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March 2011 News and Matters of Interest

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DOE Eases Patent and National Lab Access 
US Department of EnergyThe US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced launch of a new program designed to dramatically lower the cost of acquiring federal patent rights. The start of the “ America’s Next Top Energy Innovator” program is part of the Obama Administration’s Startup America Initiative, and is designed to give start-up companies the opportunity to license groundbreaking technologies developed by the national laboratories for $1,000, instead of the usual $10,000 to $15,000 fee. The program will also reduce about one third of the up-front cost of doing business with National Laboratories. About 10% of the 15,000 federally held patents have been licensed to be commercialized. Participants in the new program can review available patents now through the DOE’s Energy Innovation Portal. A quick review of the Biomass and Biofuels category finds 50 Technology Marketing Strategy summaries, including Idaho National Lab’s “Bio-Syntrolysis” methods patented in March 2010 for conversion of waste biomass to synthetic fuels. DOE will post application templates on May 2nd and participants will have until December 15th to secure rights. Energy Secretary Chu stated, "Today, we're challenging them to create new businesses based on discoveries made by our world-leading national laboratories. Because we've cut the upfront fees and reduced the paperwork, we'll make it easier for start-up companies to succeed and create the new jobs our economy needs. Our goal is simple: unleash America's innovation machine and win the global race for the clean energy jobs of the future." 03/31/2011

Weltec Begins Construction on Biopower Plant in Hessia

Weltec process technology German company Weltec Biopower has begun construction on a large biogas to grid project in the new nation of Hessia, established in 2007. The bio-gas processing plant will include refinement of the anaerobic digester’s residue for fertilizer. In Weltec’s process, 140 million cubic feet of biogas will be scrubbed to natural gas grade by treatment with amine which chemically binds the carbon dioxide and increases the methane content. The higher methane content reduces the need for conditioning gas in the grid feed-in plant. The project development company ALTUS AG from Karlsruhe, Germany expects commissioning in 2012. The facility will generate power and heat for about 3,000 households and help meet the goal of the municipality of Ebsdorfergrund to convert their entire energy supply to locally produced regenerative energies by 2020. 03/30/2011

 

Pilot Waste to Energy Project in Romania Receives Construction Funding

Flag of RomaniaTransGlobal Assets has announced provision of $500,000 to its joint venture partner, India-base Helios Inc. for construction of a 250 kilowatt electric (kWe) biomass waste pilot project for the Romanian municipality of Acatari. The modular conversion system uses the patented “MSW-TO-ENERGY SYSTEM” invented by Helios Inc, and is the smallest unit of the series that they manufacture. The project will be run to demonstrate efficient conversion of municipal solid waste (MSW) to energy for Acatari. Pending demonstration outcome, other Romanian municipalities have committed to the purchase of additional units. Helios and TransGlobal Assets are ramping up their production to build (15) 1-megawatt units and (10) 5-megawatt units. 03/30/2011

 

SNV World Completes Preliminary Design for Remote Peruvian Biogas Project

Santa Rosillo, PeruThe Netherlands humanitarian organization SNV World has announced completion of preliminary design for community biogas generation systems as part of a feasibility study for the isolated community of Santa Rosillo in the Peruvian Amazon. The small daily biogas production from anaerobic digestion of local animal manure will fuel an off-grid 16 kilowatt (kW) generator. The project is funded by the Fact Foundation and CORDAID, and is now ready for implementation. The project includes local training on the construction, operation and maintenance of the system so locals can replicate it in other communities. SNV is a non-profit organization established in the Netherlands and is now operating in 35 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Balkans. 03/30/2011

  

Neste Oil Secures R&D Funding for Renewable Fuel Development

Neste OilScandinavian Neste Oil has announced an agreement with Nordic Investment Bank for a €50 million loan to fund further research on extending the range of renewable raw materials used in producing biodiesel. The company has been increasing the amount of waste used in biodiesel production as reported here. An R&D focus on nonfood materials and inputs, including research into microbial and algae oil and the use of wood-based biomass, will reduce the amount of land used and cut greenhouse gas emissions. "The loan underlines our commitment to research on renewable raw materials," says Neste Oil's Senior Vice President, Technology and Strategy, Lars Peter Lindfors. "The additional funding that it will provide will secure the continuation of our cutting-edge R&D work and the future development of our NExBTL renewable diesel technology." 03/28/2011

 

New Chinese Ethanol Plant Will Use LanzaTech Offgas-to-Fuel Technology

LanzaTechNew Zealand based LanzaTech, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and the steel and iron conglomerate Baosteel Group Corporation have begun construction of a 100,000 gallon per year ethanol plant that will use LanzaTech’s gas fermentation technology to make fuel ethanol from the flue off-gas emissions produced by Baosteel’s steel mill. LanzaTech entered into a joint venture with the world’s third largest steel producer in February of this year for the demonstration plant. In a ceremony in Shanghai today, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (consulting to LanzaTech), primary investor Vinod Khosla and CEO Dr. Jennifer Holmgren joined the President of Baosteel Group, Mr. He Wenbo, and the President of CAS, Dr. Bai Chunli, to launch the start of construction. The six month expected construction phase should see the plant operational late in the third quarter of this year. 03/27/2011

 

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Students Learn to Make Biodiesel

70centsagallon.com's B-60 dry wash Biodiesel production systemFlorida Biodiesel Inc will provide a modular biodiesel system to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to demonstrate Green Fuel technology for on-campus activities, and show students how to make renewable energy. The B-60 Biodiesel processor made by 70centsagallon.com Biofuel Technologies requires 60 minutes of assembly time and will allow students to safely produce 45 gallon batches of Biodiesel. “The students will process the oil they collect from the cafeteria into Biodiesel fuel for use in campus vehicles,” says Victor Garlington, Director of Client Services at 70CentsaGallon.com. “The B-60 is very user friendly and great for students to learn Biodiesel basics.” 03/27/2011

 

ECRI Explores Large Scale Collection and Composting of Food Waste

Environmental Council of Rhode IslandThe Environmental Council of Rhode Island (ECRI) held a community meeting last week to explain and explore the potential for collection of the community’s food waste and conversion to compost and renewable energy as an alternative to landfill disposal. Greg Gerritt, the ECRI’s Compost Initiative Coordinator, introduced the concepts and the day’s speakers, to include the Mayor of Providence, the Rhode Island Resource the state Department of Environmental Management Recovery Corporation and the New England Region 1 EPA, who presented on the EPA’s Food Recovery Initiative. Gerritt told the audience, “All over the world communities are composting.  From backyard compost piles to large electricity production facilities based on methane collected by anaerobically digesting source separated food scraps, communities are seeing the future.” 03/27/2011

 

DTSC Announces Green Chemistry Initiative Sub-Committee Meetings

Green Chemistry InitiativeThe California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has announced meeting agendas for the three recently-formed sub-committees within their Green Ribbon Science Panel (GRSP). The working groups have been formed to more thoroughly explore the many issues regarding the Green Chemistry Initiative raised by the public, the GRSP and agency staff. Each team will hold two teleconferenced meetings prior to returning to the full GRSP panel meetings scheduled for May 5 and 6, 2011 in Sacramento. Sub-committee meetings and the general meeting are open to the public and time will be allotted for public comment. Team #1 will examine Chemical Identification and Prioritization (meeting April 4 and 13, 2011), Team #2 will focus on Product Identification and Prioritization (April 11 and 19, 2011), and Team #3 will address De Minimis and Unintentionally-Added Chemicals (April 6 and 18, 2011). Nine teleconferenced locations around California will be available; please advise DTSC staff if you wish to participate in person. For further information contact Kathy Barwick at (916) 323-3381, or e-mail at KBarwick@dtsc.ca.gov. 03/26/2011

