Category: Biofuels

Engineered bacteria show promise for sustainable biofuel industry

Read the full story from Hiroshima University.

Acetone, a volatile solvent used for everything from removing nail polish and cleaning textiles to manufacturing plastics, could get a sustainability boost from a new strain of engineered bacteria.

The oil that cooked your fries is now refuelling your aircraft

Read the full story from Bloomberg News.

The world’s biggest maker of renewable diesel says it’s creating a new market for low-carbon jet fuel as passengers slowly return to the skies.

Neste Oyj is betting that sustainable aviation fuel, SAF, will appeal to businesses eager to cut carbon emissions. The company also expects the fuel’s higher price won’t be an obstacle, as post-pandemic air travel resumes with a more climate-conscious mindset.

DOE’s ARPA-E awards $35 million to 15 biofuel projects

On May 14, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $35 million in funding that will help slash carbon emissions and scale up the volume and efficiency of renewable biofuel. The 15 awarded research projects, housed at colleges, universities, and labs across nine states, will advance new technologies to decarbonize biorefining processes used across the energy, transportation, and agriculture sectors.

The awards are supported by DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA-E) “Energy and Carbon Optimized Synthesis for the Bioeconomy” (ECOSynBio) program.

“Biofuel is a powerful tool in the clean energy toolkit that has immense potential to power our ships and airlines with zero carbon emissions. DOE is investing in research to reduce emissions and maximize the availability of efficient biofuel as we strive to reach President Biden’s net-zero carbon goals.”

Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm

Biofuels, which include ethanol, biodiesel and other products derived from organic material (biomass), is almost exclusively produced through a conversion process called fermentation. These fermentation processes create carbon as a byproduct, with some processes wasting more than 1/3 of this carbon as CO2 emissions. As a result, there is a critical need to create new pathways for biofuel conversion that reduce carbon waste, prevent the loss of CO2 emissions maximize the amount of renewable fuel a conversion process yields.

The 15 teams will work to optimize biofuel manufacturing through:

  • carbon optimized fermentation strains that avoid CO2 waste;
  • engineered organisms that can use a mix of difference sources of energy and carbon, and avoid evolving CO2;
  • biomass-derived sugar or carbon oxide gas fermentation with internal CO2 recycling;
  • cell-free carbon optimized biocatalytic biomass conversion and/or CO2 use; and
  • cross-cutting carbon-optimized bioconversion methods that have the potential for high-impact emissions reductions.

The awardees are:

  • INvizyne Technologies, Inc. (Monrovia, CA)
  • LanzaTech, Inc. (Skokie, IL)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Golden, CO)
  • Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)
  • Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
  • The Wyss Institute at Harvard University (Boston, MA)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (Madison, WI)
  • University of Delaware (Newark, DE)
  • University of California, Davis (Davis, CA)
  • University of California, Irvine (Irvine, CA)
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN)
  • University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
  • ZymoChem, Inc. (San Francisco, CA)* Two awards

Read more about the funded projects on the ARPA-E website

Phillips 66 and Southwest Airlines partner to help commercialize sustainable fuel

Read the full story at Environment + Energy Leader.

Phillips 66 and Southwest Airlines have signed a memorandum of understanding to advance the commercialization of sustainable aviation fuel, focusing on public awareness, along with research and development. The memorandum of understanding also sets the framework to explore a future supply agreement involving Phillips 66’s Rodeo Renewed project in California and highlights the commitment by both companies to a sustainable energy future.

ISU research looks to turn waste into fuel

Read the full story at the Daily Nonpariel.

Researchers at Iowa State University are working with others to determine new methods of turning biomass and manure into fuel.

The key to the project is using anaerobic digestion to generate renewable natural gas, according to Mark Mba Wright, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Iowa State.

Iowa State joined with Penn State University and Roeslein Alternative Energy in getting a five-year, $10 million grant from USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture for the project.

Shell invests in aviation biofuels startup LanzaJet

Read the full story from GreenBiz.

Shell has invested in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) firm LanzaJet, joining Japanese trading house Mitsui, Canadian oil and gas firm Suncor Energy and U.K. airline British Airways as an early-stage backer in the U.S. startup.

