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May 2011 News and Matters of Interest

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Nexterra Secures $2.5MM Equity Financing from BD Bank of Canada

Nexterra Energy CorporationThe Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has made a $2.5 million equity investment in gasification company Nexterra Systems Corp. Combined with earlier investment of $15 million from Tandem Expansion Fund and ARC Financial, Nexterra has secured a total of $17.5 million in 2011 to date to further its biomass energy system business. The company's fixed-bed updraft gasifier has been selected for biomass to combined heat and power demonstration at the University of British Columbia, providing 2% of the campus electric load demand and 6% of the steam need. “We believe that the market for onsite biomass heat and power systems is poised to grow significantly in the next few years to meet the rising demand for green house gas reductions, energy security and overall energy cost certainty,” says Tony Van Bommel, Partner, BDC Energy/Clean Technologies Venture Fund. “Nexterra has clearly demonstrated that it has the products, management team and track record to become a dominant player in this growing market.” 05/31/2011

 

UK's Pursuit Dynamics Technology Improves US Biofuels Production

Pursuit Dynamics plcPursuit Dynamics plc (PDX) will be installing their Ethanol Reactor System (ERS) in Front Range Energy's dry-mill corn ethanol production plant in Windsor, Colorado. Over the past twelve months, similar installation agreements have been reached with Pacific Ethanol Inc., Mid America Bio Energy & Commodities, LLC, Marquis Energy, LLV and Red Trail Energy LLC.  The PDX reactor technology hyper-swells starch utilizing a powerful pressure shock wave induced through the injection of steam into the patented PDX reactors. The heating and extreme agitation produced by the shock wave instantaneously activates all the starch at a lower temperature than conventional cooking, increasing enzyme efficiency. The ERS for Front Range Energy is expected to be installed and begin generating revenues for PDX under a benefit sharing structure this year. PDX is based in the United Kingdom with offices in the United States and Switzerland. 05/31/2011

 

British Bus Fleet to Run on Biomethane from Animal and Plant Waste

Stagecoach UK BusA Stagecoach UK Bus fleet will be fueled with biomethane from household and animal waste, which would otherwise be sent to landfill. The project has been launched in Lincoln, in partnership with Lincolnshire County Council and the East Midlands Development Agency, and involves 11 Optare Solo buses, which have been converted to run on the low carbon fuel and completely refurbished. The direct £260,000 conversion costs have been funded by Lincolnshire County Council and the East Midlands Development Agency. A further £100,000 joint funding has been invested in fuelling infrastructure. The vehicle will initially run on diesel but a special gas electronic control system gradually reduces the use of the fossil fuel replacing it with biomethane without affecting the characteristics or performance of the bus. The converted vehicles are expected to deliver at least a 40% carbon savings compared to standard buses as well as improving fuel consumption. In 2007, Stagecoach launched the UK’s first Bio-buses which operate on 100% bio-fuel made from used cooking oil and other food industry by-products. 05/31/2011

 

Iowa Governor Signs Incentive Law for Biofuels Use

State of IowaIowa's Governor Terry Branstad approved Senate File 531 this past week, an act supporting biofuels and renewable fuels used by the public for transport, Iowa biofuels production, and retail dealer biofuels sales. The Act includes an appropriation for tax credits and refunds. Retailers get a 2-cent per gallon 2012 state income tax credit for 2% biodiesel blends and 4.5 cents per gallon for 5% blend. Ethanol incentives are also provided for retail delivery; a tax-paying retail dealer must sell and dispense E-85 gasoline through his retail pumps, and must comply with all Department requirements in order to be eligible. Iowa's biodiesel production facilities will receive a 2012 tax credit of 3 cents/gallon, reduced one-half cent in subsequent years, up to 25 million gallons per producer. Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw observed, “Governor Branstad’s signature completes the long process of putting Iowa in the forefront of renewable fuels policy, not just production. Iowans appreciate the Governor’s strong support of ethanol and biodiesel. And this bill would not have landed on the Governor’s desk without many strong renewable fuels supporters in the Iowa Legislature. The job now turns to educating retailers and consumers on how this new bill will help promote more fueling freedom at the pump.” 05/30/2011

 

Vermont 2011 Renewable Energy Bill Signed into Law

State of VermontThe Vermont Energy Act of 2011 was signed into law last week by Governor Peter Shumlin. Among a great many Renewable Energy provisions, the bill includes requirements that all petroleum-based heating oil contain a minimum of 3% biodiesel, and requires state departments to develop incentives for biomass-fueled heating. The Vermont Energy Act of 2011 was introduced in January as H.56 and also provides funding for future investments by the clean energy development fund through a grid parity support charge of $1.50 per month on the bill of each retail electric customer, institutes the Renewable Energy Investment Vermont (REI-Vermont) to provide support for new renewable energy plants. The Act waives for five years starting in 2012, the fuel excise tax on biodiesel fuel produced in Vermont, and exempts from the sales and use tax, sales of equipment used in the production of electrical energy from biomass. "There is a fiscal and environmental urgency for Vermont to move off fossil fuels and toward sustainable sources of power,” the Governor said at the bill signing ceremony. 05/30/2011

 

Solazyme IPO Shares Begin Trading at $18 per Share

SolazymeSan Francisco based biofuels company Solazyme's initial public offering (IPO) shares started trading last Friday at $18.00. Solazyme's proprietary technology employs heterotrophic micro algae for in-vessel fermentation of sugars from a wide range of feedstock including biomass from urban waste, forest and agricultural sources. From the algal-produced oil, Solazyme and their partners can refine a continually-growing array of green fuels and chemicals. The company formed an alliance with Dow in March; other strategic partners included Chevron and Unilever. Solazyme completed the single largest delivery on record of 20,000 gallons of algal-derived fuel to the Navy last September, partnered with Honeywell’s UOP and their proprietary UOP/Eni EcofiningTM process technology. Their March 11, 2011 IPO S-1 filing was declared effective May 26th by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The shares begin trading on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “SZYM.” 05/30/2011

 

Dow Converts Waste Plastic to Natural Gas Equivalent Energy

Dow ChemicalIn kiln tests at Dow Chemical's Midland, Michigan facility, thermal conversion of waste sheet plastic recovered 96% of the available energy. Of the 578 pounds of used plastic converted, the energy recovered was equivalent to 11.1 million Btus of natural gas. While most thermoplastics can be reprocessed, there currently are limited end-of-life options for certain types of used plastic packaging, such as some flexible films and containers made from a combination of materials. The testing converted linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) scrap film generated in one of Dow’s extrusion laboratories, the same type commonly used for packaging food and consumer products. The recycle-to-energy recovery trial provided the concept validation for the submission and approval of one of several energy efficiency projects recently chosen to receive funding through Dow’s $100 million Energy Intensity Improvement Fund, designed to help reduce energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. “The purpose of the test was to collect data showing that used plastic can provide a valuable source of energy and ultimately help reduce our need for natural gas or other fossil fuels,” said Jeff Wooster, Plastics Sustainability Leader for Dow’s North American Plastics business. “The study results demonstrate that almost all of the available energy stored in used plastic can be captured and reused as opposed to being buried in a landfill.” 05/27/2011

 

UK's Farmgen Switches On First Anaerobic Digestion Plant at Carr Farm

Farmgen Carr FarmFarmgen’s £3m first phase Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant at Warton, near Preston, Lancs, has officially been switched on to start generating 800kW of electricity. The official opening ceremony at Carr Farm was carried out by Fylde MP Mark Menzies, who is Parliamentary Private Secretary to Energy and Climate Change Minister. Farmgen's co-founder Simon Rigby announced details of Farmgen’s £30 expansion, and revealed that the company intends to have 10 rural AD plants running by 2015. He said: “We are extremely proud of what we have achieved at Carr Farm and the fact that our first plant is now up and running. It is a major milestone for us as we continue our growth plans as part of the revolution in green energy. “We firmly believe Carr Farm points the way forward for future farm-based AD plants across the UK and for the regeneration of rural economies.” 05/27/2011