 

MSU now Licensing Fuel-Additive Producing Fungus

3-D structure for eucalyptol. Image: Madison Metabolomics Consortium, U WisconsinResearchers at the Montana State University (MSU) have announced that their Eucalyptus-oil-producing fungus Hypoxylon sp. is now ready for licensing. Teru Talk reported on MSU’s initial discovery and again when the Sandia National Laboratory stepped in to refine the production of fuel additives derived from the fungus. The fungus produces cineole, also known as eucalyptol, which can be used as an octane boosting fuel additive, along with other useful fuel additives. Before discovery of the fungus, eucalyptol was only available as an extract from Eucalyptus tree leaves and bark, and could not be produced in commercial amounts. MSU and Sandia joint research now facilitates high-volume production and broad commercial application. Licensing interests should be directed in writing to Nick Zelver, MSU Technology Transfer Office at (406) 994-7868, http://tto.montana.edu or by e-mail at nzelver@montana.edu. 03/26/2011

 

Highmark Receives US, South African Integrated bioRefinery Patents

Highmark’s IMUS™ recovers energy and nutrients from organic wastes.Canadian biorefinery developer Highmark Renewables has received US and South African patent assurances for their newest waste-to-energy Integrated bioRefinery technology platform. These new patents become part of their Integrated BioMass Utilization System (IMUS) family of inventions. Their approach enables anaerobic digestion of high-solids animal manures and other difficult to manage biomass. Biogas cleaning and reforming can produce ethanol, while the biosolids are treated (including prion destruction) for sanitized fertilizer and soils amendments. The flexible processing configuration can be adapted for a wide variety of feedstock types, and for production of diverse commodities including nutraceuticals, high-value oils, ethanol and biodiesel. Highmark now has seven IMUS patent “families” either granted or in process, and will file for an eighth later this year. 03/25/2011

 

Butamax Receives New Patent for Bio-Butanol Production Methods

Butamax Advanced BiofuelsWilmington, Delawarebased Butamax Advanced Biofuels has announced that the US Trade and Patent Office has granted a patent for their proprietary isobutanol production methods, covering a key step in their biobutanol production pathway using genetic constructs with highly active enzymes. Kingston Research Limited is constructing the Butamax biobutanol technology demonstration plant in Hull, United Kingdom. “We pioneered microbial production of isobutanol as a single fermentative product and we are pleased that the US patent office has recognized our inventive contributions in this field again,” said Tim Potter, Butamax CEO. “This patent protected technology is important because it enables commercially viable production rates.” Butamax is a joint venture between BP and DuPont, and anticipates commercial launch during 2012/2013.  03/24/2011

 

DOE Fully Funds Commitment to EdeniQ and Logos for CCM Pilot Biorefinery

EdeniQLogos Technologies Inc has announced that their partnership with cellulosic fuels company EdeniQ has received full commitment of $20.5 million from the US Department of Energy (DOE) under the Integrated Biorefinery Program. The funds were awarded in 2009 to aid development of the team’s corn-to-cellulose-migration (CCM) program, starting with construction of a new research and development pilot plant on EdeniQ’s property in Visalia, California. The DOE initially released $2.8 million under the cooperative agreement, and has now committed to the remaining $17.7 million. EdeniQ had commercialized tools and techniques as add-ons to existing standard dry mill ethanol facilities that allow producers to convert the corn kernel cellulose along with the standard starches. The CCM Project will help today’s corn ethanol industry “migrate” toward cost-effective production of ethanol from non-food biomass including corn stover, switchgrass, and woodchips.  “This project is part of the ongoing effort to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, spur the creation of the domestic biorefining industry, and provide new clean-tech jobs throughout the country,” said the DOE project officer, Gene Petersen. 03/24/2011

 

Delta Diablo Sanitation District Receives $1MM for Gasification Project

Bay Area Biosolids to Energy CoalitionIn yesterday’s Business meeting, the California Energy Commission (CEC) unanimously approved an award of $999,924 to the Antioch-based Delta Diablo Sanitation District to develop, demonstrate, and implement a system to turn biosolids into energy. The district leads the collective efforts of 16 San Francisco Bay Area agencies joined as the Bay Area Biosolids to Energy Coalition (BAB2E), who released a request for Qualifications in February of last year for the project. The total cost of the project is $4,738,924, with the remainder of costs coming from the selected clean energy development company, Intellergy Corporation of Richmond. The project will demonstrate use of Intellergy’s gasification to steam/carbon dioxide reforming technology on biosolids conversion. Funding comes from the CEC’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program; for more information, contact Delta Diablo or the PIER program staff. 03/24/2011

  

Free Gasification Technology Workshop Scheduled for Regulators

Gasification Technology CouncilThe Gasification Technology Council (GTC) has announced their 2011 Gasification Technology Workshop schedule, this year to be held April 6-7 in Tampa, Florida. A discussion of the use of gasification for recovery of energy from biomass and municipal solid waste is on the agenda. A tour of a large-scale gasification power station will be included. The non-profit organization provides the annual workshop to decision-makers affecting siting/permitting of gasification plants. The free training is restricted to local, state and federal regulatory staff, and GTC member companies; reimbursement for travel expenses may be available. For more information visit the GTC website or contact Marie Kent at 703-276-0110 or e-mail at mkent@gasification.org. 03/23/2011

 

3-Diary Digester Project Kicks Off in Washington State

NativeEnergyNativeEnergy has announced their partnership with Rainier BioGas and three Washington state dairies to build a 1200-cow manure digester which will generate 1 megawatt of electricity for sale to Puget Sound Energy and reduce over 4,000 tons of greenhouse gas emission annually. The agricultural community near Enumclaw has been organizing to build a methane digester for nearly a decade. Financing through NativeEnergy will be backed by carbon credit sales verified by the Climate Action Reserve with funding assistance from state and federal agencies. The project includes three family farms: Ritter Dairy, Wallin Dairy, and the DeGroot Brothers Dairy. Kevin Maas of Rainier Biogas, the project developer, noted: “The community has supported this project because everyone will benefit from it. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions; it will protect the area’s sensitive rivers and streams; and it will provide nutrient management and low-cost bedding for local farmers.” 03/23/2011

 

US EPA Hosts Free Co-EAT Webinar

EPA Pacific Southwest Region 9The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host a free training webinar on March 31, 2011 for their Co-Digestion Economic Assessment Tool. The EPA’s Pacific Southwest Regional Office (Region 9) developed the on-line project analysis package last year. Dubbed “CoEAT”, the free software program is available as an Excel spreadsheet download and comes with an instruction manual. CoEAT assesses the initial economic feasibility assessment of food waste co-digestion at wastewater treatment plants for the purpose of biogas production. The agency stresses that this model is not intended to be a final evaluation of a food waste co-digestion project. Co-digestion is the anaerobic processing of energy-rich organic materials like food waste with less energy-rich organics like manure and sewage. Register online for the webinar or contact the program’s EPA Region 9 contact: Laura Moreno, Solid Waste Specialist, moreno.laura@epa.gov, 415-947-4240 for further information. 03/22/2011

 

RSB Launches Voluntary Certification System for Biofuels

Roundtable on Sustainable BiofuelsThe international organization Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) will publically launch its global standard and certification system at the World Biofuels Market event in Rotterdam, Netherlands on March 23, 2011. “RSB Services,” the business arm of the RSB, will manage applications for RSB certification, and issue the license for use of the RSB logo on certified biofuels. The RSB has also just received provisional approval from the German government by their recognition of RSB certified biofuels as qualifying for the German biofuel sustainability requirements. For further information, watch the RSB website. 03/22/2011

