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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Renewable energy: Feed-in tariffs could benefit Florida

By Murray Cameron
March 29, 2009

On Feb. 6, the Gainesville Regional Utility made a bold policy decision, changing the way that renewable energy systems such as wind, biomass, and solar power, are financed.

Until now, homeowners and businesses wanting to finance and install renewable energy systems had to employ a complex, uncertain, and mixed bag of incentives including state funded rebates, tax credits, and, in some cases, sale of renewable energy "credits.

"The GRU's approach is simpler: they commit to purchase every kilowatt hour of electricity generated by renewable energy systems for twenty years at a fixed price level sufficient to provide system owners with roughly 5 percent to 7 percent on their roof top investments.

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Bill seeks to turn slash into ‘renewable biomass'
By ROB CHANEY of the Missoulian

It used to be called “slash.”

Now it's called “biofuel” and it's burning bright in Washington, D.C.

This week, Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., introduced a bill to change the definition of “renewable biomass” to include waste wood removed from federal lands during hazardous fuel reduction projects.

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CPT Announces Flexible Milling System to Enable Ethanol to Sustain Profit Margins (NA)

The Open Press
Published on: March 29th, 2009 12:00am by: Reg Ankrom

Cereal Process Technologies has achieved a breakthrough in its corn dry fractionation technology that now allows ethanol producers to take advantage of the most profitable markets available at any given time for ethanol product and co-product streams.

Overland Park, KS (OPENPRESS) March 29, 2009 -- Calling its new flexible milling system "MarketFlex™," CPT says its innovation gives ethanol management more control over its products and profits. MarketFlex™ uses the company's unique corn dry milling technology to permit ethanol managers to precisely "dial in" the corn kernel's fractions that the market is valuing most at any given time. The change in fractioned streams can be made within minutes and without a shutdown or slowdown of either the ethanol or fractionation plant.

CPT's patented process for separating the corn kernel's starch-laden endosperm from the kernel's non-fermentable corn germ and bran has been proven to boost ethanol production by 17 percent in more than a year of continuous operation at a 130-million gallon ethanol plant.

The ability to significantly reduce the non-fermentables introduced with the starch stream into the ethanol plant means a higher quality byproduct from ethanol's production, which CPT calls high protein meal. Those higher levels of protein open the door to new markets in swine, poultry, pet and aquaculture feeds. Conventional ethanol plants typically produce a byproduct called Distillers Dry Grains and Solubles, or DDGS, containing more fat and fiber, resulting in lower protein content. The market for DDGS generally has been limited as a feed for cattle.

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Microbes digest, detoxify dangerous metals
updated 11:43 a.m. CT, Fri., March. 27, 2009

Scientists want to put microbes to work cleaning up nuclear waste sites

Just like humans effortlessly suck up oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, some bacteria take in toxic metals and release non-toxic versions.

With that natural ability, these microbes have caught the eye of scientists who'd like to put them to work cleaning up nuclear waste sites

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Study claims biodiesel reduces carbon
Mar 26, 2009 11:36 AM

LOUISVILLE. A new study by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and Chicago-based Indigenous Energy, LLC, developers of emissions tracking systems, claims that using soybean-based biodiesel can reduce carbon emissions by 78% compared to petroleum-based diesel alone on a life cycle basis – despite the fact that burning one gallon of either fuel produces almost the exact same amount of carbon dioxide (CO2).

The key is in the “life cycle” component of the calculation, according to Peter Probst, president and director of research & development of Indigenous Energy. Though one gallon of soybean-based biodiesel emits 21.2 pounds of (CO2) when burned – a hair less than the 22.2 pounds released when burning a gallon of 100% petroleum-based diesel –it’s the growth history of the amount of plant matter going into the biodiesel that accounts for that 78% reduction, he said.

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NCGA Establishes Farmer-Led Climate Change Task Force

3/26/2009 10:35:00 AM

March 26: The National Corn Growers Association’s Ethanol Committee has established a task force of corn farmers to focus on climate issues, such as land use change, greenhouse gas emissions, cap-and-trade policies, carbon sequestration and low carbon fuel standards.

“There is a wealth of information and research on climate change that we need to gather and communicate to our members and policymakers,” said Steve Ruh, chairman of the task force and a farmer from Sugar Grove, Ill. “We also know there is a need for more research to fill the gaps for policy and legislative initiatives that will help us maintain economic and environmental sustainability.”

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First Bioenergy Flex Fuel Furnaces Made in U.S.A. Revealed at HPB Expo Clean European Technology Now in U.S. - Made Furnaces

The WoodMaster Flex Fuel Series indoor furnace, which will be manufactured by Northwest Manufacturing of Red Lake Falls, Minn., was revealed at the 2009 Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Expo in Reno, NV last week. These thermal storage boilers will be the first U.S.-manufactured furnaces that allow homeowners to use cord wood, wood chips and/or wood pellets for home heating with high efficiency and low emissions.

Red Lake Falls, MN, March 26, 2009 --( The WoodMaster Flex Fuel Series indoor furnace, which will be manufactured by Northwest Manufacturing of Red Lake Falls, Minn., was revealed at the 2009 Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Expo in Reno, NV last week.The furnace is part of the company’s new line of indoor and outdoor flex fuel series furnaces engineered with proven clean European technologies and WoodMaster quality and durability built right in.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Joules Before Swine

By: Bruce Dorminey March 25, 2009 03:10 PM (PDT)

Family pig farms used to be as much a part of the old South as homemade sausage and red-eye gravy. What's left of swine farming in the Southeast today, however, has gone corporate — generating larger profit margins, but also a flood of new wastewater.

Recently, all in the name of bioenergy, a portion of that effluent has been used to fertilize and irrigate an experimental stand of Southeastern coastal Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon L.).

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New York biomass organization forms

Biomass Magazine April 2009
By Erin Voegele
Web exclusive posted March 25, 2009, at 2:46 p.m. CST

A new membership organization to serve the New York-area biomass industry is slated to begin operations April 1. The New York State Biomass Energy Alliance was formed to increase the public’s understanding of the renewable energy value of biomass, while facilitating communication among those working within the biomass industry.

“Many of the very practical projects that people are looking at now succeed and fail for the lack of understanding or support at the local level,” said Dan Conable, the alliance’s director. Many of the organization’s first projects will focus on working with local communities to help them deal with the many issues that need to be addressed when considering a new biomass project. These issues relate to land use, transportation, and emission concerns. “One of our big focuses is going to be working on the community level, because that’s where the projects happen,” Conable continued. “We will work to be sure that the people who are having to deal with those issues locally have good information so that things don’t become controversial simply because people don’t understand that for every concern there are reasonable available answers.”

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Cellulosic ethanol suffers in down economy

Des Moines Register
By PHILIP BRASHER • • March 25, 2009

Washington, D.C. - The economic downturn that has slowed the ethanol industry also is putting the brakes on the next generation of biofuels.

Making ethanol from plant cellulose - such as crop residue and wood chips - could help reduce the nation's use of gasoline.

Refiners are required by law next year to start using at least 100 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol. But industry officials acknowledge they will not come close to providing enough of the fuel to meet that target or the targets for subsequent years.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ofgem issues decision on ROCs for biodiesel

Biodiesel Magazine April 2009
By Erin Voegele
Web exclusive posted March 24, 2009, at 5:22 p.m. CST

Great Britain’s Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) recently issued its decision regarding whether or not electricity generated through the use of biodiesel or glycerin will eligible for Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) under the Renewables Obligation.

According to a decision document published by Ofgem in March, titled “Biodiesel, glycerol and the Renewables Obligation,” electricity generated through the use of biodiesel that was manufactured using fossil fuel-based methanol will not be eligible for ROCs. However, ROCs may be issued for electricity generated from biodiesel manufactured with biomass-derived methanol or ethanol.

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MSU Studies Ethanol Blends' Effects on Cars

Monday, March 23, 2009 7:54 AM
(Source: The Free Press)By Dan Linehan, The Free Press, Mankato, Minn.

Mar. 23--MANKATO -- The fruits, so far, of a $497,000 grant to Minnesota State University to study ethanol: A 20 percent blend appears to be no harder on vehicles than regular gasoline.

