Biochar’s Likely Market Impacts

Biochar is still mostly a research and cottage industry, yet it has the potential to impact returns for a broad range of investors. Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Biochar, or amending soil with biomass-derived carbon, shows great potential to improve the productivity of soils, as well as to increase the utilization of fertilizers by plants, while sequestering carbon to reduce the drivers of climate change.  On August 10, I went to the 2009 North American Biochar Conference to look at the potential for investors.  Before I went, I took a look at the publicly traded companies...
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Biofuels & Biobased Earnings Roundup: Novozymes

by Jim Lane The Top Line. In Denmark, Novozymes (Copenhagen:NZYM-B; OTC:NVZMY) reported 4% organic sales growth for the first half and a 5 percent jump in Q2 with bioenergy reporting a 14% jump. Overall, net profit grew 5% and the company affirmed its 2018 guidance. Sales dipped to DKK 7,018m from DKK 7,278m, and EBITDA was flat at DKK 2,464m, although we primarily attribute that to currency shifts. The Big Highlights. Growth in Food & Beverages and Agriculture & Feed; Bioenergy particularly strong. Good ramp-up of recent product launches. +7% organic sales growth in emerging markets; Freshness & hygiene platform in Household Care developing according to...
Methanex MEOH logo

Bargain Priced Alternative Energy Stocks

A review of Crystal Equity Research’s novel alternative energy indices found a number of companies that have delivered exceptional price appreciation over the last year.  Several were reviewed in the recent post “Alternative Returns” on May 8th.  Expectations for growth appeared to be driving the price movement, so the last post “Quest for Growth” featured four companies from the indices for which analysts have posted high growth predictions.  Not unexpectedly some investors have already bid higher the stocks of those promising companies. In this post we go back to the lists to find the companies with both high growth predictions and low price-earnings...
Neste renewable diesel

Neste Sells 1 Billionth Gallon of Renewable Diesel

Neste reaches 1B gallons renewable diesel sale, runs in fire trucks, ambulances and school vehicles In Texas, Neste U.S., Inc. (NEF.F, NESTE.HE, NTOIF, NTOIY) is celebrating its 1 billionth gallon of Neste MY Renewable Diesel sold in North America which has effectively helped reduce more than seven million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in the Earth’s atmosphere. This is the equivalent of removing 1.6 million passenger vehicles from the road for one year. “There’s never been a better time to take a closer look at the steps we’re taking to ensure we’re leaving our planet in a healthier state for future generations,”...

Gevo and Los Alamos To Collaborate on High Energy Denisity Biofuels

by Jim Lane News has emerged from Gevo (GEVO) in Colorado and New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Lab that the two will collaborate to improve the energy density of Gevo hydrocarbon products to meet product specifications for tactical fuels for specialized military applications such as RJ-4, RJ-6 and JP-10, which are currently purchased by the US Department of Defense (DoD). High energy-density fuels are currently used in air and sea-launched cruise missiles used by the US military forces. If this project is successful in scaling the fuels cost-effectively, there may be an even broader application in the general aviation sector, enabling higher energy density jet...
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Rapidly Growing Alternative Energy Companies

The last post highlighted several companies in the alternative energy, conservation and environment technology fields that have delivered exceptional price performance over the last year.  Prospects for growth in sales or earnings appeared to be key drivers of the price movement.  It makes sense to seek indicators of growth as cues for those companies that may become tomorrow’s price movers. Crystal Equity Research’s novel alternative energy indices were a good place to go on a ‘quest for growth.’ Beach Boys Index  -  Biodiesel The two analysts who publish estimates for Renewable Energy Group (REGI:  Nasdaq)apparently expect a surge in growth in the current year followed by a leveling...
To Renewable Diesel

Conversions To Renewable Diesel

by Helena Tavares Kennedy The seasons are changing in many parts of the world right now, but what really is changing this autumn is how the world is looking at renewable diesel. Phillips 66 and REG’s announcement about a new renewable diesel plant on the U.S. West Coast planned for 2021 comes after a notable increase in refineries that are being converted and changed over to renewable diesel. Change is good, especially in this case. As Bob Dylan sang, “For the loser now, Will be later to win, For the times they are a-changin’.” And who knew he was singing about the RFS...
REG factory closure

Another Biodiesel Plant Gets The Axe. Here’s Why.

