Southwest Airlines Inks Deal with Red Rock Biofuels

Southwest Airlines is partnering with Red Rock Biofuels (RBB), who recently received U.S. Department of Energy funding to produce aviation biofuels for the military, to purchase renewable jet fuel (biojet) produced from forest residues. The airline’s agreement with RRB covers the purchase of approximately three million gallons per year. The blended product will be used at Southwest’s Bay Area operations with first delivery expected in 2016.

“Our commitment to sustainability and efficient operations led us on a search for a viable biofuel that uses a sustainable feedstock with a high rate of success,” said Bill Tiffany, vice president of Supply Chain at Southwest Airlines HeartSouthwest Airlines. “Red Rock Biofuel’s technology, economics, and approved use made entering into an agreement for purchase a win-win situation.”

RRB’s first plant will convert approximately 140,000 dry tons of woody biomass feedstock into at least 12 million gallons per year of renewable jet, diesel, and naphtha fuels. It is hoped that the forest residues will help to reduce forest fires in states that are struggling with drought and dry conditions.

RRB’s CEO, Terry Kulesa added, “From the outset, we have sought to build the best possible team of project partners. A conversation we started with Southwest on the premise of providing renewable jet fuel at cost parity with conventional jet fuel has evolved into a great partnership. We’re happy to help Southwest diversify its fuel supply.”

Southwest is a long-time member of Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) which is a government and industry coalition for the development and deployment of alternative jet fuel for commercial aviation. As a member of CAAFI, the airline has followed the progress of alternative fuel technologies. Red Rock Biofuels is the first viable opportunity the airline has found to meet its financial and sustainability objectives.

Biorefineries to Produce Advanced Biofuels for Military

Today the Departments of Navy, Energy and Agriculture announced that three companies have been awarded contracts to construct and commission biorefineries to produce “drop-in” biofuels for the military and private sectors. Made through the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Defense Protection Act (DPA) of 1950, the awards support the Administration’s goals to boost and diversify the domestic fuel supply base, make American warfighters less beholden to volatile oil markets, and strengthen national security.

us logos“The contracts being announced today will help expand the operational capability of our Navy and Marine Corps around the world,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. “In today’s complex fiscal environment, we are balancing our mission with our resources and we must be innovative and forward-thinking. Programs like these help keep our operational capabilities on the cutting edge. This is how Sailors and Marines defend our great nation.”

In total, these projects will produce more than 100 million gallons of military grade fuel beginning in 2016 and 2017 at a price competitive with their petroleum counterparts.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said of the announcement, “This is a tremendous announcement for America’s national security and our economy. Any time our military can use more American grown fuels instead of relying on foreign sources it makes our armed forces more energy secure. And the expansion of our advanced biofuel sector means the creation of good jobs across the country, especially in many of our rural communities.”

The drop-in alternative fuels can be blended at a 50/50 ratio with traditional fossil fuels. This blend was successfully demonstrated during the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) demonstration in 2012 for ships and planes, showing firsthand that this fuel can be utilized in Navy’s warfighting platforms with no degradation to performance or mission. As these fuels become more available, the Department of the Navy will make advanced drop-in biofuel a regular part of its bulk fuel procurement, ushering in the “new normal” of Naval supremacy.

“Advanced biomass-based transportation fuels have the potential to provide a reliable and cost-effective alternative to traditional fuel sources,” said Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman. “By advancing technologies that reduce our carbon emissions, this multi-agency partnership is demonstrating that by protecting our energy and environmental security, we will enhance our national security as well.”

The companies receiving federal investments for the construction and commissioning of biorefineries are:

  • Emerald Biofuels: To build an 82 million gallon per year refinery on the Gulf Coast using waste fats to create military grade fuel.
  • Fulcrum BioEnergy: To build a 10 million gallon per year refinery in McCarran, Nev. using municipal solid waste as its feedstock and the Fischer-Tropsch process to create fuel. On Sept. 4, USDA announced a $105 million Biorefinery Assistance Program loan guarantee to Fulcrum BioEnergy for the construction of this facility.
  • Red Rock Biofuels: To build a 12 million gallon per year refinery in Lakeview, Ore. using woody biomass, or the by-products of forest management, as its feedstock and the Fischer-Tropsch process to create a refined product.

