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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Biofuels Digest

Cost of producing biofuels enzymes higher than assumed: researchers
February 27, 2012
In an update to our story The Enzyme Wars, a group of researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the Joint BioEnergy Institute write: “the results from a recently-published paper on enzyme costs may help contextualizing the numbers offered by Novozymes (and any other enzyme companies).
In “The Challenge of Enzyme Cost in the Production of Lignocellulosic Biofuels,” the team constructed a techno-economic model for the production of fungal cellulases, and found that the cost of producing enzymes was much higher than that commonly assumed in the literature.

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Brazil to Invest $38 Billion in Pumping Up Ethanol
Posted by Cindy Zimmerman – February 27th, 2012

Brazil is reportedly planning to pump $38 billion into its ethanol sector to help increase production.

A statement from Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture said the purpose of the government plan is to “meet growing national demand and the potential of the foreign market for ethanol” by stimulating private sector investments in the production of ethanol, which have declined due to market conditions.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fuel retailers see isolated sales of high-ethanol blend for up to a decade

Orlando, Florida (Platts)--24Feb2012/257 pm EST/1957 GMT

As fuel makers start registering their high-ethanol gasoline blends with US regulators, petroleum retailers say there are practical and legal barriers that could keep the fuel out of most markets for as long as a decade.

The ethanol industry used this week's Renewable Fuels Association conference in Orlando, Florida, to applaud a recent US Environmental Protection Agency decision that started the registration process for E15, a gasoline blend containing 15% ethanol. But they acknowledged that getting it to markets across the country will take time.

Dan Gilligan, president of the Petroleum Marketers Association of America, estimated that achieving a 20% market penetration could take five to 10 years, with prairie states like Iowa adopting it much sooner.

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Brazil plans $38 bln sweetener to revive ethanol sector

Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:54pm EST
By Peter Murphy and Reese Ewing

* Govt wants ethanol to account for 50-55 pct gasoline mkt
* Govt to direct funds to sector through 2015
* Financing intended to stimulate private sector investment
* Experts say fundamental problems for sector remain

SAO PAULO, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Brazil's government announced an aggressive plan on Friday to raise flagging ethanol output over the next four years by showering the sector with 65 billion reais ($38 billion) in subsidized credit.

The government will allocate funds via banks to mills and independent growers for the expansion and replanting of older cane whose yields have fallen. Credit will also be available to build up ethanol stockpiles.

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Obama’s Green-Car Plan Runs Into Alternative-Fuel Limits

By Angela Greiling Keane and Jeff Green - Feb 24, 2012 11:29 AM CT

President Barack Obama’s administration is buying fewer hybrid and electric cars and more vehicles that can consume both ethanol and gasoline to meet 2015 environmental goals, favoring older technology over new.

Obama gave speeches across the U.S. last year touting his twin goals of buying only alternative-fuel vehicles for the U.S. fleet by 2015 and getting 1 million electric vehicles on the country’s roads by that year.

That’s looking more difficult as the federal government learns the same lesson that U.S. car consumers have already figured out: it is tough being green. Rather than leading the way, the government has discovered that the high cost of hybrids and electric cars and their lack of availability often mean it makes more sense to buy cars with fuel-efficient conventional engines.

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UGA researchers’ gene map to speed biofuel development
By Ina Damm Muri February 26, 2012, 5:47 AM PST

Researchers at the University of Georgia have mapped the genomes of a large perennial grass that can be used as a source for bio-energy, EarthSky reports.

Miscanthus, a candidate for biomass farming, is a sugar-cane like stalks that can grow more than 12 feet in height, requires little fertilizer and grows well in moist temperate climates across the United States, Europe and in Asia. In Eastern Europe, it can produce more biomass on less surface areas than any other bio-fuel crops. Researchers say the crop is carbon neutral because it removes carbon from the atmosphere when it grows and only releases the carbon it collected when it is burned.

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Biofuel said a sustainable fuel source
Published: Feb. 24, 2012 at 6:33 PM

TSUKUBA, Japan, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Growing crops for fuel as opposed to refining fossil fuels and substituting bioethanol for gasoline is a sustainable energy strategy, Japanese researchers say.

In a study published in the International Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy, researchers analyzed the overall life-cycle impact on raising fuel crops and the energy required to process and exploit biomass compared with fossil fuels.

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Biomass contributes to plastic production

KMS Baltics

Chemists at Utrecht University have successfully managed to create plastics from biomass thanks to a new type of catalyst.

Head researcher of the project, Professor Krijn de Jong, said the products used are exactly the same as the petroleum ones but are made of pruning waste instead.

The petroleum-free products are made using a catalyst consisting of iron nanoparticles measuring 0.00002 millimetres.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Economic Analysis of a Mobile Indirect Biomass Liquefaction System

Biomass Power & Thermal
By John P. Hurley February 21, 2012

As I described in my February Biomass Power & Thermal column, the Energy & Environmental Research Center has built and tested a mobile system for converting wood waste into liquid products such as methanol. The system uses a unique gasifier to convert the wood waste into synthesis gas, which is cleaned, compressed, and converted in a reactor to a variety of possible liquid products. We have initially focused on the production of methanol because it can easily be reformed into hydrogen to power fuel cells to make electricity at remote sites distanced from the biomass resource. The gasifier was specifically designed by the EERC to handle wet wood waste with up to 40 percent moisture, thereby eliminating the need to separately dry the wood before gasification, as most commercial gasification units require.

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Batelle, Biobent Polymers win grants for developing soy-based polymers

Biofuels Digest
Thomas Saidak February 24, 2012

In Ohio, the United Soybean Board has awarded Battelle funding specifically targeted to assist Biobent Polymers in the commercialization of its new bio-composite polymers made from soy. The USB funding will allow Battelle and Biobent Polymers to continue pioneering work refining soy-based polymers in an effort to solidify Biobent’s position as an innovator of bioplastics with the development and commercialization of the next generation of bioplastics. Reportedly, these bioplastics can be used as a replacement for virtually all polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene.

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California company claims biomass to gasoline breakthrough

Western Farm Press
Feb. 24, 2012 10:04am

A California company announced it has made a major breakthrough in converting biomass to gasoline. Cool Planet BioFuels achieved 4,000 gallons per acre biomass to gasoline conversion in pilot testing using giant miscanthus, an advanced bioenergy crop.

Cool Planet BioFuels, Camarilla, Calif., announced that it has made a major breakthrough in converting biomass to gasoline. The Company achieved 4,000 gallons/acre biomass to gasoline conversion in pilot testing using giant miscanthus, an advanced bioenergy crop.

