The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 16, 2018, Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc. announced the start of site construction for Phase 2 of the Sierra BioFuels Plant in Reno, Nevada.  This commercial-scale plant will be the nation’s first to convert municipal solid waste feedstock into low-carbon, renewable jet fuel. “Launching the final construction phase of Sierra is another milestone for Fulcrum, our partners, Northern Nevada and the low-carbon fuels industry,” Jim Macias, Fulcrum’s President and Chief Executive Officer, stated during the groundbreaking event. “We’ve spent ten years developing, designing, testing, improving and demonstrating this new process so that it is now ready for commercial deployment. By converting waste into low-carbon transportation fuel, Fulcrum provides a real solution to the aviation industry’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions.”
 
Fulcrum’s thermochemical conversion process for jet fuel is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 80 percent when compared to traditional petroleum fuel. The Reno plant is scheduled to start commercial production in 2020, producing 10.5 million gallons of fuel annually. Similar plants are currently in development by Fulcrum, with eventual plans to collectively produce more than 300 million gallons of jet fuel annually. These plans have already drawn airline investors to Fulcrum, with Cathay Pacific Airways investing in 2014, and United Airlines investing in 2015.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

ASTM International’s energizing fuels division recently passed an Alcohol To Jet (ATJ) ethanol based specification ballot measure that will allow jet fuel, produced from ethanol under the ATJ process, to be sold commercially on a global basis.  ASTM D7566 had previously permitted ethanol as a feedstock for Aviation Turbine Fuel with a maximum final fuel blend of 50 percent, but now permits a full replacement of the hydrocarbon fuel. This change opens the door to the use of more drop-in fuels used as alternatives to fossil fuels.  Kevin Weiss, CEO of Byogy Renewables, stated of the change, "it's one thing to have a great commodity product, but without an operative supply chain it's difficult to sell. […] We now have the ability to supplement and leverage the existing downstream petroleum industry with a well distributed ATJ Sustainable Aviation Fuel that can be produced anywhere by building on the existing global ethanol supply chain.”


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On November 13, 2017, Neste, a member of BRAG, announced it has entered into an agreement with American Airlines to explore opportunities to reduce the airline’s environmental footprint.  To achieve this goal, the companies are evaluating in-flight and on-the-ground opportunities to utilize Neste’s renewable fuels.  One aspect of the collaboration will involve complementary efforts to facilitate acceptance and commercialization of High Freeze Point HEFA (HFP-HEFA) renewable jet fuel, which is currently under consideration for approval by the American Society for Testing and Materials’ (ASTM) International.  According to Kaisa Hietala, Neste's Executive Vice President of Renewable Products, both companies “share a common view that innovative low-carbon solutions are needed to help the aviation industry meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, and renewable jet fuel is an important part of the solution.”  Neste's renewable jet fuel is made from renewable and sustainable raw materials, and provides aircraft engine performance, and storage stability and integrity.


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On September 13, 2017, Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced it is collaborating with Genève Aéroport to make flying more sustainable.  Neste will be providing renewable jet fuel for aircraft operations from Genève Aéroport.  The goal is for one percent of the jet fuel consumed annually at Genève Aéroport to be composed of renewable jet fuel by late 2018.  The collaboration supports Neste’s growth strategy for renewables in applications outside road traffic fuels and Genève Aéroport’s ambitious goals to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. 


 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On July 19, 2017, SkyNRG, along with Carbon War Room (CWR) and the Port of Seattle, announced their recommendations for long-term funding mechanisms to supply all airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) with sustainable aviation biofuels.  Their report, titled “Innovative Funding For Sustainable Aviation Fuel At U.S. Airports:  Explored At Seattle-Tacoma International,” reviews a broad array of airport funding sources, the legal constraints and financial impacts of each source, as well as biofuel supply chain infrastructure investments.  Regarding next steps, it was recommended that the Port of Seattle establish a dedicated team to build the business case for a local sustainable aviation fuels supply chain, and facilitate regional production of such fuels through the active promotion of policy and regulatory support at the state and regional levels.


 

 

By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.

On March 28, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) announced the publication of the report on the current state of alternative aviation fuels that was developed using findings from peer-reviewed studies, scientific working groups, and BETO stakeholder input from the Alternative Aviation Fuel Workshop in September 2016.  The four key topic areas include:

 
■  Economic and technical competitiveness;
 
■   Fuel conversion and scale-up;
 
■  Environmental sustainability and life-cycle benefits; and
 
■  Feedstock and product supply chains.

Information gathered during the workshop, such as best practices to finance production facilities, effectively scale biorefining technologies, optimize production economics, and streamline certification processes, will be used to advance the understanding of technical barriers limiting the competitiveness of aviation biofuels.  Many public- and private-sector organizations have committed to adopting biobased aviation fuels because, unlike passenger vehicles, airplanes cannot be fueled with electricity yet.  More information on the Alternative Aviation Fuel Workshop is available in the Biobased and Renewable Product Advocacy Group (BRAG®) blog post “DOE Hosts Alternative Aviation Fuels Workshop, New LUC Emissions Research Discussed.”

 
■  International Renewable Energy Agency, “Eliminating Energy-Related Carbon Emissions Possible, New IRENA Study Finds
 
■   Biofuels Association of Australia, “BAA Rejects Productivity Commission Claims
 
■  South China Morning Post, “Woks Away: China’s Plan to Make Jet Fuel from Restaurant Leftovers
 
■  Cornell Chronicle, “Microalgae Could Play Key Role in Relieving Climate Warming” 

 

The American Chemical Society (ACS) has announced the 2016 Heroes of Chemistry at the ACS Fall National Meeting.  Of the four products showcased by the awards, Honeywell UOP’s Honeywell Green Jet Fuel™ represented the biobased industry.  This biobased jet fuel “is cleaner burning than conventional jet fuel and can be blended up to a 50/50 ratio with petroleum-based jet fuel.”  The awardees were Chad Cavan, Ralph Davis, Donald Eizenga, Daniel Ellig, Stanley Frey, Tom Kalnes, Michael McCall, Hieu (Sunny) Nguyen, James Wexler, and Randall Williams.  This prestigious award was created in 1996 to recognize chemical scientists that have developed products contributing to the welfare and progress of humanity.


 

On April 18, 2016, Neste, BRAG member, announced that KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will be using a fuel blend containing Neste Renewable Jet Fuel for a series of flights from Oslo to Amsterdam. Kaisa Hietala, Executive Vice President of Renewable Products at Neste, stated: "[w]e are very happy that KLM is using Neste Renewable Jet Fuel in dozens of flights from Oslo to Amsterdam. It shows that KLM is a pioneer in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation." KLM will use Neste's Renewable Jet Fuel in about 80 flights total, as part of KLM's goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 20 percent from 2011 to 2020.


 
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