This effort brought by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy, and Navy, along with partners in the private sector, will expand military fuel sources, improving the reliability of our overall fuel supply, adding resilience against supply disruptions, and giving the military more fuel options to maintain its readiness and defend the national security interests of the United States.

Cathay Pacific Airlines Invests with Fulcrum BioEnergy

Cathay Pacific Airways is the first airline investor in Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc. The investments was made as part of the airline’s biofuel strategy and to help it achieve a target of carbon-neutral growth from 2020. Fulcrum is focused on the development and commercialization of converting municipal solid waste into sustainable aviation fuel or “biojet fuel”. Cathay Pacific also has an option for further investment.

“We are very pleased to become the first airline investor in this sustainable biofuel developer. We are well aware of the impact the aviation industry has on the environment Cathay-Pacific-Logoand have been doing a great deal to minimize our own impact,” said Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Ivan Chu. “We are pleased to have identified Fulcrum as a strategic business partner that has the necessary vision and technological know-how to help Cathay Pacific pursue the use of biojet fuels. These fuels are an important component of our sustainable development strategy, under which we aim to achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020.”

Cathay Pacific has also negotiated a long-term supply agreement with Fulcrum for an initial 375 million U.S. gallons of sustainable aviation fuel over 10 years (representing on an annual basis approximately 2% of the airline’s current fuel consumption) that meets all the airline’s technical requirements and specifications. Fulcrum plans to commence construction of its first commercial plant later this year and to build large scale, waste-to-renewable jet fuel plants at multiple locations, including locations strategic to the Cathay Pacific network, primarily in North America.

Cathay Pacific Biofuel Manager Jeff Ovens said of their technology, “Fulcrum has successfully demonstrated a process of converting municipal solid waste feedstock into sustainable aviation fuel at its scale demonstration facility. The feedstock will be pre-sorted to remove any recyclables prior to being processed into fuels. The company has proved that its technology is viable and has supply commitments in place for feedstock needed for the fuel production. These supply commitments will cover both near-term and future developments.”

According to Jim Macias, CEO of Fulcrum BioEnergy, jet fuel produced by Fulcrum’s waste-to-fuels process will reduce lifecycle carbon emissions when used in aircraft or road Fulcrum logotransport by more than 80 percent when compared to traditional fuels derived from crude oil and other fossil sources. This process also reduces the amount of municipal solid waste going into landfill sites and the methane gas emissions that result from this. If not captured, methane gas is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming contributor.

“We value our strategic relationship with Cathay Pacific, one of the world’s premier airlines. Cathay Pacific shares our vision and plan to bring a whole new source of sustainable fuel to the airline industry,” added Macias. “A new fuel that has the exact same molecules as fossil fuel but is cleaner, lower in carbon, renewable and lower cost than traditional fossil fuels. Cathay Pacific is really stepping up to help accelerate deliveries of this fuel to the market. This relationship adds to Fulcrum’s existing feedstock, technology and fuel off-take partners that enhance Fulcrum’s low-cost business model for the production and sale of large volumes of low-carbon, jet fuel.”

Boeing & SAA Collborate on BioJet Fuel From Tobacco

Boeing, South African Airways (SAA) and SkyNRG are partnering together to develop aviation biofuel from a specific type of tobacco plant. SkyNRG is currently expanding its production of Solaris, an energy crop hybrid derived from the tobacco plant. Pilot farming of the plant, which is effectively nicotine-free, is underway in South Africa with to end goal of producing advanced biojet fuel from the seeds. As the program expands, Boeing expects emerging technologies to increase South Africa’s aviation biofuel production from the rest of the plant.

