December 2007

Issue CoverView Full Print Edition

Business Briefs

Mascoma hires CFO



EERC Update

By Bruce Folkedahl

Editor's Note

By Tom Bryan

NBB In Sight

By Joe Jobe

Talking Point

By Jake Stewart


Scientists have known for nearly a century that certain bacteria can convert organic material into electricity. Only recently though, have microbiologists and engineers worked to exploit this phenomenon in the development of microbial fuel cells for powering environmental monitoring devices and treating wastewater.

The future of wastewater treatment is being designed in Pennsylvania, where the Milton Regional Sewer Authority's plant plans to upgrade its antiquated aerobic water treatment process. The technologies penciled into this design of tomorrow aren't new, but the designers are billing it as the world's first wastewater-to-energy project.

Cuphea produces an oil quite different from other U.S. oilseeds that is high in low- and medium-chain fatty acids.

Taming the Wild Cuphea

By Susanne Retka Schill

Cuphea has been in development as an industrial crop for a number of years. Once the oilseed reaches commercial viability it could replace imported oils and petroleum as a source for capric and lauric acids used in the production of manufacturing surfactants, detergents, lubricants, personal care products and other specialty chemicals.

Kertz demonstrates the microscopy station in the state-of-the-art lab he created to discover and analyze varieties of algae for biomass production.

Biomass in a Tube

By Jerry W. Kram

Biomass will play an increasing role in filling the world's demand for energy and chemicals. Producing enough biomass will take land and lots of it. As Will Rogers said when advising people to buy land, "They ain't making more of the stuff." Harvesting more biomass per acre for food and fuel to feed and run a growing world population is the key, and microscopic algae may be a major player.

Straw gives the composite fence slats strength and a natural, grainy appearance.

Adding Value to Wheat Straw

By Anduin Kirkbride McElroy

Wyoming-based Heartland BioComposites LLC makes composite fencing from wheat straw and recyclable plastic. Though the manufacturing facility is located in an arid region of the country biomass sourcing has been easy.

Alterra Bioenergy Resources Corp. owns a 15 MMgy methyl ester conversion facility in Gordon, Ga.

Divided We Fall

By Ron Kotrba

Those fighting for one renewable fuel may be wasting energy and creating a no-win situation. Representatives from all sides of the renewable diesel issue speak with Biodiesel Magazine about perceptions shaping the future coexistence of alternative diesel fuels.

The Bigger, the Better?

By Jessica Ebert

According to Biodiesel Magazine's plant construction list, 148 biodiesel plants are operating in the United States with an annual capacity of 1.75 billion gallons per year. The plants produce an average 11.8 MMgy. In contrast, the average size of the 28 plants under construction and three existing plants being expanded is 26 MMgy. As feedstock prices rise, will a trend toward bigger plants continue?

Glen Kertz

Feedstock Frenzy

By Susanne Retka Schill and Jerry W. Kram

Jatropha and algae show promise as alternative biodiesel feedstocks because they don't compete with crop acres and are purportedly high yielding. The "gold rush" mentality developing around them raises questions about when and if they will be ready for commercial production.

Jobe spoke about the importance of governmental policy at the National Biodiesel Conference in February.

Industry Pins Hopes on Policy

By Anduin Kirkbride McElroy

In 2007, the biodiesel industry identified policy as the key to industry longevity. After months of lobbying and still no resolution from Congress on the Energy Bill and the Farm Bill, the industry will likely need to maintain its focus on policy.

In 2007, Europe and the United States were the leading biodiesel producers. Heading into 2008, Biodiesel Magazine takes a look at which countries are struggling and which show potential.

Research Reveals New Biofuels Link

By Anduin Kirkbride McElroy

Crude glycerin is a low-value byproduct of the growing biodiesel industry. But one company, Glycos Biotechnologies Inc., sees potential for the product as a feedstock for ethanol production.

U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.

Biofuels on the Hill

By Jessica Sobolik

U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., is part of a growing group in Congress that is interested in and excited about the potential benefits of renewable fuels in the United States. Here, he shares some of his ideas and plans with Biodiesel Magazine.


Weimer, center, discusses tests of a new biobased glue with chemist Chuck Frihart, left, and technician Brice Dally of the USDA Forest Service's Forest Products Laboratory.

Breaking Down Walls

By Erin K. Peabody

Basic research on plant cell walls promises to boost not only dairy efficiency, but biofuels production as well. USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists may be on the edge of a breakthrough.

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