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October 2011 News and Matters of Interest

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SSEto Construct 108MW Multi-Fuel Biomass / Waste-to-Energy Facility in UK

SSE GenerationThe United Kingdom’s 2nd largest generation business, SSE Generation, has received a letter of approval on the authority of the Secretary of State of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to construct and operate a £250 million, 108 megawatt (MW) multi-fuel (biomass and refuse derived fuel) generating station adjacent to the existing Ferrybridge coal plant in West Yorkshire, with all planning permission granted. SSE Generation, is the wholly owned electricity generating business of Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE); the company filed application for the new plant in October 2009, starting three years of environmental impact assessment and formal public inquiry led by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, the regional planning authority. A joint venture agreement with the waste management company Shanks Plc secures up to a million annual tonnes of post-recycling municipal solid waste derived feedstock from three regional Councils. In responding to public concerns regarding potential negative impacts on regional recycling and composting, the Secretary noted that, “…a significant proportion of waste is not capable of being reused or recycled; that the Landfill Directive imposes limits on the amount of waste which should be sent to landfill; and that the recovery of energy from the combustion of waste ranks above landfill (though below reuse or recycling) in the “the waste hierarchy”. Construction starts in 2012, with projected completion and operation in 2015, coinciding with potential closure of SSE’s adjacent 1,000 megawatt coal powered facility. More details on the plant are available at the SSE Ferrybridge project website. 10/31/2011

  

BlueFire Signs MOU for Chinese Investment in Integrated Biorefinery in Mississippi

BlueFire Renewables, IncCalifornia-based BlueFire Renewables, Inc., has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China Huadian Engineering Co., Ltd, for investment in its Fulton, Mississippi multi-feedstock integrated biorefinery. Huadian will initially invest in company equity and holds the option to later provide Fulton project debt financing. On successful development of the MS facility, the MOU outlines intention for further support from Huadian for five more US plants, and potentially development of a joint venture for Chinese plant development. China Huadian Engineering is one of the country’s largest utilities, generating more than 75,000 megawatts of electricty; its parent China Huadian Corporation holds assets valued at over $51 billion. BlueFire completed site preparation for the Fulton project in June 2011, utilizing its technology platform combining concentrated acid hydrolysis for cellulosic sugar release with precision fermentation to a wealth of short-chain alcohols and foundation chemical commodities. The Fulton plant is designed to use regional waste wood and other non-food cellulosic feedstock to produce ethanol; once the MOU produces a definitive agreement and financing closes, BlueFire can complete the 19 million gallon per year facility. This collaboration is partly the result of the low carbon development program launched jointly in late 2009 between the non-profit National Center for Sustainable Development in Washington, DC and the CDM Fund, supervised by the Ministry of Finance in Beijing, China. 10/31/2011

 

MagneGasSecures $2.7MM Private Placement for Commercial Development

MagneGas CorporationFlorida’s plasma waste to energy technology developer MagneGas Corporation has announced a $2.7 million private placement common stock transaction. Funds will be utilized to install refinery / MagneGas supply stations in the Detroit area and to augment the company’s inventory of fuel gas storage and delivery cylinders. The MagneGas Plasma Arc FlowTM process is used to gasify a variety of liquid wastes to produce a syngas useful for metal working, transport fuel and for combined heating and cooling applications (CHP). The process can use many types of waste as feedstock including sewage, sludge, animal manure, glycerin, used antifreeze, some oil based liquids and waste water; the product is a hydrogen based fuel that has a combination of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and inert trace gases. "This catalyst event is an exciting one for MagneGas and its shareholders," stated MagneGas President Scott Wainwright. "Unlike with many renewable technologies, we do not need capital to further an idea but to satisfy demonstrated commercial demand. With this infusion we intend to substantially expand our gas production and delivery capacity, monetizing the previously unmet appetites of existing customers. Concurrently, we have been resolutely cultivating relationships with much larger fuel consumers -- this expanded capacity is the final piece necessary to progress these relationships from the testing phase to volume fuel sales. We believe that this growth capital is the first trigger to realizing our immediate and ongoing commercial potential." 10/29/2011

 

Gevo’sIsobutanol Outperforms Ethanol in Small Engine Blended Fuel Tests

Gevo, IncColorado’s advanced renewable chemicals and fuels company Gevo Inc. has announced success in third party testing of its bio-sourced isobutanol as a gasoline blending additive. Gevo recently provided its biofuel to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and to Briggs & Stratton (B&S) to conduct a parallel series of third party validation tests in B&S small engines. The testing was conducted side-by-side with ethanol-blended gasoline and verified that the isobutanol shows none of the poor performance issues associated with ethanol blends. Assessment indicates a blend of 12.5% isobutanol to gasoline could aid market transition to higher biofuel blending rates with no risk or reduced performance in small engines. Unlike ethanol, isobutanol does not absorb water, avoiding common seasonal and storage problems of ethanol blends. "These results show us that isobutanol could be a biofuel alternative that can be introduced into the existing supply chain without the potential for disruption and harm to our outdoor power equipment engines," said Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI. "In the economic interest of our members and the safety interest of consumers, we need to be open to a biofuel that can perform reliably in the millions of products on the market -- lawnmowers, chainsaws, motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATVs and UTVs, boats and older cars." 10/29/2011

 

EBMUDApproves Lease for Viridis Fuels 20 MGD Biodiesel Plant

East Bay Municipal Utility DistrictThe Board of Directors of the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) passed a resolution at last week’s regular meeting approving a lease agreement with Viridis Fuels of two 3-acre parcels for the construction of the firm’s biodiesel processing facility. The land is part of the District’s recently acquired Oakland Army Base property, adjacent to the EBMUD Main Wastewater Treatment Plant (MWWTP). Viridis Fuels submitted toward a 2009 EBMUD request for proposal, concurrent with the District’s preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report for the MMWTP Land Use Master Plan. The Master Plan addresses overall MMWTP development plans and two specific land-lease projects: biodiesel facility production and food waste pre-processing. The Board certified the CEQA document in its June 28 2011 meeting. Viridis Fuels can now develop and operate a 20 million gallon per year (MGD) biodiesel plant using its waterless technology with methanol catalyst recycling, on feedstock initially comprised of waste vegetable oil and animal fats. The facility will have an on-site community education center for tours and outreach events. 10/29/2011

 

PlascoReceives Approval for Ottawa Canada Waste Conversion Facility

Plasco Energy GroupPlasco Energy Group Inc. has received Certificates of Approval from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment for operation of its Trail Road plasma waste conversion facility in Ottawa, Canada. Plasco’s process separates and recovers recyclables from mixed municipal solid waste, sending all residuals through a high-temperature plasma assisted gasification retort. The approval was issued after the final Environmental Screening Report was filed, completing the region’s Environmental Assessment process. The small plant has approval for 85 tonnes per day through-put rate, with options for expansion after a period of successful run-time. “We are very pleased with the environmental performance of the plant and with its efficiency in recovering net saleable energy from the waste processed. Its approval from the MOE will now permit Plasco to proceed with permanent operation of the Trail Road plant,” according to Plasco’s CEO, Rod Bryden. 10/28/2011

 

GreenfreakSecures Styrofoam Thermal Treatment Contract with Recology

Greenfreak RecyclingYuba City, California start-up company Greenfreak Recycling, LLC has signed a contract with Recology, Inc to process Styrofoam or expanded polystyrene (EPS) in Yuba, Sutter, and Butte counties using Greenfreak’s Chinese-sourced mobile thermal densification equipment. Recology provides waste management services for the three county area. The pre-treatment processing gently melts the EPS at 350° F, reducing volume by about 90% and extruding a dense plastic ready for further handling. EPS is classically difficult to recycle; the new contract allows Recology to eliminate bulk EPS disposal to its Ostrum Landfill and expand to establish customer EPS drop-off programs in the three county service area. Greenfreak’s EPS Diversion Plan manages much of the collection, processing and re-manufacturing supply chain and includes profit sharing with waste management partner companies. The start-up already has identified various EPS resin formed products and is running an Eco-Innovator Contest to expand its product portfolio. The resulting densified EPS is ready for remolding; Upon inspection at Grenfreak’s booth at the recent SARTA Clean Tech Showcase, the chipped material also appears to be an excellent feedstock for thermal conversion to foundation chemicals and fuel precursors. The company hopes to expand activity throughout Recology’s four-state territory and beyond, and to obtain processing contracts with non-competing waste management firms. 10/28/2011

 

ZeaChemRaises Additional $19MM to Advance Cellulosic Biorefinery Platform

ZeaChemCellulosic biorefinery firm ZeaChem has announced raising an additional $19 million in Series C investments to advance its commercial production of parallel fermentation and thermochemical processing to advanced biofuels and biochemicals. ZeaChem's technology platform reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) problems associated with traditional and cellulosic based biorefinery processes while maximizing yield. Headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado with lab facilities in Menlo Park, California, the company has begun construction of a 250,000 gallon per year integrated biorefinery in Boardman, Oregon and contracted with Pacific Ethanol for the plant’s operations, maintenance and accounting services. ZeaChem’s technologic capacity can produce a wide array of foundation chemicals and fuel precursors including ethanol, ethylene glycol, lactic and propionic acid, butanol and hexanol. Investment this round was led by Birchmere Ventures, bringing the firm’s partner Sean Sebastian onto ZeaChem’s Board of Directors. "As an industry leader in the advanced biofuels and bio-based chemicals industries, ZeaChem's proven capability to produce economical and sustainable petroleum alternatives is an innovation we are pleased to add to our portfolio," said Sean D. S. Sebastian, partner of Birchmere Ventures.” 10/28/2011

 

CR&RWaste to Energy Project Nears CEQA Certification

CR&R Waste and Recycling ServicesThe Los Angeles County Department of Public Works has provided the county’s Board of Supervisors with an update on Phase III and IV of its Southern California Conversion Technology Demonstration Project, singling out CR&R Waste and Recycling Services for its progress as one of the three teams signatory to April 20, 2010 Memoranda of Understanding. CR&R is in the design and permitting phase of its 150 ton per day municipal solid waste (MSW) conversion plant at its materials recovery facility (MRF) in Perris, Riverside County, California. The company received a $4.5 million grant from the California Energy Commission this past February in support of its MSW-to-BioMethane project. LA County staff is currently reviewing a proposed change in CR&R’s selection of conversion technology platform from the previous Arrow Bio systems to the DRANCO technologies offered by the firm Organic Waste Systems. The City of Perris released a draft California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) impact report last month for the proposed development. A public hearing is now scheduled for November 16, 2011 before the city’s Planning Commission for possible certification of a mitigated negative declaration of impact and a modification to the existing conditional use permit to encompass the new operations. Once certified, CR&R’s application for modification of its solid waste facility permit can be completed and reviewed by the Riverside County Local Enforcement Agency (LEA) and CalRecycle at the state level. CR&R hopes to start construction next year and be in operation in 2013. 10/28/2011

 

CaliforniaInvestor Seeks Opportunities in Water, Energy, or Ag Technologies

Central Valley Business IncubatorThe Water, Energy and Technology (WET) Center of the Central Valley Business Incubator (CVBI) is assisting a local investor to assess potential equity investments of up to $3 million each. Companies located in the California counties of Fresno, Madera, Tulare or Kings that have innovative technologies and/or business solutions to meet needs in areas of water, energy or agriculture are encouraged to contact the Center. Interested firms will submit a 1 to 3 page executive summary to be screened and reviewed by the WET Center leadership, who will identify high-potential investment opportunities. Those passing the screening process will receive full-presentation guidelines and an opportunity to schedule a “pitch”. The Claude Laval WET incubator program is based in the BlueTechValley tuition-based business training facility in Fresno, one of many regional satellite offices of CVBI in partnership with the University of California, Merced regional network of the California Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which provides entrepreneurial businesses with start-up assistance at no charge. 10/27/2011