The project is an effort to expand the support of South Africa’s goals for improved public health along with economic and rural development.

Tobacco Photos“It’s an honor for Boeing to work with South African Airways on a pioneering project to make sustainable jet fuel from an energy-rich tobacco plant,” said J. Miguel Santos, managing director for Africa, Boeing International. “South Africa is leading efforts to commercialize a valuable new source of biofuel that can further reduce aviation’s environmental footprint and advance the region’s economy.”

In October 2013, Boeing and SAA agreed they would work together to develop a sustainable aviation biofuel supply chain in Southern Africa. As part of that effort, they are working with the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials to position farmers with small plots of land to grow biofuel feedstocks that provide socioeconomic value to communities without harming food supplies, fresh water or land use.

Ian Cruickshank, South African Airways Group Environmental Affairs Specialist said of the expanded project, “By using hybrid tobacco, we can leverage knowledge of tobacco growers in South Africa to grow a marketable biofuel crop without encouraging smoking. This is another way that SAA and Boeing are driving development of sustainable biofuel while enhancing our region’s economic opportunity.”

“We strongly believe in the potential of successfully rolling out Solaris in the Southern African region to power sustainable fuels that are also affordable,” added Maarten van Dijk, Chief Technology Officer, SkyNRG.

Amyris & GOL Take to the Skies with Biojet Fuel

Amyris along with Brazilian airline GOL have flown the industry’s first commercial flight with farnesane, a recently approved jet fuel. Flight 7725 left from Orlando, Florida July 30 at 5:15 pm ET and landed in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

GOL committed to fly its Boeing 737 fleet with up to a 10 percent blend of the renewable farnesane fuel starting with this initial flight on July 30, 2014. According to Amyris, Farnesane can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 80 percent compared to petroleum fuels. When blended with Jet A/A1 fuel at 10 percent, farnesane can also reduce particulate matter emissions, decreasing pollution near airports and major metropolitan areas.

The global aviation industry has committed to aggressive goals to reduce its GHG emissions, including achieving carbon neutral growth by 2020 and reducing emissions by 50 percent by 2050 compared to 2005. In addition to improving the efficiency of airplanes and flight operations, this renewable biofuel represents a major opportunity for commercial aviation to reduce emissions. The approved renewable jet fuel is drop-in and can be blended directly with petroleum jet fuel without any changes to airplanes, engines or fueling infrastructure. Amyris will now begin to quantitatively measure the positive impact to GHG emissions and air quality with every flight using the renewable jet fuel.

UOP Renewable Jet Fuel Selected by Petrixo

Petrixo Oil & Gas will be using the Honeywell UOP Renewable Jet Fuel Process to produce renewable jet fuel and renewable diesel at a new refinery scheduled to be built in Fujairah United Arab Emirates. The technology will process around 500,000 metric tons per year of multiple renewable feedstocks into Honeywell Green Jet Fuel and Honeywell Green Diesel.

Honeywell Renewable Jet Fuel flightEarlier this year, Petrixo announced that it will invest $800 million to build the new refinery, which will have a design capacity of 1 million tons per year of biofuel products, and will be the first commercial-scale renewable jet fuel production facility outside of North America.

“Petrixo believes that new energy solutions are immensely important for scalable, environmental and renewable solutions,” said Dr. Eid Al Olayyan, chief executive officer of Petrixo Oil & Gas. “UOP’s green fuels technologies are proven refining solutions that produce high-quality products compatible with petroleum-based fuels.”

The UOP technology is designed to provide flexibility to adjust the feedstock mix depending on parameters such as cost and availability. The technology also enables the adoption of newer-generation feedstocks, such as oils derived from algae and halophytes, as scalable supply chains for these lipids develop.

“UOP’s renewable process technologies produce real fuels, rather than fuel additives such as biodiesel, that fit seamlessly into existing fuel supply chains,” explained Veronica May, vice president and general manager of UOP’s Renewable Energy and Chemicals business unit. “The renewable fuels produced by our technology also offer lower greenhouse gas emissions relative to traditional petroleum-based fuels.”

