The US Department of Energy launched three Bioenergy Research Centers just over ten years ago (earlier post). Of them, the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC), led by the University of Wisconsin–Madison, had a goal of turning more of the corn plant—the stalk and leaves that makes up the stover—into... Read more →


The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released two studies from the Co-Optimization of Engines & Fuels initiative (Co-Optima) (earlier post). The first study, Fuel Blendstocks with the Potential to Optimize Future Gasoline Engine Performance, identifies eight representative high-octane blendstocks across five chemical groups that could be blended into gasoline... Read more →


DOE to award $35M to 24 projects to support early-stage, innovative technologies and solutions in advanced manufacturing

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $35 million for 24 projects to support early-stage, innovative technologies and solutions in advanced manufacturing. These projects were selected under an Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Advanced Manufacturing Office funding opportunity, focused on advanced materials, advanced processes, and... Read more →


A cradle-to-grave (C2G) assessment of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and costs for current (2015) and future (2025–2030) light-duty vehicles by a team from US DOE and national laboratories, major automakers, EPRI and Chevron has found that currently, hybrid and plug-in hybrid petroleum-fueled vehicles provide the most attractive cost in terms... Read more →


Removing fossil fuel subsidies would have only a small effect on CO2 emissions and renewable energy use, according to a new study led by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and published in the journal Nature. Fossil fuel subsidies amount to hundreds of billions of dollars worldwide, and... Read more →


Canada-based Enerkem Inc., a leading waste-to-biofuels and chemicals producer, has completed a C$280-million (US$223 million) investment round—its largest to date. In addition to new investors BlackRock and Sinobioway, existing investors also participated in this financing. In January, Enerkem signed an agreement with Sinobioway Group worth more than C$125 million (US$100... Read more →


UMD IBBR awarded DOE grant to investigate how to protect biofuel crop poplar trees from disease

The University of Maryland (UMD) Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (IBBR) has been awarded a $1.1million US Department of Energy (DOE) grant to elucidate the mechanism of rust pathogenesis in poplar in an effort to engineer durable resistance for this important, second-generation biofuel crop. The aim of the three-year... Read more →


In 2016, the US Department of Energy (DOE) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) released a study concluding that within 25 years, the US could produce enough biomass to support a bioeconomy, including renewable aquatic and terrestrial biomass resources that could be used for energy and to develop products for... Read more →


European Parliament endorses proposal for 12% share of energy from renewable energy in transport by 2030; 10% advanced biofuels

The European Parliament last week endorsed a series of proposals setting targets for cleaner, more efficient energy use. Among those was a proposal for a binding EU-level target of a 12% share of energy from renewable sources in transport, by 2030. Members of Parliament also endorsed setting a 35% improvement... Read more →


Shell, ITM Power to build world’s largest hydrogen electrolysis plant in Germany; €20M REFHYNE project

Shell and ITM Power will build the world’s largest hydrogen electrolysis plant at Rhineland refinery, Germany. (Earlier post.) With a peak capacity of 10 megawatts, the hydrogen will be used for the processing and upgrading of products at the refinery’s Wesseling site as well as testing the technology and exploring... Read more →


Evea study estimates 69% reduction in GHG emissions for Global Bioenergies’ fully renewable ETBE compared to fossil gasoline

Life-cycle analysis specialist EVEA has estimated that fully renewable ETBE produced by the Global Bioenergies’ IBN-One plant would enable 69% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil gasoline. This figure was calculated for the current design planned for the IBN-One plant using a greenhouse gases emissions calculator based on... Read more →


Air Products to acquire Shell’s coal gasification technology business and patent portfolio for liquids (residue) gasification; coal-to-fuels in China

Air Products will acquire Royal Dutch Shell’s Coal Gasification Technology business as well as Shell’s patent portfolio for Liquids (Residue) Gasification. Financial terms are not being disclosed, and the acquisition is expected to close in the coming months. As a leading industrial gas company, Air Products has extended its onsite... Read more →


EIA forecasts US crude oil production rate to break record high in 2018 and again in 2019; 10.3 and 10.8 million b/d

In its latest edition of the Short-Term Energy Outlook, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that US crude oil production will average 10.3 million b/d in 2018—the highest annual average production in US history, surpassing the previous record of 9.6 million b/d set in 1970. EIA also forecasts that... Read more →


