August 2011 News and Matters of Interest

PREV Main Next

BacteriaIdentified in Panda Feces Are Able to Pre-Treat Biomass for Biofuels

Pandas at the Memphis ZooAssociate Professor Dr. Ashli Brown and her Mississippi State University team have isolated cellulolytic anaerobic bacteria that efficiently digest woody food in a giant panda's gut, converting up to 95% of the lignocellulose in 20 to 40 pounds per day of bamboo to sugar. The previously undescribed Clostridium and Bacteroides species were collected from fresh feces gathered at the Memphis Zoo and cultured during an on-going project funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Memphis Zoological Society, the Mississippi Corn Promotion Board, and the Southeastern Research Center at Mississippi State. The bacteria produce powerful enzymes, natural biological catalysts that greatly accelerate digestion of the panda's food. The research will continue to identify giant panda intestinal bacterium, seeking the most active enzyme producers. "Our studies suggest that bacteria species in the panda intestine may be more efficient at breaking down plant materials than termite bacteria and may do so in a way that is better for biofuel manufacturing purposes," and "The discovery also teaches a lesson about the importance of biodiversity and preserving endangered animals. Animals and plants are a major source of medicines and other products that people depend on. When we lose them to extinction, we may lose potential sources of these products," said Dr. Brown, whose findings were presented at this week's 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). 08/31/2011


DOEAwards $12MM in Support of Three Drop-In Biofuels Technologies

US Department of EnergyUS Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu has announced dedication of $4 million in grant funding for each of three small-scale biofuels development and commercialization efforts. New Zealand based LanzaTech's North American headquarters in Illinois will receive support for their ethanol-to-jet fuel development. LanzaTech’s core technology allows carbon monoxide containing gases to be used for fuel production by fermentation. Carbon monoxide is a high-energy gas that is used by LanzaTech’s proprietary microbes as their only source of carbon and energy for growth and product synthesis. The award to Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina backs their integration of thermochemical bio-crude production with hydro-processing upgrading to green gasoline and bio-diesel. Virent Energy Systems of Madison Wisconsin received funding to assist development of their thermal conversion and syngas upgrading processes, based on their aqueous-phase catalytic reforming (APR) conversion platform. "Producing advanced, drop-in biofuels in the U.S. will reduce America's dependence on foreign oil and support development of a new industry that will create jobs in rural communities across the country," said Secretary Chu. "These investments aim to accelerate the discovery of innovative solutions that could drive down the cost of biofuels production and boost their availability in the marketplace." 08/31/2011


Due09/30/2011: Response to USAF on Advanced Drop-In Biofuels Capabilities

Biomass to Advanced BiofuelsThe US Departments of Energy and Agriculture together with the US Navy have issued a Request for Information (RFI-11-27-PKM) to accelerate biofuels public/private partnership development. Following up on their interagency collaboration earlier in August, the RFI states the Administration's concept and approach and seeks specific ideas on funding and commercialization of a viable drop-in biofuels industry. Of particular interest are the technical, manufacturing and market barriers industry might identify that thwart full commercialization. The RFI is not a request for proposals and there will be no binding contract. The US Air Force (USAF), as the Department of Defense Executive Agent for the Defense Production Act of 1950 (DPA; 50 U.S.C. App. § 2061 et seq.) Title III program, released and will administer the RFI through the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The statutory criteria for the DPA state that: (A) The industrial resource, material, or critical technology item is essential to the national defense; and (B) Without Presidential action under the DPA Title III, United States industry cannot reasonably be expected to provide the capability for the needed industrial resource, material, or critical technology item in a timely manner. The Title III Program Office adds two additional criteria: (1) that the activities should be the most cost-effective expedient and practical alternative to meet their need, and (2) the US military demand is greater than the current industrial capacity to produce. Interested parties should respond with a white paper format on their company letterhead. Documents are due by September 30, 2011 to the Contracting Office at Det 1 AFRL/PKMD, ATTN: Laura J. Ortiz, 2310 Eighth Street, Bldg 167, Wright-Patterson Research Laboratory, AFB OH 45433-7801, (937) 656-9883. Clarification can be requested by sending an email to or. 08/31/2011


BioAmberPlans Commercial Bio-Sourced Succinic Acid Plant in Canada

BioAmber, IncBluewater Chemicals, Inc, a subsidiary of BioAmber Inc, will construct a commercial scale bio-sourced succinic production facility in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, with the support of CAD $35 million in grants and loans from the Ontario Ministry for Economic Development and Trade (MEDT). BioAmber is a private US company with offices in the United States, Canada, France, and China. BioAmber's technology platform is based on its exclusive license of microbial succinic acid conversion production developed by the US Department of Energy in the late 1990’s as part of the Alternative Feedstocks Program. The active microorganism produces high yields of succinic acid anaerobically while absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide. BioAmber currently produces the green chemical in their 3,000 million ton (MT) plant in France. The Sarnia facility will have an initial succinic acid production capacity of 17,000 MT, expanding to 35,000 MT after integration of new yeasts under development by their technology partner Cargill. The plant is intended to also produce 23,000 MT of biobased 1,4 Butanediol (BDO) using licensed DuPont technology to convert the succinic acid to BDO. Sandra Pupatello, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, said “Developing and marketing innovative, clean technologies that reduce our carbon footprint is one of Ontario’s strengths and a testimony of our growing impact in the global marketplace. Sarnia’s new Bluewater Biochemicals plant will help move Ontario’s clean agenda forward, while creating jobs to strengthen our economy and help Ontario families.” Permitting began in June 2011 and the facility is scheduled to be commissioned in 2013. 08/31/2011


Nexterra'sBiomass Gasification Installation Among Cleanest in North America

NexterraNexterra's biomass gasification installation at the Prince George campus of the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) shows substantially lower emissions when compared to 17 modern, conventional biomass combustion facilities in North America. Results of third-party testing have been released showing that Nexterra's data were 18 times lower for particulate matter (PM), 65 times lower for carbon monoxide (CO), 37 times lower for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and 2 times lower than the average nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. When compared to US EPA standards for natural gas, the Nexterra system biomass conversion emissions were lower for PM, CO and VOCs, and the same as natural gas for NOx. The emissions data were collected by Levelton Consultants Ltd., a leading engineering and science consulting firm. The UNBC's biomass gasification system was unveiled in March of this year, integrating campus operations with research and teaching, generating renewable heat economically thorough locally-sourced wood waste. It is expected to displace up to 85 per cent of the UNBC’s natural gas consumption, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 3,500 tonnes per year. 08/30/2011


TulaneUniversity Turns Newspaper to Bio-butanol - Seeks Commercial Partners

Tulane UniversityResearchers at Tulane University in New Orleans have been experimenting with a bacterium named TU-103 that can directly convert newspaper and other cellulosic biomass into butanol. Associate Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology Dr. David Mullin and his team believe that TU-103 is the only known butanol-producing clostridial strain that can produce butanol in the presence of oxygen. Oxygen is toxic to other butanol-producing bacteria. “This discovery could reduce the cost to produce bio-butanol,” says Mullin. “In addition to possible savings on the price per gallon as a fuel, bio-butanol produced from cellulose would dramatically reduce carbon dioxide and smog emissions in comparison to gasoline.” The innovative process also could have a positive impact on landfill waste. Tulane University is now "actively seeking commercial entities to further develop and commercialize" the new and efficient cellulose-to-biofuel conversion process. Inquiries regarding collaboration should be directed to Justin Levy, Tulane University's Licensing Associate, at 504-988-6962 or, referencing their intellectual property number for this project, PCT/US2011/47372. 08/30/2011


Due11/04/2011: Proposals for Central Maui Landfill Gas Utilization Project

County of Maui, HawaiiThe County of Maui, Hawaii, has released a Request for Proposals (RFP No. 11-12 / P-15) from developers for utilization of landfill gas sufficient to produce about 1 megawatt of electricity. Two pre-proposal site visits are scheduled for Tuesday, September 13, 2011 and Thursday September 15, 2011. The County operates the Central Maui Landfill gas collection and control system which is now being flared. The Request for Proposals (RFP) may be obtained at the County of Maui Purchasing Division, Department of Finance, located in the Wells Street Professional Center, 2145 Wells Street, Suite 104, Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii, 96793. Sealed Proposals will be received until 4:00 PM Hawaii Standard Time on Friday, November 4, 2011, unless revised by addenda. For technical aspects, contact Michael Kehano, Solid Waste Division at (808) 270-6153. For bidding process, contact Garrett Goo, Purchasing Division at (808) 249-2403. For more general landfill operational information contact Kyle Ginoza, Director of Environmental Management at 808-270-8230. 08/30/2011


CECReleases 2011-2012 Investment Plan for Alternative and Renewable Fuels

California Energy CommissionThe California Energy Commission (CEC) has posted the final draft of their 2011-2012 Investment Plan for the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (AB 118, Núñez, Chapter 750, Statutes of 2007). The final draft is built on the Transportation Committee's 3rd annual draft presented in their June 2011 Workshop, and reflects all comments received to Docket 10-ALT-1. The statute (as amended by AB 109) authorizes the CEC to “develop and deploy innovative technologies that transform California’s fuel and vehicle types to help attain the state’s climate change policies” and is based on an annual budget of about $100 million with allocation as outlined in each fiscal year's Investment Plan. This year's Plan includes increased emphasis on upstream fuel issues including feedstock type/acquisition and conversion processes. The Biofuels section (page 78) is responsive to the CEC's Bioenergy Action Plan, and contains an assessment of "some of the more developed and promising feedstocks." Biofuels feedstock categories include waste-based and purpose-grown feedstocks; fuel conversion processes rely on the fuel pathways identified to date through the Air Resources Board's Low Carbon Fuel Standard. The Commission will consider adoption of the draft Investment Plan at an upcoming Business Meeting, later this fall. 08/26/2011


ImpactsAssessed of  Proposed 1-Year Extension of Self-Gen Incentive Program

US Department of Energy Clean Energy Application CenterThe US Department of Energy's Pacific Clean Energy Application Center (PCEAC) has released a review of the potential fiscal impact to California institutions associated with AB 1150's proposed 1-year extension of the Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP; SB 412 of 2009). The SGIP program is set to expire on January 1, 2016; AB 1150 would allow the Public Utilities Commission to authorize continued collection of ratepayer funds for one year, for a total of $83 million in 2012. The report assessed the potential fiscal impact to be realized from adoption of combined heat and power (CHP) distributed generation by state-owned facilities under the expanded program. Findings: (a) Costs to California would be about $1 million of the $83 million that would be collected in 2012, based on the state's percentage of utility energy purchases, (b) State-operated entities would benefit from the extension by receiving from $4.38 to $8.75 million for self-generation installations in the range of 50 to 100 megawatt electric, and (c) Long-term benefits of CHP would be from $100 to $300 million, in total net present value. The report is largely drawn from work by ICF International, who presented the data to the Industrial Energy Consumers of America conference in San Francisco in June 2011. 08/26/2011