Blended up to 50 percent with petroleum-based jet fuel, Honeywell Green Jet Fuel requires no changes to aircraft technology, meets all critical specifications for flight, and can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65 to 85 percent compared with petroleum-based fuels.

Honeywell Green Jet Fuel Flies FIFA Teams

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, has announced that Honeywell Green Jet Fuel produced from its UOP Renewable Jet Fuel process will power 200 commercial flights on GOL Airlines during the 2014 FIFA World Cup currently taking place in Brazil. GOL Airlines, the official airline of the Brazil soccer team, has selected to use Honeywell Green Jet Fuel for flights carrying the team to cities across Brazil that are hosting World Cup matches.

The Honeywell Green Jet Fuel was made from inedible corn oil and used cooking oil. Each flight will use a blend of Honeywell Green Jet Fuel with petroleum-based jet fuel. UOP supplied nearly 92,000 liters of Honeywell Green Jet Fuel for the flights. Compared with petroleum-based jet fuel. According to Honeywell, this renewable fuel will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 185 metric tons of CO2 over the course of the event based on life cycle analysis.

GOL Airlines official 2014 FIFA World Cup airline“Honeywell Green Jet Fuel offers lower emissions than traditional petroleum-derived jet fuel and can be made from a variety of non-edible feedstocks, providing a flexible, renewable solution to meeting the current and future needs of Latin America and elsewhere,” said Veronica May, vice president and general manager of UOP’s Renewable Energy and Chemicals business unit. “We are pleased to continue our presence in Latin America and help meet the region’s growing need for sustainable energy solutions.”

Blended up to 50 percent with petroleum-based jet fuel, Honeywell Green Jet Fuel requires no changes to aircraft technology, meets all critical specifications for flight, and can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65 to 85 percent compared with petroleum-based fuels.

Together, Brazil and the United States account for 70 percent of the world’s total consumption of biofuels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and Brazil is the world’s second-largest biofuel producer.

The first fully commercial production of renewable jet fuel in the U.S. is expected to start up this year and produce approximately 30 million gallons of Honeywell Green Diesel and Honeywell Green Jet Fuel per year. AltAir Fuels will produce low-carbon, renewable jet fuel and other renewable products using UOP’s Renewable Jet Fuel Process with the flexibility to adjust the product mix between diesel and jet fuel to meet market demands. United Airlines will purchase 15 million gallons of this fuel over a three-year period, with the option to purchase more. The AltAir facility will be the first refinery in the world designed to continuously produce both renewable jet and diesel fuels.

Amyris & Total Prepare to Market Biojet Fuel

With the recently revised ASTM standard for jet fuel, Amyris and Total are now in the process of preparing to marketing their drop-in jet fuel that contains up to 10 percent blends of farnesane. The fuel, which has undergone extensive in-flight testing, meets all performance requirements set for Jet A/A-1 fuel used by the global commercial aviation industry.

“The ability of this renewable jet fuel to meet the criteria in the definitive standard for use in commercial aviation is a significant milestone in the ongoing collaboration between Amyris and Total. It unleashes the potential of our renewable jet fuel for the commercial aviation market, said Philippe Boisseau, Member of the Executive Committee of Total, President of Marketing & Services and New Energies divisions.

jet_a_1The ASTM standard involved an end-to-end evaluation program to verify and ensure that the renewable jet fuel product is compatible with aircraft and engine components and systems. The revised standard developed by ASTM Committee on Petroleum Products, Liquid Fuels, and Lubricants, now includes the use of renewable farnesane as a blending component in jet fuels for commercial aviation. This latest version of ASTM D7566, Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons, will allow a biomass-based renewable jet fuel, as developed by Amyris and Total, to support the commercial airliners’ goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“The introduction of our green fuel for the commercial aviation industry has the potential to lead to a meaningful reduction of greenhouse gas emissions with strong performance. As one of the world’s biggest suppliers of aviation fuel, one of Total’s objectives is to make breakthrough jet fuel solutions widely available to its airline customers, supporting their quest to meet high sustainability objectives,” Boisseau added.