 

UK AD & Biogas 2011 Expo & Conference July 6-7, 2011 in Birmingham

Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas AssociationThe Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) is hosting their 2nd annual industry event this July 6-7, 2011 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. This year’s UK AD & Biogas 2011 Expo and Conference theme is Decarbonizing the Gas and Electricity Grids – and ADBA promises to bring “all you need to know about AD under one roof”. As the only trade show focused completely on anaerobic digestion (AD) and biogas, the UK AD & Biogas 2011 will bring together farmers, landowners, operators, developers, councilors, local authorities and organic waste producers who are actually procuring, building or operating AD plants with those who want to or will be adding AD into their development. The comprehensive two-day conference brochure explains how in-depth panel discussion and real-life case studies will present “Life Cycle of an AD Plant”, taking attendees through every stage of an AD project. Day One will discuss Planning, Regulation and Economics; Day Two will address everything from sourcing and securing feedstock, to commissioning and operating safely and maximizing outputs. The vast exhibition area will showcase over 100 leading AD suppliers; among those that have already booked space are BD Agro Renewables, Enpure, HotRot Organic Solutions, Monsal, and WELtec Biopower. Primary sponsors include Enpure and British Gas; sponsorship opportunities at many levels are still open. Floor plans, exhibitor and sponsorship rates, conference registration and further information are available at ADBA’s website. 03/22/2011

 

FuelMatic Biodiesel Processor Manufacturing Moves to Nevada

FuelMatic manufactures 5000 gallons of commercial grade biodiesel per day.Green Fuels America (GFA) will manufacture their 5,000 gallon per day FuelMatic and other commercial biodiesel processors in their Sparks, Nevada headquarters. GFA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Green Fuels, based in the United Kingdom, where the commercial processors have previously been manufactured. The processors can use a variety of waste and new vegetable oils, and range in output from 12,000 gpa, the 5,000 gpa unit, a 2,000 gpa system and even residential scale fuel pods. Green Fuels currently have 21 FuelMatic biodiesel systems operating world-wide, including one to be installed in Massachusetts this spring. “We believe that we will be able to manufacture six of these commercial biodiesel processors in Nevada this year using local sub-contractors, the majority will be for export. We estimate that this decision will create at least 10 new jobs in 2011 in the Reno/Carson City region in manufacturing, engineering, and production control between Green Fuels and our sub-contractors/vendors said Greg Springer, VP and GM, of Green Fuels America.” 03/21/2011 

 

Design Phase Begins on Waste Plastics to Fuel Plant in Ireland

Cynar PlcSwiss engineering giant Foster Wheeler AG announced earlier this month that their firm has been selected for process engineering design services on Cynar Plc’s 6000 ton per year facility for conversion of waste plastics to liquid fuel. The plant will use Cynar’s pyrolysis / distillation technologies, augmented by Foster-Wheeler’s refining knowledge. Cynar’s first demonstration plant is located in Portlaoise, County Laois, about 50 miles southwest of Dublin in central Ireland. Foster Wheeler and Cynar have collaborated to improve the quality of the fuel produced; the pilot work has identified needed modifications to now be incorporated into the design for the new plant at the same location. "Cynar chose Foster Wheeler to assist with our technology development because of their wide ranging engineering expertise and in particular their oil refining knowledge and capability. Currently all end-of-life plastic ends up in landfill and Cynar's technology can go some way to reducing this ever increasing problem whilst providing an alternative to fossil fuel. We are very pleased with Foster Wheeler's participation and contribution in our journey to provide a solution to a significant worldwide issue," said Michael Murray, Cynar Plc’s Chief Executive Officer. 03/20/2011

 

New Biofuels Cluster to Produce Fuel from Plant Waste

Wheat stubble – CSIRO's Energy Transformed Cluster on Biofuels will develop new processes using enzyme biotechnology techniques to produce liquid fuels from waste plant materials. Photo credit: ShutterStockThe Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has launched the new Cluster on Biofuels to focus on development and use of enzyme biotechnology techniques to produce liquid fuels from the cellulose and lignin solids of waste plant feedstocks. The Cluster is a three-year biofuels research and development collaborative effort between the CSIRO’s Energy Transformed Flagship program, the Australian National University (ANU), RMIT University, the University of Queensland and the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom (UK). The A$8.3MM Cluster received an initial A$3.7 million through the CSIRO Flagship Collaboration Fund. The Director of CSIRO's Energy Transformed Flagship Dr Alex Wonhas said, "The Cluster on Biofuels brings together a unique group of leading Australian and international scientists to develop new and competitive solutions for sustainable biofuel production which should position domestic companies for global success." Further information on partnering with the Biofuels Cluster is available on-line. 03/19/2011

 

Lignol and Novozymes Complete Cellulosic Ethanol Production R&D Phase

LignolLignol Innovations, Ltd and Novozymes have successfully completed a major phase of cellulosic ethanol production research and demonstration (R&D). Lignol Innovations, Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lignol Energy Corp. The R&D collaboration is a result of the joint research and development agreement between Lignol and Novozymes to make biofuel from wood chips and forestry waste with the aim of producing biofuel (cellulosic ethanol) at production costs competitive with gasoline and corn ethanol. The first phase of the project included producing cellulosic ethanol from hardwood at Lignol's Burnaby, British Columbia pilot-scale biorefinery. The next phase will focus on enzyme and substrate optimization for overall cost reduction. Ross MacLachlan, President and CEO of Lignol, said, "Over the coming months we will continue to work closely with Novozymes with the objective of further reducing the cost of producing cellulosic ethanol from hardwoods and laying the foundation for large scale commercial deployment." 03/19/2011

 

Google Ventures Backs CoolPlanetBiofuels

CoolPlanetBiofuelsGoogle’s investment arm, Google Ventures, has announced their investment in the Camarillo, California advanced biofuels company CoolPlanetBiofuels, backing the company’s development of technology for conversion of low-grade biomass into high-grade fuel and biochar. CoolPlanetBiofuels had previously raised $8MM through Energy Technology Ventures. The technology uses fast thermal / mechanical fractionation which directly inputs raw biomass such as woodchips, crop residue, and algae, and produces multiple distinct gas streams for catalytic upgrading to conventional fuel components and biochar, a kind of solid-carbon charcoal. “We are very pleased to complete this financing with a high-caliber partner known for its tremendous support in helping companies grow,” said Mike Cheiky, CoolPlanetBiofuels President and Chief Executive Officer. “While we have made significant progress over the past couple of years, this new infusion of capital, coupled with the expertise of the Google Ventures team, enables our team to scale even faster.” 03/19/2011

 

ZeroPoint’s Initiative Supports On-Landfill Biomass Gasification

ZeroPoint Clean Tech, IncNew York headquartered biomass gasification company ZeroPoint Clean Tech, Inc has announced their Renewable CHP Solution initiative for integration of biomass gasification on landfill sites to support expansion of renewable energy generation. In ZeroPoint’s landfill-support model, clean-burning synthetic fuel gas (syngas) is produced by gasification of biomass and fed directly into existing landfill-gas fueled engine generators. Other models include combined heat and power (CHP) units, and Clean Water and Electricity generation from biomass conversion. The company is currently working on advanced catalytic biomass to liquid fuel systems. Landfill model scale ranges from 1 to 15 megawatts (MWe) of electricity, from conversion of waste biomass already being brought to the landfill property. In addition to on-board cleaning of the syngas, ZeroPoint’s systems also produce a clean agricultural grade biochar. The company has been deploying its Renewable CHP Solution in the United Kingdom, and has joint ventures in Northern Europe, the U.K., South America, and Southeast Asia. The new initiative signals active systems deployment and project development in North America. 03/19/2011

