Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
Does that headline grab you? If not, these numbers should:
$600 million: the amount Exxon has pledged to invest in a partnership with Synthetic Genomics
$10 million: the amount BP has invested in Martek Biosciences
25 percent: the percentage of gasoline that will be replaced by biofuels by 2030, according to BP
36 billion gallons: biofuels to be produced in the United States by 2022, as mandated by the U.S. Renewable Fuels Standard.
If that has not grabbed your attention yet, consider that in January of this year, Continental Airlines completed a test flight using a biofuel mixture, which included fuel derived from algae. The test flight yielded a 1.1 percent increase in fuel efficiency compared to a jet engine using traditional jet fuel.
That isn’t exactly a great leap forward, but achieving incremental increases in fuel efficiency coupled with the latest engine technology, as well as use of new materials in aircraft production, such as the Boeing 787, could signal a dynamic shift for the airline industry. (more…)
Tuesday, October 6th, 2009
Article appearing courtesy of Yale Environment 360.
The European Union will unveil a proposal this week calling for $73 billion (50 billion euros) in research over the next decade into improving wind, solar, and nuclear power technologies, as well as the development of carbon capture and sequestration projects and energy-efficient “Smart Cities.”
The report, prepared by the European Union’s executive body, the European Commission, says the surge in investment is necessary if Europe hopes to meet its goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
Friday, October 2nd, 2009
Biofuels offer a unique opportunity for the developing world. Almost 80 percent of the remaining land that has cultivation potential resides in South America and Africa, according to research supported by the United Nations.
However, without a standard method for determining the impact of biofuels on the environment, international bodies like the U.N. will tread carefully when discussing the role of bioenergy in mitigating the effects of climate change, despite the potential economic benefits for the developing world.
The future of bioenergy from algae and bioengineered feedstocks is an exciting and promising opportunity for life science to take a larger role in sustaining our energy needs.
Tuesday, September 15th, 2009
Iraqi officials have endorsed a plan to convert dates into biofuel, an innovative project they hope will boost a once-thriving agriculture economy burdened by years of drought, government sanctions and war.
A United Arab Emirates-based company will produce bioethanol from the dates that farmers can no longer use because they are rotting, said Faroun Ahmed Hussein, head of Iraq’s date palm board.
The nation produces about 350,000 tons of dates annually, but consumes only about 150,000 tons.
Wednesday, September 9th, 2009
By Jonathan Williams
During this past summer, the world has seen multiple advances in the alternative energy field, particularly with algae biofuels. A week hasn’t gone by where I didn’t receive several press releases in my inbox highlighting the latest advances by one of the many algae companies out there.
However, while press releases look and sound good, nothing highlights the advances of a company, if not the entire field, than the announcement of a multi-million dollar partnership with a larger, well-known, and respected entity.
During this summer we saw just that, with multiple algae companies announcing their partnerships with larger corporations or entities.
To give you a brief overview on these partnerships, first came Algenol with their partnership with Dow Chemical researching algae as an ethanol fuel source. Next came Seambiotic with their announcement that they will be partnering with NASA to develop a jet fuel from algae. Most recently, and probably most importantly, was Exxon Mobil’s $600 million partnership with Synthetic Genomics to conduct extensive research on algae biofuels.
Monday, August 10th, 2009
Biofuels – made from algae and non-food plants – are emerging as a potentially viable alternative to conventional jet fuels. Although big challenges remain, the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions could be major.
Earlier this year, a Continental jet accelerated down the runway at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. Nothing out of the ordinary for Capt. Rich Jankowski, who countless times in his 38-year career had eased such two-engine Boeing 737-800s into the sky. Except on this experimental flight, one of the engines Jankowski relied on was burning fuel derived from microscopic algae to push the 45-ton aircraft into the air and keep it aloft — a first in aviation history.
Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
Seambiotic, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based leader in the development and production of marine microalgae for the nutraceutical and biofuel industries, announced today that its US subsidiary, Seambiotic USA, has entered into an agreement with NASA Glenn Research Center to develop an on-going collaborative R&D program for optimization of open-pond microalgae growth processes.
Under a Space Act Agreement, NASA is partnering with Seambiotic USA to model growth processes for microalgae for use as aviation biofuel feedstock,” said Prof. Ami Ben-Amotz, Chief Scientific Adviser to Seambiotic.
Thursday, July 2nd, 2009
The week before last was the culmination of a labor of love for Sunil Paul and Claire Tomkins with the launch of the Gigaton Throwdown in DC after 18 months of hard work, researching and – as I witnessed first hand – coralling the efforts of other researchers.
What is the Gigaton Throwdown?
The Gigaton Throwdown Study was launched as a Clinton Global Initiative in 2007. It was started as a project to educate and inspire entrepreneurs, investors, and policy makers to think big about solving the climate crisis. It was an effort to answer Sunil’s question, “What does it take to make a difference with clean energy technology?” (more…)
Friday, June 19th, 2009
Are we ready for a biobased industry? That’s the question the Biopolymer Symposium 2009 wants to address. The use of biopolymers is growing, and an increasing number of applications to commercialize these materials are on the market. Most biopolymers are found in packaging – food trays, blown starch pellets for shipping goods, thin films for wrapping – but they are also being used on the industrial side. Biopolymers are produced from biomass – such as sugar beet, potatoes or wheat – and have important environmental benefits: They can be biodegradable, renewable, sustainable, carbon neutral, and even compostable.
Monday, June 1st, 2009
HCL CleanTech Ltd., a biofuels start-up based in Tel Aviv, announced today a $5.5 million Series A financing led by Khosla Ventures, Burrill & Company, and angel investor Zohar Gilon.
HCL CleanTech has developed a proprietary technology to make an old, industrially proven German process converting lignocellulosic biomass to fermentable sugars economically attractive. According to the company, it is these fermentable sugars which are considered the gateway to advanced biofuels (biobutanols, biodiesel, jet fuel etc) and biochemicals (bioplastics etc). (more…)