About John Davis

Domestic Fuel welcomes our newest blogger, John Davis. John is a 20 years+ veteran of traditional news and is getting his first taste of this "new media." We've known John since Chuck hired him to work at the Brownfield Network in January, 2000 after he served an 11 year stint in the U.S. Air Force as a broadcast journalist. John lives in Jefferson City, Missouri with his wife, two sons, two dogs, a cat, a mouse, and a fish! You can read more about him and his thoughts at his own website John C. Davis Online.

Agrisoma Recognized at BIO for Biodiesel Feedstock

agrisomaA Canadian company has been recognized for its commercialization of its non-food biodiesel feedstock. This company news release says Agrisoma Biosciences Inc. picked up the Gold Leaf Award for biotech excellence in Canada at the recent 2014 BIO International Convention in San Diego for development of carinata, sold under the company brand name Resonance, whose oil can be made into biojet fuel and biodiesel.

Steven Fabijanski, President and CEO stated, “Agrisoma is honored to receive the Gold Leaf Award. It is a gratifying acknowledgement of the innovation we have accomplished in bringing to market Agrisoma’s next generation agricultural products which are providing a sustainable solution for renewable energy. We have commercialized Resonance® Carinata, Canada’s first non-food crop that produces oil uniquely suited for biofuel production. Resonance Carinata was used to fuel the world’s first 100% renewable biojet fuel flight here in Canada. This Gold Leaf Award recognizes those accomplishments.”

“Agrisoma’s innovation is a fantastic demonstration of how biotechnology helps to provide the solutions needed to address the pressing challenges facing our society and environment. The company has offered an opportunity for farmers to produce a dedicated energy crop using landconsidered marginal, without impacting food production,” commented Andrew Casey, Presidentand CEO of BIOTECanada. “The vision and dedication of Agrisoma offers inspiration and promise for the economy and society more broadly. Using the tools of biotechnology to rapidly enhance performance and enhance sustainability only adds to the importance of agriculture in meeting the social, environmental and economic challenges associated with rapid global population growth.”

Also, Agrisoma’s Resonance recently gained approval as a feed for cattle.

New Fund in Biodiesel Booster Dallas Hanks’ Memory

Dallas Hanks1A new fund has been set up in memory of biodiesel booster Dallas Hanks, who recently died from cancer. The National Biodiesel Foundation set up a new foundation in Dallas’ memory. For those who might not have known this great champion of the green fuel, this Utah State University professor and founder of USU’s Center for Agronomic and Woody Biofuels was described as a visionary who had a knack for bringing stakeholders together to pursue a bigger picture. The Next Generation of Scientists Dallas Hanks Memorial Fund will honor his legacy and pass the research reins to a new generation of scientists eager to chase his dream.

Dallas was a huge supporter and contributor to [the National Biodiesel Board's] Next Generation Scientists program, where student scientists could be offered scholarships to attend industry events and other scientific mentoring activities. It was the consensus of the group [who gathered shortly after his death] that the National Biodiesel Foundation would create the Next Generation Scientists Dallas Hanks Memorial Fund. The proceeds of this fund will advance the original objectives of the program and assist in carrying out the visionary work that Dallas started. On behalf of the National Biodiesel Board and Foundation, the biodiesel industry, Dallas’s family and many friends, we encourage you to support this important fund in order to honor Dallas and further his legacy. Thank you.

Click here to contribute to the Next Generation of Scientists Dallas Hanks Memorial Fund.

DF Cast: Finding Ways to Increase Ethanol Blends

While the ethanol industry awaits the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision on the amount of ethanol to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply, ethanol producers are looking at other ways to make sure the green fuel increases its blend amounts.

In this edition of the Domestic Fuel Cast, we hear from Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis, Dean Drake with the consulting company the Defour Group, Scott Zaremba, president of Zarco Incorporated, and Ken Parrent, the ethanol director for the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, as they give their thoughts on how consumer demand will be a bigger driver for higher ethanol blends after attending an Indiana Corn Growers Association ethanol forum that focused on marketing mid-level ethanol blends and ran following the recent 2014 Fuel Ethanol Workshop in Indianapolis.

