Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

King on energetic visit

Detroit News
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Darren A. Nichols / The Detroit News

Gov hopes to match Sweden's green achievements

DEARBORN -- Michigan hosted a royal visitor Friday at two events aimed at cleaning the environment and creating new jobs in alternative energy.

Carl XVI Gustaf, the king of Sweden, appeared in Dearborn and Flint to tout his country's successes as a world leader in alternative energy development. His appearance was spurred by Gov. Jennifer Granholm's visit last year to Sweden, which has set a goal of total oil independence by 2020.

"Sweden has shown that it is possible to combine the reduction of gas emissions with the economic growth," the king told a packed ballroom at the Ritz-Carlton in Dearborn. "The use of oil has decreased in Sweden, while bio-energy has grown. So Sweden has made progress toward a better environment, but maybe not fast enough. Further action is urgently needed."

Read the full story

House OKs extending renewable energy tax credits
Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:07pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives approved legislation on Friday to extend billions of dollars in tax credits for renewable energy but the bill faces an uncertain future with opposition in the Senate.

The House measure, passed by a margin of 226-166, is similar to the bill that cleared the Senate earlier this week, except that the House bill includes measures to pay for the tax breaks, which are opposed by most Republicans.

It is unclear whether the House and Senate will be able to work out the differences in their bills in time to deliver a final energy tax package to the White House before lawmakers leave town to campaign for the November election. A final bill may have to wait until a possible lame-duck session of Congress after the election.

Read the full story

Group to finance biofuels center
Thom Gabrukiewicz • • September 28, 2008

National Science Foundation chooses S.D. university as site

The National Science Foundation is betting big on South Dakota's commitment to biofuels.

It will help pay for a consortium of universities, industrial partners and governmental agencies to create The Center for Bioenergy and Development.

The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology will be the host institution for the center. Other founding universities include South Dakota State University, Kansas State University, North Carolina State University, State University of New York Stony Brook and the University of Hawaii.

The goal is to refine starch-based ethanol technologies while creating cellulosic biofuels. Each university received its latest NSF grant Sept. 1.

Read the full story

Ethanol Expert Proposes 'Sweet Solution'

KTIV - NBC - Siouxland

Posted: Sep 18, 2008 07:19 PM CDT

When you drive down the road you see a lot of corn and beans in the fields but researchers at Dordt have been growing sorghum in some of their fields all in the hope of producing a few gallons of ethanol. But, their research isn't for large production, it's meant for farmers to use on a smaller scale.

"We're looking for sort of a niche ethanol production model and the niche would be sort of the thirty to fifty acre farm which a farmer would harvest that much sweet sorghum and produce 12,000 to 16,000 gallons of ethanol in a year,a small operation," Associate Professor of Engineering at Dordt College Dr. Ethan Breu said.

Breu says its still not known how farmers would exactly use that ethanol, but he says sweet sorghum is used as more of a juicing crop, meaning the juice from the stalks is brought in, not the seeds. That's what the ethanol is made from.

How cost effective is this kind of ethanol? There's no price tag yet. But it does have it's benefits.

"The biggest difference between sweet sorghum ethanol and corn ethanol is you skip one of the cooking processes or the enzyme process that you need, to make ethanol from corn," Breu said. "It's a simpler process, you can go directly into the fermentation process using sweet sorghum juice.

Read the full story

Monday, September 29, 2008

New Research Supports Ethanol Production

Hoosier Ag Today

Ken Cassmen, director of the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research says – recent research, conducted at the University, clearly shows that estimates for the energy balance of corn-based ethanol are much more favorable – in fact 2-3 times more favorable than previous estimates. Cassman points out - it is important to understand that ethanol has a substantial net positive direct energy balance – that 1.5-1.6 more units of energy are derived from ethanol than are used to produce it.

Cassmen added - we estimate that 13 gallons of ethanol are produced for every gallon of petroleum used in the production life cycle for corn ethanol. Alan Tiemann, a member of the Nebraska Corn Board, added that greenhouse gas emission reductions are also more favorable than previous estimates when compared directly to corn and ethanol production.

Read the full story

Tailgate Tour Takes Ethanol Message to College

Domestic Fuel - Alternative Fuel News
Posted by Cindy Zimmerman

The Ethanol Promotion and Information Council is taking a fun and educational message about ethanol to college campuses this fall as part of the 2008 FOX Tailgate Tour presented by Ford and Sirius Satellite Radio.

The 14-week road trip to this season’s biggest college football games offers unique promotional opportunities for EPIC, according to marketing specialist Jennifer Powell.

“College students are an untapped audience for ethanol. They’re educated and often focused on environmentally friendly issues,” said Powell. “Our messaging will tap into the environmental and economic benefits of ethanol, encouraging them to become ethanol fans for life.”

Read the full story

Cargill Endows Iowa State Program To Accelerate Biorenewables
9/19/2008 8:20:00 AM

Cargill has pledged $1.5 million to Iowa State University to establish the Cargill Endowed Chair in Energy Economics. The endowment will help Iowa State recruit a nationally recognized energy economist to accelerate work in biorenewables and bring crucial leadership to the biobased industry center in its early development.

This support is in addition to a previous grant made to Iowa State to establish a biobased industry center. The chair will act as the director of the center once it is established.

"Iowa State University and Cargill have developed a very strong partnership over the years, and we are especially grateful for Cargill's great support for our efforts in biorenewables," said Iowa State University president Gregory L. Geoffroy. "The Cargill Chair in Energy Economics will be held by a world leader in the economics of biofuels, who will bring together researchers from many different disciplines, institutions and industries to address the economic challenges of biorenewable resource development."

Read the full story

Syngenta's Tropical Sugar Beet Receives World Business and Development Award

The Wall Street Journal - MarketWatch
Last update: 1:00 a.m. EDT Sept. 25, 2008

BASEL, Switzerland, Sept 25, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Syngenta announced that yesterday it received the 2008 World Business and Development Award (WBDA) for the development and successful introduction of a new sugar beet that can be grown under tropical climate conditions and brings significant advantages to farmers, the environment, the sugar and ethanol industries and the economy.

The WBDA, presented by the United Nations Development Program, the International Chamber of Commerce and the International Business Leaders Forum, acknowledge the contribution of the private sector to help achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals. The award recognized Syngenta's tropical sugar beet as "an example of technological innovation that helps increase sustainable agricultural productivity to meet the world's growing demand for food, feed and fuel."

Read the full story

Friday, September 26, 2008

Scientist says corn ethanol is a transition step

Prairie Region News
Dave Thompson

BISMARCK, ND (2008-09-24) The director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California says ethanol is a transition step in the development of biofuels.

Dr. Steve Chu says the next generation is to use waste materials or grasses -- and not turn it into ethanol, but make it into its own gasoline or diesel-type fuel. Chu says making diesel from biofuels is actually superior to gasoline or regular diesel.

Read the full story

Switchgrass field in Oklahoma holds hopes for ethanol alternative

Los Angeles Times
By Murray Evans, The Associated Press
September 24, 2008

Researchers are monitoring a 1,000-acre plot to see whether the native plant can replace corn as an ingredient for the fuel.

GUYMON, OKLA. -- Curtis Raines describes himself as "just a dumb old farmer" who's not afraid to ask an obvious question: Why grow corn for fuel when it could be used to feed hungry people?

"That just doesn't make a lot of sense to me," Raines said.

The 64-year-old Oklahoma Panhandle farmer is growing a 1,000-acre plot of switchgrass, billed as the world's largest of its type, to test whether the native plant can replace corn in making ethanol.

The Oklahoma Bioenergy Center project is designed to find out whether laboratory experiments using switchgrass to make ethanol can be duplicated on a large scale. The crop will help feed a biorefinery plant planned for southwest Kansas.

Read the full story

Forests may yield fuel alternatives, WVU researchers say


With high gas prices and concerns about diverting crops from food to fuel, West Virginia University researchers believe they've found a solution in the forests of the Mountain State. West Virginia is the third most heavily forested state in the nation, and the harvesting process yields around 2.4 million dry tons of wood residues each year. These residues include the waste left over from forest operations and management th and sawdust, chips and barks in sawmills.

( - With high gas prices and concerns about diverting crops from food to fuel, West Virginia University researchers believe they’ve found a solution in the forests of the Mountain State.

West Virginia is the third most heavily forested state in the nation, and the harvesting process yields around 2.4 million dry tons of wood residues each year. These residues include the waste left over from forest operations and management – and sawdust, chips and barks in sawmills.

