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May 20, 2010
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Top Story

Bio(fuel)onicThe Bio(fuel)onic Man
Researchers pioneer biofuel-powered medical implants

In France, scientists at Joseph Fourier University have come up with a first: implanting biofuel cells into rats, which convert simple sugars into electricity, which can be used to power devices such as a pacemaker. In the experiment, the team was able to generate 6.5 microwatts, not far from the 10 required to power a pacemaker.

The process - enzymes are use to oxidize glucose, producing electrical current as a by-product of the catalytic reaction. It's a straightforward bit of science - the difficulty has been designing an enzyme environment that would work inside the body's environment, without being interfered with by charged particles that surround cells. The solution? Sequestering the enzymes in a graphite and plastic environment.

The French team reports that they expect to be able to improve the environment to produce well above the 10 microwatt threshold, enough to power a wide variety of medical devices, including artificial organs. Also possible - small computer chips to power sensors or electronic devices or tools, such as homing signals that can be placed under the skin of children and other at-risk individuals.

Think small! More on bio(fuel)onic devices at biofuelsdigest.com.

Arcadis - Permits, Planning and Resource Studies - info: frederick.sellars@arcadis.com
Producer News

In Florida, Bio Solutions Manufacturing announced a name change to "Todays Alternative Energy Corporation," with the change taking place effective June 7, 2010.
The company's alternative energy business centers on using the Company's intellectual property to process and convert raw liquid brown trap grease into a key ingredient for B100 bio-diesel fuel.

In Texas, Rice University assistant professor Ramon Gonzalez has received the the SDA/NBB Glycerine Innovation Award for outstanding achievement for research into new applications for glycerine. Glycos Biotechnologies was founded in 2007 based on Gonzalez's development of techniques to use a genetically-modified form of e.coli bacteria to produce ethanol, hydrogen and organic acids from glycerine.

In Washington, the RFA has released a report, "The paradox of rising US ethanol exports" which explores the increase in the global ethanol export trade, particularly in the Middle East. Overall, the RFA is reporting that the US exported 83 million gallons of ethanol in Q1 2010, or around 3 percent of US production, with exports rising to 45 million gallons in March. The full report - via biofuelsdigest.com.
World Opinion

From the Manila Times: "Biofuels should not be viewed as a threat to food security. Instead, it should be considered a boon to the industry if the Brazilian experience is any indication...data from Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) negate this misconception as only one percent of the cultivated areas in these countries are used for biofuels crops."

Tyson Foods President and CEO Donnie Smith: "If I'm guessing, E-12 [a 12% blend] will be the highest. Of course, we're hoping there's no change. Grain is down, but look where it's down to. There's a new kind of normal."
International News

In the Netherlands, Avantium announced the launch of its technology platform to produce green building block for materials and fuels, called YXY, on which it will collaborate with NatureWorks and DAF among other organizations. Avantium developed a process to convert biomass directly into furanics, green building blocks for materials and fuels.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance is reporting that global clean energy investment reached $27.3 billion in Q1 2010, up 31% from the Q1 2009, but dropping 13.6% from Q4. Asset-based financing was strongest in China, with $6.5 billion, while the fast-mover was the US, growing from $2.4 billion to $3.5 billion between Q1 '09 and Q1 '10. Last year, biofuels investment reached $44.9 billion for all of 2009.

In Brazil, Reuters is reporting that Bunge is promoting a $100 million investment fund that would be dedicated to agricultural land investments in Brazil. Bunge's management said that the fund would invest in multiple types of crops, but would focus on sugarcane production, noting that domestic demand for Brazilian ethanol has been growing at a rapid pace.
Research News

In Missouri, researchers at the University of Missouri have developed an efficient means to extract oil from used coffee grounds, for biodiesel conversion. The team said that ground coffee contains 10-18 percent oil, by weight, but previous attempts had faltered on the economics of drying wet coffee grounds, which are up to 70 percent water. The team pioneered an extract method that did not require drying the biomass.
Camelina Aviation Biofuels Study

Camelina report1 billion gallons of Camelina biofuel are projected to be produced for the aviation and biodiesel sectors by 2025, creating 25,000 new jobs; producing over $5.5 billion in new revenues and $3.5 billion in new agricultural income for U.S. and Canadian farmers.  The projections are contained in "Camelina Aviation Biofuels Market Opportunity and Renewable Energy Strategy Report," released today by Biomass Advisors, the research division of Biofuels Digest.

"Camelina Aviation Biofuels Market Opportunity and Renewable Energy Strategy Report," is 116 pages, and includes more than 60 figures, tables and charts, along with regional crop forecast maps for visualizing business opportunities and planning infrastructure needs.  The report is available for a purchase price of $695.  More information here.
Policy and Policymakers: Carbon Corner

Carbon CornerUS carbon regulation, as proposed in the American Power Act, offers an opportunity for producers as well as other operators in the American agricultural value chain," writes Biofuels Digest correspondent Dr. Rick Gilmore in "APA: The Opportunity for US Agriculture", the first in the  Digest's "Carbon Corner" series.

Highlights of today's analysis: "US farmers are exempt from carbon caps and will be able to participate in a domestic carbon offset market, which would create a "multi-billion dollar revenue stream". The complete column is available at biofuelsdigest.com.
Consumer, Fleet, Event News

In Missouri, Advanced Biofuels Association president Mike McAdams is chairing the opening session of the Advanced Biofuels Workshop at FEW - in St Louis on June 14th. It's co-located with the main Fuel Ethanol Workshop conference, June 14-17. Also on the docket , speakers from LS9, Elevance, Virent, Envergent, TRI, Cetane Energy, Enhanced Biofuels, Terrabon, Gevo, NREL, Veolcys, Amyris and Argonne National Lab.
Advanced Biofuels Tracking Database and 100+ Free Downloads

Exclusive to Digest subscribers - and free. 100+ downloads.

1. Advanced Biofuels Tracking Database - download your free copy, tracking 65+ pilot, demo and commercial projects.
2. Biofuels Investments details 81 investments made in 2009 by biofuels companies or in the biofuels sector, totaling $8.737 billion in 18 countries.
3. Biofuels Jobs
details a series of studies outling the impact of biofuels on the green jobs economy.
Financial News

The Biofuels Digest Index™ (BDI), a basket of public biofuels stocks, edged down 0.13 percent to 62.99 on a broad decline in renewables. For the day, Monsanto (MON) gained 3.83 percent to $56.34, while Codexis (CDXS) fell 1.69 percent to $12.78. Among smaller caps, Verenium (VRNM) fell 4.29 percent to $2.90.  Overall, declines led advances 6 to 1 for the day.
Hot Topics from Past Issues

The 50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy: 2009-10: the complete list

Obama reorganizes
US biofuels policy, leadership, rules.
$564 million for 19 integrated biorefinery projects
:pilot, demonstration, and commercial scale facilities
The National Energy Solution: an inquiry into values:
Download a free introductory chapter of the new book from Biofuels Digest.
The Top 10 Stories of the Year
The 10 Most Overlooked
Stories of the Year
Free PDF of "Citizen Cane: Essays for New Days in Bioenergy" - featuring the best Digest columns since 2007 (plus originals) - available free only to Digest subscribers.
These stories and more are available at BiofuelsDigest.com. Your comments and story requests are warmly welcome: email me at jlane@biofuelsdigest.com.

Disclosure: I do not own any renewable energy securities; no payments or compensation of any kind is received in return for placing favorable opinion in the Digest - Jim Lane, Editor and Publisher, Biofuels Digest.

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