Domestic Fuel Cast - Increasing Ethanol Blends

You can also subscribe to the DomesticFuel Cast here.

Lawmakers Ask Obama to Boost Biodiesel

epa-logoAs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is poised to release its decision on the amount of biodiesel and ethanol to be mixed into the nation’s fuel supply (and we’re hearing word now that decision might be delayed until the Fall), a bi-partisan group of lawmakers is making its appeal to the White House to allow biodiesel to keep growing. This news release from the National Biodiesel Board cites the letter from 52 lawmakers who are concerned about the EPA’s current proposal to reduce the amount of biodiesel to be required for obligated parties under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)

“During your time in office you have supported the development and growth of the biodiesel industry. Now, biodiesel producers around the nation have the ability to generate nearly two billion gallons a year of the only EPA-approved advanced biofuel, which is commercially available across the United States,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to President Obama. “Therefore, we believe now is not the time for a critical shift in biodiesel policy. We urgently ask that you raise biodiesel’s RVO for 2014 above 1.28 billion gallons.”

The letter, which was led by Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., can be found here. The lawmakers signing the letter represent 22 states.

In a draft RFS rule released in November, the EPA proposed holding biodiesel volumes at 1.28 billion gallons – a sharp drop from last year’s actual production of nearly 1.8 billion gallons. Biodiesel producers around the country have warned that such a proposal will cause severe contraction in the industry. A nationwide survey of producers conducted by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) in April found that more than half have already idled a plant this year and 78 percent have reduced production from last year. Nearly two-thirds – 66 percent – have already laid off employees or anticipate doing so.

NBB officials have previously expressed their shock and disappointment on the proposal because of the success biodiesel has already shown in exceeding the targeted amounts of renewable fuels. They call on the Obama Administration “to finalize a strong RFS volume as quickly as possible.”

UK Company Offering 100% Biodiesel Marine Motor

A company in the United Kingdom is carrying a line of marine motors able to run on 100 percent biodiesel. Mermaid Marine says it has the Citius series of heavy duty engines from AGCO SISU Power, which is unique in being the only common rail engine available and is approved to run on pure biodiesel with no compromise in performance.

citiusmarineengine1“The importance of biodiesel is continuously increasing with biodiesel such as rapeseed accepted as an alternative fuel for use in engines,” explained Mermaid Marine sales executive Julian Osborne. “The fuel – either 100% biodiesel alone, or in any mixture ratio with diesel fuel according to EN 590 or ASTM D975, can be used in all the engines which are equipped with a mechanic or electronically controlled injection pump.”

AGCO SISU Power, formerly Sisu Diesel, was originally founded in 1942 and since then has produced engines known for their quality and reliability. The engines are built at the company’s main factory in Finland and comply with IMO 2 emission regulations and are future proofed for the forthcoming IMO 3 legislation.

Direct injection technology, crossflow cylinder head, centrally supported cylinder liners – unique in engines of this size – and advanced turbocharger technology have been everyday features in SisuDiesel engines for decades.

The engines have been designed for reliability, low operating costs and easy servicing. Classic, sturdy basic construction is combined with new generation control electronics and modern injection system, producing an engine that meets even the most demanding user needs.

You can get the engines in four and six cylinder versions from 130hp to 410hp. Mermaid Marine says they are designed for extreme conditions from blistering equatorial heat to the harsh winters of Northern Europe.

Biodiesel Helps Fuel Monsanto’s Profits

Monsanto_logoThe world’s biggest agriculture company says it will double its profits by the year 2019, and it’s crediting biodiesel, at least indirectly and in part, for that growth. This article in the Globe and Mail says Monsanto is cashing in on the growth in soybeans, which is being helped by biodiesel growth.

Sales in Monsanto’s soybean business rose by 24 per cent to $816-million in the third quarter, and corn revenue fell by 16 per cent. “I think corn had a good year, not a great year. [Soy]beans picked up a lot of the slack,” said [Monsanto chief executive officer Hugh] Grant, who is forecasting “the decade of the soybean.”

