January 2012 News and Matters of Interest

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NIB Finances 140 MWe Biomass Gasification Plant in Vaasa, Finland

Vaskiluodon Voima OyNordic Investment Bank (NIB) has agreed to provide a 7 year, EUR 18 million financing package to Vaskiluodon Voima Oy to support construction of a 140 megawatt (MWe) biomass gasification facility integrated with an existing coal combustion power plant. The new plant will utilize a REPOTEC circulating fluidized bed (CFB) gasification system supplied by Metso under its license from the Austrian vendor. The CFB system will allow efficient use of regionally-sourced biomass (100 kilometers maximum transport distance) including forest residues, reed and peat, reducing coal usage by 25 to 40 percent while maintaining the plant's current electric output. "The Vaskiluodon Voima project combines energy production with an innovative new technology developed in Finland, allowing NIB to finance a project that brings together two core sectors of its activities," says Johnny Åkerholm, NIB President and CEO. NIB is an international institution serving eight Nordic and Baltic countries with long-term infrastructure financing. 01/31/2012


TetraTech Awarded $18.6MM USAID Contract for Colombian Clean Energy Tetra Tech, IncPasadena, California based Tetra Tech, Inc has been awarded an $18.6 million contract from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to support Colombian clean energy development. The five year cost plus fixed fee contract solicitation (SOL-514-11-000003) was released "to increase access to renewable energy sources and energy efficient practices in Colombia through a combination of project development support, technical assistance, and enabling environment reforms." The contract will facilitate the USAID's Colombia Clean Energy Program (CCEP): (1) Energy efficiency and renewable energy enabling environment and institutional capacity development; (2) Expanding access to renewable energy sources in currently unserved areas, which directly address the requirements of earmarks from the U.S. Congress; and (3) Energy efficiency and renewable energy investment promotion, including management of a grants under contract Incentive Fund. Tetra Tech will help the USAID develop Colombia’s technical and institutional capacity in clean energy, with a special focus on expanding energy access in remote areas. 01/31/2012


Royal Borough Selects Covanta to Treat Wastes and Residual Organics

Covanta EnergyUnited Kingdom's Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has signed a 25-year contract with Covanta Energy Ltd for waste treatment, with operations to start in April of this year. The Royal Borough produces about 45,000 tonnes of waste annually; Covanta will send some 15,000 tonnes of green and food waste to its partner Agrivert for composting and anaerobic digestion, and process the remaining tonnage at Covanta's proposed Rookery South Resource Recovery Facility (RRF) near Stewartby in Bedfordshire to generate energy. Reduce landfill tax payments are expected to initially save the Royal borough about £400,000 a year; once the RRF is completed in 2016, savings are anticipated to increase to £1.5 million a year. For the interim, the Royal Borough has extended its service agreements with Veolia Environmental Services Ltd. for existing landfill management. Councillor Phillip Bicknell, the Royal Borough’s cabinet member for highways, transport and environment said: “Our negotiations with Covanta have secured a really good deal for our residents, with immediate savings from April this year through using the Agrivert organic waste facilities. Then, in four years’ time, we can look forward to zero landfill tax when waste that can’t be recycled is used to generate energy. This is an all-round winner.” 01/30/2012


Due 02/10/2012: Abstract Submissions for 2012 US Biochar Conference

United States Biochar InitiativeThe United States Biochar Initiative (USBI) has issued a call for papers for the 2012 US Biochar Conference in Sonoma, California. The USBI asks for 200 to 300 word abstracts on one page, including graphics, on biochar projects or related research. All abstracts will be considered for the poster session, while the conference organizers will also select a limited number of speaker presentations. Online submissions must be received no later than February 10, 2012; notification of selections will be sent by March 10, 2012. The USBI, part of the International Biochar Initiative (IBI), has partnered with the Sonoma Biochar Initiative (SBI) and the Sonoma Ecology Center for the conference, taking place in Sonoma County from July 29 to August 1, 2012. Raymond Baltar, SBI Director said, “We’re thrilled to be hosting this national conference in Sonoma County next year and feel it will significantly boost awareness of biochar’s benefits in the local agricultural community and on the West Coast. When done responsibly and sustainably, production and use of biochar has been shown to boost crop yields, build long lasting soil fertility, and conserve water. The fact that it can also sequester carbon for hundreds or even thousands of years holds great promise as a viable, scalable mitigation strategy for addressing climate change.” 01/30/2012


