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November 2011 News and Matters of Interest

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Honeywell and AliphaJet Collaborate on Renewable Drop-In Jet Fuel Deployment

AliphaJet, IncHoneywell Process Solutions and AliphaJet, Inc announced a strategic collaboration at a recent dinner hosted by former President Jimmy Carter, who endorsed the effort. "I am optimistic about the future of renewable fuels now that breakthrough technologies available from Honeywell and AliphaJet promise to unlock the use of renewable drop-in fuels," President Carter said. "Efforts like these fulfill the energy policies we launched in the 1970s". The heart of the AliphaJet technology is its BoxCar™ oxygen de-coupling process: plant or animal oils are first converted into fatty acids, then put through catalytic decarboxylation (CDC) for finish refining to jet fuel, diesel, and green gasoline, with a glycerol bi-product. Honeywell will provide engineering services, controls and instrumentation including its Experion® Process Knowledge System (PKS) and UniSim® process simulators and field instrumentation. "We are very happy that Honeywell has joined our team and is investing in the commercialization of this technology," said Jack Oswald, CEO of AliphaJet. "Honeywell's vote of confidence aligns AliphaJet's and Honeywell's technologies in the lead position in this emerging field." AliphaJet, Inc is a collaboration between SynGest Inc and Unitel Technologies, Inc. 11/30/2011

 

Amyris and Total Move from R&D to JV for Renewable Fuel Production

AmyrisCalifornia-based biofuels and biochemicals company Amyris announced expansion of its June 2010 agreement with the French oil, gas and alternative energy giant Total S.A.,  increasing collaborative research and development, expressing intent now to form a joint venture for production of alternative fuels and other products. Amyris' core synthetic biology platform creates product-specific microbial strains, and then scales the sugar feedstock fermentation process to commercial output and specifications. The oily hydrocarbon farnesene is separated and refined to form proprietary Biofene®, a foundation chemical ready for finishing to renewable diesel and jet fuel, lubricants, pharmaceuticals and home and health care products. Total S.A. is an international oil and gas company with work in every part of the industry - exploration and production of oil and natural gas, refining and marketing, gas and power, and trading. The original agreement included a 17% equity investment in Amyris by Total as the only shareholder that is also an industry partner, and a strategic agreement for research and development "…to jointly select molecules for our markets, optimize yeast strains for production, and then commercialize and market them." The new 50-50 joint venture should be operational early next year, with exclusive rights to produce and market renewable diesel and jet fuel worldwide, and non-exclusive rights to other renewable products such as drilling fluids, solvents, polymers and specific bio-lubricants. John Melo, President & CEO of Amyris: “With this expanded relationship and Total’s vast distribution network, as well as Total’s stated commitment to invest in production units, we expect to be able to co-develop products and, ultimately, deliver a global supply of sustainable renewable fuels at commercial scale. This is an ambitious undertaking ideally suited for our two companies.” 11/30/2011

 

Emerging Markets Now Drive Renewables Investments

Ernst & YoungUnited Kingdom based accountancy firm Ernst & Young (EY) has highlighted the Ukraine as one of the rapid-growth markets now driving renewable energy investment in the global market. Since 2003, the think-tank has been developing and publishing quarterly Country Attractiveness Indices (CAIs) that track and rank renewable energy markets in 40 countries. For the current November issue, five new emerging markets are added to the indices: Argentina, Hungary, Israel, Tunisia and the Ukraine. According to EY, "… the balance of power is shifting, with Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, South-east Asia, and Latin America now representing renewable energy’s future." Focusing on the Ukraine as a prime example, EY notes the county has demonstrated deep commitments to generating 19% of energy from renewable sources by 2030. Implementation of the 2009 Green Tariff Law and the National Energy Policy of 2010 benefits renewable development, compelling the state to purchase green energy at a premium and ensuring grid inter-connection. Bioenergy represents more than two thirds of the country's potential, given their traditional agricultural focus, yet only 0.5% of the national power is currently being produced from biomass. EY estimates a ten-fold market increase potential for bioenergy development. 11/30/2011

 

TGI Signs LOI to Acquire Eliho Assets for Waste Conversion to Energy

TGI Solar Power Group, IncNew Jersey based TGI Solar Power Group, Inc took another step toward implementation of advanced waste conversion, signing a letter of intent (LOI) to acquire certain strategic assets from Eliho Energy Systems, Inc of Nevada. Eliho develops proprietary pyrolysis gasification technology and specializes in waste to energy systems that are under 10 megawatts. Eliho negotiated funding earlier this year to entitle properties in Florida for construction of waste to energy generation projects under 10 megawatts, which are exempt from a Florida state power and interconnect permit. TGI has reportedly agreed to purchase two waste conversion projects in Florida from Eliho and is still completing financing. In early 2010, TGI signed a memorandum with the Ukrainian thermal systems company Ekoplaz, in which Ekoplaz would grant TGI exclusive rights to use the technology in North and South America, and Europe. TGI announced in June 2010 that it had formed a separate US company, EKOPLAZ, Inc, to implement waste to energy projects using the Ekoplaz technology. EKOPLAZ entered into a strategic alliance with Eliho Energy Systems in April 2011 for testing, sales, and installation of Ekoplaz equipment. The alliance included members of Eliho's management joining TGI's advisory board. The Ekoplaz technology platform utilizes high-frequency microwave energy to create a focused ionization and extreme temperatures that initiate a stabile plasma flame output optimal for waste conversion to basic elements. The Ekoplaz system is modular and can be mobile, running either per batch or continuously. Eliho's Edward Stanojev commented, "We are delighted to be working together with TGI to move forward with our current projects. We believe that our proposed energy projects and services will be of great value to our future customers in combination with TGI's Ekoplaz proprietary technology." TGI has been described as a provider of solar and other alternative energy products and solutions, and more recently as a diversified holding company. 11/29/2011

 

KTG Agrar Expands Biogas Production Beyond 20 MWe

KTG Agrar AGGerman integrated farming / renewable energy company KTG Agrar AG announced that the mild European winter has allow it to advance ahead of schedule for both production of biogas for combined heat and power, and development of new anaerobic digestion facilities. KTG holds around 35,000 hectares in agricultural production throughout Germany, with fully integrated operations in four industrial sectors: (1) Organic farming of food crops, (2) Conventional farming of food crops, (3) Energy production/Biogas, and (4) Complementary agricultural activities. Renewable energy generation from agriculturally-sourced biogas production is now over 20 megawatt electrical (MWe) capacity, increasing almost 10% since mid-year, and is expected to surpass 30 MWe during 2012. KTG's digesters are co-located with farming operations to cut transport distance, allow on-site use of heat and power, and ensure a reliable self-grown feedstock supply. In the past, biogas generation has primarily been from dedicated "energy maize", but the company is increasingly able to utilize residues such as intercropped grass, cereal grain straw and food processing wastes. Electric and thermal output in excess of on-farm use is sold to the local grid and/or at a discounted rate to neighboring rural and urban customers. KTG's integrated farming and renewable energy operations are already in full compliance with the up-coming German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), to be in force in 2012. CEO of KTG, Siegfried Hofreiter, notes, "We are optimistic about the future and will continue to invest in farmland and biogas plants. As the compensation for the production of clean energy is guaranteed for 20 years under the EEG, we can say already today that we will continue to increase both sales revenues and earnings in the coming years." 11/29/2011

 

Mega-Scale Hong Kong Integrated Waste Management Facility Moves Forward

AECOM Technology CorporationCalifornia based global professional services firm AECOM Technology Corporation has been awarded a consulting contract to provide professional management services for Phase 1 of a new Integrated Waste Management Facility in Hong Kong. AECOM will provide prequalification, tender services, construction management, and commissioning services to the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the new facility's Design-Build-Operate contract. The "mega-scale" facility will include construction of an artificial island near Shek Kwu Chau, a 3,000-tonne-per-day (tpd) moving grate advanced incineration plant with energy recovery and power generation, a 200-tpd mechanical sorting and recycling plant, and an environmental education center. The facility will serve approximately one third of Hong Kong's population when completed. The EPD has been considering options for integrated waste management to serve the Hong Kong population for a decade; AECOM has been engaged in the feasibility and preliminary engineering assessment since 2008. Phase 1 site selection narrowed to two locations, the Tsang Tsui Ash Lagoons sites in Tuen Mun on the western edge of the country and the Shek Kwu Chau site south of Lantau Island, along the southern border. The full Environmental Impact Assessment Report is available (in English and Chinese) on-line. The second site at Shek Kwu Chau was ultimately selected “We are honored to be involved in this project since its initial stage,” said Alex Kwan, Executive Vice President, Water & Urban Development, Asia at AECOM. “This win exemplifies our global expertise in adopting modern incineration technology and our commitment to creating a sustainable waste management facility to build a greener Hong Kong.” 11/28/2011

 

University of Salford Installs Owl Power's Vegawatt Generator for CHP

Vegawatt by Owl PowerThe University of Salford Manchester, United Kingdom (UK), has announced successful installation of a Vegawatt™ combined heat and power (CHP) generation unit that will run on waste kitchen grease from campus cafeterias, and provide power and hot water for Faraday House. The project is only one of many campus-wide sustainability efforts as the University seeks energy cost savings, a reduced carbon footprint and achieving Fairtrade status. Estimates for this small modular unit indicate £2,000 annually with a carbon dioxide emissions reduction of 36 tonnes. Massachusetts-based Owl Power Company equips its turn-key CHP modules with fully automated grease filtering and cleaning, to fuel the integrated industrial compression ignition engine for power generation and heat recovery for hot water production. The waste vegetable oil (WVO) upgrading does not require further chemical treatment as it is not converted to biodiesel, but simply used as fuel for the engine-generator set (genset). The cafeteria-scaled modules are optimized to operate best with the WVO from three to five deep fryers, running on 30 to 120 gallons a week. A WVO fueled Vegawatt module will release 642 grams of CO2 for each kilowatt of electricity generated, compared to 670 grams per kilowatt from a natural gas fired module. The "plug-and-play" format comes with all necessary hot and cold water feeds and returns, power condition, and electrical panel integration elements. Rebecca Bennett, Environmental and Sustainability Officer for the University, said, “Vegawatt is a first for a UK university and we’re very pleased to have it powering Faraday House in time for winter. By adding up a large number of initiatives like this we can make a sizeable dent in our carbon footprint. We just have to make sure our students keep using the canteen!” 11/28/2011

 

EU Plans Development of Composting and Biochar Standards by 2013

European Bio-Based EconomyAt the beginning of October 2011, the European Union (EU) Commission launched REFERTIL, a funded 7th Framework Programme (FP7) for the collaborative development of EU27 composting and biochar standards by 2013. The intent is to reduce the cost and resource destruction associated with the disposal of agricultural and urban sourced organic wastes, replacing these too-common practices with conversion to high-value agricultural products from income generating industry. The program's focus is on ecologically sound, economical closed-loop nutrient recycling, utilizing advanced organics management technologies including precision aerobic composting and/or thermal decomposition by pyrolytic conversion to biochar. The initial recovery and conversion target scale is set at 150 million tonnes per year. This work follows on extensive technical and agricultural use trials over the past two years, converting and successfully using organics including pyrolytic production of bone meal, as an element of the Commission's food, agriculture, fisheries and biotechnology European Bio-Based Economy and the over-arching planning for post-2013 reform of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP reform). A comprehensive set of regulatory proposals accompanied by a thorough impact assessment was presented mid-October 2011 by EU Commissioner Ciolos; the European Parliament and the Council have now begun review for approval and implementation expected to reach completion by the end of 2013. During this time, the REFERTIL FP7 Programme seeks international industrial, institutional and agency stakeholder participation. Interested parties should contact the REFERTIL program director, Edward Someus, by completing and submitting the Stakeholder Invitation on-line form for the EU FP7 Project, “Improvement of comprehensive bio-waste transformation and nutrient recovery treatment processes for production of combined natural products" (REFERTIL) (KBBE-2011-5 289785). 11/27/2011

