report

Here’s we outed Reliance Industries as they re-upped with Algenol and dropped Aurora — which may well have contributed much to Aurora’s demise some 10 months later.

30  VirVirent, Coca-Cola hit key production milestone with the 100 biobased plant bottle

Coke is it, at least as far a paraxylene goes. Here’s they’re upping the ante from lab-scale to demo-scale, and exhibiting 100% renewable PlantBottles in Milan.

31  What’s up with Solazyme? Stock free falls after moema ramp up delayed

Solazyme’s stock tumbled almost 75% this year, when delays struck at Moema. Here’s the inside scoop.

32  Liquid Light, Virent, Rivertop Renewables, NexSteppe take top slots in the 40 hottest smaller companies in the advanced bioeconomy for 2014

Our newest ranking, the Hot 40, and Liquid Light is at the top of it, As companies go big in the sector, we introduce a new poll aimed at focusing in on  the “small is beautiful” early-stage sector.

33  11 hot algae extraction technologies and 5 stealth projects to keep an eye on

Stealth! Who to watch out for in the critical field of getting the water out of the algae, or the algae out of the water.

34  Bitter KiOR dispute boils over online, as six new documents surface

As if the KiOR story couldn’t get any more interesting, here are steamy documents filed with the SEC detailing a simmercing dispute over the viability of the design.

35 Junk or treasure —  looking at carbon monoxide and LanzaTech

Carbon Monoxide — you can’t vent it, so why not capture and use it? That’s the LanzaTech story, and my how they are using it to drive value from the EU to CHina.

36 The 5 most maddening myths about corn and ethanol

Here, we debunk a few myths that persist even more pervasively than stories of alligators in the New York sewer system or sightings of Elvis.

37 Hot 30, Hot 40, Hot 50 voting opens

Almost as popular as the Hot 30, 40 and Hot 50 results is the opening of voting. Particularly, the Photo Voting which brings out a huge streak of creativity lurking in the industry.

38 POET-DSM’s cellulosic biofuels plant opens, as fantasy becomes real

POET-DSM opened and even the King of the Netherlands was on hand to celebrate, in Emmetsburg, Iowa’s most glamorous day, hands down.

39  US poised for biobased chemicals breakout, says national research council

Why make a $2 fuel when you can make a $5 chemical? Well, according to the NRC, why not indeed make a chemical, and plenty will they say, creating a Tidal Wave of Opportunity, perhaps?

40 More trouble brewing at KiOR

KiOR’s troubles were abounding by September, and we caught readers up with the latest, here.

41 Innovation and investment in agtech — the what, when, who, why and how

Our #1 outside column all year, as Vonnie Estes highlighted a wave of investment in AgTech.

42 Congressional Budget Office says RFS could result in $6.00 per gallon credits for advanced biofuels

The Congressional Budget Office tipped a world of $6.00 fuels, including all those RIN credits, in this unicorn-laden report.

43  The commercialization of renewable fuels, chemicals and biobased products — 4 new views in depth

Research, research and more research, hard data on the markets for renewables drew a big readership this year.

44  Enerkem: Alberta’s municipal waste to fuels juggernaut in pictures

Trash talk! Here we told the story of Enerkem’s first commercial plant in words and pictures, from the opening ceremonies in Edmonton.

45  Biodiesel 2015 – the top 14 trends for the new year

Biodiesel – America’s favorite advanced biofuels. What’s up with all those affordable triglyceride oils?

46  Walking the talk: a fast-revving DuPont nears completion of its cellulosic biorefinery in Iowa

It’ll be open for business in October 2015, but is now mechanically complete — the DuPont cellulosic refinery in Nevada, Iowa. Here’s we profiled the rapid progress in construction.

47  Pilot and demonstration doe bioenergy projects, reviewed

The DOE has co-sponsored a huge array of pilot and demonstration projects over the years. What are the successes, the failures, the ones that never got off the ground and the ones that beat all expectations?

48  Jatropha around the world — as SGB raises $11m, here’s a 13 country tour development activity

To some its the Blunder Crop, jatropha that is — but many still see it as a wonder crop in the making. Lots of activity around the world on jatropha 2.0 – here are the highlights.

49  A looming cellulosic feedstock shortage?

Thank you for the processing technologies. Where’s all the feedstock? Will we come up ruinously short? Here’s we look at the hard data.

50 the DOEs shifting worldview for biofuels deployment now through 2030

There’s development, which the DOE has been working on hard for years — now, we move into deployment, but what’s the DOE view on timing, players, technologies and the whole shebang?

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