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2013 Pacific Rim Biofuels and Biotechnology Summit Report: the Golden Age of Advanced Biofuels Is Coming

Agriculture, BioChemicals/Renewable Chemicals, BioRefineries/Renewable Fuel Production, Biorefinery Infrastructure, Business News/Analysis, California, Defense, Federal Agency, Feedstocks, Field/Orchard/Plantation Crops/Residues, Forestry/Wood, Green Jobs, Infrastructure, Iowa, Logistics, Marketing/Markets and Sales, Navy, Netherlands, Not Agriculture, Opinions, Original Writing, Opinions Advanced Biofuels USA, Other Conferences/Events, Policy, Presentations, Process, R & D Focus
February 13, 2014

by Danilo Gusmão de Quadros* (Advanced Biofuels USA)  Good news for mankind worried about getting a more sustainable world: it is expected that the next few years will be decisive for the future of advanced biofuels and bioenergy with the establishment of a growing industry.
PacificRim plenarycroppedFor many years, scientists have studied renewable sources of bioenergy and the best way to obtain drop-in biofuels from non-food feedstocks. However, what we have seen is a timid biofuel utilization (E10, 10 % of ethanol based on corn included in gasoline), misunderstanding by consumers about ethanol utilization and damages to small engines, a small percentage of flexfuels cars, few gas stations with E85 (85% ethanol), international conflicts and disputes about oil, political controversies (strong oil sector lobby against the fragile group representing renewable biofuel, pork and poultry industries against corn conversion), and mainly uncompetitive costs of logistics and conversion technologies.
PacificRim posters croppedDuring four days, from the 8th to 11th of December 2013, at the Westin Hotel located in the charming Glaslam Quarter of an unexpectedly chilly San Diego, CA, the 8th Pacific Rim Biofuels and Biotechnology Summit took place. There we could see an integrated industry taking the real first solid steps into the future, bringing with them the total advantages of biofuel production and utilization such as: less emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), more jobs, local economy development, less international conflicts, and the guarantee of having energy strategically necessary to this country.
The event was well organized by Biotechnology Industry Organization (www.bio.org) with a very dynamic program about biofuels and biotechnology. More than 400 attendees had everything they needed for obtaining the latest information about the theme through many plenaries, sessions, tracks (feedstock production and utilization; renewable chemical platforms; advanced biofuels and biorefinery platforms; synthetic biology, algae, and marine biotechnology), workshops, and poster sessions. Also, this amazing event was very rich in space and moments to exchange experiences and to develop networks during the breaks and lunch.
PacificRim tracks croppedInnovation permeated all discussions, bringing cutting-edge science to industrial biotechnology. The speakers, mainly comprised of biofuel industry people, had high grades of specialization and experience, inserting the talks inside a marketing vision.
Often less discussed in other biomass events, biogas had a good space and was presented as a local energy solution in rural areas, mainly using wastes from livestock production.
Biochemical co-products resulting from the conversion of feedstocks to advanced biofuels have a big market in this new age of world development. On the other hand, we rarely see the same enthusiasm in the vision of consumers when the subject is biofuels.  With fuel, price talks louder to consumers.
New feedstock options were discussed in the world context, because they can be produced in other places, more favorable to growing crops (soil and climate conditions) and following good agricultural practices.  They can then be converted using American technology. Some experiences and projects, although incipient, were shown. The amount of alternative sources of biofuels is expected to increase over the next few years, especially biodiesel.
The massive presence of industry and companies was remarkable, making the event the right place and time to exchange experiences about a diversity of advanced biofuels and biochemical products (feedstocks, conversion process, technology, costs, and marketing) beyond just networking and, of course, conducting business. People were so engaged in their business activities that often the noise of typing, sending and responding to e-mails, writing reports, annoyed me during the presentations.
Most of companies sell the know-how of converting feedstocks for advanced biofuels, however few of them have commercial scale and guaranty.
The announcement of the Navy and USDA’s “Farm-to-Fleet” biofuels program by the Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus would have been made during the conference, however, the bad weather conditions in Washington provoked the shut-down that day and the announcement had to be postponed.
This program, which allows biofuels to be purchased as part of the regular procurement process, will really launch the race for better process and research development in public-private consortiums or partnerships between universities and companies, making feedstock production and conversion more efficient and cheap. Attending to the primary interest in strategic biofuel for the Navy, in the end will result in benefits for all this system, providing knowledge subsidies to scale production, conversion, and marketing solidification.

