The Ohio State University has taken first place in the final year of EcoCAR 3, an Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition, sponsored by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM). This is OSU’s fourth consecutive win. The team earned 895 out of 1000 overall points. Ohio State... Read more →


Japan policy shift allows imports of ETBE made from US corn-based ethanol; increased carbon-intensity requirement

The Japanese government’s new biofuel policy will allow imports of ETBE (Ethyl Tert-Butyl Ether) made from US corn-based ethanol. ETBE is an oxygenated gasoline fuel component and ether. ETBE, conventionally derived from ethanol (47% v/v) and isobutylene (53% v/v), features properties including high octane, low boiling point and low vapor... Read more →


The United States exported nearly 1.4 billion gallons of fuel ethanol in 2017, surpassing the previous record of 1.2 billion gallons set in 2011, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). US imports of ethanol in 2017 increased compared with 2016 but remained relatively small at 77 million gallons,... Read more →


To better understand the near-term commercial potential for capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide, researchers from the Carnegie Institution for Science, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Stanford University have mapped out how CO2 might be captured from existing US ethanol biorefineries and permanently... Read more →


ASTM International recently approved ethanol as a feedstock in ASTM D7566 Annex A5, the Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons for alcohol-to-jet synthetic paraffinic kerosene (ATJ-SPK). The revision of ASTM D7566 Annex A5 to increase the blend ratio of ATJ-SPK to 50% was also completed. Companies such... Read more →


New technique for modeling auto-ignition characteristics of bioethanol-blended gasolines

Researchers at KAUST in Saudi Arabia, with colleagues from Saudi Aramco and the National University of Ireland Galway, have developed a new method for investigating the auto-ignition behavior of bioethanol-blended gasolines. Their work, reported in a paper in the journal Combustion & Flame, explores the oxidation behavior of two oxygenated... Read more →


Toyota unveiled a prototype hybrid flexible-fuel vehicle (Hybrid FFV) during an event Toyota held São Paulo, Brazil. Stakeholders including the state government, universities, and the sugarcane association (the Sugarcane Industry Union: UNICA) attended the event. The prototype is the combination of a flexible-fuel vehicle (FFV) that can be powered by... Read more →


Xinhua reports that China’s State Administration of Grain (SAG) said that China will expand production and consumption of bioethanol fuel this year as the country seeks more channels to use corn and grain stockpiles. Years of government support for corn farmers—paying Chinese corn producers more than twice the international price... Read more →


Novozymes has unveiled its new yeast platform for starch-based ethanol, while also introducing the first product, Innova Drive. A completely new yeast strain, the product can reduce fermentation time by up to two hours compared to current yeasts. The new yeast is also tougher, continuing to ferment in adverse conditions... Read more →


Sekisui, a multibillion dollar Japanese diversified chemicals company and LanzaTech report making significant progress on a waste-to-chemicals platform converting municipal solid waste (MSW) to ethanol or other new products. Today, many MSW streams are incinerated or super-heated to produce a synthesis gas made up of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, which... Read more →


BP and Copersucar to form a new ethanol joint venture in Brazil

BP Biofuels and Copersucar have agreed to form a joint venture to own and operate a major ethanol storage terminal in Brazil, better and flexibly connecting ethanol production with the country’s main fuels markets. Copersucar is the world’s leading sugar and ethanol trader, with the largest sugar and ethanol storage... Read more →


Eni, FCA partner on R&D to cut road vehicle CO2 emissions; methanol/ethanol blends, renewable diesel, ANG, on-board CO2 capture

The chief executive of Eni, Claudio Descalzi, and the chief executive of FCA, Sergio Marchionne, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the joint development of research projects and technological applications aimed at reducing CO2 emissions from road transport vehicles. The two companies, renewing their strategic commitment to a low-carbon future... Read more →


Study: expanding Brazilian sugarcane for ethanol could reduce global CO2 emissions by up to 5.6%