“These wood wastes are sustainable and can be used as feedstock for biofuels, biogas and green electricity,” said Jingxin Wang, associate professor of wood science and technology in WVU’s Division of Forestry and Natural Resources.

Wang; Joseph McNeel, professor and director of the division; Jinzhuo Wu, a graduate research assistant in the program; and Tony Goff, a research technician, have conducted extensive research on the sustainability of wood residue as a source of bioenergy.

“With a conversion factor of 50-120 gallons of ethanol from one dry ton of wood chips, West Virginia could produce up to 159 million gallons of ethanol per year,” Wang said. “Even if a small fraction of woody biomass were used, a significant amount of bioenergy could be produced.”

The use of wood residues as feedstock for bioenergy may provide West Virginia a significant opportunity in economic development and energy independence, according to Wang.

Read the full story

Using tree power to prevent forest fires?
September 23rd, 2008
Posted by Roland Piquepaille @ 10:22 am

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) think it’s possible to use the energy generated by trees to power a network of wireless sensors to prevent spreading forest fires. These sensors are equipped with off-the-shelf batteries that can be slowly recharged using electricity generated by the trees themselves. ‘The system produces enough electricity to allow the temperature and humidity sensors to wirelessly transmit signals four times a day, or immediately if there’s a fire.’ Even if this would be a good application of wireless networking, the researchers also claim it opens the possibility of ‘using trees as silent sentinels along the nation’s borders to detect potential threats such as smuggled radioactive materials.’ I suspect there is some exaggeration here, but read more…

Read the full story

South Carolina embracing biofuels

Southeast Farm Press
Sep 22, 2008 9:30 AM, By Peter Hull
Clemson University

If a major biofuels refinery is built in South Carolina, it likely will source raw material from Palmetto State fields, which is an enormous opportunity for the state’s growers, a Clemson University alternative energy researcher says.

Agronomist James Frederick said the burgeoning bioenergy industry could present a tremendous opportunity for South Carolina growers. Transportation costs associated with importing large quantities of sugarcane from Brazil or corn and soybeans from the Midwest into the state would be cost-prohibitive, says Agronomist James Frederick, who studies the science and technology of utilizing plants for food and fuel, among other applications.

“It has to be a locally grown crop to be economically viable,” Frederick says.

Read the full story

DOE invests $4.4 million in six biofuels projects

Biomass Magazine
September 2008

By Bryan Sims
Web exclusive posted Sept. 17, 2008 at 1:55 p.m. CST

The U.S. DOE has allotted $4.4 million to higher education institutions for six advanced biofuels projects supporting research and development of cost-effectively converting non-food biomass into advanced biofuels.

The following educational entities received funds for their selected projects: University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio; Steven’s Institute of Technology’s New Jersey Center, Hoboken, N. J.; Montana State University, Bozeman, Mont.; University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.; University of Maine, Orono, Maine; and Georgia Tech Research Corp. in Atlanta.

Combined with the minimum university cost share of 20 percent, more than $5.7 million is slated for investment in the six projects.

Read the full story

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Glycerin market in 2008 is a tale of two grades: Crude vs. refined

Refined glycerin prices shoot up, while crude glycerin prices tick down in an unlikely market trend
By Gordon Graff -- Purchasing, 9/11/2008

Prices of crude and refined glycerin often move along parallel tracks, but this year they have headed off in radically different directions. A robust domestic demand for refined glycerin, coupled with limited domestic refining capacity has caused U.S. prices of the refined product to shoot up dramatically since the start of 2008 (see chart). Meanwhile, Chinese demand for U.S.-made crude glycerin has recently dried up, causing the crude material to pile up in the U.S. and sending prices downward.

Both situations are likely to be temporary, however, as a cooling U.S. economy, the credit crunch and declining commodity prices should help put a cap on runaway refined glycerin prices during the next year, say analysts. As for crude glycerin, demand in the next year will be buoyed by two factors: a likely resumption in Chinese buying, and the start-up of huge new plants in the U.S. that will convert the crude glycerin into industrial chemicals. Both developments may boost prices for the crude material.

Read the full story

Colorado Research Center Studies Canola's Potential as New Winter Crop for Arkansas Valley

Pueblo Chieftain, The (CO) (KRT) -- Sep. 19 -- Rocky Ford -- A research project is looking at which varieties of winter canola, a source of fuel oil, will grow best in the Arkansas Valley in light of the boom in biofuel production.

"Canola has the potential to be developed for diesel fuel," Jim Valliant, irrigation specialist for Colorado State University told the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District Wednesday. "It's very competitive with wheat."

Dryland wheat production in Southeastern Colorado averaged 260,000 acres, meaning there is potential for a large canola crop. While canola is also used as a food oil, its value in biodiesel makes it more resilient in the marketplace, Valliant said.

The Lower Ark board voted to support the research effort with a three-year grant of $16,000 to supplement other funding.

Read the full story

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Caterpillar Approves Use of B20 Biodiesel for Compact and Mid-Range Industrial Engines
Updated: September 22nd, 2008 10:40 AM EDT
Caterpillar, Inc.

PEORIA, IL - Caterpillar approves the use of B20 biodiesel - 20% dilution of biodiesel with standard diesel - across its range of compact and mid-range engines including the C0.5 through C2.2 Tier 4 Interim (11-66 hp), the C4.4, C4.4 ACERT and C6.6 ACERT (72-275 hp) Tier 3/Stage IIIA compliant engines. Caterpillar believes the growth of biodiesel as a fuel source and the move to higher percentage blends makes approval of this fuel source a strategic market advantage for OEMs and end users.

Read the full story

State Provides Boost for Cellulosic Ethanol Project

Domestic Fuel - Alternative Fuel News
September 18, 2008
Posted by Cindy Zimmerman

A $14.7 million grant from the state of Iowa was welcome news last week to the company working on a commercial cellulosic ethanol project in the state.

The grant was approved last week by the Iowa Power Fund Board for POET’s Project Liberty in Emmetsburg. The funding will help with research, development and demonstration costs for the integrated biorefinery. POET is expanding an existing ethanol production facility to include the production of cellulosic ethanol from corn cobs

Read the full story

Jamaica seeks ethanol, cuts sugar, molasses output
Associated Press 09.19.08, 6:15 PM ET

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -
Jamaica says it will cut sugar and molasses production by more than half when a Brazilian renewable energy company takes over the government's five sugar estates.

The island expects to produce only 62,000 tons (56,000 metric tons) of sugar and 28,000 tons (25,000 metric tons) of molasses by 2010.

Read the full story

Ethanol Expert Proposes 'Sweet Solution'

KTIV-TV (Sioux City, Iowa)
Posted: Sep 18, 2008 07:19 PM CDT

When you drive down the road you see a lot of corn and beans in the fields but researchers at Dordt have been growing sorghum in some of their fields all in the hope of producing a few gallons of ethanol. But, their research isn't for large production, it's meant for farmers to use on a smaller scale.

"We're looking for sort of a niche ethanol production model and the niche would be sort of the thirty to fifty acre farm which a farmer would harvest that much sweet sorghum and produce 12,000 to 16,000 gallons of ethanol in a year,a small operation," Associate Professor of Engineering at Dordt College Dr. Ethan Breu said.

Breu says its still not known how farmers would exactly use that ethanol, but he says sweet sorghum is used as more of a juicing crop, meaning the juice from the stalks is brought in, not the seeds. That's what the ethanol is made from.

How cost effective is this kind of ethanol? There's no price tag yet. But it does have it's benefits.

Read the full story

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fueling Bioenergy Endeavors (Agricultural & Biological Engineers reports from many Universities)
Posted on: Sunday, 21 September 2008, 03:00 CDT

Sustainable production of bioenergy is in the spotlight. It is estimated that one billion tons of biomass are needed to replace 30 percent of current annual petroleum consumption in the United States alone. Meeting the global challenges to reduce dependence on fossil fuels requires the expertise of AS ABE's agricultural and biological engineers. Tons of biomass must be collected, stored, transported, and processed in a timely and economical fashion into competitively priced fuels and consumer products. Ag and bio engineers are uniquely qualified to develop the most efficient and effective methods of handling biomass feedstocks. Working through ASABE, members have fostered the development of bioenergy by selecting energy and energy management as a top strategic focus; developing environmentally sustainable technology for biomass feedstock production, delivery, and the very processes for converting biomass to energy; encouraging revisions to existing standards and engineering practices that relate to bionenergy and identifying needed new standards; and encouraging development and delivery of technical programs and peerreviewed publications on bioenergy along with providing instructional materials to enhance bioenergy education.

