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April 21, 2010
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CapitolDC's Walk-Walkers
In a town of Talk-Talk, here are 10 who walk the walk for bioenergy, renewables

In Washington, a group of Midwestern senators, headlined by Charles Grassley of Iowa and Kent Conrad of North Dakota, just introduced a Senate bill supporting the extension of the ethanol blender tax credit, as well as the ethanol tariff.

It raises the question, who are walk-walkers in the US government - who "walk the walk, not just talk the talk" on renewables and bioenergy.

A cursory survey of 435 congressional and 100 Senatorial websites will find the talk on for energy independence is tough and universal, but not always reflected in action and votes. Out of the 535 talk-talkers in Congress (and a lot more in the executive branch), here are some walk-walkers of note.

1. President Barack Obama. Republicans sense opportunity in the fall, but despite pressure from environmentalists to dump (and dump on) biofuels, be in no doubt - when biofuels received a huge expansion of R&D and commercialization support via the Recovery Act despite the "food vs fuel" theatrics of 2008/09, "No drama Obama" was driving policy.

2. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.Though Digest readers voted Secretary of Energy Steven Chu ahead of the Agriculture Secretary, Vilsack has been quietly assuming the lead on bioenergy development as part of the USDA's mission to promote rural economic development, as well as develop new markets for US farm products, The USDA has assumed the responsibility for moving the biofuels industry from the R&D stage to commercialization, and three new programs announced by the Secretary this week are proof positive that the USDA is on the move.

More Walk-Walkers at the White House, and in Congress, at
Green Trackers
Producer News

In New York
, the Codexis IPO prices today, and the CDXS stock will commence trading tomorrow when NASDAQ opens. It's the most widely-anticipated IPO - in fact the only bioenergy IPO - in a month of Sundays. What have we learned?  1. The stock, according to well-placed Digest sources, is doing "very well", and expectations may well be for a strong open on Thursday. 2. Seven other IPOs hit the market this week - so watch out, day traders, the initial market may well be tapped in terms of absorbing the new equities and a short-term price dip may be experienced. More on lessons learned at

"When in doubt, we go to the experts, who allegedly know more than we do," writes Dr. Rosalie Lober in a column on Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, "The Future's Not Ours To See...Que Sera, Sera." In the next few columns, we will learn about the man who President Obama determined as the U.S. global representative, at a time when energy policy is perhaps more critical for the world's sustainability than ever before."

Biofuels Bits:In California,Pacific Ethanol announced that it has filed an amended restructuring plan, which would transfer ownership of the company's four ethanol plants to a new company, New PEH. Also in California, AE Biofuels reports that it is on track to commence production of cellulosic ethanol in 2011at the former Cilion corn ethanol plant in Sacramento.
Biofuels International
World Opinion

Patrick Westhoff, in the New York Times:"Even though China is self-sufficient in many major food commodities today, it has been a major player in world markets in the past, and will be again in the future. In the case of corn, for example, China has sometimes been the second leading exporter in the world, but it has occasionally also been a significant importer. Just the rumor of potential Chinese corn imports can send prices in futures markets soaring."

From AFP: "The US Department of Defense accounts for 80 percent of the US government's total energy consumptionenergy needs, and most of the energy it uses currently comes from fossil fuels, the report by the Pew Research think tank's Project on National Security, Energy and Climate says...The navy has set itself a key goal of getting 50 percent of fuel used ashore and afloat from non-fossil sources by 2020.
International News

In Honduras, the Agroipsa Farm in Choluteca has deployed the BEI Jatropha Wave Harvester,a mechanical harvesting system for jatropha which has successfully completed an eight-month trial of the system, according to BEI International, the harvester's manufacturer. the system was used for mechanical harvest of a 550 hectare plantation of three-year old jatriopha.

In Namibia, a report on LL Biofuels Namibia said that the company has secured rights to plant jatrophaon as much as 300,000 hectares controlled by the Caprivi Regional Council and the Namibia Development Corporation, and said it would proceed to develop as much as 20,000 hectares in the first phase of development. The group, backed by Israeli investor Lev Leviev.

