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Ethanol Industry News

Veterans partner with ethanol to emphasize energy security

The Clean Fuels Development Coalition, the Ethanol Across America education campaign, and the Flexible Fuel Vehicle Club of America teamed with Veterans of Underage Military Service for a procession of FFVs and hybrid vehicles in the national Memorial Day parade in Washington, DC.

The groups hoped to increase awareness of the importance of energy security and national security by showing a connection between the lives lost in battle and the United States’ dependency on foreign oil.

"Our generation sees the loss of jobs, wealth, and military cost of importing more than 60 percent of our oil, and we have an opportunity to do something about it," said Douglas A. Durante, Director of the Ethanol Across America program. "If reducing our dependence on oil keeps us out of one less conflict, and keeps young Americans from having to be memorialized, then we should all be working toward that goal."

Novozymes and Ceres collaborate on enzymes, biofuel crops

Energy crop company Ceres, Inc. and Novozymes, the world’s largest enzyme provider, announced that they have entered a research collaboration to co-develop customized plant varieties and enzyme cocktails for the production of cellulosic biofuel. The companies expect to improve the process of converting biomass to fuel through more effective enzymes and higher quality energy crops in a joint optimization project that will lead to greater fuel yields, as well as lower capital and operating costs.

Energy crops such as switchgrass, miscanthus, and sorghum are high-yielding crops planted specifically for their energy content. They thrive with less water and fertilizer than other crops, and will often also grow on marginal lands where other crops cannot. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates biofuel from switchgrass reduces CO2 emissions by 110 percent compared to gasoline.

Spencer Swayze, senior manager of business development at Ceres, said that through advanced plant breeding and other genomics-based tools, Ceres scientists are developing energy crops that minimize the components in biomass shown to decrease conversion rates and yields.

“I envision a day when we can approach conversion facilities and their feedstock suppliers with a complete package of tailored seed varieties and enzymes as well as crop management and processing recommendations,” Swayze said. “Relatively small percentage changes in efficiency can result in substantial process savings and lower capital and operating costs.”

National Biodiesel Board calls for immediate action to save the industry

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) is renewing its call for Congress to put Americans back to work by retroactively reinstating the expired biodiesel tax incentive. Joe Jobe, CEO of the NBB, says the Administration says it is dedicated to a “jobs agenda” but has failed to recognize the importance of the biodiesel industry. The industry is barely operating and at risk of total collapse without the tax credit, he warned.

“As we all wait in dread for the Gulf oil slick to wreak devastation on some of the nation’s most sensitive wetland habitats, Congress's inaction has left America's nontoxic, biodegradable biofuel at risk of collapse,” Jobe said. “Further inaction by Congress to complete this common sense policy is causing the loss of jobs every day, derailing America’s investment in its first successful advanced biofuel, and it’s simply unacceptable.”

Jobe explained that the biodiesel tax credit, in five years since its enactment has resulted in the construction of over 150 renewable refineries in 44 states, 23,000 jobs, billions of dollars of net tax revenue to the U.S. Treasury, and the displacement of billions of gallons of petroleum. Congress allowed the biodiesel tax credit to lapse on December 31 along with other expiring tax provisions.

NABC hires new Technical Services Scientist

North American Bioproducts Corporation (NABC) has announced the hiring of Matt Wilson as a Technical Services Scientist. Wilson graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a B.A. degree in Biotechnology with an emphasis in chemistry and biology. With his previous employment including Lab Management at Louis Dreyfus Commodities in Grand Junction, Iowa and Lab Supervising at Lincolnway Energy in Nevada, Iowa, Wilson has over four years of ethanol experience.

“In addition to his degree in biotechnology, Matt brings a wealth of real world experience with him that will further strengthen NABC’s technical commitment to our customers” notes Jenny Forbes, Technical Services Manager.

NABC is a research-based provider of fermentation products and technology to the fuel ethanol industry and provides products, services, support, technical solutions, and educational programs for the advancement of the ethanol production process.

Patriot Renewable Fuels achieves Zero Liquid Discharge

Patriot Renewable Fuels LLC of Annawan, Illinois has achieved the status of zero liquid discharge (ZLD) at its ethanol plant, an effort to conserve water and boost sustainability. All of the water that enters the plant is fully utilized, using less overall, which results in the reduction of impact on production wells and no wastewater discharged into the environment.

According to a report prepared by U.S. Water Services, water usage at the plant was approximately 2.9 gallons per gallon of ethanol produced prior to implementing ZLD. During the transition, water usage has been reduced to 2.25 gallons per gallon of ethanol. Put into an annual perspective, the plant will save 65 million gallons of water per year.

“The importance of this voluntary conversion earlier in February can’t be overstated,” said Gene Griffith, Patriot President and CEO. “It makes a clear statement about Patriot’s commitment to progressive research and efficiency, and we are one of the first ethanol plants in the United States that has made this technological advancement. As a grassroots and locally owned company dedicated to our community, we want our neighbors and the driving public to understand the environmental improvements achieved through ethanol production.”

Shell and Iogen announce further investment to accelerate commercialization of cellulosic ethanol

In early June, Royal Dutch Shell plc (“Shell”) and Iogen Corporation announced a further investment in Iogen Energy, their jointly owned subsidiary, for the purpose of accelerating the

commercial deployment of Iogen Energy’s process for making cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residue.