The study, led by Bruce Jones and Jim Rife in MSU's automotive engineering technology department, has tested the effects of different blends of ethanol on the raw materials of a vehicle as well as fuel system parts.

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SynGest to Construct World’s First Biomass-to-Ammonia Plant in Menlo, Iowa

Business Wire

Mini-Plant Strategy Offers Path to Renewable Fuel and Fertilizer Freedom

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--SynGest, Inc. announced that its first plant to manufacture anhydrous ammonia fuel and fertilizer from corn biomass will be located 45 miles west of Des Moines, Iowa. The company confirmed that it has signed an agreement to purchase 75 acres of land in Menlo (population 375) in Guthrie County. The Menlo site offers easy access to road and rail transportation.

The SynGest Menlo plant will use 150,000 tons of locally supplied corn cobs per year to manufacture 50,000 tons of bio-ammonia annually, enough to fertilize 500,000 acres of nearby Iowa farmland under corn.

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Antibiotics pose concern for ethanol producers

Minnesota Public Radio
by Mark Steil, Minnesota Public Radio
March 24, 2009

St. Paul, Minn. — Ethanol production relies on enzymes, yeast and sugar to convert corn into fuel. And just as the wrong bacteria in the body can sicken people, it can also cause a variety of ailments in a batch of ethanol.

Mark von Keitz with the University of Minnesota's Biotechnology Institute said, in ethanol production, the main enemy is a bacterial bug that makes lactic acid.

"What these organisms do is they also compete with the yeast for the sugar," said von Keitz. "But instead of making alcohol they make primarily lactic acid."

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Obama taps former Clinton official, BP scientist for DOE

The New York Times
By BEN GEMAN, Greenwire
Published: March 23, 2009

President Obama plans to nominate David Sandalow, who held several environmental positions in the Clinton administration, to be the Energy Department's assistant secretary for Policy and International Affairs, the White House announced Friday.

Obama also plans to nominate BP chief scientist Steven Koonin to be undersecretary for Science. The pick reunites him with Energy Secretary Steven Chu after both helped form a major biosciences energy research partnership when Chu headed the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

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Energy Secretary Chu Announces $1.2 Billion in Recovery Act Funding for Science

Department of Energy
March 23, 2009

Upton, NY -- Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced $1.2 billion in new science funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for major construction, laboratory infrastructure, and research efforts sponsored across the nation by the DOE Office of Science. Secretary Chu made the announcement during a visit to the Brookhaven National Laboratory.

“Leadership in science remains vital to America’s economic prosperity, energy security, and global competitiveness,” said Secretary Chu. “These projects not only provide critically needed short-term economic relief but also represent a strategic investment in our nation’s future. They will create thousands of jobs and breathe new life into many local economies, while helping to accelerate new technology development, renew our scientific and engineering workforce, and modernize our nation’s scientific infrastructure.”

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Driving for Biofuels: New Technique Speeds Search for Biofuel Microbes
Published on 20 March 2009, 00:05 Last Update: 3 day(s) ago by Insciences

A new research technique from JBEI promises to greatly speed up the search for microbes that can ferment cellulosic sugars under the harsh conditions of biofuels production.

In the drive to derive clean, green and renewable liquid transportation fuels from cellulosic biomass, a critical factor will be finding or developing microbes that not only are able to ferment complex sugars, but are also able to withstand the high temperatures and other grueling conditions of fuel production, and do not become inhibited by the fuel that is being produced. One potential candidate has already emerged and researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have made vital determinations about its metabolism via an unusual experimental route that promises to greatly speed up future research efforts in this field.

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Illinois Offering Bioenergy Masters Degree

Domestic Fuel
Posted by John Davis – March 23rd, 2009

Knowledge is power, and the folks at the University of Illinois are giving a new crop of students the power they’ll need in the fields of bioenergy… biodiesel and ethanol.

The Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research (CABER) on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus is offering the first new master’s degree in bioenergy approved by Illinois Board of Higher Education, a masters level degree program. This podcast from BioFuels Journal has more information.

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Salem, Oregon Biodiesel Plant May Add Lab and Campus

Lab Manager Magazine
Posted: 3/17/2009

A Willamette Valley consortium plans to turn the area’s only commercial biodiesel plant into a research and education campus. Given the current emphasis on renewable energy and economic stimulus, backers feel the political climate is ripe to get the project moving.

Chemeketa Community College, Pacific Biodiesel Technologies and developer Wildwood Inc. submitted a proposal for $10 million in funding to Oregon’s congressional delegation. The project would be built over three years and could create 450 jobs, said Travis Henry, vice president of Wildwood.

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EERC's Biomass '09 Workshop Coming to Alerus Center This July

Environmental News Network
Published March 20, 2009 05:07 PM

GRAND FORKS — The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota announces that the Biomass ’09: Power, Fuels, and Chemicals Workshop will be held at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota, July 14—15, 2009.

The Biomass ’09 Workshop, the seventh of its kind, offers an intense 2-day technical program focused on the opportunities for the utilization of biomass (i.e., plant matter such as straw, corn, and wood residue) for power, transportation fuels, and chemicals. An expanded exhibit show at the Alerus Center will accompany the workshop sessions.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Americans: Economy Takes Precedence Over Environment
March 19, 2009
by Frank Newport

First time majority has supported economy in 25 years of asking question

PRINCETON, NJ -- For the first time in Gallup's 25-year history of asking Americans about the trade-off between environmental protection and economic growth, a majority of Americans say economic growth should be given the priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent.

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Trash Crops to Cash Crops

By: Susan Kuchinskas March 21, 2009 03:40 PM (PDT)

Two guys in a pickup truck brewing fuel from farmed trees and grasses aim to show Americans that switching to alternative fuels is a viable option right now.

When cattle and hay farmer Wayne Keith took a road trip from his spread in Springville, Ala., to Northern California, his first stop wasn't a gas station; it was a Dumpster behind a furniture factory. He emptied the half-ton of wood scrap into an open trailer, fed some into a boiler-like device mounted on the trailer hitched to his 1991 Dodge Dakota and took off on the 7,000-mile round-trip journey, stopping every 90 miles or so to pop some more wood into the burner.

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Students test clean energy by degrees

Financial Times
By Rebecca Knight
Published: March 20 2009 16:53 Last updated: March 20 2009 16:53

Moving clean energy innovations from the lab to the marketplace is one of the biggest challenges in the technology industry. But students at the University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business are getting a crash course on how to achieve it.

A partnership between scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and students of the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative, an organisation founded by Haas students, is working to push new technology into the private sector or into the hands of the right venture capitalist.

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Biofuels financing revives (slightly); “food vs fuel” returns (somewhat)

Biofuels Digest
March 23, 2009

The US economic stimulus bill, and attractive assets at fire-sale prices, are lifting investment prospects for the US-based renewable energy business, including the biofuels sector. The New York Times is reporting on the success of the stimulus bill in reviving project finance via the US Treasury.

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UMM receives grant to develop gasification technology, workforce

Morris Sun Tribune
Published Friday, March 20, 2009

The University of Minnesota, Morris’ Continuing Education program was awarded a grant of $174,258 by the Renewable Energy Marketplace - Alliance for Talent Development (MNREM) initiative.

The funding will be used to develop new curriculum in biomass gasification technology which will serve participants during an intensive three-week pilot to be offered in May 2009 on the Morris campus.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Senate Bill Would Change Biomass Definition
Posted by Cindy Zimmerman – March 19th, 2009

Senators John Thune (R-SD), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) have reintroduced legislation that would fix the flawed definition of renewable biomass in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

The definition of “Renewable Biomass” in the 2007 Energy Bill excludes any material removed from national forests and most private forestlands. Therefore, cellulosic ethanol derived from this feedstock does not count toward the expanded Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), resulting in blenders and refiners having no incentive or requirement to purchase biofuels produced from these sources.

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Mississippi to open trash-to-ethanol plant

March 20, 2009 7:00 AM PDT
by Martin LaMonica

Rather than stay in the ground, trash from the Three Rivers Landfill in Ponotoc, Miss., will be turned into ethanol.

Montreal-based Enerkem on Thursday announced plans to produce 20 million gallons a year of ethanol from waste at the Mississippi landfill in a project valued at $250 million.

The "feedstock" for the ethanol will be municipal solid waste, as well as wood residues from forest and agricultural activities, according to Enerkem.