 

LanzaTech and Global Bioenergies Explore CO to Isobutene Feasibility

LanzaTech LtdFrance's Global Bioenergies S.A  has announced collaboration with New Zealand-based LanzaTech Ltd to determine the feasibility of integrating Global's isobutene biorefinery pathway with LanzaTech's well-tested technology platform for conversion of carbon monoxide to biofuel. Both companies have significant genetic engineering capabilities and utilize proprietary microbes for fermentative production of biofuels. Global Bioenergies' fermentation platform is the first to convert a variety of hydrocarbon sources to the foundation gas isobutene (also called isobutylene or methylpropene: C4H8), a high-value commodity critical for manufacture of butyl rubber, many plastics and diverse gasoline, diesel and jet fuel bio-alternatives. LanzaTech follows its fermentation stage with liquids separation for product refinement; isobutene is a volatile gas that may be drawn off above fermentation, simplifying product upgrading. Global Bioenergies has to date converted fermentation substrates such as glucose; LanzaTech has successfully produced ethanol from conversion of non-food carbon sources including steel mill emissions, synthesis gas (syngas) from biomass and coal gasification and steam-reformed methane and is currently expanding to produce other fuels and building-block chemicals. The feasibility study will explore whether Global Bioenergies’ metabolic pathway for production of isobutene can be expressed in LanzaTech’s carbon monoxide consuming microbe. LanzaTech’s chief executive Dr Jennifer Holmgren said, “LanzaTech’s strategy is to diversify its product portfolio beyond ethanol to key chemical intermediates and drop in aviation fuels through developing key technology partnerships. Global Biotechnologies’ technology could contribute to this strategy as isobutene can be directly converted to polymers and jet fuel relevant C-12 molecules. This work is a natural extension of the Global Biotechnologies and LanzaTech technology platforms.” 11/25/2011

 

Novozymes Opens Enzyme R&D Lab Facility in Brazil

NovozymesDanish enzyme development company Novozymes is celebrating the opening this week of its new research and development (R&D) facility in Araucária, a city near Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil. The center's initial focus will be on bioenergy, supporting Brazil's plans to double the country's ethanol biofuel production by 2020. Novozymes own assessment indicates use of its enzymatics to hydrolyze agricultural residues, especially sugarcane bagasse and straw, can reach this goal without increasing the agricultural land acreage. Novozymes already has a strong base for collaboration in Latin America, working with Dedini, Cetrel, CTC (Centro de Technologicia Canavieria) and Petrobras, the largest company in Latin America - to pursue research and commercialization of advanced biofuels in Brazil. With a global network of eight major R&D sites in the US, England, Denmark, India, China and Japan, the new Brazilian research center becomes part of the well-funded, global corporate network. “Our new facilities and expanded research capacity will promote the growth of advanced biofuels in Brazil, an industry that creates jobs, fosters development of new technology, provides new export opportunities for Brazil and Latin America, and creates sustainable solutions essential to the world,” says Pedro Luiz Fernandes, Regional President of Novozymes in Latin America. 11/23/2011

 

Rentricity Recognized by GCCA for Turning Waste Water Pressure to Energy

RentricityNew York based kinetic energy specialist Rentricity has been recognized as "Best in Water" as a Later Stage Global Top 10 company for 2011 by the Global Cleantech Cluster Association (GCCA). The company was selected from a field of 4,000 applicants. Rentricity utilizes small in-flow hydro-turbines to recover hydrokinetic energy for generation of 20 to 300 kilowatts of electricity energy per module. The hydrokinetic energy results from pressure reduction of water and other liquids in the pipes of water, wastewater, and industrial infrastructure for sale to the electric grid or as distributed energy to be used on-site. The company's Flow-to-Wiresm turbines are integrated with its Renflowsm secure internet data management system to maximize overall efficiency and provide remote and automated control. Rentricity was formed in 2003 and became a self-funded commercial company in 2008, joined the New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy (NYC ACRE) in 2009, and has since completed commercial projects for both the New England Waste Water Treatment Plantand the Pennsylvania Water Authority. "Our Top 10 winners are truly the best in class and companies to watch," said Ben Taube, chairman of the GCCA. "In each category, these companies are making both broad strides in their global industries as well as working closely with their regional cleantech clusters to build sustainable green economies and jobs. We are thrilled to name Rentricity among the GCCA Global Top 10 for 2011." 11/23/2011

 

Sundrop Fuels Selects Louisiana Site for First Commercial Drop-in Biofuel Plant

Sundrop FuelsColorado's Sundrop Fuels has announced an agreement to purchase 1,200 acres near Alexandria, Louisiana for development of its first commercial scale advanced biofuel production facility. Sundrop's technology platform mixes almost any type of finely-ground biomass with natural gas, then converts this highly-hydrogenated blend in the company's patented RP ReactorTM (Radiant Particle) high-temperature gasification (2372º F) to synthesis gas, or syngas. The hydrogen rich syngas can then be refined to produce biodiesel, bio-gasoline or bio-jet fuel. The proposed Louisiana plant will convert forest residue as the primary feedstock into 50 million gallons annually of engine-ready renewable "green gasoline." The plant will cost an estimated $450-to $500 million, with significant backing from Sundrop's key investor Chesapeake Energy Corporation, one of the largest producers of natural gas in the US. Additional financial support will come from sale of tax-exempt Private Activity Bonds. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced Sundrop Fuels' site selection in a public event on November 22nd, saying Louisiana "is proud to take this leadership role by providing great careers for our people and by supplying innovative solutions for the energy bottleneck in our nation." 11/23/2011

 

Louisville Waste Cooking Oil Collection Site Opens in Time for Thanksgiving

Green TriangleThe Louisville Biodiesel Cooperative in Kentucky has announced a partnership with the Louisville/Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) and the Green Triangle in the 9th District for collection and recycling of waste vegetable oil (WVO) to biodiesel, opening the collaboration's first recycling station in time for Thanksgiving. Louisville Biodiesel has already collected over a ton of WVO for local production of biofuel to benefit schools and small family farms in the region. MSD's Senior Technical Services Engineer Wesley Sydnor, PE explains, "we're working with Tina Ward-Pugh and Louisville Biodiesel in several ways. First, free of charge we're providing reusable 1-gallon kitchen recycling pails with easy-to-use plastic lids for residents to recycle waste cooking oils. Grease/oil down the drain is an enormous issue for MSD in terms of overflows due to grease blockages. Residents can drop off their waste cooking oil at Louisville Biodiesel and feel good that this waste is being recycled locally into fuel for local school buses and small family farmers." For biodiesel program and WVO drop-off details, contact Christian Thalacker at (502) 727-5673 or email christian@louisvillebiodieselcoop.org. 11/23/2011

 

Due 11/28/2011: Comments on Proposed Green Lane Energy Permit

State of Oregon Department of Environmental QualityThe Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) held a public hearing on November 22, 2011 to consider draft solid waste facility permit language for construction and operation of an anaerobic digestion (AD) facility between Eugene and Junction City adjacent to the J.C. Compost Yard facility. The project applicant is Green Lane Energy, Inc based in Eugene. Feedstock for the proposed facility would include grass straw, fruit and vegetable processing residues and dairy manure to produce biomethane as fuel for a combined heat and power (CHP) generating station. The Draft Permit covers ten years of site development and operation, calling for major reviews and modifications if needed in the 4th and 6th year. Comments should be filed by 5 p.m., Monday, November 28, 2011 to DEQ Permit Coordinator Fran Holman ator call her at (503) 378-5047 to review the file. For more information about the permit and the permit requirements contact DEQ Project Manager Hugh Gao at (503) 378-4977 or. 11/23/2011

 

Arizona Chemical Establishes China Trading Company Legal Entity

Arizona ChemicalWaste-sourced biofuel and biochemical company Arizona Chemical reports formation of Arizona Chemical Limited, a China Trading Company, for its operations in Shanghai, strengthening its Asian service and distribution. Arizona Chemical specializes in recovering and refining Crude Tall Oil (CTO) and Crude Sulphate Turpentine from pine-based pulp-mill wastes and bi-products to provide a broad range of natural compounds to diverse markets, including adhesives, inks, coatings, road-marking, tires & rubber, personal care, lubricants, fuel additives, mining and oilfield. Arizona Chemical’s SYLVABLEND™ Pitch Fuel generates 70% lower CO2 emissions when compared to Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO); the company is the largest global manufacturer of Tall Oil Fatty Acid (TOFA), a fuel additive that significantly improved diesel lubricity without increasing sulfur content. With an international manufacturing and distribution network, securing China Trading Company status for its subsidiary Arizona Chemical Limited facilitates full supply chain integration to provide local Sales, Marketing, Technical Support, Customer Service and Supply Chain services to its Chinese customers. “I’m very pleased that we now have a trading legal entity in China” said Kees Verhaar, President and CEO. “This not only emphasizes our commitment to growth, but also strengthens the services we provide to our customers in China.” 11/22/2011

 

UC San Diego Extension Offers Biofuels Education Grants

University of California San Diego ExtensionThanks to a $4 million grant from California's Department of Labor, the University of California (UC) San Diego Extension will offer a second round of $7000 educational support grants to over 50 students enrolled in regional biofuels development curricula, starting March 2012. Successful completion of the curricula results in receipt of a Biofuel Science Technician Certificate, and is part of the full-tuition EDGE Grant program (Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education). The Certificate is aimed at training professionals for technical roles in the growing biofuels industry, including analytical chemistry, microbiological / crop management, and biological / biofuels lab techniques. It provides students hands-on technical knowledge and experience in biofuels production, analysis and processing, as well as project management and other business skills required to excel in a management-level biofuels position. Prospective students from across California interested in applying for next year's EDGE program and biofuels and industrial biotechnology companies interested in hiring interns from the program should contact Karen Overklift at the BIOCOM Institute (858) 455-0300, extension 104, oror visit the Biofuels Science Technician Certificate page of UD San Diego Extension's website. 11/22/2011

 

Due 12/12/2011: Comments on Vermont Biomass Energy Draft Final Report

State of VermontThe Vermont Legislative Council formally established the Biomass Energy (BioE) Development Working Group in 2009 with a charge to enhance the growth and development of Vermont’s biomass industry, while also maintaining forest health. As part of this charge, the BioE Working Group set about an analysis of the state's biomass energy industry and its inherent issues. The detailed and deeply referenced findings provide recommendations for incentives, sustainable harvesting guidelines and biomass procurement standards, standards and policies for new renewable bioenergy developments, and future needs for research and development. A Public Review Draft of the BioE Working Group Final Report has been released in preparation for submission to the Vermont Legislature by January 2012. A Public Hearing on the draft report has been scheduled for December 6 2011; written comments may be submitted by December 12, 2011 to the attention of the BioE Working Group at or by mail to Vermont State House, 133 State Street, Montpelier VT 05602. Please include the phrase “BioE Report” in the subject line. 11/22/2011

