2010 saw a number of advances being made in bioenergy engineering, demonstrating definitively that even though the science is relatively new, companies are still making great strides in technology that affects the way we live today. Biofuels Digest, the publication which BioenergyEngineering2009.com covered in a previous article, released their list of the “Top 50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy” at the beginning of December 2010. This handy list is a quick introduction to the names behind some of the biggest accomplishments in the field over the previous year. You can see the full list for yourself at the publication’s website, but it’s worth mentioning a few names.Amyris (1): After registering its renewable diesel fuel with the EPA on April 20, 2009, Amyris was the official maker of “the first hydrocarbon-based fuel made from plant-derived resources registered for commercial sale.” 2010 saw the company presenting its product to the worlda feat it accomplished when a Mercedes truck running on Amyris fuel won the “Most Sustainable Vehicle Award” at the Michelin 10th Challenge Bibenum-Rio de Janeiro, held in April 2010.Solazyme (2): Solazyme’s specialty is algal fuel for use in transportation. In 2009, the company sold 20,000 gallons of its fuel to the United States Navy. In 2010, the Navy bought more than 7 times that amount, ordering a round 150,000 gallons. Solazyme has also partnered with sugarless sweetener and starch producer Roquette to produce microalgae-based food ingredients starting in 2011.POET (3): Greg Hartgraves of POET provided the keynote address at the 2010 Wisconsin Bioenergy Summit in October. That was a fitting way to wind down an exciting year for the company, which produces over 1.6 gallons of ethanol in over 27 plants nationwide each year. The company’s newest goal is to become a major producer of cellulosic ethanol by 2022, with over 3.5 billion gallons produced annually. It opened its pilot plant at the beginning of 2009 and has been continuing to introduce this technology since then.Whether you feel these rankings are accurate, or think that perhaps LS9 (4) and Gevo (5) should have made it to the top 3, you can’t deny the impact these companies have made on the bioenergy landscape over the last year. However, one of the greatest things about bioenergy is that the playing field is still open for new companies to come in and make a difference. The list at the end of 2011 could look very different. All we know is that we’re excited that we’re looking forward to watching it happen.If you would like to learn more about any of these companies, visit their websites to find biographies, press releases, descriptions of their technology, and more. To see the other companies that made the list, direct your browser over to biofuelsdigest.com.