Friday, May 19, 2006

The Full Monty on Biodiesel.

What you'll find here

  1. Roger Kalla on bio-diesel from algae
  2. GMO Pundit posts on bio-diesel and related oilseed issues.
  3. Biodiesel Basics
  4. Review of University of Alberta Canola Breeding Program
  5. Gull Biodiesel plant using tallow in Queensland opened.
  6. Biodiesel gets a boost from Big Oil in the US.
  7. Biodiesel 2c off takes off in South Australia.
  8. WA Dept Ag and Food Biofuels Website, for further links and updates.
  9. ABARE cost estimates on Bio-diesel and Bio-ethanol in Australia
  10. More on Canadian export of Biodiesel feedstock to the EU. Aug 2006.
  11. Even more Canadian biodiesel goodies.
  12. Costing projections from ABARE on biofuels. Aug 2006
  13. Ethanol can substitute for methanol in biodiesel. Sept 2006.
  14. Microwaves to produce biodiesel. Oct 2006
  15. Soybeans for the Northern Territory Biodiesel Push. Oct 2006
  16. Cotton for the NT Biodiesel push? Oct 2006
  17. Bio-fuel diesel charactoristics and comparisons. R T Schuler, Wisconsin. Oct 2006.
  18. AOF Forum 2006 Disck Selwwoods Presentation on Biodiesel. Nov 2006
  19. Biodiesel Magazine.
  20. Turning Coal into Biodiesel. November 2006.
Roger Kalla's essay on using algae to produce biodiesel at Online Opinion
......# Kalla on algae for making biodiesel.

GMO Pundit posts.
......# The Soybean genome: hightech boost to biodiesel.
......# Greenhouse gas worries and biofuels.
.........GMO Pundit EU biodiesel posts:
......# EU commission proposes ambitious biofuel plan 2005 12
......# EU adopts biofuel plan 2006 2.
......# Germany's booming biodiesel market 2006 1
......# Canola Imports driven by demand for biodiesel
......# Ethanol and biodiesel become a commodity trade phenomenon.

......# Benefits to rural communities drive biofuel politics
......# Lifecycle energy balance for biodiesel.
......# New catalyst for biodiesel
......# Biofuel trumpeted with diesel excise free in Australia.
......# The Texas of biofuels.
......# Good news for Oilseeds Bad for Stockfeeds?
......# Climate change and plant breeding.
......# Update on pollen flow from transgenic oilseed rape from ISB.
......# Good summary of trade and economics of GM canola from AOF.
......# Mr Kym Chance saying biodiesel won't come from canola.
......# 25 to 50% yield boost from GM proves Mr Chance wrong yet again on biodiesel.
......# A decade of herbicide-resistant crops in Canada. In the latest Canadian Journal of Plant Science. Beckie, H. J., Harker, K. N., Hall, L. M., Warwick, S. I., Légère, A., Sikkema, P. H., Clayton, G.W., Thomas, A. G., Leeson, J. Y., Séguin-Swartz, G. and Simard, M.-J. 2005. Can. J. Plant Sci. 85: 000-000.
This review examines some agronomic, economic, and environmental impacts of herbicide-resistant (HR) canola, soybean, corn, and wheat in Canada after 10 years of growing HR cultivars. The rapid adoption of HR canola and soybean suggests a net economic benefit to farmers. HR crops often have improved weed management, greater yields or economic returns, and similar or reduced environmental impact compared with their non-HR crop counterparts. There are no marked changes in volunteer weed problems associated with these crops, except in zero-tillage systems when glyphosate is used alone to control canola volunteers. Although gene flow from glyphosate-HR canola to indigenous populations of bird’s rape in eastern Canada has been measured, enrichment of hybrid plants in such populations should only occur when and where herbicide selection pressure is applied. Weed shifts as a consequence of HR canola have been documented, but a reduction in weed species diversity has not been demonstrated. Reliance on HR crops in rotations using the same mode-of-action-herbicide and/or multiple in-crop herbicide applications over time can result in intense selection pressure for weed resistance and consequently, greater herbicide use in the future to control HR weed biotypes.

......# The economics of animals feeds and fuels are intertwined: Meat Producers should view the prospects of Biodiesel Boom as better news than Ethanol.
......# Biodiesel from industrial oilseed crops suited for arid areas of Australia - tatropha and pongamia from India
......# Weekly Times article on ABARE estimates of biodiesel investment returns- risk warning.
......# Does non-GM premium at $1 /tonne match 40 bushells / acre from GM canola?
......# Yield boost summary on hybrid Canola's with 2005 Australian field trial results. Sept 2006.

Review of University of Alberta Canola Breeding Program.
......# BrassicaCorp Ltd. S. J. Cambell Investments Ltd. October 4 2005.

"We believe that farm yields are poised for a further increase in the next few years now that canola hybrids are becomining more widely available. As can be seen from Figure 4, the yield of the best hybrid canola variety with a normal fatty acid profile was 128% of the check variety in the 2004 Prairie Canola Variety Trials. The yield of the best low linolenic hybrid was 106.4% of the check variety"

Biodiesel Org
......# Biodiesel Basics
.........What is biodiesel?