 

USDA's BCAP and REAP Program Funding in Peril

United States Department of AgricultureThis week the House Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittee submitted a draft Agricultural Appropriations bill to the main Appropriations Committee, in part recommending against 2012 budget appropriations necessary for funding the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) and the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Both programs were initially developed from the 2008 Farm Bill. The negative decision follows the May 5, 2011 establishment of BCAP's first Project Area, with the enrollment of up to 50,000 acres in Missouri and Kansas for bioenergy feedstock production. The bill includes cuts to the Agriculture Research Service and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, totaling a reduction of over $354 million from last year’s level. Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman Jack Kingston commented on the draft bill: “America is at a crossroads. For every dollar the Federal government spends, 42 cents is borrowed ... For our part, the Agriculture Subcommittee has sought to begin making some of the tough choices necessary to right the ship. We have taken spending to below pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels while ensuring USDA, FDA, CFTC and other agencies are provided the necessary resources to fulfill their duties." The draft bill still has a long way to go: must pass the House Appropriations Committee and full House, then the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Senate Appropriations Committee and full Senate. The complete draft bill text is available on-line, as is a chart comparing the proposed levels with last year's budget. 05/27/2011

 

Endicott and Holly Form Sabine Biofuels for 30 MGY Biorefinery in Texas

Endicott Biofuels, LLCEndicott Biofuels, LLC (EBF) and Holly Biofuels, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dallas-based petroleum refiner Holly Corporation (NYSE-HOC), have formed Sabine Biofuels LLC to partner on a 30 million gallon per year (MGY) biorefinery under construction in Port Arthur, Texas. Endicott’s proven technology to produce biofuels is based in part on a North American license from Davy Process Technology Ltd (Davy). The Port Arthur facility will convert renewable waste fats or oils to high quality biodiesel. “We are extremely pleased to join forces with Holly on this opportunity,” said David Robinson, Chief Executive Officer of EBF. “Both of our companies understand the value of finding renewable, economic sources of transportation fuel to supplement traditional petroleum sources. We believe the combination of Endicott’s unique, proven process with Holly’s industry-leading petroleum refining, distribution and marketing capability will make Sabine Biofuels the absolute leader in biorefining.” 05/26/2011

 

UPS Begins Using Biodiesel at Kentucky Worldport Facility

United Parcel ServiceUnited Parcel Service (UPS) began using biodiesel blends at its hub in Louisville, Kentucky this month with installation of a 30,000 gallon biodiesel fuel tank and fueling station at its Worldport facility. It will allow fueling operators to blend specified percentages of biodiesel "on the fly," starting with 5 percent biodiesel (B5), and working up to 20 percent biodiesel (B20). The UPS Worldport global operation processes 416 thousand packages an hour, is the size of 80 football fields, and has traffic of 100 aircraft a day. The biodiesel station at Worldport fuels nearly 200 vehicles and other diesel equipment. "There is a finite amount of petroleum-based fuel available from our planet so it is important that UPS and other companies invest in ways to use alternative fuels and technologies, including biodiesel," said Scott Wicker, UPS Chief Sustainability officer. "This project helps us reduce our dependence on fossil fuels with the added benefit that it will also reduce air pollution and carbon emissions." The news comes a month after competitor FedEx signed a ground fuel supply agreement with advanced biofuel company KiOR. 05/26/2011

 

Jacobs Wins EPCM Contract for Biomass to Biomethane Plant in Sweden

GoBiGas ProjectJacobs Engineering Group Inc. has received a contract from Goteborg Energi AB for the GoBiGas-project, a 20 megawatt biomass gasification and methanation demonstration project in Goteborg, Sweden. Officials estimate the contract value at $19 million (EUR 13.7 million). Jacobs is executing the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services from its offices in Leiden, The Netherlands, and will be providing the local construction management services on behalf of GoBiGas AB for the new plant. The plant will produce biomethane from biomass, which is to be distributed in the existing Goteborg gas grid. The gasification technology is provided by Metso Power in cooperation with Repotec, and Haldor Topsoe is providing the methanation technology. The plant is scheduled to come on line in 2013. Asa Burman, Managing Director of GoBiGas AB, said, "This plant is the first of its kind on this scale in Europe and marks significant progress in the long term target to use only renewable energy resources in Sweden." 05/26/2011

 

DC Water Breaks Ground on Biosolids to Energy, Nutrient Management

Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, artist's rendering.The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) has started construction on two waste conversion / resource recovery projects at the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). Blue Plains is the world’s largest facility of its kind, processes an average of 370 million gallons of wastewater per day. DC Water will be the first in North America to use Cambi's patented Thermal Hydrolysis Process (THP) to pre-treat bio-solids, waste food, fats oils and grease (FOG) prior to anaerobic co-digestion. Biomethane produced will be used to generate 13 megawatts of electricity. "DC Water is the largest consumer of electricity in the District, and the digesters should cut our consumption by a third," said General Manager George S. Hawkins. "That’s enough to power 8,000 homes. We’re also saving $10 million in trucking costs and reducing our carbon emissions by cutting the amount of solids at the end of the process in half." The $1.4 billion project will also include a series of Enhanced Nutrient Removal Facilities to reduce the amount of nitrogen in effluent to meet stringent new U.S. EPA and Chesapeake Bay Program goals; completion is scheduled for 2014. 05/25/2011

 

Ceres, Inc Files for $100MM IPO

Ceres.IncBio-crop specialist Ceres, Inc has filed for a $100MM initial public offering (IPO) with the Securities and Exchange Commission, to be underwritten by Goldman Sachs and Barklays Capital. Ceres is an agricultural biotechnology company developing and selling specialized Blade Energy Crops® for renewable biomass feedstocks, using a combination of advanced plant breeding and biotechnology to create low input dedicated energy crops capable of producing high yields of biomass per acre. Ceres also works strategically with bio-refining companies in the emerging cellulosic biofuels and bio-based chemicals markets, such as UOP, LLC, as well as chemical companies, such as Gruppo M&G. The company has conducted joint trials with, or sold seed to, AGCO Corporation, EdeniQ, Inc. and Hawai’i BioEnergy, LLC, among others, and recently began a collaboration with Valero Services, Inc. to further evaluate feedstock supply strategies with dedicated energy. The company intends to apply for listing on the NASDAQ under the symbol "CERE". 05/25/2011

 

ZeroPoint Completes Gasification Commissioning in Germany

completes gasification CHP system commissioning at Schwarze-Pumpe project site, Germany.New York based ZeroPoint Clean Tech, Inc. has completed the initial field commissioning of its biomass gasification technology at a project site in Schwarze-Pumpe, Germany. During commissioning, ZeroPoint's scalable Renewable Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Solution produced synthesis gas suitable for Jenbacher gas reciprocating engines, with or without landfill gas or natural gas blending. The project is expected to begin selling power to the grid within several weeks. ZeroPoint produces biochar as a co-product, offering a number of positive environmental and agricultural uses in addition to sequestering carbon. ZeroPoint shipped the main system components to the site in Germany in October 2010. Earlier this month, the company began an initiative to extend landfill gas to energy projects, augmenting low-grade / low volume landfill gas supplies with syngas from biomass gasification. 05/25/2011

 

USDA Releases Fact Sheet for BCAP Project Area 1

Biomass Crop Assistance ProgramEarlier this month, the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Services Agency (FSA) designated the first Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) "Project Area", up to 50,000 acres in a 39-county area located in central and western Missouri and eastern Kansas. The FSA has now released a detailed Fact Sheet on Project Area 1, listing eligible counties, specific land areas, criteria for producers, payment schedules and protocol for the mandatory conservation plans. BCAP Project Areas provide financial incentives to interested farmers, ranchers and forest landowners for the voluntary establishment and production of biomass crops for conversion to heat, power, bio-based products and advanced biofuels. Further program details are available at FSA's BCAP website. 05/24/2011

 

