Taiwan Biodiesel Provider Offers Free Biocatalyst

sunhoTaiwan-based Sunho Biodiesel Corp. is offering a free lipase biocatalyst to clients that license and set up a biodiesel plant based on the Sunho’s ET Process®.

When considering a process for industrial production of a commodity, two major criteria are process reliability and cost of consumables. This is where the ET Process® offers distinctive advantages. The design of the ET Process® allows the system to optimize its efficiency. It runs in an automatic, continuous manner. There is no need for the producer to conduct numerous trial-and-error adjustments since it is a well-designed process. The use of inert solvent prevents lipase poisoning and deactivation from glycerol, methanol and water and stabilizes lipase activity. Due to the improvement in life span, the catalyst does not have to be replaced frequently, leading to significant catalyst cost savings. From recent market data, it was found that the lipase consumption of enzymatic processes that use either immobilized or liquid lipase without inert solvent is one order of magnitude higher than that of the ET Process®. Based on a plant with a capacity of 10,000 T/yr biodiesel, the former processes will consume more than 12-20 T/yr of biocatalyst, while the ET Process® will consume only 1 T/y or less. This means that in a two-year span, the cost difference in lipase expense between retrofitting an existing plant using the aforementioned processes and using the ET Process® is much higher than the capital investment needed to set up a new ET Process® plant.

Sunho is offering the biocatalyst to biodiesel plants that will have a capacity of at least 5,000 tonnes/yr based on degummed oil. The biocatalyst will be supplied for the first 18 months or in 3 batches, depending on which one comes first.

Fuels America Thanks Biofuels Supporter Sen Harkin

As Iowa Senator Tom Harkin prepares to retire, Fuels America is thanking him for his unwavering and tireless support of biofuels with a full-page advertisement in the Sunday, September 14, 2014 Des Moines Register and on Iowa radio. Sen. Harkin will be holding his final steak fry with Secretary Hilary Clinton, who is the keynote speaker. During the event he plans on taking the opportunity to update Clinton on biofuels progress across Iowa and the country.

“We’re grateful to Senator Harkin for his leadership, and proud to welcome Secretary Hillary Clinton to Iowa for the last Harkin Streak Fry,” says Fuels America’s radio ads that began running on Wednesday and will continue through Sunday on stations throughout the Des Moines area. “As one great Iowa tradition ends, another is growing.”

Fuels America Harkin-Clinton AdThe ads note that Iowa has doubled renewable fuels production since 2007, and that the Iowa renewable fuels industry now supports over 73,000 jobs. The ads go on to appeal to Clinton’s experience as Secretary of State, noting that she knows the danger that America’s addiction to foreign oil poses to our national security, economic security, and energy security. Instability in Ukraine and Iraq has recently created even more uncertainty in an already tumultuous global oil market, and America’s reliance on foreign oil has left us at the mercy of hostile and unstable foreign actors.

The advertisements come as President Obama is giving final consideration to this year’s final rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which will determine the extent to which renewable fuels will be allowed to compete with foreign oil in our fuel supply. At the same time, Secretary Clinton’s arrival in Iowa marks the beginning of a larger national dialogue on the future of renewable energy sources.

Genera Energy Introduces BIN-SPEC

Genera Energy has introduced a new feedstock management program module to reduce biomass feedstock variability: BIN-SPEC. According to the company, the preprocessing system delivers a consistent biomass product to a customer’s specifications with the least amount of variability and at a lower cost.

“After producing and harvesting a biomass crop, significant processes and steps must take place to convert a field crop into a uniform format feedstock with the exact size, chemical composition and moisture to meet the needs of each end user,” explained Kelly Tiller, Ph.D., CEO and president of Genera Energy. “We are now able to announce BIN-SPEC as the final link in our proprietary biomass supply chain management system.”

Genera-BIN_SPEC-Graphic-300x171Along with Genera’s other feedstock management systems, Energy Grange and Supply ASSURE, BIN-SPEC was developed through years of R&D and in-the-field testing aimed at consolidating and simplifying the entire biomass feedstock process, offering benefits to landowners, farmers and feedstock end users for the biofuels, biochemical and biopower industries.

While much research has focused on feedstock specific conversion technologies, Genera Energy noticed a gap in the study and field tests of biomass particle size during the preprocessing phase and as a result, developed BIN-SPEC to address this and other problems, offering a repeatable solution that reduces costs, increases efficiencies and provides a consistent product for end users.

