November 2007

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Business Briefs

Canadian fund boosts renewable fuels development



The Way I See It

By Mike Bryan

View from the Hill

By Bob Dinneen

Tom Bryan

Editor's Note

By Tom Bryan

Alan Weber

NBB In Sight

By Alan Weber

Paul J. Nazzaro

Talking Point

By Paul J. Nazzaro


Although funding for new ethanol plants hasn't totally dried up, the same pitch developers made to banks last year probably won't produce the same results today. In the current lending environment only well-established producers with solid concepts, ideal sites and an experienced management team will bring home the bacon.

Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn.

Sweetening the Pot

By Jessica Ebert

As the U.S. Senate continues to haggle over its version of the Farm Bill, the counterpart legislation passed by the House holds a provision that has some ethanol producers and sugar processors talking. Under the provision, the government would be allowed to sell surplus sugar to ethanol producers.

EPM talks with Drying Technology Inc. about its Delta T Moisture Control System to save ethanol producers cash by gaining tighter moisture control in their distillers grains dryers.

The race to commercialize a scheme for producing ethanol from an array of biomass feedstocks that is cost-competitive with the fossil-based alternative is muddied by a labyrinth of expensive and time-consuming technologies. A new spin-off company, however, aims to commercialize a consolidated bioprocess that promises to create a renewable competitor for gasoline.

U.S. farmers reacted to high corn prices by planting more acres than any time since World War II. More than 92 million acres were planted and production is expected to top 13.3 billion bushels.

Corn Marches On

By Jerry W. Kram

U.S. farmers responded to higher corn prices by seeding record acres and harvesting a bin-busting crop. While the prospect of an unprecedented corn crop has eased price pressure somewhat, events overseas have kept prices higher than expected.

The Imperial Valley in southeastern California is teeming with ethanol project activity. Beef and dairy operations are hefty in the valley, and agriculture thrives with diverted Colorado River water. EPM investigates why this county has attracted so much attention from would-be ethanol producers.

Sorghum plants look like corn until the pannicle or seed bearing head appears.

Tall Texas Sorghum

By Susanne Retka Schill

Sorghum is an old crop getting a new twist at Texas A&M University where researchers are working on two versions simultaneously—new tall hybrids for biomass and new sweet sorghum hybrids.

Blender pumps like this one can be found at filling stations in Watertown, Redfield and Webster, S.D. The pumps are now being installed in Minnesota.

The Blenders Are Back

By Nicholas Zeman

The only way ethanol producers can keep increasing production capacity is to ramp up demand. South Dakota ethanol proponents believe blender pumps are an excellent tool to increase sales of the renewable fuel and to dispel the myth that E10 is the optimum blend rate for nonflexible-fuel vehicles.

Research Reveals New Biofuels Link

By Anduin Kirkbride McElroy

Crude glycerin is a low-value byproduct of the growing biodiesel industry. But one company, Glycos Biotechnologies Inc., sees potential for the product as a feedstock for ethanol production.

The U.S. Congress is getting closer to passing a renewable electricity mandate, which could mean dramatic growth for the biomass industry. Ironically, the Southeastern states-the region most likely to benefit from the development of the biomass industry-are resisting such a mandate.

With waste management, liquid solutions and fuels divisions, St. Louis-based GEI Development, is poised to impact the biomass realm. Biomass Magazine talks with one of the creators of the trademarked E-VAP process, a leachate treatment solution for the waste management industry. Now, the company is bringing the recycling synergies to biodiesel production.

Syntroleum CEO Jack Holmes holds up vials of black rendered poultry fat and white Fischer-Tropsch wax. Both can be refined into clear synthetic diesel or jet fuel.

The Fischer-Tropsch/Fat Connection

By Susanne Retka Schill

The Syntroleum Corp. team and its investors always knew their technology was solid. That confidence was renewed when the company signed a deal with Tyson Foods Inc. to commercialize its refining technology-turning animal fat into renewable diesel and jet fuels. With that process under its belt, Syntroleum plans to turn to biomass gasification.

Researchers are taking another look at animal-processed fiber (APF), a coproduct of the anaerobic digestion process. APF contains an abundance of protein and fiber fractions such as cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin and can be used for a variety of biobased products.

Figuring out how to make fuel and chemicals from biomass is only the first step, making those processes economically viable is the ultimate goal. Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado work with large and small businesses to turn their discoveries into commercial successes.

Green Circle Bio Energy Inc. is building the world's biggest wood pellet plant in the heart of the largest plantation-style pine forest in the world. Until U.S. legislation promoting biomass power catches up with directives in Europe, these pellets will be exported to a handful of European power companies.

A Delaware research effort is focused on producing biodiesel from seashore mallow. The pink-flowering perennial resembles a soybean plant, and its seeds produce about the same amount of oil. Unlike soybeans, the plants can be grown in salty soil, which makes them a perfect fit for production in shoreline areas impacted by rising sea levels and high tides.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's proposal to implement a statewide B20 standard by 2015 didn't surprise residents as they were the first to fuel up with E10. Biodiesel Magazine talks to organizations tasked with meeting the state's aggressive renewable fuel mandates.

The biodiesel industry is facing a feedstock crisis and desperately looking for alternatives. Even the best alternatives to virgin vegetable oil could take years to develop. Or will they? A Dutch firm with ties to the biodiesel industry is the first to market an industrial-scale algae photobioreactor that may provide a solution to oil-hungry producers.

Lombardini's LDW 702 diesel engine generates 30 pounds per foot of torque, has 17.82 horsepower and weighs 145 pounds.

Small-Engine Ingenuity

By Nicholas Zeman

All-terrain vehicles have served off-road needs on the farm for years. Now a new product from Arctic Cat Inc. will give farmers the opportunity to fuel these workhorses with biodiesel produced from the soybeans they grow. It also gives the renewable fuel an opportunity to prove its worth to small-engine manufacturers.

Seventy percent of pollution in the Los Angeles area comes from mobile sources.

Court Snubs Clean Diesel Technology

By Anduin Kirkbride McElroy

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that publicly funded fleets in southern California can be required to buy low-polluting vehicles that run on compressed natural gas or other alternative fuels. Should the biodiesel industry be concerned about a possible precedent?

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