  

Joint EU Biorefinery Vision for 2030 Predicts Increased Use of Cellulosic Biomass

Strategic Research Targets for 2020 – Collaboration Initiative on Biorefineries The Strategic Research Targets for 2020 – Collaboration Initiative on Biorefineries (Star-COLIBRI) project has released the report, Joint European Union Biorefinery Vision for 2030. Star-COLIBRI is a Coordination and Support Action funded for 2 years starting on November 2009, by the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme. The project involves five key European Technology Platforms and five major European research organizations. The Vision document outlines the key information and tools necessary for policy makers to build this key part of the overall European evolution of a Knowledge-Based Bioeconomy. Among the study’s findings: “After 2020, there will be an increasing use of dedicated lignocellulosic crops, both from farms and short rotation plantations on woodland, assuming that technical and economic hurdles have been overcome by then … Starting from a process stream based on starch and sugar crops, the plants will progressively use lignocellulosic feedstocks and integrate the fractionation processes by 2030. The first step will be the integration of cereal straw into the supply chain ... In 2030, biorefineries processing a range of lignocellulosic biomass will be well established.” 10/27/2011

 

GeorgiaCounty Breaks Ground on Landfill Gas to Renewable Fuels Facility

DeKalb County, Georgia USADeKalb County, Georgia held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new Renewable Fuels Facility that will convert landfill gas to fuel. Methane-rich gas extracted from the Seminole Road Landfill will be cleaned and compressed as renewable natural gas to fuel up to 70 county vehicles. The Seminole Road Landfill is DeKalb County’s only sanitary landfill, and accepts only municipal solid waste generated within the county. The project was co-funded by the county and US Department of Energy through a stimulus program grant. The county‘s economic assessment indicates a savings of $3 million over the next eight years. The DeKalb County Department of Sanitation is in a partnership with the Clean Cities Atlanta Petroleum Reduction Program, a $40 million initiative with the goals of increasing the supply and availability of renewable fuels and decreasing the demand for petroleum fuels in the metro Atlanta region. Clean Cities is the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) flagship alternative-transportation deployment initiative, sponsored by the Vehicle Technologies Program. 10/27/2011

 

Successful Plasma Conversion of Waste to Energy + Fuel Cells in Korea

GS PlatechCanadian fuel cell development company Ballard Power Systems has announced successful operation and export of power to South Korea’s electricity grid. Ballard’s fuel cells are installed in GS Platech's plasma waste conversion pilot plant in Cheongsong, the country’s first plasma gasification and vitrification system. Coupling plasma torch array with cyclonic plasma gasification, the processing converts solid waste to syngas with a high hydrogen content, sufficient to generate 50 kilowatts of zero-emission power. GS Platech now plans to market the combined application throughout the Asian region. The effort was sponsored as a national research project by the Korean Ministry of Knowledge and Economy with funding from the Canadian Department of the Environment, under the framework of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. Dantherm Power, Ballard’s back-up power supply development partner with its headquarters in Denmark, has supplied the Ballard fuel cell stacks for the project. “This is the first ever demonstration of a waste-to-energy system incorporating both of these technologies,” said Jesper Themsen, Managing Director and CEO of Dantherm Power. “The successful operation of the system is a significant milestone in the development of waste-to-energy solutions and speaks to our strong partnership with GS Platech.” Concurrently, Ballard announced that Dantherm has secured a 150 kilowatt fuel cell power supply agreement with Anglo American Platinum, considered the world’s largest primary platinum production company. 10/27/2011

 

CaliforniaFire Safe Council Announces 2012 WUI Grants

California Fire Safe CouncilThis year, the California Fire Safe Council (CFSC) received 196 proposals totaling more than $16.5 million in requested support for the USDA Forest Service State Fire Assistance (SFA)  grant funding to be distributed in 2012. With the Chairman’s message announcing review completion is a list of the 39 organizations whose proposals have been preliminarily selected by grants review committee, representing an even distribution of about $4.1 million through the Coastal, Sierra and Southern California regions. CFSC grants managers will now work with selected winners in the second step of the SFA program to finalize budgets and pre-award reports, due to CFSC by November 4, 2011. According to the California Fire Alliance, the SFA program assists state forestry agencies in wildfire response coordination and delivery, compliance with the national safety and training standards that ensure state and local crew deployment to federal fires and other emergency situations, hazard assessments, fuels treatment projects, and public education efforts especially within the Wildland / Urban Interface (WUI). The CFSC helps administer the SFA program by soliciting proposals from local Fire Safe Councils and similar stewardship organizations, and providing an on-line Grant Writing Handbook. The program’s hands-on community level interaction also constitutes the very front end of an important biomass supply chain for those interested in sourcing sustainable “waste biomass” for conversion to electricity, fuels and other commodities. The program thus provides excellent points of contact for separately-funded biomass removal efforts, a key to coordinating community support and biomass feedstock acquisition logistics. 10/26/2011

 

UMaineResearchers Develop Contaminant-Tolerant Biomass to Liquid Fuel

University of MaineThe University of Maine Chemical and Biological Engineering Department has announced successful development of a two-step biomass to liquid fuel conversion mixed carboxylate platform that is resilient to contaminants and flexible in feedstock. The process developed by associate professor M. Clayton Wheeler with his team first converts cellulosic biomass to organic acids such as levulinic acid, then with the addition of calcium hydroxide and at about 450º Celsius produces a dark amber colored oil with little entrained oxygen. The deoxygenation is the key, as the removal of both carbon dioxide and water without requiring addition of hydrogen retains almost all of the original energy density of the biomass in the produced bio-oil. “Biomass has a lot of oxygen in it. All of that oxygen is dead weight and doesn’t provide any energy when you go to use that as a fuel,” Dr. Wheeler says. “If you’re going to make a hydrocarbon fuel, one of the things you have to do is remove oxygen from biomass. You can do it by using hydrogen, which is expensive and also decreases the energy efficiency of your process. So if there’s a way to remove the oxygen from the biomass chemically, then you’ve densified it significantly.  Our oil has less than 1 percent oxygenates. No one else has done anything like this.” Dr. Wheeler has successfully converted unsorted, “dirty” biomass from grocery store food wastes and packaging into fuel; the lab is now capable of producing several liters of fuel per month and planning next step scale-up using standard industry equipment such as common to the region’s pulp mills. Dr. Wheeler and colleagues published on the core of their work last year in the journal Green Chemistry, available on-line. 10/26/2011

 

UK’sHuhne: Renewable Technologies Will Deliver Third Industrial Revolution

United Kingdom Department of Energy and Climate ChangeThe Secretary of State of United Kingdom’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) gave a key speech today, addressing attendees at an annual Renewables conference with strong support for renewable energy technology and waste conversion. Minister Chris Huhne called renewable technology development the Third Industrial Revolution, with a "simple argument" that it had already begun. His attack on Nay-Sayers was forceful and direct: "Renewables are too expensive", they cry. “They cannot deliver energy at scale."They are uneconomic, unreliable and unwanted." It is time to retire these myths… Last year, global investment in renewable energy rose by 32% to $211 billion. And $142 billion of that was new financial investment, which excludes government and corporate R&D.” Last week, the DECC started a formal consultation process that proposed new support levels for large scale renewables that are intended to result in 70 to 75 trillion watt hours of renewable electricity generation by 2017, 70% of the roadmap target for 2020. Assessing the programs and the Minister’s speech, Charlotte Morton, CEO of the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association, said: "Chris Huhne's focus on the economic benefits of renewable energy is welcome. If fully supported, biogas alone could contribute over £2bn a year to the UK economy, and create 35,000 jobs - as well as the chance of valuable export markets for UK manufacturing. With concerns about energy security, fossil fuels getting ever more expensive and consumer energy price rises following, we cannot afford not to invest in renewable energy." 10/26/2011

 

ConocoPhillips2011 Energy Prize Awards Include BioChar, Biofuels

ConocoPhillipsCongratulations are certainly due to the Aerostat inventors who won this year’s ConocoPhillips / Penn State Energy Prize awards just announced, but we’re partial to the first and second place runners-up. First runner up was Jason Aramburu, founder and CEO of the start-up company re:char, who took home $75,000 to further his effort “Biochar Production for Climate Change Mitigation”, aimed at commercialization of cheap home and farm production of biochar for the masses. Second runner up Mark Mascal, professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Davis, was awarded $50,000 for his chemical approach to the deconstruction of waste biomass materials in his submittal, “Conversion of Plant Carbohydrates into a New Generation of Biofuels and Substitutes for Petroleum Products.” The ConocoPhillips Energy Prize is a joint initiative with Penn State College begun in 2008 to recognize and reward innovative ideas for the development of new energy sources for improvements to energy efficiency and for better ways to combat climate change. "The world needs clean energy concepts moving from the drawing board and into the home, office, field and factory, with an increasing urgency,” said Merl Lindstrom, interim senior vice president, Technology, ConocoPhillips. “We believe the ConocoPhillips Energy Prize is playing its part in providing a much-needed focus on developing these game-changing ideas.” 10/25/2011

 

TGEGGets One Billion Euro Credit Line for MSW Gasification to Energy

True Green Energy GroupTrue Green Energy Group (TGEG) has confirmed an agreement with the CJ consortium for a 1 billion Euro line of credit (about US $1.35 billion) to expand their business development globally and fund Bio Green power plants. TGEG purchases landfills, runs the incoming municipal solid waste through a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), then shreds and pelletizes the residual for use and/or sale as refuse-derived fuel (RDF). The company’s BioGreen gasification systems can convert the RDF to syngas that can be used as fuel for power generation or fuel / chemical production by catalysis. The agreement includes TGEG’s construction and operation of an integrated $25 million facility in San Fernando, Philippines; a stakeholder visit to the new site is scheduled for November 5, 2011. With its partner Spectrum Blue Steel, TGEG owns a number of landfill sites and operations and expects next month to announce new partnerships with other gasification systems providers in the United States, Korea and China. Blue Steel is focused on “de-carbonizing” power generation by shifting from petroleum to waste-sourced feedstock, following the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Renewable Energy Law (RA 9513 of the Philippines wherein energy generated from waste is deemed renewable. California-native Ronald Flynn, founder and Chairman of the Board, said, "With the combination of TGEG viable renewable energy resources and landfill sites, coupled with energy efficiency, conservation and smart grid development for low cost housing we could lead the world in energy independence and a cleaner, more sustainable energy infrastructure — but also to what will soon prove to be the greatest investment opportunity of the 21st Century." 10/25/2011

 

FlotechShifts Focus toward GreenLane Biogas Expansion

The Flotech GroupThe Flotech Group, internationally known for gas compression, cooling, and heat exchange systems, has announced a shift in the firm’s growth strategy more focused on its subsidiary GreenLaneTM Biogas. With operations in North America, Europe and Asia in addition to home-base New Zealand, the vertically-integrated company now sees its standardized and modular biogas upgrading packages poised to claim a major part of the global market for conversion of landfill gas and bio-digester methane into fuel grade compressed bio-natural gas and other products. Fiscal analysis of heavy investment during the last year has driven the decision. “Results also reflect the process of change as we shifted from a projects-driven, compressor dominated business to marketing the Greenlane™ standardised solution,” Group Managing Director Steve Broadbent said. “This change focused on growing the potential of Greenlane™, which now dominates sales.” Earlier this year, GreenLane confirmed a contract to install a “Totara+” biogas upgrading system at the Fair Oaks Dairy Farm in Fair Oaks, Indiana, to be integrated with a UTS Residuals Processing anaerobic digestion facility. The GreenLane module will process up to 1500 standard cubic feet per minute (scfm) of methane rich digester biogas into renewable bio-natural gas for fuelling the dairy’s fleet of 42 milk hauling trucks; excess will be injected into the regional natural gas pipeline grid. Sean Mezei, President of Greenlane North America said: “This project at Fair Oaks will be a significant milestone for renewable vehicle fuelling in the US.  We are looking forward to replicating in the US our years of experience providing high quality vehicle fuel in Europe, Japan and other countries.”  10/25/2011

