Ceres Focuses On Food & Feed After Bioenergy Disappoints

Jim Lane In California, Ceres (CERE) announced the a realignment of its business to focus on food and forage opportunities and biotechnology traits for sugarcane and other crops. As part of the realignment, the company will restructure its Brazilian seed operations and is exploring discussions with additional local partners and collaborators to support the continued development and commercialization of its technology in Brazil. Earlier, the Company announced that due to the economic challenges faced by the Brazilian ethanol industry as well as changes in the global energy market, it had expanded the number of market opportunities available for...

The Best Peak Oil Investments, Part V: Algae

Tom Konrad CFA There are many proposed solutions to the liquid fuels scarcity caused be stagnating (and eventually falling) oil supplies combined with growing demand in emerging economies.  Some will be good investments, others won't.  Here is where I'm putting my money, and why.  This fifth part takes a look at the growing consensus that our biofuels should come from non-food crops grown on land that is not otherwise productive, and the one crop that shows promise of delivering the high yields needed to satisfy our enormous thirst for fuel is algae. In part I of...

Philadelphia to bring ‘Green’ Energy to the World

Green Energy Resources, Inc. (GRGR) announced today the opening of a port facility in Philadelphia. The port will export up to 1 million tons annually of wood biomass internationally. The renewable energy industry has created an opportunity for the United States to become energy exporters. Philadelphia joins several other cities exporting wood biomass, including Cape Canaveral, Fla., Mobile, Ala., Wilmington, N.C., and Baltimore, Md. Green Energy Resources is looking to open facilities in New York, Tampa, Fla., and California in the future.

Forestry Stocks and ETFs: The Back Door to Cellulosic Biofuels Investing

Probably the safest way to invest in cellulosic biofuels is by investing in cellulosic feedstocks.  Two Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) make this easy and inexpensive, although three individual stocks give better exposure to just biomass. Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA It's the Biomass, Stupid! Although they have considerable political momentum, cellulosic ethanol and advanced biofuels are not the best way to use biomass in order to reduce carbon emissions.  Greater carbon reductions can be had at lower cost by cofiring the same biomass in existing coal plants.  If the goal is more ethanol to displace gasoline, wouldn't it make more...

GE Global Research to Lead DOE Projects in Production Of Hydrogen; Projects are Part...

GE Global Research, the centralized research organization of the General Electric Company (GE), announced that it was selected by the Department of Energy (DOE) to lead $11 million of research projects in the development of hydrogen as a fuel source. The programs are focused on near and long term solutions for the production of hydrogen with sustainable, clean technologies. GE Global Research will contribute approximately $2.5 million to the projects with the balance coming from DOE and other industry partners. This project plans to study the creation of hydrogen from solar water splitting, naturual gas/bio production, and...

The Farm Bill: 5-Minute Guide to the Energy Title

  Jim Lane Only 5 min BigStock Photo What’s in that Durn-tootin’ US Farm Bill, anyhow? For the harried taxpayer, some relief. For energy security and rural economic development, targeted investments that now head to the legislative floor. Here are the need-to-knows. In Washington, the House and Senate Agricultural committees have now passed their respective versions of the proposed 2013 farm bill, which would take effect for fiscal 2014 through fiscal 2018. Both bills have energy titles meaning that, should they find passage, as expected this summer,...
crops

Marrone Bio Innovations: Answers for Agricultural Angst

by Debra Fiakas, CFA The world needs more food.   At least more of the food produced in the world’s fields needs to end up in the mouths of humans and their animal friends.  According to the United Nations, the world’s farmers produce enough food to feed everyone, yet over 800 million people routinely go hungry.  This is due in part to the ancient and ongoing practice of selecting plants for high yield.  The consequence is a selection of highly homogenous food crops.  There are thousands of edible plants growing on Planet Earth, but only a dozen crops account for 75% of all human calories.  Lack of...

Another State Mandate for Alternative Energy

Right on the heels of Colorado passing Amendment 37, Pennsylvania is waiting for State House approval on the passage of their own legislation mandating clean energy production. This new bill states that by 2020, utilities would be required to provide 18 percent of the electricity used in Pennsylvania from alternative sources, like wind, solar and waste coal. Wind should be the big winner for this region.

