DOE selects 7 projects to accelerate adoption of performance-advantaged biofuels; Co-Optima

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected seven projects for awards totaling $1.94 million to conduct research and development to accelerate the adoption of performance-advantaged biofuel blendstocks. These fuels are derived from renewable feedstocks, and can deliver exceptional efficiency with low emissions. The seven projects will leverage National Laboratory... Read more →

EU research project IDEALFUEL seeks to develop marine low-sulfur heavy fuel oils from biomass; Bio-HFO

In an EU-funded research project, an international consortium is aiming to develop new production methods for sustainable marine fuels to replace heavy fuel oils in shipping. The use of heavy fuel oils (HFOs) contributes to global warming due to the fossil origin of these fuels and, moreover, generating non-negligible emissions... Read more →

SunGas Renewables Inc., a supplier of proven biomass gasification systems, announced a strategic alliance with Hatch, Ltd., a global advisory, development consulting, multidisciplinary engineering and project delivery firm. The alliance will leverage both organizations’ technical expertise, engineering capabilities and market knowledge to accelerate the deployment of SunGas’ biomass gasification systems.... Read more →

Hydrogen researchers at Graz University of Technology (Austria), together with the Graz-based start-up Rouge H2 Engineering, have developed a cost-effective process for the decentralized production of high-purity hydrogen using chemical looping. Currently, hydrogen is mainly produced centrally from fossil resources and compressed or liquefied in an expensive and energy-intensive process... Read more →

An international research collaboration has developed a novel, porous, and hydrophobic metal–organic framework (MOF) based on copper ions and carborane–carboxylate ligands that can efficiently separate biobutanol from the broth of fermented biomass needed for the fuel’s production. A paper on the work is published in the Journal of the American... Read more →

Researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and the University of Delaware have developed a catalytic strategy to promote the selective breaking of a carbon-oxygen bond—an essential step the conversion of lignocellulsoic biomass via hydrodeoxygenation to fuels and chemicals. To demonstrate their principle, the team created a catalyst with highly dispersed... Read more →

VTT and partners to assess bio- and waste-based oils suitable for power plants and ships; BioFlex project

In a three-year Business Finland BioFlex project, VTT—the Finnish state-owned research agency—and partners are exploring how suitable fuel oils made from biomass and waste plastics are for power plants and ship diesel engines. The aim is to determine the most ecologically and economically sustainable way to replace fossil fuels. We... Read more →

Researchers at Aarhus University (Denmark) have launched a project to produce cellulosic bioethanol via completely natural processes. They are looking for the solution in the intestines of pandas and slugs, and in ants’ fungus gardens—special enzymes and microorganisms that, for millions of years, have specialized in the breakdown of this... Read more →

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), which is managed by Berkeley Lab, have quantified how bioproduct accumulation in planta—i.e., engineering plants to produce valuable chemical compounds, or bioproducts, as they grow—affects biofuel selling prices. Their... Read more →

Replacing dry biomass-derived fuels with biogas and biogas-derived fuels in certain sectors of the energy system can reduce dry biomass consumption by up to 16% when used for power, heat or industrial sectors, according to a new study by researchers By Aalborg University in Denmark. This paper analyses the role... Read more →

Preem has chosen Haldor Topsoe’s HydroFlex renewable fuel hydrotreating technology to produce clean renewable diesel and jet fuel at its Gothenburg refinery in Sweden. The 16,000 barrels-per-day unit will have a yearly production capacity of approximately one million cubic meters of fuels which corresponds to about 25% of Sweden’s estimated... Read more →

Researchers at S. Korea’s Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) have developed a novel process for the production of hydrogen using various types of biomass, including lignin, as an efficient alternative to water oxidation as an electron source. In a paper published in the journal ACS Catalysis, the... Read more →

Gevo secures funding from Queensland Waste to Biofutures (W2B) Fund

Gevo, Inc. has been awarded part of The Queensland Waste to Biofutures (W2B) Fund to support the development of waste to biofutures projects in Queensland, Australia. The W2B fund provides targeted funding for pilot, demonstration or commercially scalable biorefinery projects in Queensland that use conventional waste streams or biomass to... Read more →

Nouryon introduces CMC polymers to improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries

Nouryon has begun the first deliveries of AkuPure, a carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) polymer targeted specifically at lithium-ion batteries, a market that is growing quickly due to increased demand for electric vehicles. CMC is a sustainable, bio-based water-soluble polymer used as a thickener, binder, stabilizer and film former. AkuPure CMCs are... Read more →

Researchers led by Prof. WANG Feng at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have reported that photocatalytic decarboxylation is an efficient alternate pathway for converting biomass-derived fatty acids into alkanes under mild conditions of ambient temperature and pressure. This finding was published in... Read more →

US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the Agriculture Innovation Agenda, a department-wide initiative to align resources, programs, and research to position American agriculture to better meet future global demands. Specifically, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will stimulate innovation so that American agriculture can achieve the goal of increasing... Read more →