Biodiesel is the name of a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications. Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.

How is biodiesel made?
Biodiesel is made through a chemical process called transesterification whereby the glycerin is separated from the fat or vegetable oil. The process leaves behind two products -- methyl esters (the chemical name for biodiesel) and glycerin (a valuable byproduct usually sold to be used in soaps and other products).

Is Biodiesel the same thing as raw vegetable oil?
No! Fuel-grade biodiesel must be produced to strict industry specifications (ASTM D6751) in order to insure proper performance. Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel to have fully completed the health effects testing requirements of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. Biodiesel that meets ASTM D6751 and is legally registered with the Environmental Protection Agency is a legal motor fuel for sale and distribution. Raw vegetable oil cannot meet biodiesel fuel specifications, it is not registered with the EPA, and it is not a legal motor fuel.

For entities seeking to adopt a definition of biodiesel for purposes such as federal or state statute, state or national divisions of weights and measures, or for any other purpose, the official definition consistent with other federal and state laws and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) guidelines is as follows:

Biodiesel is defined as mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats which conform to ASTM D6751 specifications for use in diesel engines. Biodiesel refers to the pure fuel before blending with diesel fuel. Biodiesel blends are denoted as, "BXX" with "XX" representing the percentage of biodiesel contained in the blend (ie: B20 is 20% biodiesel, 80% petroleum diesel).

Bio-diesel production underway in Qld
......# Australia, Farmonline News, Friday, 19 May 2006

This Farmonline item announces Queensland's first commercial 'Green' diesel production facility opened its doors today near Caboolture, just north of Brisbane.

The Eco Tech Biodiesel Plant will have a production capability of 30 million litres of biodiesel a year, growing to an additional capacity of 75 million litres when at full production...

"As the new plant uses tallow to produce its biodiesel, our meat industry will also be a big winner here," Ms Bligh said.

"The plant will require 28,000 tonnes of tallow to meet its initial production demands, providing an important new opportunity for local tallow producers."...

Farmonline say Eco Tech Bio Diesel is a joint venture between Australia's largest independent petroleum producer, Gull Petroleum, and a group of independent businessmen.

The WA-based Gull Petroleum was the first retailer in Australia to offer biodiesel to motorists.

Besides its new plant near Caboolture, Gull also recently announced plans to develop a biodiesel facility in Western Australia.

Biodiesel Industry Gets Boost From Big Oil
......# Apr 3rd - 4:46pm By MATT CURRY, Associated Press Writer, on Motiva LLC.

In this AP story, from DALLAS- The tiny biodiesel industry is touted as getting a boost from Big Oil on Monday when a major petroleum refiner, Motiva Enterprises LLC, began blending the soy-based alternative with traditional motor fuel at a Dallas terminal.

Biodiesel supporters say the impact is more than symbolic. Earth Biofuels CEO Dennis McLaughlin, one of the partners in the $120,000 pilot program, said Motiva's name lends credibility to biodiesel.

Biodiesel a hit in the Adelaide Hills
By Aimee Pedler - Australia Farmonline
Wednesday, 31 May 2006

This item reports that biodiesel has hit the pumps at the South Australian Farmers' Federation's Upper Sturt Road general store and fuel outlet, sparking immediate interest and demand.

It says with regular diesel costing about $1.46 a litre, the 2c saving has attracted farmers and city dwellers alike.

EXTRACT: Stock Journal, SA, June 1 issue.

Western Australia's Ag Department launches new biofuel website
Dept Ag and Food, Govt Western Australia via SeedQuest
A website devoted to biofuels has been has launched by the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia.

The site at reflects the Department’s commitment to the role it plays in developing a biofuel industry in Western Australia and to being a central point of information about biofuels and the Western Australian State Government’s Biofuels Taskforce.
The website offers a comprehensive resource for growers, consultants, entrepreneurs and students and includes media releases, workshop and seminar information and a wealth of information on a range of subjects related to biofuels.

Whatever your interest in biofuels, the Department hopes you find this site useful. If you have any comments, then please let the Department know by writing to:

Microdiesel: Escherichia coli engineered for fuel production
(Ethanol can be substitituted for methanol in biodiesel manufacturing .)

Biodiesel is an alternative energy source and a substitute for petroleum-based diesel fuel. It is produced from renewable biomass by transesterification of triacylglycerols from plant oils, yielding monoalkyl esters of long-chain fatty acids with short-chain alcohols such as fatty acid methyl esters and fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEEs). Despite numerous environmental benefits, a broader use of biodiesel is hampered by the extensive acreage required for sufficient production of oilseed crops. Therefore, processes are urgently needed to enable biodiesel production from more readily available bulk plant materials like sugars or cellulose. Toward this goal, the authors established biosynthesis of biodiesel-adequate FAEEs, referred to as Microdiesel, in metabolically engineered Escherichia coli.