U.S. prices for soybean meal in the United States have risen by 48 per cent since the beginning of 2012, driven by rising production of biodiesel and growing demand from livestock producers. Soybean meal has become a popular and inexpensive source of protein for farm animals – especially pigs. Chinese hog producers, scrambling to meet rising demand for pork, have been among the biggest buyers of the U.S.-grown soy.

Farmers have responded to the new demand. Canadian growers expected to seed a record 5.3 million acres of soybeans this year, up more than 16 per cent over 2013, according Statistics Canada. In the United States, growers planned to seed a record 81.5 million acres this year, a 6-per-cent increase over last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Monsanto also announced a share buyback worth $10 billion and raised its short-term profit outlook for 2014, which helped boost its shares by 5 per cent this week.

Biodiesel Feedstock Gets Approval as Cattle Feed

agrisomaPGFA new feedstock for biodiesel has gained approval as a feed for cattle. Agrisoma Biosciences Inc. announced that its meal from Carinata, or Ethiopian mustard, used in biodiesel production with their partner company PGF Biofuels Ltd., gained approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for use in feed for grower and finisher beef cattle in Canada.

Marketed under the brand name Resonance® Carinata, this industrial oilseed produces a high protein meal that can now be used as a source of protein in livestock feed. The CFIA’s approval, in conjunction with similar approvals in other international markets allows for Canadian Carinata meal sales and is an important part of the continued development for the Resonance Carinata value chain.

CFIA regulatory approval for cattle feed in Canada means that Resonance Carinata meal has been through rigorous animal safety and efficacy testing. In his research-based evaluation of the Carinata meal, Dr. John McKinnon, Professor at the University of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Beef Industry Chair, concluded that, “Carinata meal is relatively low in fibre and an excellent source of crude protein that is readily degradable by rumen bacteria. As such, this meal can be used effectively to meet the rumen degradable protein needs of growing cattle.”

“While the primary market for Resonance Carinata has always been renewable aviation and biodiesel fuels, the value of its high quality meal is an important part of Carinata’s overall market success,” said Mr. Andrew Paterson, Chief Executive Officer of PGF Biofuels. “With Resonance Carinata meal now approved by the CFIA, the market potential for this crop, and its related opportunity for growers, continues to expand.”

Agrisoma officials say being able to sell the Carinata meal adds value to all the products within the production chain.

Isuzu to Partner to Develop Algae Biodiesel

isuzu euglenaJapanese car maker Isuzu is partnering with a fellow Japanese company to develop a new kind of biodiesel from algae. This article from Bloomberg says Isuzu and Euglena Co. hope to establish the technology by 2018.

The companies want to develop a type of fuel that can be used on its own unlike existing kinds that need to be mixed with light oil, they said in a statement today.

“As long as we use light oil for diesel engines, emissions of carbon dioxide are inevitable,” Susumu Hosoi, president of Japanese truck maker Isuzu, said at a news conference. “It is important to diversify types of fuel” for resource-poor Japan, he said.

Euglena, a Japanese biotech venture, has been developing jet fuel from algae with airline operator ANA Holdings Inc., President Mitsuru Izumo said at the event.

DC Schools Partner on Solar Power Project

Universities in the Washington, D.C. have partnered to bring solar power into the region. The George Washington University, American University (AU) and the George Washington University Hospital (GWUH) created a renewable energy project that will bring the power of the sun from North Carolina.

DukeEnergyRenew1Duke Energy Renewables will supply 52 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) power, which is solar energy that is converted to electricity. This is the equivalent of the amount of electricity used in 8,200 homes every year.

“Thanks to this innovative partnership, the George Washington University will now derive more than half of all its electricity from solar energy,” said GW President Steven Knapp. “This will greatly accelerate our progress toward the carbon neutrality target we had earlier set for 2025.”

The partnership, dubbed the Capital Partners Solar Project, marks the largest non-utility solar PV power purchase in the U.S. and the largest PV project east of the Mississippi River.

The project, facilitated by CustomerFirst Renewables (CFR), will help GW and AU meet their climate action plan commitments without incurring additional costs. The partners will break ground on the first site this summer.