As part of the ongoing joint development agreement between Shell, Iogen Corporation and Iogen Energy, Shell has made a significant incremental commitment to fund research and development activities at Iogen Energy until mid-2012.

“We are extremely pleased with this additional investment from Shell, an energy leader with a 30-year history of biofuels development and investment. Iogen Energy is positioned for successful commercialization of its world class technology as we work toward meeting the demand for a low carbon transportation fuel,” said Brian Foody, Chief Executive Officer of Iogen Corporation.

Iogen Energy is currently operating its Ottawa demonstration plant on a continuous basis using the proven R7 technology release. Over the last 12 months, Iogen Energy has produced more than 170,000 gallons of cellulosic ethanol from wheat straw using its R7 technology. Shell’s additional funding will be used to develop and demonstrate Iogen Energy’s next two major technology releases, R8 and R9, which will significantly reduce the capital and operating costs per gallon of cellulosic ethanol.

Genencor releases new enzyme for increased efficiency

Genencor, a division of Danisco A/S, announced the launch of a new enzyme during the Fuel Ethanol Workshop last month in St. Louis. Genencor says the SPEZYME® Robust Starch Liquefaction more efficiently liquefies dry ground corn or milo, significantly reducing costs and increasing yields for ethanol producers.

SPEZYME® RSL breaks down starch efficiently across a range pH levels, which the company says substantially reduces the amount of sulfuric acid that is required to complete the liquefaction process. Genencor explains that while the current practice typically requires two pH adjustments and two enzyme doses, the new enzyme is effective with just one dose and no pH adjustment. Actual cost savings will vary depending on the production facility, but the company says many ethanol producers can expect to see a 25 to 50 percent reduction in sulfuric acid usage with SPEZYME® RSL.

New joint venture focuses on perennial bioenergy crop

SunBelt Biofuels, LLC and Unifi, Inc. have announced the formation of a joint venture, REPREVE™ Renewables, LLC. The venture will begin by focusing on the commercialization of Freedom Giant Miscanthus, a non-invasive bioenergy crop, with yields today of up to 25 tons per acre.

Freedom Giant Miscanthus is a heat- and drought-tolerant perennial, extremely efficient in converting sunlight to biomass energy. The company says it is superior in comparison to other biomass solutions in height and yield per acre.

REPREVE™ Renewables is headquartered in Soperton, Georgia.

Novozymes announces new enzyme for increased ethanol production

Novozymes has announced the launch of a new enzyme that makes it possible to produce more ethanol from the same amount of corn. The company says its new enzyme, Spirizyme Excel, converts more starch in corn, wheat, and other feedstocks into sugars, which can be fermented to ethanol, thereby allowing producers to increase yields by more than one percent.

Spirizyme Excel works by breaking down the most difficult starch fractions in the feedstock to maximize biofuel production yields. Novozymes says that, compared to other available solutions, a typical ethanol plant can gain million or more per year using the enzyme.

NCGA: Time to end disputed land use change theory

The constantly shifting body of research surrounding the theory of “indirect land use change” has lead the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) to believe that it is now time to throw out the theory altogether.

“In 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts our corn farmers will produce more than 300 million more bushels than just three years ago, and do so on nearly 5 million fewer acres,” NCGA President Darrin Ihnen said. “International indirect land use change theory completely ignores or significantly downplays grower ingenuity and modern agronomy. This junk science needs to go the way of the horse-drawn plow.”

A recent study released by Purdue University found that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) overestimated the greenhouse-gas impact of land use changes related to corn ethanol by a factor of two. The updated research estimated that average corn ethanol land use emissions were 13.9 grams CO2 equivalent per mega joule – less than half of the land use change value of 30 grams CO2 equivalent per mega joule adopted by CARB in its controversial Low Carbon Fuel Standard.

This means that California may find itself more dependent on fuels that are worse for the environment. By saddling corn-based ethanol with incorrect emissions, the California standard may increase its reliance on petroleum or foreign sources of ethanol, therefore worsening the environment and national economy, Ihnen said. He added that what we are now seeing in the Gulf of Mexico shows the need for a broad portfolio of domestic energy sources.

“We need to remember that our petroleum resources are finite and our continued reliance has direct and indirect costs,” Ihnen said. “This incident can serve as a reminder that we must redouble our efforts to broaden our energy portfolio to include renewable alternatives that are more environmentally friendly.”

Lallemand Ethanol Technology introduces new yeast product

Lallemand Ethanol Technology, a global provider of fermentation ingredients, recently introduced Thermosacc® GOLD, a new yeast product for the fuel ethanol industry.

Thermosacc® GOLD is a fresh-cake yeast of Saccharomyces cerevisiae specially selected to better withstand the rigors of fermentation. A crumble yeast that has not been dried, it produces a shorter lag phase. Its increased budding rates and vitality result in quicker starting fermentations compared to dry yeast. Designed to utilize sugars more efficiently, Thermosacc® GOLD leaves less sugar and glycerol at the end of the fermentation process. The company says this translates into increased yield, while adding dollars to the bottom line.

Lallemand Ethanol Technology is a business unit of the Canadian yeast and bacteria producer Lallemand, Inc. based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

 
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The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industryís hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanolís carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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