Danilo Gusmao at the BIO   Pacific Rim Biofuels and Biotechnology Summit

Dan Quadros at the BIO Pacific Rim Biofuels and Biotechnology Summit


We have great expectations for the next years about technology dominium. The projects in pilot phase need to get financing to reach commercial phase (lab – pilot – demonstration – commercial). That seems to be okay. However, there are some controversies about regulations and markets. Regulations are a concern because political contradictions and disputes have overshadowed the focus on American sustainable development.   Despite a few prognostications indicating marketing limitation, personally, I do not believe they are true when considering world-wide market tendencies.
Ethanol production will be one of the options, made from sugar, starch and cellulosic sources using biochemical processes. Oil seeds produced around the world will be the base of biodiesel production. In addition, we will have thermochemical pathways to ethanol, gasoline, and jetfuel from lingno-cellulosic feedstocks. With algae we can obtain a crude oil to go to refineries to produce biofuels and bioproducts.
Yes, the time is coming. We have the perspective to believe that the next three years will bring the beginning of the golden age of the biofuels industry. Plenty of projects will be finished, many plants with a variety of conversion technologies utilizing a bunch of options of feedstocks will be open, and the technology will be more and more profitable.
*Dan Quadros is a Research Scholar at University of Florida and a volunteer at Advanced Biofuels USA; E-mail: daniloquadros@hotmail.com
 
 Interviews:
Do not miss the opportunity to get hot information about corn-based ethanol, the utilization of corn stover to produce biofuel, and much more, by listening to the exclusive interviews of Steve Hartig, General Manager, Licensing, POET-DSM, and Joost Dubois, Director Branding and Communication, DSM, conducted by  Advanced Biofuels USA’s Dan Quadros.
Ethanol is an essential component of the 138-billion-gallon U.S. gasoline market, contained in over 90% of this fuel sold. It is by far the most widely produced renewable fuel in the U.S., with approximately 14 billion gallons. The majority is made from corn, but it also can be produced from other feedstocks such as agricultural residue, grain sorghum, wheat, barley and potatoes. Ethanol that is made from non-starch or non-sugar sources is called cellulosic ethanol. Cellulosic ethanol’s potential is enormous. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates have identified 1.3 billion tons of harvestable cellulosic biomass in the U.S. alone, which could theoretically be used to meet more than one-third of domestic transportation fuel demand. The Renewable Fuels Standard sets an annual goal of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022, with 16 billion gallons coming from cellulosic ethanol.
Steve Hartig of POET/Project Liberty

Steve Hartig of POET/Project Liberty


POET (http://www.poet.com) is the largest U.S. ethanol producer (1.7 billion gallons per year) and one of the world’s largest producers of ethanol and other biorefined products, operating 27 plants spread across the country (IN, IA, MI, MO, OH, MN, and SD). It produces corn-based ethanol and will start to produce cellulosic ethanol soon (“Project Liberty”). “Project Liberty” (ProjectLIBERTY.com) is scheduled to begin operations in Emmetsburg, Iowa in 2014. Beyond that, POET intends to build additional cellulosic ethanol plants co-located with its existing biorefineries, representing up to a one billion gallon per year opportunity. Its joint venture also intends to license its integrated technology package and offer a turnkey design, engineering and construction package to third parties.  READ MORE  (Ethanol Producer Magazine)
 
Joost DuBois, DSM

Joost DuBois, DSM


DSM (http://www.dsm.com/corporate/home.html) is a Dutch-based multinational life sciences and materials sciences company. DSM’s global end markets include food and dietary supplements, personal care, feed, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, automotive, paints, electrical and electronics, life protection, alternative energy and bio-based materials. It produces enzymes and yeasts, considered the technological heart of the biomass conversion within the biorefinery.
To learn more about the POET-DSM partnership, visit POETDSM.com.
1 – Could you briefly introduce the work of DSM-POET for us?
Joost Dubois

