Archived News



UN FAO Director General Comments on the Biofuel versus Food Myth


21 July 2015 – Director-General of the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), Jose Graziano da Silva, recently released an op-ed piece in which he commented that the common concept of food versus fuel is, in actuality, a “false dichotomy.” Rather than a contentious connection, da Silva sees the potential for a mutually beneficial relationship that results in the sustainable production of food and fuel.

Graziano expressed the crux of the issue as “finding the right balance of more fuel, more food, and greater prosperity for all.” Further, he called for the community to focus on reducing poverty and protecting the vulnerable so that we can increase biofuel, food, and prosperity.
The full piece is available on Addis Fortune here.

United Airlines announces a purchase stake in Fulcrum BioEnergy and details a long-term supply agreement for sustainable jet fuel


1 July 2015 - United Airlines today announced an historic $30 million equity investment in U.S.-based alternative fuels developer Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc., a pioneer in the development and commercialization of converting municipal solid waste into low-cost sustainable aviation biofuel. It is also the single largest investment by a U.S. airline in alternative fuels and sets United apart in the aviation industry in the advancement of aviation biofuels and carbon emissions reductions. In addition to the equity investment, United and Fulcrum have entered into an agreement that contemplates the joint development of up to five projects located near United's hubs expected to have the potential to produce up to 180 million gallons of fuel per year. Details can be found here and here.

Boeing Announces the inclusion of renewable fuel use in the ecoDemonstrator 757 testing program


1 July 2015 – Boeing announced the next phase of their ongoing ecoDemonstrator 757 testing of environmental improvement concepts for commercial aviation. The multi-phase ecoDemonstrator program aims to increase testing and use of technologies to improve environmental performance and reduce environmental impact across the airplane’s lifecycle by improving fuel efficiency, cutting carbon emissions, and recycling production materials.

On June 17, the ecoDemonstrator 757 flew from Seattle to Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA using jet fuel comprised of a blend of 95% petroleum-based jet fuel and 5% of a renewable blending component produced by Diamond Green Diesel. Boeing is working with industry partners to pursue within ASTM the approval of an expanded HEFA-SPK definition that will allow for inclusion of molecules from renewable diesel production processes. Diamond Green Diesel produced the blending component from animal fat waste, inedible corn oil, and used cooking oil, and estimates a reduction in lifecycle CO2 emissions up to 80% less from petroleum jet fuel. The eventual approval of this fuel should result in wider availability of renewable jet fuel blends, as well as improving affordability versus petroleum-based Jet-A fuel.

The ecoDemonstrator 787 made the first flights with this "HEFA Plus" blending component in December 2014. Read full Biofuels International article here.

ARPA-E Announces 6 New Bioenergy Crop Projects


1 July 2015 – On June 18, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced $30 million in funding for 6 bioenergy crop development projects as part of their Transportation Energy Resources from Renewable Agriculture (TERRA) programs.

These projects will focus on enhancing several development processes for sorghum, a promising renewable biomass feedstock for transportation fuels. Expected innovations will accelerate the annual yield gains of traditional plant breeding, and support the discovery of new crop traits that improve water productivity and nutrient-use-efficiency needed to improve the sustainability of bioenergy crops. More detail can be found here.

This announcement was part of a news release detailing a larger overall effort for both novel combined-heat-and-power systems as well as biomass development found here.

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. and its fuel supplier, World Fuel Services Inc., ink sustainable jet fuel supply agreement


1 July 2015 — Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. and its fuel supplier, World Fuel Services Inc., recently finalized a three-year agreement that provides Gulfstream with a consistent supply of renewable fuels for its daily flight operations in Savannah.

The jet fuel to be provided will be a 30/70 blend of low-carbon, drop-in renewable fuel (HEFA-SPK) and Jet-A. It provides the same performance as conventional, petroleum-based jet fuel and requires no changes to factory-standard engines or aircraft. Each gallon of renewable fuel burned is expected to achieve a more than 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, relative to petroleum-based jet fuel, on a lifecycle basis. Find more info here.

Clark (BP), Sorena (Chevron), and Lodrigueza (Phillips66) gave a presentation titled “Co-processing of HEFA Feedstocks with Petroleum Hydrocarbons for Jet Production” for CAAFI R&D Team SOAP-Jet Webin


29 June 2015 – On June 19, 2015, Alisdair Clark of BP and Joseph Sorena of Chevron presented on “Co-processing of HEFA Feedstocks with Petroleum Hydrocarbons for Jet Production.” Enrico Lodrigueza of Phillips66 also contributed to the preparation of the material presented. Over 60 CAAFI member attended the webinar/teleconference. The presenters described their organizations’ research efforts to understand the potential for co-hydrotreating and co-hydrocracking of up to 5% of renewable biobased oils with middle distillates in existing refineries. Their research has included simulations and pilot studies for three bio-based oils and compared the resulting fuels to standard jet fuel with regard to ASTM specifications for jet fuel. They invited additional input into the ASTM task-force process.