Rennie Wins Future Farmer Award for Scotland's 1st AD Plant

Future Farmer AwardThe Future Farmer Award, an initiative funded by the Elizabeth Murray Trust, named Andrew Rennie of Gask Farms in Turriff, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, the 2011 Future Farmer. Andrew runs the 650 acre grain and pig farm in partnership with his parents, John and Monica. The honor includes £4,000, a commemorative plaque, and "a package of practical support" provided by NFUScotland. The award typically goes to a farmer whose operation showcases production of "food, fibre and wood products from farms and crofts in a commercially viable way while maintaining the natural capital of the land and minimizing the ecological footprint of farming activities." Gask Farms self-funded and built Scotland's first on-farm anaerobic digester (AD) installation in 2006, when faced with new regulations tightening controls on use of animal wastes as fertilizer on their mixed-use cereal and pig farming operations. At the time, there were no formal regulations in place to permit the facility and the farm owners had to work very closely with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), the State Veterinary Service (SVS), and the local government to secure permits. The owners visited AD companies in Germany and selected and self-funded a Weltec Biopower installation that now converts the farm's pig manure and the wastes from the local abattoir generates 340 kilowatts of electricity sold to the national grid. The process residuals amount to 15,000 tons per year of pasteurized slurry, which off-set most of the farm's fertilizer needs. In a local farm press interview following the award, co-owner Andrew Rennie said, "It was a steep learning curve for all of us. There was nothing like it in this country so all the legislation was in draft form and kept changing. But we got the go-ahead in 2005 and were in operation by early 2006." 01/29/2012


USFS Issues Final Impact Statement for New Forest Planning Rule

US Forest ServiceThe US Forest Service (USFS) has released a Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the proposed National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule. Release of the PEIS signals the intent to release the new Planning Rule, which addresses land management planning on the 193-million acre National Forest System. The "Preferred Alternative"  in the final PEIS incorporates ideas from over 300,000 comments received on the proposed Forest Planning Rule and the draft PEIS since its issuance in February 2011. The Forest Planning Rule originated in 1982 and has seen little revision until now; forest-sourced biomass utilization for renewable energy, fuels and commodities has long been hampered by lack of consideration in the out-dated Rule. Development of management plans would now include the assessment of potential renewable and non-renewable energy opportunities and issues among a long list of required components. The planning process framework outlined in the preferred alternative consists of a three-part iterative cycle of (1) assessment, (2) plan revision or amendment, and (3) a two-tiered monitoring program. Also new is that the preferred alternative creates a "pre-decisional administrative review process" to provide individuals and groups with an opportunity to resolve issues before final approval of a plan, plan amendment or plan revision. “The most collaborative rulemaking effort in agency history has resulted in a strong framework to restore and manage our forests and watersheds and help deliver countless benefits to the American people,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Our preferred alternative will safeguard our natural resources and provide a roadmap for getting work done on the ground that will restore our forests while providing job opportunities for local communities.” The Secretary will issue a record of decision selecting a final planning rule no less than 30 days after publication of the Notice of Availability of the PEIS in the Federal Register. A web portal has been developed specifically to address questions regarding opportunities for on-going public involvement01/27/2012


Celtic Renewables Converts Scotland's Whisky Residuals to Bio-Butanol

Celtic Renewables LtdEdinburgh Napier University has announced the commercialization of Biofuel Research Center's process for conversion of whisky production residuals into bio-butanol. Professor Martin Tangney, the Center's Director and lead on this research, has now founded Celtic Renewables Ltd., after acquiring all rights from the University last fall. The University began bioconversion research with the whisky industry two years ago with both lab and field trials focused on the two main by-products of the whisky production process: "pot ale", the liquid from the copper stills, and "draff". The technology platform is a modification of acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation methods developed just before World War I; the Center's "Whisky Project" has concentrated on conversion of industrial wastes and bi-products, bringing added value without increasing food competition. Professor Tangney said, “The EU has declared that biofuels should account for 10% of total fuel sales by 2020. We’re committed to finding new, innovative renewable energy sources. This is a more environmentally sustainable option and potentially offers new revenue on the back of one Scotland’s biggest industries.” The £260,000 research project was funded by Scottish Enterprise's ‘Proof of Concept’ programme; Celtic Renewables is now working with the economic development agency on build-out of the process to full commercial scale. The company was formally launched in a ceremony at the University's Sighthill Campus by Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise & Tourism. He said: "Scotland's whisky has a world-wide reputation for excellence and generates huge benefits for our economy. It's fitting, then, that the by-products of this industry are now being used in an area where we have so much promise – sustainable biofuels. Turning our whisky industry's by-products into raw materials for sustainable biofuels which can be used to power ordinary family cars is an example of the sort of innovative thinking Scotland excels in." 01/27/2012


