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January 2011 News and Matters of Interest

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GE, NRG and ConocoPhillips form Energy Technology Ventures

General ElectricGeneral Electric announced that they have formed a clean tech investment joint venture with ConocoPhillips and NRG Energy. Energy Technology Ventures (ETV) is solely focused on the development of next-generation energy technologies. With this action, both NRG Energy and ConocoPhillips enter into the world of corporate investments for the first time. One of the first three clean tech firms to receive EWTV investment support is California based Cool Planet Biofuels, who convert low-grade biomass into high-grade fuel and carbon that can be sequestered. The biofuel / bioproducts company received initial investment support from GE Energy Financial Services last November. Mark Little, senior vice president of GE Global Research said, “This joint venture will build on our long history of innovation and expand our network of collaborators to speed the invention, development and commercialization of new technologies.” 01/31/2011

 

DOE Schedules Integrated Biorefinery and Infrastructure Tech Webinars

DOE Energy Efficiency & Renewable EnergyThe U.S Department of Energy's (DOE) Biomass Program is hosting a series of Webinars on February 1, 2 and 3, 2011, associated with its first Biomass Program peer review meetings for 2011. These first meetings are focused on Integrated Biorefinery (IBR) technology and Biofuels Distribution Infrastructure and End Use (Infrastructure) projects. The IBR Platform sessions run all three days, but the Infrastructure session is only on the last day; on-line agendas allow registration for specific sessions. IBR Day 1, Session 1 addresses Biochemical Conversion projects; Day 1, Session 2 covers Thermochemical Conversion. Companies presenting their project efforts will include Abengoa, POET, Blue Fire, Mascoma, INEOS, Rentech, REII, Amyris, ZeaChem and others. The Infrastructure session on Day 3 will be dominated by National Lab presentations, but includes company statements from Protec Fuel and the Missouri Corn Merchandizing Council. Go to http://obpreview2011.govtools.us/IBR/ and click on "Webinar" to register. 01/30/2011

 

HECO Completes Successful Steam Generation Test with B-100 

Hawaiian Electric CompanyHawaiian Electric Company (HECO) has announced  that they have successfully completed detailed emissions and efficiency tests for use of 100% biodiesel, or “B-100”, in their Kahe #3 Power Plant Biofuel Co-firing Demonstration Project. Sanctioned by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission and monitored by the Electric Power Research Institute of Palo Alto, California, the tests confirmed that using the biofuel reduced opacity (visibility of emissions), emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), compared to using low sulfur fuel oil. HECO ramped up to the test unit’s 90 megawatt full capacity. Testing was performed using some of 1.6 million gallons of B-100 sustainably produced from crude palm oil blended with palm stearin, supplied on contract specifically for this testing by Sime Darby, a Malaysian corporation. HECO sought long-term supply contracts for biofuel from Hawaiian producers last April, receiving 10 proposals. Suppliers must meet all HECO technical specifications, agency environmental and legal requirements, and the terms of the Environmental Policy for Procurement of Biodiesel from Sustainably-Produced Palm Oil and Locally-Grown Feedstock adopted in August 2007 by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). 01/29/2011

2011 Clean Energy Act Introduced to 112th Congress
Congresswoman Doris MatsuiOn January 26, 2011, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA–D) introduced HR 502, the Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistance Act. The Act would create a Fund to support the development, implementation, and sustainability of a National Clean Energy Technology Export Strategy. Introduction of this bill is a key part of the Congresswoman’s “Make it in America” initiative, and is identical to language Matsui proposed during the 111th Congress that passed the House but ran out of time for Senate consideration. Congresswoman Matsui cites the US Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee, who found that more than 30 percent of non-exporting small and medium sized companies would export if they had more access to market information, export opportunities, and the export process. Congresswoman Matsui has just been appointed to join Congressman Michael McCaul (TX-R) to co-chair the Congressional High Tech Caucus, created to lead “Critical Innovation Issues Facing American Economy”. The Caucus will be exploring policy solutions in a number of areas, including the advancement of clean energy and smart grid technologies. 01/29/2011