 

PacificEthanol Contracted to Run ZeaChem’s Oregon Biorefinery

Pacific EthanolCalifornia company Pacific Ethanol has announced a contract between the firm’s Management Services subsidiary (Pacific Services) and Colorado based ZeaChem to provide operations, maintenance and accounting services for the firm’s 250,000 gallon per year advanced biofuel refinery in Boardman, Oregon. The ZeaChem plant is adjacent to the Columbia ethanol plant, one of four facilities operated and partially owned by Pacific Ethanol. ZeaChem is developing and commercializing a hybrid cellulosic biofuel and biochemical production platform that integrates parallel biochemical and thermochemical processes, where about two thirds of the fuel energy comes from fermentation of sugars and one third is derived by steam gasification of lignin to produce hydrogen. Earlier this year, ZeaChem was selected as one of the advanced biofuel facilities to benefit from the US Department of Agriculture’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which supports regional biofuel development. Neil Koehler, Pacific Ethanol’s president and CEO, stated: “This agreement reflects the value of our diversified business model as we extend our asset management expertise beyond the four Pacific Ethanol plants to provide plant operating and maintenance services to ZeaChem. We are well positioned to leverage our extensive knowledge of low-carbon renewable fuel production to operate and maintain ZeaChem’s advanced cellulosic biorefinery.” 10/23/2011

 

AmyrisSigns MOU with Brazilian ETH Bioenergia for Biofene Production

Amyris BiotechnologiesCalifornia’s Amyris, Inc has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Brazilian biofuel and biochemical producer ETH Bioenergia, a subsidiary of Odebrecht S.A., with the intent to form a joint venture (JV) for production of Amyris’ Biofene®. Amyris Biotechnologies platform utilizes genetically engineered yeast strains to produce renewable isoprenoids, including farnesene. Amyris is building up a production base for Biofene in Brazil, Europe and the United. ETH operates nine facilities for development of new applications for ethanol and sugarcane-based products. The company has committed a total of R$ 8 billion to scale up all its units to their maximum production capacity of 3 billion liters of ethanol and 2,700 gigawatt hours of electricity by 2013. The JV would have access to up to two million tons of ETH’s Brazilian sugarcane crush capacity per. Amyris will have exclusive marketing rights for the Biofene produced, with an expected start date in 2014. “ETH has been at the leading edge of sugarcane ethanol production in Brazil and now, with our technology, Amyris will be able to market renewable products made from Biofene produced at one of ETH’s new mills,” said John Melo, CEO of Amyris. “Through this joint venture with ETH, and other agreements already announced in Brazil, Amyris now has access to 15 million tons of sugarcane crush capacity for our production.” 10/23/2011

 

UniversityResearchers Characterize High-Lignin Biomass Feedstock Pyrolysis

University of KentuckyResearchers from the Department of Horticultureand the Center for Applied Energy Research, University of Kentucky, and the University of Massachusetts, AmherstDepartment of Chemical Engineering at the University of Massachusettshave published their work on the identification and characterization of compounds produced during pyrolysis of high-lignin biomass feedstock. Coupling pyrolysis with gas chromatography, the team compared numerous biomass sources, comparing these to results for switchgrass. Cell wall molecular components vary between plants, and their thermochemical deconstruction products vary accordingly. The study sought to identify plant feedstock with particularly high lignin content, including representative field crops, shrub and tree species and extending well beyond the usual plants considered “energy crops.” Coconut shells and peach pits ranked highest, approaching 50% by dry weight lignin. By comparison, switchgrass ranges from 15 to 29% lignin and Poplar averages 25%. High-lignin drupe endocarp feedstocks appear to be a good source of the renewable production of phenol, 2-methoxyphenol, 2-methylphenol, 2-methoxy-4-methylphenol and 4-ethyl-2-methoxyphenol. The paper “Identification and thermochemical analysis of high lignin feedstocks for biofuel and bio-chemical production” is available on-line. 10/23/2011

 

KoreanAward Honors Waste to Bioenergy Research

Korean Society for Biotechnology and BioengineeringNational Cheng Kung University (NCKU) Professor Wen-Teng Wu has been honored with a Research Exchange Award from the Korean Society for Biotechnology and Bioengineering (KSBB) for his work promoting international collaboration among Asian countries for biotechnology development. As the only recipient of the prestigious award for 2011, Professor Wu said In his acceptance speech before the Society, “The development of renewable energy is a popular subject nowadays. We should make use of agricultural, industrial and urban wastes at lower cost to develop biomass energy, a critical renewable resource in the future.” Wu is the current director of the NCKU’s Research Center for Energy Technology and Strategy. Just this month, Congress approved the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA), along with FTAs with Panama and Colombia; Korea’s National Assembly is now reviewing the agreement with a US Delegation. Last week, President Obama and President Lee Myung-Bak of the Republic of Korean toasted the agreement at a White House state dinner. 10/21/2011

 

NesteOil Wins Top 2011 International BioFuels Technology Award for Jet Fuel

Neste OilFinland’s Neste Oil has received first place at the International Biofuels 2011 Awards as Biofuels Technology of the Year, recognizing the company’s successful development of the NExBTL aviation fuel platform. The international award ceremony was held during the World Refining Association’s annual Biofuels conference Awards in Amsterdam. NExBTL can convert a wide variety of virgin and waste sourced bio-based oils into low carbon, to-specification transportation fuels and fuel additives; aviation fuel has been successfully trialed for use in Lufthansa’s jet engines without need for engine modification. Neste Oil successfully started up Europe's largest renewable diesel plant in Rotterdam in the Netherlands in September for production of NExBTL renewable diesel. Speaking of the award, Kaisa Hietala, Neste Oil's Vice President of Market Development said, "Receiving an accolade like this from the leaders in the field is a great achievement," says. "We have used NExBTL technology to produce renewable diesel since 2007, and this year we introduced aviation fuel based on the same technology. Thanks to our capacity to produce NExBTL renewable aviation fuel in commercial quantities, we were able to launch a pioneering biofuel project with Lufthansa this summer." 10/21/2011

  

Ferrum College Starts Construction on Waste Biomass Boiler for New CHP Facility

Ferrum CollegeVirginia’s Ferrum College has begun construction on a biomass boiler for its new biomass fueled combined heat and power (CHP) facility, called the English Biomass Energy and Research Complex (designed by the Richmond, Virginia firm English Boiler and Tube, Inc). Construction began on the facility in August and is expected to be completed in March 2012. U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt (R) VA 5th District participated in the announcement ceremony today for the biomass boiler. Lumber industry wood waste conversion will provide about 65% of the campus space heating and hot water demand, and around 800 kilowatts of electricity, also for campus use. “We are proud to be building a facility that serves as an example of Ferrum’s commitment to sustainable initiatives,” said College President Jennifer Braaten, who noted that the facility will also include an instructional area and research boiler to provide Ferrum College faculty and students with a working lab in which to study green energy technologies. Founded in 1913, four-year Ferrum College is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia between Roanoke, Virginia and Greensboro, North Carolina. 10/21/2011

 

CalRecyclePlans Cleanup of Waste Management Regulations

California Department of Resources Recycling and RecoveryAt an informal afternoon workshop following the department’s October 18, 2011 monthly meeting, Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) staff presented a suite of twelve key Issues regarding inadequacies and conflicts within the State’s Title 14 and Title 27 regulatory areas, along with potential approaches for developing draft changes to address the conflicts. The Issues covered problem areas related to Compostable Materials, Transfer Processing, Permit Application Form, and Permit Exemptions. The workshop notice provides access to a supplemental document detailing the Draft Regulatory Issues and Potential Approaches. Staff noted intent to thoroughly vet the topics and establish a firm scope early in 2012, and are kicking off with this forum well in advance of beginning the formal rulemaking process. A good public turnout afforded lively and detailed exploration of the dozen suggested issues. Highlights: Issue 1 dealt with the accepted short-comings of definitions of “food waste” in current regulations; Issue 5 brought out challenges and opportunities in addition of food waste, fats oils and grease to anaerobic digestion systems at publicly owned treatment works. Issue 7 focused on the lack of an acceptable fit for anaerobic digestion within the current permitting structure, while Issue 8 introduced the complexities occasioned by overlapping regulatory purview of the California Department of Food and Agriculture regarding waste meat management. Information regarding the upcoming rulemaking process is also available on the Compostable Materials, Transfer/Processing Home Page, and written comments may be sent to. 10/21/2011

 

CyclonePower Successfully Tests All-Fuel Waste Heat Engine

Cyclone Power TechnologiesA major step toward commercialization has been announced by Florida-based Cyclone Power Technologies, with successful testing of the firm’s all-fuel Waste Heat Engine WHE-25 in partnership with Phoenix Power Group LLC. The collaboration is focused on integration of Cyclone’s externally heated WHE-25 with a widely used EPA-compliant waste oil furnace to form the Phoenix-10 Waste Oil Power Generator, scheduled for production next year. The coupled system will be a combined heat and power package (CHP) generating 7.5 kilowatts of grid-ready electricity and recoverable heat when fueled on used automotive oil, designed to serve auto garages, car dealerships and similar businesses. Cyclone is poised for international growth, receiving 10 European patents earlier this month. Doug Petty, Phoenix Power’s Vice President, commented, “We’ve made significant progress in a short period of time, and we’re very pleased with the results Cyclone is achieving. Among the critical connections we’ve made in the past few months was matching the Cyclone steam generator with our partner’s EPA-compliant and UL-rated waste oil furnace, which we believe will expedite our path to product commercialization.” 10/20/2011

 

AB 341 Moves Proposed Regs for Mandatory Commercial Recycling to CalRecycle

California Department of Resources Recycling and RecoveryOn the second day of the California Air Resources Board (ARB) public hearing scheduled for October 20 and 21, 2011, staff of the ARB and the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) will provide the ARB with an update on how requirements of Assembly Bill (AB) 341 will now fit with the ARB’s implementation of AB 32. When Governor Brown signed AB 341 into law on October 5th, it changed responsibility for implementation of the mandatory commercial recycling program required under AB 32 from the ARB to the CalRecycle, and added additional requirements for multifamily complexes. The ARB’s AB 32 Scoping Plan was approved in 2008 and designated the CalRecycle as the lead for recycling solutions, including the proposed regulation to Reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions by Requiring Mandatory Commercial Waste Recycling. The proposed regulation was developed as a collaborative effort between ARB and CalRecycle staff. The 45 day review period for formal rulemaking ended today, and ARB staff was originally scheduled to present the proposed regulation for possible adoption at this Friday’s ARB public hearing. The agenda item has been cancelled and instead, staff will present an informational update on ARB and CalRecycle staff collaboration and the current status of regulatory activities. The presentations developed for the agenda item will be made available on-line on the day of the ARB meeting at the time the item (#11-8-3) is heard. The ARB no longer has authority to approve the regulation and ARB staff believes its proposed rule-making regulatory development is no longer needed. On October 6th, CalRecycle staff provided public notice to begin its own formal rulemaking process for the proposed regulation completed with ARB staff and revised to reflect AB 341 provisions. The CalRecycle’s 45 day comment period is expected to begin in late November 2011. 10/19/2011