 

UK’s Aston University Developing Pilot Bioenergy-Bioproducts Plant

Artists' rendering of proposed European Bioenergy Research Institute bioenergy & biogas lab complexAston University in Birmingham, United Kingdom (UK), announced that they are developing a £16.5m renewable low carbon technology laboratory, which will include a small scale biopower plant integrated with algae photo bioreactors. The combined heat and power (CHP) system will be fueled using algae, sewage sludge, and wood and agricultural waste as sources of fuel, generating hydrogen for low carbon vehicles or fuel cells and Biochar. The plant, due to open on Aston’s campus in October 2012, is seen as a pilot for a “thermal ring” of small scale industrial power plants around Birmingham, for conversion of biodegradable waste to electricity for the National Grid. Professor Andreas Hornung, Head of Aston University’s European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI), said, “EBRI will be using these laboratories to develop biomass technologies which in no way conflict with food production and are solely planned to operate on biogenic wastes. We want to divert waste materials from going directly to landfill or incineration for example, and harness the enormous untapped resources of biomass. Our new facility will showcase to industry how biomass can produce real-life solutions to tackling waste, with both environmental and financial benefits.” 03/18/2011

 

EPA Proposes 3 Year CO2 Emissions Permitting Deferral for Bioenergy

US Environmental Protection AgencyThe US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would defer, for a period of three years, Title V and other greenhouse gas (GHG) permitting requirements for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from biomass-fired and other biogenic sources. In a parallel but separate action, the EPA announced that it has postponed all other GHG reporting requirements until September 30, 2011. During the three year bioenergy and biogenic source deferral period, the EPA will conduct a detailed examination of the science associated with biogenic CO2 emissions from stationary sources. The EPA is also making a guidance document available, “Guidance for Determining Best Available Control Technology for Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Bioenergy Production”, to assist facilities and permitting authorities with permitting decisions until the Proposed Rule is finalized. A 45 day comment period will start once the Rule is published in the Federal Register. The pre-publication version is available for early review. For background details on the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V programs and the July 2010 Call for Information on CO2 emissions associated with bioenergy and other biogenic sources, see the FAQ sheet on the New Source Review (NSR) program website. 03/18/2011

 

UK’s Bore Hill Farms Redevelopment to Integrate Biogas Plant for CHP

Malaby BiogasUnited Kingdom (UK) based Malaby Biogas announced that redevelopment of the long-idle Bore Hill Farm complex in Wiltshire will include integrated combined heat and power supplied by anaerobic digestion of local and regional commercial organic food waste. Malaby Biogas describes their three stage biogas plant design: (1) organic wastes are blended, hydrolyzed and (where necessary) pasteurized; (2) mesophilic acidogens break down the long molecular chains, then (3) thermophilic methanogens convert the slurry to methane, carbon dioxide and water. The methane biogas will be scrubbed to fuel on-site engines. The project will provide green heat and electricity to the farmstead redevelopment as well as exporting the excess electricity to the local electricity grid. The traditional farmstead layout will be retained and redeveloped to provide sustainable business units powered and heated by the biogas plant. Detailed information on the design and the planning process, including DEFRA compliance, can be downloaded from the company’s website. 03/18/2011

 

Ballard & GS Platech to Demonstrate MSW Plasma Conversion for Fuel Cell

Ballard Fuel CellCanadian fuel cell company Ballard’s Power Systems division has announced their partnership with Korean company GS Platech to demonstrate plasma conversion of municipal solid waste (MSW) to hydrogen for fueling Ballard’s fuel cells. GS Platech's pilot plant in Cheongsong, South Korea can plasma-process a modest 5 tons per day of MSW, producing sufficient high purity hydrogen to generate 50 kilowatts (50kW) of clean power. Ballard will supply a fuel cell, based on their Dantherm Power DBX5000 technology. Once proven, this first integrated plasma-fuel cell demonstration will become the reference plant for GS Platech’s planned global waste to energy development. Support for the project came in part from the Government of Canada’s Department of the Environment, under the public-private Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (www.asiapacificpartnership.org). 03/18/2011

 

Greenleaf Biofuels Receives Initial Funding for 10 MGY Biodiesel Plant

Greenleaf BiofuelsConnecticut based Greenleaf Biofuels has received a “pre-seed” investment to support final engineering work and provide working capital for development of an initial 10 million gallon per year (MGY) biodiesel processing operation at New Haven Terminal, with a groundbreaking planned within 90 days. The announcement comes from Advantage Capital Partners, who with investment management firm Ironwood Capital, selected three firms for early-stage funding. Founded in 2004 and one of the first wholesale and retail distributors of biodiesel in New England, Greenleaf converts waste vegetable oil (WVO, or “yellow grease”) into biodiesel. The company’s primary target market is supply of heating oil, a 4.1 billion gallon per year market. The new plant will be sited within the fuel tank storage farm area of New Haven harbor – the largest such fuel storage farm between New York and Boston. The company states that there are 7.1 million household that use heating oil in the Northeast, 75% of the entire U.S. market. 03/16/2011 

 

Korean Biogas Plant Converts Livestock Manure to Energy

Cargill co-funded anaerobic digestion plant on the Korean island of Jeju, converting hog manure to pipeline-quality bio-methane.As part of their global sustainability efforts, Cargill announced that they have helped fund and develop a pilot biogas plant on the Korean island of Jeju. The plant will use local hog manure, reducing odor and pollution for the tourist community while making methane for generation of over 25 megawatts of electricity to be sold to the regional grid. Cargill partnered with Jeju National University to establish a model that could be duplicated in other parts of Korea. The Jeju biogas plant is managed by Jeju Livestock Bio Co, Ltd. and was made possible by contributions from Cargill, Jeju National University, the Jeju provincial government, Unison High Tech and Farm Corporation - YoungJoo Green. Revenues from the sale of electricity and by-product organic fertilizer will be used to reinvest in the development of other biogas projects. “This is another example of a commercially and environmentally sustainable solution that uses renewable raw materials,” said David Kim, chairman of Cargill Korea. “Cargill is proud to support a project that will benefit local livestock producers and the environment.” 03/14/2011

 

Envergent Selected for Malaysian Palm-oil Biomass Waste Conversion

Envergent TechnologiesIllinois based Envergent Technologies, a joint venture between Honeywell’s UOP and Ensyn Corp, has announced selection of their rapid thermal processing (RTP) technology for conversion of biomass wastes from Malaysian palm oil processing. The company Premium Renewable Energy (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. will start development of Malaysia’s first facility to utilize the RTP conversion technology, as part of the government’s Economic Transformation Program. The RTP technology rapidly heats biomass to generate liquid biofuel which can be then used to fuel generators or burned for heat. “This project is a milestone using palm biomass, particularly the empty fruit bunches, to generate renewable heat and power and demonstrates how Envergent’s technology can be used in different regions with a variety of feedstocks,” said Dave Cepla, managing director for  Envergent joint venture.” Envergent is also focused on catalytic upgrading of the biofuel into green transportation fuels, and is currently designing a demonstration of this drop-in fuel technology in Kapolei, Hawaii under a Department of Energy grant. 03/13/2011

 