Eni’s proprietary Eni Slurry Technology (EST) is able to convert refining residues entirely into high-quality light products, eliminating both liquid and solid refining residues with significant environmental benefits. Eni has now sold the licence and basic engineering project to the Chinese company Sinopec for the construction of a refining plant... Read more →


OSU team developing chemical looping technology to convert fossil fuels and biomass to syngas while consuming CO2

Engineers at The Ohio State University are developing technologies that have the potential to convert fossil fuels and biomass economically into syngas for conversion into useful products including methanol, gasoline and electricity without emitting carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. In the first of two papers published in the journal Energy... Read more →


WUSTL team receives $3.9M to engineer bacteria to produce drop-in fuels from lignin

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have received a $3.9-million grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop bacteria that manufacture renewable biofuels. Building on prior funding from the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) for systems biology work on Rhodococcus opacus, this project will apply... Read more →


Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have demonstrated a novel integrated conversion process for algal biomass to produce fuel and chemical products of sufficient quality to be blend-ready feedstocks for further processing. A paper on their work is published in the RSC journal Green Chemistry. Biomass from the... Read more →


Berkeley Lab team develops predictive model to optimize biomass blends for commercial-scale biorefinery processing

The type of biomass available for fuels and chemical production varies with the time of year and geography; the ability to integrate multiple feedstocks into the process of a bio-refinery can substantially de-risk the logistics of supply. However, pioneering bio-refineries have been optimized to process a single feedstock such as... Read more →


EU Council of Ministers adopts position on Renewable Energies Directive; bumps renewables in transport to 14% in 2030

The EU Council has adopted its position on a directive promoting the use of renewable energy across the EU. This agreement paves the way for the Council to start negotiations with the European Parliament as soon as it agrees on its negotiating mandate. The EU is committed to reach a... Read more →


China Lake team devises new class of bio-based high-cetane renewable diesel fuels: dioxolanes

Researchers at the Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake have synthesized a new class of renewable diesel fuels from a methyl ketone and diols including 2,3-butanediol, 1,2-propanediol, and ethylene glycol. These fuels exhibit comparable net heats of combustion (NHOCs) to conventional biodiesel, while maintaining derived cetane numbers between 82-91. These... Read more →


GE Aviation testing 100% Gevo Alcohol-to-Jet fuel

GE Aviation has begun jet engine combustor component testing with 100% Gevo renewable alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ). The testing is being performed as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise Program (CLEEN). CLEEN is the FAA’s principal environmental effort to accelerate the development of new... Read more →


NREL-led research could lead to improved enzyme performance to break down biomass for renewable fuels

A team led by researchers from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have gained new insights into how glycosylation—the natural attachment of sugars to proteins—affects a key cellulase enzyme. This work could be used to improve enzyme performance to better break down biomass and convert... Read more →


For the last 18 months, a fleet of 6 methanol-fueled versions of the Geely Emgrand 7 cars have been in Iceland. Geely is a shareholder ($45.5-million investment in 2015) in Carbon Recycling International (CRI), an Icelandic company which produces renewable methanol using recycled CO2 emissions sourced from a local thermal... Read more →


Two-stage catalytic fast hydropyrolysis of biomass produces biofuel with heating value, aromaticity close to gasoline

A team at the University of Connecticut Storrs reports on a two-stage catalytic fast hydropyrolysis process (CFHP) that produces a drop-oin biofuel with heating value and aromaticity close to that of gasoline. Their paper is published in the journal Fuel. The two-stage CFHP followed by hydroprocessing produced nearly 18 mol% carbon... Read more →


Siluria and Wood launch Modus: process technology to convert low-value offgas into high-octane, low-sulfur gasoline blendstock

Siluria Technologies, developer of a catalytic oxidative coupling of methane (OCM) process to convert natural gas into liquid fuels or petrochemical building blocks (earlier post), and Wood, a leader in the delivery of project, engineering and technical services to energy and industrial markets, announced the availability of the Modus process... Read more →


WVU, NETL partner with Pitt, Shell to develop process to transform stranded natural gas into marketable products

