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...

Betting On Renewable Diesel: Valero or Darling?

Valero Energy (VLO:  NYSE) recently disclosed ongoing discussions to expand its renewable diesel production to a second plant that would be built and managed by its Diamond Green Diesel joint venture with Darling Ingredients (DAR:  NYSE).  The proposed plant that would be located in Port Arthur, Texas and turn out 400 million gallons of renewable diesel and 40 million gallons of naptha per year.  As a food by-products processor Darling has easy access to low-cost used cooking oils and animals fats that serves as the feed stock for Diamond Green’s renewable diesel production.  Valero management has cited increasing global demand for low- to no-carbon...
Biogas as a source of hydrogen

There’s Hydrogen In That There Biogas

I don’t suppose that anyone actually dreams of hydrogen, but in the bio-economy there just isn’t quite enough of it and we read about it and sometimes think about it so much that we might as well be dreaming about it. For those newer to the field, one of the problems of using biomass to make a fuel is that a carbohydrate contains around 53% oxygen by weight and needs about 16% more hydrogen that it contains to make a hydrocarbon fuel. That’s one of the reasons that biofuels are often esters (such as biodiesel) or alcohols (such as ethanol),...
fractionation of corn

Corn Fractionation Improving Ethanol Production

Ethanol and isobutanol producer Gevo, Inc. (GEVO:  Nasdaq) is installing equipment in its Luverne, Minnesota plant to improve efficiency in corn processing.  The company is leasing a proprietary corn fractionation or slicing process developed Shockwave, LLC based in DesMoines, Iowa.  The new equipment is intended to increase by-product output, including feed protein products and food-grade corn oil.  With sales of more valuable by-products Gevo expects to improve overall profit margins.  Shareholders can expect to see results after the first quarter 2019, when the equipment installation is expected to be complete. Shockwave keeps a low profile with no corporate website and no one to answer phone calls.  However,...
CAFE LCFS CAA RFS braid

Low Carbon Fuel Rules: From CAFE to LCFS and Everything In Between

The Whole Darn Low Carbon Landscape. How they Work, How they Work Together, and How they Might Work Better by Joanne Ivancic, executive director, Advanced Biofuels USA The Trump Administration is taking a new look at Obama Administration era Co2 regulations.  On the transportation side, these include reviewing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards; threatening to take away California’s authority to set their own mileage and pollution controls, including CO2 (carbon dioxide) emission reduction standards; and quarreling with the petroleum and biofuels industries over implementation and enforcement of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Thus, the Clean Air Act (CAA), California’s unique authority...

KiOR: The Inside Story Of A Company Gone Wrong

Jim Lane Not long ago, KiOR quietly re-named itself Inaeris Technologies and launched a modest website which discussed the technology and management in little detail, but focused to an extraordinary extent on a declaration of values. Empowerment, honesty, fairness, “lessons learned from our collective experience” and so on. Warm, kindly Hallmark Card sentiments, universally popular, admired and vague. Not the bold, We-Are-Black-Swans, detailed descriptions of yields, costs, downstream partners, brand-name board members and timelines to commercial scale that had been the style of the Old KiOR. Old KiOR was exciting, dramatic,...
GPP

Covanta and Green Plains Partners Don’t Let A Crisis Go To Waste

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Last week, two of the stocks in my Ten Clean Energy Stocks model portfolio cut their dividends.  Covanta Holding Corp (CVA) dropped its quarterly payout from $0.25 to $0.08 (a 68% cut) while Green Plains Partners (GPP) slashed its quarterly distribution from $0.475 to $0.12, a drop of 74.75%. Before reducing their dividends, both companies had payout ratios near 100%, meaning that substantially all of their free cash flow was going to pay dividends.  In general, companies are very reluctant to cut their dividends because it is a signal that their management thinks they cannot grow...
Steve Hartiq

North American Outlook on Biofuels Challenges and Opportunities

Challenges and Opportunities in Biofuels By Steve Hartig, Former VP of Technology Development at ICM The North American biofuels market can be split into three main segments all of which have major dynamics.  What I would like to do is give a high-level overview of what I see as some of both the challenges and opportunities across these. Ethanol which is a produced from corn and sorghum in about 200 plants mainly across the Midwest and blended at about 10% with gas.  Majors such as POET, Green Plains, Flint Hills, Valero, ADM and Cargill do a bit more than half of the 16...
ethanol ups and downs

Fortunately, Unfortunately: The Spring Saga of American Ethanol

by Jim Lane The ethanol signals from Washington DC are more inexplicably mixed than cocktails with names like Sex on the Beach. Let’s parse through the wigwagging over the future of American biofuels supply and demand — ethanol and otherwise. Fortunately: Trump backs year-round E15 ethanol blends In Washington, President Trump endorsed year-round E15 ethanol availability as an emerging compromise between oil refiners and US farm sector. The Renewable Fuel Standard is a federal program that requires transportation fuel sold in the United States to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels. The RFS originated in a bi-partisan Congress with the Energy Policy Act...

