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 →


A group of Dutch multinationals—FrieslandCampina, Heineken, Philips, DSM, Shell and Unilever—all members of the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition (DSGC), will partner with A.P. Moller - Maersk to take a tangible step towards the decarbonization of ocean shipping. A pilot project will test the use of up to 20% sustainable second-generation... Read more →


Researchers develop efficient route for production of BTX from biomass

A team at RWTH Aachen University has developed a novel route for the efficient production of BTX (aromatic hydrocarbons such as benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and three xylene isomers)—which play an essential role in the petrochemical and fine chemical industries—from bio-derived isobutyraldehyde. In a paper in the RSC journal Green... Read more →


Federal agencies release framework for advancing the bioeconomy

The federal Biomass Research and Development (BR&D) Board unveiled a multi-agency strategy to accelerate innovative technologies that harness the nation’s biomass resources for affordable biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower. The Bioeconomy Initiative: Implementation Framework was developed by the B&RD Board—an interagency collaborative which is co-chaired by the US Department of Agriculture... Read more →


In Australia, QUT researchers and Mercurius Australia are partnering on a pilot plant to prove the economic viability of turning sugarcane waste into either jet and diesel fuel or chemicals that could be used to make plastic soft drink and beer bottles. Dr. Darryn Rackemann, Senior Research Fellow from QUT’s... Read more →


GTI has released a site-specific engineering design titled “Low-Carbon Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) from Wood Wastes”. GTI led a team of engineers and scientists to produce a blueprint for converting an existing biomass facility into an RNG production site, using the wood waste feedstock and some of the existing infrastructure.... Read more →


First production of isobutene from wheat straw at demo scale; OPTISOCHEM

Global Bioenergies reported that runs using wheat straw hydrolysate provided by its partner Clariant were successfully performed in its Leuna demo plant, leading to the production of cellulosic isobutene for the first time at this scale. These runs were part of OPTISOCHEM (OPTimized conversion of residual wheat straw to bio-ISObutene... Read more →


Gevo develops process for low-cost renewable isoprene; building block for rubber and rubber products

Gevo, Inc. has developed a proprietary catalytic process that transforms low-cost commercially available, or even waste by-product, renewable alcohols into renewable isoprene that would be expected to compete head-to-head on price with natural and petroleum-based chemical equivalents while reducing CO2 emissions. Isoprene is predominantly used in the production of synthetic-based... Read more →


Pertamina and Eni to collaborate on low-carbon products and renewable energies; Indonesian bio-refinery

Pertamina and Eni signed a Memorandum of Understanding to investigates synergies of their respective technologies, expertises and know-how, for jointly evaluating new collaboration opportunities in the areas of circular economy, driver for strategic development for Eni and its subsidiaries Syndial (Environment) and Versalis (Chemicals). The parties are willing to discuss... Read more →


ExxonMobil and Renewable Energy Group partner with Clariant to advance cellulosic biofuel research

ExxonMobil and Renewable Energy Group (REG) signed a joint research agreement with Clariant to evaluate the potential use of cellulosic sugars from sources such as agricultural waste and residues to produce biofuel. The new partnership expands a previously announced agreement for joint research between ExxonMobil and REG, in which the... Read more →


DOE awards $1M to UMass Lowell-led team to develop renewable fuel additives from wood byproducts; Co-Optima project

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a three-year, $1 million grant to a team of researchers led by a UMass Lowell mechanical engineering professor that is working to develop renewable fuel additives from sawdust and other wood byproducts. The project is part of the Department of Energy’s Co-Optima... Read more →


DOE researchers develop novel biomass gasification process for high-octane blendstock; DME intermediate

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have developed a novel process that uses biomass gasification to produce high-octane gasoline blendstock. The resulting blendstock is low in aromatic compounds. To make this new blendstock, NREL’s indirect liquefaction team first converts... Read more →


The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule that establishes the required renewable fuel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for 2019, and biomass-based diesel for 2020. The key elements of the action are: “Conventional” renewable fuel volumes, primarily met by corn ethanol, will be maintained at... Read more →


Global Bioenergies receives 13 LOIs for purchases covering the capacity of its renewable isobutene and derivatives plant