 

London Mayor Calls for Businesses to Stop Landfilling Food Waste

Tower Bridge in the City of LondonHanding out the first free plate of curry made from rejected, misshapen supermarket vegetables, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson made a plea for the City's residential and business community to stop landfilling food waste. Mayor Johnson set out a four-step hierarchy: avoid buying more food than needed, redistribute unused, edible food to charities that feed the poor, food unfit for human consumption should become animal feed where possible, and finally, anything left should be diverted to a conversion process like composting and anaerobic digestion. Last Friday's event called Feed the Five Thousand was a collaborative effort to bring about a dramatic decrease in the current 645,000 total tonnes of food waste disposed to the country's landfills, while promoting beneficial recycling and conversion. The Mayor's office also released a new Waste Strategy on Friday outlining how better waste management to beneficial use could save London £77 million a year. Earlier this year, the London borough of Southwark and their waste management contractor Veolia Environmental Services successfully completed a food waste collection pilot program and gave approval to expand beyond the initial 1,000 'donating" properties in the trial. 11/21/2011

 

Neste Oil's NExBTL Renewable Diesel Set for Marine Trials

Finland's Neste Oil has announced the launch of marine engine trials for its NExBTL biofuels, partnering with the Port of Rotterdam and the Rotterdam Climate Initiative to test performance and emissions in one of the Authority's patrol boats during 1000 hours of operation. Neste Oil's production of sulfur-free NExBTL renewable diesel can use a wide range of virgin and waste sourced oils and fats; the 2 million tonne per year Rotterdam plant started operations in September 2011. "The new trial launched by the Port of Rotterdam marks a new and positive step forward for Neste Oil," says Kaisa Hietala, Neste Oil's Vice President, Marketing. "Our NExBTL fuels have already shown what they are capable of in terms of performance and lower emissions on the road and in the air, and now we will have the opportunity to see how our renewable diesel performs in marine use as well." "We are very excited that the first marine trial of NExBTL renewable diesel is going to take place in Rotterdam, where we recently commissioned Europe's largest renewable diesel refinery," says Bart Leenders, Managing Director of Neste Oil's Rotterdam refinery. "The trial also highlights the excellent partnership that we have established with the Port of Rotterdam since we started building our refinery here." 11/21/2011

 

ConocoPhillips, Enviva Form ECo Biomass to Market Torrified Wood Fuels

EnvivaInternational biomass processing company Enviva has announced a partnership with ConocoPhillips to create a new company, ECo Biomass Technologies (ECo Biomass) focused on bringing torrefied biomass fuels to market. The torrefaction process involves superheating biomass to create a uniform, hydrophobic, dense, and highly efficient fuel similar to coal in combustion properties, but lacking most of the contaminants. Enviva has established a US and European market supplying wood pellets and chips to bioenergy and biomass-focused industrial customers, including recent major biomass supply contracts with Dominion Virginia Power to fuel two bioenergy plants. ECo Biomass will leverage Enviva's 2011 production of 750,000 tons combined chip and pellet production to bring the new torrified wood pellet renewable fuel supply to international customers. “Although torrefaction is widely used in many industries, its adaptation to the renewable energy industry has yet to be proven cost-effective and scalable. Our partnership with ConocoPhillips is designed to bring this new, sustainable, renewable fuel to the power generation industry and enable our utility customers to reduce their environmental impact in a cost-competitive manner,” said John Keppler, Enviva chairman and CEO. “Both of our companies are energy industry innovators, and this partnership underscores our commitment to developing sustainable energy solutions.” 11/21/2011

 

 USDA Selects New Mexico for Farm Waste to Bioenergy Pilot Projects

US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation ServiceThis month's New Mexico Insider newsletter from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) happily reports that New Mexico is one of three pilot states selected by the NRCS to participate in developing anaerobic digestion (AD) projects for clean conversion of animal waste to bioenergy. Chuck Braden, an agricultural engineer with NRCS New Mexico, helps farmers determine whether small modular AD plants are appropriate for installation on their own farming operations: “If most of the questions below describe the farm, anaerobic digestion may be compatible with the operation. (1) Is manure currently being handled as a liquid that is free from copper sulfate and antibiotics? (2) Is odor control a concern? (3) Is there space on a farm to expand the manure handling system using gravity flow? (4) Does the producer have an interest, the time, and skills to learn, make repairs, and maintain the equipment?" Braden anticipates that NRCS New Mexico could receive national support for at least 50 cow manure anaerobic digesters to reduce greenhouse gas and water pollution, provide biogas to  produce heat and electricity, create valuable high-nutrient fertilizer reduce manure odor. 11/19/2011

 

Waste Management Closes Strategic Investment in Fulcrum Bioenergy

Waste Management, IncTexas-based Waste Management, Inc. (WM) announced this week that it has closed its strategic investment in California's waste-to-fuels company Fulcrum Bioenergy. Fulcrum has begun construction on its Sierra Biofuels facility near Reno, Nevada using InEnTec's advanced gasification system. Construction is supported by up to $70 million from WM supplementing funds from the firm's recent initial public offering (IPO). WM has also recently invested in InEnTec.The Nevada plant is scheduled to start operations in 2013 and will convert almost 150 thousand tons of post-recycling municipal solid waste (MSW) per year into 10 million gallons of biofuel. Fulcrum previously secured MSW feedstock supply in a separate agreement with WM. Fulcrum and WM have also signed a Master Development Agreement covering collaboration on additional Fulcrum projects throughout the US, using WM controlled feedstock. “This investment underpins our commitment to supporting innovative technologies that extract the value in waste and converts it into clean renewable energy,” said Joe Vaillancourt, managing director for Waste Management’s Organic Growth Group. “We look forward to the development of Fulcrum’s commercial-scale plant that is designed to convert over one hundred thousand tons of waste a year into clean, renewable transportation fuel.” 11/19/2011

 

WELTEC's Brandenburg AD Plant to Deliver Biomethane to Grid

Biomethane processing begins at the WELTEC biogas park in Barsikow, which has been running since October. The container with the micro gas turbines can be seen in the front.German anaerobic digestion (AD) specialists WELTEC Biopower has announced that its Bariskow AD facility in Brandenburg, Germany has begun operations and is processing biomethane. The plant will begin injecting around 350 standard cubic meters (SCM) of the bio-natural gas per day into the national gas network grid in mid-December. WELTEC ordered the first Capstone microturbine from the company's authorized distributor and service partner, Greenvironment in January 2011; the microturbine module was integrated with the plant's biogas upgrading system and has been delivering electricity to the grid since October. Greenvironment develops, builds and operates natural gas or biogas-fired combined heat and power plants within the output segment of 30 kilowatt to 4 megawatt. The Bariskow plant has a target production capacity of 4.3 million standard cubic meters (MMSCM) of biomethane per year, at a rate of around 1,000 SCM per hour of raw digester gas. Of this, about 375 SCM will fuel a full complement of three 200 kilowatt microturbines for provision of on-site heat to maintain the AD systems and the rest will be injected into the pipeline network. "During the processing of biomethane, the process energy (water) needs to have a temperature of 140 degrees Celsius. Therefore microturbines offer a clear competitive advantage thanks to their high thermal efficiency, which helps us to significantly increase the overall economics of the biomethane production", says Robert Tholen, technical director of WELTEC Biopwer. 11/19/2011

 

USDA Funds Waste Biomass Conversion to Energy Projects

US Department of AgricultureThe US Department of Agriculture has announced the final set of 2011 bioenergy project grants from the agency's Rural Energy for America (REAP) program, bringing this year's total to 52 projects in 26 states, receiving over $31 million in grant and loan guarantees. Of the eight renewable projects receiving funds, seven supported biomass and/or waste conversion to heat and power. Among the recipients: Alaska Brewing LLC was awarded a $448,366 grant to convert waste grain to biofuel; in the past, the spent grain has been dried and shipped to the Seattle area for animal feed. Washakie Renewable Energy, one of Utah's largest biodiesel producers, received a $496,750 grant to develop pre-treatment and product finishing operations associated with the company's waste vegetable and animal grease conversion facility. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (H.R. 2419) modified an existing Renewable Energy Systems program to form the REAP to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy for agricultural producers and rural small businesses through the use of (1) grants and loan guarantees for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems, and (2) grants for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance. Congress allocated $55 million for FY 2009, $60 million for FY 2010, $70 million for FY 2011, and $70 million for FY 2012. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis and can be up to 25% of total eligible project costs. Grants are limited to $500,000 for renewable energy systems and $250,000 for energy efficiency improvements. Applications are submitted through each state's Rural Development State Office. 11/19/2011

 

E.ON Will Start Construction on 30 MWe Bioenergy Plant This Month in Scotland

E.ONGermany-based waste management and energy firm E.ON announced plans for the start of construction later this month of its second major bioenergy facility in Scotland, the £120m 30 megawatt (MWe) Blackburn Meadows facility near Sheffield. A 25-year feedstock supply contract has been signed with local wood recycler R. Plevins & Sons, fueling the plant on regionally sourced recycled wood. E.ON received initial planning approval for the plant form the Sheffield Council in July 2008 and has now agreed to establish a benefits fund for community projects including public art. The firm is exploring the potential to supply heat to surrounding commercial and industrial facilities; E.ON already operates 12 combined heat and power (CHP) facilities supplying over 500MW of electricity and in excess of 900MW of heat in the United Kingdom (UK), one of which is a 44 MWe bioenergy facility in Steven's Croft, Lockerbie Scotland. E.ON has also submitted plans for one of the UK's largest bioenergy facilities to be located at the Royal Portbury Docks in North Somerset. Dave Rogers, Regional Director for Renewables at E.ON, said: "The plans we've announced not only set out the final design of the power station but also confirm our intention to begin construction later this month. As our commitment to Sheffield demonstrates, we're leading the development of renewable energy in the UK and biomass power stations, such as Blackburn Meadows, form an important part of that low carbon solution." 11/18/2011

 

NRCan Launches RETScreen Energy Management Learning Portal

RETScreen ® InternationalRETScreen ® International, a renewable energy technology assessment program developed and provided free of charge by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), announces the launch of a new Energy Management Learning Portal, providing guided access and full documentation to the program's latest tool-set, the Performance Analysis module. The software, data and supportive training and instructional packets can now be used world-wide to monitor, analyze and report on the key energy performance data by facility operators, managers and other decision-makers. New users can download the entire 43 megabyte spreadsheet-based program, RETScreen Plus Version 4, along with all user manuals, training materials, case studies and templates; registration is required to access the materials. This Performance Analysis module is only one element of the expansive program of the RETScreen International Clean Energy Decision Support Centre, which "seeks to build the capacity of planners, decision-makers and industry to implement renewable energy, cogeneration and energy efficiency projects." Released last month, the RETScreen energy performance analysis module already has more than 9,000 users worldwide and is available in 36 languages. RETScreen International is managed by NRCan's CanmetENERGY research center. 11/18/2011

 