All bio-subtopics of the bioenergy field have produced growing study and research within academia -from undergraduate to post-doc focus. Colleges and universities are addressing the need for interdisciplinary approaches to supply the burgeoning market for renewable energy, and ASABE members within the ivory towers are at the fore.

The following short summaries provide an overview of current and planned bioenergy-related programs and endeavors across North American campuses today.

Read the full story

House passes energy bill with biodiesel credit extension

9/17/2008, 1:04 PM CDT

A moratorium on some offshore oil drilling was lifted and a biodiesel tax credit was extended in the House of Representatives energy bill passed late Tuesday.

Read the full story

15 Percent Ethanol Solution

Domestic Fuel - Alternative Fuel News
Posted by Cindy Zimmerman
September 19, 2008

The American Coalition for Ethanol is proposing a solution to gasoline disruptions and higher prices caused by recent hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico - a 15 percent solution of ethanol.

In a posting on the ACE blog this week, they note that Hurricanes Gustav and Ike have caused nearly a quarter of U.S. fuel production to be shut down, and about 20% of U.S. refining capacity could be lost for months.

Read the full story

Finding the right pipeline for ethanol

By JAMES MacPHERSON • Associated Press • September 21, 2008

BISMARCK, N.D -- Outside of the debate over how big a role ethanol will have as a viable U.S. energy source has been the lingering problem of transporting the biofuel, which can eat away pipes used for traditional fuels.

Ethanol has not been shipped on a commercial scale in existing pipelines because its high oxygen content makes it too corrosive. It also absorbs water and impurities in pipelines.

Houston-based Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP this month plans to run a test batch of ethanol through it's 105-mile long underground gasoline pipeline from Tampa to Orlando, Fla.

Industry experts estimate a pipeline dedicated to ethanol would cost about $1 million per mile.
But demand has grown to where development of new transportation methods may finally pay off, said Jim Lelio, Kinder Morgan's director of business development.

About 8,000 barrels of ethanol will be run through the pipeline and, if successful, the pipeline could be transporting ethanol on a commercial scale by year's end, Lelio said.

Read the full story

Cellulosic Ethanol Using Gasification-Fermentation
Posted on: Sunday, 21 September 2008, 03:00 CDT
By Huhnke, Raymond L

The push for the United States to produce more biofuels was reinforced by the recent amendment to the 2005 Renewable Fuels Standard, setting a new target of 136 billion L (36 billion gal) by 2022. Cellulosic biofuels will play a major role in reaching this goal. For nearly a decade, the multidisciplinary biofuels research team led by Oklahoma State University (OSU) has been investigating a gasification-fermentation process in which low-cost, under-utilized biomass, such as perennial grasses and crop residues, is converted to ethanol and other value-added products. A holistic approach is being employed, addressing the more critical issues along the continuum from biomass production to liquid fuel generation. In this bioconversion process, the total biomass including lignin is utilized, which can result in high energy conversion efficiency.
The process begins with biomass gasification where, under a controlled oxygen supply, cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin are converted to a producer gas, primarily CO, CO2, and H^sub 2^. The producer gas then flows through a cleaning and cooling system and is subsequently directed to a bioreactor. The gas is bubbled through the bioreactor where microorganisms (acetogens) convert the gas into ethanol and other value-added products. The mixture is further processed to separate and recover these products.

Read the full story

Monday, September 22, 2008

Biofuels production plays to U.S. strengths

Southwest Farm Press
Sep 18, 2008 10:24 AM
By Ron Smith, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Adding biofuels as a significant part of the U.S. energy equation “plays to America’s strengths,” says David Fleischaker, Oklahoma Secretary of Energy.
Fleischaker, keynote luncheon speaker at the recent International Conference on Sorghum for Biofuel in Houston, said renewable energy should be part of the country’s solution to energy security. He offered reasons biofuels will:

  • Reduce dependence on foreign oil.
  • Reduce funding for terrorist organizations
  • Revitalize the world economy, and
  • Enhance our environmental profile.

He said the United States is not among the leaders in oil reserves but is a leader in biomass production. “We have an enormous potential resource,” Fleischaker said. “Our challenge it to put it to work in a sustainable fashion.”

Read the full story

Finnish consumers discover green energy

Helsinki Times
Thursday, 18 September 2008 13:13

As many as one in seven Finnish households have switched to green electricity suppliers certified under the Norppa ecolabel scheme, whose prices are becoming increasingly competitive.

“We launched the Norppa ecolabel scheme ten years ago, as soon as Finland’s energy markets were opened up,” says Kaarina Toivonen of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (FANC). “The idea is to give consumers a chance to influence how energy is produced, by opting to buy electricity from suppliers who generate electricity from renewable energy sources such as hydropower, bioenergy or wind power, instead of fossil fuels or nuclear reactors.”

Finnish households were at first slow to change suppliers, but interest is now rising rapidly due to growing concerns about climate change.

“It’s easy to change who you buy your electricity from, starting by filling in a form at which automatically requests possible suppliers to send offers, enabling consumers to compare prices and energy sources before they might sign a new contract,” explains Toivonen.

The scheme so far involves 13 suppliers whose operations are audited to ensure they meet detailed criteria - and do not sell more green electricity than they generate. An even wider array of suppliers’ prices can be compared on the Energy Market Authority’s price website (

Read the full story

'Clean' energy getting a more critical appraisal (Michigan)
by Nathan Bomey Ann Arbor Business Review
Thursday September 18, 2008, 1:17 AM

It was an unexpected jolt to the alternative energy industry - a bold assertion that some types of clean energy could have a negative environmental impact.

When the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in June issued an order halting solar power projects on federal land for two years until an environmental assessment could be completed, an uproar vibrated across the solar energy community.

The order was repealed less than a week later, but the message lingered: As the nation - and the state of Michigan - rushes to invest in alternative energy, questions about projects' environmental impact are demanding answers.

The message particularly resonates in Michigan, where vast natural resources, including forestry in the Upper Peninsula and freshwater lakes, could be at risk if alternative energy initiatives aren't carried out responsibly.

Issues include responsible land use, impact on wildlife and environment, unexpected alterations to natural resources, and influence on global economic factors such as food prices.

Read the full story

U.S. ethanol makers lose money as Ike cuts demand

Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:41am EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Average U.S. ethanol makers were losing money this week on soft prices for the alternative motor fuel after Hurricane Ike and on high prices for corn, analysts said.

U.S. distillers were losing a few cents per gallon on average for the week ending Wednesday, analysts said. Earlier in the month, they were making a slim profits on higher ethanol prices.

"It's a demand issue, which happens with hurricanes. Nobody is buying ethanol with refineries out and nobody importing anything into the Gulf," said Cory Garcia, a researcher at Raymond James & Associates in Houston. The Department of Energy said on Thursday that nine oil refineries with a total capacity of more than 2 million barrels per day were operating at reduced levels after Hurricane Ike.

Read the full story

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sweet potatoes in your gas tank
By Robert Behre (Contact)
The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)
Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lowcountry lawmakers have given initial encouragement to a budding venture that aims to grow massive sweet potatoes specially bred for conversion into ethanol.

Ultimately, horticulturist Janice Ryan-Bohac of North Charleston and businessman Alan Overcash of Gainesville, Ga., would like to see more than 1 million South Carolina acres planted with these special potatoes and other feedstock.

That would provide enough raw material for 23 bio-refineries, which they say could replace 85 percent of all gasoline consumed here.

Ryan-Bohac currently is seeking a patent on what is dubbed "the energy sweet potato," a tuber that can grow up to 40 pounds and provide up to six times as much ethanol as corn or three times as much as sugar cane per acre.

Read the full story

Piping Ethanol
Wednesday, September 17, 2008




Read the full story

Fuel from fuel: converting biodiesel waste into ethanol

Source: European Commission, Environment DG
Published: Sept. 12, 2008

Researchers have discovered that under the correct conditions, glycerol, a major by-product of biodiesel production, can be turned into ethanol by harmless strains of the bacterium Escherichia coli. Furthermore, yields of ethanol obtained from this method are higher than those obtained from conventional means of production.

As society looks for alternative sources of energy to replace the use of fossil fuels, the production of renewable fuels such as biodiesel has significantly increased. However, biodiesel production creates large amounts of glycerol, a by-product of the conversion process from vegetable oil to fuel. Nearly one kilogram of glycerol is created for every ten kilograms of biodiesel produced. Although refined glycerol is used extensively by the chemical industry in the manufacture of cosmetics, drugs and food products, there remains a surplus of glycerol which some biodiesel manufacturers must pay to have removed.