by Jim Lane In another small but sharp blow to the Trump Administration’s strategy for American manufacturing revival, news arrives from Texas of a second smaller biodiesel shuttering owing to “ challenging business conditions and continued federal policy uncertainty,” as Renewable Energy Group (REGI) phrased it in announcing the closure of its15 million gallons per year New Boston, Texas biorefinery.  The company is currently working with plant employees on relocation opportunities within the production network. The tax credit issue The forces impacting the US biodiesel industry at present are complex, but REG in this case is pointing the blame at the biodiesel tax...
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US Ethanol Industry Upset With 2019 Renewable Fuel Standard Proposal

The 2019 proposed US Renewable Fuel Standard proposed volumes attracted a major raspberry from the ethanol industry. As the American Coalition for Ethanol noted: “Unfortunately, EPA continues to take actions which undermine the letter and spirit of the statute and harm the rural economy. While refiners are reporting double-digit profits, the heart of America is being left behind. Farmers are losing money while refiners have the best of both worlds: fat profit margins and minimal RFS compliance costs. EPA needs to discard its refiner-win-at-all-costs mentality and get the RFS back on track.” “While the proposed rule purports to maintain the 15-billion-gallon conventional...
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...
Refinery exemptions RFS

Did Trump’s EPA Cost Corn Growers $3.65 Billion In 2017?

by Jim LaneIn Washington, new evidence has appeared that a Trump Administration shift on US low carbon fuel policy may have cost US corn growers an estimated $3.65 billion. The mechanism? A secretive effort by Administration officials installed at the US Environmental Protection Agency that destroyed an estimated 1.37 billion gallons of annual demand for low-carbon renewable fuels, in favor of fossil fuels. Officials at the agency exploited a loophole in US low carbon fuel legislation that allows small oil refineries to gain hardship waivers in cases of severe distress from complying in full with US low carbon fuel laws.  Now, evidence...
butanol

Biofuels Rocking The Boats (and Ships)

Companies that rock the boat often end up leading the way for others. While some companies have paved the way for road transportation and others reached high in the sky for aviation, there are some big boats out there that are also looking for alternative renewable fuels. Here are some companies that are answering the call for the maritime and shipping sectors with viable biofuel alternatives, the technologies and innovations, the rough waves that still lie ahead, and how they can reach that destination on the horizon. Gevo and Butanol We start with Gevo (GEVO) and their butanol. Why butanol? It...

A Decade Of Unexpected Curves In The Bioeconomy

By Jim Lane Over the years we’ve all seen a lot of curveballs in the advanced bioeconomy. You see companies like Valero, which lobby the United States Congress with unbridled intensity to get rid of the Renewable Fuel Standard, on the verge of becoming the single-biggest producer of RINs in the United States (with news that they might take capacity at Diamond Green Diesel up to 540 million gallons). You see companies like Solazyme which love the Renewable Fuel Standard and drive up to nearly a billion-dollar post-IPO valuation based on delivering fuels at volume, then announcing that there are even...

Green Plains’ Cattle Drive

As quickly as the ethanol producer jumped into the cattle business, Green Plains (GPRE:  Nasdaq) has sold off half of its Green Plains Cattle Company to a group of investment funds for $77 million.  Operating at six locations in Colorado, Kansas, Texas and Missouri, the company has the capacity to feed 355,000 head of cattle each year.  The cattle business contributed $271 million to total revenue in the most recently reported quarter ending June 2019, delivering a modest operating profit near $7.3 million. There has been considerable stress in the feed cattle industry.  The number of cattle in feedlots is down compared to last year, an unusual development...

EPA Reneges on Trump’s Biofuels Deal

by Jim Lane “EPA Reneges on Trump’s Biofuels Deal”, said the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association in reacting to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s new plans for fulfilling federal renewable fuel requirements. EPA released a proposed supplemental rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard today, and the bioeconomy is up in arms, and the outrage is centered in farm country, once a Trump bastion of support. “IRFA members continue to stand by President Trump’s strong biofuels deal announced on Oct. 4, which was worked out with our elected champions and provided the necessary certainty that 15 billion gallons would mean 15 billion gallons, even after...
lump of coal

Biofuel Industry Reacts To EPA New Renewable Fuel Standard

Yay or Nay for EPA? RFS Volumes out for 2020, Biodiesel for 2021 – What’s the reaction from industry? by Jim Lane What’s the reaction from industry? Coal for Christmas? Should Santa bring coal for EPA’s stocking this year? Do the biofuels and agriculture industries think the EPA just put coal in their stocking? Is it thumbs up or thumbs down from biofuel industry advocates on last week’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency renewable fuel volumes? What about the exempted volumes? The Ruling – Rotten or Respectable? First, a bit on the EPA ruling that establishes the required renewable volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for...
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