Biofuels

Collaborative Research Uses Camelina to Build Better Biofuel

Read the full story from Kansas State University.

A Kansas State University biochemist is improving biofuels with a promising crop: Camelina sativa. The research may help boost rural economies and provide farmers with a value-added product.

Timothy Durrett, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, is part of collaborative team that has received a four-year $1.5 million joint U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Energy grant. The project, led by Colorado State University, was one of 10 projects funded this year as part of the federal Plant Feedstocks Genomics for Bioenergy research program.

Sustainability Certification for Biofuels

Read the full post from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Poorly developed biofuels pose severe environmental risks. Procurement officials and risk managers should use only the most stringent and protective certification standards available. Yet assessing how different certification systems rank across the product life cycle is a complex undertaking. That is why NRDC evaluated the performances of several of the major sustainability systems. The report looks at systems developed by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), the Council on Sustainable Biomass Production (CSBP), the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC), the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS), Bonsucro, and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

See the fact sheet for high-level results and the full report for a more detailed analysis with all evaluation criteria and indicators broken out.

Policy Group Asks FTC to Review ‘Misleading’ Green Claims About Biomass

Read the full story at WFPL.

A policy group is asking the Federal Trade Commission to scrutinize advertising claims by biomass plants that the energy produced is environmentally friendly and “green.”

Biomass energy is produced when wood products are burned in a power plant. There aren’t any large-scale biomass plants in Kentucky yet, but a company called ecoPower is building one in Eastern Kentucky.

The report from the Partnership for Policy Integrity calls out ecoPower by name, along with 16 other companies that it said are using misleading claims to portray biomass as an environmentally friendly power source.

 

 

 

‘Microbe sniffer’ could point the way to advanced biorefining

Read the full story in Ethanol Producer Magazine.

A new biosensor invented at the University of British Columbia could help optimize biorefining processes that produce fuels, fine chemicals and advanced materials by sniffing out naturally occurring bacterial networks that are genetically wired to break down wood polymer…

The findings validating the screening were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The work was funded by Genome Canada, Genome BC and the Tula Foundation.

USDA and DOE Fund Ten New Projects in 2014 for Biomass Genomics Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the selection of 10 projects that are being awarded funding aimed at accelerating genetic breeding programs to improve plant feedstocks for the production of biofuels, biopower, and biobased products. The investment is part of the Obama Administration’s broader effort to diversify the nation’s energy portfolio and accelerate development of new clean energy technologies designed to decrease dependence on foreign oil, providing a more secure future for America’s energy needs and enhancing rural economies.

“Innovative research is a critical link to stimulating rural economies and creating jobs across America,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These awards are part of the Obama Administration’s ‘all of the above’ energy policy. These projects will not only support our efforts to provide a sustainable and domestic energy source for the nation, but also improve the lives of rural residents.”

“Biofuels and bio-based products offer the potential of homegrown American resources that can reduce our dependence on imported oil and also cut carbon emissions,” said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. “This advanced research is helping us to lay the groundwork for biomass as an important part of the low-carbon future.”

The $12.6 million in research grants are awarded under a joint DOE-USDA program that began in 2006 focused on fundamental investigations of biomass genomics, with the aim of harnessing nonfood plant biomass for the production of fuels such as ethanol or renewable chemical feedstocks. Dedicated feedstock crops tend to require less intensive production practices and can grow on poorer quality land than food crops, making this a critical element in a strategy of sustainable biofuels production that avoids competition with crops grown for food.

The projects are located in California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Texas, and Virginia. DOE’s Office of Science will provide $10.6 million in funding for eight projects, while USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will award $2 million to fund two projects. Initial funding will support research projects for up to three years. The full list of awardees and project descriptions can be found online at: http://genomicscience.energy.gov/research/DOEUSDA/index.shtml.

New projects to be funded this year will build upon gains in genetic and genomic resources for bioenergy and biofuels. The projects will accelerate the breeding of optimized dedicated bioenergy feedstocks through a better understanding of complex interactions between bioenergy feedstock plants and their environment, allowing the development of new regionally-adapted bioenergy feedstock cultivars with maximal biomass or seed oil yield and traits leading to more sustainable production systems, such as minimal water usage and nutrient input requirements.

DOE loan guarantee program targets biofuels, waste-to-energy

Read the full story in Ethanol Producer Magazine.

The U.S. Department of Energy has officially opened a loan guarantee solicitation, making up to $4 million available for innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects located in the U.S. that avoid, reduce or sequester greenhouse gases. The DOE announced its intention to open the Section 1703 loan guarantee solicitation in April…

The program solicitation provides a detailed description of the application process. The DOE has announced five application schedule rounds, and noted additional rounds may be announced at a later date. The application process contains two primary parts. The Part I deadline for the first round is Oct. 1, with the Part I deadline for the fifth round on Dec. 2, 2015. The first round Part II deadline is Jan. 14, 2015, with the round five Part II deadline set for March 2, 2016.

Additional information on the solicitation and application process is available on the DOE website.