This was achieved by expression in E. coli of enzymes from other bacteria that allow ethanol to substititute for methanol in an enzme catalysed process for niodiesel.

By this approach, ethanol formation was combined with subsequent esterification of the ethanol with fatty acids if the cells were cultivated under aerobic conditions in the presence of glucose and oleic acid. Ethyl oleate was the major constituent of these FAEEs, with minor amounts of ethyl palmitate and ethyl palmitoleate. FAEE concentrations of 1.28 g l–1 and a FAEE content of the cells of 26 % of the cellular dry mass were achieved by fed-batch fermentation using renewable carbon sources. This novel approach might pave the way for industrial production of biodiesel equivalents from renewable resources by employing engineered micro-organisms, enabling a broader use of biodiesel-like fuels in the future.

Microbiology 152 (2006), 2529-2536; DOI 10.1099/mic.0.29028-0
Rainer Kalscheuer, Torsten Stölting and Alexander Steinbüchel

In the paper the features of methanol versus ethanol biodiesel are discussed:

Despite these positive ecological aspects, however, biodiesel, as currently produced on a technical scale, has also numerous drawbacks and limitations. (1) Production is dependent on the availability of sufficient vegetable oil feedstocks, mainly rapeseed in Continental Europe, soybean in North America and palm oil in South East Asia. Therefore, industrial-scale biodiesel production will remain geographically and seasonally restricted to oilseed-producing areas. (2) Vegetable oils predominantly consisting of TAGs can not be used directly as diesel fuel substitute, mainly because of viscosity problems. Additional problems are the reliability of product quality in bulk quantities and filter plugging at low temperatures due to crystallization. Therefore, plant oils must be transesterified with short-chain alcohols like methanol or ethanol to yield the FAME and FAEE constituents of biodiesel. This transesterification process and the subsequent purification steps are cost intensive and energy consuming, thereby reducing the possible energy yield and increasing the price. (3) FAMEs and FAEEs have comparable chemical and physical fuel properties and engine performances (Peterson et al., 1995Down), but for economic reasons, only FAMEs are currently produced on an industrial scale due to the much lower price of methanol compared to ethanol. Methanol, however, is currently mainly produced from natural gas. Thus, FAME-based biodiesel is not a truly renewable product since the alcohol component is of fossil origin. Furthermore, methanol is highly toxic and hazardous, and its use requires special precautions. Use of bioethanol for production of FAEE-based biodiesel would result in a fully sustainable fuel, but only at the expense of much higher production costs. (4) The major limitation impeding a more widespread use of biodiesel is the extensive acreage needed for production of oilseed crops. The yield of biodiesel from rapeseed is only 1300 l ha–1, since only the seed oil is used for biodiesel production, whereas the other, major part of the plant biomass is not used for this purpose. Furthermore, oilseed crops like rapeseed and soybean are not self-compatible; therefore, their cultivation requires a frequent crop-rotation regime. In consequence, biodiesel based on oilseed crops will probably not be able to substitute more than 5–15 % of petroleum-based diesel in the future.

A recent study assessing the use of bioethanol for fuel came to the conclusion that large-scale use will require a cellulose-based technology (Farrell et al., 2006). A substantial increase of biodiesel production and a more significant substitution of petroleum-based diesel fuel in the future will probably only be feasible when processes are developed enabling biodiesel synthesis from bulk plant materials such as sugars and starch, and in particular cellulose and hemicellulose.

Farrell, A. E., Plevin, R. J., Turner, B. T., Jones, A. D., O'Hare, M. & Kammen, D. M. (2006). Ethanol can contribute to energy and environmental goals. Science 113, 506–508.

Brazilian company to make biodiesel with microwave technology
Australia Farm on line

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

A Brazilian company - Intech Engenharia & Meio Ambiente - will use microwave energy to produce biodiesel and cut production costs by up to 40pc.

Using the microwave approach, according to a wire service reports, it can reduce production costs and produce biodiesel from any type of oil.

Australian Oil Seeds Forum

Europe / UK / USA
§Leading the way, Australia will follow
§Biodiesel a mainstream fuel
q Blends from B5 to B20 readily available
q B100 also available
§Commitment from car/heavy vehicle/machinery
manufacturers to biodiesel
§Vision for B100
q 2020 Sweden to phase out fossil fuels entirely
q 2020 Other EU countries 20% B100 market share
Continues at link.

Biodiesel Magazine. The World off Biodiesel at your FingerTips.

From the April 2006 Issue

Illinois plant completes expansion

An expansion project at American Biorefining Inc., a soy-based biodiesel plant in Bloomington, Ill., was nearing completion in March. At press time, production was expected to begin by mid-March, according to company President Tim Lee. “Everybody will be happy to see the thing fired up, that’s for sure,” he said.

The plant has been producing biodiesel since 1994. With the $2 million expansion, capacity will increase from 10 MMgy per year to 30 MMgy when running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Fifteen more workers will be hired to work in the biodiesel plant, bringing the total number of employees to 25.

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