Gasoline has about one and a half times the energy of ethanol, so this is about twelve times more yield than current corn ethanol production levels.

The giant miscanthus was developed at the University of Mississippi and provided from a high yield plot by Repreve Renewables. Other advanced bio-energy crops, such as sorghum and switch grass, can provide similar annual yields using this new process.

"These test results are based on nearly optimal crop growth conditions and demonstrate what is possible in a good growing season. Under more routine growing conditions, we estimate yields of about 3,000 gallons/acre should be achievable throughout the Midwest by selecting the proper energy crop for local conditions," says Mike Cheiky, Cool Planet's founder and CEO.

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Sec. Vilsack Applauds Ethanol Producers

Ag Wired
Posted by Chuck • February 24, 2012 • 11:26 am

This morning Ag Secretary Vilsack spoke to the 2012 National Ethanol Conference. I’m sharing Cindy’s story that is also posted over on our sister site, Domestic Fuel:

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack expressed his personal strong support and gratitude for the ethanol industry during an address at the National Ethanol Conference on Friday.

“We owe ethanol producers in this country a debt of gratitude because we’re paying less at the pump because of what you do,” Vilsack said, noting that prices are about $1 less than they would be without ethanol.

Vilsack also thanked ethanol producers for providing jobs, contributing to a record trade surplus in agriculture and helping to increase net farm income. “In 2011, net farm income for the first time exceeded $100 billion,” he said. “Even adjusted for inflation, this is the best farm economy we’ve seen in four decades and one of the principal reasons is because you all have figured out this new value-added opportunity called renewable fuels.”

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The Breadbasket’s Biomass Belt

Biomass Power & Thermal
By Anna Austin February 21, 2012

The U.S. Midwest has considerable biomass energy potential, specifically in anaerobic digestion applications

Any visitor to the U.S. Midwest knows the region isn’t recognized for glorious mountains, warm weather or sunshine. It does, however, boast flat and vast plains, long stretches of grassland, and highly productive soil that allows it to produce an abundance of cereal crops.

To some, that’s an ideal scenario for growing a biomass energy industry off the back end, and numerous industry experts are busy examining its viability and potential impacts. As with any emerging industry, there are some hurdles and kinks to be worked out, but there is a resounding consensus across the scientific community that Midwestern crop residue and cattle manure will play a key role in the region’s energy future. In fact, one recently published, USDA-backed study has determined that biomass alone could be used to produce 15 percent of the Midwest’s electricity.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Improving logistics of biofuel raw materials

Public release date: 17-Feb-2012
Michigan State University

MSU research looks for ways to improve shipping of materials for biofuels

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — If the increased use of biomass to produce alternative fuels is to become a reality, more attention needs to be paid to logistics – how, for example, biomass raw materials are shipped from farm to refinery, as well as the development of better ways of preparing the products for shipping.

This is a subject being tackled by Michigan State University's Bruce Dale, a professor of chemical engineering and materials science, and is the topic of a symposium at this year's annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Feb. 16-20 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Dale is suggesting a new model for getting the plant material to the biofuel production facility, or the biorefinery. The new model uses something called regional biomass processing depots – strategically located facilities that will process the biofuel feedstocks before they are shipped to a refinery.

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Independent film 'Biomass' filming in Albuquerque and Santa Fe

The Republic, Columbus, IN
First Posted: February 23, 2012 - 5:01 am
Last Updated: February 23, 2012 - 5:02 am

SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico Film Office director Nick Maniatis says an independent feature, Biomass, is shooting in and around Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

SANTA FE , N.M. — New Mexico Film Office director Nick Maniatis says an independent feature, Biomass, is shooting in and around Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

The production will employ at least 17 New Mexico crew members and 39 principal and background talent.

The movie is the first feature for Anthony Riazzi, a New Mexico transplant from Los Angeles who supervised the digital and visual effects for "X-Men: The Last Stand", "Resident Evil: Extinction" and was technical director for "The Matrix Revolutions."

Riazzi also wrote the screenplay for Biomass, which tells the story of a highly secretive government research facility that suffers a containment breach of a genetically engineered new life form.

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Giant King Grass and Pellets Tested By Biomass Energy Lab

The Wall Street Journal's MarketWeatch
press release
Feb. 23, 2012, 8:30 a.m. EST

a New Joint Venture of Timber Products Inspection Inc. and Petersen Control Union

IRVINE, Calif. and CONYERS, Ga., Feb. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- VIASPACE Inc. /quotes/zigman/382884 VSPC 0.00% , a clean energy company growing Giant King(TM) Grass as a low-carbon, renewable biomass dedicated energy crop, and its subsidiary VIASPACE Green Energy Inc. /quotes/zigman/583847 VGREF 0.00% and Timber Products Inspection Inc. announced that Giant King Grass and pellets made from Giant King Grass were among the first biomass samples tested by Biomass Energy Lab in Conyers, Georgia.

The tests included proximate and ultimate analyses, elemental analysis mineral ash analysis and ash fusion properties. Giant King Grass pellets have a gross calorific value (HHV) of 18.33 - 18.81 GJ per oven dry ton, and a net calorific value of 16.64 - 17.20 GJ per ton of as received pellets with approximately 8% moisture content.

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Dinneen Says Ethanol Industry 'Strong and Getting Stronger'


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Thursday, February 23, 2012

2012 Ethanol Industry Outlook and Pocket Guide to Ethanol Now Available

Biofuels Journal
Date Posted: February 22, 2012

Orlando—The U.S. ethanol industry is creating jobs, increasing national security, expanding the global marketplace and putting money back into consumers’ pockets.

These and other accomplishments of the industry are highlighted in the 2012 Ethanol Industry Outlook and 2012 Pocket Guide to Ethanol.

Both publications were released this week at the 17th Annual National Ethanol Conference in Orlando, FL.

“2011 was an historic year for America’s ethanol industry,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen.

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New Enzyme Could Cut Cost of Ethanol Made From Waste

The New York Times
February 22, 2012, 12:01 am

It is one of the holy grails of clean energy production: finding a way to make ethanol from the cellulose in biowaste like corn husks and household trash. Although several pilot projects are up and running — with many more in the pipeline — commercial production has remained elusive, with the costs remaining much higher than for producing ethanol from corn, or gasoline.

But in what may come as welcome news to oil companies that are paying penalties for failing to use cellulosic ethanol — a biofuel that, commercially speaking, does not yet exist — a big producer of industrial enzymes has developed an enzyme that can help wring more ethanol out of cellulose at a lower cost.

The company, Novozymes, already makes enzymes used to make numerous products, including household detergents, soft drinks and stonewashed denim. It plans to announce the new enzyme, Cellic CTec3, on Wednesday in advance of the National Ethanol Conference in Orlando, Fla.