In Tanzania, a statement issued by an EU delegation in Dar es Salaam, criticizing an ActionAid studyon the impact of biofuels production as "substantially flawed," has prompted a swift rebuke from ActionAid. The NGO continues to state that the acquisition of prime land by European companies in Tanzania for biofuels cultivation violates a national Tanzanian policy that biofuels should only be cultivated on marginal lands.
Research News

In Michigan, researchers at the University of Michigan are investigating a recipe to pressure-cook algaeat 300 degrees for 30 minutes, and thereby break down oils, proteins and carbohydrates into a bio-oil, which can be upgraded into fuel. The $2 million project, funded by the National Science Foundation under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is aimed at producing acceptable fuel yields from low-oil content algae strains, as well as eliminating the need for water extraction in algal fuel production.
Camelina Aviation Biofuels Study

Camelina report1 billion gallons of Camelina biofuel are projected to be produced for the aviation and biodiesel sectors by 2025, creating 25,000 new jobs; producing over $5.5 billion in new revenues and $3.5 billion in new agricultural income for U.S. and Canadian farmers.  The projections are contained in "Camelina Aviation Biofuels Market Opportunity and Renewable Energy Strategy Report," released today by Biomass Advisors, the research division of Biofuels Digest.

"Camelina Aviation Biofuels Market Opportunity and Renewable Energy Strategy Report," is 116 pages, and includes more than 60 figures, tables and charts, along with regional crop forecast maps for visualizing business opportunities and planning infrastructure needs.  The report is available for a purchase price of $695.  More information here.
YouChu Energy Project Competition

YouChu 2010 voting is continuing, and today is the final day for voting before eliminations begin in our mythical competitionwhere you choose which of 33 projects should receive Federal funding. 18 projects actually given integrated bioenergy awards by Energy Secretary Chu, and 15 alternative projects submitted by bioenergy developers. You favorite may be 'on the bubble' for elimination - starting tomorrow, we'll drop one per day until we have a set of winners - so make sure to vote.
Policy and Policymakers

In Washington, Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa and Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota are co-sponsors of a Senate billto extend ethanol tax credits through 2015, with no change in support levels. Blender credits would be set at $0.45 per gallon for corn ethanol, $0.10 as an added small ethanol producers credit, and $1.01 per gallon. The ethanol tariff would also be extended for five years. All of the credits are scheduled to expire December 31st.
Consumer, Fleet, Event News

In Washington,"The Ethanol Report," an audio service from the publishers of Domestic Fuel, published an audio interviewwith Renewable Fuels Association Director of Market Development Robert White regarding promotional efforts at RFA to assist withe ethanol blend wall issues. White highlights the BYO Ethanol program to get blender pumps installed, and efforts to encourage E15 ethanol blends in non flex-fuel vehicles.
Advanced Biofuels Tracking Database and 100+ Free Downloads

Exclusive to Digest subscribers - and free. 100+ downloads.

1. Advanced Biofuels Tracking Database - download your free copy, tracking 65+ pilot, demo and commercial projects.
2. Biofuels Investments details 81 investments made in 2009 by biofuels companies or in the biofuels sector, totaling $8.737 billion in 18 countries.
3. Biofuels Jobs
details a series of studies outling the impact of biofuels on the green jobs economy.
Financial News

The Biofuels Digest Index™(BDI), a basket of public biofuels stocks, jumped 1.67 percent to 69.38 on large cap gains. For the day, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) soared 2.34 percent to $28.92, while BP gained 1.68 percent to $60.48. Among smaller caps, Syntec Biofuel (SYBF.OB) fell 35.99 percent to $0.25. Overall, advances led declines 5 to 4 for the day.
Hot Topics from Past Issues

The 50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy: 2009-10: the complete list

Obama reorganizes
US biofuels policy, leadership, rules.
$564 million for 19 integrated biorefinery projects
:pilot, demonstration, and commercial scale facilities
The National Energy Solution: an inquiry into values:
Download a free introductory chapter of the new book from Biofuels Digest.
The Top 10 Stories of the Year
The 10 Most Overlooked
Stories of the Year
Free PDF of "Citizen Cane: Essays for New Days in Bioenergy" - featuring the best Digest columns since 2007 (plus originals) - available free only to Digest subscribers.
These stories and more are available at Your comments and story requests are warmly welcome: email me at

Disclosure: I do not own any renewable energy securities; no payments or compensation of any kind is received in return for placing favorable opinion in the Digest - Jim Lane, Editor and Publisher, Biofuels Digest.

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