Red Rock Biorefinery Breaks Ground!

On July 18, 2018, I was privileged to deliver a short speech and be an ‘official groundbreaker’ at the Red Rock Biorefinery Groundbreaking in Lakeview, Oregon. For over six years, the tri-agency team from the Departments of Navy, Energy, and Agriculture, with Red Rock Biofuels, has been working through the detailed steps of the Defense Production Act process to get to this stage. It has been a long road for my counterparts and myself, but it was well worth the effort. I could not have been prouder to have a shovel in my hand and turn some dirt!

More than 200 guests, including political dignitaries, corporate representatives, off-takers from Federal Express and Southwest Airlines and a large community contingent witnessed the groundbreaking event of this first-in-the-U.S. commercial scale biorefinery utilizing woody biomass waste as a feedstock. When the plant begins commercial operations in the last quarter of 2019, this $320 million renewable fuel facility will produce 15 million gallons of jet fuel each year.

Over 100 jobs are estimated to be created for the construction, and once fully operational Red Rock will provide around 35 full-time jobs for operations. Additionally, approximately 75 jobs will be created for trucking and materials gathering, utilizing private and public forest lands as well as waste products from regional sawmills and wood products manufacturing sites.

Lakeview Mayor Ray Turner was enthusiastic that this project would bring jobs and, as he jokingly stated, possibly a second grocery store to the small town of barely 2,000 residents.

“This bio-refinery marks a turning point,” said Red Rock Chief Financial Officer Jeff Manternach. “It will help this mill town continue to be a place where things are made, and it will combat global climate change. This is the first of its kind in the world, and you all made it happen. May this be the precedent for a great highway fueled by courage and innovation.”

For more information on the Red Rock groundbreaking event, see Red Rock’s website, this youtube video, and this news article.

- Chris Tindal, Assistant Director of CAAFI

AltAir Fuels Wins another DLA Energy Contract to provide Renewable Diesel to the U.S. Navy

10 September 2018 – Congratulations go out to Bryan Sherbacow and the Team at AltAir Fuels! The company has won another Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Energy contract for the Rocky Mountain West Coast solicitation. The amount of the contract award is for 58 million gallons of a 30% blend of F-76 renewable diesel for the period of 1 October 2018 – 30 September 2019. AltAir Fuels is currently providing 60 million gallons of 30% renewable diesel to the U.S. Navy under the current fiscal year contract which ends on 30 September 2018.

The DLA Energy contract price was for $1.91 per gallon, which is cost competitive with traditional fuel producers. The fuel will be provided to the U.S. Navy’s Third Fleet ships based out of San Diego, California.

AltAir Fuels is also the first commercial sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF) producer in the U.S. and provides a 30% blend of SAJF to Los Angeles Airport under a contract with United Airlines. Currently, AltAir Fuels is in the third year of that three-year contract with United Airlines. weblink to RMWC Award

U.S. Dept. of Energy awards grants to 36 bioenergy research & development projects, including 4 AJF projects

5 Sept 2018 – The U.S. Dept. of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office (EERE) has awarded $80 million in the form of 36 grants for bioenergy research and development. These grants are intended to make progress toward DOE’s goal of reducing bio-based drop-in fuel costs to below $3/gallon by 2022.

CAAFI is pleased to note that a number of the awarded projects focus on alternative jet fuel (AJF) and/or specific technology development with various CAAFI collaborators, as well as on affordable and sustainable feedstocks that will supply the entire bioeconomy sector.

CAAFI greatly appreciates EERE’s ongoing partnership in fostering the development of AJF technologies and related processes.

The DOE Announcement can be found here.

Natural Resources Canada Call for Entrants to “The Sky’s the Limit Challenge” for SAJF producers

24 Aug 2018 – Natural Resource Canada has created two new prize-based competitions for sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF) proponents: a Cross-Canada Flight Competition, and a Green Aviation Fuels Innovation Competition.

The Cross-Canada Flight Competition will award a prize to the first Canadian sustainable aviation fuel producer to supply 2,500 liters of Canadian-made, ASTM-qualified, minimum 10% blend of SAJF to Air Canada and West Jet for a cross-country flight. The producer must be incorporated or registered in Canada. This $1 million CAD prize can be awarded at any time after the criteria are met.

The Green Aviation Fuels Innovation Competition will award a prize for a project that produces at least 10 liters of SAJF with demonstrable innovations in technology, the lowest greenhouse gas emissions, lowest cost, and best potential for scale-up. Competitors must be validly incorporated or registered in Canada, and consortia are encouraged. Applicants who are selected as finalists will be eligible to receive up to $2 million CAD in funding to support competition for the final prize of $5 million CAD.

The deadline for submitting a proposal for the Green Aviation Fuels Innovation Competition is February 2019, with finalists announced May 2019, final prize submission deadline by November 2020, and final price winner announcement by March 31, 2021.

Steve Csonka, CAAFI’s Executive Director commented, “We’ve always enjoyed a great collaborative relationship with our partners to the north (airlines, fuel producers, government, and feedstock developers). Over the last year, CAAFI team members have provided consultation to the Canadian team on this program. We are pleased to see this program move forward, and expect it to be impactful. We hope to see some potential producers in Canada –such as Carbon Engineering, Enerkem, Ensyn, Forge Hydrocarbons, Gasosyn Energies, GreenField Global, NextStep, Parkland Refinery, SBI Bioenergy, and Steeper Energy - explore the use of this Prize program to help them accelerate efforts to commercialize SAJF production.”

Additional information on the Sky is the Limit Challenges can be found here and the FAQ can be found here.

Finnair Study Shows Customers Willing to Pay to Mitigate Impact of Flight Emissions

15 August 2018 – This summer Finnair conducted a study to find out what their customers think about different ways to reduce or offset the emissions resulting from their flights. The study revealed that environmental awareness has increased among their customers and also indicated that a majority of them would be willing to pay to mitigate the negative impacts of their air travel if the added costs could be directly attributed to reducing environmental impacts. Of the 1,200 people surveyed, supporting biofuels and carbon capture efforts were seen as the best alternatives to reducing environmental impacts. As a result, Finnair will offer customers the opportunity to purchase biofuel to be used on a later flight or support a carbon capture project starting in 2019.

Read Finnair’s press release here.

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