2 – Could you tell us the current situation of corn production in the US? How much of it is converted into ethanol?
Steve Hartig

3 – And about the corn stover, do you know the amount we have to convert into biofuel?
Steve Hartig

4 – Corn is the base of ethanol production in the US today. However, it is also used to feed animals and this sector has been complaining about the corn price. How do you evaluate this conjuncture?
Steve Hartig


5 – Could the utilization of corn stover to biofuel production stop corn kernel conversion in the US?
Steve Hartig

6 – How to solve the logistic issues related to using corn stover as feedstock?
Steve Hartig

7 – Could you detail the expected cost model for cellulosic-based biofuel that you have been working with?
Steve Hartig

8 – How does DSM-POET intend to replicate the cellulosic-based biofuel conversion technology?
Joost Dubois


9 – What is your opinion about US renewable fuels policy?
Steve Hartig

 
Cool Planet
Wes Bolsen, Cool Planet

Wes Bolsen, Cool Planet


Interested in knowing more about the biofuels industry, market, policy, conversion technologies and carbon negative fuel cycle? Listen to the exclusive interview of Wes Bolsen, director of Cool Planet Energy Systems, by Advanced Biofuels USA’s Dan Quadros.
Cool Planet (http://www.coolplanet.com) has developed a patented process that converts non-food biomass into gasoline through mechanical and chemical processes. Its process, known as the carbon negative fuel cycle creates drop-in gasoline that could be used in any vehicle on the road today.
1 – Which is the main idea of Cool Planet initiative?

2 – Could you describe the history of Cool Planet briefly?

3 – What are the advantages and limitations of having small scale facilities for biofuels production?

4 – Considering smaller facilities, from the one side we have the logistic issue solved, on the other hand I am concerned about the possibility of increasing costs per gallon. What do you think about it?

5 – Could you explain the carbon negative fuel cycle?

6 – What is the process of research and development (R&D) of Cool Planet Energy Systems?

7 – What is your opinion about biofuel policy, considering that we have different interests being defended by lobbies in the congress?

8 – Is the Cool Planet conversion process based on pyrolysis? Could you clarify the conversion technology used?


9 – Could you detail the model of cost adopted by Cool Planet?

10 – Where is Cool Planet now and where does it wants to be in the future?



 

