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March 3, 2010
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Aviation biofuelsJet Stream: Aviaion biofuels gain altitude

Special Digest report on recent developments; the associations, events, producers and end users that matter

If 2009 brought us the "summer of Algae", 2010 is certainly looking to usher in "Jet Spring," with a series of stunning developments in the commercialization of aviation biofuels - shaping up as the first breakout, blockbuster end user segment for advanced biofuels.  

It was listed as #8 in "10 Biofuels Predictions for 2010: #8, Aviation Biofuels Surge: "In 2010, look for certification of Bio_SPK as an aviation biofuel. Major deals struck by British Airways, Qantas, Continental Airlines and Northwest Airlines for biofuels. Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Galactic will also announce new paths to increased use of renewables.

The prediction for British Airways has already come to pass. This month, British Airways announced that it will construct a 19 Mgy waste biomass gasification plant at one of four sites under consideration in East London, that will commence operations in 2014,

But there's much more. Already in past months, Rentech signed an off-take agreement with 13 airlines for renewable, drop-in jet fuel made from waste biomass; AltAir signed with 14 airlines. Later this quarter, Dynamic Fuels will open a commercial-scale facility in Louisiana that can manufacture up to 75 million gallons per year, again from waste biomass. Add to that a series of successful flight tests by Air New Zealand, Japan Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic, KLM and Continental Airlines, among others - and you have the makings of a monster market.

How big? Global aviation jet fuel demand is at 60 billion gallons per year - with a 50 percent blend of biofuels and jet fuel expected to be ASTM certified and FAA certified this year, a potential market of 30 billion gallons per year will open up for the industry. To put this in context, biofuels sales for 2009, globally, were around 22 billion gallons.

A complete Special Report
on the producers, the end users, the fuels, the associations, the events and the research prizes, at
Producer News

In Florida, officials at the University of Florida held a groundbreaking ceremony for a pilot cellulosic ethanol plant at the Buckeye Technologies pulp mill in Taylor County, which will use genetically modified E. coli bacteria to convert wood waste and sorghum into cellulosic ethanol. Cellulosic ethanol pioneer Lonnie Ingram, who developed the process, said that the plant would commence producing ethanol in 2011.

In Illinois, Honeywell's UOP announced that it has received $1.5 million in a cooperative agreement with the DOE  for a project to demonstrate technology to capture carbon dioxide and produce algae for use in biofuel and energy production. The project will also support the independent evaluation of the use of RTP rapid thermal processing technology from Envergent Technologies, a joint venture between UOP and Ensyn Corp.

"Those who Position Only for Growth look at the big picture," writes Dr. Rosalie Lober in her last Bioenergy PROFITS Principles column. "They invest now for later returns.  They are calculated risk the biofuels arena, those who are investing time, effort and money into the feedstock jatropha are in this category of enthusiastic entrepreneurs. Today we continue our examination of the jatropha market. "

Biofuels Bits: World Biofuels Markets has added Mark Lyra, Commercial Director - Ethanol from Cosan to the keynote session to address the $12 billion Shell-Cosan merger. In Massachusetts, Joule Biotechnologies was included in MIT Technology Review's 2010 TR50 - an inaugural list of the 50 most innovative companies in the world.
World Opinion

From TTNews: "A group including motor carriers, businesses, several members of Congress and a conservative public interest legal foundation has filed a lawsuit in federal appeals court challenging the EPA's finding that greenhouse gas emissions are a danger to public health. The lead plaintiff, the Southeastern Legal Foundation, called EPA's endangerment finding a "power grab" and based on "scientific errors and fraud."

From the New York Times: "House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and other key Republicans plan to unveil a formal resolution that would effectively veto EPA's "endangerment" finding. The House GOP measure currently has 79 Republican co-sponsors, according to the House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican office.

Innovation in which of the following is more crucial in the progress of advanced biofuels towards commercial viability? Feedstocks, Bioprocessing technologies or Infrastructure.

Take the Biofuels Digest poll - your response is appreciated.
International News

In Canada, the Toronto Globe & Mail ran a lengthy article investigating the "intensifying pressure" on Iogen to proceed with its proposed commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facility at Prince Albert in Saskatchewan. The plant, which according to the Advanced Biofuels Tracking Database is expected to open with a 23 Mgy capacity at some time in 2011, has not yet received a "firm commitment from Iogen and its partner and part-owner, Royal Dutch Shell".

In Canada, the national government announced that it will invest $77 million over seven years in the proposed expansion of the GreenField Ethanol corn ethanol plant in Varennes, Quebec from 31 Mgy (120 million liters) to 38 MGy (145 million liters). The ecoENERGY for Biofuels program is the source of the funding, which will push Grenfield's overall capacity at all locations to 119 Mgy (450 million liters).

In Brazil, Petrobras confirmed that it will invest $36 million to double capacity at its Candeias soy biodiesel unit in Bahia from 28 Mgy (108 million liters) to 57 Mgy (217 million liters). The plant produces more than 35 percent of all Petrobras' biodiesel capacity, according to a report in MacauHub - in support of the Brazilian biodiesel mandate.

Core Informatics
Research News

In Massachusetts, a research team led by Harvard has developed what they call a "microfluidic sorting device" that will reduce screening costs by a factor of 1 million in identifying potential biofuels-producing microorganisms and separating them from less attractive enzymes or bacteria. Result? Focusing on on the highest-activity variants of a microorganism faster - moving productivity towards theoretical maximums.
Policy and Policymakers

In Washington, the biodiesel tax credit has been included in a series of tax extensions and other farm relief items in the second half of the Obama jobs package. The bill also includes an extension through 2010 of the alternative fuel excise tax credit and prohibits the $1.01 cellulosic ethanol credit being paid to any fuel with more than 4 percent water or sediment content - aimed at closing the black liquor loophole.
Consumer, Fleet, Event News

In Michigan, the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers has revised its standard for testing biodiesel fuel.  ASAE EP552.1, Reporting of Fuel Properties when Testing Diesel Engines with Alternative Fuels Derived from Plant Oils and Animal Fats, covers the reporting of testing of any alternative fuels derived from plant oils and their blends with petroleum diesel for use in diesel engines. 
Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference: DC, 4/27-29, 2010

ABLC - congress
In Washington, the Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference announced that it has closed registrations for the event, maintaining its focus on an intimate setting for real networking and dialogue, and a limited number of attendees.

Two sponsor packages are still available that include attendee registrations, for those who have not yet registered and are interested in doing so.

The US Department of Energy, Iogen, Chromatin, PetroAlgae, Dupont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol and Genencor have signed on as sponsors for the three-day event, which includes more than 50 CEOs among the 160 attendees.

Agenda and speakers. The conference agenda is here.

Advanced Biofuels Tracking Database and other Free Downloads

Exclusive to Digest subscribers - and free.

1. Advanced Biofuels Tracking Database - download your free copy, tracking 50+ 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, gained 0.57 percent to 65.19 on grains, ethanol recovery. For the day, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) gained 0.64 percent to $29.85, while BP edged up 0.04 percent to $54.00. Among smaller caps, Gushan (GU) gained 6.19 percent to $1.20. Overall, advances led declines 2 to 1 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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