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...
rice straw

Making Cash From Rice Trash

by Jim Lane In our three-part series this month on utilizing waste resources, we’ll turn to rice straw, which is a major headache for Chinese and Indian emissions. Praj and Gevo are working hard on perfecting a technology to address this. Specifically, in the past month, Gevo (GEVO) also executed an agreement with Praj to develop jet fuel and isooctane from rice straw and other feedstocks. Gruber noted that “we believe this second-generation technology combination has great potential to address India’s rice straw burning problem and related air pollution, while generating low-carbon hydrocarbons for jet fuel and gasoline. Praj is a leader...

Gevo Boosts Revenue, Gets Favorable Ruling

Jim Lane In Colorado, Gevo (GEVO)  reported Q2 2015 revenues of $8.9M compared with $7.7M for Q2 2014, and Q2 loss of $6.5 million, compared with $9.0 million in Q2 2014. The increase in revenue during 2015 is primarily a result of the production and sale of approximately $8.0 million of ethanol, isobutanol and distiller’s grains at the Luverne plant. Hydrocarbon revenues were $0.8 million, primarily related to the shipment of bio-jet fuel and isooctane during the quarter. The company highlighted a flight planned with Alaska Airlines, an upcoming wood waste-to-fuels flight with an undisclosed airline,...
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...

Cellulosic Ethanol and Advanced Biofuels Investments

There's much excitement about second generation biofuels made from cellulosic feedstocks and algae, be they cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, biocrude, or electricity from biomass.  There will be winners, but they may not be the technology companies. Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA At the 2009 Advanced Biofuels Workshop, there were two major themes: developing new feedstocks, especially algae, and the development of new pathways to take biomass into products such as biocrude, which can be used in exiting oil refineries.   Big Market, Many Competitors The current federal Renewable Fuel Standard requires the use of 36 million gallons of biofuels, including at...

Ethanol Sector Consolidation or Salvation?

by Debra Fiakas CFA The drumbeat of deals in the ethanol industry is sounding louder, or so it seems from the proliferation of notices in my e-mail inbox.  I received no less than four messages in one morning from ethanol producer Green Plains, Inc. (GPRE: Nasdaq) heralding the purchase of the Hopewell Ethanol plant in Virginia from FutureFuel, Inc. (FF:  NYSE).  The acquisition represents the ninth transaction for Green Plains in the last five years, adding another 60 million gallons in annual production capacity to Green Plains’ existing total capacity of 1.02 billion gallons.   Indeed, Green...
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),...

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...

Investors Sweet on Second-Gen Biofuel IPOs But Caveats Remain

by Ivan Castano Second-generation biofuel IPOs are all the rage this year with recent deals pricing well above initial expectations and a growing number of companies expected to tap the capital markets in coming months. But analysts caution some of these companies will have a hard time wooing investor interest unless they become more transparent about their accounts and future path to profitability. "None of these companies will be earning much any time soon so investors want to see clarity and visibility about the enterprise story behind the companies," says Stacey Hudson, an analyst with Raymond...

Velocys: A Key To Advanced Biofuels At Scale

Jim Lane Four new technologies approach scaled operations, all with one element in common – Velocys (VLS.L) technology on the back-end. Why Velocys, why now? The Digest investigates. In Oklahoma, Southeast Oregon, Eastern Ohio, and a site near London we’re about to see the commercial-scale debut of Velocys technology, a smaller scale gas-to-liquids processing technology that converts natural gas or biomass into premium liquid products, such as diesel and jet fuel. In this case, specifically designed for smaller scales, resulting in standardized modular plants that are economic, easier to ship and faster to install, at lower risk,...
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...

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:...

Gevolution 2014: Gevo’s Progress, And Detours

Jim Lane This week, Gevo (GEVO) reported its year-end results, generally in line with expectations, with a $0.35 loss per share and $24.6M in the bank. Given the company’s rate of progress with isobutanol, the cash burn rate, the low share price, and high prices for ethanol the company announced that it is “transitioning the Luverne plant to the production of both isobutanol and ethanol…Producing both ethanol and isobutanol allows Gevo to fully utilize the Luverne plant and increase cash flow as Gevo continues to commercialize its isobutanol production capabilities.” “Our original vision was to focus...

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...

Ag Goddess Smiles Favorably on Ceres, Investors Frown

by Debra Fiakas CFA Recently, in compiling our lists of remarkable small-cap stock trades, I was surprised to find the shares of Ceres, Inc. (CERE:  Nasdaq) among stocks setting new 52-week lows.  Ceres has only been trading since its initial public offering in February 2012, when the company sold 5.0 million shares at $13.00 per share.  After a brief trade higher in the early spring, Ceres shares have been steadily losing ground, finally setting an all-time low of $6.02 last week. Named after the Greek Goddess of Agriculture, Ceres is a self-styled energy crop producer.  Ceres...

Kaydon: Profits Behind the Scenes

Debra Fiakas Most investors when they consider the alternative energy sector think about the big solar photovoltaic manufacturers or the ethanol producers.  Engineering firms like Kaydon Corporation (KDN:  NYSE) rarely come to mind.  With special expertise in fluid processes, Kaydon is an indispensable partner in a variety of alternative energy projects such as wind, renewable diesel and ethanol plants. The company earned a 12% net profit margin on $4645 million in total sales in the year 2010.  As impressive as that might be the really bright spot in Kaydon’s financial picture is its ability to generate cash ...