Genera’s BIN-SPEC preprocessing management system looks at every step before, during and after preprocessing for each specific end user, assuring a tailored feedstock product specifically for use with BIN-SPEC designated equipment that will produce a biomass product with the least variation. While preprocessing biomass feedstocks is not new, Genera has focused on improving the process by reducing energy consumption, increasing efficiencies, and optimizing the process. This optimization ultimately leads to a lower cost, more consistent feedstock for the end user.

Keith Brazzell, Genera Energy COO notes that variation in feedstock product can be a costly problem for refineries. That was why BIN-SPEC was developed – to add value to a customer’s conversion process.

Pico Solar & Solar Home Systems to Top $2.1B

According to Navigant Research global market share for miniature solar photovoltaic systems, including pico solar and solar home systems, will grow from $538 million in 2014 to more than $2.1 billion in 2024. These systems are moving rapidly from specialized niches for solar enthusiasts and early adopters into the mainstream. They are particularly well suited for applications in the developing world where the provide lighting, cell phone charging and power for small direct current (DC) appliances in areas where the grid is unreliable or nonexistent.

Pico Solar System“Although the majority of solar consumer product activity is, for now, in developing regions of the world, similar products are also emerging in the developed world in the form of solar PV generators and kits,” said Dexter Gauntlett, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “NRG’s recent acquisition of Goal Zero exemplifies the growing interest in the sector among major corporations, with more acquisitions and strategic partnerships likely to follow.”

According to the report, in the developing world pico solar systems are providing new alternatives for people who previously had no choice but to pay high prices for low-quality and polluting fuel-based lighting, such as kerosene lamps. In addition to providing inadequate illumination, kerosene lamps pose significant health risks. The spread of pico solar systems gives these communities access to compact, clean, and affordable off-grid lighting and other electric devices.

The report, “Solar Photovoltaic Consumer Products”, analyzes the emerging global market for solar PV consumer products. It focuses on pico solar products and solar home systems, but also analyzes growth opportunities and key players for solar PV generators and kits. The report examines the distinct market issues for each product type in both developed and developing countries, including drivers and barriers, business models, and pricing trends.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFRenewable Energy Group, Inc. Chief Financial Officer Chad Stone will become the next chair of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. Stone, who has served on Iowa Biodiesel Board’s nine member executive board of directors since 2010, was officially be named to the post Friday at the board’s annual meeting.
  • Sun Starter, a residential lead generation company in the solar industry, is now offering the ability for company’s to enter into exclusive contracts for these leads.
  • Hitachi, Ltd. has announced that as of October 1, 2014, it will establish a new Energy Solutions Business Management Division as a front engineering (technical sales) organization under the direct jurisdiction of the president. This new Division will provide optimum solutions in a one-stop format – from power generation to power distribution and end-user systems – for the power systems market. The Energy Solutions Business Management Division will collaborate with the Power Systems Company and other Hitachi entities to provide the best solutions to a variety of stakeholders.
  • CSR is hosting a free webinar, “Tracking Renewable Energy for the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Guidelines for States to Use Existing REC Tracking Systems to Comply with 111(d),” on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 11:00 am PT. The webinar will explain how existing renewable energy certificate (REC) tracking systems can be used as an integral part of state compliance for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. These REC tracking systems, together with state policies designed to increase the production and use of renewable electricity, will be critical to states looking to use renewable energy like wind and solar to reduce the carbon intensity of their power sector. This webinar will be invaluable for air and electricity regulators, as well as renewable energy advocates who are interested in participating in the Clean Air Act Section 111(d) comment period, closing October 16, 2014.

Branstad Chosen as “Biodiesel Champion” by IBB

iowabiodieselboardBiodiesel advocates in Iowa are recognizing that state’s governor for his efforts to support the green fuel. At today’s annual meeting of the Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB), Governor Terry Branstad picks up the “Biodiesel Champion” award.

“Governor Branstad has shown steadfast support for state biodiesel programs and incentives, helping Iowa secure its position as the top biodiesel-producing state,” said Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. “He also shows bold national leadership in making an outspoken, compelling case for expanding biodiesel under the federal Renewable Fuels Standard.”

Branstad serves as vice chair of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition. In December, he was the only governor to testify at an Environmental Protection Agency hearing on the RFS.