FirstSustainability Report Cards Posted at Biofuels Pumps in Three States

Sustainable Biodiesel AllianceThe non-profit Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance (SBA) participating members in three states have now posted Sustainability Report Cards on their biofuels pumps. The new sustainability-assurance program scores biodiesel based on a suite of sustainability criteria including feedstock type, origin, method of production and distance trucked to the point of sale. The resulting numeric score translates into a rating of Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum. So far, Piedmont Biofuels of Pittsboro, North Carolina, Pacific Biodiesel in Hawaii and SeQuential Biofuels in Oregon have begun offering SBA scored sustainable biodiesel at a total of 8 retail pumps. The SBA expects to increase the participation over the next few months. "We've been waiting for a sustainability labeling system for years, and we are delighted that our fuel scored at the top. Not all biodiesel is created equal. Thanks to the SBA, the driving public now has a way to discern the difference between one biodiesel and another," said Lyle Estill president of Piedmont Biofuels. “Piedmont is proud to be a member of the SBA and one of the first sites for labeled biodiesel in the U.S.” SBA membership is open to individuals, businesses, noon-profit organizations and governmental entities, subject to a Board-approval process. 08/26/2011


VirentGreen Gasoline Passes Critical "No Harm" in Real-World Testing

Virent Energy SystemsWisconsin based Virent Energy Systems has announced that their Biogasoline has passed rigorous testing conducted by one of their collaborators, Royal Dutch Shell. Five identical pairs of cars were driven more than 6,000 miles each during 2010; one set ran on regular Shell gasoline and the other on a blend of Shell gas and Virent biofuel. All engines were then dismantled and inspected; regardless the fuel, all engines were judged to be in identical condition. Virent's process catalytically converts plant sugars directly into drop-in gasoline blendstock identical to petroleum refinery gasoline. Sugar feedstock can be conventional sources like sugar cane, or cellulosic biomass like corn stover and pine residuals. “The Shell road trial results are encouraging and an important step forward in the commercialization of the BioForming process,” said Lee Edwards, CEO of Virent. The blended product can be used in existing refineries, pipelines, tanks, trucks, stations and pumps, safely powering the engines of cars, trucks, motorcycles, watercraft and other gasoline powered small engines. Virent was just selected by the National Advanced Biofuels Consortium as one of only two advanced drop-in biofuels judged "Defense-Ready". 08/26/2011 


Rosemount Offers Custom Biofuels Injection Blending at New Minnesota Terminal

Rosemount Clean Energies, LLCRosemount Clean Energies is now equipped to provide custom injection blending of biofuels petroleum products to advance biofuels commercialization in the St. Paul, Minnesota region. The redeveloped industrial complex is equipped with a rail spur, half a million barrel storage capacity, and distribution systems for biodiesel and ultra-low sulfur petroleum diesel fuel. The green-built, zero-waste plant will provide transloading, storage and distribution of ethanol, waste oil recycling, asphalt, #6 oil, propane, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG). The 50 acre site can expand capacity as needed for marine, aviation and other bio-fuels. "Biofuels are here to stay," states Tim Yocum, one of the principals and Chief Manager of Rosemount Clean Energies. "Canada just announced a 2% biodiesel requirement. Minnesota is going to 10% next spring. This new terminal will allow greater distribution of biofuels right where crops are grown and biofuels are produced. Combine this with our refineries' ability to produce ultra-low sulfur diesel from North Dakota and Canadian crude, and we have opened a huge channel for energy independence through local supply." Mr. Yocum also said that Rosemount Clean Energies can accept and test product from small-volume biofuels producers and is actively seeking strategic partners for rapid growth. 08/25/2011


GEOffers Fuel-Flexible Waukesha Engine for Smaller Biogas Projects

GEGE has introduced the Waukesha 1 megawatt APG1000 gas engine, expanding upon its line of biogas engines. The engine's modified combustion chamber, spark design and fuel control system provides easier start-up and operation, and now can utilize a broader range of bio-sourced gaseous fuels, including landfill gas, wastewater treatment biogas and fuel gas from conversion of agricultural waste. The introduction highlights GE's recent acquisition of Dresser Inc, Waukesha engine's parent corporation. The APG1000 is available for natural gas and biogas applications; GE also offers the option to incorporate Waukesha's combined heat and power technology. “Our introduction of the Waukesha APG1000 biogas engine helps us address the demand for more biogas engine choices in the lower output range as more industrial customers seek to recycle their own waste gases to generate cleaner and more cost-effective onsite power,” said Rafael Santana, CEO-Gas Engines for GE Power & Water. “While GE’s fuel-flexible, Jenbacher gas engines already are a popular global solution for distributed energy projects in the larger 3 to 4-MW output range, our Waukesha gas engine and Clean Cycle systems helps GE meet the demand for gas engines for smaller onsite power projects around the world.” 08/25/2011


Cereplastand Mastercolor AB Partner for Scandinavian Bioplastic Resin Market

CereplastCalifornia-based Cereplast has signed a distribution agreement for its proprietary biobased, compostable and sustainable plastic resins for Sweden, Norway and Denmark with Scandinavian bioplastics marketing and distribution firm Mastercolor AB. Frederick Sheer, Chairman and CEO of Cereplast notes that their company now has entered seven European distribution agreements since the start of 2011. Cereplast Compostables(R) Resins are designed for manufacturing durable, single-use, highly compostable applications, especially in the food service industry. Mastercolor's agreement starts with four shipping containers of Cereplast's proprietary bioplastics resin, and is expected to increase in coming years. "We are pleased to partner with Cereplast to expand our product offering and provide our clients with the highest quality bioplastic resin as an environmentally friendlier alternative to traditional plastic," said Carl-Johan Levert, CEO of Mastercolor AB. "Demand for biobased materials in the Scandinavian region is growing at a fast pace, and we are now better positioned to serve that market effectively." 08/25/2011


CodexisReports on Carbon Capture Technology Progress to DOE / NETL

CodexisTechnical progress in capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) by California-based Codexis was presented this week to the US Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE / NETL). Codexis received up to $4.7 million in May 2010 through ARPA-E Recovery Act program funding from the DOE to develop processes to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants using the company's patented CodeEvolver(TM) directed evolution technology. Codexis is developing proprietary carbonic anhydrase (CA) enzymes to catalyze carbon capture under industrial conditions; their data indicates performance about two million fold greater than processes using natural forms of the enzyme. The resulting CA enzymes are stable in temperatures greater than 90 degrees C. in relatively inexpensive, energy efficient solvents for 24 hours. Codexis has partnered with CO2 Solution, Inc, Quebec, Canada to develop the technology on this and other CO2 capture and resource recovery projects. CO2 Solutions has developed methods to utilize Codexis' CA enzyme to catalyze the transformation of CO2 into inert bicarbonate ion, greatly accelerating the natural mechanism used for CO2 respiration in the human body. 08/25/2011


 ICMBiomass Gasifier Now Uses Eisenmann Emissions Abatement Technology

ICM, IncKansas based ICM, Inc has selected emissions control systems from Eisenmann Corporation after successful testing with its Harvey County, Kansas feedstock-flexible gasification technology demonstration facility. Eisenmann's dual-field WESP (wet electrostatic precipitation) abatement systems, combined with ICM's own thermal oxidizer (T/O) and "heat sink" system is expected to provide emissions controls across the range of feedstocks. Located adjacent to Harvey County's municipal solid waste transfer and recycling facility in Newton, Kansas, ICM's demonstration plant is designed to cleanly convert refuse derived fuel (RDF), tires, wood chips, agricultural residues and energy crops into electricity and potentially fuels and chemicals. The facility broadens ICM's research and testing currently occurring at its facilities in Colwich, KS and St. Joseph, MO. Dave Vander Griend, president and CEO of ICM said, “We’re thrilled with the recent commercial deployment of our biomass gasifier technology, as it allows us to offer our waste-to-energy system on a global level. Recognizing the strength of collaborative partnerships, ICM is pleased to work with EISENMANN and their WESP technology to enhance our biomass gasifier applications.” 08/24/2011


BlackburnWWTW Converts Sewage to Biogas to Electricity in East Lancashire

United UtilitiesThe massive Blackburn wastewater treatment works (WWTW) in East Lancashire, United Kingdom, will now produce one seventh of the plant's electrical need by first converting the sewage to biogas, then to electricity. The Blackburn WWTW collects sewage from a 15 mile radius to process 168 megalitres of sewage per day, providing high-quality fertilizer for the agricultural industry at no cost. Conversion of the biogas to electricity is a "first" for the region, but not for United Utilities who generated 111 gigawatt hours of electricity from their many anaerobic digestion biogas generation and hydrogenation facilities across the United Kingdom. Steve Mogford, CEO of United Utilities, demonstrated the high-tech Blackburn site last week to Lord Henley Minister of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Mr. Mogford commented, "We already use AD technology to treat sewerage sludge and generate electricity at a number of our large treatment plants across the North West. Blackburn is the first in East Lancashire to use a sustainable power supply to run its heating and machinery." 08/24/2011


LawrenceBerkeley National Lab Opens Advanced Biofuels Testing Facility

Berkeley Lab’s ABPDU can convert biomass into advanced biofuels in sufficient quantities for engine testing.The Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit (ABPDU) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) in Emeryville, California is officially open for business following the ribbon-cutting ceremony last week. The 15,000 square-foot facility is designed to speed commercialization of next-generation biofuels by providing industry-scale lab testing capabilities. The ABPDU will test biomass pre-treatment methods, bioreactors for the production of microbial or fungal enzymes that can break down biomass into fermentable sugars, and technologies for conversion of sugars into advanced biofuels, along with the capacity to purify the fuels. The US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) awarded a $20 million grant last year to Berkeley Lab for the facility. Under the terms of the grant, the Berkeley Lab will receive an additional $3 million a year to operate the ABPDU, which is expected to be used by researchers from DOE’s three Bioenergy Research Centers (BRCs). The ABPDU also received $20 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. “One of the major missions of the BRCs is to see that scientific advances are translated into commercially viable technologies, as the rapid transfer of laboratory discoveries to the marketplace is crucial to solving the nation’s most pressing challenges in energy and the environment,” says Keasling, who also serves as CEO for one of the BRCs, the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI). “The ABPDU will be an important contributor to this national effort.” 08/24/2011


Aquaflowand Shell's CRI Catalyst Collaborate for Biofuel Development

AquaflowNew Zealand's Aquaflow has entered a collaborative agreement with Texas-based CRI Catalyst Company to advance algae to drop-in fuel development. Aquaflow was the first company to produce biodiesel and later, jet fuel, from genetically natural species of micro-algae harvested from sewage ponds. CRI is part of CRI/Criterion, the global catalyst technology unit of the Shell Group and is a major provider of technology to the global petrochemical and renewable fuels markets. It is a leading provider of ethylene oxide, selective hydrogenation, environmental and renewable fuel/chemicals technology. CRI has an exclusive sublicense agreement from Shell Global Solutions to use the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) Integrated Hydropyrolysis and Hydroconversion (IH2) technology. The collaboration will utilize mixed feedstock consisting of their wild-sourced algae optimized with other forms of biomass, for direct conversion into renewable gasoline, jet and diesel hydrocarbon blendstocks. “Initially, we’ll focus on setting up a demonstration facility, most likely in the USA, and from this base we will expand into the project opportunities currently in the Aquaflow pipeline – across a number of geographies,” comments Nick Gerritsen, Aquaflow director. 08/23/2011


