Biobased and Renewable Products News: Biofuels

September 21, 2018
USDA Proposal: “Guidelines For Designating Biobased Products For Federal Procurement”
On September 14, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Procurement and Property Management announced a proposal to amend the Guidelines for Designating Biobased Products for Federal Procurement. Under this amendment, 30 sections will be added to determine categories within which biobased products “would be afforded procurement preference by Federal agencies and their contractors.” These categories include products that are made from intermediate ingredients that were formerly proposed for designation for federal procurement preference. In its proposed ... read more >
September 21, 2018
Converting CO2 Into Electrofuels
On September 17, 2018, scientists at Columbia University published findings of a study on carbon dioxide (CO2) electrocatalysis as the first step in converting CO2 into renewable fuels. The results of the study are key in developing conversion points for CO2 to be used as a feedstock and renewable electricity in the synthesis of different types of fuel. For further details on the groundbreaking progress discovered by Columbia University’s scientists, the published article can be found in its entirety ... read more >
September 21, 2018
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
gasworld, “Bacteria that Turn Sugar into Hydrogen Being Engineered by Researchers” The Sydney Morning Herald, “Shell-backed Startup Creates Fuel from Carbon Dioxide and Fake Sunlight” Plastics in Packaging, “Dutch Supermarket Launches Bio-based Milk Container” Biofuels Digest, “Agrisoma, United Airlines and World Energy Complete Longest Transatlantic Biojet Flight” Aalto University School of Science, “Bio-based Carbon Improve Biogas Yield” Scientific American, “The Environment’s New Clothes: Biodegradable Textiles ... read more >
September 14, 2018
Restoring The Commitment To Renewable Fuels
By Lynn L. Bergeson On September 7, 2018, U.S. Congressman David Young (R-IA) introduced, in a bipartisan effort with U.S. Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN), the Restoring Our Commitment to Renewable Fuels Act. Under this bill, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be required “[t]o provide for reallocation of the renewable fuel obligation of exempted small refineries under section 211(o) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7545(o)) to other refineries, blenders, distributors, and importers, and for other purposes.”  As a response to EPA’s 2019 Renewable ... read more >
September 14, 2018
BETO To Host Webinar On An Estimation Tool To Aid Commercialization And R&D For Catalytic Materials
On September 11, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced it would be presenting a Chemical Catalysis for Bioenergy Consortium (ChemCatBio) webinar entitled “CatCost: An Estimation Tool to Aid Commercialization and R&D Decisions for Catalytic Materials” on Wednesday, September 26, 2018, from 2:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. (EDT).  CatCost is a catalyst cost estimation tool developed by DOE to more accurately estimate costs early in the catalyst development process prior to commercialization.  DOE states that the webinar ... read more >
September 14, 2018
5th Biotechnology World Congress Announced For 2019
The 5th Biotechnology World Congress has been scheduled to take place in Bangkok, Thailand, from February 13-15, 2019.  The Welcome Letter states that the conference will “feature a variety of lectures in a number of key sessions in biotechnology, including a commercial exhibition and poster sessions” and the sessions given will include “strategic alliances in biotechnology, pharmaceutical biotechnology, medical biotechnology, plant and environmental biotechnology, bioprocess engineering, and industrial biotechnology.”  A list of the speakers and ... read more >
September 14, 2018
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
Agence de Presse Africaine (APA News), “Nigeria: Government to Support 1000 Cotton Farmers” Forbes, “Trump’s Relationship with American Farmers Is Soiled Because of Biofuels Stance and Trade War” Brisbane Times, “Biofuels Successfully Trialled in Flights from Brisbane Airport” PackagingNews, “PepsiCo Joins Danone and Nestlé Waters in Bio-based Bottles R&D ... read more >
September 7, 2018
DOE Announces Funding For Bioenergy Research And Development Projects
On September 4, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced its support for projects in Bioenergy Research and Development. The projects total about $80 million and address early-stage research and development in the hopes of achieving DOE’s goal of reducing biobased costs in fuels by 2022. Funding for these projects comes from four different programs:  BioEnergy Engineering for Products Synthesis, Efficient Carbon Utilization in Algal Systems, Process Development for Advanced Biofuels and Biopower, and Affordable and Sustainable Energy Crops. U.S. Secretary of Energy, Rick ... read more >
September 7, 2018
Repurposing Methylene Blue In Flow Batteries
