Inside January 2007

Features

Conversation and Collaboration

BY Holly JessenThe ethanol industry is poised to take a giant leap, as techniques to commercialize cellulosic production methods move closer to becoming a reality. But the old saying, "Look before you leap," was one of the messages that came out of two recent conferences focused specifically on the developing cellulosic ethanol industry. Challenges, such as securing project financing, manufacturing cheaper enzymes, producing more flexible-fuel vehicles, and developing the blending and pumping infrastructure for renewable fuels, still loom large, leaving plenty of opportunities for more dialogue and collaboration. READ MORE

The Great Biomass Inquisition

BY Ron KotrbaMassive efforts are underway to optimize techniques designed for processing biomass. But even a perfectly efficient conversion doesn't mean much if the materials can't be delivered cost-effectively and in large quantities to a refinery. READ MORE

The Discoverer's Game

BY Nicholas ZemanThe world of enzyme technology is filled with explorers scouring the ends of the Earth for new strains of fungi. In the wake of new discoveries is a world of intellectual property intrigue and business maneuvering that has leading enzyme producers—Genencor, Novozymes and Dyadic—aligning with different partners in a race to build the first industrial cellulosic biorefinery. READ MORE

Riding the IPO Wave

BY Nicholas ZemanMany ethanol companies are successfully attracting investors now, which was still a considerable challenge a year ago. Discovering another financial option, a handful of ethanol producers and future producers filed initial public offerings in 2006, and in the beginning, many were riding high. Although share prices have cooled considerably since last summer when ethanol prices were being shored up by $75 a barrel crude oil prices, some market analysts say that volatility is to be expected in a business that's still in its infancy. READ MORE

Recipe for Success

BY Lindsey IrwinPassion, patience and persistence have paid off for BlueFire Ethanol as the company prepares to launch its first U.S. cellulosic ethanol production facility using technology that's been proven in the Japanese market. The company intends to build on its success by erecting cellulosic ethanol plants within Waste Management landfill sites across the United States. The road to this point has been long and tumultuous but BlueFire Ethanol has vowed not to let up until it reaches the finish line. READ MORE

Heavyweights Enter the Ring

BY Ron KotrbaSome heavy hitters have been tapped to join the research efforts to commercialize cellulosic ethanol production. Ethanol producers hope that matchups with companies such as DuPont or Chevron will give them the added punch they need. READ MORE

Ethanol from U.S. Sugar Feedstocks: A Sweet or Sour Deal?

BY Ron KotrbaThere has been a resurgence of domestic interest in whether or not U.S. feedstocks customarily used to refine sugar—sugarcane and sugar beets—would make good candidates as ethanol feedstocks, as well. EPM takes a detailed look at the U.S. sugar market to see if it's economically feasible. READ MORE

First to Be the First

BY Holly JessenAfter decades of research and development ifocused on using enzymes to break down fiber, Iogen Corp. is poised to build what could be the industry's first industrial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant. The Canadian-based company has operated a 1 MMgy demonstration facility since the spring of 2004, and says it's now ready to begin building a commercial-scale plant sometime in 2007. READ MORE

Aggressive Comfort

BY Nicholas ZemanHaving been credited with backing the construction of the ethanol industry's first generation of plants, executives with Denver's CoBank talk with EPM about funding such a rapidly growing and changing industry. As far as cellulosic ethanol projects are concerned, it's not a matter of if the institution will finance them, but when. READ MORE

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