DraftRegulations Released for California's New Wildfire Prevention Fund

California Fire Safe CouncilFollowing passage this year of the State Responsibility Area (SRA) Fire Prevention Fund (ABx1-29), draft regulations have been released and an updated review has been posted by the California Fire Safe Council. Effective July 8th, 2011, the chaptered legislation creates an annual $150 fee-per-structure user buy-in program to provide wildfire prevention services. Funds must be used "to pay the cost of collection and be distributed back to the direct benefit of the structure owners paying the fee, and may only support fire prevention costs by a number of entities including Cal Fire and the Board of Forestry (BOF), local Fire Safe Councils, local government, and other non-profits." Permanent regulations will be developed by the BOF and submitted to the Governor's Office sometime between September of this year and July of 2012. A two-year regulatory implementation process then begins, awarding grants and supporting community fore safety education; from mid 2014, BoF will implement a long-term wildlands maintenance and wildfire prevention program. Comments may be submitted to the BOF on the draft regulations at . 08/23/2011


ACOREProposes "Universal" Definition of Biomass

American Council on Renewable EnergyAt the end of last year, the non-profit American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) tasked their Biomass Coordinating Council (BCC) to review sixteen definitions for "biomass" that are currently found in federal laws and regulations and from this, to develop one "universal definition" of the term biomass. BCC's "Biomass Definition Subcommittee" (BDS) invested over 500 hours to finalize a definition they felt would be scientifically correct, would reflect the importance of biomass to environmental stewardship, would cover multiple agency needs and could be adopted by Congress. Their final Definition of Biomass was submitted to Congress last week. Of note, the Definition treats material from public lands differently than from private lands. In their preamble to the Definition, ACORE has now asked that Congress join the organization "in envisioning a new and vital frontier for the sustainable use of biomass in addressing the critical challenges of our times – economic stimulation, jobs, deficit reductions, climate change, energy independence and security, as well as environmental and social enhancement." ACORE's goal is to bring all forms of renewable energy into the mainstream of America’s economy and lifestyle; BCC promotes all renewable and sustainable uses of biomass and supports sustainability measures such as water conservation and soil enhancement, and the use of all biomass feedstocks including waste streams. 08/23/2011


CoskataRaises Over $20MM for Cellulosic Ethanol Commercialization

Coskata, IncIllinois based Coskata, Inc has closed a Series D round of financing, raising over $20 million to advance their integrated cellulosic ethanol biorefinery development. Support comes from previous investors including the Blackstone Group, Khosla Ventures, Total Energy Ventures International (part of Total, one of the world’s major Oil and Gas groups), ATV, Globespan Capital Partners, General Motors, Arancia, and Sumitomo. Coskata intends to open another funding opportunity in the forth quarter, 2011 for the remainder of the $40 million total offering. Coskata received a conditional loan guarantee early this year from the US Department of Agriculture to build a commercial scale cellulosic ethanol biorefinery, and selected Fagen Inc. and the Harris Group for their engineering, procurement and contracting (EPC) team. Their flexible technology platform first uses gasification to convert a wide array of feedstock types including biomass and waste to syngas, then uses the syngas as feedstock for anaerobic microbial fermentation to produce low-cost production of biofuels and chemicals. “We are very pleased with the continued commitment of our existing investors and their confidence in our technology platform,” said William Roe, president and chief executive officer of Coskata, Inc. “Proceeds from this transaction will go towards funding the remaining steps to commercialization.” 08/22/2011


California LCFS Advisory Panel Posts New Draft Documents for Upcoming Meeting

California Air Resources Board Low Carbon Fuel StandardThe California Air Resources Board (ARB) has posted additional review documents in advance of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) Advisory Panel's general meeting August 25 and 26, 2011. The Panel is developing their report for submission to the Board in December; a draft Table of Contents and an outline of progress toward the Targets and Schedules aid in understanding the overall scope of their efforts. Two new and detailed draft chapters have been developed, addressing (a) Technology Assessment, Supply and Availability and (b) Environmental Impacts. The Technology chapter indicates the Panel's increased grasp of advanced fuel production systems' rapid development, along with the barriers to that development in inadequate infrastructure and investment. The Impacts chapter clarifies this increased understanding, identifying the biofuels and technologies evaluated: " The biofuels evaluated include: ethanol from grains, sugarcane, and cellulose; biodiesel; renewable diesel; biogas; hydrogen; and biogasoline. The conversion technologies evaluated include: fermentation, hydrolysis, gasification, transesterification, anaerobic digestion, reformation, and acid fermentation." Starting with the 2009 assessment, the draft then examines new impact assessment tools and methods currently available to expand upon assessment as the number and diversity of fuel pathways continues to increase. A section outlines Sustainability and the LCFS (Impacts, pg 13), including the Sustainability Workgroup's efforts to address how existing law and regulation address sustainability for the management and harvest of biofuel feedstocks. The Impacts draft concludes (pg 16) that because this review is occurring early on in the program, "there are not enough data to suggest that there are environmental impacts associated with the LCFS." 08/22/2011


Abengoa Receives Conditional $133.9 MM Loan Guarantee for Biomass to Ethanol

Abengoa BioenergyInternational company Abengoa's subsidiary Abengoa Bioenergy has received an offer of a conditional commitment for a loan guarantee of $133.9 million from the US Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office to support Abengoa's construction of a commercial-scale cellulosic biomass to ethanol biorefinery. The biorefinery will be adjacent to Abengoa's existing starch ethanol plant, which will together form a hybrid complex in Hugoton, Kansas. The biorefinery plant will have a minimum conversion capacity of 700 tons per day and will consist of two parts: enzymatic hydrolysis (EH) and gasification. The EH part will convert the biomass (400 t/day) into ethanol, lignin and animal feed. The Gasification part will convert 300 t of biomass per day into syngas, which will be burned for steam generation. The steam will be used inside the biomass plant, and the surplus sold to the neighboring starch plant. Javier Salgado, President and CEO of Abengoa Bioenergy: “After we demonstrate the commercial viability of our proprietary enzymatic hydrolysis technology in Hugoton, we then plan to incorporate the technology into many of our other existing facilities by adding cellulosic production to the existing starch ethanol facilities that we currently operate … The plant is also designed to produce approximately 23 million gallons of advanced cellulosic ethanol each year, as well as enough energy to meet the electric power needs of the plant.” 08/22/2011


CTSI's2011 Top 10 Defense Technologies Includes Waste Conversion to Energy

Clean Technology and sustainable Industries OrganizationThe Clean Technology and Sustainable Industries Organization (CTSI) has selected 2011's top 10 technologies ready for Defense applications out of a field of 220 global energy companies vetted. The winners span fields of bioenergy, biofuels, wind energy, transportation, microgrids and energy storage. CTSI's findings will be presented in Honolulu on September 13, 2011 at the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit to a panel of officials representing the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force, and the Department of Agriculture and Army Corp of Engineers. Winners in the Bioenergy and Biofuels categories include ZeaChem's hybrid integration of microbial and thermal conversion of wastes and biomass to fuels and chemicals, and LanzaTech, feeding microbes CO-rich industrial emissions to produce fuels and chemicals. Also converting waste to energy is Ener-G-Rotors, whose systems convert low-temperature waste heat into electricity. CTSI is a not-for-profit membership organization with the goal of advancing the commercialization and global adoption of clean technologies and sustainable industry practices, offering a free clean-tech start-up program. 08/20/2011


CaliforniaARB LCFS Advisory Panel Meets on August 25-26, 2011

California Air Resources Board Low Carbon Fuel StandardThe California Air Resources Board (ARB) has issued a notice with location and contact information for the third Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) Advisory Panel Meeting on August 25 and 26, 2011. The two-day meeting is open to the public and participation can be in person or by webinar. Topics covered will include harmonization if the LCFS with other similar global sustainable fuels efforts, fuel pathway Lifecycle Assessment (LCA), supply and availability concerns, meeting the LCFS targets and timelines, and the environmental impacts of the program. Following release by the LCFS Advisory Panel of their Workplan Version 2 (V2) outlining progress toward and plans for continued work on the 13 workgroup topics mandated by the LCFS law, Teru Talk submitted public comments on the V2 Plan and posted our Interim Guide to the LCFS. Both documents should help broaden public understanding. The LCFS developing regulations are intended to reduce the carbon intensity of fuels sold in California ten percent by 2020, to reduce greenhouse gases in California. For further agency information on the program and the next meeting, see the Advisory Panel's web page and/or contact Michelle Buffington at or (916) 324-0368. 08/20/2011


INEOSCloses on $75MM to Complete Advanced Waste to BioEnergy Facility

The Indian River County BioEnergy Center, near Vero Beach, Florida, will produce eight million gallons of advanced biofuels per year from renewable biomass including yard, wood and vegetative wastes. INEOS New Planet BioEnergy (INPB) has finalized a $75 million round of private financing, backed by their just-issued USDA loan guarantee from the 9003 Biorefinery Assistance Program. INPB is a joint venture project of INEOS Bio and New Planet Bioenergy (INBP), and the financing supports completion of the Indian River BioEnergy Center in Vero Beach, Florida. The commercial scale plant will produce eight million gallons annually of cellulosic-sourced biofuel and a total of six megawatts of electricity by conversion of local biomass, including yard waste and household organics. The INEOS Bio process thermally decomposes waste and then bubbles the cooled hydro-carbon rich gas through a microbial bath for fermentation to fuels and other chemicals. “We want to commend the USDA on its partnership with us in advancing this bioenergy technology and making it commercially available,” said Peter Williams, CEO of INEOS Bio and Chairman of INEOS New Planet BioEnergy.  “The Vero Beach BioEnergy Center is the first of its kind in the world and provides a template for a technology that can make a real contribution to energy independence and job creation, while also reducing green house gas emissions and diverting wastes from landfill and lower value uses.” 08/20/2011