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Shell dumps wind, solar power for biofuels

The Pennisula
Friday, March 20, 2009-->Web posted at: 3/19/2009 8:45:35

LONDON: Shell will no longer invest in renewable technologies such as wind, solar and hydro power because they are not economic, the Anglo-Dutch oil company said today. It plans to invest more in biofuels which environmental groups blame for driving up food prices and deforestation.

Executives at its annual strategy presentation said Shell, already the world’s largest buyer and blender of crop-based biofuels, would also invest an unspecified amount in developing a new generat­ion of biofuels which do not use food-based crops and are less harmful to the environment.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Richland Community College (IL) Selects David Blume's Alcohol Can Be A Gas Book as Core Curriculum for New Innovative Workforce Solutions BioFuels Pro

Richland Community College (IL) Selects David Blume's Alcohol Can Be A Gas Book as Core Curriculum for New Innovative Workforce Solutions BioFuels Program
Date Posted: March 17, 2009

Chicago,IL—International Institute for Ecological Agriculture (IIEA) announced today that Richland Community College has selected Permaculture and Biofuel expert David Blume's best-selling book Alcohol Can Be A Gas, as course text for its new BioFuels Program.

Under the auspices of its Economic Development and Innovative Workforce Solutions administration the Decatur, IL-based College has launched a new course offering in the current semester to help retrain and supplement victims of recent area industrial market layoffs.

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University of Illinois Researchers Develop "Sugar Corn" to Yield High Sugar, Grain, and Biomass With Less Nitrogen
Date Posted: March 16, 2009

Urbana, IL—By crossing maize plants adapted to the tropics with lines used as parents of popular Midwestern corn hybrids, researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new type of plant with the potential to yield three crops and use less nitrogen.

Sugar corn can be harvested for the grain, the sugar inside the stalk, and for biomass to produce energy.

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Stimulus at issue for ethanol fuel

Houston Chronicle
By BRETT CLANTON Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle
March 18, 2009, 10:30PM

President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package included greater incentives for fuel retailers to install E85 pumps, but the help may not make much difference.

That’s because several large issues have yet to be settled with dispensing E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline that is touted by the ethanol industry and Detroit automakers as a clean-burning way to reduce U.S. dependence on oil.

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Pekin ethanol producer may try to reorganize

Peoria Journal Star
of the Journal Star
Posted Mar 18, 2009 @ 07:33 PM
Last update Mar 19, 2009 @ 06:47 AM

Aventine CEO Ron Miller says bankruptcy is a 'possibility'

PEKIN — Tough times for the biofuels industry may mean bankruptcy for a Pekin-based ethanol producer.

Aventine Renewable Energy Holdings Inc., which last Friday announced the layoff of 25 people and on Monday said it lost $47.1 million in 2008, is facing possible reorganization bankruptcy in the near future, CEO Ron Miller said Wednesday.

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Higher Ethanol Blends Present Many Changes

Hoosier Ag Today
03/11/2009by Gary Truitt

As HAT reported on Tuesday, the push is on by the ethanol industry to increase the amount of ethanol blended into our fuel supply. Yet the move from 10% to 15% faces some formidable challenges, Raising the standard is vital for the success and continued growth of the ethanol industry, says Bob Dinneen of the Renewable Fuels Association. But as he told an ethanol conference last week more research is needed to assure the engine makers, “The automakers are a major stakeholder.” He said if the amount of ethanol is increased, the auto industry would have to extend warranty coverage to an estimated 21 million older non flex fuel vehicles. Dinneen said more sound science will be needed.

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DOE Conference Focuses on Biomass Future

Domestic Fuel - Alternative Fuel News
by Cindy Zimmerman – March 18th, 2009

With appropriate policies to help overcome current fiscal constraints, the advanced biofuels industry can meet environmental goals, create new green jobs and contribute to economic growth, according to industry leaders who met this week at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of the Biomass Program’s Biomass 2009: Fueling Our Future conference.

During the conference opening plenary session, titled “Dispelling the Myths and Addressing the Challenges,” Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) executive vice president Brent Erickson stressed the economic potential that development of the advanced biofuels industry holds.

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Obama says no quick end to ethanol dispute

Financial Times
By Alan Beattie in Washington
Published: March 15 2009 02:37 Last updated: March 15 2009 02:37

Barack Obama on Saturday said there would be no quick resolution to a dispute with Brazil over restricting ethanol imports to the US, following his first meeting with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The Brazilian president, in his first visit to Washington since Mr Obama took office, said it was wrong for the US continued to levy import tariffs on Brazilian sugarcane ethanol, which is more environmentally friendly than the maize ethanol produced in the US.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Restoration Institute, Savannah River National Laboratory partner to develop bioenergy

Clemson University
DATE: March 17, 2009

NORTH CHARLESTON — In a move that will advance development of alternative energy in South Carolina, the state’s leading bioenergy researchers have teamed to study how South Carolina’s agricultural resources can help reduce the state’s and nation’s dependence on fossil fuels.

The Clemson University Restoration Institute and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River National Laboratory are founding members of the S.C. BioEnergy Research Collaborative, which was formed last year.

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Study examines biomass harvesting, water quality

High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal
By Larry Dreiling

It's been said that one man's trash is another's treasure. The "trash," or residue, left in no-till fields is considered valuable for soil preservation. Grain sorghum, a crop becoming more popular on the High Plains because of its low moisture needs and heat tolerance, is rich in residue.

With the construction of the Abengoa Bioenergy refinery near Hugoton, Kan.--the nation's first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol refinery--expected to be fully completed by 2011, the dream of producers selling the refuse of their crops to make ethanol from cellulosic biomass to reduce both dependence on imported fossil fuels and emissions of greenhouse gases is within reach.

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The Debate Zone: Carbon Tax V. Cap and Trade

McKinsey&Company: The McKinsey Report

Why we need a carbon tax
By Gregg Easterbrook

It’s simple. It’s easy to enforce. And it provides the right incentives to polluters as well as inventors and engineers working to develop cleaner technologies.

Carbon caps are better
By Carter F. Bales and Rick Duke

A cap and trade policy gives business greater certainty about future costs. It also puts a limit on emissions and is more likely to result in a real reduction in greenhouse gases.

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DOE awards UGA $3.1 million to support complex carbohydrate study nationwide

Public release date: 17-Mar-2009

Athens, Ga. – The Department of Energy has awarded the University of Georgia Complex Carbohydrate Research Center a four-year, $3.1 million grant to continue as a national resource for researchers who study the complex carbohydrates of plants and of microbes that interact with plants. The grant for the DOE Center for Plant and Microbial Complex Carbohydrates, the only center of its kind in the U.S., has been renewed six times since it was originally awarded in 1986.

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Iowa survey shows shift in corn sales, ethanol and DDGS movement

Ethanol Producer Magazine April 2009
By Ryan C. Christiansen

The direct sale of Iowa corn from growers to processors, including ethanol plants, has been increasing steadily, while the sale of corn to grain elevators has been declining, according to a study conducted by researchers from Iowa State University and the University of Tennessee.

Meanwhile, grain elevators are shipping more corn to ethanol plants, and they are receiving and shipping more distillers dried grains (DDGs). The effects of the ethanol industry on the movements of Iowa corn were studied by Chad Hart, an agronomist at Iowa State University, and Tun-Hsiang Yu, an agronomist at the University of Tennessee. They reported their findings in a paper titled “Impact of Biofuel Industry Expansion on Grain Utilization and Distribution: Preliminary Results of Iowa Grain and Biofuel Survey.” The researchers surveyed nearly 5,000 farmers and grain handlers over several months during the 2006-’07 marketing year, and the data gathered was compared with surveys from previous years.

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Oil Refiner to Buy 7 Ethanol Plants

The New York Times
Published: March 18, 2009

Valero Energy, the country’s largest independent refiner, said on Wednesday that it would buy seven ethanol plants from VeraSun Energy for $477 million, giving the biofuel industry a lift at a time when it is suffering from excess production capacity and falling gasoline consumption.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Solar and Wind Power - What About Biomass?
By EarthTalkMar 14, 2009 - 3:48:52 PM

( - The oldest and most prevalent source of renewable energy known to man, biomass is already a mainstay of energy production in the United States and elsewhere. Since such a wide variety of biomass resources is available—from trees and grasses to forestry, agricultural and urban wastes—biomass promises to play a continuing role in providing power and heat for millions of people around the world.