Due 03/31/2012: Abstracts for 4th International Biochar Congress in China

International Biochar InitiativeAs one of the key global sponsoring organizations, the International Biochar Initiative (IBI) has released a request for abstracts detailing the process of consideration of proposals for presentations during the 4th International Biochar Congress: "Biochar: The Road to Richer Food and a Safer Environment" to be held during September 2012 in Beijing China. Carefully-made biochar is an excellent use of agricultural and forest-sourced residual biomass and can be sustainably manufactured in conjunction with renewable bioenergy and biofuels proiduction. IBI is currently coordinating a broadly collaborative development of biochar standards which will be available later in March of this year, pending legal review and approval. Numerous specific Themes are identified for the September Congress to ensure coverage of the entire field of biochar policy, methods development, ecological processes, risks and benefits, impacts on climate change and the specialized equipment used for biochar production. Initial 1-page "standard abstracts" and 3-page "full abstracts" must be received for the Scientific Committee Member review by March 31, 2012, with acceptance notification one month later. The shorter Standard Abstracts of accepted presentations will be included in main Congress materials, while about 100 of the accepted final version Full Abstracts will be published in the Congress proceedings. Early-bird registration for the Congress begins May 31, 2012. 01/27/2012


Maersk Completes Nautical Trials on Solazyme's Algal Based Biodiesel

SolazymeCalifornia's algal-derived biofuel and bioproducts firm Solazyme announced that the Virginia based Maersk Line Ltd. has completed a one month, 6,500 nautical mile fuel trial on SoladieselRD as part of a US Navy integrated testing and certification program. The month long test consumed about 30 tons of the company's to-specification biodiesel. Solazyme's proprietary technology employs heterotrophic micro algae for in-vessel fermentation of sugars from a wide range of feedstock, including biomass from urban waste, forest and agricultural sources. Maersk's Kalmar crew tested blends ranging from 7% to 100% biodiesel in the auxiliary engine, in collaboration with the US Navy's Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), using a dedicated test engine aboard the 300-meter Maersk Kalmar container vessel. Maersk and the Navy announced initiating of biofuels testing late last year following a visit by US Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to Maersk headquarters in Copenhagen. "The results of this collaboration will better inform the Navy's test plan as we prepare to demonstrate a Green Strike Group of ships this summer operating with a 50/50 renewable fuel blend," stated Glen Sturtevant, director for Science and Technology at the Navy's Program Executive Office, Ships.  "The results of this test build on the Navy's ongoing efforts to test the use of biofuels in our ships, boats and craft." Solazyme's stock began publically trading in May 2011. The company began shipping its algal-derived fuel to the Navy last September, partnered with Honeywell’s UOP and its proprietary UOP/Eni EcofiningTM process technology. 01/26/2012


ZeaChem Receives $232.5 MM USDA Conditional Loan Guarantee

ZeaChemColorado based advanced biofuels company ZeaChem has announced that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved a $232.5 million conditional loan guarantee under the USDA's Biorefinery Assistance Program. The funding will facilitate completion of ZeaChem's current pilot development in Boardman, Oregon and the financing and construction of its first commercial-scale biorefinery. ZeaChem plans to develop a new 25 million gallon per year (GPY) facility adjacent to its 250,000 GPY demonstration plant; the core operating components were completed earlier this month. ZeaChem's hybrid integration of microbial and thermal processing can convert most types of woody biomass into bio-sourced fuels, chemicals and other commodities, while avoiding production of carbon dioxide as a bi-product. While the company's conversion platform is feedstock agnostic and can accept feedstock from a variety of sources including hardwood, softwood, switch grass and corn stover, its analysis has shown the use of short rotation hybrid poplar trees for feedstock initially offers the lowest cost per bone dry ton (BDT)/acre/year. Feedstock supply agreements with local biocrop production company GreenWood Resources (GWR) now ensures 100% of this initial phase need. Greenwood with ZeaChem and University partners received substantial USDA support last September for biocrop development. “Advanced biofuels are critical to securing America’s energy future,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This project and others like it will help establish a domestic advanced biofuel industry that will create jobs here at home and open new markets in the Pacific Northwest and across America.” 01/26/2012