HDSIAcquires License For Carbon Capture and Algal Biofuel Technology

HDS InternationalRhode Island based HDS International (HDSI) has entered into an acquisition agreement with Hillwinds Ocean Energy, LLC (HOEL), a privately-held carbon capture, carbon sequestration and algae-for-biofuels technology company, and wholly owned subsidiary of Hillwinds Energy Development Corporation (HEDC). HOEL's technology systems and methods can be applied for ocean-based biomass production through the fixation of carbon dioxide (CO2) in biological systems. The technology can remove large volumes of CO2 from industrial emissions and efficiently transfer the CO2 to photosynthetic marine algae, increasing their growth rate. The all-natural processing complement can reduce industrial emissions related costs, cut greenhouse gas release and drive production of sustainable biofuels and bioproducts.As part of the licensing agreement, Mark Simon resigned as HDSI’s sole executive officer. Tassos D. Recachinas has taken over as president, CEO, CFO, secretary, treasurer and director of HDSI. Mr. Rechachinas is an officer, director and  controlling shareholder of HEDC, parent company of HOEL. He is also managing member of Sophis Investments LLC, an investor in HOEL. HDSI paid HOEL for the exclusive license through 7.5 million newly-issued shares of Class A Preferred Stock; 250,000 newly-issued shares of HDS common stock; and a $325,000 promissory note due in 12 months at a 10 percent interest rate. HDSI  has also just agreed on terms of financing with Wiremu, Inc. for a stock-convertible low interest six-month loan of $500,000. Mr. Recachinas stated, “With this acquisition, HDS is strategically positioned to capitalize on the already enormous and growing opportunity associated with addressing the world’s most significant long-term problems, namely eco-sustainability and energy independence.” 08/19/2011


GreenstarWins Akron Contract for Recycling and Waste Plastics Conversion

Greenstar RecyclingThe City of Akron, Ohio, has awarded a recycling contract to Texas company Greenstar Recycling for construction of a single-stream recycling processing center for the City's curb-side pick-up of recyclable goods. The contract also includes conversion of waste plastics to synthetic crude oil (syn-oil) using thermal depolymerization technology provided by Greenstar's Ohio-based joint venture partner Vadxx Energy. The process produces syn-oil with lower sulfur content than that found in crude oil and is light density oil with API gravities primarily between 35 and 45 degrees. Gas produced by the Vadxx process can be converted to electricity to power the unit. “This new recycling facility will bolster the local, green infrastructure of Akron and its surrounding communities. Recycling is a cornerstone of our sustainability efforts and we are pleased to announce this significant investment in the local community.” said Rick Merolla, Akron’s Public Service Director. In addition, Merolla said, “this new facility is consistent with the City’s Greenprint for sustainability, launched in 2008.” 08/19/2011


WaterBuffalo Rumen Enzymes Characterized for Cellulosic Ethanol Production

Water Buffalo Image courtesy of National GeographicTaiwanese researchers' work published this month in BioMed Central's Biotechnology for Biofuels describes gene and enzyme activity of a newly-isolated W5 strain of Neocallimastix patriciarum, an anaerobic fungal organism found in water buffalo digestive tracts. Difficulties culturing the ruminant fungus and the lack of genome detail have previously deterred a good understanding of glycosyl hydrolases, the "GH" enzymes responsible for ruminant cellulose digestion. A key step in cellulosic ethanol production is the efficient breakdown of cellulose to glucose for fermentation. The team utilized a combined recent advances in transcriptomic and proteomic genomic approach to identify 19 major extracellular cellulase genes for enzyme characterization in degradation of rice straw, napier grass, and sugarcane bagasse. The genes were expressed in yeast organisms for enzyme characterization, identifying at least five cellulases, including one β-glucoside and one exoccellulase with activity levels strong enough to be potentially useful for commercial glucose production. Lead researchers are Tzi-Yuan Wang, Biodiversity Research Center, and Hsin-Liang Chen, Genomics Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei 115, Taiwan. 08/19/2011


Due09/02/2011: Comments on Refined 4RFI Proposed Action Plan

Four Forests Restoration Initiative MapThe US Forest Service is seeking public comment on their refined action plan for the Four Forests Restoration Initiative (4RFI), a plan for restoration activities on about 600,000 acres of the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests in central and eastern Arizona. Two public meetings have been scheduled to discuss the 4RFI plan for August 25, 2011 in Williams and August 27, 2011 in Flagstaff, Arizona. The 4RFI received Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration funding in June; mop-up activities continue after the massive fires that swept the area that month. Fuel loading reduction and biomass resource utilization are high priorities in the Plan. Objectives of the 4RFI are "to re-establish forest structure, pattern, and composition, which will lead to increased forest resiliency and function at a landscape scale. This project is expected to put the project area on a trajectory toward comprehensive, landscape-scale restoration with benefits that include improved vegetation biodiversity, wildlife habitat, soil productivity, and watershed function." Comments should be submitted to. For additional information, contact the project team leader Henry Provencio at 928-226-4684 and visit the 4RFI Project website and 4RFI Stakeholder website. 08/19/2011


SynthesisEnergy Successfully Tests Gasification of Low-Grade Chinese Coal

Synthesis Energy Systems, IncHouston-based Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc (SES) has announced successful 5-day testing of its advanced gasification system at its Zaozhuang joint venture plant in Shandong Province, China. SES licenses the U-GAS® system from Gasification Technology Institute (GTI), focusing on the clean conversion of low-grade feedstock including biomass and coal, leaving "better" fuels for less resilient technologies. The tests gasified low quality high-ash coal for Yankuang Yishan Chemical Industry Company ("YYCC"), demonstrating high carbon conversion efficiency and a range of system load levels. YYCC operates a 240,000 tonne/year synthetic ammonia plant, a 420,000 tonne/year urea unit and a 30,000 tonne/year methanol facility. Based on SES' successful coal test, YYCC and SES plan to move into commercial discussions regarding retrofitting YYCC's outdated gasification systems in use for their ammonia fertilizer plant with the U-GAS® technology. Mr. Zu Yu, Deputy Chief Engineer of YYCC, stated, "With this successful coal test, we more firmly believe that SES' U-GAS® technology is ideally suited to meet our specifications and requirements on production cost, energy consumption, environmental, etc. As a result, we are moving forward with our commercial discussions with SES." 08/18/2011


DynamotiveSeeks Expansion of BioOil Pyrolysis Technology to SE Asia

Dynamotive Energy Systems CorporationCanadian pyrolysis specialists Dynamotive Energy Systems Corporation (“Dynamotive”) has announced signing of a non-binding six-month extendable Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Genting Bio-Oil Sdn Bhd (GBO) of Malaysia, a subsidiary of Genting Berhad, to explore market development of the company's pyrolysis oil technology in the Southeast (SE) Asia Region. Dynamotive has developed two biofuel processing technologies out of its Waterloo Research Facility: Fast Pyrolysis, which creates renewable bio-oil, and Bingo (Biomass INto GasOil), which refines it into clean usable mobile fuels. Fast Pyrolysis uses cellulosic biomass from agricultural or forestry residues to produce BioOil comparable to Fuel Oil and CQuest BioChar which can be used in heating applications, or in an agricultural setting to aid in substantial crop improvements. GBO also has extensive experience with pyrolysis and production of bio-oil; the collaboration will assess the SE Asian market development potential, the performance characteristics of Dynamotive's approach when converting palm oil wastes, possible construction of a biofuel plant, and evaluation of a common business model. Subject to successfully meeting the established objectives, the parties would enter into definitive commercial agreement. 08/18/2011


FuelCellPower Plant Converts Wastewater Biogas to H2 and Electricity

FuelCell EnergyA public/private partnership that includes FuelCell Energy (FCE), Air Products and the National Fuel Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine has announced a commissioning event of a Direct FuelCell (DFC®) power plant that converts wastewater treatment biogas from the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) into 250 kilowatts of electricity to run the main facility and pure hydrogen (H2) for on-site vehicle fueling. The project received support from California Air Resources Board (CARB), South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Southern California Gas Company. Tony Leo, Vice President, Applications, FuelCell Energy, Inc., commented, "Our Direct FuelCell technology is very versatile including the ability to provide renewable hydrogen as well as ultra-clean power and usable high quality heat from a waste stream … This project demonstrates how technology developed and manufactured in America can help to address our Nation's dependence on imported fuel sources by efficiently and cleanly converting waste biogas into renewable hydrogen for transportation needs of the 21st century," The power plant is operating under a three year contract and is maintained by FuelCell Energy. 08/18/2011


ConstructionStarts on Lethbridge Organic Waste to Biogas Facility

Lethbridge Biogas ProjectAfter a decade of planning, ECB Enviro North America Inc and Canadian anaerobic digestion (AD) specialists PlanEt Biogas Solutions Inc have formed the new partnership, Lethbridge Biogas LP, and have announced start of construction on their 2.85 megawatt biogas plant. The new facility is located in Rave Industrial Park, Lethbridge County, Alberta, Canada. The biogas facility will process local organic by-products from local livestock operations, the meat and food processing industries, restaurants, and institutions, with carbon dioxide savings of more than 45,000 tonnes per year. PlanEt has built five biogas plants in Canada and more than 200 plants in Europe through their affiliate company PlanEt Biogas Technique of Vreden, Germany. He Lethbridge plant should start biogas production in 2013.  “We believe this project is a long-term, value added initiative that will reduce waste while creating a new source of energy", adds Economic Development Lethbridge CEO Cheryl Dick. “This is an important rural development opportunity that has economic, environmental and long-term societal benefits through waste reduction, energy creation and advanced technology application.” 08/17/2011


DOE,USDA, Navy Partner to Accelerate Advanced Drop-in Biofuel Production

United States Department of AgricultureResponding to President Obama's Blueprint for A Secure Energy Future, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), together with the Departments of Energy (DOE) and the Navy,  have announced  a three-year initiative with a $510 million budget to speed development of large-volume biorefineries that can produce drop-in aviation and marine biofuels for military and commercial transportation. The initiative is directed toward  public-private partnerships requiring at least a dollar-for-dollar private sector match, and is being steered by the White House Biofuels Interagency Work Group and Rural Council. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus have developed a plan to jointly construct or retrofit several drop-in biofuel plants and refineries. "By building a national biofuels industry, we are creating construction jobs, refinery jobs and economic opportunity in rural communities throughout the country," said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. "As importantly, every gallon of biofuel consumed near where it is produced cuts transportation costs and, for the military, improves energy security." "These pioneer plants will demonstrate advanced technologies to produce infrastructure-compatible, drop-in renewable fuels from America's abundant biomass resources," said Energy Secretary Chu. "It will support development of a new, rural-focused industry that will replace imported crude oil with secure, renewable fuels made here in the U.S." 08/17/2011


Due 09/15/2011: Applications for Funding of Biomass Boilers in UK Social Housing

UK Department for Energy and ClimateThe United Kingdom's Department of Energy and Climate (DECC) has established a £3 million fund to help put biomass fueled "eco-heater" boilers in government-run low income "social housing", as part of the UK's £15 million Renewable Heat Premium Payment budget. Biomass boiler heat can either be used directly for heating, or to produce hot water. Systems are fueled using pellets made from wood, sawdust, straw, and crops specifically grown for energy purposes such as willow and elephant grass, and are designed for use with hoppers which automatically feed the boiler as more fuel is needed. Government-registered providers of social housing, such as local authorities and social housing associations, are invited to bid for funds of up to around £175,000 per housing provider to support proposals which should in total finance at least 17 social housing projects. DECC has an on-line Renewable Heat Fact Sheet. Further details on how to apply and the terms and conditions for the competition can be viewed on the Energy Saving Trust's Renewable Heat Premium Payment web page. The deadline for applications is September 15, 2011. 08/17/2011


