U.S. ethanol exports maintained their upward trajectory, while a new report thrusts cellulosic biofuels into the spotlight as a future star. Just in time for the weekend, it’s your Think Bioenergy news roundup!

US ethanol exports soared 75% in May while biodiesel slumped

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that U.S. exports of ethanol totaled 119.2 million gallons in May, up 75% from a year ago.

Even though Brazil is harvesting its second crop of corn, Brazil was the top destination for May’s exports, accounting for 54% of the total and followed by Canada at 26%. Using the USDA’s revised figures, ethanol exports were up 23% in the first five months of 2017 from a year ago.

“Thursday’s report was slightly bullish for corn and ethanol prices,” said DTN Analyst Todd Hultman.

U.S. exports of biodiesel didn’t fare as well, totaling 33,725 metric tons in May, down 29% from a year ago. Canada was the dominant destination for those exports, taking 92% of the total. In the first five months of 2017, U.S. biodiesel exports were down 16% from a year ago.

Get more on this story at The Progressive Farmer.

Researchers: cellulosic biofuels could sustainably meet US energy needs

U.S. Department of Energy-funded researchers say that managing three factors could help cellulosic biofuels reach their potential as a sustainable answer to U.S. energy needs.

“The climate benefit of cellulosic biofuels is actually much greater than was originally thought,” says Phil Robertson, lead author on the study.

Cellulosic biofuels are routinely factored into future climate mitigation scenarios because of their potential to both displace petroleum use and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. But this new report published in Science lists principles for managing cellulosic biofuels that would help fully realize this potential.

First, the researchers show how growing native perennial species on land not used for food production avoids competition with food security, and provides the greatest potential for climate mitigation and biodiversity benefits.

Second, crop choice is key, with native perennial species offering superior environmental outcomes to annual crops. Third, nitrogen fertilizer use should be avoided or minimized because of its environmental impacts.

Read more at the Wisconsin Energy Institute.

Geoff Hayward

Communications Writer 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.