Global Bioenergies has received 13 letters of intent from French and international industrial leaders for purchases totaling 49,000 to 64,000 tons of isobutene and derivatives annually. This covers the total production capacity of the planned IBN-One plant, a joint venture with Cristal Union, the fourth-largest sugar producer in Europe. The... Read more →


BASF has introduced a product for the production of methanol on the basis of renewable raw materials according to the biomass balance approach. The product name is EU-REDcert-methanol. The company replaces fossil raw materials with second-generation renewable raw materials and uses waste as well as residual materials. As a result,... Read more →


Anellotech planning commercial Bio-TCat plant based on progress in development program

Sustainable technology company Anellotech confirmed significant progress in its Bio-TCat technology development program and has begun planning for scale-up design and engineering of a commercial plant with its process development and design partner IFPEN and commercialization, engineering, and licensing partner Axens. Anellotech has developed an innovative manufacturing process to produce... Read more →


Researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have successfully produced renewable methane from a biomass-based synthesis gas mixture in their pilot plant for methanation using a new honeycomb catalyst. The quality of this synthetic natural gas (SNG) is comparable to that of fossil natural gas and can be used... Read more →


BP and Johnson Matthey license Fischer-Tropsch technology to waste-to-biofuels producer Fulcrum BioEnergy for biojet

BP and Johnson Matthey (JM) have signed an agreement with Fulcrum BioEnergy to license their Fischer Tropsch (FT) technology to support Fulcrum’s drive to convert municipal solid waste into biojet fuel. BP and JM have developed a simple-to-operate and cost-advantaged FT technology that can operate both at large and small... Read more →


New method from EPFL more than doubles sugar production from plants

Researchers at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have developed a method that can significantly increase the yield of sugars from plants, improving the production of renewable fuels, chemicals, and materials. Producing fuels and chemicals from biomass (wood, grasses, etc.) involves breaking down (deconstructing), plants to produce single carbohydrates, mostly... Read more →


Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have identified two main challenges for renewable biofuel production from cheap sources: lowering the cost of developing microbial cell factories; and establishing more efficient methods for hydrolysis of biomass to sugars for fermentation. In a paper published in the journal Nature Energy, the... Read more →


Waste-to-biofuels company Enerkem produces bio-DME

Waste-to-biofuels and chemicals producer Enerkem has successfully produced a clean, renewable bio-dimethyl ether (Bio-DME), a by-product of biomethanol, that could replace the use of diesel fuel in the transportation sector. Using the company’s proprietary thermochemical technology, its innovation group has tested and validated the production of fuel-grade bio-DME made from... Read more →


DOE selects 36 bioenergy R&D projects for $80M in funding

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 36 projects for a total of $80 million in funding to support early-stage bioenergy research and development (R&D). This R&D will enable cost-competitive, drop-in renewable hydrocarbon fuels, bio-based products, and power from non-food biomass and waste feedstocks. The selections stem from four... Read more →


KAUST team investigates methanol-DME blends for compression ignition

Highly fuel-efficient new engine designs could significantly reduce the environmental impact of combustion-engined vehicles, especially if the engines run on renewable non-petroleum-based fuels. Ensuring these unconventional fuels are compatible with next-generation engines was the aim of a new computational study on fuel ignition behavior at KAUST. A paper on their... Read more →


Researchers in Norway report that the carbon efficiency of a conventional Biomass-to-Liquid (BtL) process can be increased from 38 to more than 90% by adding hydrogen from renewable energy sources. The increased carbon efficiency is possible because the water gas shift reaction is avoided and instead a reversed water gas... Read more →


Researchers engineer yeast to tolerate ionic liquid used in biomass pretreatment for biofuel production

Ionic liquids—neutral salts that attain a liquid state at temperatures mostly below 100 ˚C—are very effective in the pretreatment of biomass to make its cellulose highly accessible to cellulase enzymes that hydrolyze it into glucose for fermentation by microbes. However, ionic liquids are toxic to biofuel-producing microbes such as the... Read more →


Velocys receives FONSI from USDA for planned Mississippi biorefinery; wood waste to drop-in fuels

