UW-Madison Hybrid Vehicle Team working with Engine Research Center to apply dual-fuel RCCI engines in series and parallel hybrids

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Hybrid Vehicle Team will work with the UW-Madison Engine Research Center to test implementations of Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition (RCCI) engines being developed by UW mechanical engineering professor Rolf Reitz and his colleagues. RCCI is a dual-fuel compression-ignition engine low-temperature combustion (LTC) strategy that uses in-cylinder... Read more →


Wärtsilä’s LBF specification. Click to enlarge. Wärtsilä was recently contracted by the STX Finland shipyard in Turku, Finland, to supply the main engines for a new multi-purpose cargo vessel. The vessel will be powered by three Wärtsilä 6L20 main generating sets, capable of operating on various types of liquid bio-fuels... Read more →


EPA proposes 2012 Renewable Fuel Standards, 2013 biomass-based diesel volume

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the 2012 percentage standards for four fuel categories that are part of the agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS2). The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) established the annual renewable fuel volume targets, which steadily increase to an overall level of... Read more →


GHG emission comparison between fossil diesel, transesterified lipids, HVO and woody BTL. GD = HVO; RSO = Rapeseed Oil; SBO = Soybean oil; Biodiesel = Transesterified lipids. Sunde et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers in Norway reviewing the lifecycle impacts and costs of three renewable fuels—(1) transesterified lipids, (2) hydrotreated... Read more →


Fuel provisions in the Tax Relief bill

US President Barack Obama on Friday signed H.R. 4853, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (“Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010”). The bill, among its other provisions, contains a number of provisions related to energy (Title VII, Subtitle A) and within that, provisions... Read more →


California Energy Commission awards $9.6M to 8 projects on electric vehicles, natural gas and biofuels

The California Energy Commission has approved eight grants that leverage more than $9.6 million in state funding with $11,969,855 in private funds. The projects will advance the manufacture of electric vehicles and vehicle batteries; add vehicle charging stations; and encourage the use of biofuels. The $9,612,515 is funded from the... Read more →


Brown Chemists Develop Process to Simplify Waste Vegetable Oil to Biodiesel Process, Chart Progress of Transesterification Reaction

Two chemists at Brown University have streamlined the conversion of waste vegetable oil (WVO) into biodiesel, eliminating the need for corrosive chemicals to perform the reactions. In a paper published in the RSC journal Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, the chemists describe the waste vegetable oil-to-biodiesel conversion in a single reaction... Read more →


Microalgae biodiesel processing and lifecycle analysis model overview. Credit: ACS, Click to enlarge. Researchers at Colorado State University have found that a microalgae biodiesel process using currently available technologies can show improvement in lifecycle GHG emissions and net energy ratio (NER) compared to soybean-based biodiesel. A paper on their lifecycle... Read more →


Process flow diagram for biodiesel production through intracellular lipid hydrolysis and supercritical in situ transesterification (SC-IST/E) using ethanol (EtOH). Credit: ACS, Levine et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed and demonstrated the feasibility of a two-step hydrolysis-solvolysis process to produce biodiesel directly from wet... Read more →


DOE Issues Funding Opportunity Announcement for Two Congressional Earmarks: Liquid Carrier for Hydrogen and Biodiesel Fuels from Low-Impact Crops

The Department of Energy has issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-DOA-000380) soliciting applications in the two topic areas: Liquid Carrier Technology for Hydrogen Storage or Delivery; and Biodiesel Fuels from Low-Impact Crops. DOE anticipates selecting one project of two years duration in each area; the maximum award is $500,000 for... Read more →


EPA Proposes 2011 Percentages for Renewable Fuel Standard

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the 2011 percentage standards for the four fuels categories under the agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS2): cellulosic biofuel; biomass-based diesel; advanced biofuel; and renewable fuel. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) established the annual renewable fuel volume targets, reaching... Read more →


European Commission Sets Up System for Certifying Sustainable Biofuels

The European Commission is encouraging industry, governments and NGOs to set up certification schemes for all types of biofuels, including those imported into the EU and laid down what the schemes must do to be recognized by the Commission. This is intended to help implement the EU’s requirements that biofuels... Read more →


Study Finds Current Swedish Biofuels Offer Major Climate Benefits; Biogas from Manure the Best

A study by researchers at Lund University in Sweden found that Swedish biofuels produce between 65 and 148% less greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline and diesel, even when direct and indirect land use changes are taken into account. In the study, which looked at various types of biogas, ethanol and... Read more →