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A new maize hybrid could mean better biofuels for the environment
by Laura Mihelich
Feb 21, 2012

Corn may be making a comeback in the biofuel race, which could be good for the environment.

A new hybrid maize, a combination of tropical and temperate type corn, could be capable of producing as much ethanol as commercial maize without needing as much fertilizer, according to a new study published Monday in GCB Bioenergy, a publication that focuses on the relationship between biology and fuels.

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29 nominees for economic awards named

The News Gazette, Champaign, IL
Sat, 02/18/2012 - 8:00am Don Dodson, staff writer,

URBANA — Twenty-nine people and organizations have been nominated for nine awards to be given at the annual Innovation Celebration on Thursday evening.

A 10th award, Parkland College's new Innovation in Engagement Award, will also be presented that night.

The awards ceremony, which highlights entrepreneurial work and economic development in Champaign County,

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Maize Hybrid Looks Promising for Biofuel

By University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Tuesday, February 21,

Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have identified a new contender in the bioenergy race: a temperate and tropical maize hybrid. Their findings, published in GCB Bioenergy, show that the maize hybrid is potentially capable of producing ethanol from biomass (plant material used for biofuel production) at levels equal to or greater than ethanol produced from grain harvested from current commercial maize hybrids.

"Our maize hybrid, when grown using the same amount of fertilizer as commercial grain hybrids, produced 15 to 20 percent more biomass than the commercial hybrids." said Dr. Frederick Below, Professor of Crop Physiology at the University of Illinois.

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Losing Ground to Oil, Brazilian Ethanol Struggles to Compete

Council of the Americas
Rachel Glickhouse
February 21, 2012

It’s a bittersweet moment for Brazil’s energy industry. With a steady stream of petroleum discoveries promising to make Brazil one of the world’s largest oil producers, the country is turning more to oil and gas as biofuels begin to languish. Brazil, one of the world’s ethanol-producing pioneers, began making the sugar-based fuel during the energy crisis of the 1970s as a cheaper alternative to gas. The country continued investing in the sector over the next three decades, making Brazil the number two ethanol producer in the world. Moreover, in 2003 Brazil introduced flex-fuel vehicles, which run on a blend of gasoline and ethanol, giving ethanol producers even more opportunities at the pump. But the tides have changed. Though a booming economy and growing middle class have pushed demand for cars to an all-time high, ethanol production is at a low. The government is heavily invested in developing the oil market after major petroleum finds and a 45 percent increase in oil production from 2002 to 2011. Last year, Brazil produced the largest amount of hydrocarbons in its history, with 768 million barrels of oil and 24 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

EPA Grants Partial Waivers for E15
CSP Daily News February 17, 2012

WASHINGTON -- In response to a request by Growth Energy and 54 ethanol manufacturers under the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted two partial waivers that taken together allow but do not require the introduction into retail commerce of gasoline that contains greater than 10% ethanol and up to 15% ethanol (E15) for use in model-year 2001 and newer light-duty motor vehicles, subject to certain conditions.

On October 13, 2010, EPA granted the first partial waiver (click here) for E15 for use in MY2007 and newer light-duty motor vehicles (i.e., cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles). On January 21, 2011, EPA granted the second partial waiver (click here) for E15 for use in MY2001-2006 light-duty motor vehicles. These decisions were based on test results provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other test data and information regarding the potential effect of E15 on vehicle emissions.

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Microorganism Could Support Development of Low-Cost Biofuel Production Process
Published on February 16, 2012 at 3:08 AM
By Cameron Chai

Scientists from BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) at the Department of Energy have conducted a proteomics study on Caldicellulosiruptor obsidiansis, a bacterium discovered by them in a Yellowstone National Park’s hot spring for production of advanced biofuels.

The BESC scientists are expanding their initiatives toward commercially feasible ethanol or biofuel production from crops like switchgrass.

Currently, ethanol production depends on the application of costly enzymes that break complex plant materials to produce sugars. These sugars are later fermented to produce ethanol. Consolidated bioprocessing is recommended as a cheaper option for the current process. The process employs microorganisms, which are resistant to very high temperatures, to split up the resistant biomass materials.

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Advanced ethanol makers ask US EPA to stand by cellulosic mandate
Washington (Platts)--16Feb2012/529 pm EST/2229 GMT

Biofuels producers urged US regulators on Thursday to ignore refiners' request for leeway in carrying out the renewable fuel mandate on the grounds that the industry failed to produce any cellulosic biofuels last year.

The Environmental Protection Agency required petroleum refiners and importers to blend 6.6 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels in 2011 or buy waiver credits by the end of this month to make up for the difference. The cellulosic target represented the smallest share by far of the 13.95 billion gallon Renewable Fuel Standard for 2011.

Trade groups for refiners and oil producers asked EPA in late January for a waiver from that requirement, given the absence of cellulosic biofuel production last year. Because of the looming February 28 deadline to buy credits, the petitioners asked the agency to respond faster than the standard 90-day deadline.

On Thursday, the Advanced Ethanol Council asked EPA to resist those calls to weaken the mandate.

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Electric leaf? Researchers develop solar power to biofuels pathway

Biofuels Digest
Isabel Lane February 20, 2012

In Scotland, scientists have developed an “electric leaf”, which is capable of producing a liquid hydrocarbon similar to petrol using electricity generated from renewable resources. This discovery could mean significant yield improvement for algae development by eliminating or reducing the inefficiencies of photosynthesis. The research, entering its second phase, will be applied to cyanobacteria to determine the functionality of the technology.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Energy storage: key to renewables
15 February 2012
Kari Williamson

Energy storage is well known in off-grid installations, but how can energy storage be used as a way of accessing the grid for connected renewable energy systems?

Energy storage is heralded as a solution to integrate more renewable energy into the grid. Andrew Jones, managing director, S&C Electric Europe Ltd., agrees.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Senate ag committee hearing focuses on Farm Bill energy programs

Ethanol Producer Magazine
By Kris Bevill February 15, 2012

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and a handful of bioenergy stakeholders were given the opportunity to present the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry with their opinions on the importance of the Farm Bill’s energy programs during a Feb. 15 committee hearing focused on the legislation’s role in supporting energy and economic growth for rural communities.

The 2008 Farm Bill provided a total of about $2 billion in funding for energy title programs which include the Rural Energy for America Program, the Biomass Crop Assistance Program and the Biorefinery Assistance Program, among others.

The primary message sent to committee members by all who testified during the Feb. 15 hearing was that the energy title programs play a vital role in developing and supporting bioenergy industries and, while budgetary constraints are an accepted fact in current policymaking, witnesses stressed that the Farm Bill’s energy programs deserve to be funded.

