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April 20, 2010
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Top Story

USDA3 New USDA bioenergy programs
USDA seeks comment on proposed new rules for payments; up to $250 million in loan guarantees

In Washington, the USDA released proposed rules for three new bioenergy assistance programs and invited industry and other stakeholder comments, which will be accepted through May 17.

The programs, authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill, are:

Biorefinery Assistance Program. Under the proposed rule, the maximum loan amount will be $250 million; there is no minimum amount. The amount of a loan guarantee for a project will not exceed 80 percent of the total eligible project costs.

Repowering Assistance Payments. Under the proposed rule, USDA Rural Development will propose procedures for eligible biorefineries to receive a payment equal to 50 percent of the cost of installing eligible power systems, up to $5 million.

Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels.USDA would enter into contracts with advanced biofuels producers to support and ensure an expanding production of advanced biofuels.

The Digest's take:The industry should be motivated to make comments, and may wish to focus on the maximum loan amounts and loan guarantee limit of 80 percent - in particular, the loan amount limits will hamper high-capital projects.

The industry may well wish to comment on a reasonable period of time, in terms of determining the length of multi-year Section 9005 payment contracts.

The industry may also wish to comment on the availability of assistance for the production, for a period of time, of renewable chemicals in lieu of biofuels.

More on the USDA programs - including links to download the propsoed rules - and more Digest analysis at
Green Trackers
Producer News

In California
, the 55 Mgy Calgren Renewable Fuels corn ethanol plant has completed construction, according to a report from Lurgi. Calgren and Lurgi collaborated on unique designs that optimize the plant's energy efficiency and have achieved a 20 to 25 percent reduction of steam consumption compared to the industry norm. The plant will also produce 400,000 tons of distillers grains for cattle and dairy feed.

In California,SG Biofuels announced a strategic partnership with Brookhaven National Laboratory. Jatropha will be blended with residual oil combusted in a commercial boiler that has been used by Brookhaven National Laboratory to test other biofuel blends. During the tests, measurements of gases and particulates in the stack will be made to evaluate the differences made by the blending.

In Florida, Dyadic International announced an agreement to resolve the consolidated stockholder class action lawsuitagainst Dyadic and others, initially filed in October 2007. The Stipulation of Settlement provides for payment to the alleged class of $4.8 million in cash to be funded by Dyadic and its insurance carriers.
Biofuels International
World Opinion

Marcos Jank, Executive Director, UNICA: It makes no sense for countries to adopt ambitious policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while continuing to apply high tariffs on clean technologies that can be instrumental to achieve reduction goals and allowing fossil fuels to be traded freely."

From Science magazine: "Current observational tools cannot account for roughly half of the heat that is believed to have built up on Earth in recent years. Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) warn in the new study that satellite sensors, ocean floats, and other instruments are inadequate to track this "missing" heat, which may be building up in the deep oceans or elsewhere in the climate system."
International News

In Japan, researchers at Tsukuba University are inviting Toyota and Idemitsu Kosanto join an algae R&D project aiming to bring down the cost of algal-based fuel from $32.54 per gallon to parity with the oil price by 2022. The research team, according to Business Week, has proposed a $16 million open-pond production system after achieving yields of 1,000 metric tons per hectare per year at the lab level.

In Canada,CBC is running a profile on the Woodland Biofuels pilot cellulosic ethanol plant in Sarnia, Ontario. The report says that the project is scheduled to be completed by mid-2011 and will produce less than 1 Mgy from wood waste.

In the EU, a report from GlobEcon, "European Policies Towards Palm Oil," found that the EU's Renewables Directive"discriminates against non-EU producers of biofuels, such as Asian palm oil. The EU has embedded protectionist measures into the Directive at the behest of anti-development environmentalists and the uncompetitive European biofuels industry."
Research News

In Michigan, researchers at Michigan State University are reporting, in Environmental Science & Technology, that using productive farmland to grow crops for food instead of fuel is 36 percent more energy efficient. Lead author Ilya Gelfand said: "The ideal is to grow corn for food, then leave half the leftover stalks and leaves on the field for soil conservation and produce cellulosic ethanol with the other half."
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.
Policy and Policymakers

In Washington,the US government will submit the  U.S. Climate Action Reportto the United Nations. Highlights of the report: "Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced...The impacts from climate change are very real and severe, and will impact our lives in countless ways..the nation has a considerable way to go in comprehending and realizing the implications of climate change...Overall, total U.S. emissions rose by 17 percent from 1990 through 2007."
Consumer, Fleet, Event News

In New York, the Algal Biomass Organization announced the speaker line-up for its May 13 Algal Financing Summit. Chairs for the event are ABO directors
John Pierce, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Tom Byrne, Byrne & Company. Speakers include: Ben Cloud, Phyco Biosciences, Harrison Dillon, Solazyme; Chris Cassidy, USDA; Doug Cameron, Piper Jaffray; Bill Lese, Braemar Energy Ventures and Doug Jamison, Harris & Harris.
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, fell 0.66 percent to 68.24 on oil weakness. For the day, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) recovered 0.04 percent to $28.26, while BP fell 0.67 percent to $59.48 . Among smaller caps, Pacific Ethanol (PEIX) fell 7.83 percent to $1.06. Overall, declines led advances 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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