Cosan: Brazillian Sweetheart

by Debra Fiakas CFA The first thing we think about Brazil in the context of alternative energy is sugar cane and ethanol. In the last growing season Brazil producer 596 million tons of sugar cane, a feat that secured Brazil’s position as the largest sugar cane grower in the world.  About 55% of the crop was used to producer ethanol and the balance ended up as sugar.  Brazil’s sugar cane industry association has predicted that despite a severe drought, the 2014-2015 growing season will be even more productive with expected sugar cane production in the range 632...

Bagasse – the Big Prize

Jim Lane Like MSW? You’ll love bagasse. Lot of the advantages of waste, and there’s a lot more available.  Heaps of bagasse, covered with blue plastic, outside of a sugar mill in Proserpine, Queensland.  Image via Wikipedia. Sugar’s the new oil, DOE Secretary Steven Chu is fond of saying. Codexis agrees, but argues that sugarcane residue (instead of competing for cane syrup) is the path to the real riches. Petroleum – we all know what it is, but what does...

PetroAlgae’s IPO: The 10-Minute Version

Jim Lane Can PetroAlgae find a market for its feed among the aficionados of alfalfa and fishmeal, with fuels on the side? In its recent IPO revision, it says “sure can”. In Florida, PetroAlgae (PALG.PK) has filed a massive revision to its S-1 registration for a proposed initial public offering. The company is currently ranked #55th in the world among the Hottest Companies in Bioenergy. The rankings recognize innovation and achievement in fuels and are based on votes from a panel of invited international selectors, and votes from Digest subscribers. PetroAlgae, which in the year...

Biogas-Fueled MicroTurbine Energy Systems to Debut in India

Capstone Turbine Corp (CPST) has been selected to provide a biogas-to-energy demonstration project in West Bengal, India. The project is expected to be online mid-2005. It will be the first installation of Capstone MicroTurbine(TM) energy systems in India. The project will encompass two new anaerobic digesters (which create biogas from manure), gas pre-treatment equipment, two Capstone C30 systems and a microgrid to export power.

Ceres and Syngenta to Promote Sorghum in Brazil

Jim Lane Ceres, Inc. (CERE) and Syngenta sign a major deal to stimulate sweet sorghum adoption. Brazilian producers seek paths for expanding ethanol production. What are sorghum’s chances of being the darling of the expansion story? In California, Ceres, Inc. (CERE) announced that it has signed a sweet sorghum market development agreement with Syngenta. The companies will work together to support the introduction of sweet sorghum as a source of fermentable sugars at Brazil’s 400 or more ethanol mills. Under the agreement, Syngenta and Ceres intend to collaborate on small-scale trials as well as larger demonstration-scale...

Colorado Voters Approve Amendment 37

Colorado voters have approved an amendment requiring utilities to get part of their electricity from the sun, wind or plant and animal waste. The amendment requires the state's seven largest utilities to get a portion of their retail electricity sales from renewables, beginning with 3 percent in 2007 and climbing to 10 percent by 2015. Four percent of the renewables should be solar sources.

Syntroleum and Sustec Announce Coal-to-Liquids Joint Venture

Syntroleum Corp (SYNM) announced today that they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that provides for exclusive joint business development of projects that will integrate Sustec's FUTURE ENERGY GSP® gasification technology with Syntroleum's Fischer-Tropsch (FT) and Synfining® technology. The joint venture is aimed at converting coal and other carbonaceous materials such as petroleum-coke, residual fuel oil and biomass into ultra-clean fuels. Each company will own 50 percent of the joint venture.

Rentech After Fischer-Tropsch

by Debra Fiakas CFA A long article appearing in early March 2014 on Biofuels Digest about Emerging Fuels Technology (EFT) gave me pause.  The article has since been removed from the site but it was an interesting primer on Oklahoma-based EFT’s use of the Fischer-Tropsch process to convert carbon-based feedstock to liquid fuel, otherwise called Gas-to-Liquids. While Emerging Fuels Technology has been listed in Crystal Equity Research’s Alternative Chemicals Group of the Beach Boys Index of companies trying to harness energy from the sun through biomas, I must admit the company had not been taken seriously.  ...
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