HR BioPetroleum to Acquire Cellana from Shell
HR BioPteroleumHR BioPetroleum (HRBP), a Hawaii-based biofuel company, has announced that they will buy out Royal Dutch Shell’s shares to become full owners of their Cellana algae-to-biofuel joint venture, effective the end of this January.  ‘‘The acquisition of Cellana represents a significant opportunity for HRBP and its corporate and project stakeholders, including the University of Hawaii, Hawaiian Electric Company, Maui Electric Company, the National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts consortium, the U.S. Department of Energy and others,’’ said Ed Shonsey, HRBP's CEO. The six-acre commercial scale demonstration marine algae operation on the Hawaiian island of Kona was established in 2007 in cooperation with the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) to explore algal growth for aquaculture and animal feed markets, as well as for the production of algal oil for conversion into biofuels. HRBP has selected a site at Ma’alaea on the island of Maui for their first full-scale commercial facility. 01/29/2011

Construction Begins on UK Food Waste Anaerobic Digestion Plant

Anaerobic DigestionConstruction is underway on the largest food waste anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in the Anglian region of the United Kingdom. Monsal has announced that they are providing AD technology to the firm Local Generation, Ltd, for that company's first food waste AD plant in March, Cambridgeshire. Nick Waterman, Director of Local Generation, said, “This is an exciting time for the Local Generation business. It is all systems go now to get our first AD plant up and running!” The plant will convert 30,000 tonnes of both packaged and unpackaged food waste each year into renewable energy, and will be fully operational later in 2011. Monsal Managing Director Aidan Cumiskey stated, “This plant will provide valuable recycling and renewable energy capacity for the region.” The project will use Monsal's de-packaging systems and anaerobic digestion technology to break down organic matter to create biogas as fuel for electricity generation and heat recovery. 01/28/2011

 

Terrabon Announces Economical Drop-In Green Gas Production

TerrabonHouston, Texas-based Terrabon, Inc. is commercializing three technologies developed in Texas A&M University through licensing and joint venture arrangements. Its patented MixAlco® acid fermentation technology converts biomass to green gasoline. Terrabon has announced that their partnership with CRI/Criterion Inc. has facilitated their cellulosic gasoline fuel blend stock production. Terrabon can convert feedstocks like garbage, sorghum, corn stover or woodchips into renewable cellulosic gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, made more efficient and thus cost effective with help from CRI’s subsidiary, Criterion Catalysts and Technologies. Terrabon has completed the testing and demonstration at its Bryan, Texas, demonstration plant known as Energy Independence I. The company hopes to break ground on their first biorefinery sometime later this year. 01/28/2011 

 

Sandia Modifying Fungus to Make Fuel

Fungi to BiofuelResearchers at Sandia National Laboratory in Livermore, California, have announced that the project to modify endophytic fungi is proceeding toward production of engine-ready transportation fuel. The work fine-tunes the inherent cellulosic break-down abilities of various species of endophytic fungi that live between a plant’s cell walls. Teru Talk reported (December 2010 News Archives) on the Montana State University (MSU) team who found the fungus growing in Canary Island Eucalyptus bark; the MSU team received a DOE grant to continue the work, and research is now accelerating with Sandia’s participation. Biofuels researchers are working directly with combustion experts to understand from the start just what will work best as fuel for internal combustion engines, accelerating the pace of alternative fuel development and the associated engine optimization. Beyond learning how to modify the genetics, the team is collaborating internally with Sandia’s Homogeneous-Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) lab at Sandia. Experiments on the HCCI platform offer good fundamental information on fuel auto-ignition behavior that can be related to performance in other engine types, such as spark-ignition or diesel, as well as to performance in HCCI engines. 01/28/2011

 

USDA Finalizes BioPreferred Label for Voluntary Product Labeling

USDA BioPreferred ProductThe US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has finalized the label to designate bio-products certified under its BioPreferred Program. The implementation regulation was published in the Federal Register on January 20, 2011. Commodities made from renewable resources are known as “bio-products” and are used as alternatives to petroleum-sourced goods. The program includes Mandatory Federal Procurement Preference, in which the USDA designated biobased products are given preference in Federal purchasing. The USDA has already designated approximately 5,100 biobased products for preferred purchasing by Federal agencies. Beginning February 21, 2011, the voluntary public element of the USDA program will certify and award labels to qualifying products to increase consumer recognition of biobased products. A Fact Sheet is also available. 01/27/2011