Methylene blue consists of a blue dye used in the textile industry. A new study, published in mid-August 2018, reveals that the dye can be repurposed for use in redox flow batteries. After establishing that the chemical compound has electrochemical properties, chemists at the University of Buffalo divulged that, as an active ingredient, it can be used to store energy. In the textile industry, only about five percent of methylene blue is absorbed by fabrics and the rest produces large amounts of waste water that can be toxic to the environment. According to the University of Buffalo chemists ... read more >
September 7, 2018
Biofuel Production From Bacteria
On August 24, 2018, researchers from the University of Kent, UK, published a study on a new technique developed to use bacteria as cell factories to produce biofuels. Working in partnership with scientists from University College London, the University of Bristol, and Queen Mary University of London, Matthew J. Lee et al., uncovered a biotechnical approach to redesign bacterial structures called organelles. The latter, also known as bacterial microcompartments (BMC), carries out metabolic pathways through chemical reactions in the cell. Although these reactions are difficult to control, the ... read more >
August 31, 2018
Bipartisan Group Of U.S. Senators Fight For Increased Renewable Volume Obligation
On August 23, 2018, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), and 37 others submitted a bipartisan letter, asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase the renewable volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) as proposed by EPA in June 2018. Under the aforementioned proposed RFS, EPA would raise the advanced biofuel volume for 2019 to 4.88 billion gallons and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2020 to 2.43 billion gallons. The bipartisan group argues that although these increases may be promising, the potential of biodiesel is still taken too ... read more >
August 31, 2018
Using Marine Yeast To Produce Biofuel
In a research study conducted at the University of Nottingham School of Biosciences, a team of scientists has uncovered how to refine seawater to produce bioethanol. When fermented, marine yeast of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae AZ65 strain and yeast extract peptone dextrose (YPD) aid in the production of biofuels. Not only is this discovery key in the development of renewable energy sources, but it also reduces the water footprint of ethanol. Through the use of seawater, the traditional biorefinery methods that rely on agriculture and freshwater become obsolete and limit further depletion of ... read more >
August 31, 2018
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
Plastics Technology, “Materials: Marine Biodegradable Bioplastic Compound” The Economic Times - India, “Government Puts Restrictions on Export of Bio-fuels” inUth BETA, “India Joins U.S. and Australia with Launch of First-Ever Biofuel Flight” Ecns.cn, “Biofuels Push to Help Clear the Air” DairyReporter.com, “United Caps and Braskem Launch ‘I’m Green’ Bio-sourced Plastic Caps and ... read more >
August 24, 2018
BIO To EPA: RFS Program Is Key To America’s Biobased Economy
Under the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to set renewable fuel percentage standards annually. On July 10, 2018, EPA announced a request for comments on a proposed rule to address “volume requirements for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel that are below the statutory volume targets.” The proposal also included the applicable volume of diesel from biomass for 2020. In response to EPA’s request, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), a Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) ... read more >
August 24, 2018
Recycling “Fatbergs” Into Biofuel
Researchers from the University of British Columbia, in Canada, have discovered a new technique that can be used to transform “fatbergs” into green fuel. What scientists now refer to as “fatbergs” consist of oils and greases that cause blockages in the sewer systems accumulating disposed solids. These Canadian scientists revealed a new method in which “fatbergs” can be recycled into green fuel within the sewer system through a microwave-enhanced advanced oxidation process using hydrogen peroxide and bacteria. The University of British Columbia team is now ... read more >
August 24, 2018
Red Algae Could Be The Key To Accelerating Biofuel Production
On August 17, 2018, researchers from the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its progress in accelerating the process of biofuel-making. Through the use of biotechnology, their research demonstrates that an enzyme, glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT) from the red algae Cyanidioschyzon merolae, can contribute to the biofuel production process. Algae is often used to produce biofuels because it contains high amounts of triacyglycerols (TAG) under certain conditions, which can be converted into biodiesel. Using Cyanidioschyzon merolae as a control strain, researchers at ... read more >
August 24, 2018
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
EurekAlert!, “Renewables Could Drastically Cut Tailpipe Emissions” AP News, “US Says Conserving Oil Is No Longer an Economic Imperative” Reuters, “Gene-editing Startups Ignite the Next ‘Frankenfood’ Fight” Stora Enso, “Stora Enso and Orthex Combine Wood Fibre and Bioplastic into Durable Consumer Products” U.S. Department of Energy, “New Members of Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee ... read more >
