Ethanol and Biodiesel: Production Cost and Profitability

For a number of years, this (now old and outdated, but) very useful chart has been in circulation in energy circles, mapping the supply of energy to the world by looking not at prices, but at production costs. For one thing, it goes a long way to explaining why the price of oil can tumble so quickly when there is a fall off in demand, and explains why OPEC is troubled by unconventional oil in a way it is not so bothered by other energy sources such as renewable fuels. Renewables not only have been traditionally at the...

Cosan’s Crush

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week Cosan Limited (CZZ:  NYSE) revealed a decision to delay the spin-off and recapitalization of its natural gas distribution network, COMGAS.  Management cited unfavorable capital market decisions.  Cosan has a mix of businesses, of which we have been most interested in its Raisen Energia sugar cane agriculture and ethanol production.  Raisen is a joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell that was initiated in 2011.  The operation squeezes over four million tons of sugar from cane grown in its fields and two billion liters of ethanol each year. The ethanol is sold through Shell’s...

Gevo and Butamax Make Peace

Jim Lane In Delaware and Colorado, Gevo (GEVO) and Butamax have entered into worldwide patent cross-license and settlement agreements, ending a patent dispute related to technologies for the production of bio-based isobutanol. This settlement ends all of the lawsuits and creates a new relationship between the companies, aimed at leveraging each other’s strengths and accelerating development of competitive supply for bio-based isobutanol. The cross-license agreement grants both parties patent licenses to all fields for isobutanol and is structured to develop robust and sustainable isobutanol markets. The license will be royalty bearing for Butamax in certain fields...

Gevo wins a judgment in latest Butamax vs Gevo dust-up

Jim Lane Gevo a winner? Not the issue, says Butamax, as the Capulets and Montagues get it on again. It’s a tennis match in which the score is never love. Scene: Verona. A public place. The Prince: Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word, 
By thee, old Butamax, and Gevo, Have thrice disturb’d the quiet of our streets, 
And made the Digest’s ancient citizens
 setteth aside required reading of matters thermochem and RFS, to hear again, and again, and thence again your claims and counterclaims and all the pleadings that issueth, containing more commas than...

EPA Ups Renewable Diesel Mandate By 30%

Jim Lane Biodiesel pump photo via Bigstock What will bigger targets mean for producers, livestock, obligated refiners, and the diesel-using public? In Washington, the EPA issued its final rule for 2013 establishing 1.28 billion gallons as next year’s biomass-based diesel volume requirement under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), up from 1.0 billion gallons in 2012. “This 1.28 billion gallon level is in-line with what the EPA had originally proposed for 2013 dating back to last year,” commented Raymond James energy analyst Pavel Molchanov. “However, the...

Ten Solid Clean Energy Companies to Buy on the Cheap: #7 Deere & Co....

The first and last word in any discussion of biofuels should always be "Feedstock."  Feedstock is the "Bio" out of which biofuels will eventually be made, whether it be corn, sugar, jatropha, algae, palm oil, switchgrass, forestry waste, or municipal solid waste.   Before the era of peak oil, we lived in a world of plenty, which meant that we could squander energy, not only by driving Hummers, but by feeding energy intensive products such as corn crops to livestock, and by dumping "free" sources of energy such as garden waste and used cooking oil into landfills. The era of...

Ethanol Stocks: Risks, Challenges, & Opportunities

The Great Ethanol Debate: Shoddy Economics all 'Round. Like many environmentalists, I'm not a big fan of the ethanol industry, especially corn ethanol.  From a net energy standpoint, even advocates agree that you only get a little more energy out than the energy you put in (Energy Return on Energy Invested or EROEI of 0.9 to 1.5, depending on whom you ask... some say it's much lower.)  At this point, most environmentalists simply decide that ethanol isn't sustainable enough for them, and go back to talking about photovoltaics (EROEI around 8, PDF) and wind (EREOI 30-70, PDF).  The last...

Gevo Switches Refinery Back to Ethanol: Amyris Redux?

Jim Lane Amyris redux, or fiscal caution in the ramp-up process? We look at the data, as the advanced isobutanol pioneer switches Luverne from isobutanol to ethanol amidst production shortfalls. In Colorado, Gevo (GEVO) announced that, while making significant progress towards economic production levels, the company does not now expect to achieve its desired year-end run rate – instead it has delayed hitting that target into 2013. “While we have made significant progress towards economic production levels,” said Gevo CEO Pat Gruber, “we have decided to optimize certain specific parts of our technology to further enhance bio-isobutanol...

