Fueling the Future: The Rise of Sustainable Biofuels
At CDI Engineering, we understand the vital role of biofuels in decarbonizing our global transportation systems.
We help our customers and partners tap into the unprecedented opportunity in the U.S. biofuels space, where demand is at an all-time high and the Inflation Reduction Action has unlocked an estimated $9.4b in production and investment support (source – IEA).
The increase in establishment and transformation of biorefineries in the recent years indicates a growing shift towards sustainable and renewable resource utilization for biofuels. Many of our customers are at the forefront of scaling existing biofuel production pathways and testing new innovations.
To support their projects, we leverage our in-house expertise on new waste-to-fuel technologies, along with our more than 70-year history providing EPCM services to leading midstream and downstream companies.
As a fully integrated EPCM provider, we act as clients’ proactive partner in realizing complex biofuels projects, from front-end engineering to detailed design.
- Biodiesel Production Facility FEED
- Green Methanol Feasibility Study
- Anaerobic Digester Optimization
Question & Answers with Bimi Shreshtha, CDI Sustainability Process Engineer
What do you find exciting about the biofuels space in the US?
The growth of biofuels continues to be an important piece of the energy transition. Even as the electric vehicles market grows and advances, at least in the short term, biofuels represent an essential emissions reduction pathway for passenger and commercial vehicles, as well as maritime transport and aviation. Biofuel is an old energy source that has been used extensively in the U.S. for half a century, so many production processes are well-established and have grown to a commercial scale. Still, there are so many new technologies under development that utilize different feedstocks, such as new oilseeds and agricultural and forestry waste. It is an exciting space to operate in, and many of CDI’s clients are helping to lead the charge in both production and innovation.
What are the greatest challenges you see clients facing in the space?
Many renewable biofuel innovations have only recently scaled to become commercially attractive. I do think that fact is changing as energy companies ramp up production. IEA statistics show that private investment in biogases and transport biofuels reached a decade-high $11b in 2022, and the IRA has bolstered the financial viability of renewable biofuel production. Still, developers of new biofuel projects must ensure that they are partnering with professionals that can manage these complex projects in a seamless and cost-efficient way.
Where do you see the most opportunity for innovation?
During my more than 7 years at the Energy Institute of Louisiana at UL, my research focused on converting biochemical residue to biogas through anaerobic digestion, which simultaneously produces renewable biofuels and safely treats wastewater. Such waste-to-energy innovations have the potential to address our most urgent environmental issues while minimizing effects on global food systems.