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12 Bellwether Biofuels Projects – Where Do They Stand?

Submitted by on July 22, 2013 – 11:12 amNo Comment

by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest)   Advanced biofuels – mirage or reality? In January we wrote: “When these 12 projects open for business (or not) in 2013, you’ll know for sure.”  So, what do we know?

We identified 12 “Bellwether projects” in January that were scheduled to open in 2013.  including the largest waste-to-ethanol project. The largest biobutanol project. The largest drop-in biofuels project, and the largest pyrolysis-based biofuels project.  The largest consolidated bioprocessing project. The largest acid hydrolysis project. The first cellulosic ethanol commercial-scale projects in China and Brazil. The first project to ferment industrial off-gases into fuels.

How are they faring?

1. … Status: Earlier this month, Darling International announced that Diamond Green Diesel, the joint venture between Valero subsidiary Diamond Alternative Energy LLC and Darling International , has reached mechanical completion and the startup process will lead to full production of renewable diesel.  READ MORE

2.  … Status: Last November, the project (INEOS Bio) was commissioned and began producing power at its BioEnergy Center. The renewable electricity powers the Center and the excess electricity is expected to power as many as 1400 homes in the Vero Beach community.  But final startup of first commercial facility and full-scale production has shifted into 2013 and we have not heard any news yet regarding the plant moving into regular production, though two weeks ago the plant was described as “currently commissioning and expected to reach full production in a few months.”  READ MORE

3.  … Status: Online as of May.  Last month, API president Basil Karempelas told Ethanol Producer, “Our plan for both Thomaston and Alpena for the remainder of 2013 is to really perfect and optimize the two technologies at the demo facilities.

In April, at the Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference (ABLC 2013), GranBio completed the acquisition of a 25% equity stake in American Process. Under the agreement, GranBio said it will have gained access to a proprietary biomass pretreatment platform that makes it possible to cost-effectively develop cellulosic sugars as a feedstock to a range of biochemicals and biofuels. The companies said that they expect to break ground on their first commercial-scale facility by the end of 2014. The companies will collaborate on a first commercial facility with API technology in Brazil, followed by one in the United States.  READ MORE

4.  … Status: In mid-March we updated: “KiOR announced the initial shipments of cellulosic diesel from its first commercial-scale facility in Columbus, Mississippi. Although the company did not specify the customer for the fuels, KiOR and Catchlight Energy (a JV owned by Chevron and Weyerhaeuser) signed a conditional offtake agreement in May 2011 for Catchlight Energy to purchase gasoline and diesel fuel blendstocks from the Columbus, MS plant. In March 2011, KiOR announced a similar agreement with Hunt Refining Company.”

In May, KiOR CEO Fred Cannon added: “Building on the first gallons of cellulosic diesel we shipped in March, we continue to make progress with operations at our Columbus facility,” said KiOR CEO Fred Cannon. “The on-stream percentage of our core technology in the first quarter improved approximately 500 percent over the fourth quarter. Most of our individual run times are longer than the previous runs, and we are working toward taking the facility into a steady state of operations.”  READ MORE

5.  Gevo, first commercial isobutanol project, Luverne, Minnesota …  READ MORE

6.  Bluefire Renewables – first commercial plant – Fulton, MS … Status: Site prep was completed in 2011 — since then, we’ve not seen progress on this one. Financing has proved elusive, despite a large DOE grant that would help with the project cost.   READ MORE

7.  Mascoma – first commercial cellulosic ethanol project – Kinross, MI  … Status: Though Mascoma via its subsidiary Frontier Renewable Resources, LLC, has entered into definitive agreements with Valero Energy Corporation, the nation’s largest independent oil refiner and a leading ethanol producer, to develop and operate the commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facility in Kinross, Michigan – we haven’t heard any updates on commencement of construction. So, we’ll give this one an incomplete grade for now.  READ MORE

8.  Abengoa Biorefinery, first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant – Hugoton, KS  … READ MORE

9.  Granbio commercial cellulosic ethanol plant, Alagoas, Brazil  … READ MORE

10.  POET-DSM Project Liberty, Emmetsburg, IA … Status: at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop last month, POET-DSM moved the start date to “early 2014″ – full-scale construction has been underway since March.  READ MORE

11. LanzaTech, first commercial, (with Baosteel), Shanghai, China  … READ MORE 

12.  COFCO/Sinopec first commercial cellulosic ethanol – Zhaodong, China  …  READ MORE

Bonus Projects

Myriant …

Elevance-Wilmar …

Solazyme-Bunge …


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