Ethanol is produced by using bacteria to ferment glycerol. Although widely used in the biotechnology industry, researchers had previously thought that the bacterium E. coli was unable to ferment glycerol, because the bacterium did not produce a vital chemical, 1,3-propanediol, (1,3-PDO) required during the process. However, this research has identified mechanisms which overcome this barrier and enable E. coli to convert glycerol into ethanol. Yields of ethanol produced in this way are greater than yields produced by the standard means of ethanol production, which converts plant sugars from crops such as corn into fuel. Furthermore, production costs are lower using this method.

Read the full story

The Ethanol Report: This Week vs. Last Year
9/15/2008 2:14:00 PM

Read the full report

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Opinion: Rep. Zach Wamp: Tennessee Valley Corridor Leads South To Transportation Future (Tennessee)
posted September 15, 2008

by Zach Wamp

The United States consumes and imports more oil than any other country. Of course, we also output a gross domestic product like no other, so it is essential that we push for technological advancement to maintain our competitiveness. From transportation to energy, the Tennessee Valley Corridor is providing national leadership to keep America at the forefront of innovation.

Read the full opinion

Ag Economists Darrel Good and Scott Irwin: Ethanol Demand for Corn Likely to Keep Grain Prices High for Years (and podcast)
Date Posted: September 16, 2008

Champaign, IL—An ethanol-fueled spike in grain prices will likely hold, yielding the first sustained increase for corn, wheat and soybean prices in more than three decades, according to new research by two University of Illinois farm economists.

Corn, an ethanol ingredient that has driven the recent price surge, could average $4.60 a bushel in Illinois, nearly double the average $2.42 a bushel from 1973 to 2006, said Darrel Good and Scott Irwin, professors of agriculture and consumer economics.

They say price swings stemming from weather or other market variables could send corn as high as $6.70 a bushel or down to $3, based on a review of market data dating back to the mid-1900s for a report titled “The New Era of Corn, Soybean and Wheat Prices.”
“The extreme low prices in terms of the new era would have been considered awfully good prices in the old era,” Good said.

Soybean prices could average $11.50 a bushel, up sharply from an average of $6.15 from 1973 to 2006, with swings from $8.20 to $19 a bushel.

Wheat could increase to an average $5.80 a bushel, up from $3.24, dipping as low as $3.30 a bushel or as high as $10.15.

Although the forecasts are based on Illinois grain prices, Good says increases will likely be similar on a percentage basis in other grain-producing states.

Read the full story

Listen to the Podcast

Science Edges Towards a New Generation of Biofuels

Energy 15.09.2008
Alternatives to biofuels such as ethanol from sugar cane could still help support economies

DW-WORLD.DE talked to Prof. Eva-Mari Aro, an expert on plant physiology and molecular biology at the University of Turku in Finland, about the current developments in the pursuit of new biofuel technologies.

DW-WORLD.DE: What are the most viable alternatives to biofuels like ethanol and how do they work?

Eva-Mari Aro: New generation biofuels can be roughly divided into two groups: fuels, which use biomass as a raw material and systems where living organisms (or biomimicing devices) produce some liquid fuel, hydrogen or other gas directly from sunlight and carbon dioxide.

Biomass based biofuels are already close to real application and their breakthrough is mostly dependent on oil price. However, accumulation of biomass is thermodynamically inefficient process and the conversion of biomass into the form liquid fuel decreases the efficiency more. Biomass has very low efficiency to store energy from sunlight and even in ideal situation they can replace only some percents from fossil fuels. Anyway, they are considered to be a good business when oil prise increases enough.

Biomass independent systems, in contrast, have very high efficacy in theory, and have real potential to replace fossil fuels. However, there are still unsolved technical barriers against the real breakthrough of biomass free systems.

Read the full story

Beets could produce trifold crop of biofuel, food and cash
by Kirk Starratt/The Advertiser
View all articles from Kirk Starratt/The Advertiser
Article online since September 16th 2008, 13:50

BY KIRK STARRATT Kings County Register With the first crop less than a month from harvest, an energy company is already looking for growers for the next growing season.

Atlantec BioEnergy Corporation (ABC) has contracts in place for 520 acres of sugar beets for ethanol production across Nova Scotia this year and has been hosting field days with growers to demonstrate the merits of the crop.

ABC held one such field day in Northville Aug. 26 at the farm of John and Peter Swetnam. The Swetnams have a crop of ABC’s sugar beets in the ground, and John Swetnam said this particular variety is a long-season beet and the land they’re planted in is too heavy for carrots or onions. They used to grow table beets for Avon Foods in the 1980s, and the sugar beets could be an alternative crop.

“All farmers are optimistic,” he said. “Everyone is looking for another alternative for crop rotation and cash flow.”

Although yields have yet to be determined, John said the crop could be of value: it’s a Roundup-ready variety and would help keep weeds off the land.

Read the full story

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Students bring biodiesel to WSU

The Daily Evergreen (Washington)
Mick Barretto
The Daily Evergreen

The WSU Biodiesel Club is attempting to work with food services to make biodiesel.

As gas prices remain above $3.50 a gallon, the recently established WSU Biodiesel Club intends to help ease the pain of high pump prices.

The club, which had its first official meeting Monday, is in the process of contacting individuals involved in food services, the motor pool and various other organizations that can aid in the production and distribution process of biodiesel, said Nate Storrs, a sophomore mechanical engineeering major and a member of the Biodiesel Club.

“Before starting production, the club must first determine who is responsible for things like transportation and storage, and who exactly we are going to be getting the grease and other necessary resources from,” said David Smith, a senior mechanical engineerng major and president of the Biodiesel Club. “It really all depends on how much of the necessary materials we are able to get our hands on.” The club expects to be able to produce about 200 gallons of biodiesel per day, Storrs said. Once the club begins producing a profit, the club’s first goal is to pay back their main supporter, Bob Richards, who has invested $4,000 of his own money into making this idea a reality.

Read the full story

Lee at forefront of bio-diesel research

Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The quiet of Ken Ryan’s farm is shocking at first; the only sounds you hear are the trees swaying, the birds singing, the occasional truck rumbling down the gravel road in front of his house.

The tranquility of this North Fort Myers location is a far cry from the gridlocked nightmare of Del Prado at rush hour, though the two might one day be more closely linked than an initial glance would indicate.

Imagine a fleet of LeeTran buses traveling the Cape on a daily basis, running on something other than diesel fuel. Imagine them being powered by a green, leafy plant, one that is growing abundantly in the small field behind Ryan’s home.

Ryan is working closely with the University of Florida/IFAS (Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences) Lee County Extension program on a plant called Jatropha Curcus, an emerging possibility for a new biodiesel fuel source.

Read the full story

State's ethanol surge to level off, expert says

The Star (Indiana)

Will we now see a similar rush to build ethanol plants that convert corn stalks to fuel?
By SETH SLABAUGH • • September 11, 2008

ALEXANDRIA -- After the opening of three new Indiana ethanol plants between now and late October -- plus another one next year -- the corn ethanol surge in this state will level off, a Purdue University expert predicts.

"It all adds up to a billion gallons of ethanol production (capacity annually)," ag economist Chris Hurt told farmers during a Purdue Ag Outlook meeting on Wednesday. "That's what the governor talked about two years ago. So, wow, we're a big part of it."

Scheduled to begin producing ethanol in the near future are POET, North Manchester; Indiana Bio-Energy, Bluffton, and Cardinal Ethanol in Randolph County, followed next summer by Aventine Renewable Energy in southwestern Indiana near Evansville.

That will bring to a dozen the total number of ethanol plants in Indiana. They will require 350 million bushels of corn -- about 35 percent of Indiana's total corn crop -- to operate at capacity.

Nationally, ethanol production capacity is approaching 10 billion gallons a year, and is expected to exceed 13.5 billion gallons next year. The federal government has mandated the use of 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol by 2015.

Read the full story

How much thiamin is needed to feed at 60 percent DDGS?

Farm & Ranch Guide
By SUE ROESLER, Farm & Ranch Guide
Thursday, September 11, 2008 4:29 PM CDT

HETTINGER, N.D. - Distillers grains (DDGS) has been replacing some of the corn in livestock feed, including lamb finishing rations.“With the explosion of ethanol plants, there will be more distillers grains product available for feed,” said Michele Thompson, assistant animal scientist and Southwest Feeders coordinator at the Hettinger Research Extension Center in Hettinger, N.D.

