Business Briefs

By Erin Voegele | October 20, 2016

The USDA recently named Cletus P. Kurtzman to the Agricultural Research Service Science Hall of Fame. Kurtzman, a research microbiologist at the ARS Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research Unit in Peoria, Illinois, helped pioneer molecular techniques to identify yeast microorganisms. These discoveries enable scientists to accurately predict the biological properties of yeasts. This knowledge led to innovations in converting crop biomass into fuel, in producing biodegradable ingredients for detergents and in food safety, crop production and human and animal health advancements.

Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. has selected Praj Industries Ltd. as its technology partner for the development of second-generation ethanol plants. Indian Oil is currently expected to develop three such facilities in India. In addition to providing the technology and designs for the projects, Praj is also expected to supply machinery to the projects and assist in operations and maintenance.    
Vincent Chornet, CEO of Enerkem Inc., has been named in the 2017 Clean16 awards by Delta Management Group and the Clean50 organization. Canada’s Clean50 Awards recognize 50 individuals from 16 different categories, including clean tech, who have done the most to advance the cause of sustainability and clean capitalism in Canada over the past two years.

Renmatix recently announced a $14 million investment, led by Bill Gates and joined by Total. The investment in commercializing Renmatix’s Plantrose process will help drive toward the first wave of Renmatix licensees building Plantrose-enabled biorefineries in diverse global markets like Canada, India, Malaysia, the U.S. and elsewhere. In parallel, that activity will facilitate further market development in downstream bioproduct applications.

The American Coalition for Ethanol launched a new online tool for gasoline and ethanol retailers in September. The website is an interactive version of ACE’s recently released E15 & Flex Fuel Retailer Roadmap and features an interactive calculator that retailers can use to compare current sales and revenue to results achieved by their peers currently offering higher blends of ethanol. 

Gevo Inc. has announced it has entered into a heads of agreement with Deutsche Lufthansa to supply Gevo’s alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) from its first commercial hydrocarbons facility, intended to be built in Luverne, Minnesota.  The terms of the agreement contemplate Lufthansa purchasing up to 8 million gallons per year of ATJ from Gevo, or up to 40 million gallons over the five-year life of the off-take agreement. The heads of agreement is nonbinding and is subject to completion of a binding off-take agreement and other definitive documentation between Gevo and Lufthansa, expected to be completed in the next few months.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials has announced its re-recognition by the European Commission. The decision was published by the commission on Aug. 9 in the Official Journal of the European Union and is valid for five years. The EU Commission recognizes the “Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials EU RED” for demonstrating compliance with the sustainability criteria under Directives 98/70/EC and 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the council.  

Diesel Dogs Fuel Service has become the first fuel distributor in Minnesota to offer pre-blended E15. The St. Paul-based distributor delivered its first gallons of pre-blended E15 in August to its municipal and corporate fleet customers in the Twin Cities metro area. It will soon offer preblended E15 to retail customers as well.

Propel Fuels has announced the launch of the Propel ProShop, an online store for customers to purchase apparel and accessories. In addition to the ProShop, Propel has launched its Hi-Octane Society (Flex Fuel E85) and Diesel Pro (Renewable Diesel HPR) aficionado clubs, providing unique social forums for customers to share photos, videos and experiences about their use of high-performance, low-carbon fuels.

Enerkem Inc. has obtained certification from the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification system for the biomethanol production of its Enerkem Alberta Biofuels full-scale facility in Edmonton, Canada. This biorefinery becomes the first ISCC certified plant in the world to convert municipal solid waste into biomethanol.  A biomethanol-to-ethanol conversion module is expected to be added to the facility in the second half of 2016.

St1 Nordic Oy’s Norwegian subsidiary, Smart Fuel AS, has signed a letter of intent with Viken Skog SA and its subsidiary Treklyngen Holding AS to construct a Cellunolix ethanol plant in Norway. St1 aims to construct the facility in the industrial area of Follum in Hønefoss, making maximum use of the existing industrial infrastructure and equipment from the former paper-mill area. The planned production capacity of the plant is 50 million liters (13.21 million gallons) of advanced cellulosic bioethanol for transportation, using local forest industry residues as feedstock. The project is expected to reach the investment decision stage in 2018, with plant operations beginning in 2021.