UGA Researchers Develop "Super" Yeast Strain for Cellulosic Ethanol

Unversity of Georga, AthensDr. Doran-Peterson and colleagues at the University of Georgia, Athens (UGA) have published findings of their research into development of a "super strain" of resilient fermentation yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (strain AJP50, patent pending: PCT/US2009/043358) capable of continuing sugar fermentation in much higher concentrations of solids and toxins than previously possible. The technique allows fermentation of cellulosic slurries of pine wood in concentrations up to 17.5 % solids, without additional washing or cleaning after the requisite hydrothermal and enzymatic pre-treatment needed to open the cell structure and release the sugars. The new strain was developed using "directed evolution", by growing successive populations of yeast in progressively hostile conditions. Dr. Doran-Peterson is Chair of the Fermentation and Biotechnology Division of the American Society for Microbiology and was recently selected to Chair the University-wide 80+ member Biofuels, Biopower, and Biomaterials Initiative (B3I) at UGA. “The big plus for softwoods, including pine, is that they have a lot of sugar that yeast can use,” she said. “Yeast are currently used in ethanol production from corn or sugarcane, which are much easier materials for fermentation; our process increases the amount of ethanol that can be obtained from pine. We’re talking about using forestry residues, waste and unsalable timber." The research was funded by grants from C2 Biofuels Inc. and the US Department of Energy. 11/18/2011

 

CORE Biofuel Completes Biomass to Drop-in Gas Process Testing

CORE Biofuel, IncCanadian drop-in alternative fuels developer CORE Biofuel Inc. reports successful completion of testing for the last stage in its wood to bio-gasoline processing with catalytic conversion of dimethyl ether (DME) to 92-octane green gasoline. CORE is commercializing the patented Melnichuk-Kelly-Stanko Fuel Synthesis ProcessTM (MKS) that couples advanced gasification modules developed by Energy Products of Idaho (EPI) with synthetic gas clean-up and upgrading, forming the intermediary product DME that is then reformed to high-octane gasoline using catalysis. The current catalytic testing was accomplished on contract with RECAT Technologies, a commercial spin-off of the University of Western Ontario, Canada where Dr. Hugo de Lasa, President of RECAT, founded the Chemical Reactor Engineering Center. RECAT was engaged by CORE in July 2010 to complete a pilot process for its gasoline production reactors; data from the pilot process provides specification for catalysis and reactor design parameters. At this time, CORE's conversion process is using wood chip as feedstock, but is exploring the economic feasibility of other biomass feedstock for future facilities including dedicated fiber crops such as high yield poplar species, switchgrass, grasses, agricultural residues, bagasse, sorted municipal solid waste, and treated municipal biosolids. The successful process train testing facilitates commercial scale drop-in gasoline biorefinery development being explored by CORE under an agreement signed earlier this year that also provide for third-party validation of its Zero Fossil Input (ZFI) 92-octane green gasoline. 11/18/2011

 

UK Renewables Funding Allocated from Scottish Fossil Fuel Levy

HM TreasurySettling a long-standing dispute between Scotland and the United Kingdom (UK), decisions last week will split the reserve funding collected under the Scottish Fossil Fuel Levy (SFFP), allowing the Scottish Government access to at least £100 million to be spent on in-country renewables. The remainder in the fund will be added to the £3 billion United Kingdom-wide Green Investment Bank; future funds will be divided equally as these become available. The Fossil Fuel Levy was introduced in 1996 in Scotland and paid by suppliers of electricity from non-renewable energy sources as part of the Non-Fossil Fuels Obligation. In 2002 the Renewables Obligation was also introduced to support renewable energy. Together, these processes produce a surplus which is held in the Scottish Fossil Fuel Levy fund. Funds from a levy on non-renewable energy supply sales have been collected and deposited into an account managed by the UK's Office of Gas and Electric Markets (Ofgem) according to principles detailed last year by Ofgem. Under the new agreement, SFFP funds may only be accessed by the Scottish Government and spent for renewables above the existing Scottish Government budget. Following a site visit to a shuttered power plant in Nigg, Scotland, British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said: “The UK Coalition Government is committed to creating jobs across Scotland – particularly in the green energy sector. It’s great news that we have been able to cut through the arguments and the wrangling with the Scottish Government that have stopped this money being invested in the past. It shows how serious the UK Government is in its support for Scotland’s green future.” 11/17/2011

 

CalRecycle Adopts Carpet Recycling Regulation, Waste-to-Energy Use Acceptable

CalRecycleA Notice of Final Decision approving the adoption of the proposed regulations for Product Stewardship for Carpet was announced at the November 15, 2011 meeting of California's Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle). The Formal Rulemaking Direction announcement provides access to the staff Request for Approval, the Proposed Carpet Regulations and an overview of stakeholder comments received during a series of public comment periods. Passage last year of Assembly Bill 2398 (Chapter 681, Statutes of 2010 [Perez, AB 2398) mandated manufacturer responsibility for recycling of used carpet, requiring submission to and approval by CalRecycle of a Product Stewardship Plan by the carpet manufacturer or a stewardship organization representing the manufacturer; fees are assessed to cover agency administrative costs. Compliance requires "continuous and meaningful improvement in the rates of recycling"; non-compliance carries civil penalties. Key determinations, staff and stakeholder assessment of the letter, and intent of the law include clarification that Diversion means specifically from landfill disposal, rather than from all forms of solid waste disposal.  Therefore Waste-to-Energy use of Carpet as Alternative Fuel (CAAF) is acceptable, although the Transformation category of waste management will be constrained regarding access to state grants, incentives and other support funding. Adoption now allows CalRecycle to forward the proposed regulatory packet to the Office of Administrative Law for final approval and publishing. Detailed background documentation was provided with the Request for Approval and may be further accessed on the CalRecycle Carpet Stewardship Program webpage. AB 2398 requires that the Carpet Stewardship Plans be submitted and approved no later than March 31, 2012. 11/17/2011

 

Due 12/21/2011: "Driving Innovation in AD" Proposals to UK's WRAP

UK Waste & Resources Action ProgrammeThe United Kingdom's (UK) Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) announced opening of two tenders last week in its new Driving Innovations in Anaerobic Digestion (DIAD) program. DIAD is designed as a series of activities to deliver projects under the UK's Department of Food and Rural Affairs "AD Strategy and Action Plan". The first proposal request seeks technologies and operational methods to optimize safe and effective AD implementation at all scales. The second challenge focuses on installation, capital cost reduction, and operational simplification for smaller scale applications, along with pre-and post-processing elements of AD facilities to include feedstock supply chain improvements, and AD system and product commercialization plans. Successfully screened proposals will be initially funded for a feasibility study; those showing the most significant benefits and potential will advance to development of demonstration projects. The WRAP will partner with the UK's Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) on both of the projects, and also with the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) on the small scale AD projects. Interested parties should complete one or both tender packets, for the first Optimization of Process and Product Manufacture at All Scales (David Tozer, 01295 819628,) and/or the second Small-Scale, On-Farm AD Challenge (Teresa Hogsbjerg, 01295 819914,). 11/17/2011

 

ECLIPSEProject Goal is to Convert Organic Waste to Ecological Plastics

CIDETEC-IK4The Spanish research foundation CIDETEC-IK4 (Centre for Electrochemical Technologies) has announced a 3-year program for development of ecologically sound plastics from organic waste materials such as the banana plant, almond nut shells or crustaceans, amongst others. The Cidetec-IK4 technological centre, based at the Donostia-San Sebastián Technological Park, is leading a multi-national collaborative project known as ECLIPSE, to create cleaner and more sustainable alternatives to petroleum- or food-sourced plastics incorporating nanotechnology-based methods. Cidetec-IK4 was created in 1997 as a non-profit Foundation whose mission is to serve both the industrial sectors related to electrochemistry and the Administration and society in general, its core activity being the field of applied research. Use of organic processing waste to produce new materials does not influence the final price of foodstuffs and does not directly affect the environment. The processing first converts waste glucose compounds from biodiesel production to lactic acid, and then polymerizes the lactic acid to form Poly Lactic Acid (PLA). By adding nano-fibers of organic waste, plastic can be achieved that has greater resistance to external agents and enhanced mechanical properties. Ibon Odriozola, Head of the Nanotechnology Unit at Cidetec-IK4, comments: “ECLIPSE has an economic objective, as this project aims to increase the competiveness of European countries in the biopolymers’ market without increasing the price of basic foods”. 11/16/2011

 

CPUC Begins Accepting Applications for Self-Generation Incentive Program

California Public Utilities CommissionThe California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has again started accepting applications for projects under the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) as of November 15, 2011. Helping to kick start the program, San Diego's Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) has provided program background and organized the pertinent documents, including the 2011 SGIP Handbook, are all now available on-line. New this year are both Residential and Commercial Waste Heat Utilization worksheets, Biogas project guidance and forms, and Waste Gas and Renewable Fuel forms. Applicants must use the authorized on-line forms. Each investor-Owned Utility (IOU) maintains its own SPIG program; applicants can find handbooks and forms for Pacific Gas , Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas Company on their program websites, and refer to the CCSE website for San Diego Gas & Electric. Companies that offer eligible programs can also provide significant assistance with the SGIP project application process; Irvine-based FlexEnergy has developed an informative support program providing detail of how its clean-burning turbine generators qualify and the incentives that are available up to $2,500 per kilowatt for biogas and $500 per kilowatt for natural gas. The SGIP program was expanded in scope and extended to 2016 as a result of passage of Senate Bill 412 this year; eligibility for participation in the SGIP will now be based on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions. Technologies that achieve reductions of GHG emissions will be eligible for the program, including wind turbines, fuel cells, organic rankine cycle/waste heat capture, pressure reduction turbines, advanced energy storage, and combined heat and power gas turbines, micro-turbines, and internal combustion engines. 11/16/2011

 

AE Biofuels is now Aemetis, Expands to Biochemicals and Advanced Biofuels

Aemetis, IncWith a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing of Schedule 14C last month, AE Biofuels has changed its name to Aemetis, Inc. effective November 15, 2011. The company announced the Aemetis name change by explaining that this means "The One Prudent Wisdom", and the change signifies the company's expanding vision. Following acquisition in July of this year of the Maryland-based biotechnology company Zymetis and all rights to the "Z-microbe", Aemetis now has the capability to expand upon its current 55,000 gallon ethanol production plant in Keyes, California and 50,000 gallon biofuels plant in India, to develop the new fermentation platform for production of specialty green chemicals and advanced biofuels. Eric McAfee, Chairman and CEO of Aemetis said of the new vision and name: "Our scientists and operations teams at Aemetis are focused on the development and commercialization of innovative industrial biotechnologies that produce advanced chemical and renewable fuel substitutes for traditional petroleum-based chemicals and fuels. By expanding existing first-generation biofuels plants to produce high-margin chemicals and advanced fuels, our technology platform helps biofuels companies increase their operating margins, decrease margin volatility, and diversify feedstocks and products." 11/16/2011 

 