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security National Transportation Safety Board Native American tribes natural gas Natural Gas Act natural gas input natural gasoline natural gas prices natural gas vehicles Navy Nebraska neem negative carbon emissions neodymium Nepal net energy balance Netherlands Nevada New Brunswick Newfoundland new fuel approval New Guinea New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New South Wales New York New Zealand next generation biofuels next generation vehicles NHRA drag racing Nicaragua nickel Niger Nigeria nipa sap nitrate leaching nitrates nitrogen Nitrogen fertiliser nitrogen starvation nitrous oxide (N2O) Niue NO2 noodles nopal North Africa North America North Carolina North Dakota Northeast northern catalpa Northern Ireland Northern Territory North Korea Northwest Territories Norway Nova Scotia NOx (nitrogen oxides) noxious weeds NTSB nuclear Nunavut nutraceuticals nutrient credit trading nutrient management nutrients nutrition nut shells oak oat hulls oats oat straw Obligated Parties/Point of Obligation (PoO) ocean-based energy Oceania octane octane price/value octanol Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office of Management and Budget (OMB) offtake agreements Ohio oil oil embargo oil exploration oil monopoly oil price parity oil prices oil production oil refineries oil replacement Oils oil sands oil seed oil seed crops oil speculators oil spill oil subsidies oil taxes Oklahoma olefins olive cake olive oil olive pits olives olive water Oman Omega-3s on-farm algae production on-farm biodiesel on-farm ethanol production on-farm natural gas production on-farm processing one pound waiver onion waste online courses Ontario OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) open fuel standard open pond opportunity zones optimized flex fuel vehicles orange peel orchard grass orchard prunings Oregon organic solar cells OSHA Overseas Private Investment Corporation overview overview/survey course oxygen oxygenate ozone Pakistan Palau palm palm biomass palm fatty acid distillate palm fiber palm fronds palm kernel palm kernel oil palm kernel shell palm oil palm oil mill effluent (POME) palm oil prices palm waste Paludiculture/peatland cultivation Panama pandas panic grass papaya paper Papua Indonesia Papua New Guinea paraffins Paraguay parity partial waiver particulates pasture land Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) patents pathways Paulownia paulownia tree payments peaches peak oil peak oil demand peanuts/groundnuts peas pectin peela kaner pellets Pennsylvania pennycress/stinkweed pentane pentanol pentose pequi perennial grains perennial grasses Performance permitting Peru pest-tolerance pesticide-tolerance pests petition petroleum pharmaceuticals phase separation Philippines phosphorus photobioreactor photosynthesis phragmites pigeon pea pilot scale pine pineapple pine beetle pine nut pinion pipelines Pistacia chinensis PLA plant cell research plant cell walls plant oil plastic plastic-to-jet Plug-in Flex Fuel Hybrid Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) plume grass Poland poli Policy politics pollinators pollution pollution control polyfuel polymer polymerization polysaccharides pomace pomegranates pongamia pongamia pinnata poplar poppy population control Portable refinery Portugal poster sessions potamogeton potassium potato poultry litter/waste power-to-x/gas/liquid prairie grasses pre-processing precision farming/agriculture precursors/biointermediates premium gasoline Pretreatment pretreatment equipment price price of water prickly pear Prince Edward Island process flow diagram producer tax credit Production tax credit productivity project insurance propagating Propane/Biopropane/Renewable Propane propanol property insurance propylene protectionism protein protests public comments public health policy Puerto Rico pulp Pulp/Paper Mill pump retrofit kit pumps pungam Punnai tree pyrolysis Q-RIN QAP Qatar quality assurance Quality Assurance Plans (QAPs) quality improvement quantum dots Quebec Queensland quote of the week r R33 rabbits race radiata pine Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing railroad rainforest rain tree RAND rare earth metal RD20 RD30 RD99 RD100 reclaimed mine lands recycled oil recycled plastics recycling red algae redcedar Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation refineries reforestation Reformate regenerative braking regenerative farming regulation regulations Regulations-Federal Regulations-State Regulatory Enhancement Growth Support (REGS) Reid vapor pressure (RVP) remediation remediation rice straw Renewable Chemical renewable chemical producer tax incentive renewable chemical production tax credit Renewable Diesel/Green Diesel/Paraffinic Diesel Renewable Diesel/Green Diesel price Renewable Diesel Production renewable diesel pumps renewable diesel tax credit renewable diesel terminal Renewable Energy Renewable Energy Directive (RED and RED II) Renewable Energy Standard Renewable Energy to Fuels through Utilization of Energy-Dense Liquids (REFUEL) renewable fuel renewable fuel oil (RFO) Renewable Fuels Directive (EU) Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) revisions/repeal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS and RFS2) renewable gasoline blendstock renewable marine diesel Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) price Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) pumps Renewable Portfolio Standards Renewable Power Standard Renewable Synthesized Iso-Paraffinic Fuels (SIP) Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) renewable