“Livestock producers are looking at DDGS as an energy alternative because of the high corn and grain prices.”Sheep and cattle feeders would like to be able to “push the envelope” and feed higher DDGS levels, she said.

Read the full story

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

RFA Factsheet: Ethanol and the U.S. Corn Crop
Date Posted: September 11, 2008

The American farmer and the American ethanol producer have been under attack, criticized for seeking to capitalize on the productivity and bounty of American agriculture to help solve this nation’s energy crisis.

In particular, critics often misrepresent the impact of ethanol production on American corn and total grain supplies, contorting facts and reporting statistics completely out of context.
In advance of the USDA’s September World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report due out on Friday, September 12, the RFA has put together the following facts and figures that put the debate about how America uses its corn supplies in proper context.

As the size of the corn crop grows, so too do its uses.

Read the full story

USDA Crop Forecast and Ethanol Demand

Domestic Fuel - Alternative Fuel News
September 13th, 2008
Posted by Cindy Zimmerman

The latest crop production forecast out Friday from the U.S. Department of Agriculture slightly lowered the production estimate of the 2008 corn crop from 12.288 billion to 12.072 billion bushels, which would still be the second highest on record.

Read the full story

Broad Coalition of Industry Leaders Calls on House Speaker Pelosi to Advance E85 Infrastructure Through The E85 and Biodiesel Access Act
Date Posted: September 11, 2008

Jefferson City, MO—In a first of a kind effort, a broad coalition of ethanol producers, automakers, agricultural advocates, convenience store owners, petroleum marketers, and equipment manufactures, are encouraging the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives to include tax credits that support new alternative fuel infrastructure in any pending energy bill or stimulus package.

“Both Presidential candidates and several members of Congress have recently called for mandatory production of flexible fuel vehicles,” stated Executive Director of the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition, Phil Lampert.

“We support increased production of flexible fuel vehicles or FFVs, but frankly, that overlooks the primary issue which is the lack of sites to fuel these vehicles.

Read the full story

Monday, September 15, 2008

Green Earth Technologies' G-OIL for Ethanol Fuel is Solution for Adoption of New EPA 2010 & 2011 "Surf & Turf" Standards

The Wall Street Journal - MarketWatch

Proprietary & Patented Technology Makes Possible the 45% - 75% Reduction in Green House Gas Emissions Associated with Ethanol Fuels A "Fluid Solution" to Make All 2-Cycle Engines Flex Fuel without Requiring Modifications of Hardware for the Ignition, Fuel or Exhaust Systems
Last update: 9:45 a.m. EDT Sept. 8, 2008

STAMFORD, Conn., Sep 08, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Green Earth Technologies [Pink Sheets: GETG] today announced that its "ethanol" edition of G-OIL 2-Cycle Engine Oil is specifically designed for ethanol fuels to help meet the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "Surf & Turf" standards for non-road engines, equipment and vehicles, without requiring any modifications or additional hardware to the engines.

On September 4, 2008, the EPA announced new, stricter emissions standards for spark-ignition non-road engines rated below 25 horsepower used in household and commercial applications. This includes outdoor power equipment and personal watercraft and nearly half of these products are powered by 2-cycle engines. The standards will be in place by 2010 for land and 2011 for sea and will require manufacturers of this equipment to significantly reduce harmful emissions.

Read the full story

CSU receives $3 million for biofuels program

Northern Colorado Business Report
By Staff
September 8, 2008

FORT COLLINS - The National Science Foundation awarded Colorado State University $3 million for a program to provide biofuels training to doctoral students.

The grant will create the Integrated Graduate Education in Biorefining and Biofuels Program. It will be aimed at preparing graduates to work in the complex biofuels industry by giving them a full picture of it -- where biomass comes from, the ways in which it's transformed into fuels and chemicals and whether the entire process is sustainable.

The grant will support the education of up to 45 doctoral students during the next five years. Training will range from environmental assessment, such as greenhouse gas impacts, to fuel engineering and plant biotechnology. Students must be enrolled as graduate students in science, engineering or economics to be eligible.

Read the full story

Detailed Ethanol Market Outlook Report for 2008

The Wall Street Journal - Market Watch
Last update: 1:00 a.m. EDT Sept. 11, 2008

DUBLIN, Ireland, Sep 11, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Research and Markets ( has announced the addition of the "Ethanol Market Outlook 2008" report to their offering.

The report analyzes worldwide markets for Ethanol, including Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America, Middle East and Africa, Oceania. It provides the most complete and current analytical account of the following areas: Ethanol producers, plant-by-plant capacities, supply/demand, future demand trend forecasts, Ethanol prices, international trade, upcoming projects. Production by company, Ethanol imports and exports, prices are presented for each region.

Read the full story

Accenture Study Finds Creation of Global Biofuels Industry Will Be Difficult Due to Environmental Concerns and Distribution Challenges
Date Posted: September 8, 2008

London—Despite the emerging biofuels market, the creation of a global biofuels industry will be much more difficult to achieve than originally thought, according to findings of an Accenture (NYSE: ACN) study released today.

Titled “Biofuels’ Time of Transition: Achieving high performance in a world of increasing fuel diversity,” the study reports that although biofuels could make up 10-15 percent of the future fuels mix in the next 10-20 years, getting to that level will be more difficult than previously thought, reflecting the challenges involved in creating full-scale markets in biofuels feedstock, production, transport and distribution.

Read the full story

Friday, September 12, 2008

Institute for Local Self-Reliance Report: Federal Policies Minimize Benefit of Biofuels and Wind Investment in Rural Communities
Date Posted: September 8, 2008

Minneapolis, MN—The next 20 years could generate as much as $1 trillion in new investment in renewable energy in rural America.

But as a new Ford Foundation-sponsored study by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) argues, current federal policies minimize the benefit of that investment to rural economies.

Existing federal policies encourage large-scale, absentee owned wind farms and biofuel plants, notes the report, Rural Power: Community-Scaled Renewable Energy and Rural Economic Development.

Read the full story

UI trustees to discuss budget increase requests

The News-Gazette (Champaign, IL )

Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory on Agenda
By Christine Des Garennes
Wednesday, September 10, 2008 11:58 AM CDT

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees on Thursday is expected to discuss its budgets, including raises for faculty and staff, for this year through 2010.
The board meets beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday in the Illini Union's Pine Lounge in Urbana.

The university is asking for $109 million more for the year ending June 30, 2010.
That's a 7.7 percent increase from the 2009 budget.

The budget request calls for $85.8 million to "strengthen academic quality," including $30 million for raises on average of 3 percent for faculty and staff, plus $15.3 million for recruitment, retention and filling in the salary gap between pay for new hires and longer term employees.

Read the full article

New enzyme technology allows use of key biofuel by-product in poultry rations

Farmers Weekly Interactive (UK)
06/09/2008 09:00:00FWi

Advances in enzyme technology now allow poultry producers to reduce feed costs by using a key by-product of the bio-fuel industry.

Speaking at the recent University of Nottingham Feed Conference, Alexandre Peron of Danisco Animal Nutrition described how the latest enzymes could allow poultry producer to replace a proportion of the cereal in poultry rations with the cheaper distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS).

DDGS is a by-product of the food and bio-ethanol industries and its lower price has led to its increased use in general animal feed. While DDGS is potentially a cost effective and valuable feed ingredient, there are certain anti-nutritional factors limiting its use in poultry rations.

Read the full story

Unchecked biofuels could lead to food shortages: UN expert
Sept. 9, 2008

GENEVA (AFP) — Major investments in agrofuel development should be put on hold unless they met stringent criteria, a UN expert said in a report Tuesday, warning that pushing ahead could lead to food shortages.

Efforts should be made to reach an international consensus on biofuels and agrofuel development to avoid skewed development in producer countries, said Oliver de Schutter, the UN's Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.

"The conclusion that emerges... is that the current path in the development of agrofuels for transport is not sustainable, and that if such development goes unchecked, further violations of the right to food will result," he said in the report published on Tuesday.

Read the full story

'Omnivorous engine' hopes to run on many fuels
Published: 13:38 EST, September 08, 2008

Argonne mechanical engineer Thomas Wallner adjusts Argonne's "omnivorous engine," an automobile engine that Wallner and his colleagues have tailored to efficiently run on blends of gasoline, ethanol and butanol.

