Archived News

Queensland, Australia Proves it is “All In” When it Comes to the Global Biofuels Industry

4 April 2016 – Queensland has green-lighted a new $16 million advanced biofuels pilot plant to be built at the Southern Oil Refining’s Yarwun Plant in Gladstone, Australia. This announcement builds on the momentum of Queenland’s recent declaration of an ethanol and biodiesel road transport mandate starting January 2017.

Why is this important to the deployment of alternative jet fuel?

The plant, which if successful will be expanded into a $150 million commercial-scale refinery capable of producing 200 million liters of advanced biofuel annually, solidifies Queensland’s stake in the renewable fuel future of the United States and Australian Navy. Over the next three years, the plant aims to produce over a million liters of biofuel from waste lube oil and biomass for use in U.S. Navy Great Green Fleet and Australian Navy field trials. The construction of the plant will diversify the Queensland economy and create jobs while ensuring Australian biofuels’ place in the future global fuel supply chain. Dr. Susan Pond, School of Engineering and Information Technologies at the University of Sydney, noted that, “Australia has the opportunity to be a leader in biofuel production. We have world-class and diverse agricultural production systems that already produce the requisite feedstocks. We have world-class capabilities in science, technology, engineering.”

How is CAAFI involved?

In January 2016, the CAAFI Qualification team and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the agency funding the project, discussed the plant’s biofuel production pathways and feedstocks. The plant will convert native Australian biomass into biocrude that will be distilled into kerosene and diesel through hydrothermal liquefaction. The production technology source has not been released. As an initial step toward commercialization, CAAFI and ARENA will participate in the June meeting of the ASTM Subcommittee on Emerging Turbine Fuels. CAAFI also works closely with the Australian Initiative for Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel. Find additional information here.

SkyNRG, Embraer, and KLM Announce Launch of Sustainable Flights Series

2 April 2016 – On March 31, 2016, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in cooperation with SkyNRG, and Embraer launched a series of close to 80 sustainable jet fuel powered Embraer 190 flights, which will travel from Oslo, Norway to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Each flight will use alternative jet fuel derived from Roundtable for Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB)-certified Camelina oil, produced by Neste, and provided by Air BP and SkyNRG. Additionally, the flights will be fueled using Oslo Airport’s very own hydrant system, a practice that in January 2016 made Oslo Airport the first airport to do so.

In order for KLM to objectively analyze the efficiency and engine performance of alternative versus conventional jet fuel, Embraer will dispense the fuels via two separate fuel trucks. This tactic allows Embraer to accurately benchmark fuel efficiency differences between the two fuels. In support of the initiative, CEO of SkyNRG, Maarten van Dijk, noted that “the price gap between sustainable and fossil jet fuel remains the biggest challenge to create a stable market for sustainable jet fuel. Therefore engagement of all stakeholders, including governments, industry, and end-customers, is crucial.”

To receive more information about SkyNRG, visit

United Airlines Integrates Sustainable Aviation Biofuels into Regularly Scheduled Flights

19 March 2016 – United Airlines has become the first U.S. airline to use commercial-scale volumes of sustainable aviation biofuel for regularly scheduled flights. On March 11th, 2016, the first of the commercial flights occurred with United Airlines Flight 708 departing Los Angeles International Airport.

Over a three-year period, United will purchase up to 15M gallons of sustainable biofuel from AltAir Paramount. AltAir’s sustainable biofuels are created from converting non-edible, natural oils and agricultural wastes into jet fuel. In celebration of this milestone, United is operating all flights from Los Angeles to San Francisco for the next two weeks with 30% sustainable biofuel. United eventually plans to use renewable alternative jet fuel for all flights departing from LAX.

This is not the first of United’s biofuel milestones. In 2009, United became the first U.S. carrier to perform a biofuel demonstration. In 2011, United then became the first U.S. carrier to operate a commercial advanced biofuel flight.

For more information about United’s agreement and operations, see the news release here.

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia Searching for Biofuel Partnership

19 March 2016 – Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia announced the release of a request for information (RFI) to the aviation biofuel sector in search of a locally-produced aviation biofuel partnership.

Virgin Australia’s Head of Sustainability Robert Wood noted that although aviation biofuel development is growing internationally, it is not as prevalent in their region. However, Wood is confident that the introduction of sustainable biofuels in the region will lead to economic growth with creation of high-tech, high-skilled jobs. Chief Flight Operations & Safety Officer of Air New Zealand David Morgan said the RFI is a component of the airline’s carbon management program. RFI respondents are encouraged to address the principles of environmental, social, and economic benefits. The RFI will be accepting submissions of interest until May 30th, 2016.

More information about the release can be found in the Air NZ press release here.

For more information, contact:

Air New Zealand Communications
P: +64 21 747 320

Virgin Australia Public Affairs
P: 1800 142 467 or +61 7 3333 9666

US DOE Small Business Vouchers Pilot Receives $1.9M in BETO Support; Round 2 Funding to open in mid-March

14 March 2016 – The Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) allocated $1.9M for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Small Business Vouchers (SBV) Pilot. The purpose of the SBV Pilot is to promote small businesses’ ability to bring clean energy technologies into the market more efficiently through access to expertise and DOE national laboratories.

BETO continues to award vouchers to projects focused on promoting commercialization of renewable biomass resources into high-performance biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower. Other areas of study BETO finances are: Algal Feedstocks Research and Development (R&D), Analysis and Sustainability, Conversion R&D, and Terrestrial Feedstock Logistics R&D.