The project hopes to generate 123 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of emissions-free electricity per year by the end of next year, the equivalent of taking 12,500 cars off the road. Duke Energy officials call the 20-year agreement “a real game changer” as it shows renewables can be used for large customers and shows growth in the clean energy sector.

Meredian Harvests First Canola Crop for Biopolymer

meredian1A Georgia company has harvested its first crop of canola to make into biopolymers. According to Meredian, Inc. the crop will be turned into the raw materials used to make a wide range of completely biodegradable plastic products from local fields.

The canola oil used in Meredian’s production is the single most important, yet costly factor in their manufacturing process. While theoretically, the company can use any plant derived oil to convert carbon into biopolymers, canola is the perfect option because it possesses the ability to be grown locally, which cuts down on unnecessary and costly transportation steps. Growing locally stimulates Georgia’s economy, while allowing Meredian to continue their mission of manufacturing biopolymers from renewable, natural resources that equal or exceed petroleum-based plastics in price and performance.

“We are thrilled about the successful harvest of our pilot canola fields,” said Paul Pereira, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors at Meredian, Inc. “The first harvest marks a major milestone in meeting the full scale needs of this facility.”

Currently, Meredian Inc. is repurposing a one-million square foot facility where the equipment will clean and crush canola seeds into oil by a solvent and toxin-free, cold press process. Until crushing equipment is installed, the 850,000 pounds of seeds from the harvest will be stored at Meredian. Once the equipment is installed, the majority of the seeds recently harvested will be crushed to produce oil for the current PHA production needs.

Meredian expects next year they’ll be using canola from 10,000 to 15,000 acres fields to be planted this fall. Eventually, the company wants about 100,000 acres to grow enough canola to supply its 60 million pound fermentation facility.

Neste Inks Algae Oil for Renewable Diesel Deal

RAE algae1Neste Oil has signed a deal that should help keep up its feedstock supply for its renewable diesel. This company news release says the agreement with U.S. algae producer Renewable Algae Energy (RAE) will secure algae oil as an alternative feedstock for Neste Oil’s NEXBTL renewable diesel for the future.

Cooperation with RAE is intended to secure Neste Oil’s access to a cost-effective supply of industrial volumes of algae oil in the future. Implementation of the agreement will require RAE to increase its algae oil production capacity and to comply with the requirements of biofuel legislation with strict sustainability criteria in the US and the EU throughout the production chain. RAE anticipates that it will be able to produce commercial-scale volumes of algae oil from 2016 onwards.

“Algae oil is well suited for producing Neste Oil’s renewable products,” says Lars Peter Lindfors, Neste Oil’s Senior Vice President, Technology. “The agreement we have just signed is yet another step in our constant work to support the commercialization of the algae industry and to take part in research on new, sustainably produced feedstocks.”

“We are honored to partner with Neste Oil,” said Jeffrey S. Kanel, Ph.D., CEO of RAE. “Neste Oil is known worldwide as the industry leader, and they are committed to producing a sustainable energy source. This commitment aligns perfectly with RAE’s mission and values, and we look forward to assisting Neste Oil to produce renewable fuels that will benefit the world.”

The agreement is non-exclusive, as Neste Oil wants more partners able to produce algae oil at a commercial scale.

Renewables Make Up Nearly 90% of New Power in May

FERCA new report shows that renewable energy sources made up nearly 90 percent of all new electrical generating capacity in the U.S. in May and more than half the new capacity this year so far. A news release from the SUN DAY Campaign, a non-profit research and educational organization that promotes sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels, says that a new “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects shows that wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower provided 88.2 percent of new installed U.S. electrical generating capacity for the month of May, and for the first five months of 2014, renewable energy sources accounted for 54.1 percent of the 3,136 MW of new domestic electrical generating installed.

Since January 1, 2012, renewable energy sources have accounted for nearly half (47.83%) of all new installed U.S. electrical generating capacity followed by natural gas (38.34%) and coal (13.40%) with oil, waste heat, and “other” accounting for the balance.