According to the non-profit Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), biomass is not only a renewable energy source but a carbon neutral one as well, because the energy it contains comes from the sun. When plant matter is burned, it releases the sun’s energy originally captured through photosynthesis. “In this way, biomass functions as a sort of natural battery for storing solar energy,” reports UCS. As long as biomass is produced sustainably—with only as much grown as is used—the “battery” lasts indefinitely.

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Right biomass choices critical to soil, water

Des Moines Register

RICHARD CRUSE is an agronomy professor at Iowa State University. Contact: HILLARY OLSON is program coordinator of the Iowa Water Cent • March 16, 2009

Business as usual on Midwest farms is not acceptable.

Reservoirs continue to accumulate sediment. Rivers and lakes experience increasing algal blooms. Expensive nitrogen-filtration processes are required to provide suitable drinking water for Des Moines residents. And the Northern Gulf of Mexico hypoxia conditions show no signs of improvement.

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Triple-Crop Sugar Corn Yields Sugar, Grain, and Biomass with Less Nitrogen

Midwest Ag Net
March 16, 2009 09:23 AM CDT

URBANA - By crossing maize plants adapted to the tropics with lines used as parents of popular Midwestern corn hybrids, researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new type of plant with the potential to yield three crops and use less nitrogen. Sugar corn can be harvested for the grain, the sugar inside the stalk, and for biomass to produce energy.

Crop scientist Fred Below and plant geneticist Stephen Moose wanted to develop a corn plant that would produce competitive amounts of biomass while using less nitrogen.

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Tariff on biodiesel fuel imports 'too late'

News Post Leader
Published Date: 14 March 2009

A CAMPAIGN to clampdown on subsidised imports of biodiesel fuel has finally achieved some progress.

But there are still concerns that the action has come too late for companies in the north east.

A year-long campaign was led by north east Conservative MEP Martin Callanan, and he has this week welcomed news that a lengthy investigation into dumping of subsidies biodiesels on Eurpoean markets will lead to a levy tariff of between 260 and 410 per tonne on imports on US biodiesel.

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Brazil and US Talk Ethanol Tariffs
Posted by Cindy Zimmerman – March 16th, 2009

President Barack Obama and President Lula da Silva of Brazil talked about the touchy topic of ethanol tariffs when they met for the first time on Saturday.

Asked about their discussions during a joint press conference, President Obama praised Brazil for its leadership in biofuels but acknowledged that “the issue of Brazilian ethanol coming into the United States has been a source of tension between the two countries” that is “not going to change overnight.”

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Magellan, Poet to study U.S. ethanol pipeline

Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:31am EDT

NEW YORK, March 16 (Reuters) - Magellan Midstream Partners (MMP.N) said on Monday it had signed a joint agreement with Poet, the largest U.S. ethanol producer, to study building a dedicated pipeline to carry the biofuel from the U.S. Midwest into the Northeast.

The proposed $3.5 billion pipeline system would gather ethanol from distilleries in Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio to serve terminals in major Northeastern markets.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Proposal would mandate biodiesel for diesel fuel (Iowa)

Des Moines Register
By JENNIFER JACOBS • • March 11, 2009

All regular diesel fuel would be illegal in Iowa after July 1 under a controversial proposal before state lawmakers.

Farmers, truckers, school districts with diesel buses and owners of any personal vehicle with a diesel engine would be required to use biodiesel, an alternative fuel that is largely soybean-based.

Iowa has only rarely placed mandates on fuel types sold. Even ethanol-based gasoline remains voluntary.

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Manure provides green power in Monroe

The Seattle Times
Originally published Sunday, March 15, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Sunday Buzz: Qualco's "green power" plant takes manure and turns it into electricity for Puget Sound Energy.
By Rami Grunbaum, Seattle Times deputy business editor

"Green power" comes out of the Qualco Energy biomass digester south of Monroe's suburban sprawl, but what goes in is runny, steamy and brown in the morning sunlight. You don't want it on your shoes.

This past week Puget Sound Energy bought its first batch of electricity from the digester. That culminates more than five years of political, financial and mechanical engineering by Qualco, an innovative nonprofit formed by local farmers, the Tulalip Tribes and a salmon-advocacy group.

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Brazil and the US Should Lead on Climate Change

The Huffington Post
Marcos Sawaya Jank
Posted March 14, 2009 03:53 PM (EST)

This week, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva travels to the United States to meet with President Barack Obama. The meeting presents an early opportunity for Brazil and the US to forge a meaningful partnership in tackling one of our planet's most important challenges -- reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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Biochar: Is the hype justified?

BBC News
By Roger Harrabin Environment analyst, BBC News

Biochar brings benefits to soils, boosting plant growth
Green guru James Lovelock claims that the only hope of mitigating catastrophic climate change is through biochar - biomass "cooked" by pyrolysis.

It produces gas for energy generation, and charcoal - a stable form of carbon.

The charcoal is then buried in the ground, making the process "carbon negative".
Researchers say biochar can also improve farm productivity and cut demand for carbon-intensive fertilisers.

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WIRED Grant Funds to Develop Biomass Gasification Course

University of Minnesota - Morris
Posted by Judy Riley on Friday, Mar. 13, 2009

University of Minnesota, Morris Continuing Education has been awarded a grant of $174,258 by the Renewable Energy Marketplace - Alliance for Talent Development (MNREM) initiative. Pending transfer of funds from the Department of Labor to the Renewable Energy Marketplace-Alliance for Talent Development, the funding will be used to develop new curriculum in biomass gasification technology which will serve participants during an intensive three-week pilot to be offered in May 2009 on the Morris campus. Participants will include four-year students from Morris, two-year students from Minnesota West Community and Technical College (MN West), undergraduate students from other institutions and working adults who seek training and employment in biomass gasification.

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Truly Green Energy - Local company out to turn algae into fuel of future

Indianapolis Business Journal
Sat. March 14 - 2009
Chris O’Malley -
IBJ staff

The coffee pot was broken at Stellarwind BioEnergy. It was probably just as well, since most of the liquid percolating at its home—in the former Hoosier Orchid Co.—is green and algae-ridden.

It’s in water-cooler jugs and 64-ounce Coke bottles backlit by fluorescent tubes, back in the lab.

But the main act at Stellarwind is “the reactor,” a long row of 55 transparent tubes soaring to the ceiling of a greenhouse and bubbling with green glow that would scare the living Hölle out of Dr. Frankenstein.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Grain Costs Down, Groceries Not

The Wall Street Journal
MARCH 13, 2009

Farmers to Cut Back on Planting Amid Market Weakness, Pressuring Consumer Prices
Commodity prices are down, but the bad news for consumers is that U.S. farmers are responding by cutting back their planting and production, reducing the chances of lower prices reaching the supermarket.

Clay T. Mitchell of Buckingham, Iowa, said he will reduce his corn acreage 26% when the planting season starts in mid-April. The 930 acres of corn that the 35-year-old farmer plans to grow would be his smallest effort ever, even though corn has long been his most profitable crop. He is planting more soybeans, which don't need expensive nitrogen fertilizer.

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Maine legislators review wood pellet regulations

Biomass Magazine March 2009
By Kris Bevill
Web exclusive posted March 12, 2009, at 12:03 p.m. CST

Legislators in Maine are considering a bill which would require wood pellet manufacturers to label their product as a way to provide quality assurance for consumers. Earlier this year, Rep. Wright Pinkam, R-Dist. 88, introduced LD 298 which, if passed, would require wood pellets and other biomass heating fuel sold in Maine to be labeled, identifying whether the fuel meets state Department of Environmental Protection standards. The legislation would also require the environmental protection department to create standards for wood pellet quality.

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RTI, NCSU among Biofuels Center grant recipients

Triangle Business Journal (North Carolina)
Thursday, March 12, 2009, 2:42pm EDT

The Biofuels Center of North Carolina is doling out $2.77 million worth of grants intended to help boost the state’s biofuel industry.