John Melo, President & Chief Executive Officer of Amyris said, “Conformance to ASTM D7566 enables us to advance our ongoing discussions with several of the major international airlines seeking to fly commercial flights with renewable fuels capable of reducing emissions and improving performance,.”

“With our partner Total, we are paving the way for a new era for the aviation industry by providing a drop-in, low carbon jet fuel solution that will support the sustainability and environmental goals set by the industry without compromising performance. Achieving conformance to this standard in record time is a credit to the disruptive potential of our technology and the commitment of the global aviation industry to support innovative solutions,” Melo concluded.

Blue Sun Project Achieves Milestone

A key development milestone has been achieved by the collaborative project between Blue Sun Energy, ARA Inc. and Chevron Lummus Global (CLG) in their 100 barrel/day (4,200 gallons/ per day) demonstration-scale Biofuels ISOCONVERSION (BIC) facility located in St. Joseph Missouri. The plant has now been commissioned and is producing biofuels.

“This is a key milestone toward commercial scale production, with initial results showing comparable system performance in the scale-up from our 4 barrel/day pilot system in Panama City, Florida to the 100 BBL/day demonstration system in St. Joseph,” said Rob Sues, CEO of ARA.

biofuel_demoAccording to press materials, the BIC process seamlessly processes renewable feedstocks such as plant oils, tallow, and waste vegetable oil into 100% drop-in diesel and jet fuels. The subsequent biofuels meet petroleum specs without blending. In addition, the naphtha produced during the process can be used as a gasoline blend stock.

Leigh Freeman, CEO of Blue Sun CEO said, “Operation of the demonstration system is critical in terms of scaling the process and technology and garnering the insights and experience needed to begin construction on our first commercial facility, which will truly be a landmark for the emerging next-generation biofuels industry.”

The team will continue to test the system with various feedstocks, including Resonance, an industrial oil feedstock from Agrisoma Biosciences as well as fatty acid distillate, distillers grain corn oil, and tallow to ensure reliable and cost effective operation. The demonstration system will be operated in campaigns to produce tens of thousands of gallons of jet fuel and diesel for certification testing, endurance testing, and test flights through the end of this year.

“We are enthusiastic about the early success that Blue Sun, CLG, and ARA have achieved at the demonstration facility in St. Joseph. Production of completely fungible jet and diesel fuels from renewable industrial oils and waste oils is a game changer,” added Leon DeBruyn, Managing Director of CLG.

Primus Green’s STG Technology Awarded Patent

Primus Green Energy has been awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its STG+ liquid fuel synthesis technology. The company says its STG+ produces high quality, cost-effective, drop-in liquid transportation fuels such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel directly from syngas derived from natural gas and other carbon-rich feedstocks in a single-loop process.

STG+ represents a cost breakthrough for the GTL industry, says the company, as it demonstrates compelling economics at scales of less than 6,000 barrels per day. The patented process is far simpler and more efficient than existing GTL technologies as it Primus STG and reactorstransforms syngas to liquid fuels with only one condensation step and also recycles untransformed gases. These efficiencies result in a high-yield process – STG+ can convert one MMBtu of natural gas into more than five gallons of 90+-octane, drop-in gasoline.

“STG+ is a new, proprietary thermochemical GTL process that fundamentally transforms the efficiency and economics of liquid fuel synthesis technologies,” said Robert Johnsen, CEO of Primus Green Energy. “The allowance of this patent application validates the novelty of the technology we have developed and proven at scale in our research facilities and commercial demonstration plant here in Hillsborough. Further, it greatly strengthens our intellectual property portfolio, an important step as we look toward construction of our first commercial GTL plant.”