Researchers at West Virginia University will lead a team that will investigate ways to convert stranded gas resources into value-added liquid products that could reduce the United States’ demand for crude oil by up to 20%. The WVU-led team will combine the capabilities of the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL)... Read more →


Researchers at KAUST, Saudi Aramco evaluating low-octane fuels for gasoline compression ignition engines

Gasoline compression ignition (GCI) is an experimental engine technology that could consume 25% less energy than a conventional automobile engine. (Earlier post.) GCI uses a gasoline-type fuel, but rather than ignited with a spark, it is compression-ignited like diesel. GCI engines operate at higher compression ratios than conventional gasiline engines,... Read more →


A University of Washington team is trying to make poplar an economically viable biofuel feedstock by testing the production of younger poplar trees that could be harvested more frequently—after only two or three years—instead of the usual 10- to 20-year cycle. These juvenile trees are planted closer together and cut... Read more →


NAIT partnering with Oberon, Mack and Westcan to advance use of DME fuel in long-haul trucks

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is partnering with Mack Trucks, Oberon Fuels and Westcan Bulk Transport to develop fuel moisture management technology for dimethyl ether (DME), a cleaner-burning (sulfur-free and no PM), high-cetane (55-60), diesel fuel alternative that can be made from natural gas or methanol produced from... Read more →


Hydrogen Council study: hydrogen could contribute to 20% of CO2 emissions reduction targets by 2050

In Bonn, as global leaders gathered at COP 23, the Hydrogen Council coalition (earlier post) released a report developed with support from McKinsey quantifying the potential for hydrogen in the energy transition. According to the study, if deployed at scale, hydrogen could account for almost one-fifth of total final energy... Read more →


Neste and American Airlines collaborate to explore opportunities for renewable fuel use; High Freeze Point HEFA

Neste, the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel, and American Airlines, the world’s largest airline, have entered into an agreement to explore opportunities to further reduce American’s environmental footprint through the use of Neste’s renewable fuels. One goal of the cooperation will be complementary efforts to facilitate acceptance and commercialization... Read more →


Sandia-led team demonstrates two efficient hybrid biochemical routes for lignin conversion to value-added chemicals

A Sandia National Laboratories-led team has demonstrated two new routes to lignin conversion that combine the advantages of earlier methods while minimizing their drawbacks. The team’s recent findings are described in an open access paper in the journal Scientific Reports. Lignin, the tough material left over from biofuel production, contains... Read more →


Study concludes 20% synthetic diesel blend could reduce PM emissions in Beijing by ~19%

PM emissions from current vehicles in Beijing could be reduced by approximately 19% by simply blending 20% synthetic diesel with currently available diesel, according to a new study by Tsinghua University, the Desert Research Institute in Nevada and Greyrock Energy, a developer of gas-to-liquids technology. This improvement can be accomplished... Read more →


Audi is systematically building on its e-fuels strategy. (Earlier post.) Together with the partners Ineratec GmbH (earlier post) and Energiedienst Holding AG, the company has plans for a new pilot facility for the production of e-diesel in Laufenburg, in Canton Aargau (Switzerland). For the first time, the energy needed will... Read more →


VTT-led project to develop enzymes found in India’s wildfire-prone areas for biorefineries; IndZyme

Micro-organisms found in the wildfire-prone rainforests of India are an potential resources for biochemical production, as they are accustomed to the challenging conditions following a forest fire. The enzymes they produce are likely to also have a higher-than-normal resistance to the substances released from biomass in high-temperature industrial processes. An... Read more →


Phase 1 of DOE-funded ABBA Integrated Biorefinery project begins; renewable jet, gasoline, diesel and nanocellulose

Phase 1 of the ABBA Integrated Biorefinery project, to be built at the AVAPCO Thomaston Georgia site, has begun. The project, which will co-produce full replacement renewable jet fuel, gasoline, diesel and Bioplus nanocellulose from woody biomass in an integrated biorefinery at AVAPCO’s site in Thomaston, Georgia, has received a... Read more →


Lygos partners with Agile BioFoundry and DOE to accelerate bioproduct R&D and commercialization; two-year, $5M pilot collaboration