SCE Starts Review Process for Small Renewable Energy PPA Templates

Southern California EdisonSouthern California Edison (SCE) has initiated a formal stakeholder review process for reform of power purchase agreement (PPA) contract templates for their California Renewable Energy Small Tariff (CREST) program. SCE will propose a contract pro forma based on their existing Solar Photovoltaic PPA for projects less than 5 megawatts, and expects to have the CREST pro forma posted to their website by June 2, 2011. The proposed pro forma has been modified to make it applicable to all technology types and to be in compliance with the requirements of the CREST Tariff and CPUC Decision (“D.”) 07-07-27. Stakeholders may submit written questions, comments or suggested changes to the proposed CREST PPA until June 22, 2011, to crest@sce.com. SCE also will hold a web conference on July 27, 2011 to discuss the CREST PPA. Further details will be provided when SCE posts the proposed pro forma CREST PPA for stakeholder review. General inquiries may be directed to Janice Wang, program manager of CREST. Ms. Wang may be reached at (626) 302-3515 and at janice.wang@sce.com. 05/24/2011

 

CleanTech Secures 500 KW Gasification Interconnection Agreement

Phoenix EnergyNevada based thermal conversion company CleanTech Transit, Inc announced that their 500 kilowatt Merced, California biomass gasification project has passed interconnection tests and is now connected to the grid, securing a Feed-in Tariff (FIT) 15-year interconnection agreement. The modular Phoenix Energy gasifier technology used in Merced progressively dries, pyrolyzes and gasifies biomass, drawing the produced gases through the hottest zones. The "syngas" is then cooled and passed through a four-filter cleaning process before energy generation. The new plant is under development at the Golden State Pallet & Crate near the former Castle Air Force Base. Phoenix Energy is a subsidiary of CleanTech Transit, dedicated to commercialization of their modular biomass gasification to energy system. 05/24/2011

 

WSU Gets "Feedstock Agnostic" Biofuels Grant for BioChemCat Pilot
Washington State UniversityThe Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a grant of $1.5 million to Washington State University Tri-Cities to research ways to produce biofuel from varying kinds of agricultural waste. The "BioChemCat" pilot project will be conducted at WSU's Bioproducts, Sciences and Engineering Laboratory in cooperation with the Port of Benton, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and startup company Clean-Vantage. BioChemCat refers to the biorefinery process that makes use of both biochemical and thermochemical processes for making biofuels and biochemicals. Dr. Birgitte K. Ahring, director of the WSU Center for Bioproducts and Bioenergy and the Battelle Distinguished Professor explained: "The concept is feedstock agnostic; it doesn’t really care what kind of biomass you use. It can use all kind of feedstocks - municipal waste, vineyard waste, feedlot manure, woody material, ag waste like corn stalks, straw or corn cobs after the kernels have been removed. It could be implemented all over the world." 05/23/2011

 

EPA Delays CISWI and Major Source Boiler MACT Rules

US Environmental Protection AgencyThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is delaying the effective dates for two final maximum achievable control technology (MACT) rules for an indefinite time. The rules are titled “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters” and “Standards of Performance for New Sources and Emission Guidelines for Existing Sources: Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration Units” (CISWI) under the authority of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The final rules will be delayed until the proceedings for judicial review of these rules are completed or the EPA completes its reconsideration of the rules, whichever is earlier. The final rules, the petitions for reconsideration, and all other documents in the record for the rulemakings are in Docket ID. No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2002-0058 and EPAHQ- OAR-2003-0119. Contact information is in the formal Notice; a Fact Sheet and the full Reconsideration Rule are also available on-line. 05/23/2011

  

The Hamilton Project Proposes Federal Energy Technology Corporation

The Hamilton ProjectThe Hamilton Project has released a paper proposing an Energy Technology Corporation, a program of federal third-party technology assessment and demonstration. The Hamilton Project is a socio-economic think-tank housed in the Brookings Institute. Author John M. Deutsch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an advisor on the Hamilton Project, proposes a series of best practices for government support of U.S. technology demonstration that would be responsible for managing and selecting technology demonstration projects. The paper observes that the private sector underinvests in technology demonstration because of the expense and uncertainties involved. At the same time, previous demonstration programs carried out by the Department of Energy have met with mixed results. Among the findings: the Department of Energy should focus on demonstrating the technical performance, economics, and environmental effects of alternative technologies and thus create options for the private sector. 05/20/2011

 

Camco Starts Construction on Dairy Biogas to Renewable Energy Project

Camco InternationalGlobal energy and carbon company Camco International has closed financing and begun construction on a large dairy manure to biogas installation in Idaho. The biogas will power 4.5 megawatts of electric generation, qualifying as Renewable Energy (RE) and garnering appropriate RE certificates and emissions credits. The all-in cost is anticipated to be under $25 million and the project is scheduled to come on line early in 2012. A 20-year power purchase agreement is in place, as are contracts for the sterile fibrous digestate. The facility will be operated by AgPower Group LLC, recently formed by Camco for US projects. Yariv Cohen, Camco President said: "Closing financing and commencing construction on the largest dairy biogas project in the US is a major achievement for the Camco North America team." Camco maintains an office in Broomfield, Colorado. 05/20/2011

 

UK Runcorn Combined Heat and Power Plant Receives Environmental Permit

Viridor's SRF-fueled CHP plant at INEOS ChlorVinyls facility, Runcorn, Cheshire, UK Viridor and partners INEOS ChlorVinyls, Viridor Liang Greater Manchester (VLGM), and the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA) have announced that they have received approval of the environmental permit for operation of the Runcorn Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant in Cheshire, United Kingdom (UK). "Solid Recovered Fuel" (SRF) derived from post-recycling municipal solid waste residuals generated at the VLGM resource recovery facility will feed the plant. The adjacent INEOS chemical manufacturing facility will use the CHP. Phase One of the facility is being developed by a joint venture of INEOS, Viridor and Viridor Laing, and is scheduled to be completed in 2013. It will act as the final destination for 275,000 tonnes a year of SRF delivered under the GMWDA household waste contract. Phase Two is being developed solely by Viridor and will accept waste from other commercial contracts. Construction of the Runcorn CHP facility by Keppel Seghers is currently underway. 05/20/2011

 

Ag Waste to Biofuel Will Supply 50% of India's Transport Fuel by 2020

NovozymesConverting agricultural waste into biofuel could create up to one million jobs in India over the next decade, and radically improve India’s energy efficiency by meeting up to 59% of the demand for transport gasoline through greener fuels by 2020. This is the key finding in the Bloomberg New Energy Finance study "Next-generation Ethanol: What’s in it for India”, commissioned by the Danish enzymatics company Novozymes. The Indian Government has already announced an ambitious target of 20% of biofuels in transport by 2017 as part of its Indian Biofuels Policy. Biofuels from agricultural residues are a critical existing alternative to liquid fuel which is not only environmentally sustainable but offers huge potential and thus needs to be pursued aggressively. Expanding on the potential of advanced biofuels, Thomas Nagy, Executive Vice President of Novozymes, said, "By converting agricultural residues into fuel ethanol, India has the potential to reduce its dependence on imported petroleum. What’s more interesting is that this can be achieved without changing today’s agricultural land-use patterns or cultivating new energy crops. In addition, we already have the technology ready for deployment." 05/20/2011

 

BP and Davy Select EPC Contractors to Advance Fischer Tropsch Process

BPBP and Davy Processing Technology LTD are ready to deploy their jointly developed fixed bed variant of the Fischer Tropsch (FT) process. Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc (JEC) has been selected in a non-exclusive agreement to help advance commercialization of the process, and will provide engineering services to licensees under their agreement. BP and Davy also signed agreements with CB&I Lummus UK Limited and The Shaw Group (NYSE:SHAW) to work individually with BP and Davy to seek deployment opportunities. The BP/Davy fixed-bed FT process is a low technology risk option to producing diesel, jet fuel (JP8) and naphtha from natural gas, bio-mass or coal derived syngas. This technology has been successfully demonstrated in Nikiski, Alaska, and is now available for license to third parties. BP’s Vice President for Conversion Technology, Mark Howard, said: "We are very pleased to have gained the collaboration of these three leading contractors in our efforts to commercialize our FT process. Their involvement will help with the early identification and evaluation of opportunities, and ensure the availability of first class engineering resources familiar with our process to support potential licensees." 05/19/2011