Unlike regular automobile engines, which typically run solely on gasoline or, in rare instances, on a blend of gasoline and ethanol, the omnivorous engine would be able to run on any blend of conventional gasoline, ethanol or butanol, another organic alcohol that scientists are beginning to consider as a potential biofuel. Even more significantly, the omnivorous engine would use a suite of sensors to calibrate itself so that it burns available fuel as efficiently as possible.

Since the Ford Model T, the first car built to run on both gasoline and ethanol, automakers have introduced a variety of these flexible-fuel vehicles, or FFVs. Since both gasoline and ethanol engines rely on a spark plug to ignite the air-fuel mixture, it doesn't take a lot of effort to equip an engine to burn both kinds of fuel, according to mechanical engineer Thomas Wallner of Argonne's Energy Systems Division.

Read the full story

Thursday, September 11, 2008

DOE to invest up to US$4.4 million in biofuels project

Energy Current
Filed from Houston 9/10/2008 7:49:16 PM GMT

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected six advanced biofuels projects in which the DOE plans to invest up to US$4.4 million, subject to annual appropriations.
These awards to U.S. institutions of higher education will support research and development (R&D) for cost-effective, environmentally friendly biomass conversion technologies for turning non-food feedstocks into advanced biofuels. Combined with the minimum university cost share of 20 percent, more than US$5.7 million is slated for investment in these six projects.

The institutions selected include the University of Toledo in Ohio; Steven's Institute of Technology Center in Hoboken, N.J.; Montana State University in Bozeman; University of Georgia at Athens; University of Maine at Orono; and Georgia Tech Research Corp. in Atlanta.

Read the full story

Dartmouth researchers advance cellulosic ethanol production

Dartmouth College
Public release date: 8-Sep-2008

Research finding exploits new technology to bring us closer to alternative fuel production

Hanover, NH – A team of researchers from Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering and Mascoma Corporation in Lebanon, N.H., have made a discovery that is important for producing large quantities of cellulosic ethanol, a leading candidate for a sustainable and secure alternative to petroleum-derived transportation fuel. For the first time, the group has genetically engineered a thermophilic bacterium, meaning it's able to grow at high temperatures, and this new microorganism makes ethanol as the only product of its fermentation.

The study was published online during the week of Sept. 8, 2008 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

"Our discovery is one potential avenue for research to facilitate turning inedible cellulosic biomass, including wood, grass, and various waste materials, into ethanol," says Lee Lynd, the Paul E. and Joan H. Queneau Distinguished Professor in Environmental Engineering Design at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth. "In the near term, the thermophilic bacterium we have developed is advantageous, because costly cellulase enzymes typically used for ethanol production can be augmented with the less expensive, genetically engineered new organism."

Read the full story

Better Bug to Make Cellulosic Ethanol

MIT Technology Review
Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A new strain of bacteria could make cellulosic ethanol cheaper.
By Prachi Patel-Predd

New genetically modified bacteria could slash the costs of producing ethanol from cellulosic biomass, such as corn cobs and leaves, switchgrass, and paper pulp. The microbes produce ethanol at higher temperatures than are possible using yeast, which is currently employed to ferment sugar into the biofuel. The higher temperature more than halves the quantity of the costly enzymes needed to split cellulose into the sugars that the microbes can ferment. What's more, while yeast can only ferment glucose, "this microorganism is good at using all the different sugars in biomass and can use them simultaneously and rapidly," says Lee Lynd, an engineering professor at Dartmouth College, who led the microbe's development.

Most of the ethanol produced in the United States is made from corn. But making the biofuel from corn takes a lot of energy and competes with agricultural uses of the crop. Making fuel from cellulosic plant matter has the potential to be much more sustainable. However, cellulosic-ethanol production is still too expensive to be commercially competitive with corn ethanol.

Read the full story

Ag secretary backs ethanol mandate

Daily Herald (Chicago)

Bloomberg News
Published: 9/8/2008 3:28 PM

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said the country should maintain incentives to promote its renewable fuels policy until the industry is "mature."

The Energy and Security Act of 2007, which President George W. Bush signed into law in December, requires the U.S. to use 9 billion gallons of renewable fuels such as ethanol this year. The mandate climbs to 15 billion gallons by 2015. Republicans last week released a platform that said they would end the requirement.

"I believe those incentives ought to stay there until the industry is mature," Schafer said today at a Society of American Business Editors and Writers event in Kansas City, Missouri.

Read the full story

New ethanol plant planned in southwest Illinois
Associated Press 09.09.08, 5:12 PM ET

A planned $200 million ethanol plant in southwest Illinois is getting some state help.
The plant proposed by Abengoa Bioenergy of Illinois LLC will receive a $4 million grant through the state's Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich says the plant will be built by the end of next year and employ 60 workers. It also is to convert about 32 million bushels of corn each year into about 88 million gallons of ethanol.

Blagojevich says the site will use one-third less natural gas to produce a gallon of ethanol than the average ethanol plant built just five years ago.

Read the full story

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mo. power plants to cut emissions by growing algae
Associated Press

09.05.08, 5:22 PM ET

Now this could provide some truly green power.

A pair of Missouri universities and electric companies announced plans Friday to use the carbon dioxide pollution from coal-fired power plants to grow green pond scum that could be turned into biofuel.

The project at the Central Electric Power Cooperative's plants east of Jefferson City is starting out small. Only a relatively little portion of its carbon dioxide emissions will be diverted from its flues and pumped into pools of sunlit water teeming with algae.

The bubbling gas is a rich food for the plants, which will be harvested as an alternative fuel. Algae oil can be processed into biodiesel, its carbohydrates used for ethanol and its proteins for livestock feed.

The potential benefits are twofold: a reduction in greenhouse gases and a homegrown fuel source.

Read the full story

NMSU prepares for biodiesel demo

Las Cruses Sun-News
By Audry Olmsted For the Sun-News
Article Launched: 09/01/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT

ARTESIA — A little project to turn algae into biodiesel has become so successful, researchers believe they will be ready for a commercial demonstration within the next two years.

"Commercial demonstration means that we'll operate at least five acres of ponds and harvest algae at a commercial scale, which means that these five acres will have the same size and capacity of ponds one would use in a commercial plant," said Doug Lynn, executive director for the Center of Excellence for Hazardous Materials Management.

Lynn said the plan is to be ready for commercial demonstration in 18 months.

New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Artesia serves as the location of research for algae led by CEHMM, which is based in Carlsbad.

Read the full story

Researchers: Standard for life cycle analysis needed

Ethanol Producer Magazine
October 2008
By Susanne Retka Schill
Web exclusive posted Sept. 8, 2008 at 5:05 p.m. CST

Ethanol producers are well aware that some of the confusion in the debate surrounding ethanol and its performance in greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and net energy yield is fueled by which numbers and study to use in making those claims.

Two Nebraska researchers call for a standardization of the life-cycle metrics in their paper, titled “Towards Standardization of Life-Cycle Metrics for Biofuels: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Mitigation and Net Energy Yield,” which is published in the current Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy.

Adam Liska and Kenneth Cassman with the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research take an in-depth look at the challenge of developing a life cycle analysis. One example from the paper demonstrates the complexity and importance of choosing the proper methodology. The authors explain that net energy can be expressed as a net energy ratio (NER) of the output divided by the energy input, or as a net energy value (NEV) of the output minus the input (generally expressed in megajoules per liter), or as the net energy yield (NEY) which is the output minus the input on a crop feedstock production area basis (usually expressed in gigajoules per hectare).
Read the full story

Compost program will hold public tour

Richmond, Indiana
September 7, 2008

AKRON, Ohio -- Ohio State University's Composting and Manure Management Program will host a public tour of three state-of-the-art composting and bioenergy facilities Sept. 25.

The program, centered on anaerobic digestion and composting, begins at 8:45 a.m. in the Biogas and Composting Facilities, 2677 Riverview Road.

The Akron plant processes about 90 million gallons of liquid sludge a year, dewaters the sludge to about 15,000 dry tons and treats a third of the solids in a new anaerobic digester. It yields biogas that fuels a generator that produces electricity to help power the plant.

Read the full story

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

EBI launches fall biofuels seminar series

03 September 2008

The Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) has begun a new, biweekly seminar series this semester focusing on areas of importance within the biofuel field. Each seminar will take place on a Tuesday from 4 to 5 p.m. in 116 Calvin Laboratory. The talks are open to anyone on campus interested in the biosciences, and particularly to participants in the EBI research programs. Speakers will include program managers, principal investigators, and senior postdocs.

