May 2008

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Business Briefs

American Green Holdings ethanol reactor

American Green Holdings unveils ethanol reformer



Van Groll has adapted cheese-making equipment. The small square bulk milk tank in the foreground is used for yeast propagation and the milk silo in back is used for fermentation.

A Cheaper ‘Whey' to Make Ethanol

By Susanne Retka Schill, Photos by Brian Taylor

A Wisconsin cheese maker is expanding his bacteria-tending skills to include nurturing yeast to make ethanol and growing algae to produce oil for biodiesel in an intriguing energy-integrated, waste-to-power process.

Renewable Identification Numbers are becoming increasingly important not just for people in environmental compliance or accounting, but also for those in marketing, investing and sustainability.

PDC researcher Jo Sijben, left, and HE Blends BV Marketing and Sales Manager Jager, right, stand beside the test cars that were fueled with midlevel hydrous ethanol blends in the Netherlands.

Testing the Water

By Ron Kotrba

Conventional wisdom says water in ethanol is bad, but a new technical understanding is emerging that could dramatically improve corn-based ethanol's environmental footprint while revolutionizing how the alternative fuel is made, transported and used.


By Timothy Charles Holmseth

U.S. ethanol producers insist the 54-cent tariff on ethanol imports needs to be in place or the government will be subsidizing Brazilian ethanol.

It's not a leap of faith that's going to make cellulosic ethanol production on a commercial level a reality. In most cases, it's going to take a plotted course that sequentially informs the evolution of cost-competitive and efficient technologies. EPM spoke with companies about the significance of piloting their technologies before scaling up to a demonstration-size facility.

Once a premier bioscience company making major inroads into the ethanol industry, Dyadic is now only limping along. In the past year, it was delisted from the American Stock Exchange, ousted its founder Mark Emalfarb, was sued by angry shareholders, and released a scathing audit report detailing corruption, bribery and a dummy company skimming profits from its Hong Kong factory.

Biofuels patents have increased steadily over the past six years, according to a report published by Baker & Daniels LLP. The data also provides proof that there is an earnest effort underway to patent technological advances toward the commercialization of cellulosic ethanol production.

The Prairie Pothole Region could slowly be lost to the plow if farmers convert more CRP land to crops.

Flocks Or Feedstocks

By Kris Bevill

The Conservation Reserve Program encourages landowners to protect environmentally sensitive acreage. Increased demand for biofuels and a growing world population have driven crop prices to record highs. At the same time, many farmers are struggling to make a profit due to increased operating costs, and are considering letting CRP contracts expire so they can farm more land. That has prompted conservationists to wonder how the conversion will affect wildlife.

Changing the Climate

By Anduin Kirkbride McElroy and Jessica Sobolik

The National Ethanol Conference gave ethanol industry leaders a venue to discuss how the industry is changing the climate for the economy, environment and consumers.

The clock is ticking on public acceptance of ethanol as the United States' corn-based industry is under relentless attack. With cellulosic conversion technologies as the ostensible lone saving grace for ethanol, Biomass Magazine takes a look at what fruits the first-quarter ‘08 produced.

It's touted as a superior renewable fuel but challenges have stymied the industrial-scale production of biobutanol. Now, however, Dupont and BP have teamed to develop and commercialize the fuel. This comes as scientists announce advancements in the design of process technologies and the engineering of microbes aimed at improving the economics of mass-producing biobutanol.

This biogas refining system was installed at the Vintage Dairy farm in Fresno County, Calif. This project went live in March and was the first biogas-to-pipeline injection project in California.

Gas Naturally

By Jerry W. Kram

California, according to some dairy commercials, is home to happy cows. So many cows, in fact, that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. estimates that dairy manure makes up 20 percent of the state's available waste biomass for conversion into renewable fuels. The company is aggressively courting developers of anaerobic digestion and biomass gasification projects to provide biomethane for its millions of natural gas customers.

Purdue University researchers have implanted poplar trees with genetic material from rabbits. The trees are destined for a Herculean task: cleaning up a contaminated site that housed an oil storage facility. The site, called Peter's Pond, was tainted by contaminated oil stored there nearly 40 years ago. The process, called phytoremediation, allows transgenic trees to slurp up underground contaminants.

Approximately 150 people attended NDSU's BioOpportunities Workshop.

Big Wood

By Simon Hadlington

Construction will start soon on a giant wood-fueled power station in Wales. But where will all that wood come from? Where will the ash go? And why not use the waste heat?

For the first time Biodiesel Magazine asks producers exactly how much biodiesel is being produced. The results of our comprehensive survey create an intriguing picture of the industry. Not all producers took our phone calls, but those who did spoke loudly.

Many diesel engine manufacturers have implemented what's called post-injection, the introduction of fuel late in the combustion cycle, as part of an advanced control strategy to reduce emissions. Biodiesel Magazine looks at how post-injection of biodiesel blends facilitates dilution of engine oil while interacting with oil additives to potentially accelerate engine wear.


A Man on a Mission

By Sarah Smith

When President George W. Bush proclaimed biodiesel the most promising renewable fuel, one that could help meet his 36 billion-gallon goal, he was likely unaware that this mandate would set off a debate now taking place across America: don't build here or anywhere near here.

Renewable Identification Numbers are becoming increasingly important not just for people in environmental compliance or accounting, but also for those in marketing, investing and sustainability.

The 'FOG' is Lifting

By Kris Bevill

San Francisco is on its way to becoming an even brighter shade of green by starting a program to collect the waste fat, oil and grease (FOG) that clog city sewers and cost taxpayers millions, and turning it into biodiesel to fuel the city's fleet.


Gaining Traction

By Susanne Retka Schill

The nation's underground mines are turning to biodiesel to reduce diesel particulate matter levels to help comply with tighter air quality limits.

Most think of biodiesel as a motor fuel. But it is much more versatile and can drive steamships and, notably, gas turbines. A group in Texas has been pushing the frontiers of biofuel technology to bring electricity to the suburbs of Houston.

The Western hemisphere's poorest nation faces the same dire problems with fuel cost that the rest of the world encounters. But for once Haiti may have a head start. Its farmers already work with a native plant called jatropha.



Vive la Difference

By Jon Evans

Biofueling the economies of Europe and United States has taken distinctly different routes. The Yanks are well ahead in ethanol, but the second generation may look different.

Chernobyl's Harvest

By Patti McCracken

For the Iowa-size area around the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster, it's not just the air, but the soil, that stands to benefit from biofuels.

Research into all facets of biomass-supported industries is taking off at schools throughout the country. North Dakota State University is combining and coordinating its efforts to a better biobased program.

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