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Red Orbit  Oct 8  Comment 
Provided by Philippa Walker, University of Bristol New research by scientists at the University of Bristol has challenged one of the key axioms in biology - that enzymes need water to function. The breakthrough could eventually lead to the...
SeekingAlpha  Oct 6  Comment 
By Tom Konrad, CFA: FutureFuel Corp. (NYSE:FF) manufactures chemicals, biofuels (mostly biodiesel), and other biobased products. About 60% of revenues have historically come from the Chemicals unit, with the balance of 40% coming from the...
DailyFinance  Sep 11  Comment 
Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:REGI) Chief Financial Officer Chad Stone will become the next chair of the Iowa Biodiesel Board, the Association announced today. Stone, who has served on IBB’s nine member executive...
StreetInsider.com  Sep 10  Comment 
Visit StreetInsider.com at http://www.streetinsider.com/Corporate+News/Methes+Energies+MEIL%29+Reports+Record+Biodiesel+Production+in+August/9821107.html for the full story.
WA Business News  Sep 1  Comment 
Subiaco-based Mission NewEnergy has sold its Kuantan Port biodiesel refinery for $24 million to a newly-formed joint venture company in which it will retain a 20 per cent stake.
Biomass Magazine  Aug 22  Comment 
Renewables' share of electricity generation in the U.K. consisted of a record 19.4 percent share in Q1 2014, up 6.9 percent from the same quarter in 2013, according to U.K. energy trend statistics released by the U.K. DECC.
The Hindu Business Line  Aug 19  Comment 
My Eco Energy (MEE), a Pune-based company engaged in the manufacture and distribution of bio-fuels, has launched its first bio-diesel station at Lonikand near Pune. The bio-diesel brande...
Motley Fool  Aug 12  Comment 
With more retailers being incented to offer biodiesel, and regular diesel becoming nearly extinct for owners of diesel-fueled cars, it is important to ask whether biodiesel actually helps or harms diesel-fueled vehicles. And are the environment...
Motley Fool  Aug 7  Comment 
The nation's largest biodiesel producer is investing in future growth projects but still cannot shake short-term worries.




 
TOP CONTRIBUTORS
Biodiesel is a nearly perfect substitute to petroleum derived diesel fuel. It is derived from the transesterification of biogenic oils such as vegetable oil and animal fats. The US biodiesel industry is burgeoning- it has tripled each year during the past few years. So much so, in fact, that vegetable oil prices, which account for around 80% of production costs, have almost become prohibitive to biodiesel's production as demand for biogenic oils - mainly soybean, palm, and rapeseed (canola) - has pushed their prices to unprofitable levels. Biodiesel has a well defined place in a sustainable energy portfolio, but the nascent biodiesel industry has a long way to go.

State of the Industry

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Recent Soybean Oil Prices

The National Biodiesel Board(NBB) just published the latest US biodiesel capacity numbers. 148 existing plants are reported (up from 105 in January 2007), for a total of 1.39 billion gallons/year of capacity. 96 new projects, and 5 expansions are currently underway, which will account for 1.89 billion gpy of capacity when they come online by the end of 2008. Here are the maps: existing and in construction.

The total is 3.28 billion gallons. This is a nameplate capacity: the output possible when running 24/7, 350 days/year. Collectively, US biodiesel plants run at about 25% of their capacity, a severe underutilization of assets. To put that 3.28 billion gallons per year capacity in perspective, at full capacity it would replace 5.1% of US diesel consumption, take up 126% of US soy oil production, take up 113% of all US vegetable oil production, and take up 84% of all US animal fat and vegetable oil production.

Future Developments

Food for Fuel

Clearly, biodiesel demand pushes up food prices. High oil prices, and subsequently biofuel prices, will cause food prices to rise, potentially pricing out poor people. This effect is well recognized, and many countries, including China, have set limitations on biofuels to combat the possibility of hunger problems resulting from biofuels.

Carbon Credits

Biodiesel reduces carbon dioxide emissions significantly- 70% is a frequently quoted percentage reduction of carbon emissions. The reduction won't approach 100% any time soon- it takes fertilizers, diesel tractors, petroleum powered transportation measures, and methanol to get biodiesel to the pump. However, [Carbon Trading] has the potential to benefit biodiesel producers immensely- on an energy basis, substituting a gallon equivalent of biodiesel for diesel (biodiesel has about 92% of the energy content of petroleum diesel) saves about 6.5 kg of CO2 emissions. It takes about 150 gallons to eliminate a metric ton (mt, or 1000kg) of CO2 emissions, making the roughly $4/mt carbon credit that the Chicago Climate Exchange offers reduce the price of a gallon of biodiesel by a mere 2.6 cents. To eliminate the need for the $1/gallon subsidy currently in place, the price of a ton of CO2 would have to be about $150.

Alternative Feedstocks

In its current form, the biodiesel market scope is small. For the long term, soybean, rapeseed, and palm biodiesel are not great solutions: soybean and rapeseed crops compete with food and have low oil/area yields relative to plants like palm and jatropha. Palm oil is a great feedstock, however it is currently being developed in a highly unsustainable form: deforesting land for palm oil production. It takes many decades to recapture the carbon emitted from forest destruction by planting biodiesel crops. Renewable fuels must become globally traded commodities if they are to have any significant impact on the world's energy portfolio.

Who stands to benefit

Companies who have their hands in jatropha plantations and those with logistics favorable to an international oilcrop market.

Who stands to lose

Companies in the middle of Iowa.

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