A (nearly) Pure-play Biodiesel Stock

On January 29th, M~Wave and private vertically integrated Biodiesel distributor Blue Sun Biodiesel announced a merger between the two, with Blue Sun becoming a division of M~Wave, and the merged company being renamed Blue Sun Holdings. Managerial control will also pass to "certain directors and the officers of SunFuels." If this merger goes through as planned in the second quarter of 2007, US investors will have their first opportunity to invest in a stock focused on a biofuel which is much less controversial among environmentalists than corn-based ethanol. Estimates of the well-to-wheels Energy Return on...
Kakinada India Aemetis

Aemetis: Indian Breakthrough, California Expansion

Aemetis, Inc. (AMTX:  NasdaqCM) just announced sales of biodiesel to gas stations in India.  The sales follow on the heels of a significant ruling in November 2018, by the Bombay High Court to remove restrictions on biodiesel that had barred direct to consumer sales by biofuel manufacturers.  The breakthrough into the India market is significant for the company, which has been operating a 50-million gallon integrated chemicals and fuels facility in Kakinada, India for several years.  Demand for renewable fuels has been strongest among fast growing economies like India, where decision makers fear dependence upon imported fossil fuels.  India produces only about 1% of global...

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Resigns

by Jim Lane In Washington, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has resigned. US President Donald Trump announced the exit on Twitter, commenting, “President Donald Trump announced Pruitt’s exit, saying on Twitter “I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this.” Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler becomes acting administrator. The Digest’s Take Elsewhere in the media, it is widely reported that Pruitt was undone by a growing number of controversies and investigations relating to his conduct as EPA Administrator, particularly relating...

Renewable Reserve Accounting: building the biofuels balance sheet

Jim Lane Should biofuels have its own reserve accounting system and accompanying balance sheet booster, just as the oil & gas industry has? Ceres CEO Richard Hamilton says “yes”, and explains why, and how. At the Advanced Biofuels Markets conference earlier this month in San Francisco. Richard Hamilton, CEO of Ceres, advanced the remarkable proposition that biofuels companies – on the “level playing field” theory advanced by opponents of government mandates and subsidies, should   have the right to book their reserves of crude renewable oil production, in a parallel to the reserve accounting system which forms the bulk...
cattle feeding

More Than Ethanol at Green Plains

Last week ethanol producer Green Plains (GPRE:  Nasdaq) reported financial results for the quarter ending June 2018.   As expected the company reported a net loss, but actual results were far better than expected.  The news gave traders a reason to celebrate with bids that led to a gap higher at the opening on the first day of trading following the announcement.  Cooler heads came into the market as the day wore on and the stock closed below the open on heavy volume. Nonetheless, the stock finished the week higher and appears prepared to challenge lines of volume-related price resistance in the trading sessions ahead.    There may...

Will Petrosun’s Algae Biodiesel Grow on Investors?

by Tom Konrad Celluslosic Ethanol is all the rage.  A less noticed, but significant "Biofuel 2.0" is biofuel based on algae. Follow the Biomass As I have consistently argued (see these recent articles on John Deere, Biogas, Cellulosic Ethanol vs Biomass Electricity, and Renewable or Green Diesel)  the people most likely to make money from biofuel are not the processors and distributors (who compete directly with petroleum or other fossil fuel-based products, and so have little pricing power), but the producers of feedstock, which, like oil, is in very limited supply, and so they will have pricing power....

Will Trump Bump, Thump, Or Dump The Renewable Fuel Pump?

Jim Lane  “Trump Reiterates Support for Ethanol, RFS” is the major headline to come out of the National Ethanol Conference in San Diego, which is the Renewable Fuels Association’s annual conflab and as usual produced a flurry of studies, keynotes and statements on the viability and importance of US ethanol to everything from American jobs to advanced American manufacturing. The Trump headline came out of a letter sent to the delegates to the event by President Trump which itself is a hopeful sign of support. But did the President really offer support for the Renewable Fuel Standard?...

Sketches of DuPont’s Cellulosic Ethanol Project in Nevada, Iowa

Jim Lane  It towers above the surrounding Iowa countryside like the Launch Assembly Building lords it over Cape Canaveral it’s the new DuPont (DD) cellulosic ethanol project, on the outskirts of the town of Nevada. Functional yet inspiring, imposing yet accessible when it opens before year end 2014 it is sure to be a monumental addition to the cellulosic biofuels landscape. Last week we wrote: “There are strategic reasons to develop this new industrial bioscience business in central Iowa not just the “we’d love to have you, wages are low, cost of...

