Second Generation Biofuel Companies

When it became obvious that current food crops did not make suitable feedstock for biofuel (because using them threatened the food supply and required too many limited resources like water), the world began to look for alternative feedstock. Facilities that produce biofuel from these “new” feedstock are called second generation biofuel producers. Some of the major second generation producers are covered here.

Algenol, United States

Algenol was founded in 2006 with the goal of producing ethanol directly from algae though a processes that allows the ethanol to be harvested without killing the organism. This process promises to be the “greenest” and most environmentally sound way of producing biofuel and may be a major step in solving the problem of net carbon production.

Blue Marble Energy, United States

Founded in 2005, Blue Marble is a company that uses non-modified (not genetically manipulated) bacteria to produce biochemicals and biogas. The company has set the lofty goal of replacing all oil with fully renewable, carbon-neutral alternatives. The biomass is cellulosic biomass of “just about any kind.”

Chemrec, Sweden

Based in Sweden, this company produces technology that allows for the gasification of liquors (waste from paper mills) into syngas, which is then converted to other biofuels. The company’s methodology has a very high greenhouse gas reduction quality, making it attractive for addressing the environmental aspects of paper production and increasing overall efficiency of the process.

DuPont Danisco, United States

This company is a 50/50 joint venture between DuPont and Danisco. It focuses on the production of cellulosic ethanol from non-food biomass. It operates a demonstration scale biorefinery in Tennessee.

Fujian Zhongde Energy Co., Ltd, China

Based in Fuqing City, this company specializes in the production of biodiesel from waste vegetable oil. The company also produces chemicals and even asphalt-like material from vegetable oil.

Gevo, United States

Gevo produces “renewable chemicals” and advanced biofuels through a fermentation process. The company focuses primarily on the production of isobutanol, which has application in about 40% of the market where petrochemicals are traditionally used.

Gushan Environmental Energy, China

Gushan produces biodiesel and byproducts of it from a variety of feedstock such as vegetable oil, animal fat, and cooking oil. It operates five facilities in China and has a production capacity of 400,000 tons of biodiesel annually.

Joule Unlimited, United States

Joule Unlimited produces alternative hydrocarbon using a process that includes cyanobacteria, carbon dioxide, and non-fresh water. The company began construction in 2011 on a plant that promises to produce 20,000 gallons of fuel per acre using algae.

PetroSun, United States

PetroSun is a traditional oil and gas exploration company that also works with algae. The company uses an interesting approach in which organic matter is burnt to produce carbon dioxide and charcoal, which are used as algae feedstock and fertilizer, respectively.

Sapphire Energy, United States

Sapphire Energy produces oil from algae that is completely compatible with existing petroleum infrastructure. Gasoline produced from this algal petroleum has an octane rating of 91.

Solazyme, United States

Solazyme uses algae to produce fuel for ground and air transport as well as skin and personal care products. The company has multiple contracts and joint ventures for distributing its aviation and ground transport fuels.