Read the full story

New technique makes corn ethanol process more efficient
Published: 15:47 EST, September 04, 2008

WUSTL researchers are borrowing a method used in brewing and wastewater management to make corn ethanol production more energy efficient. It involves an oxygen-free environment and microorganisms that naturally feed on organic waste. It could result in a 50 percent reduction of natural gas use in the ethanol production process. -- Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are proposing to borrow a process used in breweries and wastewater treatment facilities to make corn ethanol more energy efficient. They are exploring the use of oxygen-less vats of microorganisms that naturally feed on organic waste produced from the ethanol fermentation process.

As bacteria break down waste, they release energy, methane, which can be funneled back through the system to help power a plant. The process requires little additional energy to run, and can further cut down on energy costs by producing power for the ethanol plant.

Read the full story

Wal-Mart donates $369,000 for ethanol research

WXVT-TV Channel 15
Associated Press - September 6, 2008 10:34 AM ET

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - The Wal-Mart Foundation has donated $369,000 to research in biofuels at Arkansas State University. The money will be used by the university's Arkansas Biosciences Institute to meet the cost-share requirement of a federal grant to the school.

The Biosciences Institute conducts research into the use of Arkansas' farm and forestry resources for biofuels that can be used commercially.

Read the full story

SDSU cooperates with School of Mines in Bioenergy Center

South Dakota State University

South Dakota State University scientists will collaborate with peers from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and elsewhere in a new National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry/ University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) in bioenergy: The Center for Bioenergy Research and Development.

The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology will be the host institution for the center, a consortium of universities, industrial partners and governmental agencies.

The center will receive substantial funding at the multimillion-dollar level from both the National Science Foundation and sponsoring industries.

“SDSU is pleased to be a founding member of this Bioenergy I/UCRC, which will be the only biomass energy related center funded by NSF,” SDSU professor Bill Gibbons said. “South Dakota has a long track record of leadership in biofuels, dating back to the late 1970s, when we operated the first corn ethanol research facility. With investments from our commodity groups, farmers, and investors, South Dakota has grown to be one of the nation’s leading corn ethanol producers. Research in the Bioenergy Center will focus on creating similar breakthroughs in converting lignocellulosic biomass into ethanol.”

Read the full story

Monday, September 8, 2008

PA Gov. Rendell Touts Economic, Environmental Potential of Cellulosic Biofuels for Chesapeake Bay Watershed States

The Wall Street Journal - MarketWatch
Last update: 3:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 4, 2008

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept 04, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Says Pennsylvania Positioned to Lead National Movement Towards Next Generation Biofuels
With America's dependence on foreign oil jeopardizing its national security and way of life, Governor Edward G. Rendell said that the commonwealth and other Chesapeake Bay watershed states can emerge as the national leader in developing advanced homegrown alternatives by following the recommendations of a report that was issued today.

The report, Next Generation Biofuels: Taking the Policy Lead for the Nation, is the result of a nearly year-long effort led by the commonwealth and the Chesapeake Bay Commission to ensure that the region's states work in concert, and strategically, to maximize the economic and environmental benefits alternative fuels like cellulosic ethanol can yield.

"I firmly believe cellulosic ethanol could be to Pennsylvania and our neighboring states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed what corn-based ethanol has been to Iowa," said Governor Rendell. "Our region was blessed with many of the natural resources we need to develop these next generation alternative fuels. Cellulosic ethanol relies on feedstocks like wood chips and wood fibers, switchgrass, municipal waste and agricultural waste -- all things that we have in abundance throughout the region.

Read the full story

Wind Turbine Benefits May Be More Personal Than Profitable

9/4/2008 12:54:00 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Installing a wind turbine for energy needs may be a good green practice, but without careful planning, it may not result in the kind of green that's good for the wallet.

Purdue University renewable energy specialist Chad Martin said there are many factors to consider when installing a wind turbine to generate power on the farm, and economic feasibility is certainly one of them.

"Landowners may choose for various reasons to install a wind turbine for energy production," Martin said. "But the benefits may be more for personal reasons than profit."

Read the full story

ASA Outlines Priorities for Bioenergy Program for Biodiesel

Hoosier Ag Today

The American Soybean Association is urging USDA to move expeditiously to implement the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels included in the 2008 Farm Bill. Kansas soybean producer and ASA board member Bob Henry testified at a Rural Development and Rural Business-Cooperative Service public meting in Washington, D.C. Thursday to outline ASA’s priorities for the program for biodiesel. He says it’s important that the program support current domestic biodiesel production - but says it could also provide the support needed to make U.S. biodiesel more competitive and protect domestic production. ASA would like to see U.S. biodiesel producers receive payments in fiscal year 2009 and wants to ensure those payments are provided on all gallons of domestically produced biodiesel.

Read the story

Friday, September 5, 2008

Florida's Destiny Energy Farm to test future clean tech


August 28, 2008

OSCEOLA COUNTY, FL - The Destiny Sustainable Energy Farm, a small portion of the planned self-contained eco-sustainable city in rural Osceloa County, will be a proving ground for future clean energy technologies and practices says its developer.

The farm will act as a center for learning about potential energy crops such as sweet sorghum, algae, jatropha, and others.

Read the full story

Professors awarded grant to continue ethanol research

The Lariot online - Baylor University
Sept. 2, 2008
By Sommer Ingram Staff Writer

Baylor professors have been awarded a $492,000 grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to assist in furthering their research on the production of cellulosic ethanol. This is a renewal grant for a project started about five years ago in which Baylor researchers study the by-products created during the process of making cellulosic ethanol.

Their research should ultimately conclude in a considerable decrease in the cost involved in producing ethanol.

"This project is relayed at improving the efficiency of producing biofuels from nonfood agricultural resources; in other words, cellulosic materials," said Dr. Kevin Chambliss, lead researcher in the study and associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry. "The renewal of this grant is essentially a stamp of approval. They're saying they like what we are doing and want us to keep going."

Read the full story

Republican platform calls for end to ethanol mandates

Sally Schuff Jacqui Fatka

The GOP stunned corn growers and the corn-based ethanol industry after adopting new official Republican platform language calling for free market utilization of ethanol rather than the federally mandated Renewable Fuels Standard supported by Bush administration and crop producers in the rural heartland.

Specifically on ethanol, the policy states, "The U.S. government should end mandates for ethanol and let the free market work." The GOP platform also stated, "We must continue to develop alternative fuels, such as biofuels, especially cellulosic ethanol, and hasten their technological advances to next-generation production." The position marks a major change from the 2004 platform, which supported expanding the use of ethanol as a way to reduce dependence on foreign oil and increase revenues for farmers.

Read the full story

Benson couple putting bioenergy to the farm test

Rosemount Times (Rosemount, MN)

Tom Cherveny, Forum Communications Company
Published Tuesday, September 02, 2008

BENSON — Mary Jo and Luverne Forbord took 30 acres of good cropland and decided it’s time to find out: Are productive conservation and bioenergy for real, or are they just the buzz words of the day?

So far the quest for that answer has been “frustrating,” Luverne Forbord acknowledged as he led a couple dozen visitors recently on the Prairie Horizons farm between Benson and Starbuck.
Although the visitors expressed surprise at how well a mix of warm-season grasses — everything from bluestem and switchgrass to Canada wild rye — has taken hold on the 30 acres, Forbord said it has not been easy.

Read the full story

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Grainnet Podcast With University of Illinois Extension Economist Darrel Good on Food vs. Fuel vs. Conservation

by Greg Sullivan, Grainnet Editor

On September 2, I interviewed Darrel Good, University of Illinois Extension Economist.

He Spoke on the following topics:

• The impact of biofuels production on food and feed costs
• The possibility to keep up with corn demand for biofuels, feed, and food, given limited acreage
• The possibility to expand corn acreage beyond the present level
• The likelihood of penalty-free Conservation Reserve Program acre releases given high demand
• The extent to which CRP acres can help--directly or indirectly--meet corn demand for all sectors

Read the full story and listen to the podcast

Biodiesel market is expected to augment to $6.0 billion by 2012

Open PR
Press release from: Bharat book bureau
Bharat book bureau

The current size of the Biodiesel market in BRIC is estimated at $577.57mn (the cumulative turnover of 35 active players), and is further projected to increase to $6.0bn by 2012, at a CAGR of 59.9%. Further an additional 33 players are in the process of setting up production facilities, which are expected to go live during 2008~12. The top three players alone account for nearly two thirds of the BRIC market, while the rest is distributed amongst the smaller players. included a new report titled “Biodiesel Industry in BRIC Markets” which provides a detailed coverage of the biodiesel market in Brazil, Russia, India and China, generally referred to as BRIC countries. The biodiesel segment in the BRIC markets is amongst the fastest growing sector within the alternative fuel industry.