In October 2013, Primus successfully commissioned its 100,000 gallon-per-year natural gas-to-gasoline demonstration plant. A recently concluded independent engineers report found that both catalyst performance and STG+ system economics exceeded expectations during demonstration plant operation. The company is now working toward construction of its first commercial plant, which is expected to produce 27.8 million gallons per year of drop-in gasoline from natural gas. The company expects to break ground on the plant in 2014.

Univ. of Tenn. Develops More Sensitive Biodiesel Sensor

Embraer_170An issue that biodiesel runs into in the jet fuel field is the lack of tolerance for ASTM D1655, the jet fuel specification at just 5 parts per million (ppm) of allowable amount of fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) contamination. Biodiesel Magazine reports while that traditional analytical equipment, such as gas chromatography, Fourier transform infrared and high-performance liquid chromatography, cannot detect levels that low, scientists at the University of Tennessee have developed a more sensitive sensor:

[R]esearchers at the University of Tennessee have developed thin-film sensors with high sensitivity toward biodiesel contamination in jet fuel. Small strips of these sensors have been tested to detect the trace biodiesel contaminant in diesel at as low as 0.5 ppm in less than 30 minutes. The sensor also gives quick response to B20 in less than five minutes and may be used with the naked eyes. The sensors, developed by UT chemistry professor Ziling Xue, are intrinsically small, easy to use, inexpensive, and can be mass-produced for disposable applications. When combined with a portable reader, the sensors can be potentially used as a compact portable device for field applications. The university is seeking partners to commercialize the technology.

According to the article, another track in the biodiesel-jet fuel saga is getting a higher contamination tolerance allowed. Officials with the National Biodiesel Board make the case that allowing a higher level of biodiesel in the ASTM specifications for jet fuel than 5 ppm will make it much easier for pipelines to manage shipments of biodiesel blends in a manner that ensures jet fuel will always meet the specifications. In addition, the U.K.-based Energy Institute wants to test biodiesel at 400 ppm, four times the proposed allowable limit.

Abengoa Inaugurates First Waste-to-Biofuels Plant

Abengoa has inaugurated its demonstration plant that uses Waste-to-Biofuels (W2B) technology. The plant has a capacity to treat 25,000 tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) from which it will obtain up to 1.5 million liters of bioethanol for use as fuel.

The demonstration plant located in Babilafuente (Salamanca, Spain) and uses W2B technology developed by Abengoa to produce second-generation biofuels from MSW using a fermentation and enzymatic Abengoa Salamanca-1-large_300hydrolysis treatment. During the transformation process, the organic matter is treated in various ways to produce organic fiber that is rich in cellulose and hemicellulose, which is subsequently converted into bioethanol.

Abengoa says the the production of bioethanol from municipal solid waste is a major technological breakthrough in the waste management model, since it increases the recovery rate, minimizes the carbon footprint and generates major benefits for society. The company says the fuel produced from its plant will reduce greenhouse gas emissions per kilometer travelled by 70 percent. In addition, Abengoa’s technology maximizes the recovery of the organic fraction of the MSW and  prevents more than 80 percent of the waste ending up in landfill.

During the opening, Manuel Sánchez Ortega, CEO of Abengoa said, “This plant once again highlights Abengoa’s commitment to technological research and innovation, which has enabled it to maintain a competitive advantage in its sectors, leading projects with huge technological potential and programs that involve world-leading research centers and strategic partners.”

The bioethanol produced at the W2B plant has multiple uses such as an additive for gasoline, increasing its octane rating; as fuel for cars; for use in the chemicals and pharmaceutical industry (in solvents or cosmetics, for example), and even as an intermediate product in producing jet fuel.

DOE Announces Biofuels Funding

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced funding for four research and development projects to bring next generation biofuels on line faster and drive down the cost of producing gasoline, diesel and jet fuels from biomass. The announcement comes less than a week after President Obama’s commitment to the climate and efforts to cut carbon pollution. In total, the projects in Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin will receive $13 million in funding.