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BP: cellulosic ethanol is real, here, and no pixie dust

Biofuels Digest
Jim Lane February 16, 2012

In Washington, BP Biofuels North America President Sue Ellerbusch, interviewed in the Biofuel STAT online series produced by the Advanced Biofuels Association, rejected recent headlines describing the industry as “pixie dust” by declaring “the technology works.”

The next ah-ha moment for the industry? “It’s going to be less of an ah-ha and more of an uh-huh, we told you so. We are right on the cusp with this technology.” Over the next five years? “We are building a 36 million gallons facility now. Our next facility will be double the size of that. As we look beyond, we will be looking to see how far we can take that capacity up.

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DOE increases funding request for biomass, biorefinery activities

Ethanol Producer Magazine
By Erin Voegele February 15, 2012

The U.S. DOE has released information detailing President Barack Obama’s $27.2 billion Fiscal Year 2013 budget requested for the department. According to the DOE, nearly $2.34 billion, or 8.61 percent of the total budget, would support energy efficiency and renewable energy activities and projects.

“The United States is competing in a global race for the clean energy jobs of the future,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “The choice we face as a nation is simple: do we want the clean energy technologies of tomorrow to be invented in America by American innovators, made by American workers and sold around the world, or do we want to concede those jobs to our competitors? We can and must compete for those jobs. This budget request includes responsible investments in an American economy that is built to last.”

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USDA budget request addresses biofuels, bioproducts, feedstocks

Biorefining Magazine
By Erin Voegele February 16, 2012

The White House has released its Fiscal Year 2013 budget request for the USDA. The administration is asking for a total of $23 billion in discretionary funding, which is a nearly 3 percent decrease compared to the funding levels enacted for FY 2012. If enacted as proposed, the budget would invest $6.1 billion in renewable and energy and environmental improvements. According to the budget request, this would spur the creation of high-value jobs, make America more energy independent, and drive global competitiveness in the sector.

Agricultural Secretary Tom Vislack spoke specifically about the renewable energy components of the budget request following its release. “To promote the domestic production of renewable energy and create good jobs in rural communities, we'll invest in farmers, scientists and entrepreneurs working to develop a nationwide biofuels economy,” he said. “We'll also continue our partnership with the U.S. Navy and Department of Energy to boost the production of domestically produced aviation biofuels for use by the military.”

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Biomass isn't carbon neutral, study finds
Published: Feb. 15, 2012 at 8:00 AM

MONTPELIER, Vt., Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Burning wood for electricity instead of using fossil fuels might increase levels of atmospheric carbon, a study of the U.S. Southeast determined.

A study conducted for the National Wildlife Foundation and the Southern Environmental Law Center concluded that using wood for large-scale power plants could lead to higher levels of atmospheric carbon for the next half century.

"This study brings us to the crux of the matter regarding biomass electric power and atmospheric carbon, which is that consideration of near-term tipping points versus long-term carbon reductions must be assessed as we develop climate and energy policy," Andrea Colnes, policy director for the Biomass Energy Resource Center, said in a statement.

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Commercial-scale ethanol refineries planned for Kansas

bioenergy insight
15 February 2012

Kansas could become home to one of the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol refineries in the US.

The global energy company Abengoa Bioenergy, aims to open what could be the first ethanol plant of this scale, in Hugoton, in 2013. It is expected to create 300 construction jobs, 65 permanent jobs and generate an annual payroll of almost $5 million (€3.8 million).

‘There’s no doubt we will be one of the first, whether we are the first or not is not critical to us as long as we complete it within our time frame,’ says Chris Standlee, executive vice president for Abengoa Bioenergy’s U.S. division.

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BP, Aiming For Ethanol, To Quadruple Brazil Sugarcane Capacity

Fox Business
Published February 14, 2012
Dow Jones Newswires

SAO PAULO – Global oil giant BP PLC's (BP, BP.LN) Brazilian biofuels division plans to quadruple its sugarcane-crushing capacity in the next five years as it seeks to capitalize on the growing market for ethanol, the company confirmed Tuesday.

BP Biocombustiveis, which operates three sugarcane mills in Brazil, aims for crushing capacity of 30 million metric tons of sugarcane per year by 2017, up from 7.5 million tons currently, local newswire Agencia Estado reported Tuesday, citing an interview with company President Mario Lindenhayn.

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Cellulosic ethanol group asks for tax breaks

Des Moines Register
12:55 PM, Feb 15, 2012 by Dan Piller

In a letter to the ranking members of the U.S. Senate committee overseeing agriculture, the Advanced Ethanol Coalition has asked that producer tax credits and the special advanced depreciation allowance for cellulosic ethanol be continued in the next Farm Bill.

“Several billion dollars have been invested in advanced biofuels development with the expectation that Congress will stay the course with regard to its commitment to the industry,” Coalition executive director R. Brooke Coleman wrote in the letter addressed to U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Pat Roberts of Kansas.

Coleman continued; “A tax increase on advanced biofuels at this time would curtail investment and undercut an industry just starting to close deals and break ground on first commercial plants., be included in the new Farm Bill.”

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Keeping an Eye on the Plants

Genome Web
February 15, 2012

"It's like watching a plant grow" was set to become the botanical research community's version of "It's like watching cement harden" — that is, until researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison created a robotic camera to watch the plants for them, reports Popular Science's Rebecca Boyle. Plant physiologist Edgar Spalding created a "2,300-pound, 6-foot-high robotic camera rig snaps pictures every 30 seconds, capturing the curling, twisting motion of germinating seeds putting out new roots," she says. Observing plants develop with these new cameras can help researchers determine the differences between genetically modified and wild-type specimens, particularly by how the roots develop, Boyle says, adding that Spalding and his colleagues hope their research could help investigators genetically engineer crops with desirable features.

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ARPA-E halts algae project, citing missed milestones

Biofuels Digest
Jim Lane February 16, 2012

In Washington, the DOE has halted a research project at Iowa State University funded by ARPA-E to develop biofuel feedstock from an aquatic micro-organism for failing to reach research milestones. About 56% of the $4.4 million grant was used. Politicians against increasing APRA-E funding as proposed by President Obama’s new budget are using it and other halted ARPA-E projects as examples to reject the program.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

ISU finds up to 10 percent corn yield increase with cover crops

Ethanol Producer Magazine
By Iowa State University News Service February 09, 2012

AMES, Iowa – The most recent annual results from a four-year Iowa State University study on using cover crops between rows of corn reveals that higher yields – by 5 to 10 percent – are possible using the soil-saving approach to farming.

