Biofuels Headline Newsletter

Biofuels Headline - May 2012

Headline - Biofuels Newsletter
   May 2012                                                                       unsubscribe | update profile | forward to a friend   

Biofuels Image of the Month
Secretary Vilsack and Center President Burke
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (top) addresses the audience at the Biofuels Center's Growing Renewable Biofuels: Smart Resources Support Our Vision event on North Carolina's Biofuels Campus in Oxford (3 May 2012). In the speech, he referred to North Carolina as a national leader in biofuels development, prompting reporters to interview Center president and CEO Steven Burke (bottom) about momentum in the state. Click here to watch a highlight video of the event, or click here to listen to Secretary Vilsack's speech in its entirety.
Biofuels Industry Spotlight

 Formed in 1996, ThermoChem Recovery International, Inc. (TRI) is a global leader in commercializing the thermochemical biorefinery platform, specifically the development of thermally integrated biomass-to-liquid fuels facilities. Such integrated biorefineries fit particularly well at pulp and paper mills because of the mills’ existing abilities to gather and process biomass, create and use energy from biomass, and provide valuable capital-intensive infrastructure.

In support of two U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-funded biorefinery projects, TRI designed, constructed, and oversees a fully-integrated, thermochemical biorefinery process demonstration unit (PDU)—its third pilot facility—which is currently operating at Southern Research Institute’s Durham energy park facility. At the Durham PDU, TRI has successfully produced Fischer-Tropsch (FT) diesel fuel from all-biomass feedstocks. In a worldwide first for a plant of this size and biomass-to-liquids (BTL) configuration, no natural gas is added to the process, making all of the energy produced entirely fossil fuel-free.

TRI’s proprietary pulse-enhanced steam reforming gasification system was developed with more than $50 million of R&D investment from the DOE, the California Energy Commission, the pulp and paper industry, and private investors. This proprietary gasification process converts cellulosic feedstocks into syngas, which can be converted into biofuels.

The Biofuels Center is working with TRI to evaluate the potential for improved FT economics based on alternatives and additive options to woody biomass, which includes developing work with renewable jet fuels. TRI will soon run its Durham PDU to evaluate Switchgrass and other energy grasses as feedstock for biofuels production. Additionally, the Center and TRI are interested in mixed-feedstock performances and economics—including mixtures of municipal solid waste (MSW), wood chips, and other waste materials—and are gearing up for Durham PDU trials during 2012. The Center and TRI will focus the results for commercial projects in North Carolina.

For more information, visit


Biofuels Center News

 USDA Secretary Vilsack visits Biofuels Center of North Carolina to speak on future of industry (Biofuels Journal)
With representatives from the farming community, technology companies, engineering companies, fuel manufacturers, distributors, and other industry advocates present, he praised the leadership of North Carolina in building a more secure energy future... 

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Secretary Vilsack: NC a 'national leader' in biofuels
Secretary Vilsack specifically addressed North Carolina's model of fully integrating the supply chain for biofuels...

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Center CEO featured on News 14 Carolina 
News 14 Carolina conducted an interview with Center president and CEO Steven Burke about the significance of North Carolina's biofuels sector at their studio in Raleigh... 

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Center publishes report, 'Four Years On and Growing Strong'
The report addresses questions about how the Center, in just more than four years, has moved bold vision and legislative policy to reality and methodically initiated its large mandate...

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Oxford Biodiesel Plant begins operation on North Carolina's Biofuels Campus
In addition to being a working biodiesel plant, the facility will serve as an educational resource to farmers and the public...

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North Carolina Biofuels News


Novozymes marks completion of new enzyme plant (Lincoln Journal Star)
With its North American headquarters based in Franklinton, N.C., Novozymes completed a $200 million enzyme plant to supply the biofuels industry...

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NC leads way in biodiesel access (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
Of the 347 private-access biodiesel stations across the nation, nearly a third are in North Carolina...

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NC-based fuel pump manufacturer expands family of dispensers (Gilbarco Veeder-Root)
Greensboro, N.C.-based Gilbarco Veeder-Root has expanded its selection of fuel pumps with its new multi-hose hybrid blender...

+ Read More launches 'I Want Biofuels' location map
By requesting biofuels on the site, consumer interest and feedback could provide the incentive to filling station owners to add biofuels pumps...