“The Midwest has corn and Brazil has sugarcane. North Carolina needs to develop conversion technologies for the types of crops and trees the state has in plenty so that we are able to turn this biomass into viable, advanced biofuels,” new center President Steven Burke in a statement. “This funding puts North Carolina on the path toward reducing its dependency on foreign oil and liquid fuel imports while putting money back into our state’s economy.”

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Biorefining and Biofuels Course Offered in Fort Collins May 11-13

University of Colorado at Boulder
March 12, 2009

The Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels, or C2B2, is offering a professional short course in the area of renewable and sustainable biorefining and biofuels designed for the educational growth, training and professional development of industry and research professionals May 11-13 in Fort Collins.

The three-day course is a collaboration of academia, industry and national laboratories to develop biorefining and biofuels technology for future commercial application. The short course will provide focused training and will include key research thrusts and commercialization challenges relevant to C2B2 and the bioenergy industry, according to C2B2 Executive Director Alan Weimer.

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Univ. Turns Waste Into Renewable Energy

The Cornell Daily Sun
March 12, 2009 - 12:00amBy Jamie Meyerson

What began as an idea in an e-mail two years ago is now the The Cornell University Renewable Bioenergy Initiative, seeking to utilize everything from dining hall waste to animal manure in order to create renewable energy sources on campus.

Mark Hoffman, director of Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, spearheaded this initiative, looking to keep Cornell committed to its sustainable efforts. According to Hoffman, Cornell oversees over 10,000 acres of land as a living laboratory that supports the research and teaching community. This land is also a rich source of biomass that can be converted into renewable biofuels.

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Schmack, OSU expect to hatch new jobs, energy

The Daily Record (Wooster, OH)
Staff Writer
March 12, 2009

WOOSTER -- Cleaner energy, new infrastructure and a quarter of a million Ohio jobs are all part of the package one of the nation's largest suppliers of bioenergy presented to the president of The Ohio State University Wednesday.

Gordon Gee, who will conclude his tours in Wayne County today, met with top executives from Schmack BioEnergy, which is in the process of constructing anaerobic digesters to convert food and animal waste into usable energy.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

$9 million in earmarks for UGA

Athens Banner-Herald
By Lee Shearer Story updated at 11:50 pm on 3/11/2009

Funds for research tucked into spending bill

The University of Georgia will benefit from about $9 million in earmarks in the federal spending bill President Obama signed into law Wednesday.

Research projects to find plant-based fuels, combat cotton pests and use water more efficiently are among a dozen earmarks state legislators tucked into the $410 billion spending bill. The bill authorizes spending in the 2009 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1.

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Obama backs corn ethanol, but urges biofuels variety

Des Moines Register
By PHILIP BRASHER • • March 12, 2009

Washington, D.C. - President Barack Obama says he wants to preserve the nation's ethanol industry while developing new versions of biofuels made from feedstocks other than corn.

Obama stopped short of saying whether his administration would bail out the struggling ethanol industry by increasing the amount of the additive that can be blended with gasoline.

"Corn-based ethanol over time is not going to provide us with the energy-efficient solutions that are needed," Obama said during a question-and-answer session in the White House on Wednesday with regional newspaper reporters.

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Making Wood A Clean, Efficient Energy Source With New Process


ScienceDaily (Mar. 11, 2009) — Is wood the new coal? Researchers at North Carolina State University think so, and they are part of a team working to turn woodchips into a substitute for coal by using a process called torrefaction that is greener, cleaner and more efficient than traditional coal burning.

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State of Illinois OKs Grant Funding for Ethanol Production Facility

[ 3/10/2009 ] By: News Brief

ROCHELLE, Ill. (March 10) — Illinois River Energy (IRE) will build a $120 million-plus ethanol production facility in Northern Illinois.

The biorefinery will support the state’s drive for energy independence and will create 40 permanent jobs for the Northern Stateline region. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

The state of Illinois has approved a $4 million grant from the state's Renewable Fuels Development to help facilitate the project.

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Researchers develop biomass burner, ethanol catalyst

Ethanol Producer Magazine April 2009
By Anna Austin
Web exclusive posted March 11, 2009, at 4:06 p.m. CST

Researchers at Iowa State University are working to develop a low-emissions burner and a new catalyst for ethanol production, an effort funded by a two-year, $2.37 million grant from the Iowa Power Fund.

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Nine Leading Biomass Companies Form Biomass Thermal Energy Council


New trade association will promote biomass heating

WASHINGTON, March 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A group of nine leading biomass companies has formed the Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC), a non-profit association dedicated to advancing the use of biomass for heat and other thermal energy applications. The founding members of BTEC include biomass fuel producers, appliance manufacturers and distributors, and supply chain companies that represent the breadth of interests in the fast growing biomass thermal energy industry.

"The use of biomass for thermal energy is the most responsible and efficient use of this renewable resource," said Board Chairman Charlie Niebling. "There is enormous potential for wood pellets, wood chips, energy crops, agricultural residues and other forms of biomass to help meet America's thermal energy needs."

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Higher ethanol mandate may not buoy U.S. corn prices

Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:46pm EDT
By Sam Nelson - Analysis

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Obama administration's call this week for an increase in the amount of ethanol to be used in gasoline in the United States is a positive sign for corn growers but it probably will not boost seedings or corn prices this year.

"It's pretty good news for corn growers and will at least keep farmers committed to corn," said Gavin Maguire, analyst for Ehedger.

However, for corn prices and plantings to get a big boost, it would take better exports and increased corn feeding and so far that isn't happening as ethanol is only one part of the equation, Maguire said.

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Researchers developing renewable energy for ethanol industry
Posted: March 9, 2009

(Nanowerk News) Iowa State University researchers are working to produce clean, renewable energy by developing a new, low-emissions burner and a new catalyst for ethanol production.

Both technologies will use the synthesis gas – a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen – produced by the gasification of discarded seed corn, switchgrass, wood chips and other biomass.

The burner will be designed to efficiently and cleanly burn biomass-based gas. The catalyst will be designed to convert the synthesis gas directly into ethanol.

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USDA chief backs ethanol blend boost in gasoline

Mon Mar 9, 2009 2:45pm EDT
By Christopher Doering

WASHINGTON, March 9 (Reuters) - An increase in the ethanol-gasoline blend rate to 12 or 13 percent could be accomplished quickly and with minimal scientific review, giving a needed boost to the future of the industry, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Monday.

A formal request to boost the ethanol blend rate to as high as 15 percent from the current cap of 10 percent was submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week by Growth Energy, an ethanol trade group. The EPA has 270 days to review, collect public comment and make a decision.

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IEA's Report on 1st- to 2nd-Generation Biofuel Technologies

Renewable Energy
March 9, 2009
by Ralph Sims, Michael Taylor, Jack Saddler and Warren Mabee

The current debate over biofuels produced from food crops has pinned a lot of hope on "2nd-generation biofuels" produced from crop and forest residues and from non-food energy crops. This IEA report, produced jointly with IEA Bioenergy, examines the current state-of-the-art and the challenges for 2nd-generation biofuel technologies. It evaluates their costs and considers policies to support their development and deployment.

It is increasingly understood that 1st-generation biofuels produced primarily from food crops are limited in their ability to achieve targets for oil-product substitution, climate change mitigation and economic growth. Their sustainable production is under review, as is the possibility of creating undue competition for land and water used for food and fiber production. A possible exception that appears to meet many of the acceptable criteria is ethanol produced from sugar cane.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Czech and Korean researchers clinch biomass patent

European Research

A Czech-South Korean research team has obtained a patent on a new method supporting plant biomass production which will also allow the cultivation of plants with a bigger biomass production. Both the food-processing and pharmaceutical industries can, in theory, use the patent, according to the team.

'The invention, which enables the cultivation of plants with an increased production of mass, presents the results of fundamental research activities,' Dr Eva Janouskovcova from Technology Transfer Office of Masaryk University told Research Headlines. 'Such an increase may be an advantage for the food or pharmacy industry,' she said. 'No less important is the production of energetic plants, such as the sorrel of Uteush. Even more applications can be found in biotechnology for the decontamination of affected soil by phytoremediation.