Xebec Supplies Biogas Upgrading Plant to South Korean AD Plant

Xebec Adsorption, IncCanadian biogas upgrading specialist Xebec Adsorption, Inc. has announced the award of a $2.2 million contract to provide a biogas upgrading plant for installation at a food waste-to-energy anaerobic digestion (AD) facility in South Korea. Xebec will clean and upgrade the raw methane-rich biogas generated by the plant, producing a compressed bio-sourced natural gas to be used for vehicle fuel in a fleet of municipal buses. Xebec's client is the Korean company Potlach, Inc, a developer and operator of renewable energy and fuel cell projects. This is the second system sold for installation in the Korean marketplace; a similar system was installed at the Sudokwon Landfill in Incheon, South Korea in 2011. In California, the utility Southern California Gas selected Xebec about a year ago for a biogas-to-pipeline project in the City of Escondido. Key steps in Xebec's processing of biogas include the separation of carbon dioxide present in the gas and the purification of biomethane. The Xebec BGX Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) systems accomplish CO2 separation with a compact design rotary structured adsorbent and valve system. Andrew G. Hall, Xebec Vice President of Asia Pacific Operations: "Since the 1996 Protocol to the London Convention came into effect in 2006, banning ocean disposal of waste, the Korean Government has aggressively supported the development of anaerobic digestion to process food waste. Given the high price of natural gas in Korea, many municipalities and private project developers are focusing on the generation of renewable gas and CNG fuel from food waste." 01/26/2012


Due Beginning 02/21/2012: Applications to USDA for Rural Energy Grants, Loans

US Department of AgricultureThe US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now accepting applications for grants and loans for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The support comes through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and according the Secretary, "… will assist rural farmers, ranchers and business owners to build renewable energy projects, providing opportunities for new technologies, create green jobs and help America become more energy self-sufficient."  About $12.5 million in grant and approximately $48.5 million in loan guarantee funds are available, with applications being accepted in four separate areas: (1) Due February 21, 2012 - proposals for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance applications; (2) Due March 30, 2012 - proposals for renewable energy system feasibility studies; (3) Also due March 30, 2012 - applications for  renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grants and combination grant and guaranteed loans; and (4) Due June 29, 2012 - applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loans. Full details for proposal development and submission are found in the January 20, 2012 publication of the Federal Register, pages 2948 through 2954. 01/26/2012


USAF Issues O&M Contract to PyroGenesis for Plasma Waste-to-Energy System

PyroGenesis Canada, IncThe US Air Force (USAF) has issued an 18 month contract to modular plasma systems developer PyroGenesis Canada, Inc for operation and maintenance (O&M), and data collection for the Plasma Resource Recovery System (PRRS) at the Hurlburt Field Air Force Base in Florida. PyroGenesis designed, constructed, and commissioned the PRRS with operation beginning in April of last year, making it the first plasma waste-to-energy project installed at a US air force base. The PRRS uses PyroGenesis' patented two-stage gasification and vitrification process to convert waste to raw syngas, then refining the gas for use as fuel for an internal combustion engine to generate electricity, while turning residuals into an inert, glassy slag. The system is designed to be energy neutral and transportable to allow the USAF the flexibility to potentially deploy it to other bases around the world. The total contract value is about $2.73 million; this contract stage is intended to optimize the 10.5 ton per day plant for continuous operation under real-world military usage conditions. P. Peter Pascali, President and Chief Executive Officer of PyroGenesis, said, "This follow-on contract will help us to further validate our plasma technology in a commercial, land-based setting. The Air Force required technology that could take unsorted waste directly from the garbage truck and be able to safely and efficiently transform it into useful products … we feel we will exceed the Air Force's expectations." 01/25/2012