LanzaTechand Harsco Form Alliance to Convert Steel Mill Emissions to Ethanol

LanzaTechNew Zealand based LanzaTech has formed a strategic alliance with Harsco Corporation for their first agreement outside of Asia. Harsco serves the global steel industry; LanzaTech's proprietary methods convert carbon monoxide-rich steel mill emissions to be fermented into liquid fuel by their proprietary microbes, turning air quality liabilities into carbon-saving assets. Following successful pilot plant operation at the New Zealand Steel facility at Glenbrook near Aukland, LanzaTech has initiated numerous Asian projects. The new strategic alliance will allow the two companies to explore business development to market, design, install and operate commercial facilities at steelmaking plants throughout the world. “The conversion of industrial waste streams into beneficial ‘green’ resources has long been a Harsco mainstay,” said Harsco Chairman, President and CEO Salvatore Fazzolari. “With LanzaTech, we now add another dimension to our ability to bring innovation to our customers and at the same time, help build a more sustainable environment.” 08/16/2011


ZeaChemand Chrysler Sign MOU to Fast-Track Non-Food Cellulosic Biofuels

Zeachem IncColorado-based ZeaChem Inc has announced signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Chrysler Group LLC for a strategic alliance focused on accelerating development of non-food cellulosic ethanol. The intent is to strengthen consumer and agency recognition and confidence for cellulosic biofuel as a cost-effective transport fuel alternative. ZeaChem's integrated multi-technologic approach utilizes biochemical and thermochemical parallel processing pathways, fermenting sugars and gasifying lignins then recombining the separated hydrogen with ethanol precursors. This self-powered system produces ethanol without additional production of carbon dioxide. The company broke ground on their first commercial facility in Boardman, Oregon last year, and was selected this July by the USDA to benefit from one of the new BCAP Project Areas. The collaboration with Chrysler Group will fast-track large scale production. "Chrysler Group has long been committed to promoting the consumption of alternative fuels and to delivering flex-fuel vehicles to our customers," said Reg Modlin, director, regulatory affairs, Chrysler Group LLC. 08/16/2011


NABCSelects Two Drop-In Biofuel Technology Approaches for Pilot Projects

National Advanced Biofuels ConsortiumEnding their first year of assessment funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE), the National Advanced Biofuels Consortium (NABC) has chosen two advanced biofuel technologic approaches for development support that produce engine-ready "drop-in" biofuels. The initial year's feasibility study asked whether a pilot production facility could be ready within their three-year window. A second stage of NABC's work will now take the final two years to get a pilot built and operating. The two technologies moving into Phase II are Amyris Biotechnologies fro advanced fermentation of lignocellulosic feedstock to alcohols, and Virent Energy Systems for aqueous phase reforming (APR). A second round selection pending submission of additional data may add catalytic fast pyrolysis and hydrothermal liquefaction. NABC is a collaboration of 17 public and private partners and is co-led by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). 08/16/2011


VeoliaLandfill Gas to Energy Project in Wisconsin is Starting Up

Veolia Environmental Services North AmericaVeolia Environmental Services North America will host start-up ceremonies at Veolia Environmental Services' Hickory Meadows Landfill in Hilbert, eastern Wisconsin; the ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for August 16, 2011. Veolia systems for landfill gas collection and conversion to energy have completed commissioning and are ready for operations. This is Veolia's first landfill gas to energy project in the United States. Corporate Veolia executives will join state and local political figures and the media for the ceremony and a tour of the facility. Energy generated will power 2,800 homes annually. The landfill is a Subtitle-D facility located in a natural clay geological area that opened for business in 1999. 08/15/201


DOEResearchers Identify Critical Gene for Ethanol Production

Department of Energy BioEnergy Science CenterA broad collaboration of researchers working through the Department of Energy's BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) has identified a single bacterial gene critical to ethanol production. The BESC multi-disciplinary research team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory focused on the bacterium Clostridium thermocellum, isolating and identifying the single functional gene site controlling production of the enzymes required to convert plant sugars to ethanol. With this knowledge, the team believes that tailor-made micro-organisms may be built with their own enzyme production capacity that could avoid the need to add costly enzymes. The discovery ahs been published by the BESC team in the Proceedings of the national Academy of Sciences; the invention is now available for licensing. 08/15/2011


AustrianResearchers Develop Fungal Enzymes that Break Down PET Plastics

Austrian Centre of Industrial BiotechnologyThe Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (ACIB) has announced development of fungal-sourced enzymes that decompose polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics into their initial material complement. At body temperatures, the enzymes are capable of breaking down a PET-plastic bottle within 48 hours. The research was a collaborative effort of three Austrian universities headed by Georg Guebitz, Professor at Technical University Graz, Institute for Environmental Biotechnology and director of the ACIB's Research Department on Enzymes and Polymers, focused on re-engineering the fungal genetics toward over-production of the target enzymes. The ACIB is a Competence Centre for Excellent Technologies (COMET) that combines institutional and industrial practices and processes to improve economic and ecological efficiency. The ACIB is now seeking industrial partners to take the new methods to commercial production; for more information, contact Professor Dr. Georg Guebitz, or Dr. Enrique Herrero Acero,. 08/15/2011


PNNLResearchers' New Enzymatic Catalyst Makes Hydrogen Gas – Fast

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) report that their new nickel-based enzymatic catalyst separates hydrogen from water at a rate of abut 100,000 molecules per second, much faster than previously accomplished by natural plant enzyme action. The team selectively separated the most functional elements from natural enzymes that could rapidly store and recover energy, building these parts into synthetic enzyme molecules. By "stuffing electrons" into the dense molecular structure of chemicals, greater energy storage is possible than in standard batteries. Breaking those bonds allows the electrons to flow again and makes the energy available; in nature, plants accomplish that bond-breaking with the protein hydrogenase. "We looked at the hydrogenase and asked what is the important part of this?" said Morris Bullock, director of the Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis at PNNL. "The hydrogenase moves the protons around in what we call a proton relay. Where the protons go, the electrons will follow." The most active parts, called pendant amines, were then built around nickel atoms in a proportion that optimized the protein relay and reformation of hydrogen atoms. The research has been published in the August 12, 2011 issue of the journal Science. 08/13/2011


AirProducts Receives Planning Permission for Plasma Waste to Energy Plant

Graphic showing reception facility of proposed Air Products Tees Valley Renewable Energy Facility. United Kingdom (UK) based Air Products has received planning permission from the Stockton on Tees Borough Council for their proposed Tees Valley Renewable Energy Facility. The facility will gasify around 300,000 tonnes per year of pre-processed residential and commercial waste, producing synthetic fuel gas to run engines for generation of 49 megawatts of electricity. A 2009 agreement with their partner AlterNRG provides rights to European and North American project development. AlterNRG owns the Westinghouse Plasma Corporation, refurbishing the company's main Pennsylvania testing facility and speeding commercialization of their advanced plasma gasification technology. UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) Minister Greg Barker said: “I welcome the progress that Air Products has made with its project to bring advanced gasification to the UK. Energy from waste leads to considerable reductions in waste going into landfill, and makes an important contribution to the UK’s low-carbon energy supply. This new technology will be an exciting addition to the energy from waste sector and I look forward to seeing the announcement of more of these projects.” 08/13/2011


MetsoWins 8th Contract in Germany for Modular CHP Biomass Plant

Zwickau plant 3D illustrationInternational energy, paper and mining giant Metso Corporation announced that they have secured their eighth contract for a modularized bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) gasification based power plant to be delivered by their Metso-Wärtsilä (MW Power) joint venture. The automated combined heat and power (CHP) turn-key system will provide about 10 megawatts of thermal energy for district heating (MWt) and 5 megawatts of grid-connected base-load electricity (MWe) to the municipality of Zwickau, Germany, powered by forest residue and landscape wood waste. The contract (worth about EUR 20 million) will supply the entire plant installation and all necessary training to Heizkraftwerk Zwickau Süd GmbH & Co. KG,  Zwickau's local utility company company owned by Hamburg based investor CEE (Conetwork Erneuerbare Energien Holding GmbH & Co. KGaA) and Zwickauer Energieversorgung GmbH (“ZEV“).“Through this investment, we will not only secure the production of district heat for our town but will also reduce our dependence on ever rising oil and gas prices. We are also very optimistic that the price paid for the district heat can be lowered from today’s level”, says Volker Schneider, Managing Director of ZEV GmbH. “We look forward to working with such an experienced supplier as MW Power on the construction of this biomass-fuelled plant”, adds Olaf Lüdemann, Managing Director of CEE. 08/13/2011


BASFand Purac Negotiate JV for Commercial Production of Bio-Succinic Acid

PuracGlobal chemistry giant >BASF and Netherlands-based Purac (a subsidiary of CSM nv) have announced negotiations for formation of a joint venture to produce commercial quantities of bio-sourced succinic acid at Purac's facility near Barcelona, Spain. The companies have been collaborating on microbial developmental research since 2009, first validating production techniques and then testing the product in the marketplace. They anticipate the demand for bio-sourced succinic acid to increase for the next few years, for use in bioplastics, solvents and other green chemicals. The focus has been on proprietary methods for use of the natural bacterium Basfia succiniciproducens, which can process C3, C5 and C6 sugars from diverse biomass feedstock, secreting succinic acid while fixated the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2). “We aim to be the first commercial producer in the market with a 25,000 tons capacity fermentation production plant at the Purac site near Barcelona, Spain, with the intention to start up by 2013 at the latest,” said Gerard Hoetmer, Chief Executive Officer of CSM. “In addition, we are already planning a world-scale plant with a capacity of 50,000 tons to account for the expected demand growth. This partnership has enormous potential as it leverages the combined competencies of two leading companies in their fields.” 08/12/2011


DOEReleases 2011 Update of the Billion Ton Biomass Supply

US Department of Energy Knowledge Discovery FrameworkThe US Department of Energy's Knowledge Discovery Framework (DOE/KDF) has announced release of their 2011 "U.S. Billion-Ton Update: Biomass Supply for a Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industry" (2011 BT2). The work completed for DOE by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers is a continuation of ORNL's biomass supply assessments initiated in 2005 with the now-classic Billion-Ton Annual Supply study (2005 BTS). This is the definitive compilation of current U.S. supply and demand of biomass for bioenergy and bioproducts, covering sourcing from forestry, urban wood waste and other waste resources, agriculture, and energy crops. Deeply referenced and illustrated, 2011 BT2 can provide a baseline for national biomass utilization and projections. In addition to updating 2005 data, the new study provides a spatial county-by-county inventory of potentially available primary biomass feedstock, data on price and availability, and rigorous sustainability modeling. The update projects from current data to an understanding of likely supply and demand from 2012 through 2030, relating this to the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2). DOE/KDF interactive data maps and interactive models are now available on-line, including ORNL's prototype Biofuel Supply Chain Infrastructure (BILT) model. 08/12/2011