 

Bioplastics Manufacturer Cereplast Opens European Headquarters

Cereplast BioplasticsThe California-based bioproducts company Cereplast, Inc has officially opened its European headquarters in Germany this month to serve a growing demand for bio-based products. The company has signed key distribution agreements to supply Cereplast bioplastic resin to the Polish, Romanian, Southern Italian and Slovenian marketplaces. On this strength, Cereplast announced that it has entered into a Securities Purchase Agreement with several institutional investors, resulting in a $12MM private placement. Proceeds from the financing will be used as working capital to fund Cereplast’s expansion in Europe. Cereplast, Inc. designs and manufactures proprietary bio-based, sustainable plastics. 01/27/2011

 

EPA’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program Announces Project Awards

Landfill Methane Outreach ProgramThe US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP) has announced last year’s outstanding landfill gas recovery and utilization projects. Once waste is landfilled, in-ground anaerobic digestion processes generate emissions rich in methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times as destructive as C02. These award-winning projects have reduced emissions of methane and created renewable energy. LMOP Partners accepted the awards at EPA’s 14th Annual LMOP Conference and Project Expo in Baltimore, Maryland. LMOP Projects of the Year for 2010 are:

§    Frederick County Electricity Project, Winchester, VA – 2 engine, 2 megawatts of electricity for local grid support.

§    Montgomery Regional Solid Waste Authority Small Engine Project, Christiansburg, VA – Small, closed landfill recovery for 340-kilowatt electricity project.

§    Newton County Renewable Energy Business Park LFG Direct-Use Project, Brook, IN - Urban Forest Recyclers relies solely on LFG to dry their recycled material egg cartons.

§    Crow Wing County Small On-site LFG Boiler Project, Brainerd, MN - Maintenance building radiant floor heating is fueled by LFG.

§    Hoffman Road LFG & Bay View WWTP Digester Gas 10-MW Project, Toledo, OH – integrating wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) digester gas with LFG for 10 megawatts.

Escambia County, Florida was named Community Partner of the Year for it’s replacement project at the Perdido Landfill. 01/26/2011

 

UK’s Renewable Fuel Agency Annual Report Now Available

Renewable Fuel Agency's Annual ReportThe United Kingdom’s (UK) Renewable Fuel Agency (RFA) has issued its second Annual Report to Parliament on the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO). The report details the supply of biofuels to the UK during the reporting period from April 15, 2009 to April 14, 2010 and outlines performance of fuel suppliers. The Report states that large oil companies bringing biofuel to the UK market are not doing enough: BP, Chevron, Murco, Total, INEOS and Morgan all missed all three RTFO sustainability performance targets. The RFA runs the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation program, and allocates Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates (RTFCs) to suppliers of biofuels in the UK. The agency publishes a monthly Renewable Fuel Digest, and provides a ‘Carbon Calculator' to determine the lifecycle emissions from supplier’s fuels, measured against RFA’s ‘Meta-Standard' for biofuel sustainability. 01/26/2011

 

DTSC Schedules Green Chemistry Initiative Teleconference

Green Chemistry Initiative ReportThe California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has announced a public teleconference of their “Green Chemistry Initiative” Green Ribbon Science Panel (GRSP) meeting for February 4, 2011, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. PST. The most recently revised text of the proposed regulations is available for review, although the comment period has closed. Meeting agenda and Terms of Reference are available on-line. DTSC requests that those with questions or intending to participate contact Kathy Barwick at (916) 323-3381 or by email at KBarwick@dtsc.ca.gov. Teru Talk has followed the Initiative, filed formal comments with the DTSC, and posted three Focus Reports to keep our readers updated on this process. 01/26/2011

 

CEC Releases 2010 Update for IEPR

California Energy CommissionThe California Energy Commission (CEC) adopts an Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR) every two years and an update every other year. The 2010 IEPR update report has been released; its focus is the potential contribution of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funding. California was awarded approximately $5 billion; the Energy Commission is administering $314.5 million of that amount. The report also briefly describes efforts to bring in additional stimulus funding, and describes issues associated with siting and permitting renewable power plants in California. For technical inquiries, contact Suzanne Korosec, IEPR Program Lead, at (916) 654-4516, or by e-mail at skorosec@energy.state.ca.us. 01/26/2011