US DOE logo“By partnering with private industry, universities and our national labs, we can increase America’s energy security, bolster rural economic development and cut harmful carbon pollution from our cars, trucks and planes,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “As the President made clear in his plan to cut carbon pollution, partnerships like these will help move our economy towards cleaner, more efficient forms of energy that lower our reliance on foreign oil.”

In the United States, the transportation sector accounts for two-thirds of total U.S. oil consumption and one-third of our nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Hydrocarbon-based biofuels made from non-food feedstocks, waste materials and algae can directly replace gasoline and other fuels in our gas tanks and refineries. The Energy Department continues to take steps to speed the development of clean, renewable biofuels, with the goal of producing cost-competitive drop-in biofuels at $3 per gallon by 2017.

The research projects announced today build on the Obama Administration’s broader efforts to accelerate the next generation of biofuels by bringing down costs, improving performance and identifying effective, non-food feedstocks and conversion technologies. These projects will help maximize the amount of renewable carbon and hydrogen that can be converted to fuels from biomass and improve the separation processes in bio-oil production to remove non-fuel components – further lowering production costs.

The projects selected for negotiation include:

  • Ceramatec – up to $3.3 million, based in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory – up to $2.1 million, based in Oak Ridge, Tennessee
  • University of Oklahoma, up to $4 million, based in Norman, Oklahoma
  • Virent, Inc. – up to $4 million, based in Madison, Wisconsin

RINs Could Be Key to Aviation Biofuels Viability

epa-logoThe Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision that makes aviation biofuel, better known as biojet, eligible for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) could make those green fuels viable for the aviation industry. This piece from Platts says the aviation industry could qualify for D4 biodiesel, D5 advanced biofuel or D7 cellulosic diesel RINs, despite jet fuel being exempt from RINs obligations.

“The availability of RINs is a critical bridge to commercial viability,” Nancy Young, vice president of environmental affairs for US airline trade group Airlines for America, said in a recent interview.

“It means there is an economic value assigned to the renewable content in jet fuel that can help the producer of that fuel get closer to the price of traditional jet fuel,” Young said…

But with supplies of biojet still extremely limited, most industry goals are still modest. Airplane manufacturer Boeing, for instance, wants biojet to account for 1% of the industry’s 600 million gallons/year of jet fuel consumption by 2015.

The aviation industry, biofuels producers and the federal government have been investing in research to bring down the cost of making biojet, as well as financing more refineries.

Brooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Ethanol Council, said RINs are key to that.

“What the RIN value does is it creates an incentive to buy and trade this fuel,” he said. “The whole reason we need the RFS is because we can show up with a cheaper better fuel, but it doesn’t necessarily get it into the marketplace because it’s so vertically integrated. RINs make sure the renewable fuel is used in an economically efficient way.”

The article goes on to say that the increasing costs of biodiesel RINs could end up causing trouble for biojet.

Senate Spending Bill Keeps Military Biofuels

navy-biofuelsThe U.S. Senate yesterday passed a continuing budget resolution that would keep the federal government operating through the end of the fiscal year on September 30th and keep funding for advanced biofuels testing in the military.

By a vote of 40-59, the Senate rejected an amendment from Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-PA) that would have transferred $60 million in funding for military biofuels testing to increase Defense Department operations and maintenance funding. Toomey said in a press release he was very disappointed in his colleagues who “would rather spend taxpayer dollars on more wasteful biofuel subsidies than support essential maintenance operations for our military.”

Adam Monroe, president of advanced biofuels company Novozymes, praised the Senate for continuing its support of the Navy’s advanced biofuels program. “Every day we import oil, we’re putting our troops, families and country at needless risk. We can reduce that risk with a secure energy supply, including renewable fuels,” said Monroe. Last year, Novozymes opened an advanced manufacturing plant in Blair, Nebraska which specializes in enzymes for both the conventional and advanced biofuel markets.

The Senate spending bill was approved 73-26 and now goes to the House.