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News Around the Globe

US warplanes can fly faster, carry more payload using biofuels (Biofuels Digest)
New tests conducted at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base have revealed that American warplanes are capable of flying faster and carrying more payload on missions when flying with synthetic fuels, including biofuels, compared to conventional military jet fuels made from petroleum...   

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 US tech firm to begin testing high-ratio aviation biofuels ( 
Since aviation regulators first approved the use of biofuels in commercial flights last summer, several major airlines have conducted trial flights using a mix of petroleum-based fuel and fuel derived from crops... 

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Company touts $60-a-barrel FT biogasoline technology (Energy Digital)
Through the conversion of biomass into high-octane gasoline, Primus Green Energy Ltd. can create drop-in gasoline that is virtually indistinguishable from gasoline produced from fossil fuels... 

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American Ethanol to sponsor NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races (Oskaloosa News) 
With all of the top series of NASCAR running on E15 racing fuel, American Ethanol will sponsor both truck races this year...

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Biofuels Education Spotlight

Through a congressionally supported endeavor, professors from UNC-Pembrokeworking with a research team at North Carolina A&T—are collaborating on the “Development of an Economic and Efficient Biodiesel Production Process," a three-year project. Among several goals, the project aims to develop a small-scale biodiesel reactor which will demonstrate that local farmers can produce biodiesel from seed grown as winter crops in their own fields. Project team members will also develop a new, easily recoverable and reusable catalyst for biodiesel production. In addition, the project aims to inform university students and local farmers about the advantages of alternative energy through several channels, including the development of education opportunities at UNC-Pembroke.

The project’s research component has yielded several heterogeneous catalysts, prepared and tested by the North Carolina A&T team, which achieve greater than a 95-percent conversion rate of oil to biodiesel. Currently, the project is in the process of reaction optimization for the homogenous catalyst and expects to have the reaction conditions for the design of the homogeneous reactor by the end of this summer.

Regarding the project’s outreach component, two workshops for farmers and agricultural extension agents were convened, featuring presentations and discussions on crop cultivation and biodiesel production. During the second half of the project period, the team will develop an online course on biodiesel production at UNC-Pembroke and complete an economic analysis of process, which will allow farmers to understand the initial investments required and potential advantages and savings from biodiesel production.

To learn more about this project, visit


Biofuels Wiki Recent Updates

The Biofuels Wiki is a one-stop, collaborative site where reliable knowledge about liquid renewable fuels can be found—think of it as a biofuels encyclopedia on the Internet. To add or edit content on the site, click here to register.

Harvesting of Arundo donax
Equipment manufacturers and suppliers are developing equipment that can harvest Arundo donax such as in the following videos...

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Hill Oil Company
Hill Oil Company was founded in 1946 and has grown into one of the most diversified petroleum marketers in the Southeast...

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The Biltmore Company
Today this company is a diversified corporation comprising residential, commercial, and retail divisions....

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Red Star Fuel Oil Company
Red Star is a jobber handling lubricants, fuels, and assorted motor oils...

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biofuels center logo newsletter The Biofuels Center of North Carolina is developing a sustainable, statewide biofuels industry to reduce North Carolina’s dependence on imported liquid fuels and to create jobs. The goal is to replace 10 percent of the state’s liquid fuel consumption with locally grown and produced biofuels. Find out more at
  Did You Know?
Without the U.S. biofuels industry, it is estimated that today's gasoline would cost American drivers an additional 80 cents to $1.30 per gallon. (Source: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack)


  Biofuels Center Podcast
In this installment, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack addresses the Biofuels Center's leadership and the vital role of renewable fuels in the national economy.

  Biofuels Term to Know
  Cellulosic ethanol is a biofuel produced from wood, grasses, or the non-edible parts of plants...

  Biofuels Feedstock Profile
Wood chips are small fragments of wood chopped or broken by mechanical equipment that can be used as feedstock for biofuels production...

  Biofuels Event Calendar

4-7 June 2012 -
International Fuel Ethanol Workshop and Expo
Minneapolis, Minn.

14 June 2012 -
Advanced Transportation Workshop
Wilson, N.C.

18-21 June 2012 -
BIO International Convention
Boston, Mass.

22 June 2012 -
Piedmont Biofuels Enzymatic Biodiesel Event
Pittsboro, N.C.

  North Carolina, USA

  The Biofuels Center of
  North Carolina

  901 Hillsboro Street
  P.O. Box 1919
  Oxford, NC 27565

  P: 919.693.3000
  F: 919.603.5600
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