 

Zorg Biogas Ukraine to Build New Plant

Zorg Biogas Ukraine Zorg Biogas Ukraine has announced that the firm will construct a biogas plant in Zhytomyrsky region of Ukraine later this year. The German Biogas Association company was formed in 2007, and now has 40 MWe of anaerobic digestion biogas generation under development. The plant will process 60 tonnes a day of corn and grass silo, supplied by local agricultural businesses. Total project cost is EUR 2.6 millions; biogas yield is expected to be 10000 m3 per day that will be used to generate 1063 kW electricity for sale to Ukraine’s national grid under a “green tariff”. Zorg Biogas will execute plant design, equipment supply and plant commissioning. Their customer, a local company specializing in alternative fuels, biodiesel, and wood pellets, will execute the construction phase of the project under field supervision by Zorg Biogas. 01/26/2011

 

Endicott Biofuels & KMTEX Sign Agreement for TX Biodiesel Plant

Endicott BiofuelsEndicott Biofuels has just announced that they have entered into an agreement to construct a 30MM gpy biodiesel production facility at KMTEX’s Port Arthur, Texas plant. Endicott Biofuels is licensed to utilize the Davy Process Technology for conversion of a wide range of neutral to acidic oils and fatty acids into their patented G2Clear99™ biodiesel. KMTEX specializes in the distillation and custom processing of petrochemicals, specialty chemicals, oleochemicals, agricultural chemicals, and a host of other industrial chemical products. Endicott notes that their production technology is ready to process algae oil and lipids from cell ethanol production. Endicott has been testing their approach at KMTEX’s pilot plant, and is now ready for commercialization. 01/25/2011

 

John Deere Launches Woody Biomass Website

John DeereBiomass conversion to energy and fuels requires more than technical systems expertise; it requires access to feedstock, and broad agreement that the environmental and socio-economic benefits outweigh any negative aspects. The John Deere & Company has launched their elegant Woody Biomass website to provide basic knowledge, and to prompt public action. In easily-understood language, John Deere offers answers to those commonly asked questions: What is it, and why harvest it? Expert opinions are posted; examples of the need, the challenges, and the benefits are given, with case studies and an introduction to basic biomass harvesting systems. 01/25/2011

 

Culinary Institute of America Turns Waste Cooking Oil into Van Fuel

Culinary Institute BiofuelThe high-grade cooking oils used on the Napa, California campus of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) are being converted on-site to high-grade biodiesel, fueling two of the CIA’s shuttle vans. For every 50 gallons of used oil collected from the Institute’s teaching kitchens and from the Wine Spectator’s Greystone Restaurant, the CIA produces around 45 gallons of clean biodiesel. At less than a dollar a gallon to produce compared to over $3.00 per gallon diesel, the savings are substantial. 01/25/2011

 

Pulp, Biochemicals and Biofuel: Chempolis Secures China Project

ChempolisFinnish non-wood biomass processing company Chempolis has announced that they have signed a frame agreement with a leading Chinese papermaking consortium to enter into a joint venture to build and operate a Formicofibtm biorefinery in Luohe, Henan province. The proposed facility will initially produce 160,000 tons per year of pulp-for-paper and biochemicals from raw wheat straw. Chempolis has several systems and processes, including formicofib™ that converts non-wood raw materials into papermaking fibre, and formicobio™ that processes non-food raw materials into cellulosic ethanol. The company owns and operates an integrated biorefinery in Oulu, Finland. 01/24/2011

 