BCHydro Will Invest  $300 Million in Four Biomass to Bioenergy Projects

BC HydroBC Hydro has announced selection of two developers for four British Columbia, Canada bioenergy projects totaling 104 megawatts (MWe) capacity, for an investment of over $300 million. West Fraser Mills Ltd will develop two 12 MWe plants in Chetwynd and Fraser Lake areas; Western Bioenergy Inc's 40 MWe projects will be built in Merritt and Fort St. James. The plants located in central and southern BC will be fueled with sawmill and logging residues, construction/manufacturing debris and timber from the extensive pine bark beetle die-off sweeping western Canadian forests. This closed Phase 2 of BC Hydro's Bioenergy Call for Power; Phase 1 resulted in signing four electricity purchase agreements in 2009. With the new projects, BC Hydro will have a total of 16 bioenergy electricity purchase agreements, representing 3,300 gigawatt hours per year of contracted energy. Hon. Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests: "Bioenergy is a cost-effective energy solution that makes sense for B.C. on many fronts – especially for our province's dynamic forestry industry. When compared to other forms of energy, bioenergy projects have higher levels of employment and generate more economic activity. Since these are new projects, they will require a diverse range of talented individuals and skills to build, maintain and operate the facilities." 08/12/2011


MagneGasSigns MOU for First Liquid Waste to Fuel Satellite Operation

MagneGasFlorida plasma specialist MagneGas has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with waste recycling and treatment company Grease Depot Inc. (GDI) for installation and operation of a liquid waste to hydrogen-based fuel production plant at GDI's facility in Clearwater, Florida. GDI has been accepting, treating and recycling all sorts of liquid and solid non-hazardous waste since 1998, treating septic wastes, sludge from grease traps and interceptors, storm water and lift station sludge and lint traps. MagneGas will create their first satellite facility at GDI's recycling operation, generating 300 kilowatts of electricity from conversion of the company's waste to fuel gas using their latest patent-pending "MagneGas Refinery" horizontal plasma arc module. "This MOU represents a significant strategic leap forward for MagneGas," stated MagneGas President Scott Wainwright. "By operating our refinery industrially at an independent third party, we will be in a position to demonstrate commercially the various applications of our technology while also providing meaningful validation of our ability to generate revenue outside our own headquarters." 08/11/2011


UKExpert Advisory Group Considers Waste and Residue Conversion to Biofuels

United Kingdom Department of TransportPresentations considering management of waste and residuals under the European Union's Renewable Energy Directive (EU RED) have now been posted on-line from the most recent meeting of the United Kingdom's Expert Advisory Group for the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO). The invitation-only Special Meeting on Waste took place July 21, 2011. Waste and residue topics discussed included the context and background, current thinking, and critical data-based decision-making about whether materials should be treated as waste or residues. Using Palm processing as an example, the Advisory Group discussed specific product, waste and residue management of the palm oil supply chain. Finally, the Group approached use of waste and residues for conversion to biofuels. When agricultural crops including many types of energy crops are harvested, significant tonnages of waste and residue are generated. The presentation explained how harvest waste and residue materials can secondarily be converted to a wide range of commodities other than biofuel, making it possible to design processes that create value for all the co-products. The Department for Transportation (DfT) RTFO and Low Carbon Fuels work continues with public meetings on September 28, 2011; details will be posted to their Biofuels Events Calendar when available. 08/11/2011


Due09/30/2011: Comments to Ireland's New National Waste Policy

Ireland Department of the Environment, Community and Local GovernmentIreland's Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government is seeking comments on its recently published discussion paper, "Towards a New National Waste Policy." The paper is described by Environment Minister Phil Hogan as "not prescriptive - instead it sets out a range of possible policy initiatives and issues for wider consideration." The document follows the European Commission's new Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC), harmonizing policies with the European Union Waste Hierarchy to minimize disposal and maximize resource recovery. The "Recovery" tier includes processes that extract useful materials, heat and/or power from refuse; examples given are use of anaerobic digestion for conversion of farm biowaste to biogas, and use of Solid Recovered Fuel from mechanical-biological treatment as a source of energy in industry. In adopting the EU Directive, the new Policy targets 70% by weight of municipal solid waste for combined disposal alternatives of reuse, recycling and recovery. Comments and submissions should be delivered by September 30, 2011, to, or Waste Policy Consultation, Room 2.01, Waste Policy Section, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, Custom House, Dubmin 1. 08/11/2011


IDB'sNew Costa Rica Strategy Includes Financing for Renewable Energy

Inter-American Development BankThe Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Board of Directors has announced their approval of a new country strategy for Costa Rica which includes a financing framework of between $700 million and $1.6 billion over the next three years. The strategy focuses on six challenged infrastructure sectors including considerable renewable energy development. The objective of IDB's 2011-2014 Costa Rica Strategy for the Energy Sector is to increase electric power supply using clean, renewable sources; targeted outcomes include an increase by four in the number of independent power providers, an increase the overall installed capacity by 265 megawatts, and an increase by at least 75 megawatts the power generated by new source of renewable energy from geothermal, wind, solar and biomass. The IDB has a history of helping develop Costa Rica's energy sector; the country has excellent (99% in 2009) coverage of electricity provision. The approved Bank Strategy parallels and supports the Costa Rican government's own recently passed Plan, totaling nearly $7 billion in proposed in-country investment. 08/10/2011


California'sNew SRA Wildfire Prevention Fund Will Support Biomass Removal

California Fire Safe CouncilThe California Fire Safe Council reports that the cost of excess biomass clearing and collection necessary for fire prevention within any State Responsibility Area (SRA) may now be partially funded through emergency session Assembly Bill 29 (ABx1-29), the now-chaptered SRA Fire Prevention Fund legislation. Governor Brown's signing message to the California State Assembly explains that a fire prevention fee of $150 on each human-habitable structure within an SRA is necessary to ensure continued level of service while reducing General Fund expenditures. The Governor has directed the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire or CDF) to develop any necessary clean-up legislation and to work with the Fund's administrator, the Board of Forestry (BoF), toward program implementation. The Emergency Regulations to implement the new law must be drafted by September 1, 2011 with permanent language in place within a year; a two-year start-up process is scheduled to begin July 2012. Administering community fuels management grants and payments for local defensible space clearing and education are part of BoF's responsibility. The program should lower cost and improve access to biomass supply for projects focused on clean conversion to energy, fuels and other products. SRAs are mapped with details accessible on-line, providing boundaries adopted by the BoF in January 2011. The BoF will discuss the SRA fund in their August 10, 2011 general meeting, and has tentatively scheduled a public meeting on implementation of ABx1-29 for August 22, 2011. For more information contact the BoF at 916-653-8007, or Kate Dargan at the California Fire Safe Council, 916-248-2205. 08/10/2011


CortecLaunches EcoOceanTM Biodegradable Thin Film Plastics

Cortec CorporationBioplastics company Cortec Corporation has announced the commercial availability of their EcoOceanTM line of highly degradable thin film packaging plastic intended to easily decompose in marine environments, under anaerobic digestion (AD) processing and in "backyard" low-temperature composting conditions. EcoOcean contains 77% annually renewable raw material, and will break down in an anaerobic digester systemor methane producing landfills in as little as 15 days. EcoOcean has passed ASTM D 7081 standard specifications for biodegradability in marine environments, as well as ASTM standards for AD and composting. The company has plastics extrusion facilities in Minnesota and Croatia for production of film and bags, which will soon become available in over 70 countries globally. The company recognized that ideally, their products would be converted in an AD or composting facility, but given the plastics pollution of the oceans, can also end up in our waterways, where the product can offer coastal areas a "technologic safety net"; Cortec CEO, Boris Miksic, intends to "revolutionize the use of flexible packaging, especially in costal areas of the world". 08/09/2011


EPAProposes RCRA Exemptions for Geologic Carbon Sequestration

US Environmental Protection AgencyIn an attempt to address Interagency Task Force findings released a year ago on the topic, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has responded with a proposed rulemaking to exclude control of certain carbon dioxide emission streams from their Resource and Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste regulations when injected into qualified wells for geologic sequestration (GS). Signed August 1, 2011, the pre-publication version of the proposed Rule is now available on-line. Recently finalized Safe Drinking Water Act rules established the standards for GS injection into newly defined "Class VI" wells under the EPA's Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program. GS is a process by which carbon dioxide from energy-related and other sources can be safely injected into deep subsurface rock formations for long-term storage. The Obama administration's GS Task Force recommendations were in part intended to help develop and deploy clean energy technologies. Further information may be accessed via Regulations.gov by the docket number EPA-HQ-RCRA-2010-0695, once the regulations are formally published in the Federal Register. 08/09/2011


Canadian$17.5MM Grant Supports Pulp Mill Wastewater-to-Energy Project

Alberta EcoTrust for Clean Air and Climate ChangeThe Government of Alberta has granted Millar Western Forest Products $17.5 million to develop the mill's Bioenergy Effluent Project in Whitecourt, Alberta, Canada. The demonstration-scale project will install and operate an anaerobic hybrid digestion (AHD) to convert the pulp mill wastewater into biogas to fuel reciprocating engines for power generation. Millar Western celebrated the award, part of Alberta's investment of their nearly $100 million share of Albertas EcoTrust for Clean Air and Climate Change program to advance clean energy research and waste-to-energy projects. This project will off-set about 6.2 megawatts of electricity drawn from the grid by the mill, reduce their direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by about 50,000 tonnes per year, clarify their final wastewater release and convert about half of the solid organic wastes produced into biogas. “In addition to reducing our environmental footprint here at home, advanced technologies like AHD can give us a marketing advantage, setting Alberta’s forest products industry apart as innovative and green,” said Ron Reis, Millar Western’s Senior Vice-President of Pulp. 08/09/2011


DenverZoo Tests Gasification of Zoo Waste for CCHP and Landfill Diversion

Denver Zoo Asian Tropics ExhibitConstruction has begun on the Denver Zoo's massive Asian Tropics project, and to provide combined cooling, heating and power (CCHP) to the facilities, the zoo is testing biomass gasification systems. The planned thermal conversion plant could convert up to 90% of the human food waste, trash and animal waste into combined heating, cooling and electric power. The zoo currently generates 4,200 pounds per day of mixed refuse that has been going to the regional landfill, and another 2,700 pounds per day of animal waste that has been composted. Conversion to energy will divert around 1.5 million pounds of trash a year from landfill disposal and reduce energy costs by about $150,000 per year. The Asian Tropics gasification facility is being planned as a highly visible demonstration project for reduction of dependency on traditional energy sources, improving the management of solid waste streams, and putting the Zoo "one giant step closer to becoming a zero-waste facility." 08/08/2011


UNSeeks Global Input, Launches Biofuels Feedstock Producers Questionnaire

UN/FAO Bioenergy and Food Security Criteria and Indicators initiativeThe United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN/FAO) Bioenergy and Food Security Criteria and Indicators (BEFSCI) initiative has seeking global input from bioenergy feedstock producers to highlight sustainable bioenergy development. Their new questionnaire asks producers about the good management practices they have implemented for their projects, with a focus on these topics: (a) Access to Land, (b) Local Food Security, (c) Employment, Wages, Labor Conditions and Benefits, (d) Income Generation and Inclusion of Smallholders, (e) Energy Security and Local Access to Energy, (f) Community Development, and (g) Gender Equity. The BEFSCI has just released a comparison of 23 sustainable biofuels schemes, including a detailed matrix tracking sustainability aspects and issues addressed in both completed and in-progress programs. The new questionnaire will now expand on their global perspective of the breadth of approaches and the lessons learned regarding bioenergy feedstock production activities. The German government funded cataloguing effort is designed to make practical experience available through their BEFSCI website, to "inspire producers to consider new ways to harness bioenergy production as a means to foster rural development and food security." 08/08/2011