Velocys plc announced that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on the environmental assessment report for Velocys’ planned Bayou Fuels biorefinery in Natchez, Mississippi. With the FONSI process completed, Velocys will now focus on the next steps in the project’s development,including... Read more →


EU FASTCARD project developed liquefaction & gasification routes to biomass-based fuels; rational nanocatalytic processes

Biomass is far more complex than conventional feedstock and the development of the necessary catalysts is traditionally a lengthy and complicated process. For Europe to meet its long-term target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95 % by 2050, cost-effective biomass conversion to fuels is essential. The EU-funded FASTCARD (FAST... Read more →


KIT, automakers, partners launch project “reFuels” in Germany for production of synthetic fuels from non-fossil carbon sources

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), with partners from the automotive, automotive supply and petroleum industries and with the support of the German state government of Baden-Württemberg, are launching a broad-based program to explore the opportunities synthetic fuels derived from non-fossil carbon sources offer society, the economy and the environment.... Read more →


UC Davis team optimizes levulinic ester self-condensation process for production of cellulosic gasoline

A team at UC Davis has optimized the levulinic ester self-condensation reaction and the efficient conversion of its products—which are highly branched cyclopentadienes—into a mixture of substituted cyclopentanes with high octane ratings and excellent density and flow properties. In a paper in the RSC journal Green Chemistry, they reported that... Read more →


Researchers discover new enzyme paradigm for critical reaction in converting lignin to useful products

Cytochrome P450s are some of the most versatile enzymes on the planet. These proteins are found in the human body and are involved in many metabolic pathways, including metabolizing potentially toxic compounds. Cytochrome P450s have been studied for decades and have been classed into Families A through M. Now, an... Read more →


Global Bioenergies successfully moves its C3 process to demo scale; isopropanol and acetone from renewable resources

Global Bioenergies has reached a new milestone in scaling up its C3 process converting renewable resources into isopropanol and acetone. (Earlier post.) These two biobased compounds target large markets in the cosmetics and solvent segments. They can also be converted into polypropylene, a key component in the plastics industry, with... Read more →


Gevo and Avfuel enter into renewable jet fuel supply agreement; first long-term commercial supply agreement for Gevo ATJ

Gevo has entered into a long-term agreement to supply its renewable alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) to Avfuel Corporation, effective 1 July 2018. Avfuel is a leading global supplier of aviation fuel and services to all industry consumer groups, servicing more than 3,000 locations worldwide. The agreement with Avfuel is Gevo’s first... Read more →


Velocys partners with PQ for FT catalyst manufacturing; secures funding for UK waste-to-jet project

Velocys plc has partnered with PQ Corporation (PQ) for the supply of commercial quantities of Velocys’ proprietary microchannel Fischer-Tropsch catalyst to be used in multiple biorefineries incorporating its technology. PQ is a leading global provider of specialty catalysts, services, materials and chemicals for the refinery, emissions control and petrochemical industries.... Read more →


New genetic engineering technique improves enzyme’s ability to breakdown biomass

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the University of Georgia have developed a new genetic engineering technique significantly to improve an enzyme’s ability to break down biomass. A paper on the work is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences... Read more →


DOE awarding $40M to 31 projects to advance use of microbes in production of biofuels and bioproducts

The US Department of Energy will award $40 million in funding for 31 projects to advance research in the development of microbes as practical platforms for the production of biofuels and other bioproducts from renewable resources. Over the past decade, DOE-supported scientists have identified and modified a wide range of... Read more →


US researchers demo separation-free, IL-based process for conversion of biomass to advanced biofuel

Researchers from three US national labs (Berkeley, Pacific Northwest and Sandia) has demonstrated a separation-free, ionic-liquid (IL)-based process to convert biomass to an advanced biofuel (the sesquiterpene bisabolene). The process, described in an open access paper in the RSC journal Green Chemistry, is also the first to demonstrate full consumption... Read more →


Drax, C-Capture to pilot Europe’s first bioenergy carbon capture storage project

UK-based renewable power generator Drax will pilot the first bioenergy carbon capture storage (BECCS) project of its kind in Europe, which, if successful, could make the renewable electricity produced at its North Yorkshire power station carbon negative. The demonstration project will see Drax partner with C-Capture and invest £400,000 (US$539,000)... Read more →