They see three key waves of biodiesel development over the next several years:
* Fuels based on waste greases will reach market in 2010.
* Jatropha-based fuels will begin having a significant impact on the market in 2014. Jatropha are plants native to Latin America that produced oil used to make biofuels in other countries.
* Algae-based biodiesel will achieve commercial availability in 2012, Pike Research predicts, and will have a larger market impact beginning in 2016.
Twelve firms that are leading the way with new biofuel technology are featured below. [after the jump]
Verenium’s Commercial Development team is actively working on developing a series of projects for 30 to 60 million gallon per year commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facilities in the US Gulf region. Verenium expects to continue to advance a pipeline of multiple sites, and to have its first commercial plant ready for construction by the middle of 2009.
Verenium’s 1.4 million gallon per year (MGY) cellulosic ethanol plant in Jennings, LA is the first true demonstration-scale plant in the USA capable of producing ethanol from non-food cellulosic biomass sources. feedstocks: Sugarcane bagasse, dedicated energy crops, wood products and switchgrass
2. POET Energy POET, the largest ethanol producer in the world, is a leader in biorefining through its efficient, vertically integrated approach to production. The 20-year-old company produces more than 1.54 billion gallons of ethanol annually from 26 production facilities nationwide.
Project LIBERTY is a 25 million gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol plant, which will be built in Emmetsburg, Iowa. Research and development work is on schedule for the plant to begin production in 2011.
In February 2009, Mascoma announced that its pilot facility in Rome, NY had begun
producing cellulosic ethanol.
5. Range Fuels
Range Fuels has been operating a first-of-its-kind fully integrated thermo-chemical conversion pilot plant at its Development Center in Denver, Colorado since the first quarter of 2008, successfully converting wood from Colorado pine beetle kill and Georgia pine and hardwoods into renewable fuels using a two-step process.
On January 19, 2009 Range Fuels, Inc. announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded the company a conditional commitment for an $80 million loan guarantee to assist construction of Range Fuels’ commercial cellulosic ethanol plant near Soperton, Georgia, the first phase of which is under construction and on track to begin production in 2010.
The Soperton Plant will initially use wood from nearby timber operations and leftover wood residue over time. Construction on the first phase of the plant is scheduled to be completed by the first quarter of 2010, with the production of ethanol and methanol at a run rate of less than 10 million gallons per year to follow in the second quarter of 2010. At full-scale, the Soperton Plant is permitted to produce 100 million gallons of ethanol and methanol each year
Coskata’s process can utilize virtually any carbon-containing feedstock. This includes cellulose-based energy crops such as switchgrass, wood chips, agricultural residues (bagasse, corn stover, etc.) as well as waste streams such as old tires and municipal solid waste. Feedstock flexibility allows the Coskata process to utilize non-food, locally abundant raw materials. Our process is best optimized within facilities that are ~50 million gallons per year or larger, requiring roughly 1500+ dry tons of material per day. Although technically feasible, smaller facilities are more costly to develop making them less economical. Our process can scale to much larger sizes, with size being limited only by the amount of available feedstock in a local area. The Coskata process yields up to a 7.7 net energy balance which compares favorably to the 1.3 net energy balance reported for corn based ethanol.
7. Radian Bioenergy
9. SG Biofuels : Jatropha leader
10. D1 Oils : biodiesel
11. Aurora Biofuels
Aurora Biofuels combines the latest in biotechnology and process engineering to create a pathway for the cost-effective mass production of algae based biofuels.
The company is actively scaling its technology for industrial production and expects to complete a 20-acre demonstration plant in 2010 and achieve full commercial production in 2012.
12. Sapphire Energy
Sapphire Energy has developed a revolutionary, patented platform of sunlight, CO2, photosynthetic microorganisms (algae), non-potable water and non-arable land to produce a renewable and scalable low-carbon alternative to petrochemical-based processes and products. By 2011, Sapphire Energy will be producing 1 million gallons of diesel and jet fuel per year, double its initial estimates. By 2018, the number, increases to more than 100 million gallons annually; and by 2025, the company will be producing up to 1 billion gallons of fuel per year. This means Sapphire alone will be supplying enough fuel to meet approximately 3 percent of the country’s 36 billion gallon renewable fuel standard.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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