Fly the Bio Skies: 10 Milestones in the Summer of Aviation Biofuels

Jim Lane Algae powered plane photo via BigStock We look back on a big summer for biofuels development: There have been many recent algae biofuel developments, the drought, and the policy fight over the Renewable Fuel Standard. But in many respects, its been a summer about aviation biofuels – starting with the demonstration of the US Navy’s Green Strike Group and continuing to announcements of projects right through the summer. The story has internationalized, the technologies are broadening, and more and more blue-chip players are making...
oil price spurs biofuels

The Return of Advanced Biofuels

by Jim Lane For several years now we have seen a significant number of players pivoting from biofuels towards smaller but higher-value markets in chemicals, nutrition,  nutraceuticals, pharma, materials, flavorings, fragrances, cosmetics and more. We’ve reported on the proliferation of applications both in the Digest and in What’s Nuu? and indeed there’s been so much that’s Nuu, it’s been dizzying at times with all the spinning and twirling. Capital costs and policy uncertainty have played their part, but the foot on the pedal for many has been oil prices. The scale of operations to compete with oil prices in the 2014-2017 period...

Milestone for Gas-to-Liquids Fuel Plant

Syntroleum Corp (SYNM) commemorated the successful production of more than 140,000 gallons of ultra-clean fuels at its gas-to-liquid (GTL) fuels plant at Port of Catoosa, Oklahoma. The plant also manufactured 60,000 gallons of additional products, such as syncrude. Gathered to mark the occasion were representatives from Syntroleum, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Marathon Oil Company and Integrated Concepts and Research Corporation (ICRC).

The Year Of Living Disingenuously: KiOR

The Inside True Story of a Company Gone Wrong, Part 4 by Jim Lane In 2011, KiOR raised $150 million in its June IPO, claiming that it was generating yields of 67 gallons per ton in its Demo unit operations. But it was miles short of that. In our previous installments, we have charted how KiOR moved from a promising early-stage technology to a public company with serious technological flaws that could have been fixed, but were ignored in what a senior team member speaking for the record, Dennis Stamires, characterized as a “reckless rush to commercial”. But so far, the company and...

Biofuels and Biomaterials raise $1.374B in equity in past 12 months

Jim Lane 33 equity transactions, averaging $40M – who got what, for what, from whom – what’s hot now? In Florida, Biofuels Digest reported that advanced biofuels and biomaterials companies raised $1.374 B in equity financing in the past 12 months, based on deal flow reported in the Digest’s daily newsletter and online news service. Overall, the Digest reported 33 transactions, including five successful IPOs, in eight categories. The largest equity raise of the year was $227 million raised by Solazyme(SZYM) in its IPO. Other notable equity raises included $123M raised by Gevo(GEVO) and $150M...

Solazyme and the Year of Living Dangerously

Jim Lane Solazyme steps up to slay the scale-up dragon. Will the company stay on its scale-up schedule, at the final step where Amyris, Gevo and KiOR ran into crushing delays? In California, Solazyme (SZYM) announced results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2013. The Results Q4 Revenue (vs Q4 2012): $11.3M (+34%) Q4 Net (vs Q4 2012): -$33.3M (+35%) 2013 Revenue (vs 2012): $39.8M (-10%) 2013 Net (vs 2012): -$116.4M (+40%) So widening losses, falling annual revenue. So, why the excitement amongst most of the analysts? 2013 Highlights Scale-up:...

Renewable Energy Group Teams Up With ExxonMobil For Cellulosic Biodiesel

Jim Lane Two giants hook up to bring cellulosic biodiesel to scale. A new source of biodiesel feedstock, and a new source of renewable fuels. In Iowa, ExxonMobil (XOM) and Renewable Energy Group (REGI) have agreed to jointly study the production of biodiesel by fermenting renewable cellulosic sugars from sources such as agricultural waste. REG has developed a patented technology that uses microbes to convert sugars to biodiesel in a one-step fermentation process similar to ethanol manufacturing. The ExxonMobil and REG Life Sciences research will focus on using sugars from non-food sources. Terms were not disclosed. Readers will...

Total Doubles Down On Amyris’ Jet Fuel

Jim Lane In California, Amyris (AMRS) announced that it has agreed on key business terms with Total for restructuring its fuels joint venture to open the way for proceeding with commercialization of its jet fuel technology over the coming years. Following the restructuring, Total would own 75% of the joint venture with Amyris. In conjunction with this transaction, Amyris has also agreed on terms with Total and Temasek, another major stockholder of Amyris, under which, and as part of a plan to strengthen the balance sheet, these stockholders would exchange an aggregate of $138...