 

CaliforniaDFA Schedules Inedible Material (Food Waste) Disposal Workshop 

California Department of Food and AgricultureThe California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Meat, Poultry and Egg Safety Branch (MPES) will meet on October 27, 2011 to discuss the current regulatory framework related to handling meat-based food waste and kitchen grease. Coordinating closely with Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) efforts toward streamlining food waste regulation, the CDFA seeks to clarify administrative and inspection roles for both state departments and for local enforcement by minimizing or eliminating regulatory overlap. The MPES licenses and inspects meat processing facilities not under US Department of Agriculture inspection programs and licenses field inspectors. The branch also provides oversight and licensing over many types of wholesale and retail establishments and activities that are sources of food waste, including collection and transport of “inedible kitchen grease” (waste cooking oil). This initial meeting will provide background and outline areas where issues are recognized, laying a framework for future solutions. The meeting is open to the public and seeks stakeholder comment. Direct questions about the meeting and the process to Dr. Douglas Hepper, Chief, Department of Food and Agriculture, Meat, Poultry and Egg Safety Branch, 1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, telephone (916) 900-5004 or email. 10/19/2011

 

Abengoato Construct $120MM Integrated Biorefinery in Uruguay

AbengoaThe international sustainable development company Abengoa will construct a US $120 million integrated biorefinery for Alcoholes del Uruguay (ALUR) in the Department of Paysandú, Uruguay. The contract includes a multi-grain fermentation bioethanol facility and a thermal conversion biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plant. The 70 million liter dry mill ethanol plant will use wheat, maize, barley and sorghum feedstock and produce an additional 50,000 tons annually of DDGS to be manufactured into animal feed. A co-located 8 megawatt CHP facility will run on biomass residuals to steam heat and power the bioethanol operations. Abengoa and ALUR will form a joint venture to operate and maintain the plant, while ALUR will be responsible for supply and sales. ALUR is a biofuels development division of the Administracion Nacional de Combustibles, Alcohol y Portland (Ancap), Uruguay’s state oil and gas company. Abengoa has been operating in Uruguay since 1980 providing services for water and energy development. 10/18/2011

 

BenchMarkEnergy Corporation to Acquire 49% of Energy Partners

BenchMark Energy CorporationNewly formed Texas renewable energy company BenchMark Energy Corporation has announced an agreement to acquire 49% of Indiana-based Energy Partners LLC with an option to purchase the remaining 51%. Energy Partners has been in discussion with the City of Grand Fork, North Dakota, to develop a glycerine processing plant, and has now received facility planning and financial approval from the Grand Forks Growth Fund committee and the Jobs Development Authority. The plant should be completed by mid-2012. Upon completion in middle 2012, the facility should process approximately nine million (9,000,000) gallons of glycerin annually with an average value of $1.80 per gallon. The Grand Forks facility would process the glycerine by-product of regional biodiesel production; raw glycerine is produced at the rate of about one pound per gallon of biodiesel from regional biodiesel plants. The company has had about $750,000 in glycerin sales in the last three quarters. Benchmark is expanding its glycerine market entry both national and internationally, seeing the market for refined glycerol increasing sharply. In addition to existing uses as an animal feed supplement, in production of pharmaceuticals and as a foundation chemical for myriad commodities, Benchmark is also interested in very recent developments in the catalytic processing of glycerol to biofuels. The company plans to be a leader in the integration of glycerin into traditional global product streams. 10/18/2011

 

MaerskLine and US Navy to Use Emsys to Test Marine Biofuels Emissions

EMsysMaersk Line, has selected Virginia-based W.R. System’s Emsys™ laser-based emissions monitoring system (EMS) in its collaboration with the US Navy to test emissions of marine biofuels for long-term use. Maersk Line is the global containerized shipping division of A.P. Moller – Maersk Group based in Denmark. Maersk had already conducted two successful trials of the EMS to prove system efficacy under the comprehensive marine Type Approval process under the supervision of the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). Emsys™ allows operators to continuously monitor, analyze, and record emissions from all engine exhaust stacks simultaneously, testing for nitrogen oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), and carbon dioxide (CO2), particulate matter (PM), and other gases such as CO. Exhaust gases are measured “hot and wet”, reducing gas condition systems requirements, and PM testing occurs outside and above stacks, allowing use of a single sensor for multiple measurements. The entire system has very low maintenance requirements and stabile configuration, critical attributes in harsh marine environments. W.R. Systems has a long track record of service navies and marine companies around the world; the firm’s Engineering & Science for Defense division supports the navy, Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security and Special Forces. 10/18/2011

 

Envergentand Green Fuel Nordic Sign MOU for Biomass to Biofuel in Finland

Envergent Technologies LLCEnvergent Technologies LLC has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Finland’s Green Fuel Nordic Oy to collaborate on conversion of forest biomass residues to liquid fuel. Envergent is a joint venture between Honeywell's UOP and Ensyn that was formed to commercialize its rapid thermal processing (RTPTM) for upgrading pyrolysis oil to transportation fuels. Green Fuel Nordic is planning to develop a number of RTP facilities in Finland to supply biofuel for district heating systems that heat residential and commercial buildings. "Envergent RTP™ commercially proven technology could provide a great opportunity to establish distributed biorefineries in Finland and meet the country’s broader strategy for local energy production. Green Fuel Nordic's biorefinery investments in Finland will provide a strong roadmap to produce liquid biofuels leveraging local forest-based feedstock" said Vesa Kainulainen, chairman of the board for Green Fuel Nordic Oy. Finland has set a 38% by 2020 renewable energy goal.10/17/2011

 

Due 11/30/2011: Proposals to Maryland for Renewable Energy from Animal Waste

State of MarylandMaryland’s Department of General Services (DGS) has announced release of  request for proposal (RFP) #001IT818620 to generate renewable energy from animal waste as part of the state’s Clean Bay Power project, an effort to increase renewable energy while reducing nutrient run-off into the Chesapeake Bay. The project is a collaborative effort between DGS, the Departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment, the Maryland Energy Administration, and the University System of Maryland. Suppliers need to generate up to 10 megawatts of electric energy from clean conversion of animal wastes as the primary fuel, such as poultry litter and livestock manure, qualify as a Tier I renewable energy resource under the state’s current portfolio definition, and be operational and interconnected to the regional grid by December 31, 2015. Maryland is technology-neutral and open to proposals for direct combustion, gasification and anaerobic digestion to biogas for electricity generation. A pre-proposal briefing is scheduled for October 18, 2011. DGS maintains the eMaryland Marketplace (eMM) and will post all RFP materials to the site, under the solicitation number. A summary of the RFP is available on-line, with supporting documents. For further information and to be listed as a prospective contractor, contact the solicitation’s procurement officer Debbie Pecora at (410) 767-4945,. 10/17/2011

 

Due10/24/2011: Comments to Proposed Amendments to California’s LCFS

California Air Resources Board Low Carbon Fuel StandardThe California Air Resources Board (ARB) held its third and final Public Workshop on Friday, October 14, 2011 to discuss proposed amendments to the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) regulation. ARB staff has amended the 2010 regulation based upon the recommendations of the LCFS Advisory Panel, the Workgroups and feedback from stakeholders; the proposed regulation was presented at the workshop. Comments on proposed changes and matters discussed in this final workshop are due October 24, 2011 in order to get the ARB's own review completed and reports submitted on time to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) in January. The formal 45 day rulemaking and comment period prior to the formal Board hearing begins immediately following the close of this comment period. See Teru's Focus Report, Update on California's LCFS, for more information. Questions should be directed to Floyd V. Vergara, Chief, Alternative Fuels Branch at (916) 327-5986 or via email at, or Ms. Aubrey Sideco, Air Resources Engineer, Substance Evaluation Section, at (916) 324-3334 or via email at.  10/16/2011

 

NASand DoD Use Different Scales to Measure Value of Renewable Fuels

The National Academy of Science (NAS) Research Council's Committee on Economic and Environmental Impacts of Increasing Biofuels Production has published "Renewable Fuel Standard: Potential Economic and Environmental Effects of U.S. Biofuel Policy (2011)." The report finds our rate of progress wanting: "Only in an economic environment characterized by high oil prices, technological breakthroughs, and a high implicit or actual carbon price would biofuels be cost competitive with petroleum-based fuels." Yet the Department of Defense (DoD) measures environmental and economic cost of fuel differently: while the RFS2 requires 50% reduction of GHG emissions compared to petroleum based fuels, the DoD simply asks that they be no worse, and emphasizes the cost of security. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said in promoting alternative energy initiatives earlier this year that fuel supplies make up the most truck convoys in Afghanistan, and one U.S. Marine is killed by an insurgent attack for every 50 convoys that make the long trek through Afghanistan. Secretary Mabus joined the Secretaries of Energy and Agriculture in signing a sustainable commercial biofuels development Memorandum of Understanding this past June, committing over $500 million in total to the effort. The Navy held its third annual Naval Energy Forum on October 13 and 14, 2011, in Washington D.C. with the by-line "Smart Energy Choices Can Save Lives, Improve Combat Capability". On November 3, 2011, the Army will host the Energy Initiatives Task Force Summit for non-military personnel; Secretary of the Army John McHugh said last year: "As long as we're dependent on those fossil fuels, we're dependent on the Middle East. If we are not victims, we're certainly captives." 10/16/2011

 

California’sNet Metering Program Now Includes Small Scale Biomass/Biogas

California Public Utilities CommissionGovernor Brown signed the Renewable Energy Equity Act, Senate Bill 489 (Wolk), expanding California's Net Energy Metering (NEM) program beyond wind and solar to include small scale biomass, biogas and other forms of renewable power generation. On-site projects generating up to 1 megawatt can now be credited for electricity sent to the utility, offsetting the customer's power bill. Generating facilities must select from methods listed by the California Energy Commission as fitting the Renewable Resources Energy Program. The most recent Renewables Portfolio Standard Eligibility Guidebook defines eligible renewable energy resources by the source feedstock or fuel rather than the technology, with certain legislated prescriptive exceptions and conditions, including specific caveats regarding conversion of municipal solid waste. From the Eligibility guidelines, NEM options now might include power derived from biodiesel, biogas, biomass, conduit hydroelectric, digester gas, fuel cells using renewable fuels, geothermal, hydroelectric incremental generation from efficiency improvements, landfill gas, municipal solid waste, ocean wave, ocean thermal, and tidal current, photovoltaic, small hydroelectric (30 megawatts or less, with no negative impact), solar thermal electric, and wind. Fuel cell installation requirements have been conformed to those for the newly-reauthorized Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). Residential, agricultural, municipal and industrial projects can all benefit from conversion of waste and biomass to electricity at scales much smaller than previously considered economical, sizing project generation capacity to the annual load rather than the peak demand. 10/14/2011

 