Lygos announced that the US Department of Energy is providing multi-year funding for Lygos’ collaboration with the Agile BioFoundry (ABF) to automate research technology. Lygos’ pilot collaboration is part of a multi-company two-year, $5-million effort coordinated by the ABF. Lygos produces high-value specialty chemical traditionally produced in oil-based petrochemical processes... Read more →


Argonne updates GREET and AFLEET tools for transportation technologies analysis

Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have released updates to two key tools for the analysis of advanced transportation technologies: GREET, used to assess greenhouse gases, regulated emissions and energy use in transportation; and AFLEET, used to calculate and compare the costs and environmental benefits of a broad range of alternative... Read more →


DOE awards Donald Danforth Plant Science Center $16M to enhance energy sorghum

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a 5-year, $16-million grant to the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, one of the world’s largest independent plant science institutes. Building on earlier research using the model grass, green foxtail (Setaria viridis), this project will identify new genes and pathways that contribute... Read more →


Researchers from the University of Liverpool (UK), with colleagues from Dalian University of Technology (China) and the University of Hull (UK), have developed a new process for the direct, one-step activation of carbon dioxide and methane (dry reforming of methane) into higher value liquid fuels and chemicals (e.g., acetic acid,... Read more →


WSU, PNNL researchers convert algal biofuel waste from hydrothermal liquefaction into commodity using anaerobes; sewage sludge next

Researchers at Washington State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have devised a method of converting a waste product generated by the conversion of algae into bio-crude into a usable and valuable commodity. The results of the team’s research are published in the journal Bioresource Technology. Converting algae to biofuels... Read more →


The technology group Wärtsilä has reached an agreement to acquire Puregas Solutions, a Sweden-based provider of turnkey biogas upgrading solutions. Puregas is a leading player in its field with subsidiary companies in Germany, Denmark, the UK, and the US. The company utilizes a unique CApure process to convert raw biogas... Read more →


Gevo to supply alcohol-to-jet fuel to Virgin Australia

Gevo, Inc. expects to supply its renewable alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) (earlier post) to the Virgin Australia Group. The Virgin Australia Group will be responsible for coordinating the purchase, supply and blending of the ATJ into the fuel supply system at Brisbane Airport in Queensland, Australia. Gevo’s ATJ is expected to... Read more →


Agrisoma expanding partnership with Univ. of Florida on biojet fuel in US; Carinata seed

Agrisoma Biosciences Inc. is expanding its partnership with the University of Florida (UF) to advance the supply of biojet fuel in the United States. The Québec-based company and its subsidiary, Agrisoma USA, is working with a network of 40 academic researchers from seven universities associated with UF’s Institute of Food... Read more →


High-density renewable jet fuel from eucalyptus

Researchers at Washington State University and the University of Nevada developed a novel process for synthesizing dense jet fuel from mint, pine, gumweed, eucalyptus or other plants. The process, known as biphasic tandem catalytic process (biTCP), synthesizes cyclic hydrocarbon compounds for jet fuel from terpenoids, the natural organic chemical compounds... Read more →


Masdar Institute’s SEAS harvest marks critical milestone in development of sustainable aviation biofuel

Masdar Institute of Science and Technology’s Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC)—a non-profit entity supported by Etihad Airways, Boeing, Takreer, Safran and General Electric— announced that its flagship project, the Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (SEAS) (earlier post), has reached a critical milestone in its development of sustainable aviation biofuels through... Read more →


Argonne team identifies optimized engine designs for a given fuel

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have pinpointed optimized engine designs for a given fuel. Simulations performed by Argonne found two optimized fuel-engine concepts that could improve fuel efficiency substantially, said Yuanjiang Pei, a lab scientist who specializes in computational fluid dynamics at the Aramco Research... 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 →


British Airways partners with Velocys on renewable jet fuel from household waste

British Airways has entered a partnership with Velocys to design a series of waste plants that convert household waste into renewable jet fuel to power its fleet. The first plant will take hundreds of thousands of tonnes of household waste per-year, destined for landfill or incineration, including diapers, plastic food... Read more →


Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a new electrocatalyst that can directly convert carbon dioxide into multicarbon fuels and alcohols using record-low inputs of energy. The work is the latest in a round of studies coming out of Berkeley Lab tackling the... Read more →