Happy New Year! We’re starting off 2017 with a milestone reached by E15 as well as an interesting finding from Hawaiian researchers, whose study has identified two bioenergy crops that store the bulk of their carbon in soil. These stories and more in this year’s first weekly news roundup!

Researchers find two biofuel crops may store most carbon in soil

Two potential biofuel crops — sugarcane and napiergrass — may sequester more carbon in soil than is lost to the atmosphere, according to a new study.

From a climate change perspective, replacing fossil fuel with bioenergy makes sense only if the latter has a smaller greenhouse gas footprint. Sugarcane and napiergrass are promising biofuel crops because they have a large carbon-storing root biomass that could offset carbon-dioxide fluxes occurring during cultivation.

The researchers found that by the end of a two-year study, both crops had successfully sequestered more carbon in the soil than was lost from the soil surface, the largest component of the greenhouse gases in this case. For example, soil in the sugarcane plots had three times as much carbon as was lost to the atmosphere.

The authors suggest that, with proper management, sugarcane and napiergrass biofuel feedstocks could therefore sequester carbon in soil. For more on the study, visit Phys.org.


American drivers surpass 500 million miles on E15

Growth Energy announced that E15, or fuel containing 15% ethanol, has reached a milestone. Based on sales and consumption data reported over the past 12 months by major gasoline retailers, drivers across the United States have more than 500 million miles driven on E15, highlighting the fuel’s performance, safety and value for American consumers.

“Ethanol is already in 97% of the gasoline sold in the United States, so drivers are accustomed to the better value and higher performance of fuel blended with ethanol,” said Emily Skor, Growth Energy CEO.

Growth Energy noted that E15 works for any vehicle 2001 and newer and is the most tested fuel to date. Additionally, automakers approve E15 for use in nearly three-quarters of new cars and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approves its use in nine out of 10 cars on the road today.

For more information, visit Get Ethanol.


Biofuel consumption in Germany to increase in 2017

The “climate protection rate” in Germany is set to rise this year from 3.5 to 4% and the biofuels ubdustry is set to benefit, according to the country’s biofuels trade association Verband der Deutschen Biofuelindustrie (VDB).

This rate increase means that oil companies will have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their fuels by 4% this year. They can accomplish this by, for example, adding biodiesel or bioethanol.

Biodiesel and bioethanol accounted for 5.2% of the German fuel market in 2015.

The move should help Germany get closer to reaching the binding European target of 6% greenhouse gas reduction by 2020. The biofuels industry, though, has stressed that moving directly from 4% up to 6% is just one year would be problematic. Hence, they argue, larger increments should be implemented over the coming years.

For more on this story, visit Biofuels News.

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Geoff Hayward

Communications Advisor at Novozymes
Geoff writes about Bioenergy for the Communications team at Novozymes. When he isn’t advocating for an industry that’s changing the world for the better, he can be found on a North Carolina bike path or playing slide guitar.