Bhutan Becomes SNV’s 8th Country for Rural Biogas Production

SNV conducts rural biogas market training in Bhutan.The SNV Netherlands Development Organisation has announced “Blue Flames for Bhutan”, their eighth effort in Asia to oversee development of rural biogas installations to convert manure and biomass into clean-burning cooking gas, in order to reduce the negative health and environmental impacts of wood cooking fire usage. The Government of Bhutan’s Department of Energy selected the SNV to provide local “capacity building” for public-private project development under the Bhutan Biogas Programme (BBP). The BBP partnerships will result in installation of domestic biogas units. Environmental and economic feasibility studies and SNV’s oversight are sponsored in part by the Asian Development Bank’s Renewable energy / Rural Electrification program. In Bhutan, 70% of the households use fuel wood for cooking and heating. The country has one of the world’s highest fuel wood consumptions per capita, which results in indoor air pollution and health problems, especially for women and children. 03/13/2011

 

Japanese Tangerine Residue Waste-to-Ethanol Plant Completed

JFS/Japan's first plant for manufacturing ethanol from tangerine waste reaches completion.The Japan for Sustainability (JFS) organization has announced that testing has been completed at a pilot plant for manufacturing bioethanol fuel from the residue from tangerine juice production. The bioethanol produced at the plant will be analyzed and evaluated at an external laboratory as a transport fuel for use in public vehicles, and as raw material for cosmetics. The plant is located in the Ehime Prefecture at the Matsuyama Factory of Ehime Beverage Inc., a manufacturer of citrus juice. Ehime Prefecture produces the most citrus fruits in Japan, 310,000 tons annually. Around 40,000 tons are turned into tangerine juice, leaving 20,000 tons of residue. The facility is not in the area directly impacted by the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan earlier today. The technology was jointly developed by Ehime Prefecture, Ehime University, and Ehime Beverage Inc, and was subsidized by the Ministry of the Environment. 03/11/2011

 

Viridor Signs WtE Partnership Agreement with Oxfordshire County UK

Viridor MRF in Oxfordshire County, UKUnited Kingdom (UK) based Viridor has announced execution of a 25 year Public/Private Partnership (PPP) contract with Oxfordshire County to treat the County’s residual waste. Viridor will construct a 300,000 ton/year waste to energy (WtE) plant at their existing materials recovery facility (MRF) to treat the waste. The company develops MRFs with integrated recycling and waste to energy (WtE) conversion. Conversion of the County's waste residuals to energy will provide landfill diversion of up to 95 percent with generation of up to 25MWe to the national grid. Viridor’s managing director Mike Hellings said, "This first-class project responds to the clear and urgent need to reduce reliance on landfill disposal while increasing production of energy from non-renewable fuels. It will complement the already high levels of recycling in the county as well as provide a cost-effective waste treatment solution. We all look forward to starting work on the preparation for construction and to delivering a high quality treatment facility and service for the residents of Oxfordshire”. 03/11/2011

 

United Kingdom Launches World’s First Renewable Heat Incentive

UK Department of Energy and Climate ChangeThe Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is described as the first financial incentive of its kind to support United Kingdom's (UK) emerging technologies and businesses with the goal of revolutionizing the way heat is generated and used. UK Energy Secretary Chris Hume said,  “Renewable heat is a largely untapped resource and an important new green industry of the future. This incentive is the first of its kind in the world. It’ll help the UK shift away from fossil fuel, reducing carbon emissions and encouraging innovation, jobs and growth in new advanced technologies.” The £860m government program is expected to stimulate a new market in renewable heat and to increase green capital investment by £4.5 billion up to 2020. The UK’s Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) applauded the included 6 pence per kilowatt hour (p/kwe/hr), 20 year incentive for biomethane injection to the national gas grid. Incentives for small-scale biomass systems are slightly higher, set at 7.6 p/kwe/hr. The DECC announcement notes: “…over 95% of heat in the UK is currently produced by burning fossil fuel … The new financial incentive will encourage installation of equipment like renewable heat pumps, biomass boilers and solar thermal panels to reduce emissions and support the existing 150,000 jobs in the heating industry.” 03/11/2011

 

OARDC Research Turns Waste Glycerin to Bio-Polyol for Poly Foam

OARDC researcher Yebo Li with renewable polyurethaneOhio State University’s Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) has announced an agreement with Mansfield-based Poly-Green Technologies for supply of OARDC’s patent-pending product bio-polyol. Yebo Li, a biosystems engineer with the university, has developed a process to convert crude glycerin, a low-value by-product of biodiesel refining, into a renewable precursor to polyurethane foam. OARDC and Poly-Green Technologies partnered to address Arlington Energy bio-refinery’s glycerin waste-stream. “Polyurethane foam made with our bio-polyol is renewable, biodegradable and its quality is comparable to petroleum-based foam,” said Jeff Schultheis, chief operating officer of Mansfield-based Poly-Green Technologies, LLC, a start-up formed to commercialize Li’s invention. “And while other bio-polyols now in the market use virgin oils, such as castor bean or soybean, we use a true waste-stream. This makes our product 5-10 percent cheaper than petroleum-based or natural oil-based foams. So we are competing not just on being ‘green,’ but also on overall quality and cost.” 03/10/2011

 

Raptor Signs Biodiesel Plant Fabrication Agreement with Eco Ventures

Raptor Technologies GroupFlorida-based Raptor Technologies Group has announced an agreement for fabrication of their third biodiesel facility. The new $1.6 MM contract with Eco Ventures Group will develop a 3.6 million gallon per year biodiesel production plant using Raptor’s multi-feedstock process technologies. The facility will include a crushing line and extraction process for various oil producing crops, and will not limited to processing yellow grease. Raptor expects the plant to be producing fuel by mid April, 2011. Last month, Raptor and Eco Ventures have also agreed to co-develop a facility for processing of mine-tailings for recovery of precious metals. Raptor Technology Group, Inc. is finalizing a reverse merger with their parent, Raptor Fabrication & Equipment, Inc. and anticipates the acquisition to be completed shortly. 03/10/2011

 

Plasco Makes Progress on Two Waste to Energy Projects

Plasco Energy GroupCanadian company Plasco Energy Group is engaged in environmental reviews focused on their waste conversion technology in both Ottawa, Canada and in the Salinas Valley of California in the United States. Plasco's process uses gasification to convert post-recycled municipal solid waste into syngas, which is then refined using plasma torches. Their Canadian city partnership called Zero Waste Ottawa has released a Notice of Public Meeting for March 21, 2011 to provide a project update on the Ottawa project Environmental Screening Process, discuss study results, and seek public input on the Plasco Trail Road facility. Plasco also notes that the Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority has now selected their waste conversion technology to be the focus of the required environmental review through the California Environmental Quality Act. "We're delighted that the Authority chose Plasco as a partner for this project. We look forward to introducing Plasco's conversion technology, and the economic development that will come with it to the Salinas Valley," stated Alisdair McLean, VP Strategic Initiatives of Plasco. 03/09/2011

 

KiOR Signs Renewable Fuel Supply Agreement with Hunt Refining

KiOR Renewable CrudeAdvanced biofuels developer KiOR has announced execution of an off-take agreement with Hunt Refining Company to supply renewable gasoline, diesel blendstocks, and fuel oil produced at their first commercial facility being located in Columbus, Mississippi. KiOR employs a proprietary fast pyrolysis for "biomass catalytic cracking" (BCC) to bio-oil. The BCC technology catalytically converts lignocelluloses biomass into a high quality bio-crude which the company asserts is suitable for refining directly to standard transportation fuels. “Today’s announcement is an important milestone for the development of our commercial facilities in Mississippi, and furthers KiOR’s progress towards the commercialization of gasoline and diesel blendstocks from renewable crude,” said Fred Cannon, President and CEO of KiOR. “We’re excited to partner with Hunt to bring our renewable fuels to market and begin reducing the country’s dependence on foreign oil while creating quality jobs and economic development throughout the State of Mississippi.” 03/09/2011