 

CEC PIER Program Schedules Venture Capital Forum for Clean Tech Energy

California Energy CommissionThe California Energy Commission's (CEC) Public Interest Energy Research program (PIER) has scheduled a Venture Capital Forum, intended to bring together venture capitalists and researchers from the clean technology energy sector. The event will showcase companies that have developed new cutting edge technology solutions that are ready for commercial growth. Highlights of past and current PIER funded projects will be given to potential investors and attendees, with the opportunity to ask questions from both the researchers and the investors. The CEC seeks to develop a better coordinated and transparent process that will encourage more venture capital investment in PIER funded technologies. The PIER Venture Capital Forum will be held at the East End Complex Auditorium, 1500 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, California on Tuesday, June 7, 2011 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. For additional questions visit http://www.energy.ca.gov and see the Calendar for June 7th, or contact Pedro Gomez at (916) 508-4655 or PGomez@energy.state.ca.us. 05/19/2011

 

ORNL Introduces Tiny Waste Heat Energy Harvester Structures

ORNL Waste Heat ConverterOak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers have unveiled one millimeter square cantilevered pyroelectric energy harvester structures that turns waste heat into electricity. About 1,000 of these energy converters can be attached to a one inch square surface such as a computer chip, concentrated photovoltaic cell or other devices that generate heat, producing from 1 to 10 milliwatts per device. Scott Hunter, who leads the development team, expects to achieve efficiencies of 10 to 30 percent, depending on the temperature of the waste heat generator, in an inexpensive platform that can be fabricated using standard semiconductor manufacturing technology. "The fast rate of exchange in the temperature across the pyroelectric material is the key to the energy conversion efficiency and high electrical power generation," Hunter said, adding that ORNL's energy scavenger technology is able to generate electrical energy from thermal waste streams with temperature gradients of just a few degrees up to several hundred degrees. 05/19/2011

  

ZeaChem Signs Long-Term Binding Feedstock Agreement

Hybrid poplar tree farm, managed by GreenWood Resources (GWR). ZeaChem Inc., a developer of biorefineries for the conversion of renewable biomass into sustainable fuels and chemicals, announced on May 17, 2011, that it signed a long-term binding term sheet with GreenWood Tree Farm Fund (GTFF), managed by GWR, to supply hybrid poplar woody biomass for its first commercial cellulosic biorefinery. (Photo by GTFF)Colorado-based ZeaChem, Inc has secured a long-term feedstock supply from Greenwood Tree Farm Fund (GTFF), who will provide wood from three nearby Poplar plantations for ZeaChem's first commercial biorefinery in Boardman, Oregon. The feedstock will be converted at ZeaChem's $25 million, 250,000 gallon per year commercial demonstration facility. Their hybrid system first chemically fractionates the woody feedstock to fermentable sugar solutions and gasification-ready fibrous biomass, and then processes each stream to produce ethyl acetate and ethanol. Hybrid poplar trees are an excellent cellulosic feedstock because of their high yield per acre, short rotation and ability to regenerate after harvest, providing superior economic and environmental benefits. "This landmark feedstock agreement represents a major milestone on the road to developing ZeaChem's first commercial production facility and to become the world leader in low cost production of advanced biofuels and bio-based chemicals," said Jim Imbler, president and chief executive officer of ZeaChem. 05/18/2011

 

US Dept of Commerce Offers Clean Tech Assistance for the German Market

US Commercial ServiceMunich, Germany will host one of the world's largest environmental trade fairs a year from now, May 7-11, 2012. The IFAT ENTSORGA last year drew over 110,000 visitors from 185 countries to exhibit technologies for water, sewage, waste, and raw materials management. The US Department of Commerce (DOC), US Commercial Service stands ready to assist US companies interested in participating in this expansive, expensive leading venue for industrial technology exposure. Andrea Stahl is a Clean Technology specialist and US Commercial Services representative, a German national stationed at the US Consulate General in Frankfurt Germany. We interviewed Ms. Stahl courtesy of Sacramento's DOC director George Tastard, finding her willing and able to assist any US company interested in developing business in Germany. We learned that a year is about the right length of time required for DOC to set the stage for a US Company to fully engage and benefit from an international event like IFAT ENTSORAGA. The agency staff can research both competitors and market opportunities, set up side meetings and media coverage, assist with logistics and dramatically improve a company's ability to optimize participation. Ms Stahl may be contacted via email at andrea.stahl@trade.gov, or by phone in Germany at +49-69-7535-3157. Mr. Tastard strongly suggests that companies start preparations early with their regional DOC representative, and now is not too early. He may be reached for guidance at george.tastard@mail.doc.gov, or (916) 566-7170. 05/18/2011

 

Rentech Wins Ontario, Canada's Largest Ever Feedstock Supply Contract

Rentech, IncLos Angeles based biomass to liquid fuels company Rentech, Inc has won a 1.3 million ton per year forest wood waste contract in competitive bidding to Canada's Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, the largest feedstock supply single contract yet written by the agency. Rentech will annually convert the wood supply into about 85 million litres of synthetic jet fuel, and another 43 million litres annually of renewable naphtha. The company's proposed Olympiad Liquid Fuels Centre would also produce approximately 40 megawatts of clean, renewable electricity from forest biomass. Canadian support Rentech operates a demonstration facility in Commerce City, Colorado, deploying its synthetic fuels technology that has produced over 150,000 litres (40,000 gallons) of certified synthetic fuels. Rentech's Port St. Joe, Florida biorefinery project meanwhile hit a snag: the company received Department of Energy notice that their loan guarantee application supporting Port St. Joe under the Section 1705 Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program has been placed on hold, which may direct more of the company's resources toward the Canadian project. 05/17/2011

 

India's Kashmir Valley Gains Biogas Technology

KashmirThe Kashmir Valley of the Jammu and Kashmir State (J&K State) in India is receiving anaerobic digestion system design, construction and operational training to provide clean, low cost, renewable energy for the region. The biogas technology transfer program is being modified and developed by the J&K State Division of Agricultural Engineering, SKUAST-K, Srinagar for temperate rural areas, with financial support by the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India. The initial biogas plant feedstock will be food waste, manure and vegetation, providing electricity for about 50 buildings. About 70% of the population's livelihood is agriculture; families use harvest residues and cattle dung cakes for cooking as fuel that depletes natural resources and causes many health problems. It is estimated that 30 millions 'chullas' (small cooking stoves) consume 133 million tones of wood annually while causing respiratory and ocular diseases, mostly in women. Biogas eliminates the old age practice and can be utilized effectively for household cooking, lighting, operating small engines, and for power for various agricultural operations. Biogas has now been proven a useful component in the rural J&K State economy. 05/17/2011

 

KiOR Secures Biofuel Off-Take Agreement with FedEx

KiORTexas-based biofuels company KiOR has signed a ground fuel supply agreement with FedEx Corporate Services, Inc. Under the agreement, KiOR may supply renewable diesel blendstocks for purchase by affiliates of FedEx Corporate Services, Inc. from KiOR’s first commercial production facility in Columbus, Mississippi, which is scheduled to commence production in the second half of 2012. KiOR is developing and commercializing their fast pyrolysis Biomass Catalytic Cracking (BCC) technology, which converts lignocelluloses biomass into a high quality bio-crude which is suitable for refining directly to standard transportation fuels. "We are excited to be working with a premier transportation company like FedEx," said Fred Cannon, KiOR’s President and CEO. "This agreement with the services company of direct end users is another step toward delivering our fuel blendstocks to the market." Earlier this year KiOR signed off-take agreements with both Catchlight and Hunt Refining. 05/17/2011

 