Vastly expanding sugarcane production in Brazil for conversion to ethanol could reduce current global CO2 emissions by as much as 5.6%, according to a new study by an international team led by researchers from the University of Illinois. This would be a massive undertaking, involving the conversion of hundreds of... Read more →


NAS: concerns remain about rail transport for energy liquids, gases; pipeline, maritime have more comprehensive safety system in place

With the sharp and largely unexpected increase in the long-distance movement of domestically produced crude oil, ethanol, and natural gas since 2005, a number of concerns have arisen about the safe transport of these hazardous materials, particularly in relation to railroad track defects, rural communities’ emergency response preparedness, and the... Read more →


EPA issues NODA concerning potential further reductions in RFS volume requirements

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a Notice of Data Availability (NODA) to provide public notice and an opportunity to comment on potential reductions in the 2018 biomass-based diesel (BBD), advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes, and/or the 2019 biomass-based diesel volume under the Renewable Fuel Standard... Read more →


Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have harnessed the power of photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide into fuels and alcohols at efficiencies far greater than plants. The achievement marks a significant milestone in the effort to move toward sustainable sources of fuel. Many systems... Read more →


LanzaTech collaborating with Swayana to convert waste gases from ferroalloy production to ethanol

South African engineering company Swayana has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with LanzaTech to collaborate on developing projects for the production of ethanol and higher value products from waste gases in the ferroalloy and titania smelting sectors. LanzaTech’s first commercial facility will be online at the end of 2017... Read more →


São Paulo study finds concentration of ultrafine particulates rose by 1/3 in switch from ethanol to gasoline

The concentration of ultrafine particles less than 50 nanometers in diameter rose by one-third in the air of São Paulo, Brazil, when higher ethanol prices induced drivers to switch from ethanol to gasoline, according to a new study by a Northwestern University chemist, a National University of Singapore economist and... Read more →


IndianOil and LanzaTech to construct first refinery Offgas-to-Bioethanol production facility

Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IndianOil), India’s flagship national oil company and LanzaTech signed a Statement of Intent to construct the world’s first refinery offgas-to-bioethanol production facility in India. The basic engineering for the 40-million liter per year (10.6 million gallons US/year) demonstration facility will begin later this year for installation... Read more →


EPA proposes slight ease in 2018 renewable fuel volumes compared to 2017; gearing up for future reset

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule setting the minimum amount of renewable fuels that must be supplied to the market in calendar year 2018 under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program. EPA will issue the final rule in the fall. Relative to the levels finalized in... Read more →


Stanford team develops copper catalyst for increased selectivity of production of ethanol via electroreduction of CO2

Researchers at Standford University have designed large-format, thin-film copper catalysts for the electroreduction of CO2 to ethanol. The results are published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “One of our long-range goals is to produce renewable ethanol in a way that doesn’t impact the global food supply. Copper... Read more →


Edeniq secures $5M in growth equity; 27 plants in cellulosic ethanol pipeline

Edeniq, Inc., a cellulosic technology company, has secured commitments for $5 million in additional equity to support existing customer workload, rapidly grow the pipeline, and roll out technology enhancements. Edeniq has raised more than $12 million over the past 12 months. Edeniq’s Pathway Technology is a proprietary, integrated platform to... Read more →


Scientists engineer sugarcane to produce lipids for biodiesel, more sugar for ethanol; ARPA-E project PETROSS

A multi-institutional team led by the University of Illinois has genetically engineered sugarcane to produce lipids in its leaves and stems for biodiesel production (lipid-cane). Surprisingly, the modified sugarcane plants also produced more sugar, which could be used for ethanol production. The dual-purpose bioenergy crops are predicted to be more... Read more →


BP, DuPont JV Butamax acquires ethanol plant to add bio-isobutanol production capability as demo plant

Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC, a 50/50 joint venture between BP and DuPont, acquired Nesika Energy, LLC and its ethanol facility in Scandia, Kansas. Butamax will now start the detailed engineering work to add bio-isobutanol capacity to the facility, while continuing to produce ethanol before and after adding this capacity. Butamax... Read more →