Researcher Says Biodiesel from Sewage Sludge Nearly Cost-Competitive with Petroleum Diesel

Existing technology can produce biodiesel fuel from municipal sewage sludge that is within a few cents a gallon of being competitive with conventional diesel refined from petroleum, according to Dr. David Kargbo, with the US EPA’s Office of Innovation, Environmental Assessment & Innovation Division in Philadelphia, PA. His analysis was... Read more →


DOT to Award Funding for Research Into Biofuels and Bio-based Lubricants for Locomotives

The US Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FR-RRD-10-010) for two separate grants totalling $700,000 for research into biofuels and bio-based lubricants for locomotive application. Eligible projects will include dynamic testing of locomotives, rolling stock and other rail equipment, with various biofuel blends... Read more →


Carbon steel coupons after 60 days of exposure to Key West seawater and biodiesel under anaerobic conditions. (b, c, and d) Coupons in biodiesel, at the biodiesel/seawater interface, and in seawater, respectively. Corresponding micrographs (e-g) indicate pitting after acid cleaning. Credit: ACS, Aktas et al. Click to enlarge. A study... Read more →


Petrobras Launches Two Palm Oil Projects; Biodiesel in State of Pará, Renewable Diesel with Galp in Portugal

Brazil’s Petrobras is launching two projects to produce biofuels from palm oil (dendê) in Tomé-Açu (state of Pará): a Petrobras-owned biodiesel plant (the Biodiesel Pará project), and a project to produce renewable diesel in partnership with Portuguese outfit Galp Energia (the Belém project) (earlier post). The feedstock supply strategy foresees... Read more →


Life Cycle Analysis of Evogene Castor Bean-based Biodiesel Shows 90% Emissions Reduction Compared to Petroleum

A life cycle assessment (LCA) of biodiesel produced from castor bean varieties being developed by Israel-based Evogene Ltd. (earlier post) found that such biodiesel reduces greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by 90% compared to petroleum diesel in the US. Evogene is a developer of improved plant traits; the company’s proprietary product... Read more →


EPA Awards $2M to Small Businesses to Develop Sustainable Technologies; Includes Biofuel, Emissions Reduction Projects

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $2.38 million to 34 small businesses to develop innovative, sustainable technologies to protect human health and the environment. The awards to businesses in 16 states focus on ten key environmental research areas: increasing the efficiency of green building materials and systems; manufacturing... Read more →


Direct Production of Biodiesel from the Fungus M. circinelloides; Opportunity to Enhance Yield with Genetic Engineering

Researchers in Spain have demonstrated the direct transformation of biomass consisting of the fungus M. circinelloides into biodiesel compliant with ASTM D6751 and EN14213 and 14214 standards. A paper on their work was published online 2 April in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels. Oils from oleaginous microorganisms, such as... Read more →


GM Partners with US DOE to Develop Jatropha-to-Biodiesel Project in India

GM is entering a five-year partnership with the US Department of Energy (DOE) to help develop the potential of the jatropha plant as a sustainable biofuel energy crop. The goal of the project is to demonstrate that jatropha can produce significant quantities of oil for conversion to biodiesel and to... Read more →


Analysis Finds That First-Generation Biofuel Use of Up to 5.6% in EU Road Transport Fuels Delivers Net GHG Emissions Benefits After Factoring in Indirect Land Use Change

A new report by researchers at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has calculated that the use of up to 5.6% of first-generation, land-using biofuels in EU road transport fuels delivers a net greenhouse gas reduction benefit (13 Mt CO2 savings in a 20-year horizon) even after factoring in... Read more →


Japan Automakers Support B5, E10 as Baseline Biofuel Blends, Recommend Specifications to ASEAN Countries

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc (JAMA), a nonprofit industry association comprising fourteen manufacturers of passenger cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles in Japan, recently issued position statements on and recommended specifications for bioethanol and biodiesel (fatty acid methyl ester, FAME). Experts from JAMA visited six countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore,... Read more →


Researchers Develop Single-Step, Solid Acid-Catalyzed Process for Production of Biodiesel from Feedstocks with High Free Fatty Acid Content

Researchers at the University of Waterloo (Canada) have demonstrated a single-step solid acid-catalyzed process with the potential for industrial-scale production of biodiesel from high free fatty acid (FFA) feedstocks. A paper on their work was published online 19 February in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels. The use of waste... Read more →