The presentation can be downloaded here.
This presentation was the third in the SOAP-Jet webinar series on co-processing biofuels within existing biorefinery system and the applicability to aviation fuels.

The previous presentation by Ben Saydah of Sapphire Energy on “Co-Processing of Green Crude in Existing Petroleum Refineries” can be downloaded here.

The previous presentation by John Holladay of Pacific Northwest Research Laboratory on “Refinery Integration of Renewable Feedstocks” can be downloaded here.

Webinar on “Coupling the Electric Power and Transport Sectors” to be hosted by LightWorks and LightSpeed Solutions on June 30, 2015


22 June 2015 - On June 30, 2015, LightWorks and LIghtSpeed Solutions at Arizona State University will host the second webinar in their series on The Future of Sustainable Transportation Fuels. This webinar will focus on "Coupling the Electric Power and Transport Sectors."

The webinar will be moderated by Clark MIller (Associate Director of Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes, ASU) and will include panelists Robyn Beavers (Sr. VP of Innovation, founder of Station A Group at NRG Energy), Dawn Manley (Deputy Program Director, Sandia National Lab), Levi Tilleman (Jeff and Cal Leonard Fellow at New America Foundation), and Marc Melaina (Senior Engineer, National Renewable Energy Lab).

Questions the webinar panelists may consider include:

• Do current policy and business frameworks encourage and harness or impede arbitrage possibilities?
• Is there a need for policy support or will normal market forces suffice?
• Could increasing communication and awareness at the interfaces among stakeholder groups lead to greater responsiveness of the combined sectors?
• Are there more business and technology innovations at the intersection of the stationary power and transportation sectors that might add economic efficiency and accelerate the transition?
• Does envisioned policy actions support or impede such innovations?

Click here for more information or to register for the free webinar.

The remaining webinars in the Future of Sustainable Transportation Fuels cover:
• Webinar 3: Recycling CO2 to Liquid Hydrocarbon Fuels
• Webinar 4: Challenges and Opportunities in Designing Good Metrics to Assess Promise
Check the Security and Sustainability Forum website for registration information on subsequent webinars

USDA Reinstates Biomass Crop Assistance Program for Renewable Energy


11 June 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allocating $11.5 million in federal funds from summer 2015 to December 2015 to provide incentives for farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners interested in growing and harvesting biomass for renewable energy. Through the 2014 Farm Bill, the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) provides funding to maintain crops for energy biomass or to harvest and deliver forest/agricultural residues to a qualifying energy facility. Additionally, the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) will allocate $8 million for produce enrollment to extend and enhance BCAP project areas.

In 2014, over 200,000 tons of dead or diseased trees from National Forests and Bureau of Land Management were used to produce renewable energy while also reducing the risk of forest fire.

The full USDA news release can be read release here.

Alaska Airlines Teams with Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance to Advance Aviation Biofuels


8 June 2015 – Alaska Airlines is collaborating with the Washington State University’s Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) to highlight the use of alternative jet fuel from forest residuals, which would otherwise become waste products, including tree limbs and branches. Alaska Airlines will conduct a demonstration flight using 1,000 gallons of alternative biofuel produced from NARA next year.

Alaska Airlines senior vice president of external relations, Joe Sprague remarked “Sustainable biofuels are a key to aviation’s future and critical in helping the industry and Alaska Airlines reduce its carbon footprint and dependency on fossil fuels.”

NARA includes 22 members of industry, academia, and government, and is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a five-year project.
Read NARA’s press release here.

Boeing and South African Airways Harvest Tobacco for Aviation Biofuel


21 May 2015 – South African farmers will be harvesting newly developed tobacco for use as a potential aviation biofuel source in a project called Solaris. Boeing, SAA, SkyNRG, and Sunchem SA formed a collaboration to launch Project Solaris to develop a nicotine-free tobacco plant for the fuel source. Initially, the tobacco seeds will be used to produce oil for conversion to jet fuel, and ultimately, the biomass in the stems and leaves may see use in cellulosic conversion processes.
Ian Cruickshank, Environmental Affairs Specialists of the SAA Group sees the initiative as providing jobs to thousands of South Africans, energy security to South Africa, and reduction in the carbon footprint from a reduction of carbon dioxide in the transition. If the project is a success for the test farming occurring in Limpopo, South Africa, Project Solaris is expected to expand to other countries in Africa. Read Boeing’s press release on the first harvest of the nicotine-free, energy-rich tobacco plant in South Africa’s Limpopo province here.

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