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Genencor receives award for biomass enzymes

Genencor is the recipient of the Frost & Sullivan 2009 New Product Innovation Award for Biomass Enzymes. The award was granted for Genencor’s Accellerase product line, enzymes used to convert biomass into sugar, a critical step in the production of cellulosic ethanol and other advanced biofuels and biochemicals. The Accellerase product line provides feedstock and pre-treatment flexibility, better process economics, accessory products, and versatility, which are all significant advantages.

“In the wake of the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the worldwide drive for alternative, renewable fuels to help combat climate change is greater than ever,” said Philippe Lavielle, executive vice president of business development for Genencor. “We are thrilled to be part of this international effort and honored to accept this award from Frost & Sullivan.”

EPA recognizes POET, city of Sioux Falls for landfill gas project

In a ceremony on January 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency honored the city of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and POET for a landfill gas project that offsets significant energy for process steam at POET Biorefining – Chancellor.

The city’s 11-mile pipeline, completed in February 2009, transports methane from waste at the Sioux Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill to the Chancellor ethanol plant. That methane, in conjunction with a waste wood boiler, produces process steam for ethanol production. POET pays the city for the methane, providing a revenue source from gas that had previously been flared at the landfill.

“This has been an excellent partnership that continues to grow,” said Sioux Falls Mayor Dave Munson. “We’re honored by this national recognition, and we’re committed to doing even more to take advantage of the opportunities presented by our landfill gas project.”

UNICA urges Brazil to make ethanol blend reduction temporary

The Brazilian government has made a decision to reduce the anhydrous ethanol content of the nation’s gasoline from 25 percent to 20 percent. The announcement was made on January 11 in Brazil, and the measure takes effect on February 1 for a period of 90 days.

UNICA, the Brazilian sugarcane industry association, is urging the government to abide by the established 90-day period.

Hydrous ethanol is pure ethanol (E100) used in flex-fuel vehicles, which run on any mix of ethanol and gasoline. The blend reduction involves anhydrous ethanol, which is the type of ethanol that is mixed with gasoline. While hydrous ethanol contains about 5 percent water content, anhydrous ethanol is virtually water-free. Under Brazilian federal law, the anhydrous ethanol content of all gasoline sold in the country must be between 20 percent and 25 percent.

UNICA's Technical Director, Antonio de Padua Rodrigues, noted that the government should be praised for its open dialogue with the industry and for setting a timeframe for the measure, with reinstatement of the 25 percent blend happening as the sugarcane industry launches what will be the largest sugarcane harvest in Brazil's history.

"UNICA has always advocated policies that give consumers options. Over the last few years, Brazilian consumers have opted to buy flex-fuel cars so they can chose at the pump which fuel they want to put in their car. Hydrous ethanol, not gasoline – be it with 20 or 25 percent anhydrous ethanol – has been the fuel of choice in Brazil because of its competitive prices and environmental benefits. We expect that trend to continue, hopefully not just in Brazil but around the world," said UNICA's Chief Representative for North America, Joel Velasco.

Iogen doubles cellulosic ethanol production

In early January, Iogen Corporation announced that its cellulosic ethanol production in 2009 topped 581,000 liters (153,483 gallons), more than doubling the firm’s 2008 fuel production, and surpassing the one million liter (264,172 gallons) mark in cumulative production since 2004.

“ Iogen remains at the technological forefront of cellulosic ethanol development. We’ve been operating our demonstration facility since 2004, and today's production achievement is a clear demonstration of our technology and the viability of commercial scale production ,” said Brian Foody, Chief Executive Officer of Iogen. “Now that we have achieved this milestone, we will continue down a path toward growth, delivering results that enhance value for our partners, and continue to lead in the dynamic cellulosic ethanol industry.”

ScottMadden, Ascendant Partners join forces to help renewable energy companies obtain funding

ScottMadden Inc. and Ascendant Partners Inc. have joined forces to help renewable energy companies secure project finance. Both firms have worked on numerous DOE and USDA loan guarantee applications, advanced energy tax credits, and other production and investment tax credit applications. In addition to their application experience, they are certified loan application reviewers for the DOE.

“By combining our industry, management consulting, and investment banking expertise, our firms have the ability to hit the ground running and quickly adapt to a company’s situation. Additionally, we can help our clients quickly assess whether these funding paths will work for them,” said Mark Warren, Ascendant Partners, Inc.

Hawkeye Renewables files for bankruptcy projection

Hawkeye Renewables has filed for reorganization under chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in Delaware. The company owns and operates ethanol plants in Iowa Falls and Fairbank, Iowa. The ethanol plants are open for business and are buying corn as usual, and in a press statement the company says it fully expects all corn suppliers to be paid in full under normal terms for current and future contracts, as well as continuing to meet all sales commitments to ethanol and distillers grain customers.

Hawkeye Energy’s subsidiaries, including Hawkeye Growth, which owns and operates ethanol plants in Menlo and Shell Rock, Iowa, and Hawkeye Gold, which is responsible for marketing ethanol and distillers grain, are not part of the reorganization and are unaffected by the filing.

“The U.S. biofuels industry is going through a period of historic change, and we are taking the necessary steps to position our business units to succeed in a dynamic and sometimes volatile business environment,” said Bruce Rastetter, CEO of Hawkeye Energy Holdings. “The ethanol industry was severely affected in 2008 and 2009 by unprecedented volatility in commodity prices and margins. While the market for ethanol has stabilized and financial performance has improved in recent months, it nevertheless became clear that a restructuring of the Renewables unit’s balance sheet would be necessary for the company to compete effectively in the future.”

Novozymes receives tax credit to advance biofuels production, create jobs

Novozymes has received an Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit of $28.4 million from the Obama Administration for the construction of its new enzyme manufacturing facility in Blair, Nebraska. The facility, which will produce enzymes used to make advanced biofuels, will create more than 100 green jobs for the state.

“We believe our selection for this tax credit is a reflection of the tremendous potential of advanced biofuels to create green jobs and contribute to meaningful reduction of greenhouse gases in the near-term,” said Adam Monroe, President of Novozymes North America. “Novozymes applauds the continued support of the Obama Administration to further the development of clean energy technologies like advanced biofuels.”

The tax credit awarded to Novozymes is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In order to foster investment and job creation in clean energy manufacturing, the Act included a tax credit for investments in manufacturing facilities for clean energy technologies. The blending facility at the Novozymes site became operational as of November 2009 and is currently shipping enzymes to customers globally. The facility is expected to be fully operational in mid-2012.

Pacific Ethanol resumes production at Idaho ethanol plant

Pacific Ethanol announced in early January that it has resumed production at its 60 million gallon per year Magic Valley facility located in Burley, Idaho. In February 2009, ethanol production was suspended there due to unfavorable market conditions. In May 2009, the company’s subsidiaries, which own four of its ethanol facilities, file voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in an effort to restructure their indebtedness.

In December 2009, the company obtained necessary court and lender approvals to resume operations at the Magic Valley facility. The plan has completed all necessary safety and startup activities and is now producing and selling ethanol and feed products.

"We are pleased to restart our Magic Valley facility and we are grateful for the cooperation our lenders and other stakeholders have extended," said Neil Koehler, Pacific Ethanol’s Chief Executive Officer, "The restart of the facility has also been well received by the local community."

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The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industry�s hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanol�s carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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