July 2009

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Business Briefs

Business & People: Ethanol Briefs



The U.S. DOE controls the majority of federal funding opportunities for ethanol and renewable energy producers. The agency's loan guarantee program was created specifically to provide millions of dollars for renewable energy projects - but in its first four years failed to award a single recipient. What was the hold-up and is a fix on the way?

NASA researchers are mining satellite data to show the effects of land use change on soil carbon pools, the amount of land dedicated to biofuel feedstocks, and the overall productivity of croplands. When complete, the research may prove useful in determining where high-yield crop production can be maintained for long periods of time and provide an accurate estimation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by various crop management decisions.

Randy Hill believes he has the solution for transporting and drying large amounts of wet, woody biomass. The president of Advanced Trailer is working with the University of Idaho to evaluate the economic and environmental benefits of using his agricultural crop drying trailers to move biomass.

Wagoner announced his company's partnership with Coskata at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. /PHOTO: COSKATA INC.

Changing the Game

By Sam Nejame

As the race to produce cellulosic ethanol commercially progresses, companies such as Coskata, Inc. need to remain at the top of their game, or in some cases, change the way the game is played.

Just a year ago, dry fractionation providers were educating ethanol plant managers and owners about the technique's potential for generating multiple revenue streams. Today, fractionation is still causing excitement in the industry, but finding equity sources to finance the installation of fractionation equipment is a challenge.

In Sweden, the government says it is spending ?69 million ($91 million) to ensure that there will be 2,000 E85 fueling stations by the end of this year - approximately the same number of E85 fueling stations in all of the U.S. as of May./PHOTO: CHRIS

Sweden's Drive for E85

By Ryan C. Christiansen

The European Commission has agreed to continue to allow Swedish ethanol supplier SEKAB to import low-cost Brazilian ethanol at a lower import duty until early next year. Sweden is unique among European Union member states in its promulgation of E85 and flexible-fuel vehicles. Can Sweden continue to secure its import privilege in the face of opposition from the European ethanol industry?

The Arisdyne Systems Inc. ethanol research and engineering team includes Oleg Kozyuk, chief technology officer, Scott Incorvia, director of operations, and Parker Lyle, design engineer./PHOTO: ARISDYNE SYSTEMS INC.

Tiny Bubbles to Make You Happy

By Ryan C. Christiansen

The ethanol industry is feeling the heat and pressure to remain profitable. One way to ease the pressure is to increase yields. Arisdyne Systems Inc. wants to help ethanol producers increase yields by increasing heat and pressure (on a microscopic scale) using controlled-flow hydrodynamic cavitation.

For 40 years Ottawa-based Iogen Corp. has researched and developed enzymes to turn cellulosic material into low carbon dioxide-based cellulosic ethanol. Today, the company is in its fourth year of producing ethanol at one of the world's first demonstration-scale cellulosic ethanol plants, manufacturing enzymes and continually improving operations.

Larry Gross CEO, EdeniQ Inc.

A Triple Play for Higher Yields

By Ryan C. Christiansen

EdeniQ Inc. has a three-phase yield enhancement program to help producers obtain more ethanol—including cellulosic ethanol—from a bushel of corn.

Federal regulations already place caps on a wide range of industrial emissions so it seems inevitable that carbon dioxide will soon be one of them. If the U.S. adopts a carbon cap-and-trade program, many ethanol producers will be faced with a choice—adopt new production technologies or absorb the expense of purchasing carbon credits. Those choosing to adapt will not only avoid incurring another expense, but may be able to realize an additional revenue stream as well.

California forest/PHOTO: JOHN SHELLY

Balancing Act

By Lisa Gibson

Experts say forest woody biomass could become a critical component of the conversion to clean energy in the U.S. and can be a sustainable resource, but its extraction concerns conservationists.

University of California-San Francisco researchers have genetically engineered a brewer's yeast and co-cultured it with a cellulose-eating bacterium. The symbiotic relationship of the two microbes has created a novel process to convert biomass into methyl halides.

Salem, Ore.-based Diesel Brewing is working to implement a unique business model for the gasification of waste biomass into biobutanol and other valuable energy products.

A Lasting Legacy

By BBI Editorial Staff

Friends and colleagues of Kathy Bryan share stirring memories of her inspirational life and career.

Editor's Note: To honor the venerable Raphael "Ray" Katzen, who died on July 12, we are rerunning a feature that was published in the February 2006 edition of Ethanol Producer Magazine, Biomass Magazine's sister publication, that chronicled the brilliant engineer's fascinating life and career. After a half century in ethanol, Raphael Katzen-one of the industry's greatest minds-still strongly believes in Project 20, a plan to produce and use 20 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol by 2020. Now, more than ever, his vision looks attainable.

Vibrant splashes of yellow festoon the German landscape each May as fields of fall-sown rapeseed begin to blossom. Just as soybeans are the base of the U.S. biodiesel industry, rapeseed is the German industry's base. Biodiesel Magazine takes a look at Europe's largest biodiesel-producing nation.

The possibility of imposing a monogylceride limit for biodiesel to comply with ASTM guidelines was discussed at the National Biodiesel Conference. It's a sensitive issue, according to industry insiders. In fact, several sources contacted by Biodiesel Magazine either had no comment or asked to remain anonymous when the conversation was about tweaking the quality parameters.

Yang Cal is one of three doctoral graduates from ISU who have joined the team at Catilin to continue working on catalyst development./PHOTO: PHOTO: BOB ELBERT

A Solid Catalyst Unlike the Rest

By Susanne Retka Schill

Catilin Inc. is rolling out T300, a solid catalyst that sidesteps the need for a fixed bed. The company is also making progress in nanocatalyst and nanofarming technologies.

Salem, Ore.-based Diesel Brewing is working to implement a unique business model for the gasification of waste biomass into biobutanol and other valuable energy products.

A Lasting Legacy

By BBI Editorial Staff

Friends and colleagues of Kathy Bryan share stirring memories of her inspirational life and career.


Adequate fall protection equipment continues to be a concern for agencies tasked with ensuring employee safety. Terminal operators striving to make their storage facilities as safe as possible should consider various safety systems to help employees avoid possible accidents.

As oil companies become more directly involved with the production of biofuels, the ethanol industry must evaluate its relationship with Big Oil and determine whether to cooperate, compete, or co-exist.

Many companies believe bankruptcy should only be considered as a final option. However, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy can sometimes be used as an effective strategy to protect a company and its stakeholders from further damages.

The U.S. EPA is the regulating body of renewable identification numbers, as determined by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. However, it is up to individual companies to wade through the evolving regulatory requirements and to comply with the EPA's rules.

Maine company employs creative business practices and a fleet of chippers to ensure a steady stream of feedstock is supplied to their plants.

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