Good News for Kior: EPA Greenlights Camelina and Energy Cane

Jim Lane Camelina microcarpa, aka Littlepod false flax.   Photo by Jim Pisarowicz, National Park Service New renewable feedstock OKs. Good news, bad, neutral? In Washington, the US Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule qualifying biofuels produced from camelina oil as biomass-based diesel or advanced biofuel, as well as biofuels from energy cane which qualify as cellulosic biofuel. This final rule also qualifies renewable gasoline and renewable gasoline blendstock made from certain qualifying feedstocks as cellulosic biofuel. “This decision adds to the growing list of biodiesel...

A Deal A Day At Renewable Energy Group

They are hoopin’ it up in Ames, Iowa these days.  Local producer Renewable Energy Group (REGI:  Nasdaq) completed the acquisition of Dynamic Fuels, Inc., one of the first renewable diesel biorefineries in the country.  The Dynamic Fuels facility located in Geismar, Louisiana has 75 million gallon annual nameplate production capacity. Renewable Energy Group (REG) already had eight other fully operational biorefineries with a nameplate production capacity near 250 million gallons per year.  REG also has a demonstration plant in Oklahoma for renewable chemicals. It was a two-part deal.  First REG struck a deal with for most of the...

The Cleantech IPO Window – Closed for business?

Jim Lane IPOs are struggling, all across cleantech – and the biofuels IPO queue is long and tiring. Why Kiwano countries may be in your future. And, what is a Kiwano country, anyway? So, amidst all the legislative and policy hoopla last week for advanced biofuels, including winning funding for an energy title in the US Senate’s Farm Bill and the release of the US Bioeconomy strategy, Enerkem’s IPO skidded to a halt and was withdrawn. Sure, it was very early stage – their first commercial wasn’t complete, the company wasn’t producing much in the way of revenue,...

ADM to build 275-million gallon ethanol facility

Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM) said it will build an ethanol plant with 275-million gallon annual capacity in Cedar Rapids, Iowa as it looks to expand production of the alternative fuel. The expansion comes on top of ADM's plans to build a 275-million ethanol plant in Columbus, Nebraska.

Gevo-lutionary

Jim Lane Has Gevo whipped its problems, and whipped them good? When a problem comes along, you must whip it Before the cream sets out too long, you must whip it When something’s goin’ wrong, you must whip it Now whip it into shape Shape it up, get straight Go forward, move ahead Try to detect it, it’s not too late To whip it, whip it good.     Devo “Whip It” When last we took an in-depth look at Gevo, (NASD:GEVO) the company was beset by a swarm of motions, cross-motions and lawsuits in its long-running patent...

Total and Amyris Take Another Step Down The Aisle Towards Commercial Biofuels

Jim Lane Total elects to bottle up the IP and protect itself against Amyris “hardship” as it advances towards commercializing key biofuels. In California and France, Amyris (AMRS) and Total announced the formation of Total Amyris BioSolutions B.V., a 50-50 joint venture that now holds exclusive rights and a license under Amyris’s intellectual property to produce and market renewable diesel and jet fuel from Amyris’s renewable farnesene. Amyris also plans to initiate sales of renewable jet fuel in Brazil once it achieves ASTM validation. “The joint-venture Total Amyris Biosolutions is a first step towards the...

Big Biofuel Balance Sheets: A Stampede of Elephants

Jim Lane Elephant herd running photo via Bigstock 28 big balance sheets deploying capital into commercial-scale advanced biofuels. Who’s writing the checks, and for what, and when? It’s become an article of faith among the unenlightened that advanced biofuels are always five years away, and the chief investors are the US Department of Energy and a gaggle of key Obama campaign donors. The Wall Street Journal, last December, opined: “Congress subsidized a product that didn’t exist, mandated its purchase though it still didn’t exist,...

The Rocky Road to Biofuels Heaven

Codexis chief out, Ceres IPO delayed Jim Lane Ceres delays IPO (again); Codexis CEO and enzyme guru Alan Shaw resigns. In California, visionary industry leader Alan Shaw resigned as CEO of Codexis (CDXS) and the Ceres IPO, scheduled for last Thursday, did not occur and has yet to be rescheduled as of press time. The Ceres IPO remains on the NASDAQ calendar. At the same time, Ceres said that current shareholders had indicated that they would purchase up to 1 million shares in the company’s upcoming IPO, and the company warned that severe drought conditions...

