Saturday, May 16, 2009

US – Innovation Fuels Sells Biodiesel from Milwaukee Terminal

Innovation Fuels has announced it has begun selling bio-diesel to customers from its Midwestern renewable fuels hub at the Port of Milwaukee terminal, reports.

The 312,000 barrel (45,000 mt) capacity terminal located on ten acres is the first in the country that is totally dedicated for the sale and distribution of renewable fuels.

The US Department of Agriculture Secretary said he is pleased there will be an independent review of an Environmental Protection Agency conclusion that U.S. corn and soy-based bio-fuels do not reduce green house gasses as much as previously believed, Dow Jones reports.

"I think it's very, very important and it's something that we urged from USDA," he said about the review.

The EPA's calculations that most corn-based ethanol only cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 16% and soy-based bio-diesel by about 22%. And that would assure that no ethanol from new production facilities or bio-diesel from any facilities would qualify for government production mandates.

Congress ordered that all ethanol from plants either built or being built as of December 2007 would qualify for the mandates.

There is no such grandfather clause for bio-diesel. New Generation Biofuels Holdings, Inc announced that it has signed a renewable fuel sales contract with Baltimore-based Seaboard Asphalt Products Company ("Seaboard Asphalt"), PR Newswire reports.

In Iowa, Renewable Energy Group will acquire the 30 Mmgy Western Iowa Energy plant at Wall Lake, the 30 Mmgy Central Iowa Energy biodiesel plant at Newton and the 45 Mmgy Blackhawk Biofuels plant in Danville, Illinois, BioFuels Digest reports. The four companies will be consolidated into a new entity, Renewable Energy Group, in a transaction that is expected to close this summer. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Renewable Energy Group management said that the consolidation will allow the consolidated company to compete more effectively as the demand for bio-diesel grows.

Despite the highest inventories of crude oil since before the Great Depression, around 375 million barrels, prices are rising to the puzzlement of the US Energy Information Administration, Biodiesel Magazine reports. “Prices are at $50 or $60 per barrel, when they should be at around $35 per barrel according to the fundamentals of supply and demand,” an EIA source said.

Diesel market trends are following crude oil’s suit. “The trucking industry, which buys more diesel than any other sector, has lost 30% of its business in a single year, and the major areas of diesel demand are also performing poorly,” the EIA said.

ConocoPhillips said it has halted its collaboration with Tyson Foods Inc to make diesel fuel from animal fat, Dow Jones reports. The company said it idled the project in the fall after federal tax credits that helped fund the project were cut in half.

Tyson supplied ConocoPhillips with animal fat from its meat-processing operations, which the energy company processed into bio-fuel at its Borger, Texas, refinery. The company's chief operating officer said production could resume if government incentives are reinstated.

The announcement reinforces the notion that major oil companies - which have been trying to boost their profiles as producers of cleaner fuels - won't hesitate to reduce their bio-fuels initiatives if projects become less profitable amid the economic downturn and changing legislation.

Tyson is still going forward with the construction of a bio-fuels plant near Baton Rouge that is expected to start up in early 2010 and will have a capacity of 75 Mmgy. The project is a joint venture with Syntroleum Corp, but since it doesn't involve "co-processing," it still qualifies for the $1-a-gallon tax credit.

In Minnesota, Honeywell Aerospace said that it will move into a second-phase test of bio-fuels testing this summer by testing bio-fuels in auxiliary power units (APUs) and business jet engines, BioFuels Digest reports.

The company declined to name the business jet involved, but confirmed that algae and jatropha oils will be among those tested.

GreenFuel Technologies, one of the first companies to enter the algae bio-fuels business, is shutting down after running out of money, CNET reports. Investor of Polaris Venture Partners confirmed GreenFuel Technologies' demise, saying that the company is a "victim of the economy." He said investors, who have raised more than $70 million for GreenFuel Technologies since 2001, are exploring ways to sell the company's intellectual property and assets.

Bio Blend Fuels Inc began operating its 2.6 Mmgy bio-diesel plant at a new location in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, using animal fats as its feedstock, Biodiesel Magazine reports. (14 May 2009)

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