July 2007

Issue CoverView Full Print Edition

Business Briefs

PepsiCo purchases RECs



EERC Update

By Chris J. Zygarlicke

Tom Bryan

Editor's Note

By Tom Bryan

NBB In Sight

By Joe Jobe


Groenewold, director of EERC, told conference attendees that there were a lot of excellent opportunities in the biomass industry, but that a lot of money is being invested in questionable schemes.

Biomass: Opportunities Abound

By Jerry W. Kram and Bryan Sims

If the presenters at Biomass '07 are any indication, the biomass industry is past taking baby steps and is ready to boldly move toward a bright and prosperous future.

Fibrominn LLC recently fired up its 55-megawatt power plant in west central Minnesota and it's one like no other in the United States. Fueled by poultry litter, this plant feeds renewable electricity back to the grid, enhances local economies, and mitigates a few environmental concerns along the way.

Academic entities are also finding auto applications for research projects, such as the natural rubber made from dandelions that is being developed at Ohio State University's OARDC.

All Natural Mobility

By Lindsey Irwin

More biobased materials are working their way into the automobile industry's new designs as consumers increasingly desire "green" features in their vehicles. Everything from the tires and windshields to the interior carpeting and seat foam are becoming biobased rather than petroleum-based.

Left to right, Baskerville and Rhone were instrumental in bringing their companies' joint venture together in Heffley Creek, British Columbia.

Wood Residue-to-Fuel

By Michael Shirek

The lumber industry has transformed the material that used to be swept off the woodshop floors and discarded, from a byproduct to a coproduct. Biomass Magazine takes a look at how Tolko Industries Ltd. and Nexterra Energy Corp. are turning wood residue from a plywood mill into a fuel to help power the milling process.

Although soybean oil stocks are at near-record highs, prices are increasing because the market is reacting to anticipated demand based on the number of biodiesel plants that are set to go on line.

A Hard Row to Hoe

By Jerry W. Kram

Despite near-record soybean stocks, biodiesel producers are being pinched by high feedstock prices while diesel fuel remains relatively affordable. Projected demand from the biodiesel industry is sending the cost of raw materials through the roof.

Recycling for Renewables

By Nicholas Zeman

Rendering is not a topic generally discussed around the dinner table or over cocktails, but the industry is an important component of animal processing, recycling billions of pounds of material that would otherwise have no home. It also has a growing role in supplying low-cost feedstocks for renewable fuels.

Russ Read

Clearly Biodiesel

By Susanne Retka Schill

Sanimax's double distillation technique reportedly produces a super-clean biodiesel. The feedstock-neutral process allows the company to use everything from soy oil to low-cost animal fat and restaurant grease.

As the early wave of small, independent biodiesel producers is eclipsed by a deluge of bigger plants, leaders in the biodiesel industry, insurance companies and other invested parties are working to bring safety concerns-in particular, concerns for the safe handling, transport, and storage of methanol-to the forefront.

Biodiesel is moving into the world of posh consumer sport utility vehicles thanks to diesel engine conversion specialist Jonathan Goodwin. His fuel economy- and horsepower-enhanced vehicles have been featured on MTV's Pimp My Ride, sold on eBay and have now caught the attention of some high-profile figures, including California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Refined from low-cost animal fats through thermal depolymerization, renewable diesel is said to possess superior fuel properties and logistical advantages over methyl esters. Large-scale production of renewable diesel will soon be run by Big Oil, its profitability ensured at least for now by a credit originally intended for biodiesel. These issues have producers lobbying hard to keep the blender's credit in the methyl ester realm.

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