Vanguard Synfuels Refurbishes and Re-Opens 15 MGY Louisiana Biodiesel Plant

Vanguard SynfuelsA 15 million gallon per year (MGY) biodiesel facility in rural Pollock, central Louisiana, has been retooled by local owners Vanguard Synfuels and is ready for the grand re-opening scheduled for August 8, 2011. Vanguard bought an existing ammonia production plant in 2003 and redesigned it for biodiesel production using local virgin crop oils, but shuttered the facility in 2007 due to the high cost of the soy oil feedstock being used. The re-engineered plant will now be able to use a much wider array of less expensive feedstock including animal-sourced rendering fats and used cooking oils, some of which may come from the local federal prison. Darrell Dubroc, Vanguard's CEO, expressed his cautious approach to expansion beyond virgin plant oil feedstock:  "As we have done from our inception, we pride ourselves in making the highest quality biodiesel fuel in the nation, if not the entire world. Our reputation depends on it. We have a very focused technology development strategy ahead of us. We have to stay in synch with an industry very much on the move. For instance, we expect to be using locally available logging waste to power our steam boiler and eventually as our primary feedstock when the technology is ready.” 08/08/2011 


Tool Predicts Final Emission Toxicity Variations from Biofuel Production Methods

University of CopenhagenA computational chemist at the University of Copenhagen has developed a mathematical model that helps predict the fate of biofuel molecules once they enter the atmosphere. Solvejg Jorgensen's work shows that production methods for biofuels can greatly impact the toxicity of their eventual emissions and escaped vapors. Modeling the production methods on the computer will improve selection of production design, save money and aid in creating lower overall impact of "clean fuels". Biofuel molecules are inherently large and complex; as they undergo several stages of degradation during conversion to energy and later in the atmosphere. Some of the degradation pathways produce more toxic break-down products than others, and the initial biofuel synthesis production methods factor largely into the final residual toxicities. Jorgensen's model development was initially not intended to address biofuel; she was assessing large molecular breakdown in the atmosphere, and needed a "test subject". Her mistake may well dramatically improve global biofuels production safety. Her work is published as Atmospheric Chemistry of Two Biodiesel Model Compounds: Methyl Propionate and Ethyl Acetate in the "Journal of Physical Chemistry A." 08/06/2011


University of Miami Scientists Track Ethanol BioFuel Emissions in the Atmosphere

Scientists at UM have discovered a technique to track urban atmospheric plumes thanks to a unique isotopic signature found in vehicle emissions.Scientists at the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, University of Miami have developed methods to track individual molecules of vehicular emissions in the air by the unique isotopic carbon signatures. Ethanol carbon remnants in uncombusted fuel emissions carry a different signature than ethanol released naturally by plants; the researchers compared air from Miami and air from the Everglades. 75% of city air ethanol came from biofuels; Everglades ethanol remnants were plant-generated, although a detectible amount had come from city sources. “According to global emissions estimates, plants release three times as much ethanol as manmade sources,” said Brian Giebel, a Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry graduate student working with Drs. Daniel Riemer and Peter Swart. “However, if the amount of ethanol used in our fuel continues to increase, vehicle emissions should eventually exceed natural emissions. This is particularly critical in urban areas because the majority of ethanol in the atmosphere is converted to acetaldehyde, which is highly reactive and considered to be a toxin detrimental to human health.” The work has been published in the journal, Environmental Science & Technology, entitled “New Insights to the Use of Ethanol in Automotive Fuels: A Stable Isotopic Tracer for Fossil- and Bio-Fuel Combustion Inputs to the Atmosphere.” 08/06/2011


Glycerine-Fueled CHP Module Delivered for 28-Home Eco-Complex in UK

AquafuelThe first commercial module of a glycerine-fired combined heat and power (CHP) system has been delivered by Aquafuel Research to 28 "eco-homes" in Essex, United Kingdom (UK). Glycerine is a non-toxic, water-soluble by-product of the biodiesel industry, the viscous residue left from transesterification of waste fats and oils; one gallon of glycerine is produced for every nine gallons of biodiesel. Aquafuel's technology allows biodiesel producers to use their waste by-product to generate their own heat and power. Glycerine's relatively simple chemical composition and 55% by weight oxygen content aid in clean combustion and emissions control. Using Aquafuel's approach, glycerine can be an excellent biofuel replacement for diesel; the company's testing found NOx emissions measured 20 mg/m3 and particulate emission were near zero at 0.93 mg/m3, compared with 215 mg/m3 diesel NOx and 20 mg/m3  diesel particulate and using the same standard catalyst abatement equipment. The internationally patented technology includes a new combustion cycle which makes the diesel cycle independent of the fuel properties, and is the result of a two year research and development program with leading UK biofuel supplier Greenergy. 08/06/2011


HECOSigns Agreement with Pacific Biodiesel for 250K GPY Biodiesel Supply

Pacific Biodiesel, IncHawaiian Electric Company (HECO) has signed a 3-year contract with renewal options with Pacific Biodiesel, Inc to supply of 250,000 gallons per year (GPY) of biodiesel. The biofuel will power the HECO-owned 8 megawatt Honolulu International Airport Emergency Power Facility when the airport becomes operational about October 2012, as part of the utility's Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI). Pacific's biofuel will be locally sourced from recycled cooking oil and produced either at their Oahu plant or at their Big Island Biorefinery in Kee'au. The contract now goes to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission for review and possible approval. HECO has released a series of requests for proposals (RFPs) in 2010 and 2011 for sustainable biodiesel supply, collaborating with the Natural Resources Defense Council for sustainability provisions. “We are pleased to be fulfilling our first contract under HECO’s RFP requiring locally produced fuel,” stated Robert King, CEO of Pacific Biodiesel. “This is positive movement towards empowering a strong collaboration with Hawaii’s farmers as we work together for a diversified agriculture future, a cleaner environment and green jobs.” 08/06/2011


Oneida'sWaste Conversion to Energy Project Passes First Environmental Hurdle

Oneida Seven Generations CorporationThe US Department of Energy (DOE) has found that there will be no significant negative impacts for the waste conversion for energy recovery project proposed by the tribally-chartered and owned Oneida Seven Generations Corporation. The initial determination is based on the draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the project, first step to the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) process. Oneida has received around $2.5 million in federal loans and grants and is again under consideration for additional federal funding, actions which triggered the NEPA assessment. Resulting from lengthy collaboration with Wisconsin's citizens and governments, Oneida's project as now proposed would include the design, construction, and operation of a solid waste-to-electricity power plant on vacant property in Green Bay, Brown County, Wisconsin. The project entails receipt of municipal solid waste for initial sorting and removal of recyclable goods and obvious hazards, with post-recycling residual passing into three pyrolytic conversion chambers for combustible syngas production. The cleaned gas would then fuel three engines for a combined electrical output of about 4.6 megawatts going to the local grid. Public comments on this Draft EA may be submitted to the NEPA Document Manager Melissa Rossiter, email, or to fax to 720-356-1560. DOE will consider all submitted comments in preparing the Final EA. After completion of the Final EA, DOE will determine whether to issue a Finding of No Significant Impact or prepare an environmental impact statement. 08/05/2011


UnitedNations FAO Releases Compilation of Biofuels Sustainability Initiatives

UN FAO Bioenergy and Food Security Criteria and IndicatorsThe United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) "Bioenergy and Food Security Criteria and Indicators (BEFSCI)" project has developed and released a detailed Compilation of Bioenergy Sustainability Initiatives associated with the production of biofuels or of specific biofuel feedstocks. The BEFSCI project has assessed and compared regulatory frameworks, voluntary standards/certification schemes, and scorecards of twenty-three global initiatives, including a number that have not completed the development process, and some that have been completed but have not yet been (and perhaps never will be) adopted. There are eight Regulatory Frameworks, thirteen Voluntary Standards / Certification schemes, and two Scorecard programs reviewed. The resulting catalogue includes a tabular listing and detailed program descriptions in a standardized format to facilitate direct comparison of the sustainability aspects and issues addressed. This compilation includes California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard, along with most (but not all) of the seven Biofuel Sustainability Schemes recently recognized by the European Commission. The BEFSCI project has been funded by the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Government of Germany. 08/05/2011


AmyrisPartners with Kuraray for Bio-Polymer Development

Amyris, IncCalifornia-based bioproducts company Amyris Inc. has signed a collaboration agreement with Japanese polymer chemistry specialists Kuraray Co. Ltd to develop petroleum-replacement uses for Amyris' renewable hydrocarbon building block product BiofeneTM. Amyris' proprietary GreenLane® synthetic biology platform controls microbial metabolic pathways to create "living factories" for fermentation to target product molecules such as farnesene, the basis of Biofene, used in production of specialty chemicals and biofuels. Kuraray has been developing petroleum-sourced polymer resins and similar products with subsidiaries in 16 countries and regions outside of Japan. Once technical development has been completed for production of the first polymer, Kuraray will enter into a supply agreement with Amyris for exclusive use of Biofene in their bio-polymer manufacturing and commercialization. “We are committed to bringing innovative, high-performing and sustainable products to the polymers market,” said John Melo, CEO of Amyris. “Partnering with an industry leader like Kuraray allows us to expand the use of Biofene to produce high-performance polymers as well as strengthen our timely and successful route to market.” 08/05/2011


Due08/15/2011: Stakeholder Comments to ARB LCFS Workplan Version 2

California Air Resources Board Low Carbon Fuel StandardThe California Air Resources Board (ARB) has requested public comment toward a key document of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), the Version 2 Workplan developed by the LCFS Advisory Panel. The Advisory Panel Workgroup was convened according to LCFS regulations as a program review body, charged with LCFS program oversight and coordination. Their Workplan outlines the details from many other Workgroups, from Fuel Pathway Providers and other stakeholders. As the Workgroups continue their assessments and as Providers register and submit Fuel Pathway Application Packages, the underlying data accumulation will allow refinement of all aspects of the LCFS. The "First Public Meeting to discuss review progress" in the Advisory Panel Version 2 Workplan schedule below took place on July 25, 2011. As with the Fuel Pathways, stakeholder direct comment to the Workplan is needed. In conjunction with the July 25, 2011 workshop, the public has been invited to submit comments on-line to the Advisory Panel Workplan by August 15, 2011 on the Panel's comment web page. See our Focus Report for a Guide to the LCFS, including more detail on this request for comment. 08/05/2011