Alter NRG and Coskata Complete Successful Waste Conversion to Ethanol Testing

Alter NRGCanadian plasma developer Alter NRG Corp, owner of the Westinghouse Plasma technology, has completed successful testing for plasma conversion of waste feedstock to ethanol. The trials took place in the firm's Plasma Demonstration Center in Madison, Pennsylvania, and were conducted as a partnership between Alter NRG, Coskata and Flex Ethanol Australia, an industrial consortium that includes GM Holden, a General Motors (GM) Corporation company, Caltex, brand name of Chevron Corporation, and Phoenix Energy Australia Pty Ltd. GM also has an undisclosed strategic ownership interest in Coskata. Various feedstock blends including simulated municipal solid waste, sewage sludge and tires were first gasified to clean syngas using Alter NRG's plasma torch processing, then converted to ethanol via Coskata's proprietary fermentation-based gas to liquid process, housed in the company's FlexEthanolTM facility adjacent to Alter NRG's Plasma Center. Once molecular bonds are broken by the plasma gasification, microorganisms consume the carbon monoxide and hydrogen and exude ethanol, which is then recovered by distillation. Success in testing this waste-to-fuels conversion platform is seen as a key element in the Australian partnership's project planning. "Conducting a test at Alter NRG's demonstration plant was a critical component of Flex Ethanol's project development plan", stated Peter Dyson, Managing Director of Phoenix Energy. "The successful test results have given us the confidence to continue the development of our project to be located near Melbourne - a project that will convert up to 2000 tonnes per day of waste to ethanol."  Phoenix Energy Australia is the exclusive licensee of Alter NRG’s Westinghouse Plasma gasification technology in Australia and New Zealand. 10/14/2011

 

WasteManagement Takes Direct Equity Stake in InEnTec for Waste to Fuels

Waste ManagementWaste Management, Inc (WM) has announced the trade of its equity interest in S4 Energy for a direct ownership of equity in InEnTec, Inc. S4 Energy was formed in 2009 as a joint venture between WM and InEnTec to design, construct and operate a waste gasification plant at WM’s facility in Arlington, Oregon. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has now issued all necessary operating permits for the fully constructed demonstration plant. InEnTec's advanced plasma enhanced melter (PEM®) technology super-heats feedstock to over 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking molecular bonds and producing a clean syngas and an inert slag. The syngas, primarily carbon monoxide and hydrogen, can then be converted to fuels or foundation chemicals, or used to run engines for combined power and heat generation. InEnTec's PEM at its testing and demonstration facility in Richland, Washington has been in active use since starting operations in 1997. PEMs are also in operation in Japan, Taiwan; a commercial facility in Missouri is in final testing, and has recently been selected as the operating system for Fulcrum Bioenergy's Sierra Biofuels plant in McCarran, Nevada. WM's equity position in InEnTec is the most recent addition in a program of expansion from its core business of waste collection, resource recovery and disposal, with strategic alliances and investments in numerous clean conversion companies. 10/14/2011

 

LondonReleases Shortlisted Proposal Details of Residual MSW to CHP Projects

North London Waste AuthorityThe North London Waste Authority (NLWA) has announced project details of three proposals for long term and sustainable use of Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF). Short-listed companies in the Authority's procurement request for waste to energy conversion of the SRF include Covanta Energy, E.ON/Wheelabrator Technologies and Veolia Environmental Services (UK) Plc. The procurement contract is for use of 250,000 to 300,000 tonnes per year of SRF to be developed from the unrecyclable fraction of North London's municipal solid waste (MSW); the SRF will be produced under a separate procurement request for waste services. Covanta proposes a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant to serve the energy demand of the Tate & Lyle sugar refinery in Silverton, barging waste from North London to the eastern London site. The E.ON / Wheelabrator team has proposed use of the SRF at a CHP plant for DS Smith Paper's Kemsley Mill in Kent, the United Kingdom's largest waste paper recycler. The feedstock would be shipped by rail to the proposed paper mill power plant which has already received planning and operating permits. Veolia also proposes a CHP facility with rail transport of the feedstock, to an existing asphalt, aggregate and concrete production industrial site in Hertfordshire. NLWA's selection will compare carbon impacts, cost and quality; a selection is expected in October 2012 with contract in early 2013. 10/14/2011 

 

MeadowLake Tribal Council Plans 36 MWe Mill Waste Biopower Plant

Meadow Lake Tribal CouncilSaskatchewan's utility company SaskPower has signed a letter of intent with the Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) to negotiate a 25-year power purchase agreement for a 36 megawatt biomass fueled power plant. The MLTC includes nine First Nations communities among 74 eligible for membership in the First Nations Power Authority (FNPA) of Saskatchewan, a non-profit corporation established this spring to facilitate power project development. The biomass power plant known as the Meadow Lake Bioenergy Centre is being developed by the MLTC, the regional government of Saskatchewan and FNPA, and is the first power project FNPA has brokered with SaskPower. The biomass plant will be co-located with the NorSask Forest Products Mill to make use of the bark, branches, sawdust and other woody residues from the lumber mill operations that up until now have been sent to an on-site beehive burner. FNPA Executive Director Jason Pollock offers, “Congratulations to MLTC on their hard work and dedication to make this project a reality. Their vision and leadership has not only resulted in a much needed renewable power project for the province of Saskatchewan but also the creation of this organization (FNPA) which will serve to assist many other First Nations in becoming involved in the power generation industry.” 10/13/2011

 

ChemopolisAmong Top 3 Biofuels Finalists in Global Cleantech Competition

ChempolisThe Finnish biorefinery specialist Chemopolis Ltd announced its selection as one of the top three firms in the category of Renewable Energy, Biofuels in the Global Cleantech Cluster Association (GCCA) 2011 competition. Chempolis provides pre-treatment / fermentation based solutions for conversion of biomass into electricity, fuels and other chemical commodities, through two patented biorefining technology platforms: formicobio™ for the co-production of cellulosic ethanol and biochemicals, and formicofib™ for the co-production of a papermaking fiber source and biochemicals. Chemopolis is now among the top 30 firms in a suite of 185 to advance to the Finals from 4,000 company entries evaluated for business model, market position and technologies. The GCCA assesses companies in ten categories including renewable energy, waste management, water quality and green buildings. Winners will receive international exposure and business support coordinated by GCCA's own core investors to include Generation’s Climate Solutions Fund (Al Gore’s investment Firm), The Rockefeller Foundation, Dow Venture Capital, BASF Venture Capital and others. Awards will presented November 14, 2011 and hosted by the Dublin's An tSli Ghlas, or "The Green Way" cluster of clean tech companies in Ireland's first official green economic zone. 10/13/2011

 

ChemtexJV Formed to Commercialize PROESA for Cellulosic Biofuels

ChemtexItaly's Gruppo Mossi and Ghisolfi (M&G) through its Chemtex subsidiary has formed the joint venture BETA RENEWABLES with TPG Capital and TPG Biotech (collectively "TPG") for exclusive licensing of Chemtex' PROESA® cellulosic biofuels and chemicals platform. The partners are investing a total of €250 million in the JV with M&G holding the majority stake, including transfer to BETA RENEWABLES of M&G's pilot plant in Tortona, Italy and the 40,000 metric ton per year industrial scale cellulosic ethanol plant being built in Crescentino, Italy, scheduled for completion in late 2012. The Chemtex PROESA processing utilizes enzymatic hydrolysis to cost-effectively reduce a wide variety of biomass to low-viscosity sugar intermediary, and proprietary simultaneous fermentation of both C5 and C6 sugars to beverage and fuel-grade ethanol, ASTM D6751 and EN14214 specification compliant biodiesel, and/or other bio-sourced chemicals, including ethylene, ethylene oxide, and ethylene glycol. Chemtex plants also can integrate thermal conversion of biomass residuals for plant heat and power. “TPG has evaluated a large number of opportunities in the renewables space and we believe that the PROESA® technology represents the most viable and practical cellulosic sugar technology platform on the market today,” said Dr. Patrick McCroskey, TPG Biotech. “BETA RENEWABLES is in position to broadly deploy this advanced technology into the global marketplace and we expect that it will quickly establish a leadership position in this regard.” 10/13/2011

 

CleanMetricsReleases Waste Reduction and GHG LCA Modeling Tools

CleanMetricsTracking and estimating the carbon footprint, waste reduction options, greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), and energy efficiency profile for industry has just received a boost with the release of two new value chain modeling-software packages from Oregon-based CleanMetrics Corporation. The company just unveiled MetaFlowScopeTM technology to analyze flows of materials and energy from source to end-of-life to quantify the economic and environmental impacts of resource use and to find where productivity can be increase while waste is reduced and diverted from disposal and costs are reduced. The technique integrates material flow analysis, industrial metabolism, life cycle assessment (LCA) and value chain analysis capable of clarifying complex value chain relationships. Specific examples for Food Service, for Manufacturing (Barbie Dolls) and for Construction show how the package provides a top-down estimate of material quantities ending up in an industry's waste stream, with full economic and LCA environmental impacts of waste of materials and a detailed breakdown of that waste material composition. A second package now available is the FoodCarbonScope TM technology for modeling and analysis of life cycle GHG emissions, water use and energy use in a variety of food and beverage production industrial sectors. CleanMetrics maintains one of the most complete databases of food related industrial sector data available; default values in the analytical programs drawn from the database can be modified to reflect project specific data. 10/13/2011

 

PrimusGreen Energy Pilot Produces and Tests Drop-in Bio-Gasoline

Primus Green EnergyPrimus Green Energy has completed successful production and testing of a high-octane drop-in gasoline from conversion of cellulosic biomass at the firm's expanded New Jersey pilot. Testing of the 93 octane green gasoline was accomplished in an unmodified engine and achieved 25% longer run-time than the same quantity of petroleum-derived regular unleaded gasoline. Primus will increase its sample production volume and seek certification under the relevant America Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) specifications. The processing is feedstock flexible and can use any form of wood waste including mill and forestry residues, agricultural bi-products and purpose-grown non-food energy crops. Biomass is chipped, dried and pelletized, then converted to synthetic gas by high-temperature steam reforming gasification. The raw produced gas is cleaned of particulates and carbon dioxide, and then catalytically upgraded to the final drop-in gasoline in Primus' proprietary methanol to gasoline (MtG) process. Variations on the catalysis step can also produce other fuels including to-specification jet fuel. Primus' majority equity partner is IC Green Energy (ICG), the renewable energy investment arm of the Israel Corporation. Primus is planning its first commercial scale facility for a Pennsylvania site, partnering with Jaindl Farms and Eco Therm for siting and feedstock to convert about 40,000 tons of biomass feedstock to  3.2 million gallon per year of green gasoline. 10/13/2011

  

Bankof America Poised to Enter US Carbon Market Through California's AB 32

Bank of America Merrill LynchBank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA) has announced an agreement with TerraPass, Inc. to procure and market California-standard carbon offsets through 2020 with credits generated by agricultural methane facilities (e.g. dairies) from TerraPass' portfolio of US greenhouse gas reduction projects. The agricultural methane carbon credits meet California's Assembly Bill (AB) 32 mandates and are verified under the terms of the Climate Action Reserve and the Verified Carbon Standard. Under the agreement, the BofA Global Commodities Group has an option to purchase and bring to market several million tons of California AB 32-compliant carbon offsets from TerraPass through 2020. BofA's Global Commodities Group already participates in the international carbon market outside of the US, and expects the California Air Resources Board's (ARB) final approval to create the second largest carbon market in the world and the first multi-sector mandatory emissions trading program in the US. "We intend to build on the innovative transactions we've completed in Europe and elsewhere to help U.S. clients hedge their exposure to carbon pricing and source emission reduction offsets as part of an integrated solution," said Abyd Karmali, global head of Carbon Markets in the Global Commodities Group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "By acting as a first mover in California, we are positioning ourselves as the offset provider of choice for companies that will need to become compliant under these new regulations." Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the marketing name for the global banking and global markets businesses of Bank of America Corporation. 10/12/2011

 

