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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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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) released a summary report following its Deploying Purpose-Grown Energy Crops for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) workshop held June 6-7, 2023, in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Bagging When the Bins Fill Up

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By Tryg Waterhouse

February 09, 2024

Rather than open-air storage, some commercial grain operations are turning to massive, polyethylene bags. When properly maintained, they can keep grain safely for months.

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The USDA maintained its projection for 2023-’24 corn use in ethanol in its latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, released Feb. 8. The agency also maintained its forecast for season-average corn prices.

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Loamist, a climatetech startup, has announced its pre-seed financing and emergence from stealth mode, marking the public release of its Biomass Explorer product, a tool that addresses the critical challenge of accessing biomass.

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Total U.S. biofuel operatable production capacity was up slightly in November, with gains for ethanol, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Jan. 31. Total feedstock consumption was down slightly from October.

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UNICA, the Brazilian sugarcane industry association, has released data showing ethanol production was up significantly during the first half of January, with corn ethanol production up more than 50%. Ethanol sales were also up during the two-week period.

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The USDA’s Commodity Credit Corp. announced on Jan. 26 that it does not expect to purchase and sell sugar under the Feedstock Flexibility Program for crop year 2023, which runs from Oct. 1, 2023 through Sept. 30, 2024.

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The USDA recently released its Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production report for January, reporting that corn use for fuel ethanol production in November was down when compared to the previous month, but up when compared to November 2022.

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Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.; and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on Jan. 22 introduced the Farm to Fly Act, a bill that aims to accelerate the production and development of SAF.

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UNICA, the Brazilian sugarcane industry association, has announced sugarcane processing was up significantly during the final half of December. Ethanol production and sales were also up during the two-week period.

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The USDA increased its forecast for 2023-’24 corn use in ethanol in its latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report, released Jan. 12. The agency lowered its forecast for season-average corn prices.

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A study released by Decision Innovation Solutions on Jan. 11 shows the Midwest stands to benefit greatly if the SAF goal of 35 billion gallons by 2050 is met, as two of the most likely SAF feedstocks would be soybean oil and corn.

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UNICA, the Brazilian sugarcane industry association, has announced that sugarcane processing and ethanol production were up significantly during the first half of December. Ethanol sales were also up during the two-week period.

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U.S. operable biofuels production capacity expanded in October, with gains for both renewable diesel and biodiesel, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Dec. 29. Feedstock consumption was also up.

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The U.S. DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office has announced its notice of intent to issue a funding opportunity announcement that will drive R&D of low-carbon, purpose-grown energy crops leading to the deployment of clean energy technologies.

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The USDA recently released its Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production report for December, reporting that corn use for fuel ethanol production in October was up when compared to both the previous month and October 2022.

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CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange on Dec. 14 released a report focused on forces that will shape the U.S. rural economy next year. The report predicts that both ethanol producers and soybean crushers will benefit from rising demand for biofuels in 2024.

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UNICA, the Brazilian sugarcane industry association, has announced sugarcane processing was up during the second half of November. Ethanol production and sales were also up when compared to the same period of last year.

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SAF Magazine in collaboration with CAAFI, has announced the 2024 North American SAF Conference & Expo will take place Sept. 11-13, 2024, in St. Paul, Minnesota. The event is accepting abstract submissions through May 10.

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The USDA maintained its forecast for 2023-’24 corn use in ethanol in its latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, released Dec. 8. The overall outlook for 2023-’24 U.S. corn is for higher exports and lower ending stocks.

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Corn consumption for fuel ethanol production in September was down slightly when compared to the previous month, but up significantly when compared to the same month of 2022, according data released by the USDA in November.

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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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Rep. Max Miller, R-Ohio, on Nov. 7 introduced the bipartisan Farm to Fly Act, which aims to create new markets for U.S. agricultural products and strengthen domestic production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

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U.S. biofuels operable production capacity was up slightly in August, with a small gain for ethanol, according to data released by the U.S. EIA on Oct. 31. Feedstock consumption was down slightly from the previous month.

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Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and five of his colleagues are urging the IRS to ensure that fuels made from petroleum products, specifically plastic feedstocks, are unable to qualify for the IRA’s SAF and clean fuels production tax credits.

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NREL: Midwestern electrofuels could become energy superheroes

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By Zia Abdullah, laboratory program manager, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

November 28, 2023

NREL research demonstrates how carbon dioxide captured at Midwestern ethanol plants could be processed with electrolyzers powered by wind energy to produce electrofuels, specifically sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

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The call for presentation abstracts for the 17th Annual International Biomass Conference & Expo, produced by Biomass Magazine, is now open. The event will take place March 4-6, 2024, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, Virginia.

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Honeywell and GranBio Technologies on Oct. 10 announced that they will combine Honeywell’s ethanol to jet (ETJ) technology with GranBio’s cellulosic ethanol AVAP technology to produce carbon-neutral SAF from biomass residues.

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The U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office has announced $16.7 million in funding for five projects to advance the production of affordable biofuels and biochemicals that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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