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.

Minnesota “Spills Beans About Biodiesel”

saintsbaseballWhat could be more All-American this time of year than baseball… and biodiesel! This article from the Minnesota Farm Guide says the folks at the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) are combining the two truly patriotic loves during their “Spilling the Beans About Biodiesel” night at the St. Paul, Minnesota Saints baseball game at Midway Stadium on Tuesday, July 8.

Fans at tailgating can receive a free biodiesel t-shirt when they post a photo of themselves with the Saints’ cow mascots on social media, using the hashtag #BreatheBetterMN. Other events at tailgating include additional giveaways, a super hybrid Metro Transit bus that runs on biodiesel and more consumer-friendly information about biodiesel.

Prior to the Saints game on July 8, Minnesota Soybean will promote a coupon on their social media sites that could get game-goers a free $10 gas gift card. The first 50 people to bring the biodiesel coupon to their tailgating booth will receive a gas card.

Local media are being welcomed to the event with a chance to meet with and interview Minnesota soybean farmers who grow the feedstock for biodiesel. Contact Abby Bastian at abastian@wideopenthinking.com or 507-766-1038 for more information.

Springboard Biodiesel Offers Restaurants Incentive

springboardbiodiesel2Small biodiesel processor maker Springboard Biodiesel wants more restaurants to get into the act of brewing up their own biodiesel from their used cooking oil and grease. The company has declared July “Green Restaurant Month” and is offering $1,000 cash back to any restaurant in the U.S. that recycles the waste into biodiesel using one of their BioPro™ appliances.

Springboard Biodiesel’s CEO Mark Roberts explains, “Making biodiesel out of used cooking oil is not only profitable, it is possibly the single ‘greenest’ step a restaurant can take to improve air quality and reduce CO2 output.”

“We make an automated appliance that enables any business that cooks for large groups of people to convert their used cooking oil into premium grade fuel for 95 cents per gallon. Currently, the National average price of diesel hovers around $4.00 per gallon and will go higher. The fuel made in a BioPro™ runs in any diesel engine and costs one-quarter of the price.”

Over the last 6 years, Springboard Biodiesel has built a strong reputation within the green dining movement and is endorsed by the Green Restaurant Association, a national non-profit organization that assists member restaurants to become more environmentally responsible. The company also earned a prestigious “Kitchen Innovations” award from the National Restaurant Association in May of 2012 for the release of it’s BioPro™ EX.

Springboard Biodiesel has put nearly 1,000 of its biodiesel brewers in restaurants and breweries all across the U.S. and about two dozen other countries. Not only do the restaurant owners and brewers save the environment, but they also save the cost of paying someone else to pick up their old cooking oil, as well as having a great fuel source of their own to run in vehicles, such as delivery trucks.

NBB Touts Minnesota’s New 10% Biodiesel Mandate

mnAs Minnesota becomes the first in the nation to require all diesel this summer have at least a 10 percent biodiesel blend, the National Biodiesel Board is touting the move… and the green fuel’s benefits.

“Minnesota has been a pioneer, first demonstrating success with a five percent biodiesel blend. Moving to B10 continues the state’s role as a leader for our energy future, a future that includes diverse options like America’s Advanced Biofuel, biodiesel” said Steven Levy, Chairman for the National Biodiesel Board.

According to the American Lung Association of Minnesota, the state’s current B5 standard reduces emissions equal to removing nearly 35,000 vehicles from the road, which equates to 644 million pounds of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Increasing the blend from B5 to B10 will mean an additional demand of 20 million gallons of biodiesel each year on top of the current usage of 40 million gallons. Minnesota’s current operating production capacity is over 60 million gallons per year. Plants are currently operating in Isanti, Brewster and Albert Lea.

“It is encouraging to see leaders implement consistently strong biofuels policy; this is obviously in sharp contrast to the mixed messages sent from Washington, DC,” said Levy. “Minnesota’s move to B10 shows the impressive potential for renewable energy when policy and entrepreneurship work hand in hand to support real benefits that impact us all. Hopefully those at the national level will see the success in Minnesota and follow up with a strong federal energy policy and strong renewable fuel standard.”

Minnesota was supposed to move to B10 two years ago, but delays to make sure adequate blending infrastructure was in place put it off until now. Starting next year, B10 will be sold from April through September. The rest of the time, a 5 percent blend requirement is in place.

Cellana Deal Could Have Implications for Biodiesel

cellanaA new deal between Cellana, a California-based maker of algae-based products, and Israel’s Galil Algae Cooperative Agriculture Society Limited could have implications for biodiesel. This Cellana news release says the partnership looks to combine the industrial qualities of Cellana’s ReNew™ Algae – high-value algae biomass rich in Omega-3 nutritional oils, proteins, fuel-grade oils, cosmetic-grade oils, acids, and polysaccharides, as well as other valuable micronutrients – with Galil Algae’s whole-algae products that are rich in Omega-3s for aquaculture applications at a new joint algae research center in northern Israel.

“This newly-established relationship with Galil Algae is an extension and validation of Cellana’s core competencies in minimizing contamination in large-scale outdoor algae biomass production and in growing algae strains that naturally produce high-value Omega-3 oils,” stated Martin A. Sabarsky, Chief Executive Officer of Cellana. “Many of the same strains that can be grown for aquaculture hatchery applications can also be good sources of crude oil for fuel applications, proteins for animal feed and food applications, and oils and polysaccharides for cosmetic applications,” continued Mr. Sabarsky. “Galil Algae’s algae strains for aquaculture hatchery applications are qualitatively better than competing products based on their Omega-3 profile and other qualities. We look forward to finalizing the definitive agreements with Galil Algae and working closely with Galil Algae to expand commercial-scale production of these high-value products.”

Galil Algae officials see the deal as a way for them to partner their high-performing, high-Omega-3 algae strains with Cellana’s approach to commercial strain development and market focus within the nutraceutical and aquaculture sectors.

Turning Biodiesel By-Product into Valued Chemicals

RiceWong1Researchers have discovered a catalyst of precious metals that is uncovering some real treasure in a biodiesel by-product. Rice University says engineers at the school have found palladium-gold nanoparticles, used as catalysts for cleaning polluted water, are also surprisingly good at turning glycerol into valuable chemicals.

Through dozens of studies, [Michael] Wong’s team focused on using the tiny metallic specks to break down carcinogenic and toxic compounds. But his latest study, which is available online and due for publication in an upcoming issue of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal Chemical Science, examined whether palladium-gold nanocatalysts could convert glycerol, a waste byproduct of biodiesel production, into high-value chemicals.

In scientific parlance, the data from the study produced a “volcano plot,” a graph with a sharp spike that depicts a “Goldilocks effect,” a “just right” balance of palladium and gold that is faster — about 10 times faster — at converting glycerol than catalysts of either metal alone.

In previous studies, the nanocatalysts were used in reduction reactions, chemical processes marked by the addition of hydrogen. In the latest tests on glycerol conversion, the nanocatalysts spurred an oxidation reaction, which involves adding oxygen.

“Oxidation and reduction aren’t just dissimilar; they’re often thought of as being in opposite directions,” Wong said.

You can read the full study here.

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.