California's SGIP Re-Funded through 2014 to Support Renewable Energy Projects

State of CaliforniaGovernor Brown signed Assembly Bill 1150 (Perez) into law, re-instating funding for California's Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) and bringing needed support to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects including combined heat and power (CHP), waste heat recovery, and biogas to fuel cell energy generation. The legislative extension of the SGIP will provide $83 million per year for three years through 2014. The U.S. Department of Energy Pacific Region Clean Energy Application Center (Pacific RAC) provided the legislature with a critical assessment of the economic impacts of the bill in August 2011. According to the RAC's current newsletter, "Most types of CHP will receive $0.50 per Watt in capital cost incentives, paid out over several years of system operation. Stationary fuel cell systems will receive $2.25 per Watt, and energy storage projects will receive $2.00 per Watt.  Biogas fueled projects (fuel cells and CHP) get a $2.00 per watt bonus adder and in-state manufacturers get a 20% additional incentive credit for distributed power generation in California by providing fiscal analysis of the potential impacts to state government associated with the bill that includes the public goods charge that agencies pay to fund the program." 10/12/2011

 

WasteBamboo-to-Biochar Project Receives USDA Funds

Whispering Winds Bamboo CooperativeThe Pacific Islands Area (PIA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the award of four conservation grants, one of which will support the employee-owned Whispering Winds Bamboo Cooperative in its efforts to convert bamboo timber processing waste to biochar. 2008 Farm Bill funding comes through the Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program, intended to further the development of practical new methods that can be widely disseminated through the national agency's manuals and technical guides. PIA funding availability was announced in March for fiscal year 2011 and applications were due by May, competing for awards not to exceed $75,000 per project. The winning Whispering Winds project will create biochar from bamboo timber harvesting and processing wastes, utilizing an Adams retort; the product will be used as a soil amendment. The effort will document project economics and product use effectiveness, including total carbon sequestration. "The Pacific Islands Area is again offering our cooperators the opportunity to demonstrate new technologies and approaches in conservation," stated Larry Yamamoto, predecessor to Angela Figueroa, current Director of the Pacific Islands Area NRCS.” "This grant allows us to showcase unique methods to conserve our natural resources specific to our islands," he continued. 10/11/2011

 

California'sAB 341 Signed, Sets 75% Recycling Policy Goal by 2020

CalRecycleAmong the plethora of bills signed by Governor Jerry Brown this past week was Assembly Bill 341 (AB 341) that sets a 75% recycling goal for California by 2020. AB 341 was developed by recycling advocacy group Californians Against Waste and sponsored by 1st District Assembly Member Wesley Chesboro (D – Eureka). The bill sets a goal that 75% of all solid waste generated is source reduced, recycled or composted beginning January 1, 2020. Perhaps the most significant requirement imposes a state-mandated local program without state reimbursement requiring implementation of solid waste recycling programs for commercial and public generators, including multi-family housing of 5 units or more. Local jurisdictions can, however, pass the cost of administering the expanded programs on to the contracted waste haulers, and then of course, to the customers. AB 341 finds, "Although the state now leads the nation in solid waste reduction and recycling, the state continues to dispose of more than 40 million tons of solid waste each year, which is more than the national average on a per capita basis." AB 341 also requires the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to report strategies toward meeting the goal and make recommendations to the Legislature by January 1, 2014. CalRecycle's next monthly meeting is scheduled for October 18, 2011; the on-line agenda includes an Informal Workshop on Draft Regulatory Revisions to Title 14 and 27 (Compostable Materials, Transfer Processing, Permit Application Form, Permit Exemptions). 10/11/2011

 

VirginAtlantic and LanzaTech Partner for Waste Emissions to Aviation Biofuel

LanzaTechIn a move to reach beyond its commitment for a 30% carbon reduction per passenger kilometer by 2020, Virgin Atlantic announced its partnership with New Zealand-based LanzaTech for development of an emissions-to-jet fuel platform. Virgin plans within two to three years to use the new alternative fuel in the airline's flights between Shanghai and Delhi to London, parallel to LanzaTech's development of steel mill emissions conversion projects in China, and India. LanzaTech also has a green fuel and chemical partnership with the Korean firm Posco, and has opened US headquarters in Roselle, Illinois. The firm's technology platform uses carbon monoxide rich industrial emissions as feedstock for proprietary microbial fermentation to short-chain alcohols and foundation chemicals; the process can also ferment syngas from biomass and municipal sold waste gasification. Dr Jennifer Holmgren, Chief Executive of LanzaTech, said: "This technology will enable airlines to dramatically reduce their carbon footprint by reusing gases that would otherwise have been emitted directly into the atmosphere. It promotes sustainable industrial growth, as the process enables manufacturing plants to recycle their waste carbon emissions. While there is still work to be done and logistical hurdles to cross, we have excellent partners in Virgin Atlantic, Swedish Biofuels and Boeing and we are confident that we will have a facility with the capacity to produce fuel for commercial use by 2014." 10/11/2011

 

IllinoisResearch Team Overcomes Major Barrier in Waste CO2-to-Fuel Pathway

Biofuel production (left) compared to fuel produced via artificial synthesis. Crops takes in CO2, water and sunlight to create biomass, which then is transferred to a refinery to create fuel. In the artificial photosynthesis route, a solar collector or windmill collects energy that powers an electrolyzer, which converts CO2 to a synthesis gas that is piped to a refinery to create fuel. | Graphic by Dioxide Materials Research by University of Illinois Professor Paul Kenis's team in collaboration with retired professor Richard Masel's start-up company Dioxide Materials has resulted in development of a liquid catalyst to improve artificial photosynthesis. The catalyst aids the direct conversion of carbon dioxide found in industrial emissions into carbon-based foundation chemicals and fuels. With artificial photosynthesis, an electrochemical cell driven by outside power splits and reforms CO2 first into CO, then into formic acid, methanol and other small molecules as the basis for synthesizing more complex hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals. In past pathways more energy was necessary for the initial split than could be stored in the resulting fuel. The new ionic liquid catalyst greatly reduces the amount of energy necessary for this first step and stabilizes the intermediary reactions, allowing better control with less energy input for reforming. “More work is needed, but this research brings us a significant step closer to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels while simultaneously reducing CO2 emissions that are linked to unwanted climate change,” Kenis said. The research has been published in the journal Science and is available on-line. 10/10/2011

 

Biomassand Biogas Carbon Calculator for Carbon Intensity and GHG Released

Office of Gas and Electricity MarketsGreat Britain's Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) as released the Biomass and Biogas Carbon Calculator, an on-line tool for determining carbon intensity (CI) and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) savings developed along the entire supply chain when using biomass and biogas for heating and electricity. The modular program is intended for use by plant operators who generate heat, electricity and biomethane to be introduced into the national grid infrastructure; The Ofgem has also released a User's Guide for the interactive program. The flexible format allows month-by-month carbon calculations resulting from multiple feedstock usage, summing toward overall production systems values. CI and GHG default values are provided and can be amended using actual data and the program allows development of summary reports. Examples are provided for determining the CI and GHG values for use of municipal solid waste and for waste wood feedstock. The graphical supply chain approach follows the life cycle assessment methods outlined in the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive of the European Parliament and Council, including recommendations of the European Commission in their report on sustainability requirements for solid and gaseous biomass. The Ofgem is the government regulator for the electricity and downstream natural gas markets in Great Britain. 10/10/2011

 

ConstructionStarts in Sri Lanka on 1,000 Tons per Day MSW to Energy Plant

Octagon Cconsolidated BerhadThe Malaysian based company Octagon Consolidated Berhad held a ground breaking ceremony at Karadiyana, Kesbewa, Colombo, Sri Lanka, for a US$ 248 million plasma gasification facility. The fully permitted plant is designed to convert up to 1,000 tons per day of municipal solid waste (MSW) into a minimum of 40 megawatts of electricity (MWe) for sale to Ceylon Electricity Board. The operator, Orizon Renewable Energy (ORE), is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Orizon Consolidated Limited, which in turn is a joint venture between Octagon's subsidiary Green Energy and Technology Bhd (GreenTech) and the Bahrain investment firm Tadhamon Capital. GreenTech entered into a systems development agreement for the gasification reactor with KNM Process Systems last month and is in negotiations with that firm to provide engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) services. The Sri Lankan government has initiated a renewable energy program targeting 10% green power generation by 2015; construction of the ORE plant should be completed in early 2014. 10/10/2011

 

CECEnergy Innovation Small Grants Include Biopower and Biofuels Projects

California Energy CommissionThe California Energy Commission (CEC) awarded twelve grants totaling $985,490 from the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) division's Energy Innovation Small Grants (EISG) program, including two grants of $95,000 each supporting research and development of biomass energy and fuels processing sub-systems. The Cha Corporation based at the privatized Air Force Base, McClellan Park, within the US Army's Renewable Energy Testing Center (RETC) will demonstrate use of its precision WavePackTM microwave technology for production of hydrogen from biogas, for use in reciprocating engines and fuel cells. Cha has explored many aspects of biogas clean-up and upgrading; microwave driven hydrogen generation from biogas once again extends the firm's range of biogas management applications. In a second award, the University of California at San Diego's Department of NanoEngineering will receive funds to further development of methodology for "Tar Removal by Catalyzing Gasification Bed Materials for Power Generation", with the goal of reducing the cost of biomass power generation by at least 3.3 cents per kilowatt hour. "By funding the Energy Innovations Small Grant (EISG) program, the Commission is making strategic investments in California. The EISG program - under the Public Interest Energy Research division -- is an innovative model leveraging roughly $70 in private funds for every $1 invested," said Energy Commission Chair Dr. Robert Weisenmiller. 10/08/2011

 

EPAForms Biogenic CO2 Emissions Panel and Schedules First Public Meeting

US Environmental Protection AgencyThe US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisory Board (SAB) has formed an ad hoc Panel to review the draft Accounting Framework for Biogenic CO2 Emissions from Stationary Sources submitted by the Office of Atmospheric Programs (OAP) in September 2011. The Panel has released the schedule and agenda for its first public meeting to initiate the review, from October 25-27,2011 in Washington, DC. As background for the meeting, the EPA has published the agency's review documents including the "Synthesis of Comments Related to Accounting Approaches from EPA's Call for Information on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated with Bioenergy and Other Biogenic Sources." Biogenic carbon dioxide emissions are defined as emissions from a stationary source directly resulting from the combustion or decomposition of biologically-based materials other than fossil fuels. The EPA in January 2011 announced a 3-year deferral of enforcement for biogenic CO2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in order to thoroughly study the science. This assessment is intended to develop a set of "appropriate accounting procedures for biogenic CO2 emissions that satisfy the principles of predictability, practicality, and scientific soundness." For further information, see the SAB's web page on the Panel's actions. 10/08/2011

 

FirstReserve Makes €300 Million Strategic Investment in Abengoa

AbengoaInternational firm Abengoa has announced an equity investment of €300 million (about USD 398 million) by First Reserve Corporation (FRC). FRC will initially receive over 17 million Class B unlisted shares of new equity for an investment of €17.5 per share, plus a position on the Board and rights to purchase additional shares over time. FRC has raised $23.1 billion in capital during its 30 year history and currently holds 25 energy companies in its portfolio. Manuel Sánchez Ortega, CEO of Abengoa, said that FRC's investment was "… an explicit endorsement of the value of the strategy that we have been implementing for some time with the support of our current shareholders; a show of full confidence in the management and operational capacity of the company's team of professionals; and clear recognition of Abengoa’s potential for creating value." Abengoa's subsidiary Abengoa Bioenergy USA secured a US DOE loan guarantee last month, enabling start of construction of its 23 million gallon per year cellulosic ethanol plant in southwestern Kansas. The multi-technology fully integrated biorefinery will utilize enzymatic hydrolysis to convert non-food cellulosic biomass to biofuel, with biomass gasification to syngas fuel for production of steam. 10/08/2011 