Renewable energy sources, including hydropower, now account for 16.28% of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity: water – 8.57%, wind – 5.26%, biomass – 1.37%, solar – 0.75%, and geothermal steam – 0.33%. This is more than nuclear (9.24%) and oil (4.03%) combined. *

“Some are questioning whether it’s possible to satisfy the U.S. EPA’s new CO2 reduction goals with renewable energy sources and improved energy efficiency,” noted Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign.”The latest FERC data and the explosion of new renewable energy generating capacity during the past several years unequivocally confirm that it can be done.”

You can read the full report here.

Researchers Look to Turn Fish Waste into Biodiesel

dave1Researchers in Canada are looking at ways to turn waste from processing fish into biodiesel. This article from the Grand Falls-Windsor Advertiser says work by Dr. Deepika Dave, a research scientist with the Marine Institute (MI) of Memorial University, could create biodiesel from salmon waste while cleaning up the environment.

The processing of salmon generates large amounts of solid wastes, up to 45 to 50 percent of the body weight of the processed salmon.

Research from the DFA has revealed that 12 percent of salmon aquaculture production within the province is turned out as waste every year due to disease and other factors which includes mortality.

The province’s salmon industry generates an average of 6276 tonnes of processing discards and 1,712 tonnes of mortalities from which valuable oil can be recovered. The province has the potential to produce 1,600 tonnes of salmon oil that can be converted into approximately 1,520 tonnes of biodiesel.

Salmon waste management is an issue, which has the greatest impact on the environment, especially the marine environment.

The researchers hope that one day the process would help keep the salmon waste out of landfills and provide remote fishing communities with a source of clean fuel to run generators and marine vessels.

Houston Man Charged with Biodiesel RINs Fraud

scalesofjustice1The feds are continuing their crackdown on Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) fraud. This story from Bloomberg says a Houston man has been charged with selling more than $29 million in fake RINs to several oil companies.

Philip Joseph Rivkin sold about 45 million fake renewable identification numbers representing millions of gallons of non-existent biofuel to oil companies that were required to buy them under federal energy law, according to charging documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas June 19.

The charges, which represent a string of cases of alleged scams involving fake fuel credits, comes as an Environmental Protection Agency program designed to ensure their validity has yet to be finalized by the Obama administration.

According to the indictment, Rivkin operated and controlled several companies in the fuel and biodiesel industries, including Green Diesel LLC, Fuel Streamers Inc. and Petro Constructors LLC, all based in Houston.

Rivkin also was charged with fraudulent tax credit claims based on fictitious biodiesel production, making Clean Air Act false statements and money laundering, according to charging documents.

The EPA is still working on finalizing its rule for verification of RINs.

Genera Partners with Tennessee on Biomass Project

genera1An innovator on biomass feedstock supplies has teamed up with the University of Tennessee (UT) on a program to develop regional systems for the sustainable production of bioenergy. This Genera Energy news release says part of the company’s partnership on the Integrated Biomass Supply Systems (IBSS) with UT’s Center for Renewable Carbon program includes bringing on two summer interns from Auburn University: Alexus Brown, from Birmingham, Alabama, a senior majoring in ecological engineering, and Mary Catherine Rubisch, from Weaverville, North Carolina, a senior majoring in biosystems engineering.

The internship program is part of the Southeastern Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems (IBSS), which also includes North Carolina State University, the University of Georgia, ArborGen, Inc., and Ceres, Inc. IBSS is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which focuses on developing regional systems for the sustainable production of bioenergy and biobased products. The goal of the IBSS Partnership is to demonstrate the production of advanced biofuels from sustainable sources of lignocellulosic biomass. The program focuses on perennial switchgrass, and short-rotation woody crops such as eucalyptus and pine.

“We are thrilled to welcome Alexus and Mary Catherine to Genera Energy this summer as part of the IBSS Partnership,” said Kelly Tiller, president and CEO of Genera Energy. “They have both come to East Tennessee eager to learn about innovative biomass feedstock supply chain solutions. The IBSS program is a key resource in training the next generation of biomass industry leaders in the Southeast.”

IBSS partners aim to find cost-efficient, effective ways to fulfill the supply and demand for biofuels, while minimizing and managing risk, and providing satisfactory return on investment for farmers, to meet the USDA’s goal of producing 22 billion gallons of biofuel, annually, by 2022.