Forest2Fuel E-Newsletter

January/February 2011

In This Issue
Cellulosic Ethanol
Torrefied Biomass
Definition of Biomass
Quick Links



Top 3 Stories from the Nov/Dec Issue



Despite Early Challenges, Wood-Based Biofuels Poised for Growth in 2011


Tree car

When Range Fuels shuttered its Soperton, Ga. plant in January, industry reactions ranged from "I told you so" to "wood-based cellulosic ethanol is dead." As Dan Chapman of the Atlanta Constitution Journal wrote: "critics-ranging from budget hawks to renewable energy experts to dispirited locals-say that the shutdown is a case of good money thrown at unproven science and lofty promises" (read Chapman's article).

Range Fuels' management assured public and private investors-public sources of funding totaled $162 million ($76 from DOE, $80 from USDA and $6 from the state of Ga.) and private sources totaled  $158 million-that the plant would be producing 20 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol by now. Instead, the plant produced methanol. (See Robert Rapier's R-Squared Energy Blog for an interesting perspective.)


Progress for Torrefied Biomass

Projects move ahead

  Torrefaction of Woody Biomass

Following two announcements by Vega Biofuels in the last month, we received a torrent of questions about Vega and torrefaction.

We covered the process of torrefaction as well as its benefits in the April 2009 issue of Forest2Mill. This month, we take a second look to see what progress has been made in bringing torrefied biomass or bio-coal to market.

As we reported in our previous article, torrefied biomass has much to recommend it as a fuel source for both domestic and export markets. Utilities in the U.S. and Europe are especially interested because they are under pressure to burn less coal. Because torrefied briquettes and pellets can be co-fired with coal at little or no added cost, electric utilities will be ready consumers of torrefied biomass once it can be produced commercially.

A new article by Daniel Mahr in Power Magazine highlighted the use of torrefied biomass briquettes and pellets in "Designing Fuel Systems for Large Biomass Plants."


 More . . . including torrefied biomass project details

SAFER Releases Report on Renewable Biomass Definitions

SAFER logo

Despite the fact that the term biomass first appeared in legislation in the U.S. in 1978, Congress continues to disagree about its meaning. More than 30 years later, over 16 different definitions of the term can be found in current and proposed legislation. 


In January 2011, the Southeast Agricultural & Forestry Energy Resources Alliance (SAFER) released, "Implications of Legislative Woody Biomass Definitions." The report focuses on the impact of alternate woody biomass definitions on the South's ability to meet renewable energy standards.


The report addresses both the health of the nation's forests and potential strain, and the extent to which new markets for biomass will increase the costs of raw materials for existing wood products industries.
Enviva Gains Traction
A look at the firm's progress in the last six months

Less than a year ago, Riverstone Holdings made a significant investment in Enviva LP, a manufacturer and exporter of wood pellets. Since then, things have been moving fast for Enviva. Here is a comprehensive look at just how fast the company has grown over the course of the last six months.


More . . . including details about Enviva's progress

BCAP Funding in Jeopardy


Budgeting season is upon us, and virtually all programs that supply subsidies and incentives for renewable energy are likely to end up on the chopping block. The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) is one of these.


In President Obama's 2011 budget plan, BCAP retains its funding. The White House plan includes $198 million for the program. It does cap funding for the Collection, Harvest, Storage and Transport of biomass at $70 million, however; the remaining $128 million will support the Establishment and Annual Payment program for energy crops.



More on BCAP and the budgeting process

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