Webinar: Bioenergy: Growing America’s Energy Future

April 21, 2021, noon CDT
Register here.

This webinar will feature an opportunity to meet the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) acting director, chief scientist, and chief engineer. They will detail BETO’s research and development efforts to enable the U.S. bioeconomy. The panel of speakers includes:

  • Dr. Valerie Sarisky-Reed, Acting Director
  • Dr. Jay Fitzgerald, Chief Scientist
  • Dr. Reyhaneh Shenassa, Chief Engineer

Join the panel as they discuss high priority BETO topics including:

  • BETO program overview
  • Plastics recycling initiatives
  • Waste-to-energy efforts
  • Engaging farmers as clean energy partners
  • Carbon dioxide utilization
  • Advancements in marine and aviation biofuels.

Kemin Launches Dry Cellulase ZyloCell™ to Support Biofuels Industries’ Low-carbon Initiatives

Read the press release.

Kemin Biofuels, part of Kemin Industries, a global ingredient manufacturer that strives to sustainably transform the quality of life every day for 80 percent of the world with its products and services, has expanded its enzyme portfolio with ZyloCell, a unique dry cellulase for use in bioethanol plants that breaks down cellulose in corn kernel fiber for a low-carbon fuel source. ZyloCell is a cost-effective alternative to liquid enzyme formulation.

Towards the Anchovy Biorefinery: Biogas Production from Anchovy Processing Waste after Fish Oil Extraction with Biobased Limonene

Paone E, Fazzino F, Pizzone DM, Scurria A, Pagliaro M, Ciriminna R, Calabrò PS. (2021). “Towards the Anchovy Biorefinery: Biogas Production from Anchovy Processing Waste after Fish Oil Extraction with Biobased Limonene.” Sustainability. 13(5), 2428.

Abstract: Anchovies are among the largest fish catch worldwide. The anchovy fillet industry generates a huge amount of biowaste (e.g., fish heads, bones, tails) that can be used for the extraction of several potentially valuable bioproducts including omega-3 lipids. Following the extraction of valued fish oil rich in omega-3, vitamin D3 and zeaxanthin from anchovy fillet leftovers using biobased limonene in a fully circular process, the solid residue (anchovy sludge) was used as starting substrate for the production of biogas by anaerobic digestion. In spite of the unbalanced carbon to nitrogen (C/N) ratio, typical of marine biowaste, the anchovy sludge showed a good methane yield (about 280 mLCH4·gVS−1), proving to be an ideal substrate for co-digestion along with other carbon rich wastes and residues. Furthermore, the presence of residual limonene, used as a renewable, not-toxic and edible extraction solvent, does not affect the microbial methanogenesis. The results reported in this study demonstrate that anchovy leftovers after the fish oil extraction process can be efficiently used as a starting co-substrate for the production of biogas in a modern biorefinery

The Use of Ethanol as an Alternative Fuel for Small Turbojet Engines

Andoga R, Főző L, Schrötter M, Szabo S. (2021). “The Use of Ethanol as an Alternative Fuel for Small Turbojet Engines.” Sustainability 13(5):2541.

Abstract: The use of alternative fuels to traditional kerosene-based ones in turbo-jet engines is currently being widely explored and researched. However, the application of alternative fuels in the area of small turbojet engines with thrust ratings up to 2 kilo-newtons, which are used as auxiliary power units or to propel small aircraft or drones, is not as well researched. This paper explores the use of ethanol as a sustainable fuel and its effects on the operation of a small turbojet engine under laboratory conditions. Several concentrations of ethanol and JET A-1 mixtures are explored to study the effects of this fuel on the basic parameters of a small turbojet engine. The influence of the different concentrations of the mixture on the start-up process, speed of the engine, exhaust gas temperature, and compressor pressure are evaluated. The measurements shown in the article represent a pilot study, the results of which show that ethanol can be reliably used as an alternative fuel only when its concentration in a mixture with traditional fuel is lower than 40%, yielding positive effects on the operating temperatures and small negative effects on the speed or thrust of the engine.

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