This week, both the White House and biological engineers have their eyes turned to the industry’s future. At the same time, the USDA is in the field—literally—demonstrating its new bioenergy processing technology. Read on for these stories and more in our weekly bioenergy news roundup.

 

New White House report focuses on alternative jet fuels

A new White House report sets out prioritized federal R&D goals and objectives to address key scientific and technical challenges that inhibit the development, production and use of alternative jet fuels.

 

At present, alternative jet fuels that compete with petroleum fuel on price are not yet produced in volumes sufficient to meet the needs of the aviation industry. This report seeks to map out short-, medium- and long-term paths to producing aviation-grade alternative fuels on the scale required. Get a more in-depth breakdown and analysis of the report at Biofuels Digest.

 

RFA says regulators should investigate RIN market

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has written a letter encouraging U.S. derivatives regulators and the Environmental Protection Agency to investigate whether the Renewable Identification Number credits (RINs) market has been manipulated.

 

Last week, RIN prices neared three-year highs, which the RFA said appeared “contrived” and “driven by something other than basic supply-demand fundamentals.” Read more on this story at Reuters and Argus Media.

 

Researchers turn common gases into fuel

If two teams of U.S. scientists have their way, we won’t need to look far for the building blocks of tomorrow’s bioenergy.

 

At Cornell University, biological engineers have developed a strategy to produce ethanol using a microbe that feeds on carbon monoxide—a common industrial waste gas. At the University of Illinois at Chicago, meanwhile, researchers have created a photosynthetic artificial leaf that creates efficient, inexpensive fuel from CO2. Read more on the breakthroughs at the Cornell University website and at the Christian Science Monitor.

 

Mobile bioenergy processing units get closer to becoming a commercial reality

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers demonstrated a mobile bioenergy processing unit on a Pennsylvania farm recently, moving the technology a step closer to commercial reality.

 

Switchgrass, the feedstock used by the project, is bulky and relatively expensive to ship to a processing plant—the main reason why the USDA is exploring whether it may be more cost-effective to do the first steps of the processing on-farm and then ship out the produced fuel. One mobile unit, the USDA says, could serve several farms within roughly a 30-mile radius. Read more on the technology at Lancaster Farming.

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.