US Forest Service Plans Advisory Committee for Oversight of New Planning Rule

United States Forest ServiceAn upcoming opportunity to assist in oversight of the management of US national forests and grasslands has been announced by the US Forest Service's Chief Tom Tidwell. With the first major changes to Forest Planning Rule since passage of the 1982 version, national forest management is undergoing significant change as a result of the draft Planning Rule published in February 2011 in the Federal Register, and the associated environmental documents currently being finalized. The Forest Planning Rule of 1982 has provided the basis for decades of forest health and timbering practices, yet was developed well before modern technologies and methods now available for biomass utilization. A Science Review Summary Report published in April 2011 provides an assessment of the draft environmental impact statement for the Planning Rule. To maintain transparency and public engagement, the Forest Service will solicit nominations and form a Federal Advisory Committee (FACA) to advise Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack on the new rule's implementation. “This new committee will keep the collaborative momentum going on what has been a remarkably open and transparent process for the country’s first planning rule in 30 years,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “Stakeholder input has been instrumental in allowing us develop a strong draft rule up to this point – we need to continue to tap into our strong partnerships to carry this rule forward.” Further information on finalization of the revised Planning Rule and environmental document can be found on the Rule's website; solicitation for nominations toward the FACA will be published shortly after the rule is finalized, scheduled for this winter. 11/15/2011

 

MissionNewEnergy Plans Palm Waste to Biodiesel Plant in Malaysia

Mission NewEnergy LimitedAustralian biofuel company Mission NewEnergy Limited has announced development of its first major processing facility dedicated to the use of waste as feedstock to produce biodiesel. The new RM30 million (US$10 million) plant will recover oils from a primary waste material of the palm oil refining process, Spent Bleaching Earth (SBE). SBE is a finely divided clay material that to date has only been destined for disposal. All permits have been obtained and financing from a Malaysian bank is expected to close next month, allowing construction to begin in January 2012. To be sited in Sandakan, Saba Malaysia, the 66,000 ton per year SBE Solvent Extraction Facility will convert SBE collected from most of the region's palm oil biorefineries and start operations late in 2012. Mission notes that the benefits of producing biodiesel from waste material include increased greenhouse gas savings as well as a supply of inexpensive feedstock. “Mission is delighted to be working in collaboration with the government and the local palm oil processing industry. The facility will reduce waste being sent to the landfill, create jobs and provide Mission with a low cost, environmentally friendly raw material to produce biofuels,” said Nathan Mahalingam, Group CEO of Mission. 11/14/2011

 

GreenChemistry Company BioAmber Proposes Initial Public Offering

BioAmber, IncGreen chemistry company BioAmber, Inc has proposed an initial public offering (IPO) and has filed a Form S-1 registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). BioAmber hopes to raise up to $150 million in common stock, although the number of shares and price range have not been announced. For the proposed IPO, book-running will be led by Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC. A portion of the proceeds will be used to complete construction of BioAmber's proposed commercial production facilities in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, and in Thailand. Earlier this month, BioAmber partnered with Japanese chemicals giant Mitsui & Co. for construction and operation of the Sarnia plant, expanding plans to increase capacity of succinic acid production while initiating BDO production and starting planning for two additional Canadian facilities. BioAmber's technology platform utilizes proprietary microbial fermentation, advanced purification and chemical catalysis to produce succinic acid as a cost-competitive replacement to petroleum-sourced chemicals. The company's first commercial scale production facility in Pomacle, France has manufactured over 450,000 pounds of bio-succinic acid, sold into the market for production of plastics, food additives and personal care products and used by BioAmber in successive refinement to produce 1,4 butanediol (BDO) and other key foundation chemicals. 11/14/2011

 

New Viridor Vision Shifts Focus From Waste Disposal to Resource Recovery

ViridorOne of the United Kingdom's (UK) leading waste management companies, Viridor has announced a new corporate vision encompassing a steady movement away from management of waste by disposal and toward resource recovery of energy and materials. Viridor has been broadening its implementation of the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) "Zero Waste Economy," initiating successive partnerships in March, April and May for highly-integrated waste management that exemplify state-of-the-art resource recovery. Dan Cooke, Viridor’s External Affairs Manager said: “This is all about positive change. ‘Transforming waste’ is more positive than just referring to recycling (important though that is!) it includes everything we do in energy, and our aims for environmental, social and economic sustainability. It’s designed to have sense of excitement and optimism about it.  We’ve got a great story to tell our customers and stakeholders about putting their waste into action and transforming it into high quality recyclables, raw materials and energy.” Colin Drummond, Viridor’s Chief Executive, added: “Viridor is at the forefront of transforming waste and our new branding reflects this. We have led the way in seeing the real value of waste as a vital resource.  Fifty percent of our profits now come from resource recovery and this is set to increase. “The world is using resources at an unsustainable rate.  We all have to recycle more and generate more renewable energy to meet our future needs. Viridor has embraced this and our new vision and branding will help to communicate this clearly to our customers and partners.” 11/14/2011

 

Update: Toilet Bike NEO Completes 1400 Kilometer Tour of Japan

Toilet Bike NEOJapanese toilet maker TOTO designed and built a motorcycle called NEO fueled by on-board generated biogas with a toilet for a seat, and Teru Talk covered the kick-off of the cross-Japan tour the day NEO's pictures became available. With six riders alternating to cover the 1,400 kilometers perched on a large toilet, the NEO tour was intended to get folks in Japan more comfortable with conversion of organic waste using anaerobic digestion (AD) and with use of the biogas generated as an every-day fuel. Reuters posted a video and translated interview with TOTO's spokesperson Kenji Fujita at the end of the highly successful tour; Kenji explained that the AD system's biogas had come from digestion of a mix of livestock waste and household sewage, but that the riders had not contributed to the supply. 11/13/2011

 

INEOS Bio Rolls Out Global Licensing for Waste-to-Bioenergy Technology

INEOS BioIllinois-based INEOS Bio has announced the selection of the international engineering firm AMEC to provide engineering support for a global licensing program of its advanced thermal-to-microbial waste conversion processing technology platform. AMEC will support licensees and ensure optimal design and installation customized to each project location. AMEC has offices servicing most countries globally, including eleven offices in California alone. INEOS Bio, formed in 2008 specifically to develop this hybrid thermochemical / biochemical processing approach, and broke ground on the joint venture Indian River Bioenergy Center as its first industrial scale plant in Vero Beach Florida early this year. INEOS Bio now plans to establish strategic licenses internationally, capitalizing on the deep licensing and project development experience of its parent company INEOS. "This agreement is a key milestone for INEOS Bio. It is a crucial step as we move into the phase of licensing our Bioenergy Technology globally to help solve to address the world's waste management challenges," said Peter Williams, CEO of INEOS Bio. "We've designed our sustainable solution so it's easily licensed and can be replicated around the world to create renewable bioenergy from waste, bringing us energy independence and providing opportunities for cleantech jobs." 11/12/2011

 

BlueFire Forms SucreSource to Supply Cellulosic Sugars for Advanced Biofuels

BlueFire RenewablesCalifornia's BlueFire Renewables Inc. (BFRE) has announced formation of the wholly-owned subsidiary SucreSource, LLC to respond to increasing market demand for cellulosic sugars. SucreSource  will be dedicated to developing an at-scale process train complement for the conversion of non-food cellulosic biomass sourced sugars, and provision of that pathway for integration into biorefinery developments of other companies in the global advanced biofuels and biochemicals market. SucreSource will initially offer two well-vetted process scales of 34,000 tons per year or 163,000 tons per year cellulosic sugar production; the modular designs are complete and market-ready based on BFRE's successful demonstration testing in California and commercial scale application in Izumi, Japan. The company's cellulosic sugar production technology platform uses advanced methods of concentrated acid hydrolysis with acid recovery and reconcentration to produce and purify sugar concentrates. The parent company continues with precision fermentation capable of both C5 and C6 sugar fermentation to produce a wide range of fuels and chemicals. "SucreSource was created to meet the market's increasing demand for cellulosic sugars," said Arnold Klann, President and Chief Executive Officer of BlueFire Renewables. "Back-end biochemical and biofuel processes need low cost, non-food cellulosic sugars for widespread commercialization, whether the end product be ethanol, biobutanol, ethyl levulinate, etc. BlueFire's front-end technology that breaks down cellulosic waste into its component sugars can meet that growing need. SucreSource provides a platform for BlueFire to service the many inquiries and requests for sugars that come our way." 11/12/2011

 

Due Now to 12/15/2015: Applications to NYSERDA for AD Biogas to Power Projects

New York State Energy Research and Development AuthorityThe New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced dedication last week of up to $57 million in additional support of anaerobic digestion (AD) technology and project development. NYSERDA will invest more than $11 million per year for applications of up to 50% of the cost of the power generation equipment until 2015 or when funds are expended. Projects must meet the criteria and goals of the New York State Renewable Portfolio Standard (NY RPS), which is providing the funding. Awards to eligible projects will be made on a first-come, first served basis until the funds have been depleted. NYSERDA similarly supported AD projects in 2010, disbursing funds to 19 applicants whose projects offered capacity of over 10,000 kilowatts and construction activity over $60 million. “Anaerobic digestion offers farmers the opportunity to lower their energy costs while at the same time providing environmental benefits to air quality and local watersheds,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “This renewable energy project is just one way New York will achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gases and consumption of fossil fuels.” As public benefit corporation, NYSERDA offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. Refer to PON 2276 - "Renewable Portfolio Standard Customer Sited Tier Anaerobic Digester Gas To Electricity Program" for application documents. Contact information is available for PON 2276 on NYSERDA's Current Funding Opportunities web page. 11/12/2011

 

Rentech Meets Key Milestone for Colorado Integrated Biorefinery

Rentech, IncCalifornia-based waste conversion firm Rentech Inc. has announced that its demonstration-scale Integrated Biorefinery (IBR) project in Commerce City, Colorado has been deemed "mechanically complete," and the commissioning phase is now underway. The IBR project installed Rentech's 20 ton-per-day Rentech-ClearFuels biomass gasifier, which was integrated with Honeywell's UOP syngas upgrading systems in Rentech's Product Demonstration Unit (PDU) already at the site to produce renewable drop-in synthetic jet and diesel fuels. The IBR project was co-funded by a $23 million grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to manufacture and install the gasifer, and Rentech funded the balance of the project's total cost of approximately $36 million. Dr. Harold Wright, Rentech’s Chief Technology Officer, commented, “Achieving mechanical completion of the IBR demonstration facility on-time and on-budget leads the way for cellulosic fuels production at the PDU with the Rentech-ClearFuels gasifier and Rentech Process.” Dr. Wright continued, “We’re pleased to have a successful collaboration with the DOE, whose funding helped make this demonstration possible.” The IBR will have the flexibility to produce renewable syngas, hydrogen, and steam as well as biofuels, and is anticipated to produce certified renewable fuels in late 2011. Rentech expects the IBR will also be used to evaluate additional technology integration opportunities. 11/10/2011

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Carbon Matters: US Energy and Forest Policy Should be Based on Science

