Archived News

Shell Signs Agreement with SBI BioEnergy for Carbon Negative Drop-In Biofuel Technology

20 July 2017—Shell and SBI BioEnergy have signed a contract giving Shell exclusive development and licensing rights to SBI BioEnergy’s patented carbon negative drop-in biofuel. This technology, a continuous catalytic process called PICFTR or “Process Intensifying Continuous Flow-Through Reaction,” can convert a range of lipid feedstocks into renewable drop-in gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

The two companies will collaborate to demonstrate the potential of SBI’s technology, and plan to scale up for commercial production by the end of the decade. Demonstration will occur at SBI’s new drop-in renewable diesel and jet fuel facility in Edmonton, Alberta. See the SBI BioEnergy press release and Biofuels Digest article for more information about the demonstration, licensing agreement, and the new technology.

ChemCatBio Offering Funding for Catalyst and Related Technology Development for Biofuels

18 July 2017—The Chemical Catalysis for Bioenergy (ChemCatBio) consortium is offering funding assistance to industry partners developing catalysts and related technologies to improve the commercialization of biofuels and chemicals by leveraging the resources available at the U.S. Department of Energy National Labs. Proposals should identify how leveraging these provided capabilities will overcome a technical challenge, and are due at 5 p.m. on Friday, August 11, 2017. Up to $1 million will be awarded per project with a maximum of three years duration. For more information visit the ChemCatBio website.

DOE Awards $40 Million for Advancement of Bioenergy Research

17 July 2017—The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the allocation of $40 million in awards to DOE Bioenergy Research Centers (BRCs) to advance the development of bioproducts and bioenergy. The four selected centers include the Great Lakes BRC (U. of Wisconsin – Madison and Michigan State U.), the Center for Bioenergy Innovation (Oak Ridge National Lab), the Joint BioEnergy Institute (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab), and the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). The Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation is new, whereas the other three received previous funding under the program. This funding has supported research exploring feedstock deconstruction methods, plant feedstock reengineering, efficient fuel production through microbe engineering, and exploration of sustainable agricultural processes. With the grant, the BRCs will broaden this focus from biofuels to include bio-based product development. For more information on award specifics and the BRCs, click here.

CAAFI R&D and Sustainability Teams Host SOAP-Jet Webinar: Industrial Ecology Frameworks for Sustainable Aviation Fuel Development

26 June 2017—Seminars On Alternatives to Petroleum (SOAP)-Jet webinars are intended to provide a forum for members of the sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF) community to discuss progress, gaps, and challenges, while sharing lessons learned, methodologies, and strategies to promote communication amongst stakeholders and to enable further commercialization of SAJF.

The latest CAAFI SOAP-Jet Webinar, titled “Industrial Ecology Frameworks for Sustainable Aviation Fuel Development,” took place on June 16th. Industrial Ecology is a systems-based, multidisciplinary approach to understanding the design and emergent properties of human industrial activities. It seeks to transition the industry from linear, single-pass, waste-generating supply chains that convert inputs to products towards more closed-loop, circular-economy systems in which wastes become inputs, and resources and facilities are shared. This webinar provided an overview of Industrial Ecology and its specific application to the design of systems for SAJF technologies deployment. Dr. Valerie Thomas of Georgia Tech provided an introduction discussing the theme and utility of Industrial Ecology, while Dr. Laurel Harmon of Lanzatech provided illustrative examples of her company’s efforts to develop the circular economy. The webinar also featured a facilitated discussion on how this framework addresses several challenges to commercialize SAJF.

To view the presentation click here.

DLR/Lufthansa release high blend-level AJF study

16 June 2017—The German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Lufthansa Technik have produced a study on the performance and fit-for-purpose testing of high blend alternative jet fuels (AJF). Fuels from six different pathways were analyzed, including coal-to-liquid (CTL) from Sasol, hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) from UOP, synthetic isoparaffinic kerosene (SIP) from Amyris, isobutanol-based alcohol-to-jet synthetic paraffinic kerosene (ATJ-SPK) from Gevo, ATJ-synthetic kerosene with aromatics (SKA) from Swedish Biofuels, and catalytic hydrothermolysis (CH) fuel from ARA. Testing was performed on a disconnected aero-engine as a part of a special testing rig provided by Lufthansa Technik. This study found that CH fuel, which includes aromatics, performed similarly to conventional kerosene with regard to elastomer seal swell, unlike aromatic-free AJF. The study also showed that complete synthetic jet fuel with aromatics, such as CH, shows no change in particulate or other emissions relative to petroleum-based fuel, whereas AJF without aromatics shows a reduction in particulates. The team identifies this tradeoff of seal swell versus emissions as one that the aviation sector can now explicitly optimize with alternative jet fuels, rather than being constrained to dealing with the level of aromatics in petroleum-based fuels. Currently, high blend level SAJF has not been certified by ASTM, but researchers at DLR are excited about prospects to reduce the carbon footprint by diverting from traditional fossil fuels.

To read more, here is the full report.

BRDI Funding Opportunity Announced for Biofuels Development

9 June 2017—In a large-scale effort to decrease U.S. dependence on foreign energy resources, the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and DOE have announced the provision of $9 million in funding for biomass-based projects through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI). A joint NIFA and DOE program, BRDI will solicit proposals from interested for-profit entities, universities, nonprofits, and national laboratories who address areas of feedstocks development, biofuels and bio-based products development, and biofuels development analysis. DOE and NIFA initiated the fund to advance the economic and environmental sustainability of biofuels to increase their availability and diversify the nation’s energy portfolio. For FY 2017, DOE will fund up to 6 awards, while NIFA expects to fund up to 14 awards, each ranging from $500,000 to $2 million.