'The Czech researchers from the University's Institute of Experimental Biology determined that proteins and plant hormones play a key role in the division of plant stem cells, which can also be used with genetic engineering supporting methods. 'We have uncovered that a genetic intervention causing the regulation of these proteins' activities can modify plant growing,' project leader Dr Jan Hejatko explained.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Infocast's Biomass Project Development Tutorial to Be the First Major Event

To Provide a Review of the Obama Stimulus Package & Its Potential Impact on the Biomass Community
By: Marketwire
Mar. 9, 2009 02:00 PM

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 03/09/09 -- On February 17th, President Barack Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which includes a wide variety of provisions in support of the renewable fuels industry in general and the biomass community in particular. Three of the most notable items in the stimulus package include:
-- $800 million in biomass project and research & development funding via the Department of Energy
-- Extension of the PTC (Production Tax Credit) for biomass and solid waste through 2013
-- Conversion of the PTC into the ITC (Investment Tax Credit) for selected biomass projects

R. Thomas Amis, the Chairman of the upcoming Biomass Project Development Tutorial (April 6-8 in Atlanta, GA) and members of the tutorial faculty, including Todd Alexander of Chadbourne & Parke and luncheon presenter Mark Riedy, the General Counsel for ACORE, have confirmed that these issues and more will be top-of-mind throughout the event which is scheduled to take place April 6-8, 2009 at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta, GA.

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Trash Into Energy: University Unveils a Campus Renewable Bioenergy Initiative

Newswise — From trash to treasure: In a new Cornell University campus initiative, vegetable oil from dining hall fryers, animal bedding from campus barns, farm waste from university research, and other sources of biotrash will be transformed into fuels – for use on campus.

The Cornell University Renewable Bioenergy Initiative (CURBI) is an ambitious plan to use campus biomass resources to generate bioenergy. CURBI is a key component for the university’s Advanced Sustainability Action Plan and the Cornell Climate Action Plan – and may one day become a model at the state and national level.

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Scientists modify corn to bulk up its sugary biomass

Biomass Magazine March 2009
By Ryan C. Christiansen
Web exclusive posted March 6, 2009, at 11:02 a.m. CST

Scientists at the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have genetically modified corn so that it grows larger with fewer grains, more leaves, and a bigger stalk full of sugars. The genetic modification might help scientists to engineer corn and its relatives to produce bulkier, more sugary biomass for energy crops.

“What we've done with corn could also apply to sorghum, sugarcane, miscanthus, switch grass, and other plants related to corn that are being talked about for biofuels,” said Stephen Moose, associate professor of maize functional genomics and genetics at the University of Illinois. “We may have some potential there.”

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South Dakota lawmakers endorse ethanol tax change

PIERRE, S.D. - A bill aimed at ending a controversy over how blends of ethanol fuel are taxed in South Dakota is on its way to the governor.

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Bigger Share of Ethanol Is Sought in Gasoline

The New York Times
Published: March 6, 2009

Burdened by falling gasoline consumption and excess production capacity, ethanol producers appealed to the government on Friday to raise the 10 percent limit on ethanol in most gasoline blends to as high as 15 percent.

Ethanol plants are closing across the country and some ethanol producers are declaring bankruptcy. The appeal will require the Obama administration to decide whether to increase federal support for the industry, which has already benefited from an array of subsidies, tax credits and Congressional production mandates.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Genome Of Fungus With Biofuel Applications Sequenced
Posted on: Saturday, 28 February 2009, 09:45 CST

Researchers Antonio G. Pisabarro (Professor of Microbiology) as well as José Luis Lavín and José Antonio Oguiza, from the Genetic and Microbiology Group at the Public University of Navarre, have taken part in the international project for the sequencing of the genome of the Postia placenta fungus. The results, published recently in the American National Academy of Sciences’ scientific journal (PNAS), has enabled the determination of the mechanisms with which this fungus attacks wood in order to use the cellulose contained within. These results are important for designing processes using wood to produce bioethanol.

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RFA: Flex-Fuel Challenge Helps Engage Young Americans in Renewable Energy Debate
Date Posted: March 2, 2009

Washington, DC—While young Americans turned out in large numbers at the ballot box in 2008, they must continue to be engaged in the debate surrounding issues that impact their future: the economy, energy and the environment.

The Renewable Fuels Association has taken the lead on a vehicle to enhance the debate.

The Flex-Fuel Challenge encourages innovative ideas on renewable energy.

Visitors to the website,, are asked to produce a short video, take a photo, or even write a song about renewability.

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25x'25 Alliance Sends Letter to Obama Administration Officials
Date Posted: March 6, 2009
This article is reprinted from the March 5 25x'25 E-News publication

Urging Continued Support for Biofuels And Increase of Ethanol Blend Limit to 13%

The National 25x'25 Steering Committee last week sent a letter to President Obama asking him to reinforce the critical role biofuels will play in securing America's energy future.

The steering committee also asked that EPA issue a ruling that would allow the blend rate for ethanol in gasoline to be increased from 10-13 percent.

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What's Stopping Us? The Hurdles To Commercializing Cellulosic Ethanol

Renewable Energy
March 5, 2009
by Todd Alexander & Lee Gordon, Chadbourne & Parke

Although current efforts to produce cellulosic ethanol are frequently referred to as being near fruition, considerable uncertainty remains about the speed with which cellulosic ethanol will become commercially viable. So far, no company has been able to produce cellulosic ethanol in mass quantities at a cost that can compete with starch- or sugar-based ethanol.

The RFS requires that fuels produced from non-corn feedstocks that have 50% lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emission than petroleum fuels - called "advanced biofuels" - beginning in 2009 and fuels produced from cellulose, hemicellulose or lignin that have 60% lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than petroleum fuels - called "cellulosic biofuels" - beginning in 2010, form an increasing percentage of the RFS. As a result of these increases, by 2022, advanced biofuels are scheduled to represent 58.3% of the RFS, and cellulosic biofuels are scheduled to represent 76.2% of the advanced biofuels, the balance of the RFS being met by earlier generation ethanol and biodiesel fuels.

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Ford Endorses Boosting Ethanol Blend to E15

Kiplinger Business Resource Center
By Peter Rohde, Editor, Kiplinger's Biofuels Market Alert
March 5, 2009

The healthiest U.S. automaker is getting out ahead on higher blends of biofuels.

A top Ford Motor Co. executive is giving the company's blessing to hiking the base level ethanol blend used by all vehicles in the near term to 15% or so. The ethanol industry sees the auto industry's acquiescence to slightly higher blends as critical to persuading the Obama administration's EPA to sign off on a waiver by declaring moderately higher blends substantially similar to the E10 blend of gasoline sold today.

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Ethanol seen bolstering U.S. corn price, plantings

Fri Mar 6, 2009 4:42pm GMT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The expansion of the fuel ethanol industry will support U.S. corn prices and plantings this year and in the future, a University of Missouri think tank said on Friday.

Larger ethanol use is "one of the major drivers" in corn prices, said Pat Westoff of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute. Because corn is the major feedstock for ethanol, larger use will bring larger plantings.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Duke Study Finds Using CRP Land to Grow Corn for Ethanol Results in Increased Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Date Posted: March 2, 2009

Durham, NC—To avoid creating greenhouse gases, it makes more sense using today's technology to leave land unfarmed in conservation reserves than to plow it up for corn to make biofuel, according to a comprehensive Duke University-led study.

"Converting set-asides to corn-ethanol production is an inefficient and expensive greenhouse gas mitigation policy that should not be encouraged until ethanol-production technologies improve," the study's authors reported in the March edition of the research journal Ecological Applications.

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Read the report

Researchers produce hollow carbon particles from biomass
Posted: March 3, 2009

(Nanowerk News) Katsumi Kamegawa, the Biomass Refining Technology Team, the Biomass Technology Research Center of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), has developed a new method for producing ultra-lightweight hollow carbon fine particles (diameters ranging from several nanometers to several tens of micrometers) from lignin, which is a byproduct obtained in large quantities during the manufacture of paper or bio-ethanol, and inorganic salts.

Global warming and depletion of oil reserves are issues of global concern; hence, it is desirable to use biological resources in place of fossil resources such as oil. It is noteworthy that almost 7 million tons of lignin, which is a biological resource (biomass), is produced as a byproduct of paper manufacturing in Japan every year, and is generally burnt as waste.