PowerHouseIntends to Acquire Pyromex' Thermal Conversion Technology

Pyromex reactor core at 1400 degrees Celsius - inside view.United Kingdom based PowerHouse Energy Group plc, licensee and 30% equity holder in Swiss company Pyromex Holdings AG, has announced their intent to acquire the remaining equity interest in Pyromex in a structured buy-out. An initial £2.5 million will be paid over 18 months following signing; an additional £30.5 million in total payments will depend on commercialization factors. PowerHouse has until the end of 2011 to complete due diligence and close the deal. The Pyromex thermal conversion technology uses external heat for high-temperature gasification of a wide range of feedstock including municipal solid waste derived fuel. Syngas cleaning subsystems also developed by Pyromex allow use in engines, fuel cells or for conversion to liquid fuels. PowerHouse's Southern California operations office has had a regionally-exclusive license and has been marketing 5 to 100 ton-per-day modular conversion units delivering from 60 kilowatts to 1 megawatt per module. Peter Jeney, Founder and majority owner of Pyromex Holdings AG, will join PowerHouse on completion of the acquisition and has commented, “This transaction recognizes the progress Pyromex has achieved in developing its gasification technology to date and will accelerate its development through to full scale commercial operations. I look forward to joining the PowerHouse team and working to position our product as a market leading solution in a rapidly developing market on a global scale”. 08/04/2011


EESIHolds Briefing on Defense Department's Renewable Energy Usage

Environmental and Energy Study InstituteThe Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) in collaboration with E3G and Operation Free staged a briefing last week in Washington DC entitled, "More Fight, Less Fuel: The Defense Department's Deployment of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy." Top-level speakers included Senator Mark Udahl (D-CO); Thomas Hicks, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy; Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn (U.S. Navy, Ret.), President, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), and Vice Chairman, CNA Military Advisory Board. The US defense operations consume 135 million barrels of fuel and 30 million megawatt-hours of electricity at a cost of over $20 billion per year. “Our energy reliance in this country is a serious threat to national security; economically, diplomatically and militarily,” according to Vice Admiral McGinn. “The over reliance on fossil fuels can be exploited by those who wish to do the U.S. harm.” Speakers noted that military field use of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is creating a new awareness among soldiers who, upon coming home, will be "less accepting of the status quo solutions". Presentations for all speakers, copies of the major handouts (including a Fact Sheet) and an audio of the event are available through EESI on-line. 08/03/2011


MagneGas JV to Build $29.8MM Liquid Waste to Syngas Plant in China

MagneGasFlorida-based plasma company MagneGas Corporation's joint venture with Chinese firm DDI Industry International, MagneGas Technology Beijing Company Ltd., signed a letter of intent ("LOI") with Nanjing City Industrial Park for construction of a $29.8 million fuel gas production center in Nanjing City within the next two years. The JV has concurrently signed an LOI with Beijing Liangxiang Waste Water Treatment Plant to build China's first wastewater sludge treatment demonstration biorefinery within a year; MagneGas' plasma arc technology converts wastewater into clean-burning hydrogen-based synthetic fuel gas for industrial uses. "We are extremely pleased to announce the launch of Magnegas Technology (Beijing) Co. Ltd, and the long-awaited MagneGas Technology™ China market entrance," stated joint venture CEO Allen Feng. "China suffers from a liquid waste crisis -- our fresh water is flooded with household and industrial waste, and the time has come for truly innovative solutions. We believe the MagneGas Technology™ is exactly that type of solution, and all initial feedback we have received indicates strong potential demand. We look forward to keeping MNGA investors abreast of our developments and financial performance." MagneGas has recently completed systems testing in Florida and is entering both the China and Mexico markets. 08/03/2011


FutureBiogas Evaluates PDX Pre-Treatment for New UK Biogas Plant

Pursuit DynamicsThe German anaerobic digestion firm Future Biogas has entered into an agreement with Pursuit Dynamics (PDX) to use their supersonic vaporization / shockwave technology for pre-treatment of dedicated energy crop biomass. If the 60 day trial period is successful, the PDX reactor will be integrated with Future Biogas' new biogas plant in  Norwich, United Kingdom (UK) later this year. PDX's Reactor technology utilizes a supersonic vapor flow and condensation shockwave, which is generated by the injection of high velocity steam. Steam is introduced into the Reactor at supersonic conditions generating high levels of shear and turbulence within the process fluid. This leads to the creation of a controllable, cross bore condensation shockwave. "The waste to energy market is significant in size and is growing rapidly with over 5,900 biogas plants in Germany alone, a twenty-fold increase in the last ten years. PDX's technology is clearly differentiated from other solutions in this sector and so we are very well placed to capitalize on the demand from producers to reduce costs and maximize output". 08/02/2011


WRAPCompares Cost of Alternative Waste Treatment Options in New Report

Waste & Resources Action ProgrammeThe United Kingdom's (UK) Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has released their 2011 Gate Fees report, this year focused on Comparing the Cost of Alternative Waste Treatment Options. The assessment shows that gate fees for similar waste management options vary substantially, both across and within UK regions. Waste recycling fees are lower than for waste disposal; open-air windrow median gate fees are lower than those for anaerobic digestion (AD) and in-vessel composting. Median gate fees for mechanical biological treatment (MBT) facilities are higher than composting or AD. Separated food waste gate fees are comparable to mixed food and garden waste gate fees. Landfill gate fees including the UK's landfill tax are broadly comparable to gate fees for Energy from Waste and MBT. Overall, disposal costs have increased since 2010, while gate fees at materials recovery facilities have decreased as recycling and recovery sites receive increased payment for recovered materials. AD facility gate fees have decreased very substantially by about £13 per tonne. Comments on the report are welcome; email or call 0808 100 2040. 08/02/2011


ResearchersDevelop New Catalyst for Single-Step Bio-Ethanol to Isobutene

The right balance of zinc and zirconium oxides in this catalyst (purple block) converts ethanol to isobutene with low amounts of unwanted byproducts such as acetone and ethylene. Diagram: PNNL.US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Washington State University (WSU) researchers have developed a new catalyst material for single-step conversion of biomass sourced ethanol to isobutene, a high-octane fuel additive also critical for manufacturing many green chemicals (biochemicals). The Institute for Integrated Catalysis at PNNL has been working in collaboration with team members at the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering at WSU, utilizing the Department of Energy's Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory on the PNNL campus. When they formed the catalyst from just zinc oxide, it converted ethanol mostly to acetone; if the catalyst only contained zirconium oxide, it converted ethanol mostly to ethylene. Isobutene was produced in useful amounts when the catalyst contained both zinc and zirconium. With a 1:10 ratio of zinc to zirconium, the mixed oxide catalyst could turn more than 83 percent of the ethanol into isobutene. The best performing catalyst was composed of nanometer-sized crystalline particles of zinc evenly distributed over all regions of zirconium oxide. The findings appeared July 21, 2011 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. 08/02/2011


SustainableDevelopment Technology Canada Funds Clean Tech Projects

Sustainable Development Technology CanadaThe non-profit foundation Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) has announced 17 companies that will be receiving funding for clean technology development. The awardees include advanced biofuels/biochemicals company Azule Fuels of Sarnia, Ontario that will receive support to advance its patented continuous flow, fixed-bed reactor to solid acid catalytic technology with electrostatic separation technologies that eliminate the need for water. The flexible platform can produce biodiesel and pure glycerin, bio-lubricants, green solvents and fuel oxygenates. Another awardee is BioAmber Inc of Montreal, Quebec that produces bio-based succinic acid from the fermentation of glucose; the new funds will allow development of a demonstration plant in Sarnia combining aspects of its French proof-of-concept work with new downstream purification technologies currently under development in the US. The Halifax, Nova Scotia firm Carbon Sense Solutions Inc. will use its award to develop two industrial scale technology validation projects for its CarbonCure process that captures carbon dioxide as solid limestone during a structural concrete building block curing process that significantly strengthens the blocks while sequestering the CO2. NovaGreen of Killam, Alberta will, provide a demonstration of its VERT-TEC process for concurrent Biochar, Inulin, and Xylitol production from Biomass. SDTC operates the $590 million SD Tech Fund™ to support climate change, air quality, clean water, and clean soil, and the $500 million NextGen Biofuels Fund™ for first-of-kind large demonstration-scale facilities for the production of next-generation renewable fuels. 08/01/2011


VärmlandsMetanol Selects Uhde for Swedish Biomass-to-Methanol Plant

VärmlandsMetanol's rendering of a proposed 100,000 tonne methanol plant near Hagsfors, Sweden. Image: VärmlandsMetanol AB.Uhde, a ThyssenKrupp company specializing in the PRENFLO gasification process, has been selected by VärmlandsMetanol AB as technology supplier and turnkey engineering, contracting and procurement (EPC) contractor for a planned 100,000 annual tonnes fuel grade methanol plant in Hagsfors, in the forest-rich Värmlands region of Sweden. The plans were presented in April 2010; the companies have now contracted for the engineering phase of the EURO 300 million project. The bio-methanol fuel will be produced by gasification of forest residue biomass and catalysis of the resulting clean syngas, creating a high octane, ultra-low emissions fuel. 15 megawatts of thermal energy generated during gasification will be recovered for district heating. VärmlandsMetanol AB is a public company in Sweden whose owners include the Miljocentrum Foundation, the Municipality of Hagsfors, the Federation of Swedish Farmers, and numerous private concerns. Dr. Bjorn Gillsberg, CEO and founder of VärmlandsMetanol, says of the agreement: "This contract confirms the confidence VärmlandsMetanol has in Uhde, in their gasification technology and their great experience as a world leading engineering contractor." 08/01/2011


EnerkemCloses Another Financing Round for $29 Million

EnerkemCanadian waste-to-fuels company Enerkem has completed another round of equity and debt financing totaling C$29 million. This brings Enerkem's development fund to $88 million raised in 2011. Enerkem now operates three facilities in Canada and has received US federal support for a project in Mississippi. The company's waste gasification to catalysis process can produce a variety of liquid fuels through a modularized compact design of “100,000 metric tons in - 36 million litres (10 million gallons) out”. The Westly Group, Quince Associates LP and Fondaction CSN have now joined prior investors from a June $29 million tranche who included Valero Energy, Braemar Energy Ventures and Waste Management. “The closing of this financing round brings our total amount raised this year to C$88 million, which will allow Enerkem to further develop its commercial activities”, said Vincent Chornet, President and CEO of Enerkem. “This financing along with our full-scale commercial plants underway solidify our company’s leading position in the growing clean transportation fuels and biochemicals market.” 08/01/2011 

PREV Main Next


  Search Teru Talk:
Tip: Use your browser's "Find" or "Find on Page" to drill down.
Teru Talk

Founding Sponsor:



Teru Talk

Recommended Reading:


CHAGALL: The Recycling Dragon
CHAGALL: The Recycling Dragon by Marty Strauss


 Teru's Bookshelf


Out of the Wasteland: Stories from the Environmental Frontier by Paul Relis
Out of the Wasteland: Stories from the Environmental Frontier by Paul Relis

 Teru Talk
Sponsored Links:

300% green