Waste Management Invests in Agnion Energy

Agnion EnergyWaste Management, Inc (WM) has added another Conversion Technology to their ever-growing list of strategic investments, with the addition of Agnion Energy's gasification technology. Agnion's Heatpipe-Reformer close-couples first-stage steam-injected combined gasification and reforming with second stage air-blown fluidized bed (FB) gasification. A portion of the solid biomass is first converted to a high heating value synthetic gas or "syngas", while char and residuals are converted to heat in the second stage FB to run the steam reformer. Agnion's CEO, Dr. Stephan Mey stated: “We view the fact that North America’s largest residential recycler has decided to invest in Agnion and our Heatpipe-Reformer technology as a tremendous honor and a vote of confidence. Our first commercial biomass gasification plant is currently under construction in the Bavarian town of Grassau and we plan to build other plants in Europe and North America.” Agnion announced (in German) the official start-up of their Grassau plant May 13, 2011, one day after WM's own investment press release. 05/16/2011

 

AE Biofuels Restarts Keyes Ethanol Plant

AE BiofuelsCupertino, California based AE Biofuels' subsidiary AE Advanced Fuels Keyes, Inc. (AE Keyes) has completed retrofitting and restarted operations at the 55 million gallon per year ethanol production facility in Keyes, California. AE Keyes was recently awarded a $1.88 million matching grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to accelerate the commercial implementation of AE Biofuels’ patent-pending, enzyme based, cellulosic ethanol production technology. The integrated cellulose/starch pre-commercial facility will be located near the 55 million gallon per year commercial ethanol facility. The CEC grant will enable the company to build upon prior enzyme optimization work conducted at its cellulose/starch pilot facility in Montana and help California achieve its goals of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). 05/16/2011

 

JBEI Genetic Engineering Improves Microbial Biofuels Toxicity Resistance

Microbial production of biofuels from cellulose can be enhanced with the use of efflux pumps to export toxic fuels from the microbes. (Image: Aindrila Mukhopadhyay, JBEI)Researchers at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Joint Bioenergy Engineering Institute (JBEI) have bio-engineered a way to significantly increase microbial biofuels production. Microbes can make gasoline-replacement biofuels, but these act as toxins that build up quickly in the cell causing a "production vs. survival" challenge. “Working with all available microbial genome sequence data, we generated a library of largely uncharacterized genes and were able to devise a simple but highly effective strategy to identify efflux pumps that could alleviate biofuel toxicity in E. coli and, as a consequence, help improve biofuel production,” says Aindrila Mukhopadhyay, a chemist with JBEI’s Fuels Synthesis Division, who led this research. Mukhopadhyay co-authored an article in the journal Molecular Systems Biology, titled “Engineering Microbial Biofuel Tolerance and Export Using Efflux Pumps.” JBEI is one of three Bioenergy Research Centers established by the DOE’s Office of Science in 2007. It is a scientific partnership led by Berkeley Lab and includes the Sandia National Laboratories, the University of California campuses of Berkeley and Davis, the Carnegie Institution for Science, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. 05/16/2011

 

National Biodiesel Board Directs Webinar on Food, Fuel and Land Use

National Biodiesel BoardThe National Biodiesel Board (NBB) is presenting a webinar called "Vantage Point: Views on Food, Fuel and Land Use" to explore biodiesel’s impact on the food supply and land use. The 60-minute webinar starts at 12:00 noon Central time, on Tuesday, May 24, 2011. The webinar will be moderated by Don Scott of the NBB, and feature two speakers: Dr. Stephen Kaffka, University of California, Davis, Department of Plant Sciences and Director of the California Biomass Collaborative; and Keith Kline, member of the Global Change and Developing Countries Programs Department at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The webinar is open to Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel members, Biodiesel Alliance and Backer members, and anyone with an interest in learning the reality behind food, fuel and land use. Free registration is available on-line. 05/13/2011

 

Senators Barrasso, Manchin Introduce Alternative Fuels Bill

Capitol Building - United States SenateSenators John Barasso (R-WY) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced the bipartisan American Alternative Fuels Act(S. 937) to the Senate this week with the intent of breaking down the barriers to alternative fuels—including fuels derived from coal, biomass, algae and waste. The American Alternative Fuels Act would (a) repeal barriers to domestic fuel production, (b) speed processing of applications to the fuel-focused Loan Guarantee Program, (c) promote algae-based fuel that uses carbon capture and sequestration, (d) promote Synthetic Natural Gas Production from coal, biomass, petroleum coke, or solid waste, (e) give the DOD Long-Term Contracting Authority (20 years) for purchasing alternative fuels, and (f) require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess increased demand and decreased emissions from electric vehicle use. "With record high gas prices, Americans are expected to pay an extra $800 this year to fill up their tanks," said Barrasso. "It’s more important than ever that we make it as easy as possible to use all available sources of American energy.  Breaking down barriers to alternative fuels is one way we can ease the pain at the pump and decrease our dependence on foreign oil." 05/13/2011

 

Albemarle Corporation Acquires Catilin

Catilin, IncGlobal chemicals company Albemarle has acquired biodiesel catalysis specialists Catilin, expanding their role in provision of advanced biofuels production processes. Albemarle is working on sustainable solutions such as catalysts for conversion of biomass into transportation biofuels. Catilin's research with Ames Laboratory and Iowa State University has been focused on three main areas: the transesterification conversion of oils to biodiesel and glycerin, a catalyst designed to directly process high FFA feedstocks and a catalytic technique to efficiently extract algal oils. Catilin's technology and products will further strengthen Albemarle's offerings for the renewable fuels market, and provide benefit from a number of R&D and distribution synergies. "We are excited to offer Catilin technology along-side our existing GoBio(TM) portfolio to customers in the fast growing renewable fuels market," says John Nicols, Albemarle's Vice President of Catalysts. "Albemarle is committed to expanding our presence in this market and to offering our global customers a broader portfolio of biofuel catalysts." 05/13/2011

 

Cambi Offers Workshop during Residuals and Biosolids Conference

Cambi Norway-based biosolids conversion company Cambi will present their first Cambi Academy on May 25, 2011 in conjunction with the Residuals and Biosolids Conference and Exhibition in Sacramento, California. Cambi’s patented Thermal Hydrolysis Process (THP) treats municipal and industrial waste prior to anaerobic digestion. Most conventional biogas technologies operate with 70°C; the Cambi process treats the organic matter at 165-170°C, dissolving it into an easily digestible feed for biogas production by anaerobic digestion while destroying any harmful organisms (pathogens). The end product is a pathogen free and pasteurized digestate. The company was recently selected to provide high-solids food waste to biogas conversion for the City of Oslo, Norway. The invitation to Cambi Academy 2011 is available on-line. 05/13/2011

 

Dyadic Awarded New Fungal Enzyme Patent

Dyadic International, IncFlorida-based Dyadic International, Inc. has been issued U.S. Patent No. 7,923,236 for “Fungal Enzymes” by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) for production and use of enzymes to convert lignocellulosic biomass into fermentable sugars. The patent also covers other processes including the simultaneous production of organic substances such as alcohol, ethanol, amino and organic acids as well as other organic substances. The new enzymes and methods are directed to pulp and paper manufacturing processes, treatment of waste streams and textile and detergent processes, and were isolated from Dyadic’s proprietary C1 fungus in conjunction with research by Scripps Florida. The newly issued patent is accessible on the USPTO’s website at www.uspto.gov or on Dyadic’s website at www.dyadic.com. 05/12/2011

 

USDA Establishes First BCAP Project Area

USDA Biomass Crop Assistance ProgramUS Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced establishment of the first Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) Project Area with the enrollment of up to 50,000 acres in Missouri and Kansas for bioenergy feedstock production. Biocrop producers in the area will plant mixes of perennial native plants such as switchgrass for the manufacture of biomass pellet fuels and other biomass products to be used for power and heat generation. The proposed crops also will provide long term resource conserving vegetative cover. The project is a joint effort between the agriculture producers of Show Me Energy Cooperative in Centerview, Missouri. Producers interested in participating in the project area should visit their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office for additional information and an application. Information is available on the BCAP website or by contacting Isabel Benemelis (202) 720-7809, isabel.benemelis@wdc.usda.gov. 05/12/2011

