Advanced Biofuels Come of Age

Advanced, non-food biofuels are gaining movement in 2013 as several new plants have collected a collateral and movement for large-scale production.


Reposted with accede from Rocky Mountain Institute.


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For a improved partial of a decade we’ve listened how approaching plants would shortly furnish poignant volumes of advanced, non-food biofuel. So far, roughly nothing of this prolongation has been realized.

Here is a tiny representation of a industry’s tribulations: A BC International plant in Louisiana was ostensible to furnish blurb volumes of non-food biofuel by a early 2000s, though after several changes of name, ownership, and/or technology, a plant never did. logen, corroborated by Shell around corner venture, had dictated to furnish during blurb scale 5 years ago, though skeleton seem to have entirely stalled, with layoffs in Apr 2012 and termination of a new plant in Manitoba. And Coskata, a Khosla Ventures company, was conditionally postulated a $250 million USDA loan pledge in early 2011, usually to give adult in 2012 on cellulosic fuel as a feedstock (abandoning a guarantee) and instead concentration on healthy gas.

As a outcome of a miss of advanced, non-food biofuel production, a EPA has dramatically revised downward a cellulosic biofuel consistent requirement for oil companies underneath a stream Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2). Those annual reductions have grown from 95 percent in 2010 to 98.3 percent in 2012, when a EPA cut a 500MMgal requirement down to only 8.65MMgal. What’s more, even these reduced volumes haven’t always materialized. For instance, between Jul 2010 and Oct 2011, no volume of cellulosic biofuel was sole into a ubiquitous market.

But there are signs that 2013 will be a year that a advanced, non-food biofuel spigot finally opens, with several plants scarcely built or already producing initial product.

Non-Food Biofuels Quietly Already Here

Despite meagre media coverage, poignant volumes of non-food biofuels have been constructed in a U.S. for a integrate of years now, despite underneath a ubiquitous “advanced biofuel” RFS2 category, not a “cellulosic biofuel” RFS2 subcategory. Some of these RFS2 “advanced biofuel” feedstocks are food-based, such as soy for biodiesel, and in reduce volume, sorghum for ethanol. However, many biodiesel producers are increasingly utilizing non-food feedstocks such as low-grade corn oil (a delegate product from ethanol manufacturing), cooking rubbish oils, and non-food animal fat/rendering.