Argus Biofuels & Feedstocks 2016
October 18-20, 2016 - London UK

LanzaTech develops waste gas-to-ethanol technology

New Zealand-based LanzaTech NZ Ltd. recently announced it has developed a proprietary fermentation technology that can be used to produce ethanol using the carbon monoxide and hydrogen components of industrial waste gases and biomass-based syngas. According to LanzaTech's founder Sean Simpson, industrial waste gases, such as those that result from steel processing, contain high concentrations of carbon monoxide. "The LanzaTech Process captures [this] gas and uses it as a resource," he said. LanzaTech's technology can also utilize the carbon monoxide and hydrogen components of syngas created using any biomass resource, including municipal waste, organic industrial waste and waste wood. "The gasification process breaks down the chemical bonds in the biomass, making up to 80 percent of the energy available for fermentation," Burton said.READ MORE

Microbiogen develops yeast that can utilize C5, C6 sugars

Microbiogen, an Australia-based developer of non-genetically modified yeast, recently announced it has secured a $2.5 million government grant. The grant, which was awarded under the Australian government's $15 million Second Generation Biofuels Research and Development Program, will allow the company to further develop its new yeast, which is capable of utilizing both C6 and C5 sugars. "In a major scientific breakthrough, Microbiogen has developed natural breeding programs to produce an improved variant of yeast that grows efficiently on xylose and ferments glucose - thereby developing the world's first non-genetically modified industrial strains of yeast that will be capable of efficient conversion of almost all plant sugars into ethanol and other useful products - including food and feedstock," said Microbiogen CEO Geoff Bell.READ MORE

Minnesota Project releases biofuels study

The Minnesota Project released a study titled "Transportation Biofuels in the United States: An Update," which details the progress made in cellulosic ethanol and corn ethanol research, and discusses biofuels generally. The study focuses on four main cellulosic feedstocks, including: corn stover, miscanthus, switchgrass and wood. Dealing with many of the most divisive issues in the public debate over ethanol, the report specifically rebuts claims made in energy efficiency, land use theory and food versus fuel, soil and water, invasive species versus native species and monoculture versus polyculture.READ MORE

Ethanol not to blame for Florida storage tank requirements

Retail gas station owners in Florida have recently expressed frustration with a rule requiring that secondary containment tanks must be installed with underground fuel storage units by the end of this year. The requirement is meant to protect Florida groundwater; however some station owners are blaming the upcoming E10 mandate for the changes. Bill Burns, environmental administrator at Florida's environmental protection agency, said the storage tank replacement requirement was put in place by the state legislature in 1990, well before an ethanol mandate was even in consideration. However, Florida's E10 mandate will begin in 2010, which could be why some station owners are confused.READ MORE

Ottertail Ag Enterprises addresses financial difficulties

Ottertail Ag Enterprises LLC's board of governors recently appointed Gary Thompson as chairman of its Fergus Falls, Minn.-based ethanol plant. The board also approved the formation of a new credit committee that will work with the facility's lending institutions to find a suitable path forward. The credit committee, which consists of the company's management, board and members, includes Thompson, Anthony Hicks, Warrenn Anderson, Daryl Gillund and Jamie Dosdall. "The objective of this committee is to bring a group of very experienced business management together with production and banking/finance in one group to fully assess the needs of OTAE and the best for its members," said Ottertail Ag Enterprises CEO and Chief Financial Officer Anthony Hicks in a statement announcing the changes.READ MORE

First United Ethanol LLC counters confusion

On August 23, Georgia Public Broadcasting was the first to report that First United Ethanol LLC, (FUEL) of Camilla, Ga., was suffering financial difficulties that threatened to shut down the plant. The report came after FUEL reported it had more than $100 million in long-term debt and would have to seek bankruptcy protection if unable to meet its obligations. The announcement is less a revelation for FUEL, which notes the language of the 10-Q filing is simply a statement of risk and not unique to its company or any company making a statement to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "The stories do not present an accurate depiction," says Alicia Shirah, director of communications for FUEL. "We have absolutely no intention of filing for bankruptcy."READ MORE

Corn Plus pleads guilty to Clean Air Act violations

Winnebago, Minn.-based Corn Plus LLLP pled guilty in federal court Aug. 19 to violating the Clean Air Act by negligently discharging wastewater from its 49 MMgy production facility. The plant admitted to discharging wastewater into a drain tile located on its property between 2005 and Aug. 2007. The water, which contained biological oxygen, eventually ended up in Rice Lake and polluted its waters, according to the U.S. EPA.READ MORE

Glacial Lakes Energy sells shares of ethanol plant; terminates management agreement

Glacial Lakes Energy LLC recently announced the company has completed the sale of 2,000 units of its ownership share in the Minnesota-based ethanol plant Granite Falls Energy LLC to Fagen Inc. Glacial Lakes Energy is a subsidiary of Glacial Lakes Corn Processors and part owner of the Granite Falls Energy ethanol plant. According to information released by Glacial Lakes Energy, the company originally entered into a Membership Unit Purchase Agreement with Fagen in December 2008. Under that agreement, Glacial Lakes Energy agreed to sell the 2,000 units to Fagen subject to customary closing conditions and was initially slated to close on the sale anytime during a seven month period concluding on July 4. Until that time, Glacial Lakes Energy reserved the right to sell its entire ownership interest in Granite Falls Energy of 6,500 units and terminate the agreement with Fagen. The July 2009 deadline was extended to allow for a later sale date.READ MORE
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