NARA is an alliance of universities, business and government laboratories. As the project matures, new opportunities and challenges are presented that warrant new expertise which can be provided by outside organizations. Bringing organizations into the NARA alliance requires approval from existing members and compliance with NARA’s non-disclosure, conflict of interest and intellectual property policies. In addition, each new member is assigned a specific scope of work within the NARA leadership team.

NARA welcomes the recent addition of two new business members: Cosmo Specialty Fibers and CLH (Compañía Logística de Hidrocarburos).

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Cosmo Specialty Fibers

 Cosmo Specialty Fibers, Inc. (CSF) is an affiliate of The Gores Group and was created to restore, restart and operate Weyerhaeuser’s former specialty cellulose mill in Cosmopolis, Washington. This facility currently produces a high-quality dissolving wood pulp. The residual process streams generated from this operation could be converted into sugars for fuels and chemical production. In addition, they operate a total of nine digesters that could be dedicated in part or whole to production of pretreated feedstock.  “As we have seen with other dissolving wood pulp mills worldwide, Cosmo Specialty Fibers has the opportunity to add additional value and employment as a chemical bio-refinery,” says Robert Buchan, VP Government Relations and Communications.

In the wood residue to biojet fuel conversion process being optimized by NARA researchers, simple sugars derived from wood are fed to specialized microorganisms that convert the sugars into molecules, such as isobutanol, that can be used to make biojet fuel. As a NARA member organization, CSF will explore available markets for the simple sugars that could be derived from their residual streams. Parallel to these efforts, CSF will begin to develop a pretreatment and hydrolysis process to produce simple sugars which will be compared to the simple sugars produced from the Mild Bisulfite and SPORL pretreatment hydrolysate optimized by NARA members Catchlight Energy and the USFS Forest Products Laboratory. The reason for singling out CSF’s residual process streams is that they are commercially available and represents an inexpensive feedstock that could be used to generate large sugar samples for extensive evaluation in downstream processes.

An initial supply of simple sugars should be available for analysis by mid fall 2013 followed by larger samples as the protocol is optimized.

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CLH (Compañía Logística de Hidrocarburos CLH S.A.)

CLH Group and its subsidiary, CLH Aviation, have operated for over 85 years and are dedicated to hydrocarbon storage and logistics in Spain.  CLH is Spain’s leader for oil product transportation and storage. They operate one of the largest, most efficient, integrated refined products transportation and storage networks in the world with over 4,000 kilometers of refined products pipeline and a storage capacity of 7.9 million cubic meters. These resources are available to all oil operators in Spain.

CLH Aviation is an active member of the ITAKA project in the European Union. ( ITAKA is a collaborative project aimed to produce sustainable renewable aviation fuel and to test its use in existing logistic systems and in normal flight operations in Europe.

CLH Aviation and ITAKA align well with the NARA aviation biofuels vision.  We will partner with CLH Aviation to assist with a cross-national comparison of fuel logistics, policy, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) issues.  CLH Aviation and NARA member Ibon Ibarrola Armendariz will work closely with NARA’s EPP Biojet Market Opportunity team led by NARA researcher Paul Smith to provide the following activities:

  • Identify key supply chain stakeholders and their role(s) in aviation fuel decision-making;
  • Understand the transport, storage, distribution, and into-plane logistics of petro-based jet fuel and potential opportunities and/or impediments to the introduction of biojet;
  • Assess stakeholder knowledge, awareness and perceptions of biojet opportunities and impediments;
  • Examine the influence of policy and CSR on the pricing, supply, and demand of aviation biofuels;
  • Develop a document defining the process for implementation of biojet in a jet fuel logistic system, including the commercialization of the biojet.

It is anticipated that a literature review of biofuel policies and of aviation fuel supply chains (U.S. vs. EU) will be completed by the end of this year. Data collection from key stakeholders should be completed in late spring, 2014 with a final report completed by summer 2014.