The research study is a pioneering market research effort, to analyze the Biodiesel market with emphasis on the overall BRIC market as well as geography specific current size & future projections, current capacity & future additions (including wasteland development and Greenfield facilities setup), end-use applications, feedstock analysis, new entrants in the market, competitive landscape and providing a broad sweep of the regulatory environment governing the sector and the opportunities thereof.

Read the full story

DuBois hears plan to create biodiesel, save on fuel costs

The Progress (Pennsylvania)
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
By Dianne Byers Staff Writer

DUBOIS - Explanation of a cooperative project to help the city solve some of its wastewater treatment issues and eventually benefit low-income residents was made at last night's meeting of DuBois City Council.

Raymond Donati, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries, Falls Creek, attended last night's meeting to ask for council's support and endorsement of a plan to turn restaurant cooking oils and grease into biodiesel fuel. He said the fuel would first be made available to local municipalities and school districts and eventually could be used for low-income families to heat their homes.

"Our goal is to do as much of this in the 13 counties that Goodwill covers as we can," Mr. Donati told council.

Read the full story

Ford testing ethanol injection with Ecoboost

Cnet Reviews

September 2, 2008 4:35 PM PDT
Posted by Antuan Goodwin

We haven't been too excited about Ford's Ecoboost tech, simply because it's not really new tech. However, Ford's next evolution of Ecoboost, code-named Bobcat, might be worth getting worked up about.

According to sources at, the Bobcat is essentially a turbocharged engine running at a high compression ratio. Typically, this combination results in disaster, but Ford's system has a trick up its sleeve in the form of ethanol injection.

The Bobcat builds on Ford's Ecoboost engines by including a direct injected ethanol nozzle that adds small amounts of ethanol to the standard port injected air/fuel mixture. The ethanol cools the combustion chamber to prevent premature detonation, allowing the turbocharged engine to run extreme compression ratios.

Read the full story

Read another story

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Industry deals with ethanol blending issues

The Ethanol Producer Magazine - September 2008
By Kris Bevill
Web exclusive posted August 29, 2008 at 12:57 p.m. CST

Two recent separate matters concerning ethanol blending have generated some concern and interest among fuel retailers and the ethanol industry.

The Iowa Attorney General’s office filed a state consumer-protection lawsuit Aug. 13, charging Jerry Fratzke, owner of Pronto Market gas stations in Sumner and Fairbank, Iowa, of “improperly and fraudulently” selling E85 as regular unleaded gasoline or E10 to his customers. A temporary restraining order was filed and granted preventing Fratzke from selling E85. A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 22.

Read the full story

State researches ethanol trees

The Daily Tar Heel
By: Jacki Huntington, Staff Writer
Issue date: 8/29/08 Section: State & National

Research at N.C. State University could change the face of energy in the Southeast.Scientists are studying genetically modified trees to see if they could be a viable, less expensive source of ethanol. Production is still in the early stages and most experts believe it's not quite ready to be a major fuel source.

The Midwest has explored corn-based ethanol for years, and if this research proves viable, it could bring about a more regionalized approach to energy, said Hasan Jameel, an NCSU professor of wood and paper science who is involved with the research.

"We have to learn to use what we have available," Jameel said, referring to the Southeast's wealth of forest resources.

Read the full story

77pc favour biodiesel: US survey

farmonline: Stock & Land

28/08/2008 6:28:00 PM

A new US Farm Progress Show survey shows 77pc of consumers favour biodiesel as a source of energy, while 70pc of consumers find it more favorable because it's a new green industry that creates jobs.

The online survey was conducted by the United Soybean Board (USB) released during the 2008 Farm Progress Show held this week in Boone, Iowa, US.

"With biodiesel, we don't have to choose between food, feed and fuel," says USB vice chair Chuck Myers, Lyons, Nebraska.

Biodiesel uses less than 2pc of all US soybeans.

Read the full story

Tuscola begins growing biocrops to lure biofuel industry

The News-Gazette (Champaign, IL)
By Tim Mitchell
Monday, September 1, 2008 8:57 AM CDT

TUSCOLA – There's more than grass growing by the Tuscola sewer plant.
If city officials are successful, that grass could someday sprout into the foundation for a new energy-fueled economy.

The city of Tuscola is growing biocrops on city-owned property as part of an effort to attract biofuel-related industry and to help develop a market for the crops to aid area farmers.
Brian Moody, executive director of Tuscola Economic Development Inc., said the city worked with a tenant farmer, Dan Meyer, to plant reed canary grass on 160 acres of land the city owns by the wastewater-treatment plant. The grass can be converted into pellets to heat homes and other buildings.

Next year, the city is considering replacing the canary grass with miscanthus, another crop that may be used for energy production.

Read the full story

Booz & Company Report: U.S. Could Become Net Gasoline Exporter as Energy Demands Shift
Date Posted: August 28, 2008

New York, NY—The refining industry is grappling with shifting scenarios for tomorrow’s energy landscape—including one case in which the United States could become a net exporter of gasoline by 2010, concludes a new analysis of the refining industry by global management consulting firm Booz & Company.

The report, “Refining Trends: The Golden Age Or the Eye of The Storm? Part IV: Tough Choices,” explores rising demand for fuel in Asia and the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China), mandates for biofuels, alternative technology vehicles, and the introduction of $2,500 automobiles.

This confluence of factors is confounding an industry that counts on 20-year predictions to guide investment decisions made today.

Read the full story

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

American Ag & Energy Council Announces Formal Organization

The Wall Street Journal Market Watch

Coalition brings together all sectors of ag, united around a positive agenda
Last update: 1:51 p.m. EDT Aug. 26, 2008

DES MOINES, Iowa, Aug 26, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Today, leaders in agribusiness, agricultural and biorenewable research and development, education and the ethanol industry throughout the Midwest announced the formal organization of the American Ag & Energy Council (AAEC).

The American Ag & Energy Council, is a coalition formed and devoted to promoting the common link between all sectors of agriculture, agribusiness, and the renewable industry. A major focus of the coalition will be to bring these various segments of the ag sector together and educate the American public on the positive narrative being created throughout rural America that blends together the strengths across the various segments of the ag sector.

Read the full story

South Dakota university gets $3.9M ethanol grant
Associated Press 08.26.08, 1:46 PM ET

U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., says the Department of Energy has awarded $3.9 million to South Dakota State University for research into cellulosic ethanol.

Thune says ethanol made from such things as corn cobs, switchgrass and wood waste can reduce the nation's dependence on imported oil.

He says cellulosic ethanol production would create thousands of jobs in rural America while diversifying the nation's energy supply.

Read the full story

The strange politics of kingmakers in corn ethanol country

Delegates to the political conventions in Denver this week and St. Paul next week will have much in common each time they switch on an electric light or power up the laptop: The electricity will be generated by wind and solar power, and provided by Xcel Energy.

But the two men who will head the Democratic and Republican tickets have sharply differing views on another energy source, one whose farmer-producers could hold sway in the Midwest in the November elections.

Read the full story

ADM, Deere, Monsanto start joint bioenergy project


ADM, Deere, Monsanto to collaborate on research to turn crop residue into bioenergy
August 26, 2008: 11:08 AM EST

NEW YORK (Associated Press) - Archer Daniels Midland Co., Deere & Co. and Monsanto Co. said Tuesday they will conduct collaborative research on the best ways to turn the throwaway parts of corn plants into biofuel and other products.

The three agricultural industry companies will look for ways to harvest, store and transport the stalks, leaves and cobs of corn _ materials that are referred to as corn stover. They can be used as feed, to generate electricity and as feedstock to make biofuel.

Read the full story

ND ag secretary defends ethanol, promotes tech
Associated Press
By DALE WETZEL 08.28.08, 12:02 PM ET

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer says a backlash against ethanol production may be easing as consumers realize the alternative fuel's value and begin doubting arguments that it is to blame for soaring food prices.

The former North Dakota governor, in a Wednesday speech to a rural economic development conference and in remarks to reporters afterward, also said the Agriculture Department is taking a more prominent role in trying to improve Internet access in rural areas.

Read the full story