Senate bill would enable sales of E15 and higher ethanol blends year round; RVP waiver

US Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have introduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act. The bill would amend the Clean Air Act to extend the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to ethanol blends above 10%. This would increase market access opportunities for higher... Read more →


The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the Brazilian aerospace agency Agência Espacial Brasileira (AEB) have successfully completed the first burn tests for two newly designed injection heads enabling the development of a new rocket that is fueled with oxygen and alcohol. The final injection... Read more →


Global Bioenergies reports first production of ETBE entirely from renewable resources

Global Bioenergies announced the production of ETBE—Ethyl tert-butyl ether, an oxygenate additive for gasoline—purely from renewable resources. ETBE features very different and advantageous physical and chemical characteristics, compared to ethanol, when blended into gasoline. These include significantly lower blending volatility; no significant distortion of the distillation curve; better tolerance of... Read more →


Study: splash blended ethanol fuels with higher ethanol percentage enable higher thermal efficiency in SI engine

A team from the University of Birmingham (UK) and Shell Global Solutions has investigated the effect of RON, octane sensitivity and charge cooling in splash-blended ethanol fuels with different volume percentages of ethanol on a single-cylinder direct-injection spark ignition (DISI) research engine. In a paper published in the journal Fuel,... Read more →


Urban Air Initiative and partners petition EPA to correct ethanol emissions models

The Urban Air Initiative (UAI), the Energy Future Coalition and the states of Kansas and Nebraska have petitioned the US Environmental Protection Agency to correct what they call the agency’s flawed models that limit the use of higher blends of ethanol. According to UAI, the EPA has published inaccurate data... Read more →


EPA approves Little Sioux Corn Processors for cellulosic ethanol using Edeniq’s Pathway technology

Edeniq, Inc., a leading cellulosic and biorefining technology company, and Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) announced that the US Environmental Protection Agency has approved Little Sioux Corn Processors’ registration of its 150 million gallon per year Marcus, Iowa, ethanol plant for cellulosic ethanol production. Under the terms of its license... Read more →


A new lifecycle analysis of corn ethanol released by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) finds that GHG emissions associated with corn-based ethanol in the United States are about 43% lower than gasoline when measured on an energy-equivalent basis. Unlike other studies of GHG benefits, which relied on forecasts of... Read more →


A new study from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) concludes that the Renewable Fuel Standard program will miss its advanced biofuel targets due to the the high costs of creating advanced biofuel; the relatively low price of fossil fuel; the timing and cost to bring new tech to commercial-scale... Read more →


The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized increases in renewable fuel volume requirements across all categories of biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. In a required annual rulemaking, the action finalizes the volume requirements and associated percentage standards for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel for... Read more →


Chevrolet and GMC expand alternative fuel fleet offerings; expanded CNG/LPG lineup

Chevrolet and GMC are partnering with Power Solutions International, Inc. (PSI) to introduce heavy-duty pickups and full-size vans powered by 6.0-liter V-8 compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)-capable engines starting in the first quarter of 2017. Chevrolet also will offer CNG and LPG versions of its new... Read more →


Novozymes launches world’s first biological foam control for sugarcane ethanol; up to 20% cost reduction

Novozymes has launched Fermax, an enzyme protease that prevents foam development during the sugarcane ethanol fermentation process, while delivering improved control and replacing chemicals. For an average size plant, trialing partners also experienced a cost reduction of up to 20% when using Fermax, as compared with use of chemicals. Foam... Read more →


A research team from Empa (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology) and the University of Applied Sciences Bern, Laboratory for Exhaust Emission Control, reports that ethanol blending appeared to reduce genotoxic emissions from a flex-fuel Euro-5 gasoline direct injection (GDI) vehicle (a Volvo V60 with a 1.6 L... Read more →


UW-Madison and GLBRC team engineers S. cerevisiae to ferment xylose, nearly doubling efficiency of converting biomass sugars to biofuel