The results are the best yet in the ongoing research, according to Ken Moore, distinguished professor of agronomy and primary investigator on the project, who plans to carry on the trials for at least one more growing season. Planting living mulch – or ground cover – between rows of corn is intended to perform several functions – maintain soil moisture, slow soil erosion, and sequester carbon.

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China increasing grain imports, as ethanol growth slows

Biofuels Digest
Meghan Sapp February 14, 2012

In China, a result of the country’s decision to reduce corn-based ethanol production for the next five years, it will instead have to boost its imports of animal feed due to a decline in DDGS production. Imports could jump to 6 million tonnes in the next four years, double that of 3.1 million tons imported during 2009/10. Of the total, research from Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. on behalf of the US Grains Council shows that as much as 42% of imports could come from the US.

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Obama’s 2013 US Budget: what’s in there for the bioeconomy?

Biofuels Digest
Jim Lane February 14, 2012

In Washington, the Obama Administration released its 2013 budget request. Highlights for bio-based industry include:


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EU debuts action plan for a sustainable bioeconomy in Europe

Biofuels Digest
Meghan Sapp February 14, 2012

In Brussels, the EU published its strategy and action plan for a sustainable bioeconomy in Europe, called “Innovating for Sustainable Growth: a Bioeconomy for Europe”.

The goal is a more innovative and low-emissions economy, reconciling demands for sustainable agriculture and fisheries, food security, and the sustainable use of renewable biological resources for industrial purposes, while ensuring biodiversity and environmental protection. The plan therefore focuses on three key aspects: developing new technologies and processes for the bioeconomy; developing markets and competitiveness in bioeconomy sectors; and pushing policymakers and stakeholders to work more closely together.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2011 Ethanol Exports Total 1.19 Billion Gallons

Corn & Soybean Digest
Source: Renewable Fuels Association
Feb. 10, 2012 4:19pm

The official numbers are in and confirm what the industry has known all year: 2011 was a huge year for ethanol exports. The annual total for 2011 was 1.19 billion gallons, more than triple the 2010 export total of 396 million gallons. Brazil was the leading importer of U.S. ethanol in 2011, receiving 33% of total shipments. Exports accounted for approximately 8.6% of U.S. ethanol production in 2011, up from 3% in 2010 and 1% in 2009.

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Ethanol producers deal with low demand

Des Moines Register
3:13 PM, Feb. 11, 2012
Written by DAN PILLER

Producers had lots left over after a federal tax credit ended. Also, exports to Brazil have decreased.

Ethanol has generated more than its share of detractors, but since Jan. 1 the biofuel’s real enemy has been the law of supply and demand, which has thrown red ink over Iowa’s 41 ethanol plants.

While the cost of ethanol’s feedstock, corn, remains above $6 per bushel, ethanol’s price dropped from $2.80 per gallon or more in mid-2011 on the Chicago Board of Trade to less than $2.20 per bushel since Jan. 1. Traders anticipated a drop in demand after a federal tax credit ended.

Demand for gasoline, to which ethanol is blended, fell by as much as 6 percent in January as motorists cut back. Ethanol exports to Brazil, a lucrative sidelight, dropped by 100 million gallons in January because of unfavorable exchange rate with the Brazilian Real.

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ISU professor studies growing infrastructure needs for biofuels

Drovers Cattle Network
Iowa State University Extension Updated: February 11, 2012

AMES, Iowa -- Even though a federal $6 billion tax credit for ethanol expired on Jan. 1, the U.S. government still mandates that the fuel industry blend 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol this year -- up from 2.1 billion gallons in 2002. And nine years from now, the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard calls for a target of 36 billion gallons of biofuel to be blended into the U.S. domestic auto and truck fuel supply.

That's having a tremendous impact on the distillers' grain markets in Iowa and across the Midwest -- and the small towns that support their production. Bobby Martens, an Iowa State University assistant professor of supply chain management, says ethanol industry leaders need to reconsider investments in transportation equipment and infrastructure while the government adjusts policies to effectively move all that biofuel to market.

Martens and Frank Dooley, a professor in the Department of Agriculture Economics at Purdue University, teamed up on a chapter titled "Transportation and Logistics in Distillers Grain Markets," for the book "Using Distillers Grains in the U.S. and International Livestock and Poultry Industries" (2008 Midwest Agribusiness Trade Research and Information Center).

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Is E85 on the Rocks? (Convenience Stores)
By Samantha Oller
CSP Daily News February 10, 2012

Number of pumps may be halved by end of 2012

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- On January 1, the petroleum-retailing industry awoke to a nation without a Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC). The tax credit, which provided 45 cents to blenders and fuel marketers for each gallon of pure ethanol blended into gasoline, was arguably the greatest driving force behind the spread of E85 in recent years.

Without it, the future of E85 as a motor fuel is in question, and at least one supporter of the fuel says the number of E85 pumps will be halved by end of this year.

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Report Projects Upswing in Torrefied Biomass Use

Biomass Power & Thermal
By Lisa Gibson February 10, 2012

Many of you will be interested in a new report by consulting firm Hawkins Wright that predicts global demand for torrefied biomass to exceed 70 million metric tons per year by 2020.

Judging by the number of questions I get about torrefaction viability and markets, many of you will be interested in a new report by consulting firm Hawkins Wright that predicts global demand for torrefied biomass to exceed 70 million metric tons per year by 2020.

The report claims torrefied biomass is on the brink of becoming a viable feedstock for utility-scale electricity generators, potentially replacing coal, as well as some types of wood pellets. Favorable renewable energy policies in Europe, North America and Asia would drive that demand, it continues. Hawkins Wright also reports that significant volumes of torrefied biomass are expected to reach the market in the coming months, with commercial-scale production plants operating by 2013.

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Putting Together a Pellet Mill Map

Biomass Power & Thermal
By Lisa Gibson February 07, 2012

For the past couple months, I’ve been putting together a list of pellet mills in the U.S. and Canada for Biomass Power & Thermal’s first pellet mill map, set for release with the May issue of the magazine. I’ve assembled a list of more than 200 U.S. mills and almost 60 Canadian ones. But I’m not done yet.

I think I’m nearing the end of my list of U.S. pellet mills because I’m running out of places to check for directories that I can incorporate into mine. I was surprised at first to find that Canada had significantly fewer plants, but it does make sense. I do have a ways to go before I’m finished with Canada’s list, but the country exports upwards of 80 percent of its pellets. That means mills with much larger production capacities than mills that are bagging their pellets for sale on domestic markets, which the majority of U.S. producers do as of right now. I’ll find out if my hypothesis is correct once my editorial team begins making calls to all the plants in a couple weeks, but I think that’s what we’ll discover.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Grass to gas: Researchers' genome map speeds biofuel development
February 10, 2012 by James E. Hataway

Researchers at the University of Georgia have taken a major step in the ongoing effort to find sources of cleaner, renewable energy by mapping the genomes of two originator cells of Miscanthus x giganteus, a large perennial grass with promise as a source of ethanol and bioenergy.