 

Sapphire Energy Enters Algae Research Collaboration with Monsanto

Sapphire EnergyThe San Diego-based company Sapphire Energy has announced that they have entered a ten-year research collaboration agreement with Monsanto to build upon Sapphire’s “transgenic” algal engineering for biofuels production. The research will focus on identifying algal genes that increase growth, aiding Sapphire’s progress toward commercialization of algae as a renewable energy crop, and providing Monsanto with access to Sapphire’s expertise for carry-over into broader agricultural development. “Monsanto has always been at the forefront of agricultural technology developments and innovation,” says Jason Pyle, CEO, Sapphire Energy. “Through this collaborative partnership, we’ll focus our leading-edge research agenda on some of the biggest questions facing both agriculture and energy. By leveraging our algae platform and tools to improve crop yield and enhance crop performance, Sapphire will be able to accelerate our ability to produce a renewable crude oil replacement and reduce our country’s dependence on foreign oil.” 03/08/2011

 

Solazyme Executive Elected to RSB Steering Committee

SloazymeSolazyme has announced that Cameron Byers, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Fuels and Chemicals, has been elected to serve on the Steering Committee of the international Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB). Solazyme is a San Francisco based engineered-algae-to-biofuels & biochemical company Of the seven global RSB “Chambers” that represent elements of the supply chain, Byers will co-chair Chamber 1, representing farmers and growers of biofuel feedstocks. "RSB is at the forefront of establishing a global standard for a variety of renewable fuels, an initiative that Solazyme is strongly aligned with seeing developed," said Byers. "We look forward to being a part of RSB and working to support the most sustainable practices for renewable fuels as the world transitions to next generation biofuel technologies." 03/08/2011

 

VERBIO Receives OK from German Government for 2nd Biomass Plant

VERBIO AGGerman company VERBIO AG has received governmental approval to proceed with development of a multi-feedstock biogas plant. In the second VERBIO biorefinery of this kind, “verbiogas” will be refined to specification and injected into the regional natural gas supply infrastructure. For this facility, the required sustainable feedstock will include their own bio-ethanol process residuals, non-merchantable grains, straw and agricultural processing residuals. For their standard VERBIO plant, the company utilizes “cascade” biorefining to progressively convert non-food feedstock first to ethanol, with fermentation residuals converted to biodiesel, and the remaining solids returned to agriculture as fertilizer. “I am very pleased today. Our new technology will revolutionise biogas production. Our verbiogas is the solution for making biofuels a viable replacement for fossil fuels in environmental and economic terms”, explains Claus Sauter, CEO of VERBIO. 03/08/2011

 

UCLA and ORNL Microbes Make Isobutanol from Cellulose

Tomogram slice of Clostridium cellulolyticum digesting switchgrass. Bacteria (pink and blue membrane surfaces) In a research first, University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers, collaborating with the Bioenergy Research Center of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), have succeeded in remaking Clostridium cellulolyticum so it eats cellulose and directly secretes isobutanol. In nature, some Clostridium species produce butanol, while others only digest cellulose. No naturally occurring or previously engineered strains could produce isobutanol, an isomer of butanol. To do so, UCLA Professor James Liao’s team relied on recent gene sequencing for the bacterium available from the US Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute, and worked with ORNL to reengineer the bacterium. “…higher alcohols such as isobutanol are better candidates for gasoline replacement because they have an energy density, octane value and Reid vapor pressure - a measurement of volatility - that is much closer to gasoline,” Professor Liao said. This is the same UCLA researcher who just announced production of biofuel from proteins

The research is being published in the current volume of the American Society for Microbiology’s journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 03/08/2011

 

Maverick Biofuels Receives SBIR for Syngas to Biofuel Reactor

Maverick Biofuels Maverick Biofuels has received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation for the development of a catalytic syngas to liquid biofuel reactor system. A North Carolina based “second generation” biomass to liquids (BTL) company, Maverick focuses on a two-step proprietary catalytic reaction as a back-end subsystem for conversion of synthetic fuel gas or “syngas” first to olefins, and then to a blend of short-chain alcohols including butanol, ethanol and acetone. The company says that unlike other syngas to alcohol technologies, Maverick’s Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) olefin synthesis is conducted at lower pressures, and is both easier and cheaper to accomplish. The resulting liquid biofuel energy content will be about 85% that of gasoline, with a higher octane rating. 03/07/2011

 

UCLA Researchers Demonstrate Conversion of Proteins to Biofuels

Similarity of amino acid profiles among different algae species, yeast extract and two conventional protein sources. Click to see larger image.Making biofuel from protein rather than sugars, lipids and cellulose offers a biofuels pathway using far more abundant natural resources, according to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. The successfully demonstrated research approach was just published in the current edition of the journal Nature Biotechnology. The research team’s artificial metabolic system returns reduced nitrogen out of cells and recycled it back for the growth of the algae they worked with. "Proteins had been completely ignored as a potential biomaterial because they've been thought of mainly as food. But in fact, there are a lot of different proteins that cannot be used as food," said James C. Liao, the Chancellor's Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UCLA and senior author of the study. "Our strategy effectively recycles nitrogen back to the biofuel production process, thus approaching nitrogen neutrality. Growing algae to produce protein is like putting the interest back into the principal.” 03/07/2011 

 

Adama Tech Signs Romanian MSW Gasification Contract

Adama TechnologiesIsraeli brownfields-remediation company Adama Technologies is expanding into waste to energy, with signing of a final agreement for gasification of municipal solid waste (MSW) residuals in Romania. Adama’s Molecular Bonding Solution (MDS) is an encapsulation and stabilization process with approvals garnered through the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE) program for heavy metal contaminated waste on-site stabilization. This background will serve the new MSW gasification project well, as it provides an on-site mechanism for ash and residual encapsulation. The new project will generate 2.5 MWe from the MSW gasification for electric sale to the regional Bucharest grid. The company notes that 15% of the needed funding has been received, while both feedstock and power purchase long-term agreements have been signed. "This is an excellent opportunity for Adama to work with municipal waste and to generate electricity. This could potentially open up a market for the use of biomass in countries where municipal waste is huge problem. We look forward to beginning work on this project and will continue to update our investors about the permit process," said Aviram Malik, CEO of Adama Technologies Corp. "This also implement our Corporation needs to expend our Clean tech abilities to other sectors." 03/06/2011

 

ADBA Proposes New Biomethane Carbon Credit Trading Platform

Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas AssociationThe United Kingdom (UK) based Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) has proposed adoption of a Biomethane Carbon Credit Trading Platform, as a complement to the Parliament’s soon-to-be implemented Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The ADBA reports that part of the RHI is intended to incentivize the building of Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants that can produce biomethane for grid injection. The ADBA feels this is the best way for the UK government to “de-socialise the biomethane element of the cost of the RHI by creating a tradable product which will have an external value to grid-injecting biomethane producers.” The Platform calls for one Biomethane Credit (BMC) to be allocated to the producer, for each 5 cubic meters of grid-injected biomethane gas, which ADBA believes will provide a “liquid, low denomination and easy to access product to carbon credit buyers.” The ADBA was created to remove regulatory and policy barriers and facilitate the industry's growth with the aim of building 1000 AD and biogas plants by 2020. 03/06/2011

