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Berkeley Lab: Watching the enzymes that convert plant fiber into simple sugars

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By Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

February 15, 2024

FeedstocksCellulosic/Advanced

Research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and UC Davis sheds new light on how to access the sugars locked up in plants to produce petroleum-free fuels, chemicals, and medicines.

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Comstock Inc. on Dec. 28 announced execution of agreements with RenFuel K2B AB to advance its first commercial biorefinery, which is planned for development in Sweden and will produce a biointermediate used to make SAF and renewable diesel.

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Clariant on Dec. 6 announced its decision to shut down its sunliquid bioethanol production in Podari, Romania, and to downsize related activities of the business line Biofuels & Derivatives in Germany.

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New Energy Blue has announced the formation of New Energy Farmers LLC, a biomass aggregation company jointly owned by Iowa farmers and New Energy Blue that will supply feedstock to the New Energy Freedom Biomass Refinery.

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Conestoga Energy and SAFFiRE Renewables LLC announced on Nov. 16 their agreement for Conestoga to host SAFFiRE’s cellulosic ethanol pilot plant at Conestoga’s Arkalon Energy ethanol facility in Liberal, Kansas.

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Nearly 1.95 billion RINs were generated under the RFS in September, up from 1.73 billion generated during the same month of 2022, according to data released by the U.S. EPA. Total RIN generation for the first nine months of 2023 was at 17.41 billion.

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A Swiss entrepreneur, inspired by global sustainable development goals, has built a cellulosic ethanol company that’s seeking partnerships to upscale her technology with unique innovations.

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Novozymes on Oct. 26 reported that Q3 sales for its bioenergy segment were up 21 percent when compared to the same quarter of last year. Bioenergy sales for the first nine months of 2023 were up 25 percent when compared to the same period of 2022.

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Aemetis Inc. released Q2 financial results on Aug. 3, reporting progress with the development of its dairy RNG project and its proposed renewable diesel and SAF biorefinery. The company also highlighted its existing ethanol and biodiesel operations.

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Allotrope Partners LLC, Axens North America, and Sumitomo Corporation of Americas have signed an agreement to develop a joint study for a commercial plant producing cellulosic ethanol from woody biomass.

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The August issue of Ethanol Producer Magazine addresses industry opportunities related to CO2 utilization, the benefits of multi-plant executive management, the contributions of the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center, and the future of cellulosic ethanol production.

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The potential demand for ethanol plant CO2 is growing, and a DOE research consortium exploring e-fuels could broaden an already promising spectrum of transformation prospects.

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After revamping its process and management team, Blue Biofuels believes it is primed for big cellulosic ethanol achievements at commercial scale.

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LanzaJet and Airbus on June 22 announced they have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to address the needs of aviation through the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The agreement was announced during the Paris Air Show.

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The ethanol industry has a role to play in the emerging SAF indsutry through both ethanol-to-jet technologies and the supply of distillers corn oil feedstock.

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Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc. hosted a groundbreaking ceremony at its new second-generation bioethanol plant located in Tartas, Les Landes France, on June 15, 2023. The facility is expected to begin operations next year.

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ArcelorMittal and LanzaTech Global Inc. on June 14 announced that ArcelorMittal’s commercial flagship CCU facility in Ghent, Belgium, has produced initial samples of ethanol. The "Steelanol" facility is expected to be fully operational this year.

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Sugar Valley Energy, an advanced low-carbon sugarcane-to-ethanol and power facility, has secured letters of intent with local Imperial Valley farmers to grow 12,000 acres of sugarcane to support its initial feedstock production schedule.

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EcoCeres Inc., an Asia-based innovative biorefinery company, has announced announce its first shipment of 100 percent agricultural waste-produced cellulosic ethanol to the European markets. The ethanol was produced at a facility in China.

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New Energy Blue and Dow on May 25 announced a long-term supply agreement under which New Energy Blue will produce biobased ethylene from corn stover. Dow will purchase the biobased ethylene for use in plastics production.

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Aemetis Inc. announced on May 18 that the U.S. EPA has approved the Aemetis Biogas Services subsidiary’s renewable natural gas (RNG) production facility for the generation of D3 cellulosic biofuel RINs under the RFS.

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The U.S. EPA has delivered its final rule to set 2023, 2024 and 2025 Renewable Fuel Standard blending obligations to the White House Office of Management and Budget. OMB review marks a final stage before promulgation of a rulemaking.

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