 

USDA and DOE Joint Award: $47MM for Biofuels Development

DOE Energy Efficiency & Renewable EnergyThe US Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Energy (DOE) announced awards of $47 million to eight research and development projects for production of biofuels, bioenergy and high-value biobased products. The DOE's Biomass Program and the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) provided the funding to integrate science and engineering research in three areas: feedstocks development, biofuels and biobased products development, and biofuels development analysis. Awardees are: (1) Cellana LLC to develop a protein supplement from algae as a byproduct of algal biofuels production; (2) Domtar Paper Company to build a multi-tech demonstration plant for conversion of wastes from paper mills into sugar, oil, and lignin products; (3) Exelus, Inc to improved energy crop tolerance to drought and salt stress and make biofuels using low temperature processes with new catalysts and chemistry; (4) Metabolix, Inc. to enhance the yield of bio-based products, biopower, or fuels made from switchgrass using high temperature conversion; (5) University of Florida Genetics Institute to improve sweet sorghum as an energy crop; (6) University of Kansas Center for Research to demonstrate pilot scale production of biofuels and bio-products; (7) University of Kentucky to improve the economics for biorefineries by using on-farm processing to convert biomass to a mixture of butanol, ethanol, acetone and organic acids.; (8) U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station to develop an integrated investigative approach  for biomass feedstock production, logistics, conversion, distribution and end use centered on using advanced conversion technologies at existing forest industry facilities. 05/12/2011

 

U of Florida Beet Waste Biochar Recovers Phosphorus from Wastewater

Florida TomorrowResearchers in the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have developed a method for producing biochar and using the dense material to remove phosphorus from water. They are applying for a patent on the method and publishing the laboratory research in the Biosource Technology journal. Researchers used beet harvest and processing wastes tailings residues from an anaerobic digester, baked at about 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit to make biochar. Added to a water-and-phosphate solution and mixed for 24 hours, the biochar removed about three-fourths of the phosphate, much better results than researchers obtained with other compounds including commercial water-treatment materials. The phosphate-laden biochar can be applied directly to soils as a slow-release fertilizer. The research team plans to investigate whether biochar could remove nitrogen from wastewater and has also been testing the potential for biochar to purify water of heavy metals including lead and copper. “Florida agricultural industries could benefit,” research team member Pratap Pullammanappallil said. “You could do this with any biomass — sugarcane bagasse, citrus pulp.” 05/12/2011

 

UK's Greenergy to Extract Oils from Food Waste for Biodiesel Production

Greenergy has begun producing biodiesel and energy from food waste in partnership with Brocklesby Ltd, a specialist in recycling edible oils, unsalable food products such as crisps and pies, which would previously have gone to landfill or compost.Supplier of one fifth of Britain's transport fuel, Greenergy has begun producing biodiesel and energy from food waste in partnership with Brocklesby Ltd, a specialist in extraction and recycling of oils from unsaleable high-oil food products. Greenergy has already invested £50 million in its biodiesel production facility in Immingham on the east coast of England in order to efficiently process used cooking oils for more than 20 million litres a month of biodiesel. The partnership has now begun to increase this biodiesel production using oils extracted from unsalable high fat solid foods such as pies, sausage rolls, pastry and crisps, which typically contain between 25% and 30% oil and fat, and other feedstock including taramasalata and oil from fish frying containing high quantities of breadcrumbs. Any food solids that remain after processing are currently dried and then either composted or used to produce energy through anaerobic digestion, but in future could be used to make solid biomass fuel pellets or briquettes, or more fuel for cars in the form of bioethanol. Waste water is used as a biomass crop fertiliser. 05/11/2011

 

MSU Gets $1MM Glycerol-to-Succinate Waste Conversion Grant

MSU's Vieille uses metabolic flux analysis to optimize bacterial conversion of waste glycerol to succinate.The US Department of Agriculture awarded $957,582 to Michigan State University microbiology and molecular genetics assistant professor Claire Vieille to develop a microbial process that converts glycerol into succinate. The target product is a foundation chemical used in noncorrosive airport deicers, food and drug additives, and as a precursor to nontoxic solvents, plastics and polyesters. Actinobacillus succinogenes is the best natural succinate producer known (producing up to 80 or 100 g/l succinate from glucose), but it also produces acetate, formate, and ethanol as byproducts. Vieille's goal is to engineer A. succinogenes to efficiently produce succinate as the sole fermentation product. Her metabolic flux analysis work has found that high NaHCO3 and H2 concentrations increase succinate production at the expense of acetate and formate production. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 mandates the use of 1 billion gallons of biodiesel by 2012, which will result in production of 100 million gallons of glycerol, its direct byproduct. 05/10/2011

 

CORE Biofuel Signs MOU for Testing and Biorefinery Development

Core BiofuelsCanadian company CORE Biofuel Inc has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with an un-named renewable energy project development entity for construction of integrated biorefineries. The MOU also provides for third-party verification of CORE's gasification to catalysis process and for testing CORE's Zero Fossil Input (ZFI) 92-octane drop-in gas equivalent fuel in a pilot plant. The details of the MOU will be released upon completion of third party testing. CORE’s Melnichuk-Kelly-Stanko (MKS) Gasoline Synthesis plants are exothermic, designed to include conventional heat exchangers and steam turbines to produce electricity. Using this approach, MKS Process facilities will be largely energy self sufficient and may be small net contributors of electricity to the grid. Don Sigler, Chief Financial Officer of CORE, commented, "We are extremely pleased to have our development partner utilizing our wood-to-gasoline technology. The developer has a long history in the wood products industry throughout North America and brings that experience and expertise through its renewable energy efforts to our partnership." 05/10/2011

 

UC San Diego Receives $2MM for Large Molecule Biofuels Initiative

Bags of red and green algae grown for biofuels research hang in the UCSD greenhouse. Credit: Nathan Schoepp, UCSD.The California Energy Commission (CEC) has awarded $2,000,000 to researchers at the University of California (UC) San Diego to establish the California Initiative for Large Molecule Sustainable Fuels (CILMSF). The award was part of $3,357,965 for three research projects from the CEC's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program. The Initiative will work with regional and statewide economic and workforce development organizations, as well as the California university and community college systems, to develop a training curriculum focused on advanced tools for biomass conversion to renewable liquid fuels. Training scientists and technicians for "green collar" jobs is a major focus of the partnership between the CEC and UC San Diego. In accordance with the State Alternative Fuels Plan, these large molecule fuels must be compatible with existing fuel refining and distribution infrastructure (drop-in fuels), and production of these fuels should not compete with production of food. Stephen Mayfield, professor of biology at UC San Diego, will head the $2 million, 3-year research effort. Mayfield is also head of the San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology, a consortium of local research institutions and commercial partners which was formed two years ago. The collaborative CILMSF program is expected to take three years to complete. 05/10/2011

 

DOE Community Energy Strategic Planning Webinar Scheduled

National Renewable Energy LaboratoryThe US Department of Energy's (DOE) Technical Assistance Program will provide an informational webinar on May 12, 2011 to explore the new Community Energy Strategic Planning (CESP) program for cities and counties. The web presentation will also introduce the CESP Academy, a soon-to-be launched free source of technical support for community energy efficiency projects. The CESP Academy is designed to help community leaders develop an energy vision, engage important stakeholders, design effective energy programs, identify funding sources and map out custom strategies to implement and manage energy efficiency projects. This presentation will take place online from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Eastern. In addition to helping launch the CESP Academy’s proactive technical assistance and outreach program, this webinar will also provide information about the application process to work with the academy. Local governments who are chosen to participate will work directly with TAP analysts to strategically plan their energy efficiency projects. There is no charge for participation but on-line registration is required. 05/10/2011

  