Changsoo Kim, a postdoctoral research associate in the UGA Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory, identified a set of approximately 600 bits of Miscanthus DNA that can serve as diagnostic tools. The next step is to determine which pieces of DNA are diagnostic of genes that can make the plant an even better biofuel crop.

Kim's work—and the Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory—is led by Andrew Paterson, a Distinguished Research Professor who falls under the UGA departments of genetics and plant biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and crop and soil sciences in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

"What we are doing right now is taking the same individual plants that were used in the genetic map and measuring their height, flowering time, the size of their stalks, the dimensions of their leaves and how far they have spread from where they were planted," said Paterson, who is also a member of the Bioenergy Systems Research Institute. "And then one can use pretty straightforward statistics to look for correlations between bits of DNA and a trait."

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BGI opens genome research center in Europe

Public release date: 10-Feb-2012

Aiming to accelerate the development of genomic research and transformation of scientific achievements

February 10th, 2012, Copenhagen, Denmark, and Shenzhen, China – BGI, the world's largest genomics organization, today opens its first European Genome Research Center located in Copenhagen Bio Science Park (COBIS). This research center is about 1,200 square meters and equipped with 10 Illumina HiSeq 2000 sequencers. The center aims to establish collaborations to better accelerate the innovation and development of genomics research and applications in health care, agriculture, bioenergy and other related areas in Europe.

The opening ceremony of the genome research center was held at the Bio-center in University of Copenhagen today. It was attended by Pia Olsen Dyhr, Minister of Trade and Investments, Mr. Gu Hui, Charge d'affaire from Chinese Embassy, Professor Huanming Yang, Co-founder and Chairman of BGI, Professor Thomas Bjørnholm, Vice Chancellor of University of Copenhagen and approximately 120 guests from leading European research centers, universities and biotech industries.

Ning Li, Director of BGI Europe, welcomed the guests and expressed his appreciation to friends and supporters who have contributed to the successful opening of the Genome Research Center in COBIS. He noted, "Our primary mission of this research center is to provide BGI´s world-class expertise and infrastructure for the European researchers in genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics and other related areas. The opening of the Genome Research Center will add immense value on science advancement and application for both BGI Europe and Denmark. I believe this center also will strive to cultivate joint collaborations between China and Europe."

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Researcher sees DDGS as potential savior of U.S. shrimp industry

Ethanol Producer Magazine
By Holly Jessen January 20, 2012

A Texas A&M University System researcher has identified distillers grains and the domestic shrimp industry as excellent bedfellows.

Addison Lawrence, a project leader and scientist in charge at Texas AgriLife Research Mariculture Laboratory at Port Aransas, Texas, explains that two things have hit the U.S. domestic shrimp industry hard. No. 1 is the extremely high cost of shrimp feed, which can add up to $600 a ton to even $1,500 a ton. Secondly, as the world consumes increasing amounts of farm-produced shrimp as opposed to wild-caught shrimp, the U.S. has lost 50 to 60 percent of its shrimp production to overseas locations. “Because Thailand, Vietnam and other countries in the tropics can grow two or three crops of shrimp per year compared to just one crop in the U.S., it’s hard to compete,” he said. “Unless we do something we aren’t going to have any [U.S. shrimp production] in another 10 years.”

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Low-oil DDGS become increasingly available

Ethanol Producer Magazine
By U.S. Grains Council January 26, 2012

Ethanol plants in the United States, which also produce the feed ingredient distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), continue to upgrade equipment to extract non-food grade corn oil during the ethanol production process.

While regular DDGS may contain 10-15 percent oil, the low-oil variety contains much less and has different characteristics and feeding values than regular DDGS. Of the roughly 200 corn dry mills that produce ethanol, about 90 have oil extraction capabilities, and 105 plants will by this summer.

“On a production basis, about 40 percent of U.S. DDGS produced today is low-oil, and 58 percent will be low-oil by this summer,” said Randy Ives of Gavilon LLC, and U.S. Grains Council Value-Added Advisory Team Leader.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

ABO launches new 'all about algae' website to educate, inspire

Biorefining Magazine
By The Algal Biomass Organization February 07, 2012

The Algal Biomass Organization launched, a new website designed to showcase the potential of algae-based products to provide sustainable and scalable sources of food, energy and fuel. The website, developed in concert with the National Biodiesel Board, provides information, videos and photos all about algae-derived products such as biodiesel, aviation fuel, biochemicals, animal feed and nutritional supplements. is the first site designed to showcase algae's potential for everyone—from those just learning about algae to seasoned algae enthusiasts and entrepreneurs looking for the latest information on the industry's progress toward meeting challenges in energy security, food production and sustainability.

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US biodiesel production surpasses 1 billion gallons in 2011

Biodiesel Magazine
By The National Biodiesel Board January 30, 2012

The U.S. biodiesel industry reached a key milestone by producing more than 1 billion gallons of fuel in 2011, according to year-end numbers released by the EPA on Friday.

The total volume of nearly 1.1 billion gallons is by far a record for the industry and easily exceeded the 800 million gallon target required under the EPA's renewable fuel standard (RFS). The previous record for biodiesel production was about 690 million gallons in 2008.

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Feeders explore implications of low-fat distillers grains

Ethanol Producer Magazine
By Kris Bevill January 10, 2012

The cost to remove corn oil from distillers grains (DGs) is high, but even so, an increasing number of ethanol producers are expected to begin extracting the valuable product from DGs in the coming year as they seek out additional revenue sources from the ethanol production process. As a result, more of the DGs sold to livestock, swine and poultry feeders will have reduced levels of fat, a consequence that could be good or bad for animal producers, depending on the animal type.

Grant Crawford, a University of Minnesota beef extension educator, said some livestock producers could benefit from DGs with reduced oil/fat content. “In some cases, the fat content has limited the use of distillers grains, especially in feedlot rations, because we have a threshold of how much fat we can feed to cattle in feedlots before we start reducing animal performance,” he said. “Reducing the fat might be a positive thing and could allow us to feed higher levels. The downside of that is fat contains 2.25 times as much energy per gram than protein or carbohydrates, so we’re losing energy content potentially, but we’re also gaining the ability to feed greater amounts.” If the fat content of DGs remains between 8 and 10 percent (traditional DGs contain between 10 and 12 percent fat), Crawford said the product could continue to be a valuable feedstuff for livestock producers, allowing them to use greater amounts without requiring supplemental high-fat feeds.