DOE Releases Three Tribal Energy Solicitations

DOE Tribal Energy ProgramThe US Department of Energy (DOE), Golden Field office, has just released three solicitations for Energy Development on sovereign Tribal lands. All applicants must be either Native American Tribal members or consortia of Tribes Non-Tribal concerns must seek written Tribal Council approval for partnering on projects submitted by Native American applicants.  “First Steps Toward Developing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency on Tribal Lands” seeks applications for strategic energy planning, energy options analysis, energy organization development, and human capacity building related to sustainable energy efficiency implementation and/or renewable energy development. Proposals are due March 3, 2011. “Energy Efficiency Development and Deployment in Indian Country” solicits applications for: (1) Feasibility studies to assess and determine the technical and economic feasibility of energy efficiency improvements to existing Tribally-owned buildings; or (2) Installation of energy efficiency improvements to existing Tribally-owned buildings. Proposals are due March 16, 2011. The most advanced solicitation, “Renewable Energy Development and Deployment in Indian Country”, seeks Tribal applicants for: (1) feasibility studies to determine the technical and economic viability of a future renewable project; or (2) development (pre-construction) activities leading to the deployment of renewable energy projects; or (3) deployment (construction) of renewable energy projects for power production. Proposals for this solicitation are due March 31, 2011. The full announcements are available through FedConnect. General information is available at DOE’s Tribal Energy Program website. 01/24/2011

 

Court Orders Short Time Line for EPA’s Boiler MACT & CISWI Rulemakings

US Environmental Protection AgencyIn late April 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a series of Rulemakings imposing new Clean Air Act emissions standards for boiler systems and incinerators, referred to as the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rules. At the same time the agency issued a proposed re-definition of solid waste, determining which non-hazardous secondary materials would be considered solid waste requiring advanced incinerator controls and which materials would be considered fuel for boilers. This second proposed rule, in part, would eliminate the de minimis standard for the amount of “waste” in an otherwise non-waste fuel, and require facilities using direct combustion of any amount of waste-containing feedstock to be classed as a “Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste incinerator” (CISWI), a ruling that would essentially preclude waste-sourced biomass feedstock use in almost all large-scale Biopower facilities. By the end of the combined comment periods, the EPA had received nearly 5,000 comments and submissions of additional data. Given the scale of change that became necessary as a result of the comments, the EPA filed a motion with the court for an extension of the timeline prior to implementation from January 16, 2011, to April 13, 2012, to allow the agency time to re-propose for further public comment and take final action on certain standards that are needed to meet the agency’s obligations. On January 20, 2011, a Washington D.C. District Court judge issued an order extending the deadline, but for only 30 days, far less than requested, and requiring that the new regulations become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal register. 01/24/2011

 

Radian Completes Torrefaction System Preliminary Engineering

RADIAN BIOENERGYRadian Bioenergy has just announced that they have completed the preliminary engineering design of a commercial scale torrefaction retort to convert biomass feedstocks into bio-char. The Radian Torrefaction system will produce approximately 200 tons/day of bio-char with a heat rate from 9,000 to 11,000 Btu/lb, ready for use in coal-fired plants as “green coal”. Radian’s CEO, Mr. Ben Phillips commented, “The development of our Torrefaction technology will further enhance our product offerings in the biomass energy sector, enabling us to supply major equipment or turn-key solutions to customers seeking a solution for biomass upgrading.” 01/24/2011

 

USDA Announces Bioenergy and Biofuels Awards

USDA Bioenergy ProgramUS Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on January 20, 2011 that selections have been made for this year’s Farm Bill support of development of renewable fuels. Funding comes under various programs, including investments in companies in 33 states under the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels (Section 9005). Guaranteed loans under the Biorefinery Assistance Program (sections 2003 and 2008) include $405 million to Coskata, Enerkem and INEOS.  $1.6 million in grant funding for 68 feasibility studies under the Rural Energy For America Program Grants program (Section 9007 REAP Feasibility Study Grants) was also announced. USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an existing portfolio of nearly $142 billion in loans and loan guarantees. New solicitations may be expected early to mid-2011; watch the program’s Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) web service. 01/23/2011

 

US DOE Offers First Biorefinery Loan Guarantee for $241MM

Valero Energy CorporationThe January 20, 2011 announcement by Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Chu of a $241 million federal loan guarantee to Diamond Green Diesel LLC, is the first formal DOE conditional commitment under their new Loan Program for an advanced biofuels plant. The Diamond Green Diesel operation is the joint venture between Darling International Inc. and Valero Energy Corporation. The new facility will be constructed adjacent to Valero's St. Charles Refinery in Norco, Louisiana and will use rendered animal fats provided by Darling from regional restaurants and slaughter houses. Called “EcofiningTM”, this is the first U.S. use of the Hydro-treating / Isomerization process from the Italian firm Desmet Ballestra Group and Universal Oil Products, LLC to convert processed feedstock into high-quality diesel. The 137 million gallon per year renewable diesel production plant is expected to provide up to 700 regional jobs during peak construction and 60 full-time long term positions. 01/23/2011