Is Gevo still Gevolicious?

Jim Lane Though a panic-inducing analyst report circulates on the internet, the consensus among analysts continues to be bullish on the biobased isobutanol pioneer. With Gevo, Inc.’s stock (NASD:GEVO) in the toilet as of now, trading at $2.00 the company has a market cap of $79 million and $92 million in the bank. When any company much less one with a hot technology is trading at less than its cash-on-hand value, it’s both rare and a reason to reflect on the financial state of affairs. Especially since alarming reports such as David...

Gusher! KiOR starts production of US cellulosic biofuels at scale

Jim Lane The Lucas gusher at Spindletop Hill, South of Beaumont, TX. Jan 1, 1901.   500 ton per day wood biomass to biocrude plant commences oil production – the long wait for cellulosic biofuels at scale is over. “With a roar like a hundred express trains racing across the countryside, the well blew out, spewing oil in all directions.” Well, the startup of biocrude production at KiOR, Inc.’s (KIOR)Columbus plant arrived with less drama than the above-described gusher at Spindletop in 1901. And James Dean was nowhere to be...

Everything Going for KiOR – Just Not Very Fast

Jim Lane What’s up with the cellulosic biofuels leader? Good news, bad news? If you have ever spent any time reading up on ion thrusters a next-gen engine technology that NASA recently employed on the Dawn spacecraft you might chuckle when you think of the plight of poor KiOR (KIOR). The good news about ion thrusters is that they can ultimately achieve speeds of 200,000 miles per hour, ten times that of the Space Shuttle. The bad news is that the Dawn took four days to accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour. Yep, zero...

New York, New York!

While New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg was busy unveiling a package of measures aimed at making NYC green (including reducing CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030), the state's Governor, Eliot Spitzer, was making his reservations about corn ethanol known, as reported in the Globe & Mail. This adds yet one more (powerful) voice to the chorus of those skeptical about the viability of the corn ethanol industry. The article also notes that Dr. Dan Kammen, an influential Berkeley academic and advisor on climate change to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, is also among those who doubt that corn...

Voices from VODville: Lessons learned in the journey towards advanced biofuels

Jim Lane Mud/salt formations on the Badwater, Death Valley plain. Image by Daniel Mayer. What makes a winner in advanced biofuels? Five companies – Abengoa (ABGOY), INEOS Bio, Mascoma, Gevo (GEVO), and American Process reflect on the essential ingredients for success. “We are industrial technology businesses, making a commodity, we have to control costs everywhere and learn, learn, learn.” – American Process CEO Theodora Retsina You could call it VODville, VOD for valley of death that is – a stretch of hard desert that...

Playing Defense: Contamination and the jitter effect in advanced biofuels

Jim Lane Is evidence mounting that advanced biofuels companies need to tout their defensive schemes as much as their offense? Markets jitters suggest so. Kevin Quon wrote recently in Seeking Alpha, “the most essential attribute to the fuels market is the ability to scale the technology to the desired level needed.” Well put. In biofuels terms, that’s playing offense. Now, making sure that you are making an environment that’s safe for your target molecules and organisms, and as hostile as possible for everything else? That’s playing defense. Meanwhile, some evidence is piling up that...

Can KiOR Continue As A Going Concern?

Jim Lane Delayed 2013 results includes going concern statement. Future Khosla financing contingent on milestones. Default looms as soon as April. Financing after August unclear. In Texas, KiOR (KIOR) announced a $347.5M net loss for 2013, and issued a “going concern” statement that focused on its ability to raise future capital to sustain operations and build its next plant. In a 10-K filing with the SEC made today, the company said that “Currently, we have ceased work on a series of optimization projects and upgrades at the Columbus facility and are bringing the facility to an idle state,” and...

KiOR’s Columbus II: A New World of Profits?

Jim Lane One of biofuels’ hottest companies aims to accelerate path to break-even; is a shortfall in gallons produced in Q2 meaningful? In Texas, KiOR (KIOR) reported a Q2 loss of $38.5M, compared to a Q1 loss of $31.3M. on revenues of $239K, up from $71K in Q1. Net loss for the second quarter of 2012 totaled $23.0 million, or $0.22 per share. The biggest news coming out of the quarterly results is that the company is looking at an additional 500 dry ton/day facility, dubbed “Columbus II”, as an intermediate step between now and building its...