Category: Biofuels

From breakfast to biocrude: Study identifies production potential across nation

Read the full story from DOE.

Cattle waste and wastewater. Sludgy grease ensconced in restaurant and cafeteria grease traps.  Food waste—uneaten leftovers or culinary mistakes. Contrary to the lyrics in The Sound of Music, these aren’t a few of our favorite things.

But when paired with waste-to-energy (WtE) technology, these things can become downright energetic—in the form of biofuels. These organic wastes serve as potential biofuel feedstocks, and they are available just about anywhere across the nation. However, industry lacks information about the locations of greatest concentration so it can boost biofuel production while giving human health and the environment a helping hand.

To shed light on this uncertainty, a team of researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory performed a detailed analysis of these wastes’ potential for biofuel production on a site-specific basis across the conterminous United States. 

The results of the team’s analysis were published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

Biden outlines a plan for cleaner jet fuel. But how clean would it be?

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Some biofuels may contribute to greenhouse gas emissions in ways that can significantly reduce, and sometimes offset, their advantages over fossil fuels, studies have shown.

Whisky powered trucks? Scottish distillery launches transport fleet fueled by whisky waste

Read the full story at Design Boom.

Once known as the water of life, whisky is now making headlines as an eco-friendly fuel source. 

Scottish distillery glenfiddich has launched a fleet of specially converted trucks that run on green biogas made from its own whisky waste. The innovative closed loop system will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 99% when compared to diesel and other fossil fuels, with each truck displacing up to 250 tonnes of CO2e annually.

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.

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