 

EPA Holds Public Meetings on SAB Reassessment of Dioxin

US Environmental Protection AgencyThe US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Science Advisory Board (SAB) has released their "Reanalysis of Key Issues Related to Dioxin Toxicity and Response to NAS Comments". The EPA's Office of Research and Development had requested the SAB’s advice on revisions to its 2003 draft dioxin reassessment, “Exposure and Human Health Reassessment of 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-Dioxin (TCDD) and Related Compounds”, based on comments provided by the National Academy of Science (NAS) in its 2006 report, Health Risks from Dioxin and Related Compounds: Evaluation of the EPA Reassessment. The SAB Dioxin Review Panel held another in a series of public meetings on the 1st and 2nd of March 2011; the notice for the public meetings appeared in the Federal Register February 8th, and that brief window for public comment closed February 23, 2011. Comments that were submitted can be reviewed on-line. Contact Diana Wong, (202) 564-2049, wong.diana-m@epa.gov or Thomas Armitage, (202) 564-2155, armitage.thomas@epa.gov for information on the next steps. 03/05/2011

Neste Oil Increases Use of Waste in Biodiesel Production
"Finland's Neste Oil focuses on sustainable, renewable biofuels production."Finland’s Neste Oil announced that they are increasing the percentage of waste as raw material used to produce their biodiesel product, NExBTL®. Although palm oil will continue to be the primary ingredient refined to make their biodiesel, plans include use of over 20% of the palm oil production process by-product Stearin in 2011, use of 5-10% process wastes such as of palm fatty acid distillate, and up to 20% of waste animal fat. Neste Oil produces NExBTL renewable diesel at two existing plants in Finland and one new plant currently opening in Singapore. A fourth plant in Rotterdam should come on line in mid-2011, bringing NExBTL production capacity to around 2 million tons per year. With their focus on sustainable, renewable biofuel production, about 80% of Neste Oil’s annual R&D expenditure goes to research into renewable raw materials. "We are constantly working to extend our raw material base," says Matti Lehmus, Neste Oil's Executive Vice President, Oil Products and Renewables. "When looking at the potential for making use of new raw materials, our primary criteria are whether they are produced sustainably and the impact they have in reducing raw material-related greenhouse gas emissions. The final decision is also shaped by a material's security of supply, its availability, and its price." 03/05/2011

RIT Researchers Develop Biodiesel from MicroAlgae and Wastewater

Professor Jeff Lodge and graduate student Eric Lannan of RIT explore algae as a biodiesel fuel.Researchers at New York’s Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) have announced isolation of small amounts of golden-colored biodiesel produced by the micro-alga strain Scenedesmus, along with the valuable lipids they normally have been extracting. The lab is using wastewater effluent from a local plant in Irondequoit. In addition to biofuel production, the team sees high value in using micro-algae in wastewater processing. “It’s key to what we’re doing here,” says Jeff Lodge, associate professor of biological sciences at RIT. “Algae will take out all the ammonia—99 percent—88 percent of the nitrate and 99 percent of the phosphate from the wastewater — all those nutrients you worry about dumping into the receiving water. In three to five days, pathogens are gone.” Lodge and Master’s student Eric Lannan use tanks at Environmental Energy Technologies, a firm commercialized in 2004 by RIT and overseen by Lannan’s graduate thesis advisor Ali Ogut. The researchers plan larger testing this year at the Irondequoit wastewater treatment plant, using as much as 1,000 gallons of wastewater. Northern Biodiesel will purify the lipids from the algae and convert them into biodiesel for the RIT researchers. 03/05/2011 

 

Nexterra Raises $15MM in Equity Financing

Nexterra Systems CorporationCanadian biomass gasification company Nexterra Systems Corporation has announced closing of a $15MM round of equity financing with investors Tandem Expansion Fund and ARC Financial. Nexterra’s proprietary biomass energy systems are designed to provide combined heat and power (CHP) for universities, municipalities, hospitals and industrial facilities. Colin Hansen, British Columbia’s (BC) Minister of Finance said, “Tandem and ARC’s $15 million investment in Nexterra is an excellent example of continued investor interest in innovative BC companies, particularly in newer industries such as clean energy. This shows the confidence investors have in BC’s economy, our strong business climate and our leadership in the clean technology sector.” Nexterra CEO, Jonathan Rhone said, “This financing ensures that we have the resources required to meet market demand, continue to expand, and enhance our product portfolio and maintain momentum in all aspects of the business.” 03/05/2011 

 

Texas IOF Releases Refinery Energy-Efficiency Assessment Tool

Texas Industries of the FutureMeasuring energy efficiency of biorefinery and biochemical plants just became easier, with release of a free new on-line spreadsheet-based checklist by Texas Industries of the Future (IOF). The Energy-Efficiency Assessment Tool is focused on improving economics and operations under low-demand operating conditions, a difficult and costly but all too common status. Built for any form of chemical refinery, whether petroleum based or not, the methodical assessment should provide benefit both where current operations need optimization and where prospective plants are being designed. The Tool provides fore-warning of pitfalls encountered during low-flow conditions and advice of possible work-arounds. Texas IOF was formed in 2001 with DOE funding assistance to facilitate “the development, demonstration and adoption of advanced technologies and adoption of best practices that reduce industrial energy usage, emissions, and associated costs, resulting in improved competitive performance for Texas industries.” For more information, contact IOF’s Project Manager Kathey Ferland at (512) 232-4823, through the University of Texas by email at kferland@mail.utexas.edu, or via IOF’s website. 03/04/2011

 

Cyclone Power Engine Receives 10th International Patent

Cyclone PowerCyclone Power has now received its 10th international patent on its high-efficiency “steam engine” and its components, this time from Mexico. The announcement comes less than a month after the successful completion of the third round of testing on contract to Raytheon for its Integrated Defense System, or IDS, which are currently focused on developing Undersea Power. The Cyclone Engine is a Rankine Cycle heat regenerative external combustion, otherwise known as a “Schoell Cycle” engine, after Cyclone Power’s CEO Harry Schoell. The Cyclone Engine is capable of running on virtually any fuel (or combination of fuels) including bio fuels, and have been verified to run at over 30% efficiency and are considerably cleaner than current internal combustion engines, and does not idle, use less fuel for transport during city driving and traffic conditions. 03/04/2011

 

California Leads in US On-Farm Renewable Energy Use

USDA National Agricultural Statistics ServiceThe US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced results of a decade-long survey of on-farm implementation of renewable energy (RE) generation systems. The study focused on adoption of solar, wind, and anaerobic digestion for methane generation providing power for national farming operations, and showed a significant increase over the prior decade. California scores highest with almost 2000 systems in operation, accounting for almost one quarter of all national on-farm RE operations; Hawaii, Texas and Colorado farms also showed strong increase in usage. The 2009 On-Farm Renewable Energy Production Survey expanded upon the energy questions asked in the most recent 2009 Census of Agriculture by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, which can be contacted for additional information. 03/04/2011

 

ASU Releases Report on Direct Climate Effects of Perennial Bioenergy Crops

Arizona State UniversityIt’s not just about carbon offsets, researchers at Arizona State University (ASU) announce. Replacing annual plants with perennial biofuels crops like Miscanthus and switchgrass over large areas lengthens the growing cycle, and can cool the region by an average of about one degree. The cooling effect is significant enough to potentially offset projected warming due to regional greenhouse gas emissions. The ASU modeling work was a collaborative effort with researchers at Stanford University and the Carnegie Institute. “Almost all of the work performed to date has focused on the carbon effects,” said Matei Georgescu, a climate modeler working in ASU’s Center for Environmental Fluid Dynamics. “We’ve tried to expand our perspective to look at a more complete picture. What we’ve shown is that it’s not all about greenhouse gases, and that modifying the landscape can be just as important.” The report appeared in an on-line release in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 03/03/2011