August 17, 2018
USDA Announces Solicitation For Applications For BAP Funds
On August 3, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Business-Cooperative Service publicized two application cycles for applications for funds available under the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program (BAP). The loans under the aforementioned program are designed to encourage the proliferation of biobased practices that use “technologically new commercial scale processing and manufacturing equipment to convert renewable chemicals and other biobased outputs of biorefineries into end-user products, on a commercial ... read more >
August 10, 2018
DOE Requests Input Regarding Catalyst Production And Development Needs At National Laboratories
On August 2, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced a request for input from the industry, academia, National Laboratories, government agencies, and other biofuels and bioproducts stakeholders on “custom catalyst production capability for biochemical and thermochemical processes.” Particularly, BETO is seeking information on areas of research, capabilities, and challenges associated with small-scale production of custom catalysts used for conversion of lignocellulosic, waste, ... read more >
August 10, 2018
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
Ghana Business News, “OFAB Ghana Engages Journalists on Genetically Modified Crops” Food Ingredients 1st, “Bright Futures: the Evolution of Natural Colors and a ‘Less is More’ Approach” The Virginian Post, “New Record Number of Companies, Trade Groups Urge Congressional Leaders to Reauthorize and Fund Energy Title Programs as Farm Bill Heads to Conference” Braskem, “Braskem Launches New Renewable Bio-based EVA Resin in Allbirds shoes” AP News, “Genetics Technology Could Lead to More Crops, Fresher ... read more >
August 3, 2018
DOE Publishes Notice Of Biomass Research And Development Technical Advisory Committee Meeting
On August 1, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced an open meeting of the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee under the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008.  83 Fed. Reg. 37490.  The Committee will meet on August 22, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (EDT) and on August 23, 2018, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EDT).  The purpose of these meetings is to promote research and development (R&D) that leads to the production of biobased fuels and products.  Agenda items include updates on biomass R&D from the U.S. Department ... read more >
August 3, 2018
Weekly Roundup of Other Biobased News
Santa Fe New Mexican, “LANL Researching Algae to Convert to Affordable Fuel” Renewables Now, “Argentina Looking at 27% Bioethanol Blend -- Report” Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, “Shimkus Promises ‘We’ll Legislate’ on Reforming RIN Credits” Born2Invest, “EPA’s New Acting Administrator Plans on Following Predecessor’s Policies” EIN NewsDesk, “Advanced Biofuels Canada’s National Voice Continues to Grow with New Global Leaders” Biofuels International, “NBB Challenges 2018 ... read more >
July 27, 2018
Wheeler Briefs Press On Future Of Biofuels Programs, Approves Sorghum Based Biofuel Pathways Under RFS
On July 24, 2018, Andrew Wheeler, newly appointed Acting Administrator at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), held a briefing that outlined his plans for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  He plans on following Scott Pruitt’s work overhauling the policy, including counting ethanol exports toward annual biofuels quotas and bringing corn and oil groups together to overhaul the RFS system.  Wheeler also signed a final notice approving a variety of pathways for renewable fuel derived from sorghum, including biofuel and biodiesel.  The newly approved pathways meet ... read more >
July 27, 2018
EPA Must Reconsider Small Refinery Waiver For Ergon
On July 20, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (Fourth Circuit) ruled that EPA must reconsider its denial of Ergon-West Virginia, Inc.’s (Ergon) application for a small refinery waiver under the RFS.  The Fourth Circuit stated that EPA relied on an “error-riddled” analysis when it denied the exemption.  Ergon is a small refinery based in West Virginia (with a daily production of 23,500 barrels) that produces primarily diesel which is not easily blended and sold in the local market.  The number of small refinery hardship waivers has jumped ... read more >
July 27, 2018
UK Considers Introducing E10 Fuel To Help Reach Emissions Goals
On July 20, 2018, the United Kingdom’s (UK) Department of Transportation launched a consultation to explore the impact of introducing E10 fuel to the UK market.  Earlier this year, changes were made to the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) that requires transport fuel supplies to increase the amount of renewable fuel supplied in the UK beyond the current five percent ethanol blend, up to a limit of ten percent by 2032.  This plan is a component of the Road to Zero Strategy, announced on July 9, 2018, a commitment by the UK government to dramatically reduce transport ... read more >
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