Are Ethanol Companies Risky Investments?

By Neal Dikeman, Partner, Jane Capital Partners LLC, and Founding Contributor, Cleantechblog.com. He has no investments in or financial incentive related to ethanol or ethanol stocks. Are ethanol stocks risky long-term investments? We think they are. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of ethanol blended fuels for a whole host of reasons, I just don’t like ethanol as an investment. Here are six solid reasons to be very, very cautious. 1. Demand vs. supply – As with most regulatory driven markets, the demand has come on very fast behind the advent of renewable...

Biofuels M&A: 2017 Review and Outlook

by Bruce Comer, Ocean Park Advisors More industry players chose to develop and build new capacity rather than buy plants The North American biofuels industry experienced the fewest merger and acquisition transactions in recent history in 2017. There were only six M&A transactions, with a total estimated value of more than $100 million. They involved eight plants with 297 million gallons per year (MGPY) of production capacity. Half of these deals were for non-operating plants. A fourth deal was for a sub-scale demonstration plant. Contributing to the limited deal flow, two historically active acquirers, Green Plains and REG, did not close...

What A Portfolio Approach To Climate Policy Means for Your Stock Portfolio

Portfolio theory can lend insights into which carbon abatement strategies policymakers should pursue.  If policymakers listen, what will it mean for green investors? Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Good Info, Not Enough Analysis I've now read most of my review copy of Investment Opportunities for a Low Carbon World.  The quality of the information is generally excellent, as Charles has described in his reviews of the Wind and Solar and Efficiency and Geothermal chapters.  As a resource on the state of Cleantech industries, it's generally excellent.  As an investing resource, however, it leaves something to be desired.  Each chapter is written...

The Energy Balance of Snake Oil

It's no secret that money is flooding into the alternative energy sector, but not all of this money comes from sophisticated, investors. Unsophisticated investment is a lighting rod for the scam artists. Because there is both an urgent need to deal with the the problems posed by global warming, energy security, and resource depletion, and the new money is rapidly accelerating the advance of technology in renewable energy, new innovations are very plausible. There are many ways to lose money in alternative energy, even without being taken by a scam. The current emotional...
hand sanitizer

Hand Sanitizer: Salvation for Ethanol Producers?

by Jim Lane If you’ve not heard, NuGenTec is looking for Distillers to help supply Ethanol for Hand Sanitizers in California! We have two automated bottling lines waiting for ethanol to produce 8oz and 16oz gel type hand sanitizers, they write. You can learn more here. And as we reported this morning, Aemetis (AMTX) is one of those companies jumping into the market, even as transport fuel demand falls off, driving fuel ethanol prices into an all-time low range of around $0.70 per gallon. The shortage is real If you’ve been trying to buy hand-sanitizer, it’s been hard to find. Here in Digestville, we’ve...

Visual Comparison of Alternative Transportation Fuels

I've recently agreed to do a of couple presentations on "Investing In Green Energy" at conferences this October, and so I've decided it's time to update and expand on some graphs I constructed this spring: I created a pair of graphs which give an overview of how different electricity generation technologies compare.  These are not precise graphs with anything resembling scientific accuracy, but I think they're a useful too for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of various technologies.   This is my attempt to do the same for transportation fuels.  Note that I'm really only talking about cars and trucks...

Trump Administration Flip-Flops On Oil Refinery Waivers Again, Farm Groups Protest Again

by Jim Lane In Washington, what must have become a weary if vigilant posse of the nation’s biofuel and farm advocates are out on the hustings again this week, over a fresh attack on the US Renewable Fuel Standard, this one led by officials in the Trump Administration, if a story reported by Bloomberg stands up against scrutiny. What has been described as a “misinformation campaign spearheaded by Senator Ted Cruz” is seeking to overturn a unanimous court decision that would halt the Environmental Protection Agency’s abuse of Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard.   The backstory In a unanimous panel, the...
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