Keeping forests as forests prevents greenhouse gas emissions. But active forest management provides even more climate benefits. (Credit: T. Iraci)The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station has released a study outlining new ideas and approaches to forest management for carbon sequestration, biomass use for energy, and climate benefits. The study recommends that US environmental and energy policy should be established on specific science-based findings identified in the report, Managing Forests Because Carbon Matters: Integrating Energy, Products, and Land Management Policy. The report was coauthored by a team of researchers from the U.S. Forest Service, several universities, and natural resource and environmental organizations, and is published in a supplement to the current October/November edition of the Society of American Forester’s Journal of Forestry. Primary author Bob Malmsheimer introduces the report, “This work should help policymakers reconsider the critical impact forests have on our daily lives and the potential they have to solve problems that confront our Nation. We believe our science-based findings should lead toward positive reforms that encourage investment in this vital renewable resource.” The report explains that "… The value of carbon credits generated by forest carbon offset projects differs dramatically, depending on the sets of carbon pools allowed by the protocol and baseline employed. The costs associated with establishing and maintaining offset projects depend largely on the protocols’ specifics. Measurement challenges and relatively high transaction costs needed for forest carbon offsets warrant consideration of other policies that promote climate benefits from forests and forest products but do not require project-specific accounting." The Pacific Northwest Research Station is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, with eleven laboratories and centers in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington. 11/10/2011

 

IEA Releases 2011 Task 37 Reports on Energy from Biogas and Landfill Gas

International Energy AgencyThe International Energy Agency (IEA) Task 37 working group focuses on the collection, sorting, biological treatment, gas upgrading, and gas utilization from digestion of the organic fraction of municipal solid waste and wastewater. Late last month, the IEA provided an Update publication addressing Biogas from Crop Digestion. Among the report's findings: (1) Anaerobic digestion is a versatile technology that requires relatively low levels of parasitic energy demand and can use a wide range of crops including lignocellulosic material such as grass; (2) The energy balance of biogas crop systems is shown to be superior to first generation biofuel technologies, for example for ethanol production; (3) The biogas industry benefits greatly from policy and feed-in tariffs, as demonstrated by the German experience; (4) The existing natural gas grid can provide the means for distribution of biomethane to both individual homes and businesses in many developed countries; (5) Setting targets for biomethane production as a percentage of gas demand are of great benefit to the fledgling industry; and (6) Use of biomethane as a transport fuel provides positive economics, especially if feed-in tariffs are low, and "connecting biomethane with a captive fleet such as a bus service minimizes investments for distribution of the gaseous fuel. In September 2011, the IEA released the annual "Country Reports" for Austria, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland the United Kingdom, and the European Commission. 11/10/2011

 

City of Palo Alto Voters Approve Green Energy Bioconversion Plant

City of Palo Alto Measure EIn a move designed to keep organic waste conversion local and decrease transport-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, proponents announced that Measure E, the Palo Alto Green Energy and Compost Initiative, was approved by ballot vote. The California city contracted with Alternative Resources Inc. (ARI) of Concord, Massachusetts to assess the potential for developing an anaerobic digestion facility next to the City's wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), and made the Energy/Compost Feasibility Study available in September. Measure E's passage on November 8, 2011 was required by the city's charter to change the dedicated recreational use designation of 10 acres of the 126 acre Byxbee Park, the site of the now closed municipal solid waste landfill. The City Attorney's analysis prior to Tuesday's vote detailed the required and optional changes that the City would need to address if the park land was un-dedicated by passage of the new ordinance. The balloted measure enjoyed strong support; it's passage now allows the change in designation for the exclusive development of a facility to collect and process yard trimmings, food waste and other organics from the municipal waste stream, and potentially sewage sludge from the WWTP using composting and anaerobic digestion for conversion of the wastes to beneficial energy and products. 11/10/2011

 

JEQ Publishes 16 New Articles on Environmental Benefits of Biochar

Journal of Environmental QualityThe American Society of Agronomy's latest issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality (JEQ) has developed a special New Articles section this month on the Environmental Benefits of Biochar, providing free access to the pre-publication abstracts and full text of sixteen new professional papers covering the subject. "Biochar" is the name for the charred biomass created from wood, plant material, and manure that has been used to improve soil fertility and remediate environmental contaminants. Many of the published biochar reviews stem from work sponsored and directed by the US Department of Agriculture, from collaborating scientists in the many labs of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), upon results of field work initiated at the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment in Ames, Iowa (NLAE). The ARS has chronicled the collaborative work, focusing on national attempts to find "what works where" and recognizing that "biochar characteristics vary widely, depending on the feedstock used to make it, the time spent in the pyrolyzer—a device that uses heat to break down the biomass in the absence of oxygen—the temperature used during pyrolysis, the feedstock’s moisture content, and other factors."  Among the published articles is "Biochar: A Synthesis of Its Agronomic Impact beyond Carbon Sequestration" by ARS researchers in labs associated with the University of Minnesota. Analyzing results, the researchers concluded that because of variability in char quality and application, results were about 25 percent negative, around 50 percent neutral, and around 25 percent positive. “A lot of research has already been done on biochar,” says Kurt Spokas, who is the first author on the Synthesis paper. “We’re building on that work to figure out how to make biochar work best in our current production systems.” Novak, who is working with Ippolito and Spokas on additional experiments in the laboratory and field, agrees. “We just need to make sure it’s the right biochar for the right soil type." 11/09/2011

 

ZooShare Hosts Open House to Seek Investors for Toronto Zoo Biogas Plant

ZooShare Biogas Co-operativeThe ZooShare Biogas Co-operative (ZooShare) is hosting an Open House on November 22, 2011 to provide information on investment opportunities in its innovative program supporting zoo waste conversion to renewable energy for the Toronto Zoo. The ZooShare, a Renewable Energy Co-op under the laws of Ontario, Canada, is developing a biogas facility on the grounds of the Toronto Zoo. The combined heat and power (CHP) plant will produce up to 500 kW of electrical power and heat, converting the zoo's animal wastes and up to 1200 tons annually of locally-sourced food waste, including fats, oils and grease (FOG) to renewable energy. To cover costs, the ZooShare program offers Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) bonds to the community; ZooShares earn a fixed return deposited into an individual's RRSP account. The public-private non-profit partnership will generate and sell electricity to the Ontario Power Authority under a 20 year Feed-in tariff (FIT) contract for 16.4 cents/kWh (including a 0.4 cent adder for a community project). The anaerobic digestion (AD) will generate biogas to fuel the generator, which will also produce enough heat and CO2 to enhance operations at a 2-acre on-site greenhouse; the AD residual will be used in both liquid and solid form on-site and sold to the community as a high-quality fertilizer. The project received support from the Ontario Power Authority through its Community Energy Partnerships Program. 11/09/2011

 

ARCStarts Construction to Double GDiesel® Production Capacity

Advanced Refining Concepts GDieselNevada-based Advanced Refining Concepts (ARC) held a ground breaking ceremony this week to celebrate start of construction on Phases 3 and 4 of the firm's Peru Heights green-blend fuels refinery just south of Reno. This is the second major plant expansion since the refinery opened in 2010 with its initial 100,000 gallon per day capacity, and the first expansion in October 2010 doubled that capacity. This expansion will double that capacity once more for a total of 400,000 gallons per day. Construction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2012  ARC's single-step closed-loop ClearRefining® process catalytically re-processes and combines petroleum products with biogas or natural gas for cleaner-burning, lower carbon drop-in fuels. The company’s products, GDiesel®, GPetrol® and GJet®, are compatible with existing fuel storage and dispensing equipment and require no modifications to vehicles or power generating equipment. The fuels are designated as alternative fuels under Nevada's NAC 486A.140 clean fuel provision; customers include retail stations and commercial trucking fleets, along with many regional city and county agency fleets that fall within this legislation. The company indicates it has begun permitting processes for a second plant in the Las Vegas region to provide better service coverage for southern Nevada. “The Advanced Refining Concepts expansion is a triple bottom line win for the greater Reno-Tahoe area,” said Chuck Alvey, president and CEO of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN). “ARC’s innovative fuel product is helping create new jobs, enhance the environment and a local company grow - a great development all around.” 11/09/2011

 

GE's J316 Engines Turn Syngas from Italy's Wood Waste to Renewable Energy

General ElectricGeneral Electric (GE) has announced that two of its Jenbacher J316 gas engines are now generating electricity from synthetic fuel gas (syngas) at the new biomass cogeneration plant near Torino, Italy. The syngas is produced at the plant by thermal conversion (gasification) of wood waste. The Italian energy company Energia & Calora owns and operates the wood pyro-gasification plant located in Villanova Mondovi commissioned earlier this year to provide district heating to local community schools and industrial sites. The small-scale (less than one megawatt output) bioenergy operation operates through four phases: feedstock preparation, gasification, syngas cleaning / upgrading and power generation via the Jenbacher engines. The project follows Italy's Renewable Energy National Action Plan, which seeks to produce 45% of the country's cleaner energy from biomass, calling for more than half of that generation to be from solid biofuel. “Italy is an attractive market for wood biomass power projects, which have the strong support of the Italian government as the country strives to expand and diversify its alternative energy capacity,” said Francesco Dattilo, General Manager - Gas Engines in Italy. “With its proven high efficiency and low emissions, our advanced gas engine technology is an excellent match for smaller, local projects that take advantage of local fuel resources while reducing the environmental impact of power production.” 11/09/2011

 

DoD Releases Report on Alternative Fuels Use and Future Demand to Congress

US Department of DefenseThe US Department of Defense (DoD) has announced the release of "Opportunities for DoD Use of Alternative and Renewable Fuels: FY10 NDAA Section 334 Congressional Study". Section 334 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2010 requires the DoD to provide an assessment of the use of renewable fuels in non-tactical and tactical aviation, maritime, and ground transportation fleets and asks whether establishing a DoD commodity class for renewable fuels distinct from petroleum-based products would be beneficial. The report was developed for the Office of the Secretary of Defense by the Energy & Environment group of the non-profit LMI Research Institute, established in 1961 at the request of then-Secretary of Defense McNamara. Key findings: (1) Renewable fuel use helps meet security interests and goals; (2) The price premium will decline significantly as the market develops over the next decade, but could still cost an additional $2.2 billion by 2020; (3) The DoD would require more than 40 percent of the total projected U.S. drop-in renewable fuel supply (regardless of fuel type) in 2020 to meet Services’ demand for 745 million gallons; (4) Not enough bio-jet fuel will be produced to meet DoD's 570 million demand by 2020; (5) The RFS2's lack of recognition and support for jet fuel reduces private sector incentive to produce needed fuel; (6) Hydro-treated Camelina-sourced jet fuel appears most promising, but is quite limited in production; (7) Third-generation alternative fuel supplies do not appear to be sufficient to significantly address need; (8) A new commodity class for DoD fuels appears unwarranted. Overall, renewable fuels also offer the means to reduce U.S. force dependence on petroleum fuels, and for this reason DoD intends to continue to explore, test, develop and procure substantial volumes over time, especially of renewable drop-in fuels. 11/08/2011

 

Algenol Builds Integrated Algae-to-Ethanol Pilot Biorefinery in Florida

AlgenolFlorida-based Algenol Biofuels' 36-acre pilot scale integrated biorefinery in Lee's County, Florida is under construction adjacent to its existing research and development complex. Algenol's Direct-to-Ethanol® technology platform diffuses industrial CO2 emissions into flexible plastic film photo-bioreactors (PBRs), using the company's proprietary hybrid blue-green algae, purified salt water, sunlight and nutrients for photosynthetic production of bio-oil. The plant will consist of 3,000 PBRs integrated with Algenol's advanced Vapor Compression Steam Stripper ethanol concentration technology and a new membrane based ethanol dehydration process, with a design capacity of about 100,000 gallons of fuel-grade ethanol per year. The company notes that with their process, one ton of CO2 is converted into approximately 60-70 gallons of ethanol; 1.5 million metric tons of CO2 can be converted into approximately 100 million gallons of ethanol. Over 50% of CO2 introduced to the PBRs is metabolized for oil production during photosynthesis. Algenol's work continues to be supported by grants from the Department of Energy; the development has been in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), with Dow, and with Georgia Tech. Paul Woods, the company's CEO and President notes, "This complex will allow Algenol to go all the way from single-cell optimization models in the lab to fuel-grade ethanol at one site." 11/08/2011