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Wisconsin Governor Doyle Promotes Wisconsin Energy Proposals with Obama Administration Officials
By admin - Posted on March 4th, 2009

Discusses Wisconsin’s Leadership in Renewable Energy Initiatives with U.S. Secretary of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator

March 03, 2009 -- WASHINGTON, DC – Governor Jim Doyle today met with Dr. Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy, and Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator, to discuss how Wisconsin might use federal recovery and reinvestment funds to move forward with energy projects to build upon current efforts to create jobs, make America energy independent, and address the global climate crisis.

“Wisconsin is in a prime position to take immediate advantage of grants from the recovery and reinvestment act that will create jobs for hardworking families, free us from our dependence on foreign oil and protect our environment for generations to come,” Governor Doyle said. “Wisconsin is already moving forward in areas that the act invests heavily in – research, manufacturing and agriculture – to create green jobs and get our economy moving forward as quickly as possible.”

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President Barack Obama's budget

Office of Management and Budget

President Barack Obama's budget:

A New Era of Responsibility - Renewing America’s Promise

Read the President's remarks, department budgets or the entire budget

Indiana Biodiesel will be Road-Tested to Arctic Circle

Hoosier Ag Today
Andy Eubank

An exciting new cold climate biodiesel produced in Indiana and funded by the Indiana Soybean Alliance will get the ultimate cold weather test this week during a trip north to Alaska. A process developed by Purdue University researchers with soybean checkoff funding has resulted in Permaflo Biodiesel, and ISA’s Ryan West says the Alaska adventure will demonstrate how the B100 performs with no gelling down to 67 degrees below zero. West told HAT, “We actually have a few legs to the trip. We’re starting in Anchorage and we’ll be going to Fairbanks through the Denali National Park. That’s leg one where we’re using B100 with no additives, no nothing, except for the Permaflo Biodiesel. From there we will stage a trip from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle. We’ll actually be camping overnight in tents and using a generator that also uses B100. So we’re trying to show a couple different applications of the fuel and what it can really do.”

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Curiosities: How does biomass stack up against coal in energy yield?

Wisconsin State Journal
WED., MAR 4, 2009 - 5:37 PM

CURIOSITIES We ask the experts your questions about our world.

Q: With the state moving toward power plants that burn biomass (corn stover, wood chips), how does its energy yield compare with that of coal?

A: "Simply put, it takes about twice as much biomass to replace an equivalent weight of coal," says UW-Madison emeritus mechanical engineering professor Ken Ragland. Coal contains roughly 12,000 Btu of heat per pound, while dry biomass has about 6,000 to 9,000.

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Green collar jobs signal employment shift toward eco-friendly economy

Centre Daily Times
Monday, Mar. 02, 2009
by Jason Lee

As concerns over global warming and rocketing oil prices weigh on Americans’ minds, a new generation of “green collar” workers are looking to use their talents to improve the country’s emerging sustainable energy industry.

Specialties in everything from solar power to energy efficient building design have moved to the forefront as rising corporate interest in going green has resulted in a definite need for more environmental experts.

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Final 2008 Ethanol Numbers
Posted by Cindy Zimmerman – March 4th, 2009

The final 2008 ethanol production and demand numbers are in and despite industry issues towards the end of the year, it was another record with both numbers up over 40 percent from 2007.

According to year-end figures released by the Energy Information Administration, American ethanol facilities produced more than 9.2 billion gallons of ethanol in 2008, up from some 6.5 billion gallons in 2007. On average, the U.S. ethanol industry produced 601,000 barrels per day (b/d), compared to 423,000 in 2007.

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Study: Increasing ethanol blends boosts economy

Jacqui Fatka

Growth Energy released a study today showing that increasing the ethanol blend in the nation's gasoline supply from 10 to 15% could create and support 136,101 new jobs and inject $24.4 billion into the American economy annually. The study examined the direct and secondary economic and employment impacts of increasing the ethanol blend in gasoline from 10 to 15 or 20%. Currently, a 30-year-old rule from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has placed a 10% cap on the nation's ethanol usage. The study was conducted by a group of current and former faculty of North Dakota State University.

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Ethanol from ‘Energy Cane’ (and Someday, Orange Peels)

The New York Times
March 4, 2009, 12:28 pm — Updated: 2:54 pm
By Kate Galbraith

Could ethanol one day be made from Florida’s orange peels? Carlos Riva, the president and chief executive of the cellulosic ethanol developer Verenium, isn’t sold on the idea yet.
“You harvest it in one month, then you sit on marmalade for 11 months,” he told me during a visit in New York on Tuesday.

Mr. Riva is focused on a more promising near-term crop: “energy cane,” which he plans to start testing in the next week or two in the company’s pilot ethanol plant in Louisiana and, eventually, in a commercial-scale plant that will be built in Florida in partnership with the oil company BP.

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Fungal diesel could be new fuel source

A fungus that makes biodiesel as part of its natural lifecycle has attracted the attention of American scientists wishing to tap into its potential.

The fungus has been discovered living in trees in the Patagonian rainforests and is believed to be unique in its ability to synthesize a variety of substances useful in fuel production.

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Renewable fuel organizations form global alliance

Ethanol Producer Magazine March 2009
By Kris Bevill
Web exclusive posted March 2, 2009, at 9:26 a.m. CST

Leaders of some of the world’s renewable fuel organizations have joined forces to create the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance. Members include the United States’ Renewable Fuels Association, the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association and the European Bioethanol Fuel Association. Together, these organizations represent 29 countries and more than 60 percent of the global biofuels production. GRFA Executive Director Bliss Baker said the organization is committed to expanding the use of renewable fuels around the globe and founding members felt it vital for renewable fuels to have a voice at the international level.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Doubling A Gene In Corn Results In Giant Biomass
3/2/2009 9:37:00 AM

URBANA - University of Illinois plant geneticist Stephen Moose has developed a corn plant with enormous potential for biomass, literally. It yields corn that would make good silage, Moose said, due to a greater number of leaves and larger stalk, which could also make it a good energy crop.

The gene known as Glossy 15 was originally described for its role in giving corn seedlings a waxy coating that acts like a sun screen for the young plant. Without Glossy 15, seedling leaves instead appear shiny and glossy in sunlight. Further studies have shown that the main function of Glossy15 is to slow down shoot maturation. Moose wondered what would happen if they turned up the action of this gene. "What happens is that you get bigger plants, possibly because they're more sensitive to the longer days of summer. We put a corn gene back in the corn and increased its activity. So, it makes the plant slow down and gets much bigger at the end of the season."

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Studies: Ethanol production doesn’t affect land use changes

Ethanol Producer Magazine March 2009
By Erin Voegele
Web exclusive posted March 2, 2009, at 9:08 a.m. CST

A new study on indirect land use has found that the expansion of corn-based ethanol production to meet the renewable fuels standard (RFS) goal of 15 billion gallons per year by 2015 is unlikely to result in the conversion of non-agricultural lands in the U.S. or abroad. The study, titled “Land Use Effects of U.S. Corn-Based Ethanol,” was authored by Thomas Darlington of Air Improvement Resource Inc. Darlington presented his findings Feb. 24 at the National Ethanol Conference in San Antonio.

According to Darlington, previous studies of indirect land use have projected that land use changes account for up to 103 grams of carbon dioxide per mega joule of fuel that’s produced. In comparison, Darlington’s study found that land use impacts of expanding corn-based ethanol in the U.S. between 2001 and 2015 is zero.

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University of Minnesota study reveals new energy and economic benefits of corn stover

University of Minnesota News

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL ( 3/2/2009 ) -- According to new research from the University of Minnesota, densified corn stover is better for the economy and the environment than previously recognized.

The research shows that, as a fuel for heat and power applications, corn stover reduces the life-cycle fossil-fuel emissions of carbon dioxide by factors of approximately 15 and 25 compared to natural gas and coal, respectively.

This means significant amounts of renewable electricity can be generated in a distributed fashion with lower overall emissions at ethanol plants and other facilities to produce heat and power.

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Now that’s green energy: UNLV scientist works on way to harvest the power of algae

Las Vegas Sun
By Brendan Buler
Tue, Feb 24, 2009 (2 a.m.)

Oliver Hemmers has modest goals for his new job. Among them, he would like to break America’s dependence on foreign oil, remake the chemical industry and cut carbon emissions.

How is he going to do this?