 

BioCee Signs License Agreement for Verenium's Bio-Desulfurization Technology

Verenium CorporationMinnesota based BioCee Inc. has signed a commercial agreement with San Diego based Verenium Corporation to purchase assets and license the biocatalyst specialist firm's proprietary organisms and bio-desulfurization technology. Verenium has developed its proprietary DirectEvolution® platform, coupling high through-put rate microorganism screening and culturing methods that identify and propagate microbes with useful biological activities, then allowing isolation and production of specific enzymes and other proteins for commercial applications. BioCee has developed patented bio-coatings as mechanisms for application of bio-catalytic micro-organisms to surfaces; access to Verenium's methods will allow BioCee to commercialize sulfur reduction biocoating applications the company believes are "beyond the scope of conventional technologies." BioCee coatings employ organisms embedded in polymeric films as biological reactors, which with the new tools from Verenium can create reactive sulfur “filters” deployable the oil supply chain. “Compared to other more energy intensive desulfurization processes,” explained BioCee CTO and co-founder Dr. Marc von Keitz, “biodesulfurization occurs with minimal additional inputs of material and energy, and it allows for considerable improvement in the carbon footprint of clean fuel production. The combination of Verenium’s biological expertise with our novel reactor system allows us to offer the industry a truly innovative solution that can cost effectively improve the carbon balance of petroleum production and refining.” 10/07/2011

 

UK'sInstitute of Food Research Launches Biorefinery Centre

Steam explosion pilot plant at IFR's Biorefinery CentreThe Institute of Food Research (IFR) in the United Kingdom has announced the launch of a Biorefinery Centre focused on producing low-carbon footprint transport biofuel in collaboration with Lotus Engineering and other partners. The core of the new facility is a Cambi™ sub-critical steam explosion pilot plant that was installed last year. Steam explosion is used to disrupt plant cell walls in feedstock of food processing and agricultural wastes and by-products to facilitate extraction of useful materials. The cellulosic biomass thermal/hydrolysis pre-treatment process operates at up to 230 degrees C, releasing natural sugars and phenolics such as the antioxidant ferulic acid. Once free of cell wall lignin, the sugars can be treated with enzymes and fermented with yeast to produce bio-alcohol. "Once the food part of a crop has been exploited, there is a mass of plant material left behind that is often discarded as waste," explains Professor Keith Waldron, head of sustainability in the food chain exploitation platform at IFR. “With the launch of the pilot plant and through collaborations on the Norwich Research Park we have all the expertise necessary to help industry explore ways to make use of it,” he said. IFR is funded in large part by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSCR), which has just released the first of three research funding rounds for UK institutions and research centres: "Industrial biotechnology and bioenergy highlight notice 1: generation of hydrocarbons from living organisms" seeks proposals for development of novel or improved biological processes for the production and/or isolation of hydrocarbon-like products from biological feedstocks or living organisms. The new IFR Centre is open to collaboration with outside researchers; enquiries can be directed to Dr. Kerry I’Anson, IFR Extra: 01603 255342,. 10/07/2011

 

CleanEnergy Trust Adds $100K Challenge Grand Prize

2012 Clean Energy ChallengeUpdate to our News about the Clean Energy Challenge last month: the Clean Energy Trust (CET) has added a Grand Prize of $100,000 to this year's Challenge, expanding it to include the top student business concept. The new Grand Prize award was made possible by selection of the Clean Energy Trust to represent the Eastern Midwest Region by the Department of Energy; each of six regional clean energy programs will receive a share of $2 million over three years to host their respective regional competitions; each federal awardee will also now compete in a national clean energy business competition. The 2012 Clean Energy Challenge competition is open to businesses and students from Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Applications will be accepted in five categories: renewable energy, low-carbon transportation, Smart Grid, energy efficiency and carbon abatement. Complete rules and criteria are available on the Challenge webpage; business plans may be submitted online between November 1 and December 5, 2011. 10/07/2011

 

Cyclone'sClean Tech Engine Receives Patents in 10 European Countries

Cyclone Power TechnologiesFlorida's all-fuel clean tech engine specialist Cyclone Power Technologies has received patents protecting its proprietary reciprocating Rankine cycle engine in ten European countries. The highly efficient externally heated Cyclone Engine design runs on any heat source and achieves conversion efficiencies of over 30%, better than many internal combustion gas fuels engines. Cyclone is working with European manufacturing and renewable energy companies including Combilift (industrial lift equipment) and Renovalia Energy (solar thermal power); as well as global defense integrator Raytheon, who completed very positive external testing of the Cyclone Engine in March of this year. "Receiving these new patents is a significant development for our company and shareholders," stated Christopher Nelson, Cyclone's President. "Not only are we adding considerable value to our portfolio of intellectual property, but also patent protection throughout Europe allows us to focus on expanding our marketing and business efforts now rather than later. We look forward to updating the investment community and our shareholders as more corporate achievements come to fruition." 10/06/2011

 

BiotechnologyCompany Dyadic Raises $3MM in Private Placement

Dyadic InternationalDyadic International has announced completion of convertible private placement notes bringing in $3 million for use as working capital including research, development and new product placements. The notes pay an 8% annual interest rate and are convertible to shares of common stock. If the notes are not converted, they will  mature on January 1, 2013. The company specializes in discovery, development, manufacture and sale of enzyme, protein, polypeptides and small molecules for applications in large segments of the agricultural, industrial, bioenergy, chemical and biopharmaceutical industries. Dyadic has developed and patented its C1 strains of the fungus Chrysosporium lucknowense as an effective host for genetic investigation and expression using their High Through-put Rate Robotic Screening (HTRS) and "C1 Express" hyper-producing protein expression system. The combined "one-stop-shop" capabilities allow any useful gene discovery to be first expressed and then mass-produced. Dyadic works through strategic partnerships to "discover new biomaterials, develop new products, lower costs and reduce waste, improve yields, enhance the quality of end products, enhance the intellectual property position of its partners’ gene discoveries and gene products, and manufacture biological products." 10/06/2011

 

GreenleafBiofuels Secures Full Biodiesel Facility Funding

Greenleaf BiofuelsConnecticut based Greenleaf Biofuels has secured full funding necessary for completing its 10 million gallon per year multiple feedstock biodiesel production facility. The new facility will be the largest biofuels facility in New England and the first with deepwater and rail access. The Connecticut Community Investment Corporation (CTCIC), supported by the Small Business Administration's CDC/504 program, will assume almost half of the current loan debt once the plant is operational, joining earlier state and private investment. In March, Greenleaf received $150,000 pre-seed investment by Advantage Capital Partners. The facility is located within the New Haven Harbor fuel tank-farm, the largest fuel receiving, storage and distribution hub between Boston and New York. New Haven is the storage and distribution location for about half of the nation's Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, at 750,000 barrels; Greenleaf notes that the state uses about 400 million galloons of heating oil annually. Greenleaf expects to host a formal groundbreaking ceremony in mid-October. 10/06/2011

 

ShanksEnergen JV Opens Food Waste-to-Biogas AD Plant in Scotland

Shanks expects the Cumbernauld AD facility to be operating at full capacity in the next 12 months. Image:letsrecycle.comThe Energen Biogas joint venture (JV) with Shanks Waste Management has officially opened a 60,000 tonne per year anaerobic digestion (AD) facility in Cumbernauld, near Glasgow, Scotland. The plant will convert food waste from both commercial and local authority customers to more than 22,500 megawatt hours of grid-interconnected electricity, enough to power more than 3,000 homes. The AD facility treats the waste collected under Shanks' commercial food waste collection service launched in Glasgow and Edinburgh earlier this year. The AD facility is already receiving waste and is expected to be running at full capacity within 12 months. Energen's multi-step AD processing accepts food and food processing waste with or without packaging, segregating and pasteurizing feedstock before microbial conversion. Production of biogas will fuel on-site combined heat and power generation, completing the cycle in 40 to 80 days. The process also generates farm-ready bio-fertilizer. On the same day, Shanks also opened a 150,000 tonne per year materials recovery facility (MRF) at its existing operations site in Blochairn. The new MRF is designed to achieve 95% recovery from the incoming co-mingled municipal and industrial waste stream; residuals will be converted to solid recovered fuel as feedstock for combined heat and power. Shanks Waste Management, a subsidiary of Shanks Group Plc, is Europe’s largest listed independent waste management business with operations in the Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom and Canada. 10/05/2011

 

ArborGenTeams with University of Florida on Loblolly Pine for Biofuel Project

ArborGenSouth Carolina based ArborGen will participate on a University of Florida led research team focused on advancing pine-sourced biofuels. The work is funded by a three-year, $6.3 million grant from the Department of Energy's Advance Research Project Agency (ARPA-E) to support the university's "Plant Engineered to Replace Oil" (PETRO) project. The grant is part of the $156 million package funding 60 clean fuels projects. ArborGen specializes in both conventional and biotechnological plant breeding to develop seedlings with specifically desired characteristics that improve the productivity of trees for wood, fiber and energy. The goal of PETRO is to increase terpene storage capacity five-fold by genetically engineering strains of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). The higher terpene contents (up to 20%) would dramatically improve quantities of biofuels made from the pine; the team estimates about 100 million gallons of terpene-based biofuel per year could be produced from less than 25,000 acres of forestland. Jack Payne, University of Florida senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, noted: “By working with research entities and companies such as ArborGen to develop the potential of Loblolly Pine as a sustainable biofuel source, we can add a new dimension to its value, which has long-term benefits to the entire region and will provide greater economic security for our residents.” 10/05/2011

 

ThermoEnergy,ProfiNutrients, Multiform Harvest Partner for Nutrient Recovery

ThermoEnergyMassachusetts company ThermoEnergy have announced a partnership with Netherlands based ProfiNutrient BV for marketing ThermoEnergy's controlled atmosphere separation technology (CAST) ammonia recovery process (ARPTM) in Europe. ProfiNutrient already is working with Washington state based Multiform Harvest Inc, whose Struvite recovery systems complement the ARP process for optimal reclamation of nitrogen and phosphorous from wastewater and anaerobic digestion (AD) biogas plants. Multiform's patented struvite recovery technology captures up to 80% of phosphorus and 20% of nitrogen from wastewater and converts it into a slow-release ammonium phosphate fertilizer. ThermoEnergy's ARP system will then remove up to 90% of the remaining ammonia/nitrogen and recover it as ammonium sulfate fertilizer. “In combination, these two systems can solve the problem of nitrogen and phosphate loading into European waterways while producing two valuable fertilizers for sale that will subsidize operational costs,” said Pieter Teeuwen of ProfiNutrients. 10/05/2011

 

ToyotaLab Develops New High-Production Cellulosic Ethanol Yeast

Toyota Motor CorporationToyota Motor Corporation (TMC) showcased new technology at its Toyota Biotechnology and Afforestation Laboratory in Miyoshi City in the Aichi prefecture, including the development of a new yeast strain for fermentation of biofuel from cellulosic feedstock. The new yeast strain is highly efficient at fermentation of xylose, one of the primary sugars produced with the breakdown of plant fibers, while being resilient to high alcohol levels that would usually kill off the yeast population. By the lab's own survey last month, the yeast achieves the highest continuous fermentation for ethanol production density now proven, at about 47 grams per liter. The process is expected to significantly improve yield and reduce costs. The 3,000 square meter Biotechnology and Afforestation lab facility was established by TMC in 1999. Biofuels research spans the entire production line including raw material pretreatment, enzymatic saccharification and yeast fermentation with the ultimate goal of commercializing cellulosic ethanol by 2020. 10/04/2011

 