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Co-Optima initiative is overseeing a Directed Funding Opportunity (DFO) to apply the unique, world-class capabilities of the consortium toward addressing specific challenges identified by applicants from industry and academia. The Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines (Co-Optima) National Laboratory consortium is jointly sponsored by the... Read more →

With the common goal to further implement 5-HMF in various materials and chemical applications, AVA Biochem AG in Zug, Switzerland has entered into a Joint Development Agreement with the Michelin Group. AVA Biochem developed, patented and piloted a novel hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) process for the conversion of industrial sugars into... Read more →

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists have identified a suite of technologies to help California to become carbon-neutral—and ultimately carbon-negative —by 2045. To achieve the goal of carbon-neutrality, California will likely have to remove on the order of 125 million tons per year of CO2 from the atmosphere. In the... Read more →

Building on its $2-million investment for an ongoing feasibility study with Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels (NWABF), Delta has entered into one of the largest airline offtake agreements of its kind to purchase sustainable aviation fuel, if produced, from NWABF. The NWABF process uses the gasification of woody biomass to produce syngas... Read more →

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), with colleagues at Yale University, have developed a photochemical process to convert acetone derived from plants (bio-acetone) into a mixture of polycyclic alkanes, the high energy density of which is appropriate for high-perfomance aviation applications. A paper on the work appears in the... Read more →

A Rutgers-led team has developed a new biomass pretreatment process that could make it much cheaper to produce biofuels such as ethanol from plant waste and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. The approach, featuring an ammonia-salt-based solvent that rapidly turns plant fibers into sugars needed to make ethanol, works well... Read more →

US DOE to award $75M for bioenergy crops research

The US Department of Energy (DOE) plans to provide up to $75 million over five years for research to develop sustainable bioenergy crops tolerant of environmental stress and resilient to changing environmental conditions. It’s critical for crops grown for bioenergy and bioproducts to be able to survive and thrive under... Read more →

Researchers at the Université de Sherbrooke, Canada, with colleagues at the Université de Toulouse, France, have developed a process for the direct production of levulinates from cheap residual lignocellulosic biomass using an affordable homogeneous catalyst. A paper on their work is published in Fuel. In Canada, the lumbering industry produces... Read more →

BIRD Energy to invest $6.4M in Israel-US projects; biomass, fuel cells, natural gas, water-energy nexus and energy efficiency technologies

The US Department of Energy (DOE), Israel’s Ministry of Energy (MoE) along with the Israel Innovation Authority have selected seven clean energy projects to receive $6.4 million under the Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Energy program. The total value of the projects is $15.4 million, which includes $9 million... Read more →

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule that establishes the required renewable volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for 2020, and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2021. The EPA is committed to ensuring a net of 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuel is blended in 2020.... Read more →

A novel oxygenate molecule that can be produced from biomass shows promise for use as a blend for diesel fuel, according to researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Their paper is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The NREL scientists, along with colleagues at... Read more →

Biomass technology group BTG plans to set up a new high-tech technology company that can convert crude pyrolysis oil into diesel fuel suitable for the shipping sector. It will be the first refinery in the world for an advanced marine biofuel based on pyrolysis oil. The new facility will be... Read more →

Velocys’ Bayou Fuels project set to produce negative emission fuels; partnering with Oxy

Velocys, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Velocys plc, signed an agreement with Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, LLC (OLCV), to capture CO2 from Velocys’ planned Bayou Fuels biomass-to-fuels project in Natchez, Mississippi, and securely store it underground in a geologic formation. OLCV, a wholly owned subsidiary of Occidental, will take,... Read more →

A new Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines (Co-Optima) report describes the top ten biofuel-derived blendstock candidates. These top candidates, when blended with petroleum and used in a boosted spark ignition (BSI) engine, will offer environmental benefits and boost energy efficiency all while being available at a competitive price. One of... Read more →

Global Bioenergies will soon be receiving €2.6 million and IBN-One €0.5 million in the form of repayable advances, following last July’s achievement of a technical and financial milestone in the ISOPROD project funded by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), which involves Global Bioenergies, Cristal Union and L’Oréal... Read more →

A team from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Idaho National Laboratory has evaluated the process economics and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the conversion of 11 biomass feedstocks to produce transportation fuels via fast pyrolysis and then pyrolysis oil upgrading via hydrodeoxygenation. An open-access paper on their work appears... Read more →

The US Department of Energy (DOE), through its Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER), has launched a major initiative to develop bioenergy crops through genomics-based research. Danforth Center Principal Investigator, Andrea Eveland, Ph.D., will lead a multi-institutional project under this initiative to deepen the understanding of sorghum, a versatile... Read more →

Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have demonstrated a method to insert genes into a variety of microorganisms that previously would not accept foreign DNA, with the goal of creating custom microbes to break down plants for bioenergy. A new method uses E. coli... Read more →

Gevo and Leaf Resources sign joint development agreement for potential use of cellulosic-derived sugars to convert to hydrocarbon molecules