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DDGS exports drop overall, exports to China cut in half

Ethanol Producer Magazine
By Holly Jessen January 18, 2012

After a record-breaking year in distillers grains exports in 2010, the Renewable Fuels Association expects total 2011 export numbers to decrease by about 14 percent, said Geoff Cooper, vice president of research and analysis for RFA.

Specifically, exports of DDGS are expected to reach 7.72 million metric tons by the end 2011, down from the record 9.03 million metric tons exported in 2010, Cooper said. On the other hand, exports are up from the 2009 total, which was 5.65 million metric tons.

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Poet targets dairy market with low-fat DDGS

Ethanol Producer Magazine
By Poet LLC February 07, 2012

Poet LLC is upping its stake in the dairy feed market with the introduction of Dakota Gold Low Fat dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS), which research is showing can be fed to dairy cattle at a higher inclusion rate than traditional DDGS.

Dakota Gold Low Fat DDGS has a 5 percent fat content, which allows for higher inclusion rates in dairy cows. It is a new opportunity for dairy operations that have had to limit DDGS use in the past because DDGS fat content can cause milk fat depression issues, said Kip Karges, technical services and research director at Poet Nutrition.

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UNICA denies that Brazil has established a new tariff on ethanol

Biofuels Digest
Jim Lane February 7, 2012

In Brazil, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) responded to allegations that a pre-existing VAT (value-added tax) on ethanol in the Brazilian state of São Paulo is equivalent to the return of Brazil’s tariff on imported ethanol, which was zeroed in 2010. The statement should be attributed to UNICA President and CEO, Marcos Jank.

“Recent media reports involving a value-added tax on ethanol in the state of São Paulo, known as ICMS (Goods and Services Tax), have included statements implying that this pre-existing tax is somehow equivalent to the reinstatement of Brazil’s federal import tariff on ethanol, which was zeroed by the government at UNICA’s request in 2010.

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Advances with ZSM-5 catalysts could transform pyrolysis biofuels

Biofuels Digest
Meghan Sapp February 7, 2012

In Germany and the US, researchers have independently discovered that using a zeolite known as ZSM-5 impregnated with metal nanoparticles can reduce the catalysts needed to transform bio-oil into useful hydrocarbons to just one. Johannes Lercher at the Technical University of Munich in Germany used nickel nanoparticles, while George Huber from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst used gallium nanoparticles. Huber says his catalysts can increase hydrocarbon yields by 40% while Lercher is exploring ways to further increase the efficiency of his catalyst by making it more active without losing the selectivity to produce alkanes in the diesel range.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Friends of the Earth Europe and ActionAid condemn EU biofuel policy

Biofuels Digest
Isabel Lane February 6, 2012

In Belgium, Friends of the Earth Europe and ActionAid have put out a study condemning the EU’s biofuel policy, claiming it could cost European motorists up to $166 billion by 2020. The European Commission does not deny the facts, but claims it’s “reasonable” for motorists to pay more for biofuels than fossil fuels.

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BioNitrogen Enters into LOI with United Suppliers (BION)

Small Cap Network
By Peter Cleveland
Published: February 3, 2012 10:25:41 AM PST

BioNitrogen Corp. (PINK: BION), a Florida-based developer of a revolutionary patent-pending technology for converting renewable biomass waste into high-nitrogen urea, on Thursday, announced that it entered into a letter of intent (LOI) with United Suppliers Inc. for the purchase of up to 300,000 short tons of urea annually.

The terms of the LOI specify the intent by United Suppliers to purchase up to 300,000 short tons annually of urea in granular or prilled grade form. The two companies expect to enter into a binding agreement for an initial term of three years. The final agreement is expected to be closed in the next few months. The agreement will include details on production specifications, method of delivery, pricing and payment.

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Novozymes explores seaweed-to-ethanol in India

Ethanol Producer Magazine
By Kris Bevill February 03, 2012

Novozymes has entered into a one-year exploratory research agreement with India’s Sea6 Energy to develop a process to convert seaweed to ethanol. As part of the agreement, Novozymes will focus on the development and manufacturing of enzymes for the conversion process. Sea6 Energy, a company created by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras to develop large-scale biofuels production from seaweed, otherwise known as macroalgae, will share its knowledge of offshore seaweed cultivation technology.

The agreement with Sea6 Energy marks Novozymes’ first venture into seaweed-to-ethanol conversion. GS Krishnan, regional president-India, Novozymes South Asia, said the company elected to explore seaweed’s potential for ethanol production because it offers a natural complement to the company’s other biomass-to-ethanol projects. Seaweed presents unique benefits as a biofuel feedstock in that it is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, it requires no irrigation or fertilizers and it does not need to be cultivated on arable land. Additionally, more than half of the dry mass in seaweed is sugar, offering great potential for high yields. Seaweed also lacks lignin, which could make it easier for producers to break down the plant material in order to reach the fermentable sugars.

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Sugar Production May Result in a Second Surplus Next Season, Olam Says

By Isis Almeida - Feb 4, 2012 6:01 PM CT .

Sugar production may outpace demand by as much as 8 million metric tons next season, a second consecutive surplus that could help send prices down further, according to commodities trader Olam International Ltd.

Output will be 6 million to 8 million tons higher than consumption in the 2012-13 season starting in October, Piero Carello, general manager of the Singapore-based company’s sugar division in Europe, and John Stansfield, a senior analyst, said in an interview in Dubai yesterday before an annual sugar conference organized by Kingsman SA. That compares with a 9 million-ton surplus in 2011-12, they said.

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POET, DSM partner for Project Liberty

The Messenger
February 5, 2012
By DAN VOIGT, For The Messenger , Messenger News

EMMETSBURG - It's official.

Project Liberty, the long-awaited commercial scale cellulosic ethanol production facility in Emmetsburg, will break ground for construction on March 13. The announcement came during a conference call Jan. 23 sponsored by POET and Royal DSM, of the Netherlands, which originated from Washington, D.C.

The call announced the joint venture between POET and Royal DSM to build and operate the Project Liberty facility in Emmetsburg, with a targeted start-up in the second half of 2013. Announcing the venture were POET Founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Broin and Feike Sijbesma, CEO/chairman of the DSM managing board of directors.

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Monday, February 6, 2012

ENERGY: Ethanol blender pumps growing in numbers

Prairie Business
Published February 03, 2012, 12:00 AM
By: Loretta Sorensen, Prairie Business Magazine

Blender pumps offering consumers a variety of ethanol-blend fuels are growing in numbers across the Dakotas and Minnesota.