Ethanol Missed The Boat; Isobutanol May Not

Jim Lane  E-Zero – ethanol-free gas, has been popular with boaters, but here comes isobutanol, with Gevo leading the pack. Are the economics a slam-dunk? Here’s the hard data. One of the more interesting trends in recent years has been the rise of ethanol-free gasoline. Overall, Pure-gas.com reports 9915 stations offering ethanol-free gas in the US and Canada although it is a crowd-sourced site and may have missed stations adding or dropping E0 fuels. The site does not include stations in Alaska because “all gasoline is ethanol-free.” 314 of those are in Canada. That’s around three...

Soladiesel Algae Fuel is a Monster Hit

Jim Lane Sales increase 35 percent at participating test sites and survey results reveal driver preference for algae-based Soladiesel over conventional fuels. In California, Propel Fuels and Solazyme (SZYM) announced that sales grew by 35 percent at Propel stations, offering SoladieselBD in a B20 blend during a 30-day retail pilot program, compared to non-test sites. The pilot was conducted at Propel’s Clean Fuel Points in Redwood City, San Jose, Berkeley, and Oakland. In addition, a follow-on consumer preference study with Propel’s customers found 92 percent of participants noted that they would be more likely to...

War With Iran? Buy Alternative Energy Stocks.

September is starting out as the month of speculation about a massive three day air strike on Iran.  Is Bush ready to attack Iran while our troops are still trying to stabilize both Afghanistan and Iraq?  In February, administration officials were denying it.   The preparations now going on could simply be the stick part of a negotiating strategy; the bad cop to Russia's good cop.  But Bush's chances of successful cooperation with Putin could be better. What if? If Bush does launch a massive three day air strike on Iran, what will that mean for alternative energy stocks?  I...

Renewable Fuel Producers Score A Win

Despite Trump’s vow to roll back all measures endorsed by Obama, his Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt is backing off plans to scuttle the U.S. biofuel policy.  The Trump administration had planned to change regulatory standards to reduce the amount of renewable fuel that must be blended with conventional fossil fuel for gasoline and diesel supplies.  In the third week in October 2017, Pruitt sent a letter to Congressional leadership indicating the renewable fuel volume mandates for 2018 would remain unchanged. Most analysts saw the about face as a win for ethanol and renewable diesel producers such as Green Plains (GPRE:  Nasdaq), FutureFuel...

Pacific Ethanol Completes Permitting for Planned Ethanol Plant in Boardman, Oregon

Pacific Ethanol, Inc. (PEIX) announced that it has received all necessary permits to begin construction on a 35 million gallon per year ethanol facility at the Port of Morrow, located on the Columbia River near Boardman, Oregon. The Company further stated that it expects to begin construction, which should take approximately 12 months, within the next thirty days. The Oregon ethanol facility will provide ethanol for the Pacific Northwest gasoline markets, helping to increase supply in that area and provide a CO2-reducing fuel for the transportation sector. It is expected that the plant's distillers grains will be sold...
ADM HQ

ADM Separates Ethanol Business

Prelude to a spin-off? by Jim Lane The Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) is breaking news of breaking off their ethanol unit…and a tumbling 40% decline in profit. In Chicago, Archer Daniels Midland Company reported their financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, but most interesting to us, they are looking at separating their ethanol business with the option of spinning it off completely. They are also taking other actions to restructure and deal with challenges they say include weather issues and trade pressures. ADM announced a “series of measures to continue to underpin long-term-value creation” which included: “First, to meet growing customer...

The Collapse of KiOR

The Inside True Story of a Company Gone Wrong, Part 5 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”. By 2012, numerous KiOR staffers of...

Solazyme, Gevo, Amyris earnings, outlook: the 5-Minute version

Jim Lane As Solazyme, Gevo and Amyris report on results for Q2, update forward guidance – what does the data reveal about demand, supply of advanced biofuels and co-products? We digest down analyst reports, company comments into a 5-minute summary of “news you can use”. In California and Colorado, the newswires have been working overtime this week in advanced biofuels, as several industry titans reported their latest quarterlies and subjected themselves to public scrutiny, which sometimes resembles the Puritan practice of mounting minor offenders in the public stocks and pelting them with rotten eggs and tomatoes. But it...
Close Bitnami banner
Bitnami