Next-gen biofuels making slow, slow, slow progress in 2013

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Companies that are still looking to produce biofuels from plant waste (and not corn) are making slow, but steady progress on milestones in 2013.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

According to Bloomberg’s energy research arm New Energy Finance, ethanol made from plant waste could cost the same to produce as corn-based ethanol by 2016. Currently cellulosic ethanol costs 94 cents a liter to produce, or about 40 percent more than ethanol made from corn, says Bloomberg.

See on gigaom.com

EPA proposes 2013 biofuels quota, RIN verification program – Oil & Gas Journal

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

The US Environmental Protection Agency proposed 2013 biofuels quotas representing a more than 1.35 billion gal increase from what it mandated for 2012. Officials from two leading petroleum trade associations immediately called the 16.55 billion gal total representing 9.63% of total projected US motor fuel production unrealistic and unreasonable.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

“We are disturbed that EPA is mandating 14 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol when zero gallons are available for compliance as of today,” AFPM President Charles T. Drevna said on Jan. 31. […]

“[…] This stealth tax on gasoline might be the most egregious example of bad public policy, and consumers could be left to pay the price. EPA needs a serious reality check.”

“[…] it is shocking that the Agency would mandate such high biodiesel volumes this year since 140 million biodiesel credits turned out to be fraudulent,” […] it is unrealistic to assume the biodiesel industry will actually produce 1.28 billion gal of real biodiesel this year.”

See on www.ogj.com

Biofuels groups downplay ruling’s impact on investment – The Hill’s E2-Wire

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Biofuels groups are downplaying a Friday federal court decision that some believe could cut off investments in advanced green fuels.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

The rule requires refiners to blend 36 billion gallons of biofuel into traditional transportation fuel by 2022. Of that total, 21 billion gallons must come from cellulosic and “advanced” biofuels, which are made from non-edible feedstock.

But the court said EPA acted in “excess of the agency’s statutory authority” in projecting refiners could blend 10.45 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel in 2012, as only 22,000 gallons were produced.

[…]

In its lawsuit against the EPA, the American Petroleum Institute (API) argued refiners were forced to buy credits to fill the gap in the agency’s projections and actual production levels.

The court sided with API on that point, giving the oil-and-gas lobby its first victory in its full-court press to repeal the biofuel mandate.

API is pushing Congress to tear down the rule and is fighting the rule through the courts. It also has a lawsuit on file challenging EPA’s projections for 2011.

“We are glad the court has put a stop to EPA’s pattern of setting impossible mandates for a biofuel that does not even exist. This absurd mandate acts as a stealth tax on gasoline with no environmental benefit that could have ultimately burdened consumers,” API Group Downstream Director Bob Greco said in a Friday statement.

See on thehill.com

EU faces fresh calls to strengthen biofuel rules

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Greenpeace-backed report argues EU can meet green transport targets without relying on controversial land-based biofuels

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

NGOs are increasingly fearful that member states’ efforts to meet the targets through an increase in the use of biofuels will have a negligible impact on greenhouse gas emissions and in some cases could lead to increased emissions as companies source biofuels made from food and energy crops that are alleged to have contributed to deforestation and food price inflation.

The EU Commission has acknowledged the risk and last year proposed a new limit on the use of biofuels made from food crops that would ensure such fuels could only count towards half of the 10 per cent target for renewable fuel use.

The proposals have encountered lobbying from some member states who have argued the binding 10 per cent goal cannot be met if limits are placed on the use of biofuels made from food crops.

But the CE Delft report argues the targets can be met through greater investment in fuel efficiency measures, waste and residue-based biofuels, and electric vehicles, alongside tighter rules to phase out the use of biofuels made from land-based food or energy crops.

See on www.businessgreen.com

Could Some Midwest Land Support New Biofuel Refineries?

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Millions of acres of marginal farmland in the Midwest — land that isn’t in good enough condition to grow crops — could be used to produce liquid fuels made from plant material, according to a study in Nature. And those biofuels could, in theory, provide about 25 percent of the advanced biofuels required by a 2007 federal law.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

But some researchers in the field aren’t convinced the resource is nearly that big. Adam Liska at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln says a lot of this acreage is in the Great Plains, which wouldn’t produce a reliable crop year after year.

“One year you may have high rainfall and high crop yields and be able to sustain your facility, [but] the next year you may have a drought,” Liska says.

Indeed, Brent Erickson […] says nobody has plans just yet to use this kind of plant material to make biofuels. […]

“Every region of the country has some form of biomass — so the Northwest would have sawdust and wood waste; the California area might have rice straw or wheat straw, … Refiners in the Midwest are looking at corn cobs, and a plant that’s actually operating in Florida uses dead citrus trees.”

“As this technology progresses we’re going to see a great diversification of biomass supply,” Erickson predicts.

… Timothy Searchinger, an associate research scholar at Princeton University.

The 27 million acres identified in the latest study would provide less than 0.5 percent of our national energy demand, he says. And the more we try to expand biofuels, the more we risk displacing crops for food, or chopping down forests, which store a huge amount of carbon.

Searchinger says Europe has recently recognized those potential hazards and is scaling back its biofuels ambitions.

“They realize that it was a mistake, and their compromise for the moment is essentially to cap what they’re doing and then they promise by 2020 to phase out all government support for biofuels.”

See on www.opb.org

5 Biofuel Trends to Watch Out for in 2013

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

2012 saw the introduction of next generation, advanced biorefineries. Here we look at the trends that will hit the biofuel market in 2013, including; Green Diesel, Decline of Oil,

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

The Retreat of Oil Majors

Trend: Oil Majors double down on “Golden Age of Gas” while narrowing investments across the advanced biofuel space.

An early strategic investor in the advanced biofuels industry, global oil majors have begun trimming excess fat from their biofuel investment portfolios over the past couple of years. BP, a leading investor in the biofuels industry, pulled out of its commercial Highlands Park project in Florida in October 2012 to refocus on R&D efforts. Shell, meanwhile, has dropped a number of investments across the advanced biofuels landscape, concentrating its commercialization efforts on its Raizen joint venture with Cosan in Brazil.

See on oilprice.com

Why Frack When You Can Grow Biofuel? USDA Has $25 Million In Answers

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has just embarked on a new round of $25 million in funding for four new biofuel research and development projects, offering farmers and other rural property owners the potential for new alternatives to selling or…

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

One of USDA’s new projects addresses this approach through a new cropping system, in which the weedy biofuel plant camelina will be rotated with wheat-based plants. The $5 million project, through Kansas State University, will study the commercial feasibility of converting camelina to biobased adhesives and coatings as well as biofuel.

Another $6.5 million will go to Ohio State University to demonstrate an innovative anaerobic digestion system (anaerobic refers to bacteria that thrive without oxygen) that can handle multiple feedstocks. The new system will use natural decomposition to break down manure, agricultural waste, woody biomass and biofuel crops.

There is no such thing as impact-free energy production, but all of these biofuel projects are designed to fit sustainably into the core business of the farmer, which all boils down to long term land stewardship.

See on cleantechnica.com