U.S. Department of Energy press release | 15/04/14
Energy Dept Announces $10 Million for Technologies to Produce Advanced Biofuel Products from Biomass
The U.S. Energy Department today announced up to $10 million in funding to advance the production of advanced biofuels, substitutes for petroleum-based feedstocks, and bioproducts made from renewable, non-food-based biomass, such as agricultural residues and woody biomass.
This supports the Department’s efforts to make drop-in biofuels more accessible and affordable, as well as meet the cost target equivalent of $3.00 per gallon of gasoline by 2022.
The Energy Department encourages industry to invest in the production of cost-competitive, advanced biofuels and bioproducts from renewable, abundant biomass.
Advancing and commercializing cost-competitive biofuels will help the Department work toward its goal of reducing current petroleum consumption in the United States by approximately 30%, and, in turn, enhance U.S. national security and reduce carbon emissions.
The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.
Learn more about EERE‘s work with industry, academia, and national laboratory partners on a balanced portfolio of research in biomass feedstocks and conversion technologies.
Lockheed Martin Goes ‘Green’ – Says ‘Bye’ to Fossil Fuels | 05/12/2013
by Tina Casey
When a major defense contractor like Lockheed Martin lays down some heavy stakes in the green energy field, you know it’s only a matter of time before fossil fuels lose their headlock on the global energy market
Lockheed recently teamed up with the green energy innovator Concord Blue Energy to take that company’s waste-to-energy technology global, and here’s where it gets really interesting: Concord Blue has just announced a new agreement to integrate its technology with the firm LanzaTech, which specializes in capturing carbon-loaded waste gas from industrial operations and converting it to high-value products.
Concord Blue Meets LanzaTech
Concord Blue Energy is a new name to CleanTechnica, so before we get to the Lockheed Martin stuff here’s a quick recap from Concord’s website:
Concord Blue has developed a closed-loop, commercially proven, non-incineration process that recycles nearly any form of waste, including landfill waste and sewage sludge, into energy at virtually any scale.
By non-incineration they mean gasification, which leads us straight to the mashup between Concord Blue and LanzaTech. In 2009 we noticed that LanzaTech had developed a microbe that munches down on the carbon monoxide from steel mill waste gas, and converts it to pure ethanol.
That seemed cool enough but the company one-upped itself just one year later, by tweaking the system to produce 2,3 Butanediol from waste gas. This substance is a precursor to other chemicals that are building blocks for manufacturing plastics, textiles, rubber and any number of other synthetic materials.
Fast forward to October 2013, and we find that LanzaTech has received a $4 million grant from the Department of Energy’s high tech ARPA-E program, with the aim of integrating its technology beyond industrial mills and into other carbon-emitting sites.
LanzaTech has wasted no time putting the grant into action, as the new agreement with Concord Blue demonstrates. It covers LanzaTech’s Freedom Pines facility in Soperton, Georgia (for all you Walking Dead fans out there, that’s only a couple of hours drive from Atlanta).
The project involves the integration of a Concord Blue “Reformer” waste-to-energy unit at Freedom Pines, which will pull in waste biomass from the region’s forestry industries. LanzaTech’s part will be to convert waste gas from the process into biofuels and chemicals.
The goal is to steer waste away from landfills and old school incinerators, and bump the waste recovery chain into generating higher-value byproducts, which will make the whole operation a commercially viable, attractive investment for companies around the world.
One thing to note about Concord Blue is the scalability of its system, which raises the potential for small companies to take advantage of the resource recovery opportunity, in addition to major companies.
Lockheed Martin And Green Energy
Now let’s take a look at how Lockheed Martin plays into all this. This past October, Lockheed announced an agreement with Concord Blue to take the company’s gasification process into global markets. Basically, the agreement will leverage Lockheed’s global experience in engineering, program management, procurement, manufacturing and integration.
The new agreement supports Lockheed’s rebranding of itself as a climate-aware company, expressed thusly:
Today, Lockheed Martin is partnering with customers and investing talent in clean, secure, and smart energy – enabling global security, a strong economic future, and climate protection for future generations.
We’ve spent plenty of time on these pages detailing the US Defense Department’s urgent climate change messaging, so it should be no surprise that its major contractors are at least paying lip service to the notion — I know, still strange in some quarters — that human activity has tipped the planet’s delicate carbon balance in a dangerous direction.
With that in mind, it’s worth noting that Lockheed’s other recent ventures into clean energy include an ocean thermal energy conversion project in partnership with the US Navy as well as a wave power project in Australia that hooks it up with another clean tech innovator that has Defense ties, US-based Ocean Power Technologies.
Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.
Global Biofuels Market to Double to $185.3 Billion by 2021 – report | 17/11/2013
by Silvio Marcacci
A new report from Pike Research predicts the global biofuels market will double over the next decade, from $82.7 billion in 2011 to $185.3 billion in 2021
Even with this rapid growth, however, significant hurdles remain and could prevent the industry from meeting government mandates.
The new report, Biofuels Markets and Technologies, estimates steady growth though 2016 but rapid production increases between 2017 and 2021 as a result of higher oil prices, emerging mandates, new feedstock availability, and advanced technologies.
Total global biofuel production is projected to reach 65.7 billion gallons per year (BGPY) by 2021, and ethanol is expected to maintain its dominance over the industry, with nearly 50 BGPY compared to biodiesel’s 16.2 BGPY.
Several key markets are driving industry growth. Blending mandates now exist in at least 38 countries and 29 states or provinces around the world.
The United States, Brazil, and European Union are the three largest markets, and represented 85 percent of global production in 2010. North America led the world in biofuel production with 48 percent of the global market, while the EU accounted for 49 percent of global biodiesel production.
Even with this rapid growth, the industry still may not meet total market needs by 2021. Production volumes are expected to fall short of the estimated 71.8 BGPY biofuels market demand because of a lack of access to inexpensive feedstocks and difficulty obtaining financing.
This failure to meet demand may be more of a reflection on the immense global transportation fuel market than the validity of biofuel technology.
Pike Research estimates that by 2021 the global gasoline market will reach 375 BGPY, the global diesel ground transportation market will hit 427 BGPY, and aviation and marine fuel demand could add 200 BGPY to the global market.
Even if the biofuels industry does double current production levels, which hit 29.4 BGPY in 2011, they would still only represent seven percent of the total transportation fuel market.
The technological maturation of 1st generation biofuel sources (such as corn, sugarcane, rapeseed and soy), combined with a 2nd generation of fuel sources could increase production estimates even further.
“The emergence of advanced conversion pathways and non-food feedstocks could unlock considerable production potential throughout the world,” says the report.
According to Pike, the combination of maturing investments, growing demand, and industry consolidation mean a bullish future for biofuels.
“Given the scale of development to date and the crystallization of interests… widespread biofuels commercialization is no longer a question of if, but when.”