Gevo, Inc. and Leaf Resources, an Australia-based company and one of the world’s leading companies in converting plant biomass into industrial sugars, have signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA). The JDA is to explore Gevo’s potential use of cellulosic-derived sugars and glycerol from Leaf and the ability to convert these... Read more →

Clariant has conducted tests on approximately 30 tons of miscanthus provided by INA, Croatia’s leading oil and gas company. The miscanthus biomass was harvested and baled at the INA demonstration site in Croatia in February this year and shipped for processing to Clariant’s pre-commercial sunliquid plant in Straubing, Germany for... Read more →

EPA is granting 31 small refinery RFS exemptions for the 2018 compliance year, as well as 6 denials. The estimated volume of gasoline and diesel exempted is 13,420 million gallons; the estimated renewable volume obligations (RVO) exempted is 1,430 million RINs. The Clean Air Act (CAA) exempted small refineries from... Read more →

Plant cell walls resist chemical or biological degradation, making the breakdown of lignocellulosic biomass into renewable chemical precursors for conversion into chemicals and transportation fuels challenging and costly. As a result, economically viable methods of transforming biomass into biofuels have yet to be realized. In a step forward in understanding... Read more →

Australia-based biotechnology company Circa Group, which produces its bio-based solvent Cyrene from waste cellulose, is participating in a project to develop the first UK industrial scale capability to reclaim and reuse the most valuable components of end-of-life electrical vehicle (EV) batteries. The R2LIB (Reclamation, Remanufacture of Lithium Ion Batteries) project... Read more →

Stora Enso building €10M pilot plant to produce hard carbon from lignin; electrode materials

Stora Enso is investing €10 million to build a pilot facility for producing bio-based carbon materials based on lignin. Wood-based carbon can be utilized as a crucial component in batteries typically used in consumer electronics, the automotive industry and large-scale energy storage systems. The pilot plant will be located at... Read more →

Researchers in Netherlands exploring use of lignin as alternative asphalt binder

In the Netherlands there are now test roads and cycle paths that are paved with a bitumen-like product made from the natural binder lignin. These include a section of road on an industrial site—used daily by cars and heavy trucks, some minor roads, and a cycle path at Wageningen University... Read more →

Three years after embarking upon rigorous evaluation of a pool of more than 400 candidates (earlier post), researchers with the US Department of Energy (DOE) Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines (Co-Optima) initiative have identified the six blendstocks—di-isobutylene, ethanol, fusel alcohol blend, isobutanol, isopropanol, and n-propanol—that exhibit the greatest potential to... Read more →

A team at S. Korea’s KAIST has engineered an oleaginous bacterium, Rhodococcus opacus, to produce fatty acids (FFAs), fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEEs) and long-chain hydrocarbons (LCHCs). A paper on their work is published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology. Culture conditions were optimized to produce 82.9 g l−1 of triacylglycerols from... Read more →

Researchers at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics in China report a two-step method for the synthesis of jet-fuel-range high-density polycycloalkanes from polycarbonate waste under mild conditions. An open-access paper on their work appears in the RSC journal Green Chemistry. Plastics are a family of organic polymers which are widely... Read more →

Lubricants—a more than $146-billion market serving numerous applications, automotive among them—are produced from base oils derived from petroleum mineral oils (mineral base oil) or synthetic oils such as poly-α-olefins (PAOs) (synthetic base oil). As such, lubricants have a significant environmental footprint. A team at the University of Delaware has now... Read more →

The US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory recently released an updated version of an online computer model meant to help bioenergy developers preserve critical resources. The model, called Water Analysis Tool for Energy Resources or WATER, has users from more than 35 US states. This map depicts water availability... Read more →

Anellotech’s Bio-TCat technology has achieved commercially-targeted yields in its TCat-8 pilot unit in Silsbee, Texas during six months of continuous process operations. Anellotech’s core technology, Thermal Catalytic Biomass Conversion (Bio-TCat) was developed to produce chemicals and fuels from renewable, non-food biomass. Based on scientific research initially performed in Professor George... Read more →

DOE announces $79M for bioenergy research and development

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced more than $79 million in funding for bioenergy research and development including biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower (DE-FOA-00002029). The FOA topics will advance DOE’s Bioenergy Technology Office’s (BETO) objectives to reduce the price of drop-in biofuels, lower the cost of biopower, and enable high-value... Read more →

NTU scientists discover sustainable way to increase seed oil yield in crops up to 15%

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) scientists have developed a sustainable way to demonstrate a new genetic modification that can increase the yield of natural oil in seeds by up to 15% in laboratory conditions. The new method can be applied to crops such as canola, soybean and sunflower, which... Read more →

Researchers at the University of Oklahoma, in collaboration with the University of Tulsa, have a novel approach for the water-assisted upgrading of the renewable chemical furfural, doubling or tripling the rate of conversion. Compared to the vapor phase, liquid-phase heterogeneous catalysis provides additional degrees of freedom for reaction engineering, but... Read more →