“I want to thank the Iowa Biodiesel Board for the honor of being named a ‘Biodiesel Champion,’” said Branstad. “Iowa’s robust renewable fuel sector is a critical component of Iowa’s strong economic position. I’ve long been a strong supporter of renewable fuels like biodiesel, and will continue promoting innovation within this growing industry.”

Iowa is a major player in the biodiesel game, with 12 biodiesel plants producing about 230 million gallons of biodiesel in 2013 and supporting more than 7,000 jobs throughout the value chain.

Red River Energy Signs Deal with Noble Mansfield

nmrreRed River Energy has signed an ethanol marketing agreement with Noble Mansfield Commodity Services (NMCS) to handle their ethanol marketing. In addition, ICM subsidiary Energy Management Solutions, will manage the day-to-day operations and activities of the 25 million gallon per year ethanol plant located in Rosholt, South Dakota.

According to Rick Serie, general manager of Red River Energy, “After a long and exhaustive search, we’ve concluded that Noble Mansfield Commodity Services is the right ethanol marketing company to help us sell our ethanol as we restart our ICM-retrofitted facility. We felt comfortable with this decision given their past success in consistently selling our products across our key markets. Their marketing and logistics expertise will be particularly important as we proceed with our plans, which include investments into a grain storage bin and ICM’s corn oil extraction technology.”

William K. Covey, CEO of Noble Mansfield Commodity Services, agrees. “We are very excited for the opportunity to once again support Red River Energy by serving their marketing needs with knowledge, experience and reliability. We also welcome Rick’s trust in our ability to consistently maximize their netbacks, along with his appreciation for our personalized client support, competitive logistics, railcar access, transparent accounting integration and actionable market intelligence.”

Taiwan School Uses Microwaves to Make Biodiesel

ncku1A university in Taiwan is turning waste cooking oils into biodiesel using microwaves and strontium oxide (SrO) as catalyst. National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in southern Taiwan is using the talents of Prof. (Emeritus) Aharon Gedanken from the Department of Chemistry at Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel, in the process.

With the system designed by the team, a machine has been built by a company in Taiwan.

“The machine is made in Taiwan and working very well comparing it with similar ones I have at home,” according to Gedanken

The converting machine has been set up in the department and ready to yield more biofuel in the coming months, according to MSE Distinguished Professor Jiunn-Der Liao who has invited Gedanken to cooperate with NCKU faculty conducting the research.

Prof. Liao said that with Gedanken’s help we are going to set up a converting station at An-nan campus and hopefully we will collect more waste cooked oil for the demonstration.

The experimental process cranks out 3 liters per hour, and the researchers hope to have companies in Taiwan apply the know-how to their biodiesel operations.

Big Corn Crop Getting Bigger

usda-logoUSDA has increased its estimate of the corn crop again this month, building on already forecast record highs. Corn production is forecast at 14.4 billion bushels, up 3 percent from both the August forecast and from 2013 and yields are expected to average 171.7 bushels per acre, almost 13 bushels an acre higher than last year.

NCGA-Logo“It will be the fifth record crop that we’ve had in the last 12 years,” says National Corn Growers Association Vice President of Public Policy Jon Doggett, who commented on the crop during a during a Fuels America press call Thursday discussing the importance of EPA keeping the ethanol requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) going forward. “When the energy bill was passed in 2008, there was a challenge to the corn industry to produce the corn, and we have produced the corn,” he said, adding that farmers have done it so well that prices have fallen back below cost of production.

“The American farmer has done it again!” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). “The innovation and rapid technology adoption we’ve seen in the corn sector over the past decade has been nothing short of astounding. The American farmer has again risen to the challenge to meet all demands for feed, food and fuel.”

RFANewlogoAs harvest ramps up in fields across the country, corn demand from the ethanol sector is ramping up as well. Dinneen notes that DOE projects 2014 ethanol production will be 14.3 billion gallons. “A decade ago, who would have dreamed that 14 billion bushels of corn and 14 billion gallons of clean-burning, domestically-produced ethanol would be the reality in 2014?,” he said.

Dinneen added that EPA’s proposal to reduce the 2014 RFS requirement for “renewable fuel” from 14.4 billion gallons to 13.01 billion gallons would effectively reduce demand for corn by some 500 million bushels, at a time when corn stocks are rising and prices are slumping to levels below the cost of production. “Now is not the time to artificially constrain demand for corn and tie the hands of the American farmer,” Dinneen said, urging EPA to “finalize a rule that returns the RFS to its intended trajectory.”