Study Finds Government Mandates Superior to All Other Biofuels Policies, But Mixing With Subsidies Causes Adverse Effects; The Argument for a Direct CO2 Tax

A new cost-benefit analysis of biofuels policies by economists Harry de Gorter and David Just at Cornell University has concluded that government mandates for biofuels “are clearly superior to all other policies, with few tradeoffs arising.” However, they write in a paper published in the journal Applied Economics Perspectives and... Read more →


Researchers Propose Method for Co-processing of Carbohydrates and Lipids in Oil Crops To Produce a Hybrid Biodiesel

Mark Mascal and Edward Nikitin from the University of California Davis are proposing a method that can use both the carbohydrates as well as the oils in oil seed plants—such as soybean, sunflower, jatropha, camelina, safflower, and canola—to produce a hybrid lipidic/cellulosic biodiesel with greater product yield than conventional transesterification.... Read more →


Cradle-to-Gate (farmer-to-product) pathways for soybeans. Source: USB. Click to enlarge. An updated life cycle assessment (LCA) of soybean production and products commissioned by the United Soybean Board found multiple energy and environmental benefits of current US soybean farming and processing. Currently, the data included in the Department of Energy’s US... Read more →


Electron micrograph shows rod-shaped E. coli secreting oil droplets containing biodiesel fuel, along with fatty acids and alcohol. (Image by Jonathan Remis, JBEI) Click to enlarge. A collaboration led by researchers with the US Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) has developed a microbe that can produce an advanced... Read more →


Simulated impact of a sugarcane ethanol industry in terms of exports for different countries, based on non-crop land available for cane cultivation. The calculations set aside protected areas but not non-protected forests. Source: Hausmann and Wagner. Click to enlarge. In a discussion paper released by Harvard University’s Sustainability Science Program... Read more →


Using Simulated Distillation as Efficient Tool for Modeling Biofuels

Researchers at the University of Graz are proposing the use of simulated distillation (SimDis) as an efficient and effective method to classify biodiesel fuels regarding boiling characteristics and quality. SimDis is a gas chromatographic method widely used in petroleum industries to determine the distillation behavior of different petroleum products and... Read more →


Engineered Tobacco Plants Have Potential As Biofuel Feedstock; Expressing Oil in the Leaves

Researchers from the Biotechnology Foundation Laboratories at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia have identified a way to increase the oil in tobacco plant leaves, which may be the next step in using the plants for biofuel. Their paper was published online in Plant Biotechnology Journal. According to Vyacheslav Andrianov, Ph.D.,... Read more →


Schematic of the Elevance biorefinery. Source: Elevance. Click to enlarge. Elevance Renewable Sciences, Inc. (ERS) received a $2.5 million grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to fund preliminary engineering design for a demonstration-scale integrated biorefinery based on its core olefin metathesis technology for the production of high value... Read more →


Optimizing Turbo Diesels for Emissions and Performance with 5% and 20% Biodiesel Blends

A team of researchers from Purdue University and diesel engine manufacturer Cummings have shown that, with engine parameter modulation including lower AFR (air/fuel ratio), higher EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) fraction, and earlier start of main injection (SOI), it is possible to mitigate the biodiesel-NOx effect with blends of soy-based biodiesel... Read more →


Cumulative potential CO2 savings that could be achieved for each fuel type by through use in the stated proportion of each vehicle class if market forces permitted. Source: TTR, December 2009) Click to enlarge. A new study for the UK’s LowCVP by Transport & Travel Research Ltd (TTR) evaluating the... Read more →


Mission NewEnergy’s basic plan is to ship biodiesel produced in Malaysia from jatropha seeds produced in India to markets in Europe and the US. M1 and M2 are its biodiesel plants in Malaysia. Source: Mission NewEnergy. Click to enlarge. Australia-based Mission NewEnergy Limited, a biodiesel refiner and one of the... Read more →


PetroAlgae to Partner with IndianOil Company on Algae-Based Fuels

Florida-based PetroAlgae Inc. (PA) (earlier post) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enter into an agreement to license its proprietary micro-crop technology to IndianOil Corporation Limited (IOCL) for the future commercial-scale production of biodiesel from algae. ICOL is the 18th largest petroleum company in the world, and is... Read more →


Brazil to Increase Mandatory Biodiesel Blend to 5% in 2010; Mandatory Emissions Testing for Vehicles