 

Mascoma & Frontier Partner with Valero for Cellulosic Ethanol Biorefinery

Mascoma CorporationThe Mascoma Corporation and their subsidiary Frontier Renewable Resources have just announced the signing of an initial investment and partnering agreement with Valero Energy Corporation to develop Frontier’s cellulosic biorefinery operations in Michigan. Mascoma has enhanced their original microbial cellulosic ethanol production with their recently-acquired SunOpta BioProcess fiber pre-treatment equipment and methodologies to provide cost-effective conversion of woody feedstock into a variety of short-chain alcohols, including ethanol. Under the non-binding Letter of Intent, Valero will invest an initial $50 million in the Frontier facility. 01/23/2011

 

West Virginia Boys Make Good (Biodiesel) in Ecuador: Introducing Intelifuel

IntelifuelTwo entrepreneurial graduates of West Virginia’s Buckhannon-Upshur High School, Jeremy McGowan and his chum Wesley “Scott” Clowdus, have taken their 2009 schemes to Phase I. Their first Intelifuel used vegetable oil filtration facility is nearly complete in Quito, Ecuador. Intelifuel’s modest Mission Statement is “To create the most successful biofuels production facility in the World”. The company has developed their own waste vegetable oil collection program for residences and businesses, and currently has two product lines: purified Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO) for sale to biodiesel refiners, and animal feed supplement stabilized from the organic materials filtered from the waste vegetable oils they collect. Phase II will include production of their own B-100 Biodiesel. The company takes donations and is seeking investors. 01/23/2011

 

Feed-In Tariff “CLEAN Contract” Report Available

Center for American ProgressThe Center for American Progress (CAP), along with co-authors from Groundswell and the Energy Action Coalition, has released a sweeping report on the one policy that has been most successful in bringing clean renewable energy to the marketplace nationally, the feed-in tariff. The report examines the contract mechanisms for feed-in tariffs, dubbed Clean Local Energy Available Now or CLEAN Contract, and provides guidance for establishing such mechanisms where they are not yet in place. CAP specialists are available for discussion on the report, and a video interview with the author has been posted. 01/18/2011

 

PSCBI Report on Synthetic Biology Released

Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical IssuesThe Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (PSCBI) has recently released their December 2010 report, “New Directions: The Ethics of Synthetic Biology and Emerging Technologies”. The report addresses the use of genetically-modified organisms in agriculture and clean energy, in addition to medical and health applications. The report presents a rather even-handed review of the pros and cons, the societal benefits and the environmental risks, the need for regulation, and concerns over areas where regulations simply can not assure control. Five key Principles are developed and discussed, covering Public Beneficence, Responsible Stewardship, Intellectual Freedom and Responsibility, Democratic Deliberation, and Justice and Fairness. It also provides 17 recommendations for the Administration’s consideration. PSCBI will hold their next public meeting on February 28 - March 1, 2011 in Washington, D.C. 01/18/2011

 

ARB Seeks Comments on LCFS Expert Workgroup Reports

ARB Low Carbon Fuel StandardThe California Air Resources Board (ARB) has announced that the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) Expert Workgroup final subgroups documents are available. Newly posted are the ARB Staff Cover Report, all Subgroup Final Reports, and the Independent Reviewer Final Reports. Following staff document review and near-term evaluation, ARB will outline needed mid-term and long-term analyses. Near-term revisions to the LCFS Regulation should be completed by late spring of 2011. Comments are solicited on all final reports, both from the near-term and long-term perspectives, and should be submitted to John Courtis, Manager (ewg@arb.ca.gov). General program questions may be addressed to James Duffy, Air Resources Engineer (jduffy@arb.ca.gov), both in the ARB Alternative Fuels Section (916) 323-0015. 01/16/2011

 

UK Researchers Find More Power in Poop

Environmental Science & TechnologyPast methods of determining the energy value of domestic wastewater have not taken into account energy contained in volatiles lost by evaporation. Development of better test methods to determine the inherent chemical energy of wastewater indicates 20% higher energy values than current methods estimates. Researchers added an initial time-consuming step of freeze drying prior to the standard bomb calorimeter, allowing water removal without driving off volatile compounds. Their paper, "Determination of the Internal Chemical Energy of Wastewater", has been published in the American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science & Technology. Conclusions: the amount of energy resource contained in wastewater is not trivial, energy in different wastewaters will vary dramatically, and waste stream assessment is needed to optimize energy extraction technology. 01/13/2011

