According to the Biofuel Digest’s annual review of global biofuel mandates and targets, 62 countries either have such goals in place or under consideration. And while some, such as the European Union (EU), have scaled back their required renewable fuel content, others will be increasing the percentage of bio-based content over time. The review showed that the bulk of the mandates comes from the EU, but that other major blending mandates anticipated to drive global demand are those established in the United States, China and Brazil. See Biofuel Digest, December 31, 2013.

Meanwhile, U.S. government engineers have reportedly found a more economical way to convert wet algae into crude oil, but significant commercialization is still some years away. A news report indicates that the process, which can accommodate a constant algae flow, does not involve drying the algae before it enters a chemical reactor, and byproducts contain enough phosphorus to grow more algae. Lead Department of Energy algae-project scientist Douglas Elliott reportedly said, “We believe that the process we’ve created will help make algae biofuels much more economical.”

Utah-based clean-energy technology developer Genifuel Corp. has apparently licensed the process and hopes to have a pilot plant operational by mid-2014. The amount of acreage required to capture sufficient sunlight as well as the massive water supplies used to grow algae in quantity remain obstacles to commercialization, but major contracts to turn algae into crude have been signed, and it could be on the market by 2018. See, December 27, 2013.