 

Dynamis Plans Spring Construction Start of Ada County Waste to Energy Plant

Dynamis EnergyIdaho-based thermal conversion company Dynamis Energywas awarded a $2 million contract last year by Ada County to plan and design a waste to energy gasification plant with a capacity of not less than 250 tons per day. The plant will be able to process both municipal solid waste (MSW) and tires, and will be located in the Ada County Renewable Energy Industrial Complex at the Ada County Hidden Hollow Landfill. A new five-year agreement with Dynamis for construction and operation of the $60 million gasification facility was approved by the Ada County Board last week with construction scheduled to start in the spring of 2012. Under the new agreement, Ada County will divert at least 408 tons of MSW from its landfill, which receives about 1,200 tons per day. Before construction can begin however, Dynamis still must enter into a power purchase agreement with Idaho Power, obtain an air quality permit from the state and building permits from the county. Dynamis also just has launched a line of modular, mobile thermal waste to energy packaged systems designed to military specifications. The patent-pending starved air gasification technologyand integrated emissions control and power generation components are automated to require little direct supervision, have large load capacities, allow quick deployment and are constructed of rugged materials. Mixed wastes are directly converted to syngas, which is combusted in a secondary chamber to generate heat to efficiently drive heat recovery for electricity production. Modular processing capacities range from 5 tons to 2000 tons for each 12 to 15 hours of batch processing time. The "advanced mobile waste and power stations" or AMWAPS are pre-configured for simple waste destruction (Alpha model), destruction and hot water production (Bravo model), or full power production (Charlie model). 11/08/2011

 

FirstLicense of LanzaTech's Waste Gas to Energy Technology Goes to CES

LanzaTechWith demonstration projects and joint ventures around the globe, New Zealand-based LanzaTech has announced its first commercial license agreement. The new licensee is Mumbai-based Concord Enviro Systems (India) Pvt. Ltd. (CES). CES was incorporated in 1999 as a subsidiary of Rochem Separation Systems India Pvt. Ltd, and provides advanced gasification systems for conversion of a wide variety of waste streams under the India-German company Concord Blue. CES is licensing LanzaTech's technology to allow production of both power and fuel from the syngas produced in CES' gasification facilities. LanzaTech’s core technology allows carbon monoxide containing gases to be used for fuel production by fermentation. Carbon monoxide is a high-energy gas that is used by LanzaTech’s proprietary microbes as their only source of carbon and energy for growth and product synthesis. “Concord Enviro Systems’ gasification units convert a variety of feedstocks including MSW and waste biomass,” Dr Holmgren says. “This collaboration will enable us to accelerate deployment of our technology utilizing waste synthesis gas streams and is central to our mission of harnessing waste streams for the production of valuable fuels and chemicals and increasing access to energy globally. For LanzaTech this agreement is significant as it represents our first technology sale in a key strategic market and a very critical waste segment,” Dr Holmgren also stated. It is estimated that global generation of MSW has increased 37% since 2007. 11/08/2011

 

MagneGas Completes Private Placement for Over $3 Million

MagneGasMagneGas announced a $2.7 million private placement last month and Teru Talk reported on it. MagneGas has now closed its Private Placement Round securing a total of $3,146,000 for an additional 2.5 million shares of common stock beyond the original agreement. "We are pleased to have completed our $3.146 million private placement with Northland Capital Markets," commented Scott Wainwright, President of MagneGas. "The proceeds from this transaction will help us to continue to fund our growth strategy by increasing our production capacity and satisfying increasing commercial demand. This investment in MagneGas reaffirms the investment community's beliefs about our technology as we continue to expand our presence as a clean fuel producer." 11/08/2011

 

Australian School Bus Runs on Community Sourced Biodiesel

Gunning Public School studentsIn Australia’s Upper Lachan region, the Gunning Public School bus is now running on biodiesel from conversion of locally-sourced waste vegetable oil (WVO), thanks to the assistance of resident engineer Ned Stojadinovic and contributions of about 400 litres of fish & chip WVO from one of the tiny community’s restaurants. The Green Upper Lachan Project (GULP), sponsored by Sustaining Our Towns, presented the biodiesel bus project to the Shire’s councillors on October 20, 2011. The school’s October 25, 2011 newsletter announced that its 4/5/6 class “became TV stars” when students joined with the Upper Lachlan Mayor, Councillors and the local media for the presentation of a report on the biodiesel school bus running between the communities of Gunning and Yass. Biodiesel producer Stojadinovic set up shop in a disused fuel depot and says that the fuel costs only about 30 cents a litre to produce: “This one bus filled with biodiesel instead of petro diesel would be saving between 15 and 18 tonnes of carbon emissions a year. And the effort to convert all diesel buses to biodiesel would be trivial. All of the work has been done and the expense would be insignificant … One litre of diesel produces some 2.4 kg of carbon. The Gunning school bus uses around 160 litres of fuel per week over about 40 weeks of operation per year. That’s 15,360 kg of carbon or around 15 and a third tonnes.” Sustaining our Town is a three-year initiative started in September 2009 to run through to March 2012, funded by the New South Wales (NSW) Government through its Environmental Trust. 11/07/2011

 

Start-Up Ceremony Held for FarmGen’s AD Waste to Energy Plant in UK

FarmgenFarmgen’s anaerobic digestion (AD) of grass silage and other crops and crop wastes from the region’s agriculture at Dryholme Farm near Silloth, Cumbria, is now sending 1.2 megawatts of renewable electric power to the regional grid. United Kingdom’s (UK) Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Sajjad Karim presided over his constituent’s ceremonies. The renewable energy facility is partly funded by the Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) as part of Britain’s Energy Coast initiative as an element of the UK’s Renewable Energy Strategy to generate 15% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2020. Construction on the £3 million environmentally-friendly power plant began at the end of September following planning permission received earlier this year. This facility is one part of Farmgen’s recently announced £30 million investment to create the biggest Anaerobic Digestion “energy farming” expansion program in the UK. Simon Rigby, one of the founders and Director of Green energy business Farmgen, commented, “Even the most efficient wind farm only produces energy for about 30% of the time. This plant produces energy 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are providing base load for the electrical distribution network as opposed to when the wind is at the right speed.” Pressing the button to commence power delivery, MEP Karim noted, “It’s remarkable that a year ago to the day when I was last here the construction of this plant hadn’t even commenced. This plant will now supply local homes with electricity provided by local farmers from local produce. It’s a testament to the vision of Farmgen, NME and the foresight of Cumbria County Council driving forward with alternative energy production.” 11/06/2011

 

Eastman Renewable Materials Acquires TetraVitae’s Bio-Catalysis Technology

Eastman Renewable Materials, LLCEastman Renewable Materials, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eastman Chemical Company, has announced acquisition of the assets of Chicago-based biocatalysis specialist firm TetraVitae Bioscience, Inc. (formerly Advanced BioFuel, Inc). TetraVitae utilizes a natural mutant (non-GMO) strain of Clostridium Beijerinckii (BA101) discovered by Dr. Hans Blaschek of the University of Illinois. BA101 can metabolize starches, both 5 and 6 carbon sugars and glycerol (main bi-product of biodiesel transesterification) to produce a variety of foundation chemicals and fuels including n-butanol and acetone. The omnivorous organism allows development of products from a wide variety of feedstock including cellulosic biomass and municipal solid waste; the fermentation and advanced separation processing was demonstrated at the National Corn Ethanol Research Center (NCERC), and product purification by continuous distillation was demonstrated in University of Texas laboratories. “This announcement is a demonstration of Eastman’s continued investment in innovation and our commitment to delivering sustainable solutions to our customers,” said Dr. Greg W. Nelson, senior vice president and chief technology officer. “I am confident that TetraVitae’s patented bio-catalysis technology will provide Eastman an excellent platform for the development of a range of bio-based processes that will strengthen our sustainable product offerings.” 11/04/2011

 

Due 12/30/2011: Comments to California's Draft Green Chemistry Regs

Green ChemistryThe California Department of Toxic Substances (DTSC) has released informal “Draft Regulations for Safer Consumer Products” for public review and comment, and scheduled a workshop on December 5, 2011 to continue the agency’s on-going discussion of the green chemistry regulations. Stemming from Assembly Bill 1879 giving the California Environmental Protection Agency greater authority to regulate toxins in consumer products, and Senate Bill 509, which authorized development of an online Toxics Information Clearinghouse to provide Californians with information on hazardous chemicals, the draft regulations establish methods to identify and prioritize chemicals of concern in consumer products and conduct consumer products alternatives analyses. The draft regulations outline the four-step process developed in the regulatory language, provide manufacturer, seller and consumer responsibilities and consequences, and describe approaches to the daunting task of cataloguing and maintaining chemical and product information. A summary of the draft is available on-line. DTSC is seeking stakeholder input; questions about the Safer Consumer Product regulations should be brought to the attention of Ms. Odette Madriago at (916) 324-4927 or Ms. Corey Yep at (916) 445-3601. All comments on the draft regulations must be submitted by December 30, 2011. All written comments should be submitted electronically, addressed to Heather Jones in care of. Update: See Teru's comments on the draft regulations.11/04/2011

 

California Bioresources Symposium Presentations Now Online

US Environmental Protection AgencyThe US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Southwest Region 9 hosted the 6th Annual California Bioresources Alliance Symposium on September 13 and 14 in Sacramento, California, and Teru was there. We posted take-home messages in a two-part Focus Report a few days after the event, Part 1 covering the first day, Part 2 the second day’s activities. The EPA has now posted the Symposium Agenda and the available slide presentations from both days. Part 2 of the Focus Report has been updated with links to the presentations. 11/03/2011

 

AmtrakReports Success in Heartland Flyer 20% Biodiesel Blend Test

AmtrakAmtrak has announced a successful year-long trial using a 20% biodiesel blended with 80% standard petroleum-sourced diesel (B20) in the company’s Oklahoma City to Fort Worth “Heartland Flier”. Amtrak presented the research last week during the 2011 Railroad Environmental Conference at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The Heartland Flier was pulled by a General Electric P32-8 locomotive with an ATK-11-140 12-cylinder engine rated at 3,200-horsepower. The locomotive was built in 1991 and is compliant with EPA’s "Tier 0" locomotive exhaust emission standard. The trial was supported in part by a $274,000 grant from the Federal Railroad Administration in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, and state support from both Oklahoma and Texas. The biodiesel blend was provided by a Texas-based vendor and the trial received support on fuel and engine component evaluation from Chevron Oronite. The engine manufacturer provided input on warranty matters and some of the testing was carried out at the General Electric facility in Erie, Penn. “The trial design included one year of testing, evaluating the engine and gasket wear, determining the quality of air emissions and regularly monitoring the quality of the biodiesel fuel,” said Roy Deitchman, Amtrak Vice President, Environmental, Health and Safety. “The results of the trial indicate the in-service locomotive was very reliable with the B20 blend, engine wear was limited, air emissions were below EPA limits for this generation of passenger locomotive and the biofuel supply met industry standards.” Amtrak is celebrating 40 years of operation, carrying a record 30.2 million passengers in FY2011. 11/03/2011