 

Canadian BioEnergy Centre Opens on University of New Brunswick Campus

Canadian BioEnergy CentreThe University of New Brunswick (UNB) has announced that their biomass testing laboratory has been opened on the campus of the Flemming Forestry Complex, in a well-attended ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Canadian BioEnergy Centre (CBEC), the only testing laboratory in Canada that is certified by the Pellet Fuels Institute, has a mandate to provide technological support to the bioenergy sector in Canada and beyond. The CBEC’s goal is to promote the sustainable and responsible use of forest and agricultural bioresources for a diversity of goods and services, with four primary functions: research and development, product testing and certification (e.g. fuel pellets and biomass combustion appliances), technology transfer, and training and education. The CBEC received more than $200,000 from the provincial and federal governments and the UNB to purchase the equipment needed to develop and test biofuels. “It feels great to finally have it officially open,” said the CBEC’s Michael Albright. “The funding was much, much needed to support this new, growing bioenergy sector.” The lab has high-tech equipment such as an isoperibol oxygen bomb calorimeter that can quickly test the amount of energy given off by burning various wood pellets and wood chips. For more information, contact staff via their CBEC web portal or by phone at (506) 453-4507. 03/03/2011

 

Genomatica Raises $45MM for Green Chemical Development

Genomatica has developed organisms that use renewable feedstocks to make major chemicals, rather than oil or natural gas. Shown here, the organisms for its first commercial product, Bio-BDO, enlarged thousands of times. Photo, SDSU Biology Department.The San Diego based green chemistry company Genomatica has announced that it has raised an additional $45MM less than a month after signing a Joint Development agreement with Waste Management. The company develops organisms and processes to produce dozens of chemicals from renewable feedstocks, like sugars, and later, from biomass and syngas. The new investment will be used to complete demonstration-scale production and early commercialization plans for Genomatica’s first commercial product,  a ‘green’ version of 1,4-butanediol (Bio-BDO) made from renewable feedstocks rather than oil or natural gas. “We’re gratified by the vote of confidence by our new and existing investors,” said Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica.  “We’re focused on delivering superior project rates of return to our industry partners and building a great company for the long-term – one that will have a lasting impact.” 03/03/2011

 

TreeFree Biomass Solutions Joins Seattle’s McKinstry Innovation Center

Genomatica has developed organisms that use renewable feedstocks to make major chemicals, rather than oil or natural gas. Shown here, the organisms for its first commercial product, Bio-BDO, enlarged thousands of times. Photo, SDSU Biology Department.The McKinstry Innovation Center has brought seven emerging companies within their incubator service in the year since opening. The Center announced four new companies joining; one of the newest is TreeFree Biomass Solutions, Inc, a firm focused on producing biomass pulp for industrial paper, energy and biofuels production. TreeFree’s products are made from the giant reed, Arundo donax, which the company plants, grows, harvests and processes. Using TreeFree technology, per acre net biomass production is more than 15 times that of trees. Nile Fiber™ can grow up to 30 feet in height in less than a year. The crop never needs replanting and will continue to grow indefinitely, allowing the harvesting process to be repeated every 9-12 months. “We spoke of wanting to be a springboard for clean energy and renewable resource producers, and now we are putting that goal into action as we help these companies come to market in the Seattle clean technology industry,” said Elsa Croonquist, managing director of the McKinstry Innovation Center. Ms. Croonquist may be contacted at (206) 832-8049 or elsac@mckinstry.com. 03/03/2011

 

UC Berkeley Researchers Modify Bacterium to Produce Butanol

UC Berkeley LaboratoryUniversity of California, Berkeley has announced that researchers have been successful in developing a genetically modified organism (GMO), modifying the bacterium E.coli to secrete nearly 10 times more n-butanol than other industrial microbe systems. Other researchers working with E. coli to produce n-butanol experience enzymatic reversal, reducing the amount of biofuel produced. Chemistry professor Michelle C.Y. Chang and her grad students avoided this problem so that little is lost through a backward reaction. “Depending on the specific way an enzyme catalyzes a reaction, you can force it in the forward direction by reducing the speed at which the back reaction occurs,” Dr. Chang said. “If the back reaction is slow enough, then the transformation becomes effectively irreversible, allowing us to accumulate more of the final product.” The advance is reported in this week’s issue of the journal Nature Chemical Biology; the work was supported by UC Berkeley, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation and the Dow Sustainable Products and Solutions Program. 03/02/2011

 

Itochu Corporation Acquires 4% of Benefuel for Asian Biofuels Development

BenefuelIllinois Based Benefuel Inc. has announced that Japanese commerce giant Itochu Corporation has acquired a 4% interest, in order to utilize Benefuel’s proprietary bifunctional solid catalyst for Asian biofuels production. Benefuel technology converts difficult to use, low-quality fat and oil with high fatty acid content, such as residues from food factories or oil plants, eliminating much of the pre-processing necessary for industry-standard waste oil to biodiesel production. Biodiesel fuel needs to be manufactured only after fat and oil, the materials, are purified as close to edible fat. Itochu has partnered with Japanese biodiesel producer Daiki Axis Co., Ltd. for testing and demonstration of the catalyst, as part of the NEDO Innovation Promotion Program. Commercial production is now anticipated for 2012. 03/02/2011

 

IBI Releases Biochar Industry 2015 Vision Document

International Biochar InitiativeThe International Biochar Initiative (IBI) Board of Directors has released their report of what it will take to form a successful biochar industry by 2015, the result of a Board retreat sponsored by the Packard Foundation. The vision document focuses on research (science and technology), policy, and projects, and outlines routes to success. It also asks questions: what is success, how do we get there, and what is IBI’s role in achieving that success. Findings include that a viable biochar industry already exists, and the path forward needs to focus on supporting the implementation of Projects. The organization’s 2015 Vision Report is available as a free download, and they welcome comments or questions about this document. Contact Shiva Scotti, IBI Administrative Director, at shiva@biochar-international.org for more information. 03/01/2011

 

OSGC Selects City of Green Bay Site for MSW to Energy Facility

OSNG Renewable Energy FacilityThe tribally owned Oneida Seven Generations Corporation (OSGC) has acquired property in the City of Green Bay, Wisconsin, for a waste gasification to energy facility. The plant will receive municipal solid waste, process through a non-combustive pyrolysis to gasification for production of a clean burning synthetic fuel gas, or “syngas”, as a fuel for power generation. The facility will be able to reduce local landfill disposal by up to 90%; converting much of the 500-600 tons of municipal solid waste now transferred daily at the Brown County Waste Transfer Station. The OSGC is tribally chartered and tribally owned subsidiary of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin. Revenues generated by this project will be used for tribal housing, education, healthcare, infrastructure and additional economic development opportunities. The OSGC took the project before the Green Bay City Planning Commission this past week, and received approval of their application for a Conditional Use Permit; the application goes before the full City Council this week. “We anticipate there will be support for this facility,” explained Pete King, III, OSGC project manager. “It leads the way in renewable energy; it’s safe and will meet all regulatory agency requirements for construction and operation; plus it provides economic development as well as permanent jobs.” 03/01/2011 Update: OSGC's Conditional Use Permit received City Council approval.

 

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