We’re very satisfied with the progress of blender pump sales in North Dakota,” Tom Lilja, North Dakota Corn Growers Director, says. “In the past, a few stations may have had a pump dedicated to E85 in the corner. Now, blender pumps are right next to standard gasoline pumps and consumers are using the blended fuels.”

North Dakota just surpassed installation of 200+ pumps at more than 50 locations across the state. The majority of pumps are found in the eastern two-thirds of North Dakota. Blends vary from E10 to E30 to E85.

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When Bio and Solar converge: 6 hot projects at the bio-solar-electric frontier

Biofuels Digest
Jim Lane February 3, 2012

Six teams, six projects test the frontier — where the best of solar-electric and the best of bio-based create a new field of biosolar technologies — for fuels, materials, sensors and more.
When it comes down to it, a living organism such as a plant is an incredibly sophisticated next-gen solar panel, harvesting light as well as CO2, water and nutrients for the production of energy, proteins and more.

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Auditing agencies now accredited for PFI standards program

Biomass Power and Thermal
By Luke Geiver January 31, 2012

The Pellet Fuels Institute’s densified biomass fuel standards program may not be fully unveiled for several months, but PFI has completed accreditation of ten auditing agencies and two laboratories.

The accredited testing facilities will now provide services to qualify biomass fuel production facilities with appropriate labeling for pellets based on PFI’s standard parameters that include ash content levels, durability, fines, size, moisture content and others. The standards include three grades: premium, standard and utility

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Sao Paulo Ethanol Import Tax Could Violate GATT

Domestic Fuel
Posted by Cindy Zimmerman – February 2nd, 2012

The president of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) this week wrote a letter to the U.S. Trade Ambassador asking for an investigation into news that the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo was imposing a 25% tax on all imported ethanol.

“Because ethanol produced in Sao Paulo is tax exempt, ethanol imported into Sao Paulo from the United States and other areas is at a substantial economic disadvantage,” wrote RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen to Ambassador Ron Kirk. “We believe this action is discriminatory and may severely—and immediately—restrict the exportation of U.S. ethanol to Brazil.”

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Friday, February 3, 2012

D.C. clean energy investor calls biomass secure solution

Biomass Power & Thermal
By Luke Geiver February 01, 2012

The Washington D.C.-based clean energy investment team at Leaf Clean Energy Company has been around since 2007, and according to Peter O’Keefe, director of the company, his team has seen the ups and downs of the market. For 2012, O’Keefe believes the woody biomass market is looking up. During a webinar hosted by the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), O’Keefe provided perspective on the growth potential for the biomass sector in 2012, telling listeners that woody biomass “is an area that we think has tremendous promise in the U.S.” With investments in a biomass power facility in Georgia and another in Florida, Leaf Clean Energy is looking for more opportunities, he also said.

The reasoning behind the company’s search for new biomass investment is directly linked to the base load power supply and future changes in that market. “If you look at base load power and the attack that it is under, biomass is absolutely a secure solution for us.” O’Keefe pointed out the recent domestic and global issues with nuclear power and the push by European utilities to use renewable energy resources such as pellets. The wood pellet industry is an area he believes will drive growth in the biomass industry based on Europe’s demand for the product and from census data from 2000 to 2010 that shows wood pellets are the fastest growing home heating fuel over that span. “We are blessed with an abundant biomass resource in the U.S.,” he said.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Brazilian Imported Ethanol Tax Questioned

Hoosier Ag Today
Posted on 31 January 2012 by Andy Eubank

The Renewable Fuels Association is urging U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk to investigate the news that the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo was imposing a 25 percent tax on all imported ethanol. Port Santos in Sao Paulo is the main port of entry for U.S. ethanol exports to Brazil, which accounted for an estimated 400-million gallons in 2011. RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen says – because ethanol produced in Sao Paulo is tax exempt, ethanol imported into Sao Paulo from the United States and other areas is at a substantial economic disadvantage.

Dinneen says – this action is discriminatory and may severely—and immediately—restrict the exportation of U.S. ethanol to Brazil. He has always held that – decisions surrounding Brazil tariffs are neither permanent nor transparent and additional trade barriers could be constructed at any time. The actions of the state of Sao Paulo are such an example.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

U.S. corn growers say higher yields to boost ethanol

Reuters Africa
By Hugh Bronstein
Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:02pm GM

* Corn growers group projects huge yield gains by 2030
* Says corn use for ethanol to plateau, then increase

BUENOS AIRES, Jan 26 (Reuters) - The United States is headed for a corn output boom over the years ahead that will increase supplies available for ethanol production, the head of an industry chamber said on Thursday.

The robust growth of the ethanol sector in recent years has altered the structure of the U.S. corn market and ethanol producers now consume about 40 percent of the crop, sparking criticism that food supplies are at risk.

National Corn Growers Association Chief Executive Rick Tolman said corn use in ethanol will eventually rise from current 5.0 billion bushel although "there will be a plateau for a time."

"We've had reduced (corn) production in the last two years, but as we are able to increase production and work on new technology, I think it will continue to grow," he told reporters in Buenos Aires during a tour of Southern Cone farm areas.

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Ethanol production holds steady

Des Moines Register
8:36 AM, Jan 26, 2012 by Dan Piller

Three weeks after the expiration of the 45-cents per gallon blenders tax credit, ethanol production is running slightly ahead of last year’s pace.

The U.S. Energy Information Agency reported this week that ethanol production totaled 934,000 barrels per day for the week ending Jan. 20. That compared to production of 922,000 barrels per day for the same week last year.

The latest production had dipped slightly from the 944,000 barrels per day and 941,000 barrels per day in the first two weeks of 2012, which had been widely predicted after oil companies had blended furiously at the end of 2011 to capture the last of the tax credit.

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Brazil Will Favor Sugar at 21 Cents, Morgan Stanley Says

Bloomberg Businessweek
January 31, 2012, 6:51 AM EST
By Isis Almeida

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Sugar millers in Brazil, the world’s largest producer, will favor production of sugar over ethanol with prices at or above 21 cents a pound, Morgan Stanley said.

Producers in the South American country can make either sugar or ethanol from the raw material sugar cane. The raw sweetener traded in New York was up 1.2 percent to 24.13 cents a pound at 11:04 a.m. London time on ICE Futures U.S.

“Strong gasoline demand in Brazil has also led to an increase in anhydrous ethanol demand, though economics still support sugar production over ethanol down to a sugar price of 21 cents a pound,” Hussein Allidina, head of commodities research at the bank, wrote in a report dated yesterday.

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