 

EnsilagedFresh Rice Biomass to Ethanol Processing Will Work on the Farm

Japanese Rice FieldJapanese researchers have proven efficient ethanol production and vapor extraction from ensilaged rice biomass that has been treated with enzymes. The bench-scale trial results have been published in the online journal Biotechnology for Biofuels, and the peer-reviewed article is available without charge. The research concept was to extend traditional silage management techniques to include simultaneous saccharification and fermentation in sealed containers, then heat the treated biomass to draw off and recover ethanol-laden vapor. Cattle feed is commonly prepared and preserved as lactic acid fermented crops, or “silage”. Lactic acid kills bacteria that cause rot; the silage process consistently produces high-quality feed with a minimum of harvesting losses, regardless of weather conditions. To test the potential for efficient, low-maintenance on-farm biofuel production, freshly harvested moist (62% moisture content) biomass was ensiled in hermetically sealed containers with precise amounts of the cell-wall breakdown enzymes cellulase and glocoamylase and allowed to sit undisturbed for 20 days at 28° Centigrade. The process generated 6.4% ethanol by weight of the fresh feedstock, of which three-fourths could be recovered from the drawn-off vapor. The remaining biomass showed 63% decrease in cellular content and 7% decrease n cell wall fiber, compared to non-treated silage prepared from the same material. The research findings: efficient ethanol production is induced in nonsterilized whole rice plants in a laboratory-scale solid-state fermentation system. For practical use of the method, further study is needed to scale-up the fermentation volume, develop an efficient ethanol recovery method, and evaluate the fermentation residue as an actual cattle feed. 11/03/2011

 

PeopleFund.It Solicits Funding for Oxford Biochar Start-Up

PeopleFund.ItA new form of start-up financing for green projects has just launched by United Kingdom (UK) based PeopleFund.It. The site relies on “crowd-sourcing” to build relatively small amounts of financial support via the internet for “good ideas that might just save the world.” The editor’s project pick right now is Oxford Biochar, a company dedicated to "... promoting the use of biochar as an organic soil enhancer and climate change mitigation technique … to help organic farmers around the world make their own biochar locally and safely by adhering to international standards.” Oxford Biochar says the carbon rich material is the product of the slow burning of plant material with little or no oxygen, is organic, increases crop yields, breaks down pesticides, suppresses methane and nitrous oxide (two aggressive greenhouse gases) and sequesters carbon. It can be produced from agricultural crop waste such as straw, waste wood and any other carbon-based organic material that would otherwise be disposed of by burning, composting or adding directly to the soil. The company’s director, Cecile Girardin, is an Oxford University ecosystems scientist focused on climate change and “C-cycling” processes in tropical forests. Cecile hopes to raise £8,000 through PeopleFund.it, enough to kick off her team’s Big Biochar Experiment and pay for initial development and marketing costs; in two days since started, they have raised 11% of that target. With PeopleFund.It, visitors view ideas, pledge small amounts of money (starting with £1) deposited in their own account, select a variety of awards and discounts, and not have any funds deducted from the account until the project reaches its stated goal. At this time, The system can only accept payments from UK bank accounts. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the founder of this social funding structure, explains, "The success of our Fish Fight, Landshare, and energyshare campaigns have shown that solutions often come from grass roots action, and have the power to effect more remarkable change than we really ever imagined. Peoplefund.it builds on that momentum, and gives people the means to take their ideas forward. That, in a nutshell, is why, I’m excited about peoplefund.it.” 11/03/2011 

 

ADBA Publishes Anaerobic Digestion Due Diligence and Financing Guides

Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas AssociationThe United Kingdom’s (UK) non-profit Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) has developed two key documents in association with the UK’s Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), as part of the Anaerobic Digestion Strategy and Action Plan. The WRAP has asked the public/private community to assist in developing guidance for all aspects of recycling and resource recovery; the ABDA’s response can reduce the cost and complexity of project design, financing and development. The documents (available on-line) are intended to help developers of anaerobic digestion (AD) projects with the due diligence requisite to funding and project approval, and to provide a selection of financing schemes available in the UK. The Due Diligence template uses a form-based approach to clearly identify and collate the information necessary for development of submittals to potential financing partners; the planning template’s utility would extend to any permitting submittal as well. The summary of financial schemes current to October 2011 includes description and contact information for the Enterprise Finance Guarantee from the UK’s Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), the WRAP’s AD Loan Fund, eQuip program and the Accelerating Growth Fund, the Carbon Trust / Siemens Financial Services, and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs “Enterprise Investment Scheme” along with guidance on how these programs can complement more standard banking, debt and equity funding approaches. 11/02/2011

 

USDA Announces $44.6 MM Funding for Advanced Biofuels Producers

US Department of AgricultureThe US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the 2011 round of Farm Bill payments total $44.6 million dispersed among 156 advanced biofuels producers under the USDA’s Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels. Funds are distributed according to the amount of gaseous or liquid (not solid) advanced biofuel produced from eligible renewable feedstock (excluding corn kernel starch), including cellulosic biomass, crop residues, animal, food and yard waste materials, biogas from landfill gas extraction and upgrading or sewage digestion, vegetable oil and animal fat or tallow. Feedstock categories represented among payment recipients are: pellet fuel manufacturing (27 payments), waste-sourced biodiesel (27 payments), biodiesel derived via transesterification of oils and animal fats (45 payments), biodiesel derived using mechanical methods (9 payments), non-corn-starch ethanol (14 payments), anaerobic digestion for biogas production (33 payments) and landfill as extraction and upgrading (one payment). Well over half of the payments went to producers of residue and/or waste derived biofuels. Each year, participating producers receive quarterly payments for the actual amount of biofuel produced and sold during the quarter, along with an end-of-year incremental production payment based on the increase over the prior year’s amounts, calculated on a fuel heat value (BTU) basis. "This funding will help local producers increase the production and availability of renewable energy and thus help our nation begin to reduce its reliance on foreign oil," Vilsack said. "Just as importantly, USDA's support will help to further develop the nation's growing biofuels industry and generate green jobs and economic growth." 11/02/2011

 

Canadian Utility to Install 1st GE ORegen Waste Heat Recovery System

General ElectricThe Canadian utility NRGreen Power plans to partner with GE for installation of its first ORegen™ waste heat recovery system at Alliance Pipeline's Windfall Compressor Station near the remote Alberta, Canada community of Whitecourt. The decision follows EcoMagination Program assessment and certification of the ORegen system, the largest organic rankin cycle waste heat recovery and power generation system commercially available; the technology was just introduced at the Global Clean Energy Congress in Calgary. ORegen’s flexible configuration can achieve over 50% energy efficiency and up to 20% reduction in emissions when integrated with large power generation turbines. Designed for use in remote locations, the system uses no water and does not require on-site operational supervision. The Whitecourt Recovered Energy Project will receive $7 million in partial funding from Alberta’s non-profit Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC). “This technology recovers heat energy that would otherwise be lost to the atmosphere and transforms it into electric energy, without producing any new emissions. It makes for a very clean form of electricity generation,” said Murray Birch, President and CEO of NRGreen, an affiliate of Alliance Pipeline. “When constructed, the Whitecourt facility will reliably generate and deliver up to 14 megawatts of electricity per hour – enough power for 14,000 Canadian homes. Partnering with GE has provided us with one of the most efficient waste heat recovery units we’ve seen to date.” 11/02/2011

 

New SABIC Venture Capital Arm Focuses on Clean Tech Investments

Saudi Basic Industries CorporationThe Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) has launched a new global venture capital arm, SABIC Ventures, funding a portfolio from seed to late stage investments in advanced materials and composites, alternative feedstocks for chemicals and materials and alternative energy and clean technology. While the parent SABIC is based in Riyadh Saudi Arabia, the new SABIC Ventures will be headquartered in the Netherlands, and will focus on innovative technology investments in the US, Europe, and Asia. SABIC Vice Chairman and CEO Mohamed Al-Mady said that SABIC Ventures has been developed as an investment vehicle to accomplish profitable growth. “SABIC aspires to be the preferred leader in chemicals. We will accomplish this through organic growth by investing in new assets and expanding current assets; mergers and acquisitions in targeted areas; and new business creation. Venturing provides growth opportunities for new businesses.” SABIC is a public company, with 70% ownership by the Saudi government and 30% by private investors in Saudi Arabia and other countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. SABIC is one of the founders of the Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association (GPCA). 11/01/2011

 

Amyris Receives R$22MM Funding for First Biofene® Production Facility in Brazil

AmyrisCalifornia’s renewable chemicals and fuels company Amyris has received final approval from Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) for R$22 million in project financing for the company’s first industrial-scale production facility located in Piracicaba, São Paulo. Amyris utilizes its industrial synthetic biology platform to identify and isolate specific molecular targets produced by microbial pathways, then engineer strains to produce those target molecules through basic fermentation, at industrial scales. Amyris’ initial target molecule is bio-sourced isoprene, trans-ß- farnesene, branded Biofene®. Using this building block, Amyris produces specialty chemicals and proprietary No Compromise® biofuels. Late last month, Amyris entered an agreement with ETH Bioenergia to pursue production of Biofene® in Brazil. Amyris is also developing Brazilian facilities at the sugar and ethanol production center in Usina São Martinho S.A., and at Paraíso Bioenergia S.A. “We are very appreciative of the confidence shown by BNDES in approving funding for the first of our Brazilian production facilities,” said John Melo, CEO of Amyris. “BNDES sees great potential in green-chemistry projects that add new technologies to the sugarcane sector, where Brazil is competitive and the world leader,” said Roberto Zurli Machado, Director of BNDES. 11/01/2011

 

HECO Selects Renewable Energy Group (again) for 3-7 MGY Biodiesel Supply

Renewable Energy GroupThe Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) has once again awarded the contract to Renewable Energy Group (REG) to supply sustainable biodiesel for HECO’s 110 megawatt combustion turbine generator at the Campbell Industrial Park Generating Station. REG won the competitive bid released by HECO in February 2011 and will now continue to provide three to seven million gallons of biodiesel per year for the next three years. HECO released a series of RFPs for sustainable biodiesel supply in 2010 and 2011, in collaboration with the Natural Resource Defense Council for the sustainability provision; REG is a member of the national Biodiesel Board and closely follows the industry’s Biodiesel Sustainability Principles. "We are committed to beating the legal requirement of 40 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030," said Robbie Alm, Hawaiian Electric executive vice president. "We need to bring as much clean energy online as soon as possible. Our customers have been vulnerable to the price swings in fossil fuels for too long and this contract is another step in the right direction of more stable energy prices. We must pursue every renewable resource available -- the sun, wind, geothermal, ocean energy and more – and take advantage of our unique ability to substitute ‘green’ biofuels in place of ‘black’ oil in our generating units." 11/01/2011

 

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Tim o'Shea - CEO
CleanFish, Inc

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Cascade Power Group LLC

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CHAGALL: The Recycling Dragon
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Out of the Wasteland: Stories from the Environmental Frontier by Paul Relis

 
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