Dueling RFS Ads Have Same Tune

President Obama needs to overrule this misguided proposal from the EPA before it is too late and these new technologies move overseas. The fate of America’s advanced biofuel industry, along with the President’s clean energy legacy, are resting on his decision. Fuels America USA Today print ad

“Tell President Obama, stop playing politics – fix the RFS.”
American Petroleum Institute TV ad

fuels-americaBoth the American Petroleum Institute and Fuels America unveiled new media campaigns this week targeted at telling the White House what to do when it comes to volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Both organizations held conference calls with reporters to announce the new campaigns.

The single, full page, USA Today ad that will run during Climate Week September 19-21 is a sharp contrast to the oil industry’s multi-million dollar television, radio, and online advertising campaign. “This has been a David and Goliath struggle all along,” said Brent Erickson with the Biotechnology Industry Organization on behalf of Fuels America. “The biofuels industry has been struggling against this Goliath oil industry that has spent millions and millions of dollars on ads.”

The biofuels industry ad stresses the opening of the first large, commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants this year and warns that “the companies and investors looking to deploy the next wave of cellulosic ethanol facilities have put U.S. investment on hold” until a decision on the future of the RFS is made. The API ad calls the RFS “Washington red tape” and blames ethanol for raising food prices and contributing to hunger, even though corn prices are lower than breakeven for farmers this year, according to National Corn Growers Association Vice President of Public Policy Jon Doggett. “We are selling corn today at about 35% of what we did just a couple of years ago, certainly below the cost of production for many of our growers,” he said.

API’s Bob Greco says they launched their campaign in part because of recent statements from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy that the agency will raise ethanol requirements based on the latest gasoline demand figures for 2014. “Unfortunately, the administration seems to be playing politics with the RFS rule instead of doing what’s best for consumers,” Greco said. “You don’t have to be a political insider to see how the Iowa Senate race—and the White House fear of losing control of the Senate—plays into this decision.”

“Politics are being played on this issue by both sides,” said Doggett. “I don’t think anyone should be surprised.”

Fuels America is a “coalition of organizations committed to protecting America’s Renewable Fuel Standard and promoting the benefits of all types of renewable fuel already growing in America.” API is the “only national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry.”

Listen to the Fuels America call, which also includes comments from POET-DSM’s Steve Hartig: Fuels America RFS Campaign call

ZimmPoll Says Knowledge of Global Agriculture Crucial

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “How important is it to know about farming in other countries?”

This might be the most one-sided poll we have every had. It seems, and I definitely don’t disagree, that having a global understanding of agriculture is crucial. We may not all be able to learn about them first-hand, but thats where we come into play.

Here are the poll results:

  • Very important, global economy – 91%
  • Not important, who cares – 4%
  • Somewhat, simply curious – 5%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, Would you buy an Apple Watch?

Apple’s roll out of a few clever and exciting new techie items has lead us to wonder if their new Apple Watch is something you plan on spending money on. It’s a no brainer that all Apple product enthusiasts will eventually be owning an iPhone 6, but do the product specs of the Apple Watch intrigue you enough to make the investment. Do you see it being a must have in years to come?

Northern Power Launches Distributed Wind Turbines

Northern Power Direct Drive Distributed Wind TurbineNorthern Power Systems has unveiled its next generation permanent magnet/direct drive distributed wind turbines. The 100 kilowatt NPS 100C and the 60 KW NPS 60C are now commercially available for use around the world.

According to the company, new 24.4 meter rotor features state-of-the-art hub and blade technology with superior aerodynamics providing a larger swept area compared to the outgoing model. This increases the annual energy production (AEP) of the NPS 100C-24 and 60C-24 by up to 15% depending on wind conditions. In combination with Northern Power’s proprietary permanent magnet/direct drive technology, the company says these new turbines are industry leading in power performance, energy production and lifetime cost of ownership.

Northern Power System’s first turbines were deployed in 2008. The improved, design reduces foundation and installation costs according to the company, and further improvements include a new best in class brake system, industry leading yaw configuration, an enhanced electrical layout, more efficient generator cooling, and an ultrasonic wind vane and anemometer. The new class III 24.4 meter rotor is available on the 100kW and 60kW model. The NPS 100C is alternatively available with a class II 21 meter rotor option.