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin­-Madison and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) have used directed evolution to nearly double the efficiency with which the commonly used industrial yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae converts plant sugars to biofuel. The resulting improved yeast could boost the economics of making ethanol, specialty biofuels... Read more →


Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed an electrocatalyst which operates at room temperature and in water for the electroreduction of dissolved CO2 with high selectivity for ethanol. Their finding was serendipitous. An open-access paper on their work appears in the journal ChemistrySelect. The... Read more →


EPA proposing updates to Renewable Fuel Standard

EPA is proposing updates to the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) regulations and related fuels regulations to better align the standards with the current state of the renewable fuels market and to promote the use of ethanol and non-ethanol biofuels. Several of the proposed changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard program... Read more →


Researchers at the University of Witwatersrand and the University of South Africa are proposing replacing the final purification steps of conventional bio-ethanol production with a simple gasoline-blending step. In a paper published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels, they show that gasoline pre-blending results in a spontaneous liquid phase... Read more →


In a milestone for the low-carbon fuel project, LanzaTech has produced 1,500 gallons of jet fuel from waste industrial gases from steel mills via a fermentation process for Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech have been working together on the project since 2011. HSBC joined the partnership in 2014. The... Read more →


U-M study finds crop-based biofuels associated with net increase in GHGs; falsifying the assumption of inherent carbon neutrality

A new study from University of Michigan researchers challenges the assumption that crop-based biofuels such as corn ethanol and biodiesel are inherently carbon-neutral—i.e., that only production-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to be tallied when comparing them to fossil fuels. In an open-access paper published in the journal Climatic Change,... Read more →


With funding from Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has been working with industry-partner LanzaTech to convert alcohols derived from captured carbon monoxide, a byproduct in the production of steel, into synthetic paraffinic kerosene, a non-fossil-based jet fuel. The technology not only provides a viable source of... Read more →


EPA Office of Inspector General: EPA has not met certain statutory requirements to identify environmental impacts of RFS

The US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Inspector General (OIG) has found that the EPA has not met certain statutory requirements to identify environmental impacts of Renewable Fuel Standard. In a newly released report, the OIG said that EPA’s Office of Research and Development has not complied with the requirement... Read more →


One of the key points of contention over the climate benefit of biofuels is the impact of land use change (LUC) associated with biofuel feedstock production. LUC results in biogeochemical (e.g., soil organic carbon) and biogeophysical (e.g., surface albedo, evapotranspiration, and surface roughness) changes. Of the biogeophysical factors, surface albedo... Read more →


Fuel ethanol production capacity in the United States was 14.903 billion gallons per year, or 973,000 barrels per day (b/d), at the beginning of 2016, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) most recent US Fuel Ethanol Plant Production Capacity report. Total capacity of operable ethanol plants increased by... Read more →


The US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) is intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. However, argues a team from the University of Minnesota in an open-access paper published in the journal Energy Policy, once the “fuel market rebound effect” is factored in, RFS2 actually increases GHG emissions when all... Read more →


In Brazil, Nissan Motor revealed the first Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell (SOFC)-powered prototype vehicle that runs on bio-ethanol electric power. Research and development of the e-Bio Fuel-Cell was announced by Nissan in June in Yokohama. (Earlier post.) The e-Bio Fuel-Cell prototype vehicle, based on a Nissan e-NV200 electric van (earlier post),... Read more →


Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC) and Mitsui Zosen Machinery & Service (MZM), a subsidiary of Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding are partnering to produce and sell zeolite membranes, with a focus on ethanol dehydration. MCC will purchase MZM’s entire output of zeolite membranes and hold the sole sales rights in the US... Read more →


Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. announced that it is currently researching and developing a Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell (SOFC)-powered system using bio-ethanol as the on-board hydrogen source. The new e-Bio Fuel Cell system—a world-first for automotive use—features an an SOFC stack and an on-board reformer to convert 100% ethanol or ethanol-blended water... Read more →