volume obligation (RVO) RenovaBio replacement molecules Repowering Assistance Program repurpose research and development research facility resiliency resource depletion retail retrofit return on investment R Factor RFI (Request for Information) RFS "reset" RHD100 Rhizosphere Observations Optimizing Terrestrial Sequestration (ROOTS) Rhode Island Ricardo rice rice bran oil rice hulls rice husks rice price rice straw RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) RIMPAC RINs (Renewable Identification Numbers) RINs markets RINs price risk management RJ-4 RJ-6 RME (rape methyl ester) RME180 RNA (Ribonucleic acid) roadmap rocket fuel Romania RON (Research Octane Number) rotation crops royalties RTP (rapid thermal processing) rubber rumen ruminants rural development Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Rural Energy Self-Sufficiency Initiative Russia Russian olive rutabaga Rwanda ry rye Rye grass s saccharification Safer and Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles (SAFE) safety safflower sago pond weed SAIC SAK Salicornia salt-tolerant saltbush saltcedar sal tree salt water Sanctions Santa Monica sardine oil Saskatchewan Saudi Arabia sawdust scale up Scandinavia scholarships/fellowships Science Advisory Board (SAB) Science Policy Scotland scum sea level rise seaports seashore mallow seawater Seaweed/Macroalgae seaweed cultivation Section 526 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) seed-to-wheel seed husks Senegal Serbia sesame sewage Seychelles shale shale gas shale oil shark oil sheep shipping shipping containers shipworm Sierra Leone silica Silphie/cup plant/Indian cup silver silver maple simarouba Singapore sisal SK slash Slovakia Slovakia/Slovak Republic Slovenia sludge Small Business Administration small engines small refinery exemption (SRE) smog smokestack soap Social social benefit investing social cost social value social venture Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) soi soil soil amendments soil carbon soil health soil microbial biomass solar-to-fuels solar biofuels solar energy solar energy-to-chemical conversion solaris solid oxide fuel cell Solutions solvent liquefaction Somalia soot sorghum sorghum oil sorghum stover South Africa South America South Australia South Carolina South Dakota Southeast Asia Southern Africa South Korea South Pacific South Sudan Soviet Union SOx (Sulfur oxides) soybean prices soybeans soy meal Spain spartina specifications sprawl spruce Sri Lanka Stakeholders standards start-up State Department Statistics steam explosion steam reformation steel stevia stillage storage tanks Straight (pure) Vegetable Oil (SVO or PVO) stranded assets Strategic Bioenergy Reserve STrategiv Petroleum Reserve straw students su sub-Saharan Africa sub-sim (substantially similar) succinic acid sucrose Sudan sugar sugar-to-biodiesel sugar-to-farnesane sugar-to-jetfuel Sugar Beets/Energy Beets sugarcane sugarcane prices sugarcane straw Sugar kelp sugar palm sugar platform sugar prices sugars sugars-to-fats sugar standards sulfur Sumatra sunflower supercritical fluid supercritical hydrolysis supply agreements supply chain Supreme Court surahart Suriname Sustainability Swaziland Sweden sweetgum sweet potatoes Sweet sorghum swine waste Switchgrass Switzerland sycamore syngas syngas fermentation synthetic biology synthetic diesel synthetic gasoline synthetic liquified gas (SLG) synthetic methane Syria Tailoring Rule Taiwan Tajikistan tall fescue tall oil tallow tallow tree Tamarix tank-to-wheel tank cars tankers tanker trucks Tanzania tariffs taro tar sands Tasmania tax benefit tax credit taxes tax incentives tax parity tax policy tea teach-the-teacher teacher teacher resources teacher training technical course Technical Readiness Levels techno-economic analysis technology transfer tech transfer telephone utility poles Tennessee termites terpenes terrestrial carbon testing Texas textbook Thailand theft therapeutics thermal deoxygenation thermocatalytic conversion thermochemical conversion thermochemical liquefaction Tibet Tier 3 Tier 4 tilapia tillage Timor-Leste tires tobacco tobacco tree Togo Tokyo toluene Tonga tool Toronto torrefaction Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) trade trade dispute/discrimination trade group trade organization Trade Policy trade secrets training trains transesterification transgenics transition Transportation Fuels Policy Transportation Fuels Policy--Municipal Transportation Fuels Policy--State Transportation Policy Treasury Department trees Trinidad and Tobago triticale trucks tubers tung tunicate Tunisia Turkey UCOME (Used Cooking Oil Methyl Ester) Uganda UK (United Kingdom) Ukraine UL (Underwriters Laboratory) ULSD (ultra low sulfur diesel) Ultra Low Sulfur Fuel Oil (ULSFO) underground storage tanks (UST) UNESCO United Arab Emirates (UAE) United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) United Nations (UN) United States Auto Club Unleaded 88/E15 uranium urbanization urban sprawl Uruguay USAC US Agency for International Development (USAID) USAID US Army USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) used cooking oil (UCO) used railroad ties US ethanol exports US Geological Survey US Product Safety Commission Utah utility model Uzbekistan value chain vanadium Vancouver Vanuatu Vatican VEETC vegetable oils vehicles miles traveled (VMT) Velocys Venezuela Vermont Victoria video Vietnam vinasse vinegar vineyard waste Virginia Virgin Islands. virgin oils viruses VLSFO (very low sulfur fuel oil) volunteers w waiver Wales warranty 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