jueves, mayo 07, 2009

Daily Biofuels News Digest


Daily Biofuels News Digest
May 7, 2009

"The most widely-read daily on biofuels - readers in 200 countries"



Biodiesel 2020: A Global Market Survey
 685 pages, published February 2008



Quick Links

Editor's Column
Jim Lane - "Garbage to gold: waste-to-energy systems are ready for prime time."

Sean O'Hanlon
Will Thurmond

American Biofuels Council

Top Story

In Massachusetts, Mascoma will announce later this morning a breakthrough that is reducing the cost of cellulosic ethanol production by up to 60 percent in lab tests.

The breakthrough relates to consolidated bioprocessing (CBP) - a transformational  concept which the DOE/USDA 2006 Roadmap called "the ultimate low-cost configuration for cellulose hydrolysis and fermentation," and which reduces or eliminates the need for added enzymes to process pretreated lignocellulose into ethanol.

The goal of CBP is to combine the enzyme production, cellulose hydrolysis, and fermentation of the C5 and C6 sugars in one consolidated process.

With this announcement, Mascoma has developed a proof of concept consolidated bioprocessor. It is thought to be the biggest R&D-driven advance yet achieved in the cellulosic biofuels field.

Martin Keller, Director of the BioEnergy Science Center at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, called it a "significant breakthrough" and added "proofing consolidated bioprocessing is a major achievement towards a sustainable biofuels industry. This major milestone of achievement brings us so much closer to show that we can develop technology to achieve this goal. This also demonstrate the potential next generation biological research has to our energy security and also justifies the increased research funding in this area."

A full report on the breakthrough is available via

Producer News

In Washington, the Des Moines Register is reporting that soy biodiesel will not meet emission requirements as proposed by the EPA, and soy biodiesel may not be able to be counted towards the 1 billion gallon per year target for 2022 set by the Renewable Fuel Standard. The EPA, in is proposed rule, would give soy biodiesel a 22 percent reduction compared to emissions from conventional diesel, far less than the 50 percent required under the RFS.

In Michigan, Carbon Green Bio Energy and AgStar Financial Services have entered into an agreement for Carbon Green to purchase the 40 Mgy Woodbury ethanol plant that was aquired by AgStar in the VeraSun bankruptcy. The plant is expected to resume production within 30 days.

In California, BioCentric Energy CEO Dennis Fisher will head up the new West Coast division of the National Algae Association, after releasing details of the BioCentric Algae Pro Photobioreactor at a presentation at the NAA meeting last week in Houston.

World Opinion

Martin Tesini, Beta Analytic: "The ASTM D6866 [carbon 14] method has been accepted widely throughout the world for the measurement of the biogenic fraction of heterogeneous fuels. It is important that the EPA GHG protocol adopt similar reporting methods to ensure that CO2 emissions calculated in the United States are the same as the CO2 emissions calculated with these other protocols."

The Environmental Protection Agency: "With land use changes included, the EPA proposes to allow only the five most sustainable process pathways for producing ethanol from corn starch to qualify as renewable fuels, while ethanol produced from sugar in a biomass-fueled facility can qualify as an advanced biofuel."

International News

In Belgium, the European Bioethanol Fuel Association is reporting that EU ethanol production in 2008 was an estimated 2.8 billion liters, up from 1.8 billion liters the previous year. This represents an increase of 56%. Most of the increase is due to the growth in French production, which almost doubled to 1 billion liters in 2008 (up from 539 million liters in 2007).

In Liberia, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has released "Assessment of Biomass Resources in Liberia" under the Liberia Energy Assistance Program. The free report is downloadable via

In Brazil, former U.S. President Bill Clinton has agreed to participate in the 2009 Ethanol Summit in Sao Paulo, June 1-3. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will be the main speaker at the Summit's Opening Ceremony, along with 90 speakers from all continents, 25 panels in five theme-specific venues, three publication launches and six plenary sessions.

Research News

In Washington, the US Department of Energy announced the selection of six cost-shared University Advanced Combustion and Emissions Controls research and development projects totaling up to $13 million in DOE funding.

Policy & Policymakers

In Washington, the climate bill, which proposes a 20 percent gut in greenhouse gases by 2020 and an 83 percent cut by 2050, is running into stormy weather on Capitol Hill. According to news reports, Republicans are opposed to the bill and numerous Democrats are queasy about the potential increase in consumer energy costs.

Consumer & Fleet News

In Missouri, the United Soybean Board announced that it will be working with some chapters of the US Department of Energy Clean Cities program to communicate the benefits of soy biodiesel. The USB will provide up to $100,000 towards funding of programs that communicate the benefits of soy biodiesel through education, demonstrations and promotional activities in suburban and urban areas.

Financial News

The Biofuels Digest Index™ (BDI), a basket of public biofuels stocks, jumped 2.47 percent to 52.26, as ethanol continued to surge following US government announcements on biofuels investment and policy.  Archer Daniels Midland (ADM)  gained 1.68 percent to $24.24,  while Verenium (VRNM) rose 22.64 percent to $0.65 .  Among small caps, Biofuel Energy (BIOF) gained 34.04 percent to $0.63.  Overall, advances led declines 2 to 1 for the day. 

Hot Topics from Past Issues

Some newer readers, or those who were out of town on the day, may have missed some of these popular reads from past issues:

Drop In, Tune Out, Turn On: new thinking for new days in bioenergy. The importance of drop in fuels, the unimportance of the current debate over first-gen fuels.

Whither goes thou, biofuels? A Biofuels Digest report on why subsidies, mandates and tariffs must go.

"Fat vs Fuel": Biofuels Digest special report on Indirect Land Use Change, emissions, and American overeating

The Blunder Crop: a Biofuels Digest special report on jatropha biofuels development

The Hottest 50 Companies in Bioenergy

A New global map and database of advanced biofuels plants

"A vertically integrated, scalable 5,000 gallon/acre algae fuel system": a Biofuels Digest special report on PetroAlgae

Biofuels Digest's LinkedIn and Facebook discussion groups

At LinkedIn:  100+ discussions underway at the Digest LinkedIn group.

At Facebook: Discussions also underway at the Digest LinkedIn group.



These stories and more are available at Your comments and story requests are warmly welcome: email me at Jim Lane, Editor, Biofuels Digest.




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