Concept papers are due by July 7th, 2017, and full applications are due by September 22nd, 2017.

For more information about the application process and for the full article, click here.

AltAir Fuels and SkyNRG expand supply of SAJF to commercial aviation in the U.S. and Sweden

23 May 2017—Sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF) is receiving a lot of publicity in May. On May 3, Singapore Airlines celebrated its 70th anniversary with its first flight operated on SAJF. The flight from San Francisco to Singapore kicks off a three-month-long, 12-flight period during which the Airbus A350-900 will run entirely on the blend of SAJF and standard jet fuel. The fuel is made from used cooking oil and is produced by AltAir fuels, the world’s first commercial renewable fuel refinery. SkyNRG supplied the fuel and co-funded the premium. China Aviation Oil (CAO) and EPIC Fuels (also jet fuel providers) worked in close cooperation with SkyNRG. Read more about this venture here.

May 18 also saw SAJF market progression when Sweden’s largest airport operator, Swedavia, received its first batch of SAJF. The fuel was produced by AltAir Fuels and supplied by SkyNRG and Air BP, and will be used in 2017 at the Gothenburg Airport in Sweden. Swedavia facilitated the process of bringing this SAJF to market with the help of the Fly Green Fund, an initiative founded by SkyNRG, EFS, KLM, SAS, and BRA that reduces the upfront premiums associated with entering the SAJF market. It is able to do this by creating demand and supporting local feedstock producers. Read more from the original article here.

CAAFI’s Business Team SOAP-Jet Webinar: The Latest De-Risking Techniques for Commercial Scale Project Financing in Bio

23 May 2017 - CAAFI’s Business team hosted a Seminars on Alternatives to Petroleum (SOAP)-Jet Webinar on May 19th. SOAP-Jet webinars are intended to provide a forum for members of the alternative jet fuel community to discuss progress and related gaps and challenges, share lessons learned, methodologies, and strategies in order to promote communication among stakeholders and enable commercialization of Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel (SAJF). John May (Stern Brothers & Co.) and Tom Dickson (New Energy Risk) presented “The Latest De-risking Techniques for Commercial Scale Project Financing in Bio”. Closing financial investment for commercial SAJF production facilities is a major hurdle for large-scale production and deployment of SAJF. The webinar discussed a number of innovations in project finance created by Stern Brothers &Co. and New Energy Risk as part of their experience in working with bio-fuel and bio-refinery developers, including:
• tax-exempt bonds
• loan guarantees
• bonds in combination with USDA Loan Guarantee Programs
• technology risk insurance policy
• a finance mechanism that offers funding for a series of projects in a single transaction

The webinar was attended by more than 50 CAAFI members. To view the presentation click here.

John M. May, Managing Director, is Co-Head of the firm’s Renewable Energy Practice, which he founded in 2003. Stern Brothers & Co. (SB), a US investment bank, provides project financing for alternative jet fuel project developers who are seeking to build commercial scale plants globally. Thomas R. Dickson is the CEO of New Energy Risk (NER), a venture-backed managing general underwriter specializing in sourcing, underwriting and structuring performance insurance policies for new and renewable energy technology.

NREL Finds 6 Billion Gallons of SAJF Per Year Could Enter U.S. Market by 2030

27 April 2017 – The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently released the aviation biofuels report, “Potential Avenues for Significant Biofuels Penetration in the U.S. Aviation Market.” The report finds that it is possible to displace 30 percent of projected domestic jet fuel demand with biofuels by 2030. This equates to approximately 6 billion gallons of the 2015 domestic U.S. jet fuel market. The possibility of this projected quantity entering the supply chain is made possible under aggressive policy, such as a producer tax credit or carbon tax, and/or positive investment scenarios (e.g. loan guarantees and early-stage financial support).

The report states that in cases where there are high levels of incentives and investment in aviation biofuels, there could be up to a 25 percent reduction in overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the aviation sector. This reduction could play a significant role in closing the gap between expected increases in GHG emissions from the growing aviation sector in the coming years and the industry’s commitment to carbon neutral growth starting from 2020.

The full report can be found here.

First Demonstration Flights on 100% Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel in a Saab Gripen Fighter Jet with ARA Readijet® Fuel

11 April 2017 – On March 28th, Saab Group completed the first demonstration flights using 100% sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF) in a Gripen single engine (GKN RM12) fighter jet. Conducted in Linkoping, Sweden, the flights went perfectly according to plan, proving that 100% SAJF can replace conventional jet fuel in a Gripen engine with no noticeable differences in performance. Saab used a rapeseed oil-based SAJF called Readijet® or CHCJ-5 produced by Applied Research Associates (ARA) using catalytic hydrothermolysis for its Gripen test flights that did not require any engine modifications for use. These flights were a crucial step in demonstrating the potential of 100% SAJF for use in military aerospace, a practice that will work to reduce the carbon footprint of the aviation industry. A similar test flight was performed by the U.S. Navy in November 2016.

ARA and its partners are working with CAAFI to achieve ASTM qualification for their SAJF process.

For more information, refer to the Saab news story.

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