National EV Sales Exceed Quarter Million Mark

Electric vehicle (EVs) sales have reached the quarter-million mark in the U.S. this week, just ahead of the fourth annual National Drive Electric Week taking place September 15-21, 2014.

Nissan Leaf“Clean energy prosperity is on the way and there’s no turning back,” said Sierra Club director Michael Brune. “National Drive Electric Week and the dramatic increase in the number of plug-in electric vehicles on the road are just the latest examples of how American consumers are demanding 21st-century solutions to energy and the climate crisis, and given the choice would leave dirty fossil fuels in the ground.”

The global event is designed to highlight the fun, convenience, cost-savings and clean-air benefits of EVs, National Drive Electric Week is organized nationally by Plug In America, the Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association. These organizations team up with other local groups and volunteers staging local events from Hawaii to Vermont, where EV sales continue to be robust.

“Plug-in vehicles have had a good year,” said John O’Dell, senior editor, fuel efficiency and Green Vehicles at Edmunds.com. “Despite a slowdown in the conventional hybrid segment, battery-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are up about 39 percent over last year. They remain a tiny part of the market–less than a one-percent share–but more and more people seem to be considering them as they shop for fuel efficient transportation.”

Sharing the message abroad, at least one city in the Netherlands, five in Italy and 10 in Canada will take part in National Drive Electric Week (formerly National Plug In Day). Events are collectively expected to draw at least 35,000 attendees, including elected officials. Proclamations will be plentiful.

But the main point, according to National Drive Electric Week is to have a good time, with seasoned EV drivers taking those new to the cars for a spin.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFGTM Research is hosting a free webinar on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 2:00 pm ET. The focus of the webinar is increasing non-residential solar project return and decreasing risk. One of the most frequent questions solar companies hear from prospective clients is “what’s my payback?” The webinar will discuss several financial metrics that businesses must analyze and understand when assessing a potential solar project and will also explore the challenges that legacy solar has in non-residential solar development and provides insight on how to overcome them.
  • Supported by aggressive renewable targets, policy backing and a shift towards a greener climate, the UK propelled itself to the head of the global offshore wind power market in 2013, boasting a cumulative installed capacity share of around 52%, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData. The company’s latest report states that the UK’s cumulative offshore wind power installed capacity increased from just over 0.3 Gigawatts (GW) in 2006 to 3.7 GW in 2013, at an impressive Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 42.9%.
  • A report released by Forecast the Facts Action and SumOfUs.org, “Disrupt Denial: How big business is funding climate change denial in the 113TH Congress and Why They Should Stop,” exposes U.S. companies, such as Google, Ford, Microsoft, UPS and eBay, for their financial support of Senators and House Representatives who deny the science of climate change. While these corporations present environmentally progressive public images, including support for national climate policies, they continue to support members of Congress who reject established science linking pollution to global warming.
  • AltCar Expo, the nation’s leading forum for alternative fuel ride and drive, industry, fleet & public education and demonstration, will take place on Friday and Saturday, September 19-20, 2014, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. PT at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The City of Santa Monica’s Ninth Annual AltCar Expo is free and open to the public.

RFA: Rail Congestion Must Get Resolved

Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is speaking out again on the problems of rail congestion that is slowing down the delivery of ethanol and ethanol byproducts across the country. He submitted written testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that held a hearing yesterday to examine rail congestion and the harmful impact it has had on agriculture and other commodities.

Dinneen stressed the role that Bakken Crude rail shipments have played in increasing dwell times and decreasing train speeds and pointed toward the negative impact these delays are having on ethanol producers. “The rail system didn’t collapse last winter because of a snow drift in North Dakota,” he said. “It was because of a 400% increase in oil shipments from the Bakkens.”

RailcarsIn the written testimony Dinneen said, “The recent crisis of congestion that has seemingly overtaken the rail industry has become a huge and costly problem … This crisis is one that is causing significant harm to the economic health and well-being of our nation’s economy, as well as driving up costs for a wide array of commodities that rely on the rail for transportation…it is becoming more and more apparent that surging crude oil shipments are coming at the expense of other goods and commodities.”

Listen to Dinneen’s comments here: RFA CEO Bob Dinneen comments on rail situation