During Round 1 (September 2015–January 2016), BETO awarded vouchers to two companies focused in the area of Conversion R&D: Visolis, Inc. and Lygos. Round 2 is expected to open in mid-March, in which DOE will award up to two additional opportunities to request assistance through the SBV program this calendar year.

For more information on the projects and funding opportunities, the news release can be found here.

Tom Richard (PSU) Presented “Aviation Biofuels and the Chesapeake Watershed” for CAAFI R&D Team SOAP-Jet Webinar Series

1 March 2016—On February 26, 2016, Tom Richard (Penn State University) presented on “Aviation Biofuels and the Chesapeake Watershed: Coupling Sustainable Energy with Sustainable Agriculture” as part of the third CAAFI R&D Team SOAP-Jet webinar series focusing on regional perspectives of alternative jet fuel development and deployment. The series concentrates on current activities, approaches to supply chain integration, and regional challenges.

There is a growing recognition that biofuels provide a key to aviation’s future in a world committed to decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. But biofuels can also unlock new patterns of sustainable landscapes, reducing the water quality impacts of agriculture while at the same time improving farm profitability and creating a more robust and resilient rural economy. The Chesapeake Watershed provides a testbed for a new paradigm: using big data analytics and quantitative modeling of economic and environmental processes to design more sustainable agricultural and energy systems. These systems can integrate perennial grasses and winter energy crops to supply year-round biomass feedstocks for efficient supply chains, and monetize the benefits of improved water quality and other ecosystem services to incentivize production and reduce feedstock costs. By leveraging these synergies through integrated design, the Chesapeake region can provide a model for the next generation of sustainable aviation.

The entire slide deck from the presentation can be seen and downloaded here.

BRDB Targets 30% Penetration of Biomass Carbon in US Transport by 2030

23 Feb 2016 – The Biomass Research and Development Board released a report at the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference in Washington D.C. last week that recommended targeting 30% penetration of biomass carbon into the U.S. transportation market by 2030 to rapidly expand the emerging biofuels and bioproducts industries.

The report was developed to convey the significant impact of a strong bioeconomy in the U.S. from use of biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower. The report’s purpose is to “educate the public on the wide-ranging, federally funded activities that are helping to bolster the bioeconomy.”

The report can downloaded here.

DOE Requests Information on Pilot/Process Development Units from Biofuel/Bioproduct Experts

12 Feb 2016 – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released a request for information (RFI) aimed toward industry, academia, national laboratories, and stakeholders in the biofuels/bioproducts field to identify existing pilot- or process development-scale facilities with the capacity to perform process verifications for biomass conversion pathways to biofuels, bioproducts, or intermediates that incorporate multiple unit operations.

The purpose of the RFI is to produce a list of locations for the facilities purposed for biofuels/biobased products, chemical, and intermediates (e.g., synthesis gas, cellulosic sugars, bio-oil, hydrogen, biogas, and methane) at or greater than scale of producing 0.5 tons of dry biomass input per day. With these results, the DOE plans to assess site capabilities to perform process verifications and determine the gaps in capabilities.

Categories of the RFI include:

1. Technology Pathway
2. Unit Operations
3. Integration
4. Accessibility
5. Analytical Capabilities and Staff
6. Permits

The request is solely intended for information and not a funding opportunity announcement. The full RFI can be read on the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Exchange site here.

CAAFI Leadership and Partners Make 2016 Top 100 People in Advanced Bioeconomy List

11 Feb 2016 – Congratulations to several CAAFI leadership team members and CAAFI partners who were recently voted into the Biofuel Digest’s Top 100 People in the Advanced Bioeconomy for 2016! The list is annually populated based upon votes by readers and the editorial board of the Digest.

Congratulations again to CAAFI leads and collaborators below!

Steve Csonka, CAAFI Executive Director
Rich Altman, CAAFI Executive Director Emeritus
Nancy Young, A4A, CAAFI Environment Team Co-lead
Harry Baumes, USDA
Todd Campbell, USDA
Chris Cassidy, USDA
Chris Tindal, US Navy
Wally Tyner, Purdue
Michael Wang, Argonne National Lab

To see the full 2016 list, see The Digest here .

DOE Announces $11.3M Available for “Mega-Bio” Program to Develop Flexible Biomass Conversion Pathways to Biofuels

10 Feb 2016 – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $11.3M available in funding for development of biomass-to-hydrocarbon biofuels conversion pathways that can be modified, depending on market or other conditions, to produce advanced fuels, such as jet fuel, and/or other products.

The Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) is focusing on renewable hydrocarbon fuels with a target of $3/gallon gasoline equivalent by 2022. To achieve this, BETO is evaluating processes that can leverage revenue from bioproducts to enable cost-competitive biofuel production. The purpose of this research funding is to identify pathways that can provide a realistic approach to producing cost-competitive renewable hydrocarbon biofuels. Applications are being accepted in two topic areas: 1) single unit operation of early Technology Readiness Level pathways and 2) multiple unit operations of intermediate Technology Readiness Level pathways.

Applicants must include clear justification for producing the target molecule(s) from biomass, a compelling narrative explaining how the target product(s) will enable biofuels, and supporting techno-economic analysis and life-cycle analysis.

Concept paper submissions are due 5PM EST on February 26, 2016. Full applications are due 5PM EST on April 15, 2016. An informational webinar for applicants will take place at 3PM EST on February 16, 2016. A recording of the webinar will be posted on the EERE Exchange. More information is available on the news release here.

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