Wake Forest U Receives Biodiesel Catalysis Grant

Wake Forest UniversityThe Biofuels Center of North Carolina (NC) has awarded a grant of $145,665 to Wake Forest University's Terrafinity project, where researchers are developing inexpensive catalysts for converting the free fatty acids into biodiesel. The grant will help pay for large scale production of the catalyst through a commercial-grade company. Abdessadek Lachgar, a chemistry professor at the university and one of two officials supervising the project, said that Marshallton Research Laboratories Inc of King is expected to begin work in July. "We know how to make the catalyst but don't have the capacity to make the levels we need to move forward with the project," Lachgar said. The one-year award is part of $1.6MM distributed to 15 NC projects to accelerate commercialization of renewable liquid fuels. The work supports one goal of the Biofuels Center to develop a statewide industry for producing at least 10 percent of the liquid fuels sold each year in the state by 2017. 05/09/2011

  

NativeEnergy Offers Carbon Offsets from Manure-to-Biogas Project

Native EnergyNativeEnergy will sell up to 40,000 tons of carbon offset credits originating from its 49th "Help Build" carbon management effort, the methane avoidance Northeast Farm Separation Project. The project will use advanced solid/liquid separation methods to reclaim nutrients and produce sterile mulch for animal bedding and soils amendment. INTEGRITY Ag Systems, located in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, is the project and technology developer; their Nutrient Control System will convert manure from at dairy and beef cattle farms in New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. In total, the separation systems on the three farms will reduce approximately 5,700 metric tons per year of greenhouse gas emissions by treating the manure from over 2,900 cows. By purchasing Help Buildâ„¢ carbon offsets, businesses and individuals join to help finance the project’s construction. “We are very pleased to have NativeEnergy’s help in making these projects happen,” said Tim Rensch, President of INTEGRITY. “Their Help Buildâ„¢ model has clearly made it possible for these farmers to move forward with solutions that otherwise would not have been implemented.” 05/06/2011

 

UK DfT Study: Used Cooking Oil was Number One Biofuel Feedstock

Used Cooking OilThe United Kingdom (UK) Department for Transport's (DfT) first Low Carbon Fuel newsletter announces availability of the Administration's Biofuels statistics= for the record year 2010-2011. Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) showed a distinct rise over the previous year, and was also the largest single feedstock for biofuel (314m litres, 26% of total biofuel supplied). The majority of feedstock has been imported; only 20% of the biofuel was reported as coming from UK feedstocks. Greenhouse gas savings of 55% were achieved against a target of 50%. 4.1 billion litres of biofuel have been supplied under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) in the first 33 months, and a quarterly update is available on the RTFO covering the period from July 2010 to January 2011. 05/06/2011

 

KiOR and Catchlight Sign Advanced Biofuels Offtake Agreement

KiORAdvanced biofuels company KiOR has signed a conditional offtake agreement with the Chevron / Weyerhaeuser 50-50% joint venture company Catchlight Energy (CLE). KiOR has developed fast pyrolysis for "biomass catalytic cracking" to bio-oil, their Biomass Catalytic Cracking (BCC) technology that catalytically converts lignocellulose biomass into a high quality bio-crude suitable for refining directly to standard transportation fuels. Catchlight was formed to focus on providing liquid transportation fuels from sustainable forest-based resources. This is KiOR's second offtake agreement; CLE will purchase gasoline and diesel fuel blendstocks from KiOR’s first commercial production facility in Columbus, Mississippi, contingent on the product meeting specification criteria. The companies have also signed a Testing and Optimization Agreement to optimize the compatibility of KiOR’s blendstocks with Chevron’s facilities. Teru Talk reported on KiOR's first offtake agreement with Hunt Refining in March 2011. 05/06/2011

 

PNNL's Renamed Institute for Integrated Catalysis to Refocus on Biofuels

PNNL Institute for Integrated Catalysis refocused on BiofuelsThe US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) Institute for Integrated Catalysis (IIC) is now focused on developing catalysts that can efficiently make fuels from alternate feedstocks such as biomass and carbon dioxide, store electrical energy in chemical bonds, and increase fuel efficiency and cut emissions at the same time. Previously called the Institute for Interfacial Catalysis, the new name and new focus is marked by the arrival of a new director, chemist Johannes Lercher, currently a professor at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) and the editor of a leading chemistry journal, "The Journal of Catalysis." The interim director of the former Institute for Interfacial Catalysis, PNNL chemist Chuck Peden, said growing needs for new energy sources have augmented the old IIC and reshaped it into the new one. "TUM has one of the largest catalysis efforts in Europe. The appointment of Prof. Lercher as IIC director allows us to enhance and expand on some collaborations that we've initiated with several TUM faculty," said Peden. "Through these and other international research collaborations, the IIC has advanced the science and technology of catalysis while also cementing its reputation as a world-leading catalysis research center." 05/05/2011

 

Massachusetts Draft RPS Biomass Regs Submitted for Legislative Review

State of MassachusettsMassachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's office has announced that the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) submitted Renewable Portfolio Standard Biomass (RPS Biomass) final draft regulations to the Legislature's Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy for its 30-day review and comment. This draft follows DOER circulation of a 2010 version and incorporates public and agency comments from two public hearings to establish criteria that woody biomass facilities must meet under the Massachusetts RPS. The 2010 draft built upon recommendations from the Biomass Sustainability and Carbon Policy Study completed for DOER in June 2010 by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences of Plymouth. The Manomet researchers found that the use of sustainably-harvested forest biomass to replace oil heat would likely begin to yield benefits in greenhouse gas emissions reduction in as little as five years. From this base, eligibility and efficiency guidelines were also developed for the Legislature to assess sustainability of biomass as feedstock and are available for review. DOER will incorporate comments and finalize the regulations after the Joint Committee review. 05/05/2011

  

BioGenset Pilot Project Launched in New York

BioGenset Pilot ProjectBiodiesel Industries (BI) will administer and Sprague Energy will manage participation in the BioGenset pilot project to promote use of biodiesel to fuel back-up generator sets (gensets). The pilot project is partially funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). New York State consumes roughly one-fifth of the petroleum distillate used in the United States and has close to a billion-gallon annual demand for diesel fuel. A 2000 estimate by NYSERDA identified use of 720,000 gallons a day, or over 250 million gallons annually in electric generators. BI builds, owns and operates biodiesel production facilities in Australia, California, Colorado, Nevada and Texas, and has conducted feedstock and production feasibility studies for clients worldwide. Steven J. Levy, Managing Director of Sprague Energy and President of the New York City and Lower Hudson Valley Clean Cities stated, “BioGenset is an opportunity to reduce our reliance on foreign oil, reduce greenhouse gases, and create local jobs. We are looking for leaders in industry, government and academia to become involved.” Francis J. Murray Jr, President and CEO of NYSERDA, said, “We are proud to support Sprague Energy’s effort to promote biodiesel. The transportation sector is responsible for about 75 percent of the state’s petroleum consumption and 40 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions. Biodiesel is helping us move toward a clean-energy economy here in New York.” The BioGenset program will hold a Workshop June 9, 2011 at Bronx Community College. To participate in the BioGenset program, e-mail your interest to info@biogenset.com or contact Steven Levy at Sprague Energy at slevy@spragueenergy.com or (914) 328-6770, who can also inspect your equipment and deliver a B5 blend if you are within the Sprague Energy service area. 05/04/2011

 

CE-CERT Collaboration with Thai Institute on Steam Hydro Gasification

 The University of California, Riverside, Bourns College of Engineering, Center for Environmental Research & Technology (CE-CERT) has signed a research and development collaborative agreement with the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research to focus on steam hydro gasification. Thailand researchers will be installing the gasification process that converts biomass and agricultural wastes into fuel in their new research laboratory. The memorandum of understanding between CE-CERT and the Thailand Institute is effective for three years, and will allow for: exchange of researchers to execute the research; exchange of information and publications on the research; advice on related technology; implementation of cooperative research; and joint publication of research. CE-CERT's patented Steam Hydro Gasification, a thermal chemical process that turns carbon-based materials, including everything from food waste to wood, into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, has been assessed by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). In 2009, NETL compared all mainstream gasification technologies and found the CE-CERT process to be 12 percent more efficient, with 18 percent lower capital costs than competing technologies. Viresco Energy LLC has the exclusive licensing option to this technology, marketing of the synthetic fuel from the process. "It’s really a an exciting project because Thailand is showcasing the UCR technology," said Joseph Norbeck, a professor emeritus at UC Riverside who, along with Dr. Chan Park and his students have led the development of steam hydro gasification at CE-CERT. "It’s a showcase for all of Asia." 05/04/2011

