Researchers develop UV radiation-blocking bioplastic | Perdue unveils 30% biofuel goal in innovation agenda | Neb. Gov. urges automakers to use higher ethanol blends
February 26, 2020
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Renewable Chemicals
A bioplastic that can block ultraviolet radiation has been created by a team of scientists at the University of Oulu in Finland by chemically linking the cellulose- and hemicellulose-derived biorefinery products hydroxymethylfurfural and furfura. The team published their findings in the American Chemical Society's journal Macromolecules and Biomacromolecules.
Full Story: Tech Explorist (2/21) 
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Advanced Biofuels
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced last week that biofuels will make up 30% of transportation fuels in the US by 2050 as part of the agency's new Agriculture Innovation Agenda. "USDA's Agriculture Innovation Agenda is our opportunity [to] define American agriculture's role to feed everyone and do right as a key player in the solution to this challenge," Perdue said.
Full Story: Reuters (2/20),  Biofuels International (UK) (2/21) 
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A letter from Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts was forwarded to the CEOs of several automobile makers urging these companies to raise the number of vehicles being produced that utilize higher ethanol blends, such as E20, E30, E40 and E85. "With the growing emphasis on climate change in public discourse, consumers are showing greater desire to purchase goods they believe emit less greenhouse gases," Ricketts wrote.
Full Story: Ethanol Producer Magazine online (2/24) 
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The biofuel industry saw a historically low number of mergers and acquisitions in 2019, with four operating ethanol, advanced biofuels and biodiesel plants sold amid policy uncertainties and thin margins, according to a report from investment bank Ocean Park. "No large-scale, operating biofuels plants changed hands --- which is rare for the biofuels M&A market," the bank said.
Full Story: DTN/The Progressive Farmer (2/24) 
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An open-source simulation software package called BioSTEAM designed to compare and prioritize approaches to biomass conversion into biofuels and bioproducts has been developed by researchers at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The researchers, who published their study in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, also designed the BioSTEAM software to generate data for environmental impact assessment of biorefineries.
Full Story: Biofuels International (UK) (2/20) 
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Synthetic Biology and CRISPR
A decision of the Japan Patent Office denying one of US-based Broad Institute's patent applications on the CRISPR-Cas9 technique has been rejected by the Intellectual Property High Court. The ruling, if upheld, means food developers and other companies would need to pay license fees for the commercial use of the technique.
Full Story: Nikkei Asian Review (Japan) (tiered subscription model) (2/26) 
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Wojtek Pawlowski, a plant breeding and genetics expert from Cornell University, has partnered with University of Hamburg scientists and Meiogenix to develop biotech maize that will have desirable traits, such as resistance to disease and severe climate changes, through genetic recombination. The partnership is backed by over $1 million in funding.
Full Story: Seed World (2/21) 
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Dedicated Feedstocks
Europe-centric consortium Shared Research Center Biorizon, backed by over $50 million in funding, is drawing interest from a growing number of potential purchasers and investors as it works to develop bioaromatics from sugar, lignin and other raw materials with hopes to bring them to market in 2025. Meanwhile, US-based Anellotech is generating up to 24% in yields from its loblolly pine biomass-to-aromatics conversion process and is raising money to build its first commercial aromatics plant.
Full Story: Chemical & Engineering News (tiered subscription model) (2/19) 
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A team of scientists in Belgium has published a study detailing how the chemical industry can transition from using petroleum to wood as a raw material. The team, which aims to build a wood biorefinery in the country, is partnering with landscape managers and waste processors to use waste wood for the study and is in talks with partners for processing lignin oil and cellulose pulp from wood into various products.
Full Story: Biofuels International (UK) (2/19) 
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I don't have a feeling of inferiority. Never had. I'm as good as anybody, but no better.
Katherine Johnson,
mathematician, NASA scientist, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient
1918-2020
February is Black History Month
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