 

US EPA Proposes 3-Year Deferral for GHG Emissions Controls

US EPA Last July 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Call for Information on ways to account for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated during combustion or decomposition of biomass-based material and other biogenic sources. These sources also include utilization of forest or agricultural products for energy, wastewater treatment and livestock management facilities, landfills, and fermentation processes for ethanol production. The EPA is developing an approach for such emissions under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V Programs (GHG Tailoring Rule). On January 12, 2011, Gina McCarthy, Assistant Administrator of the EPA, responded to requests to defer permitting requirements for biogenic emissions for three years by issuing letters to four Senators and granting in part a National Alliance of Forest Owners’ petition Formal Rulemaking is scheduled to be completed by July 1, 2011, “to defer for three years the application of the preconstruction permitting requirement to biomass and other biogenic C02 emissions.” The agency will issue intermediate guidance to aid Best Available Control Technology determination for permitting biogenic sources at the local level. 01/13/2011

 

UK Parliament Issues Rare Earth Metal Briefing

UK Parliamentary Office of Science and TechnologyThe United Kingdom’s (UK) Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) has published a POSTnote examining the debate on future supplies of Rare Earth Metals, and discusses the UK and international response. Currently, global demand is increasing, and there are concerns over future availability. The white paper summary discusses how rapid global industrialization and population growth are placing increasing pressure on availability of all raw materials, and why these elements in particular have become such a highly sought-after resource for high technology and low carbon industries. For further information on this and other POSTnote briefings, contact post@parliament.uk, call 020 7219 2840 and/or visit their POST website. 01/13/2011

 

US DOE Releases Biopower Technical Strategy Workshop Summary Report

Biopower Technical Strategy Workshop Summary ReportIn December 2009, the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Biomass Program conducted the Biopower Technical Strategy Workshop in Denver, Colorado to explore biopower opportunities in the United States. The purpose of the Workshop was to provide an open forum to discuss technical and economic challenges. Key topics of discussion included research, development and demonstration (RD&D) priorities and issues related to feedstocks, sustainability, and market transformation. The Biopower Technical Strategy Workshop Summary Report was released January 10, 2011 and is now available at the Biomass Program’s website. 01/11/2011

 

CEQ Directs Federal Electronic Waste Management Task Force

The White HouseRecovery of rare and precious metals from electronic wastes continues to increase in importance as China and Japan’s embargoes on export exemplify. Under Executive Order 13514, the Office of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) established an interagency Task Force focused on electronic waste reduction, recycling, and end-of-life management. The Task Force is mandated to develop a National Framework for federal agency electronic waste management by May 2011, which should include a plan to build public / private partnerships for sustainable electronics management nationwide, reduce exports of used electronics, and build national capacity to safely handle used electronics. The CEQ point of contact for companies and agencies interested in the Task Force’s work is Nikki Buffa, CEQ Associate Director for Communities, Environmental Protection & Green Jobs, at 202-456-5710. 01/11/2011

 

New Business Guide Available for USDA BioPreferred Program

USDA BioPreferred Program The US Department of Agriculture’s BioPreferred Program was created by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (2002 Farm Bill), and expanded by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill). The Program’s intent is to increase the purchase and use of biobased products especially for Federal agencies and contractors, while providing "green" jobs and new markets for farmers, manufacturers, and vendors. A voluntary labeling program is included for the broad scale consumer marketing of biobased products, defined in the 2002 Farm Bill to be “commercial or industrial goods (other than food or feed) composed in whole or in significant part of biological products, forestry materials, or renewable domestic agricultural materials, including plant, animal, or marine materials.”. In 2009, Executive Order 13514 mandated that 95% of all Federal contracts include requirements for the purchase of biobased products, and in October 2010, the Final Rule on federal procurement was passed. Adding a needed element to the many resources for vendors of bio-based products, USDA has now released a new on-line guide for businesses with bio-based products. 01/08/2011