Effective January 2010, Brazilian diesel fuel vehicles will be required to run on a 5% biodiesel blend, up from 4% at present. The announcement was made last Friday by president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and is expected to raise biodiesel production levels to 2.4 billion liters (634 million gallons)... Read more →


Rapeseed biodiesel as an example of the varied environmental impacts of a particular biofuel. Here, RME show advantages for primary energy and GHG, but disadvantages in terms of acidification, eutrophication and ozone depletion. Source: “Assessing Biofuels”. Click to enlarge. A far more sophisticated approach needs to be taken when developing... Read more →


Yellow Diesel’s heterogeneous catalysis process. Click to enlarge. A spin-off from the University of Amsterdam (UvA), Yellow Diesel B.V., is commercializing a reactor technology based on heterogeneous catalysis for the production of high-quality biodiesel plus a cosmetics/food grade glycerol, with practically no waste streams. The biodiesel specifications are better than... Read more →


Forecast: Global Biofuels Use to Double by 2015, Second-Gen Biofuels to Lag Expectations

Despite a number of key issues such as land use and competition for feedstocks supplies for traditional food and feed uses, global use of biofuels is excepted to more than double from 2009 to 2015, according to a new global analysis released by Hart Energy Publishing’s Global Biofuels Center (GBC).... Read more →


Schematic of the bread-board rig employed in the LTA-SOFC study. The top shows the LTA-SOFC and BOP (balance of plant). The bottom shows the JP-8 heater that transfers heat to the SOFC via a plate-style radiating heat exchanger. Credit: ACS. Click to enlarge. Researchers from CellTech Power and the University... Read more →


Geographical distribution of Clean Cities Recovery Act awards. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 25 cost-share projects under the Clean Cities program that will be funded with nearly $300 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These projects put more than 9,000 alternative fuel... Read more →


Consumptive freshwater use for ethanol and petroleum gasoline production. Data: Wu, ANL/ESD/09-1. Click to enlarge. In the US, producing one gallon of ethanol from switchgrass consumes approximately the same net amount of water as does producing a gallon of gasoline from conventional crude or oil sands oil, according to a... Read more →


Massachusetts to Accept Only Waste-Derived Biofuels to Qualify for Mandate for Diesel and Home Heating Oil

Only biofuels derived from waste feedstocks will initially be considered to qualify as an advanced biofuel to meet the Massachusetts Biofuels Mandate for diesel and home heating oil, according to the plan unveiled by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), in coordination with the Executive Office of Energy and... Read more →


Algal Fuels Consortium (AFC) Wins $2.724M Australian Development Grant; Commercial Partner Sancon Has Rights for Commercialization in China

The Algal Fuel Consortium (AFC) recently won an A$2.724-million (US$2.259 million) research grant under the Department of Resources Energy and Tourism’s Second Generation Biofuels program in Australia. The grant will support the development of microalgal mass cultivation systems to generate biomass from captured CO2 emissions. This will then be used... Read more →


BP and Martek Biosciences Enter a Joint Development Agreement to Deliver Advanced Microbial Biofuels

BP and Martek Biosciences Corporation signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) to work on the production of microbial oils for biofuels applications. The partnership combines a broad technology platform and operational capabilities to advance the development of a step-change technology for the conversion of sugars into renewable diesel fuels. Under... Read more →


J.B. Hunt Transport Services Signs Cooperative Agreement with Algal Oil Producer SunEco Energy

J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., one of the largest transportation logistics companies in North America, and algal oil producer SunEco Energy signed a cooperative agreement, which could lead to J.B. Hunt becoming a significant purchaser of biodiesel made from natural algae oil using SunEco Energy’s proprietary technology. J.B. Hunt runs... Read more →


Total energetic debt of 1 MJ of biodiesel and its distribution within the production chain. According to the study, only the wet extraction on low-N grown algae has a positive balance. Credit: ACS. Click to enlarge. Biodiesel production from microalgae, while looked upon as an environmentally advantageous source of fuel,... Read more →


Study Finds Environmental and Tailpipe Pollutants Benefits in Using Biodiesel in Construction Vehicles

Using biodiesel in construction vehicles offers promising environmental benefits in terms of reduced tailpipe emissions as well as reductions in fuel cycle emissions of selected pollutants, according to a new study by researchers at North Carolina State University. A paper on their work was published 16 July in the ACS... Read more →