“My personal preference is algae,” says Hemmers, a chemist by training.

Hemmers is the new director of the Harry Reid Center for Environmental Studies at UNLV, so he knows what he’s talking about. The research projects on his resume received more than $6 million in funding. He’s spent time working on high-energy X-ray spectroscopy projects at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he had occasion to meet Nobel Laureate Steven Chu, the new energy secretary.

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Biomass Bag finalist in Alaska competition

Biomass Magazine March 2009
By Ryan C. Christiansen
Web exclusive posted Feb. 27, 2009, at 11:44 a.m. CST

Peter Olsen, the owner of Kodiak Wood Fuels in Kodiak, Alaska, has an idea – a Biomass Bag for transporting wood chips and other woody biomass across shallow rivers. The idea is a finalist in the 2009 Alaska Marketplace competition, an event sponsored by the Alaska Federation of Natives.

The Biomass Bag is a reusable bag for transporting woody biomass. The bag uses the natural lower density of wood and also captured air to float the biomass across shallow waters, such as rivers in late summer. “If you've been rafting down a river or have been out on the ocean, you can stick your sleeping bag in a little yellow bag, roll the end up on it and snap it shut and, most of the time, it stays dry,” Olsen said. “If you increase that concept roughly by about 100, you're getting close to getting your brain around what I've got here.”

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Governors' Biofuels Coalition Urges President Obama to Have Clear Vision and Take Quick Action on Biofuels Policy
Date Posted: February 24, 2009

The following is a letter from the Governors' Biofuels Coalition to President Barack Obama on biofuels policy.

On behalf of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, we appreciate your leadership on biofuels.
As governors, we know the value of biofuel-related job creation, and we believe it can have a powerful impact on the nation — both immediate and lasting.

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Scientists Write Letter to California Governor

March 2, 2009

Scientists Opposed to Selective Enforcement of Indirect Effects in California Low Carbon Fuel Standard Write Letter to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

After Last Year’s Ethanol Controversy, a New Group Launches a Campaign to Promote Corn to Washington Policymakers

Business Wire

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--When corn prices spiked last year, big food manufacturers and oil companies claimed there wasn’t enough corn to feed everyone and make ethanol.

Now we know that was not true. There was always plenty of corn to make ethanol, not to mention corn to export and to feed ourselves and the cattle, chickens and pigs we raise on corn. And the federal Agriculture Department says there will be plenty of corn to meet demand for the foreseeable future.

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U.S. corn group pursues more ethanol incentives

Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:44pm GMT
By Karl Plume

GRAPEVINE, TEXAS (Reuters) - A major U.S. corn producer group says it will continue to pursue incentives to expand ethanol production despite criticism from ailing meat and dairy producers that the corn-based biofuel is to blame for their current economic woes.

The National Corn Growers Association said corn farmers will need all the demand outlets available to them as they face a difficult year ahead due to high production costs and depressed grain prices.

"We are supportive on higher blend rates based on sound science, provided the EPA goes along with it. We will support that, anything above the 10 percent," said NCGA president Bob Dickey, referring to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's limit for the maximum amount of ethanol currently blended into the U.S. fuel supply.

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Groups oppose idea to raise ethanol limit

Des Moines Register
By PHILIP BRASHER • • February 28, 2009

Washington, D.C. - The government is considering allowing drivers of newer cars to put more ethanol into their tanks, boosting the market for the corn-based fuel.

But a range of groups - automakers, makers of outdoor equipment and some environmentalists - oppose allowing gasoline with 15 or 20 percent ethanol.

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Ethanol plan aims to fix 'huge mistake'

Argus Leader
Thom Gabrukiewicz • • March 1, 2009

Bill OKs use of 'woody biomass' from federal lands

Legislation that would allow producers to make cellulosic ethanol out of "woody biomass" such as downed trees, trimmings and brush from federal lands was introduced Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D., and Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., are co-sponsoring the Renewable Biofuels Facilitation Act.

The measure seeks to fix a flaw in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which set up the nation's renewable fuels standard. That act prevents producers from making cellulosic ethanol out of nearly all federal forest waste.

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Vilsack pledges guarantees on loans to ethanol producers

Des Moines Register
by PHILIP BRASHER & DAN PILLER • • March 1, 2009

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Thursday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture would be providing loan guarantees to help struggling ethanol producers.

In a speech to the USDA's annual agriculture outlook conference, he said the USDA "has a responsibility for keeping an eye on that industry" to maintain an infrastructure to produce the next generation of biofuels.

Vilsack said later that the USDA is pushing banks to "make sure that the terms and conditions of the loans are more favorably inclined."

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Iowa Power Fund approves $14.75 million for cellulosic ethanol project

Business Record (Des Moines, Iowa)
Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Iowa Power Fund Board this afternoon approved a $14.75 million contract to assist POET LLC in developing a commercial-sized cellulosic ethanol plant, state officials announced this afternoon.

The Sioux Falls, S.D.-based ethanol producer plans to use the first $5 million of those funds for further research and development to convert an existing ethanol plant in Emmetsburg to include production of ethanol from corncobs and corn fiber.

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US ethanol sector faces grim prospects-USDA

Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:56pm GMT
By K.T. Arasu

WASHINGTON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Hard times have hit the once-robust U.S. ethanol sector amid the economic recession, with as much as 15 percent of production capacity likely standing idle, USDA chief economist Joseph Glauber said on Thursday.

It was a sobering assessment of the fledging industry that was once bursting with optimism and financial gains as the country issued mandates on using the renewable fuel to reduce dependence on crude oil.

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Biofuels Digest launches Bioenergy Information Zone, free download center for essential conference papers, forecasts, outlooks on fuels and feedstocks

Biofuels Digest

February 27, 2009 Jim Lane

Biofuels Digest has established a Bioenergy Information Zone at, home to free downloads of position papers, presentations, models and reports provided by researchers, industry and non-governmental organizations.

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Georgia can’t meet proposed green energy rules, official says

Atlanta Journal Constitution
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Thursday, February 26, 2009

WASHINGTON — Georgia simply doesn’t have the wind, solar or biomass resources required to meet proposed new federal regulations for renewable energy generation, Georgia Public Service Commissioner Stan Wise told members of Congress Thursday.

As a result, Georgians’ electricity bills would rise by as much as 25 percent and billions of taxpayer money would flow out of Georgia to import renewable energy from other states or to pay for government-sponsored credits to offset proposed renewable goals, Wise warned members of a House energy subcommittee.

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Job growth likely in advanced biofuels, group says

International Herald Tribune - Global Edition of the New York Times
The Associated Press
Published: February 25, 2009

SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota: A national biotechnology trade group estimates that advanced biofuel refineries could create thousands of new U.S. jobs within a few years, growing to nearly 200,000 by 2022.

A report released Wednesday by Biotechnology Industry Organization estimates that the full economic impact from advanced biofuels — renewable fuels derived from sources other than corn starch — could result in more than 800,000 jobs by 2022.

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Mascoma Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Begins Operations in Rome, NY

News Release

Facility Generating Biomass-based Ethanol With Assistance from New York State Agencies

Boston, MA – February 25, 2009: Mascoma Corporation, a leader in the development
of low carbon cellulosic ethanol, today announced that the company’s demonstration
facility in Rome, New York, is now producing ethanol from non-food cellulosic biomass.

“This is an important milestone for the cellulosic ethanol industry and for Mascoma. We
are grateful for the support NYSERDA and NYPA have provided for the past two years,”
said Bruce A. Jamerson, CEO of Mascoma Corporation. “They have been outstanding
partners and we couldn’t have built this plant without them.”

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DOE Secretary Chu Announces Changes to Expedite Economic Recovery Funding

U.S. Department of Energy
February 19, 2009

Restructuring will lead to new investments in energy projects within months

WASHINGTON D.C. --- Two days after President Obama signed the historic American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced a sweeping reorganization of the Department of Energy’s dispersal of direct loans, loan guarantees and funding contained in the new recovery legislation. The goal of the restructuring is to expedite disbursement of money to begin investments in a new energy economy that will put Americans back to work and create millions of new jobs.

“These changes will bring a new urgency to investments that will put Americans back to work, reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, and improve the environment.” Secretary Chu said. “We need to start this work in a matter of months, not years – while insisting on the highest standard of accountability.”

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