 

CEC’s Revised RPS Eligibility and Overall Guidebooks Now Available

CEC Renewable Portfolio GuidebooksThe California Energy Commission has released the latest revised Eligibility and Overall Guidebooks for the Renewable Portfolio Standard. Specific changes in this revision impact the eligibility of projects that convert any form of waste into energy or fuels; re-interpretation of the criteria stipulated by law related to thermal waste conversion should ease the process of eligibility certification and clarify steps for permitting. TeruTalk has posted reviews of the revision process and will soon provide a wrap-up article highlighting changes most important to Conversion. 01/06/2011

 

US EIA’s Releases Overview of 2011 Energy Outlook Report

US Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy OutlookThe US Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook for 2011 (AEO2011) will formally be released in March, but their Early Release Overview is already available. The preview summarizes EIA’s Reference Case work, and outlines major findings that will later be expanded in the full AEO2011 Report. The Early Release includes tables of energy and services pricing and consumption by region and by fuel, critical baseline material for the broad pro formas necessary for any large energy project. 01/06/2011

 

Tennessee Switchgrass Biorefining is Seeking Investors

University of Tennessee Biofuels InitiativeTennessee has over 6000 acres of switchgrass planted as a result of a state/institutional Biofuels Initiative intended to produce the tall perennial grass as feedstock for biocropping to energy ad biofuels production. The US Department of Agriculture’s extension of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) means continued payments to more than 60 switchgrass growers on contract to the University of Tennessee’s (UT) spin-off, Genera Energy LLC. The company teamed with DuPont Danisco on a cellulosic ethanol biorefinery demonstration facility capable of 250,000 gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year. Coordinated by UT professor Kelly Tiller, CEO of Genera Energy, the State and the UT have committed more than $70 million through 2012, leveraged with $300 million from federal and private sources. In January 4, 2011 comments on Nashville Public Radio, Dr. Tiller indicated the consortium is now seeking funding from “businesses in the supply chain”. 01/05/2011

 

Oregon Department of Forestry Offers Funds for Bioenergy Supply Chain

Oregon Department of ForestryThe Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has grant funding for Douglas County landowners to move woody debris to BioPower facilities. The program is intended to help remove woody debris from timber harvests, fire hazard reduction and road easement vegetation control. Landowner with at least 5 tons of debris and own less than 5,000 acres of Oregon forest land are eligible; grants can pay contractors to collect and haul biomass as feedstock for regional co-generation facilities, en lieu of open burning. Almost $90,000 is available; the Department will start accepting applications on January 10, 2011. The money comes from the federal recovery and reinvestment legislation. Application forms are available by contacting the Oregon Department of Forestry's Roseburg office, 541- 440-3412, extension 172, or on the ODF web site. 01/05/2011

 

ACORE Offers Biomass Finance Webinar

ACORE Biomass Coordinating CouncilThe Biomass Coordinating Council of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is offering a webinar on New Developments in Biomass Financing, on January 26, 2011 from 9-10:30 Pacific time, 12-1:30 Eastern. The special webinar will review new market developments, tax policy and incentives, along with discussion of new financial mechanisms including bond financing partnered with USDA or DOE loan guarantees. A Q&A session will follow speaker’s presentations. Registration is free for ACORE members and $30 for all others. 01/05/2011

 

Climate Change Research Will Aid Bioenergy Development

Climate Action Team 2010 Annual ReportCalifornia’s multi-agency, public/private Climate Action Team has submitted their annual report to the Governor and Legislature for 2010, including Near-term Implementation Plans (CATNIPs) developed by a wide array of working groups and summarized in their June 2010 presentations, looking forward to 2011 and beyond. Of these, the Interagency Forestry Working Group’s (IFWG) detailed CATNIPs indicate data collection and analysis that can assist current and planted bioenergy development during the next year: biomass-related greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) inventories, on-going economic and environmental sustainability assessments, and continuation of Proposition 40 Fuels Management grants for fire hazard risk reduction. Overall management strategies reflect IFWG’s findings: “The forest sector is also the only inventoried sector in the state with net negative greenhouse gas emissions: emissions from wildfires, land conversion, and wood decomposition are currently smaller than the amount absorbed as trees and other plants grow.”  01/02/2011

 

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