ISUResearchers Use Fast Pyrolysis to Convert Biomass to Sugar for Biofuels

Iowa State researchers have developed thermochemical technologies that efficiently produce sugars from biomass. Naomi Friend/Bioeconomy Institute photo.Dr. Robert Brown's engineering laboratory at Iowa State University (ISU) has announced optimization of a thermal conversion technology called Fast Pyrolysis to break down cellulosic feedstock like straw and corn silage to inexpensively turn biomass into what he calls "pyrolytic molasses." Fast pyrolysis involves quick heating of feedstock in absence of oxygen to convert organic compounds into liquids and/or gases, intermediary products to be further refined and reformed into advanced biofuels, lubricants and other useful foundation chemicals. Dr. Brown presented the team's findings at the International Conference on Thermochemical Conversion on September 28-30, 2011 in Chicago. Four key steps were depicted: (1) Pre-treatment to neutralize feedstock alkalinity, (2) Prevent thermal degradation of the product by using rapid through-out, (3) Fractionate the heavy Bio-Oil by density, and (4) wash soluble sugars from the heavy oils. "The Department of Energy has been working for 35 years to get sugar out of biomass," Brown said. "Most of the focus has been on use of enzymes, which remains extremely expensive. What we've developed is a simpler method based on the heating of biomass." 10/04/2011

 

GevoWill Supply Alcohol-to-Jet Fuel to US Air Force for Testing

GevoColorado-based Gevo has been awarded a contract by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to supply biofuel for a US Air Force (USAF) program of jet engine testing and flight feasibility demonstration. The contract starts with a shipment of 7,000 gallons of "alcohol-to-jet" (ATJ) fuel in the first quarter of 2012 with an option for an additional 4,000 gallons for a possible total contract value up to $600,000. This is the first ATJ fuel supply contract let by the DLJ, responsible for procuring most of the military's goods; the DLA had recently provided other forms of biofuel to the Air Force for testing. Gevo will produce isobutanol using its proprietary GIFT® platform of biocatalysis and alcohol/water separation, and then convert the alcohol to jet fuel at its demonstration plant in Silsbee, Texas. Shipments will be received at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base where the lab and engine testing and flight demonstration program is stationed. "The USAF is committed to positioning itself to integrate cost competitive alternative aviation fuels for up to half of its domestic needs by 2016," commented Christopher Ryan, Ph.D., president and COO of Gevo. "Once the USAF certifies our ATJ fuel, we believe we will have an excellent opportunity to become a supplier of homegrown and renewable jet fuel to our armed services."10/04/2011 

 

Due10/25/2011: LOI for USDA Sustainable Bioenergy AFRI Grant

Due 12/15/2011: Proposals for USDA Sustainable Bioenergy AFRI Grant

United States Department of AgricultureThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) requests proposals for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Sustainable Bioenergy (Sol# USDA-NIFA-AFRI-003536). The $11 million Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) grant program targets development of regional systems for the sustainable production of bioenergy and biobased products including (1) Impacts of Regional Bioenergy Feedstock Production Systems on Wildlife and Pollinators; (2) Socioeconomic Impacts of Biofuels on Rural Communities; and (3) Environmental Implications of Direct and Indirect Land Use Change.  $11 million expected to be available. This AFRI grant follows closely on USDA's $136 million University-based grants awarded last month to accelerate development of national advanced biofuels. Eligibility is broader for this new solicitation, extending beyond universities and institutions to private business and individuals. Letters of Intent (LOI) are required and are due October 25, 2011, final proposals are due December 15, 2011. A maximum of $10 million may be awarded for any one project.  For more information, contact Mark Poth at (202) 401-5244 or . General program questions may be addressed to. 10/04/2011

 

Due11/17/2011: Proposals to NYSERDA for Biofuels & Bioproducts Development

New York State Energy Research and Development AgencyThe New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has released a Request for Proposals (RFP; reference PON# 2331) "to facilitate the development of innovative and environmentally responsible biomass feedstock technologies and bioproducts, including biofuels, bioproducts used for heat or power production, biochemicals and other bioproducts." A total of $1 million is available; individual grants will not to exceed $250,000 and require a 50% cost share. Projects that are primarily demonstrative are not eligible; commercialization partners and pathways are desired by not mandatory. Eligible feedstock include agricultural crops or co-products, grasses, wood, residues from the food processing, paper or forest products industries, etc, but not sourced from municipal solid waste. Most types of biofuels and bioproducts and product development activities are eligible; the Summary lists biocatalysis and enzymatics as examples of eligible bio-based process technology components. For technical questions regarding the RFP, contact Judy Jarnefeld at   and refer to the solicitation number. Proposals are due to NYSERDA by November 17, 2011. 10/04/2011

 

AnaerobicAmmonium Oxidation Converts Urine to Rocket Fuel

Radboud University NijmegenResearchers at the Water and Wetlands Institute of Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands report success in determining the molecular mechanism called anammox (anaerobic ammonium oxidation) that converts ammonia to hydrazine, a compound used as rocket fuel, N2H4. Under a 2.5 million euro grant in 2008 from the European Research Council (ERC), Mike Jetten's collaboration with Paques and other universities in the Netherlands, the Max Planck Institute in Germany, IFREMER in France and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) resulted in development for four anammox reactors. Studies sampling bacteria in hydrothermal vents indicated that the anammox reaction could be responsible for much of the nitrogen gas in Earth's atmosphere. The recent research determined the key genetics of K. stuttgartiensis, identified primary protein structures and purified the enzymes that catalyze N2H4 synthesis and its subsequent oxidation to dinitrogen gas (N2). The anammox reaction is already used for efficient breakdown of organics and removal of nitrogen in wastewater and waste gas. The new work should spur interest in microbial production of biofuels. 10/03/2011

 

InternationalTeam Identifies Heat Tolerant Fungi for Biofuels Production

Muceliophthora thermophila is a fungus that thrives in high-temperature environments above 45°C.An international team of scientists has anounced collaborative results comparing two temperature tolerant (thermophyllic) fungi whose enzymes very efficiently break down cellulose and hemi-cellulose to fermentable simple sugars in elevated temperatures common to industrial biofuels production practices, from 40º to 75º Centigrade. The team includes the US Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute (JGI) based in Lawrence Berkeley's Walnut Creek Laboratory (LBL-Walnut Creek). The recently published article in Nature Biotechnology describes and compares the genomes of two thermophylic fungi, Myceliophthora thermophila and Thielavia terrestris. The genomes have been described for thermophylic eukaryotes and the first complete telomere-to-telomere genomes for filamentous fungi. DOE JGI Fungal Genomics head Igor Grigoriev wrote: "Thermostable enzymes and thermophilic cell factories may afford economic advantages in the production of many chemicals and biomass-based fuels … These thermophilic fungi represent excellent hosts for biorefineries where biomass is converted to biofuels as an alternative to modern oil refineries. The fact that these organisms not only deliver a broad spectrum of heat-tolerant enzymes but can also host new enzymes and be optimized for industrial processes holds great promise for significant improvements over existing systems." The team includes longtime collaborators Randy Berka, research Director at Novozymes in Davis, Calif. and Adrian Tsang of Concordia University in Canada. 10/03/2011

 

ToiletBike NEO Operates Using On-Board Waste to Biogas AD System

Toilet Bike NEOJapan's number one toilet maker TOTO has designed a toilet-motorcycle hybrid called Toilet Bike "NEO" that runs entirely on biogas. Actual photos of the vehicle appeared on the Japanese blog TOTO TALK for the first time on October 3rd. TOTO's latest Green Challenge will soon tour a motorcycle powered entirely on biogas generated from an on-board anaerobic digestion (AD) system that includes an on-board feedstock delivery module. Of course, all of TOTO's commodes can be equipped to talk with their users, along with numerous other highly desirable features shown in their archive of videos. TOTO's Green Challenge corporate program intends to cut bathroom CO2 emissions by 50% by 2017 compared to 1990 Japanese levels; the NEO tour is intended to educate the public about the company's green initiatives. The 500-mile rider-fueled tour will begin October 6, 2011 at the TOTO headquarters in Kitakyushu. New York-Tokyo art blog Spoon & Tamago has provided translations from the Japanese TOTO TALK. The art blog author adds, "Theoretically, as long as the driver continues to eat and drink, the motorcycle could run forever!" 10/03/2011

  

BerkeleyLab Researchers Discover Drop-In Biofuel Substitute for #2 Diesel

US Department of Energy's Joint BioEnergy Institute at Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryResearchers at the US Department of Energy's Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory identify a new microbe-produced advanced biofuel as a direct replacement for #2 Diesel. The JBEI's metabolic engineering program directed by Taek Soon Lee has engineered two strains of microbes, a bacteria and a fungus, to produce a precursor chemical in the terpene class; terpenes occur naturally in plants and are extracted commercially to produce flavorings and fragrances. “Bisabolane has properties almost identical to D2 diesel, but its branched and cyclic chemical structure gives it much lower freezing and cloud points, which should be advantageous for use as a fuel,” Lee says. “This was basically the same platform used to produce the anti-malarial drug artemisinin except that we introduced a terpene synthase and further engineered the pathway to improve the bisabolene yield both in E. coli and yeast. Enzymatic hydrogenation of this type of molecule is a very challenging project and will be a long term goal. Our near-term goal is to develop strains of E.coli and yeast for use in commercial-scale fermenters. Also, we will be investigating the use of sugars from biomass as a source of carbon for producing bisabolene.” The work was published this week in the journal Nature Communications entitled “Identification and microbial production of a terpene-based advanced biofuel.” 10/01/2011

 

NCGRGets $1.1MM of USDA AFRI Grant for Biomass Gene Research

National Center for Genome ResourcesThe National Center for Genome Resources (NCGR) will receive about $1.1 million over four years to provide gene sequencing and analysis to optimize for characteristics amenable to production of advanced biofuels. The funding is part of the $40 million AFRI grant from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to Washington State University, primarily to support the collaborative biofuels development efforts of the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) of which the NCGR is a member. “Successful development of biofuels requires us to understand why some tree varieties are better than others for converting woody biomass into petrochemical replacements. NCGR can provide the molecular characterization needed to identify the most promising tree lines for selection and breeding,” said Callum Bell, NCGR’s Vice President for Research. “These studies will expand the available gene catalogs of tree species as well as enable understanding of the biochemical features that explain amenability of particular wood products to the pretreatment and bioconversion steps that lead to products that will ultimately burn in jet engines,” he added. NCGR is a private, non-profit life sciences research institute located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 10/01/2011

 

PowerVerde's50kW Renewable Waste Heat System Licensed in Europe

PowerVerdeArizona based PowerVerde Inc has entered into a definitive agreement with the Netherlands renewable energy investment company Newton Investments BV, dba Newton Greenpower to distribute and manufacture the "Liberator," PowerVerde's 50 kilowatt (kW) renewable electricity generating waste heat recovery system. The licensing agreement provides Newton with exclusive manufacturing and distribution rights for all European countries, with an initial focus on Holland, Belgium, Scandinavia and Germany. PowerVerde designed and developed an organic rankine cycle engine at initial small modular scales of 10 kW and 20 kW electric output from conversion of low-grade heat to electricity. The non-combustion engines are driven by phase change expansion of an organic liquid to high-pressure gas and can run off sunlight or waste industrial heat as low as 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The first commercial 50kW Liberator was built and shipped to Newton in July 2011 for extensive testing for a variety of applications, including biogas, biomass, geothermal and other co-generation applications. Newton, based in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, actively pursues green energy in wind, biomass, photovoltaic, and thermal, and has standing relationships with Dutch and German manufacturers. 10/01/2011

  

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