 

Avantium Starts Bioplastics Production in the Netherlands

YXY Green Materials and FuelsAvantium has begun bioplastics production at their polyester plant on the Chemelot site in Geleen, the Netherlands.Avantium acquired the polyester pilot plant from Johnson Matthey in the United Kingdom, where the plant was used for the production, development and testing of oil-based polyesters. The company is commercializing their YXY brand green materials and fuels made from biomass, and will use the polyester pilot plant for the production, development and testing of biobased polyesters, such as PEF (poly-ethylene-furanoate) designed to compete with oil-based polyesters. The YXY technology makes it possible to produce a 100% biobased and 100% recyclable polyester, and can be implemented in existing chemical production assets. Tom van Aken, Chief Executive Officer of Avantium comments: "The start-up of our polyester pilot plant is another milestone of our development of our YXY technology for biobased materials. We have successfully produced the first batches of our biopolymer PEF in the pilot plant. It demonstrates that we can use existing PET production assets to manufacture PEF. The compatibility of our products with existing production assets and supply chains will facilitate the adoption of our technology. The YXY pilot plant will make larger volumes of PEF available for application development to commercialize this 100% biobased and 100% recyclable bioplastic." Avantium collaborates with leading companies in the industry to start using green materials and fuels based on YXY building blocks. For more information, contact Mariëtte Hoogendoorn at +31 20 586 8010 or visit the corporate or product websites.05/04/2011

 

UK's Carbon Trust and Siemens Launch Energy Efficiency Financing

Carbon Trust Implementation ServicesAn Energy Efficiency Financing program is now available in the United Kingdom (UK) for business customers and suppliers. Carbon Trust Implementation Services (CTIS) and Siemens Financial Services together are offering leases, loans and other financing options to all types of organizations seeking to reduce their energy use, and can be arranged for amounts above £1000, with no upper limits. Projects considered eligible for financing, including renewables, will be assessed for potential to deliver real energy savings. Energy Saving Assessments will be conducted by Carbon Trust Implementation Services to review the estimated CO2 and energy savings and whether the monthly energy cost savings are likely to match or exceed Energy Efficiency Financing payments. Eligible projects include heat recovery, efficient heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, and industrial process thermal efficiency. Detailed cost and efficiency Power Factor Correction calculators are provided for many project types, including Loan Guidance for Biomass Heating. A helpline is available at +44 0800 988 3718 to assist with eligibility determinations. 05/03/2011

 

DTSC Schedules Green Chemistry Initiative Meeting

California Department of Toxic Substance Green Chemistry InitiativeCalifornia's Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) has scheduled a meeting of the Green Ribbon Science Panel (GRSP) in Sacramento on Thursday, May 5, 2011 in the afternoon, and Friday, May 6th, all day. The DTSC seeks input from the GRSP and from the public, on three issues: (1) Chemical Identification and Prioritization, (2) Product Identification and Prioritization, and (3) De Minimis and Unintentionally-Added Chemicals. The GRSP was established September 2008 with two green chemistry laws AB 1879 (Feuer) and SB 509 (Simitian), mandating development of regulation to identify and prioritize chemicals of concern in consumer products and to create methods for analyzing alternatives to existing hazardous chemicals. Following hearings late last year, DTSC directed that GRSP subcommittees explore key topics in depth. DTSC staff will report on subcommittee issues at the meeting. Background information on the Green Chemistry Initiative is available on-line; the meeting will also be webcast. Questions about the program, the meeting or the agenda may be directed to Kathy Barwick at (916) 323-3381, or via e-mail at kbarwick@dtsc.ca.gov. 05/03/2011

 

DOE Hosts Global Biofuel Sustainability Webinar

Conservation InternationalThe US Department of Energy (DOE) will host a webinar on May 17, 2011 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EDT, entitled "Sustainability for the Global Biofuels Industry: Minimizing Risks and Maximizing Opportunities." The free web conference will explore sustainability issues surrounding development of a global biofuels market. A panel of speakers from Conservation International will be discussing results of the DOE-supported Sustainable Biofuel Crops Project, including identified risks and opportunities for global biofuels production, results of field studies to develop responsible biofuel crop management strategies, and implications for land-use planning, policy and developing markets. The three-year Sustainable Biofuel Crops Project was launched by Conservation International in early 2008 with a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The overall goal of the project was to support the development of a sustainable global biofuels industry by ensuring that biofuel crop production does not threaten biodiversity. Although on-line registration the web conference is free, space is limited in order to provide an opportunity for interaction. 05/03/2011

 

NC Biofuels Center Awards $1.6MM in Advanced Biofuels Grants

Biofuels Center of North CarolinaThe Biofuels Center of North Carolina has awarded $1.6 million to 15 project developers to accelerate commercialization of advanced liquid biofuels. Of these, two grants focused on conversion of waste-sourced feedstock into biofuels. $145,988 was awarded to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University of Greensboro for "Assessment of Municipal Solid Wastes into Biofuels via Pyrolysis." The project will assess the conversion of municipal solid waste into bio-oil using pyrolysis, analyzing the technical and economic feasibilities. The Environmental Research and Education Foundation of Raleigh received $93,119 for "Utilizing Municipal Solid Waste as a Biofuels Feedstock" to explore the use of gasification that can be used on about 60 percent of solid municipal waste (MSW). It will also study the process of MSW into liquid fuels compared to other forms of energy from MSW. For further information, contact Norman Smit, Director, Communications and Education of the Biofuels Center of North Carolina: 919.339.3509, or nsmit@biofuelscenter.org. 05/02/2011

 

Minnesota Plans Waste-to-Energy Workshop for Food and Livestock Industries

Waste to Energy Workshop for Minnesota Processed Food and Livestock IndustriesThe Minnesota Department of Commerce's Office of Energy Security will partner with state, federal and institutional organizers to stage a waste-to-energy workshop on May 24, 2011. The workshop is designed to address the needs and challenges of Minnesota's food processing and livestock industries. Attendees will be presented detailed information in five conversion categories: (1) Anaerobic Digester (AD) and Biogas Energy Recovery Technologies and Concepts, (2) Steps to Developing a Successful Biogas to Energy Project, (3) Experiences and Lessons Learned from Food Processing and Livestock Producers, (4) Connecting to the Grid, and (5) Available AD/CHP Support and Resources. John Cuttica of the DOE Midwest Clean Energy Application Center co-hosts with Jeff Haase of the Minnesota Office of Energy Security. There is a nominal charge to register; for further information contact Sam Rinaldi at 312-996-2554 or samr@uic.edu; or Subodh Patel at 651-297-1219 or Subodh.Patel@state.mn.us. 05/02/2011

 

UK's Environment Agency Issues Waste Incineration Guidance

United Kingdom's Environmental AgencyThe United Kingdom's Environment Agency has released a useful short guidance document designed to help agency staff differentiate between strict waste incineration and "co-incineration" when classifying a facility under the Waste Incineration Directive (WID). The WID regulates and defines incineration plants and co-incineration plants. Co-incineration plans are designed for recovery of materials and/or energy.  Examples include: (1) a plant having as its primary purpose the production of material products or generation of energy, such as a cement plant, produces a fuel product from waste, or uses the fuel energy from the waste directly in making a product; (2) Plants with a net export of energy (as electricity or heat) to another plant in the installation or users outside the installation, such that the plant operation is linked to an energy consuming facility (e.g. industrial site, business park). For co-incineration, energy recovery must be at least 0.8 megawatt hours per of waste, or the plant must achieve significant combined heat and power characteristics. The UK's Environment Agency is an "Executive Non-departmental Public Body" focused on implementing central government environmental policies throughout the Kingdom. 05/02/2011

 

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