Its a Bad Month For Biofuel, and Its Only Half Over

Cobalt Technolgies biofuel
Unfortunately, the economics in this infographic from Cobalt Technologies did not hold true.

There has been a lot of bad news out of the bioenergy or biofuel industry this month and we are only two weeks in.  Producers continue to struggle as they strive to  compete against oil priced around 30 -40% below expected levels.  Some of the latest developments were as follows:

  • Silicon Valley Disposition announced that they will run an online auction of the physical assets from the head quarter facilities for Cobalt  Technologies located in Mountain View, California.  Founded in 2008, Cobalt Technologies was a start up that specialized in the creation of biobutanol using various cellulosic feedstocks such as corn cobs, treetops and limbs, and dead pine trees from pine beetles.  Cobalt was named to the Biofuels Digest “30 Most Transformative Technologies of 2010” and ranked first in the competitive biobutanol category.  There has been no official word on what is happening at Cobalt since July of 2014.
  • Fitch Ratings has downgraded Tonon Bioenergia S.A’s (Tonon) foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) to ‘C’ from ‘CCC’. Fitch has also downgraded to ‘C/RR4’ from ‘CCC/RR4’ the ratings on the company’s USD300 million senior unsecured notes due 2020 and the USD230 million senior secured notes due 2024 issued by Tonon’s fully-owned subsidiary Tonon Luxembourg S.A.  Tonon is a  sugar, ethanol and energy producer with operations in the Southeast and Midwest regions of Brazil.  Tonon’s short-term liquidity position is deteriorating fast and refinancing risks are rising due to escalating concentration of short-term debt and its inability to generate positive free cash flow (FCF)
  • BP announced that it is closing its biofuels plant in Jennings, Lousiana and laying off 56 people.  They said in December that they hoped to sell the plant by April but were unable to find a buyer.
  • Renewable Energy Group announced Q1 2015 adjusted EBITDA loss of $30.2 million compared to $1.9 million in the prior year period

Tracey Smith About Tracey Smith
Tracey is an accountant and entrepreneur with a passion for nature. This passion is what spurred her interest in renewable energy, and the rest is history as they say. Tracey is a principal in Energy Think Group, the publisher of Solar Thermal Magazine and Tek-Think. She is also the principal at Women's Financial Help Desk. She spends her free time in the outdoors with her horses and dogs. She loves to travel.

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