Due 03/09/2012: Grant Applications for Manitoba Biomass Energy Program

Province of Manitoba, CanadaThe Province of Manitoba, Canada is now accepting applications for its Biomass Energy Support Program (MBESP), an element of the broader Manitoba Bioproducts Strategy launched this month. There are two parts to the MBESP: 1) up to $12,000 per grant to coal users to off-set higher costs incurred in fuel-switching to biomass for the first quarter 2012, and 2) grants of up to $50,000 to help biomass processors and users with infrastructure upgrades that improve feedstock quality and use efficiency. Up to $400,000 in grant funds are currently available, funded from a coal emissions taxthat also went into effect at the start of this year; grant funding will increase as additional tax revenues are collected. Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn: "Biomass is a made-in-Manitoba fuel that can be produced from agricultural residues like straw, oat hulls and flax shives. Manitoba is committed to reducing our greenhouse-gas emissions and with the assistance of programs like this, Manitoba farms will reduce their carbon footprint and continue to be part of the solution to environmental challenges." MBESP Proposals are due by March 9, 2012; grant applications, instructions and background details are available on-line from the Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives web portal. 01/25/2012


Genomatica Obtains Exclusive PROESA Rights for Bio-BDO Production

GenomaticaSan Diego based Genomatica has secured exclusive global rights to use the PROESA technology platform for production of butanediol (BDO) in a license agreement with Beta Renewables. Italy's Gruppo Mossi and Ghisolfi (M&G) through its Chemtex subsidiary formed the joint venture Beta Renewables last October for exclusive licensing of Chemtex' PROESA® cellulosic biofuels and chemicals platform. Genomatica has developed a vertically integrated suite of methods for directed microbial engineering, fermentation-based production of intermediary chemicals and to-specification commodity production, including BDO and butadiene. The PROESA methods produce fermentable sugars from a wide range of biomass, integrating hydrothermal pre-treatment with enzymatic hydrolysis to produce and purify sugar-laden liquids. Chemtex is currently validating the process by producing the sugar stock and then taking this precursor through fermentation to bioethanol in its commercial-scale demonstration plant in Crescentino, Italy. Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica, said, “Together we will provide more feedstock flexibility to the chemical industry and a solution to reducing the volatility of raw material inputs. We are working to enable our chemical industry partners to produce sustainable chemicals from conventional sugars, cellulosic biomass or syngas – all while delivering improved profitability compared to petrochemical processes, the ability to deploy smaller-scale plants, and a smaller environmental footprint.” 01/24/2012


Avantium and Solvay's Rhodia to Jointly Develop Bio-Polyamides

AvantiumDutch catalysis specialists Avantium announced that its partnership with the Solvay group of companies has now advanced to a joint bio-polyamide development agreement with Solvay's Rhodia subsidiary. As a later-stage part in the value chain from raw biomass to commodity, Avantium provides a flexible catalytic method to turn any form of biomass carbohydrate, waste- or virgin-sourced, into one of the seven key foundation chemical groups upon which modern manufacturing depends. Avantium raised around EUR 30 million last June for final build-out of its plant in Geleen, the Netherlands. The company is now commercializing one production methodology developed from its on-going research and development, “YXY”, a catalytic method of carbohydrate conversion for production of bio-based "furanic" chemical building blocks. The YXY production element is designed to be implemented within larger existing chemical production methods. The facility provides full research and development capabilities based on its proprietary Flowrence fixed-bed catalytic reactor systems for testing its own and its partner's catalysis developments. Under the exclusive, multi-year agreement, chemical specialists Rhodia will test the YXY building blocks for engineering applications and together explore the global market for bio-sourced poly-amides. Avantium CEO Tom van Aken said about the new collaboration, "Rhodia is a world leading player in the development, manufacturing and supply of polyamides. We are very pleased to work with Rhodia on developing performing, sustainable and competitive solutions for a broad range of customers. Together with our existing partnerships in polyamides, we are now completely covering all application areas for polyamides on basis of our green building blocks."  01/24/2012


Ontario Ministry Supports Algae-based Emissions Absorption Pilot

Pond Biofuels, IncOntario, Canada's Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation has announced its support for the pilot project that captures carbon dioxide laden emissions from the St. Marys Cement plant and converts it to oxygen and biofuels. The Ontario firm Pond Biofuels, Inc designed, built, and has been operating the pilot plant since 2009. A pipe from a flue stack carries the gas into in-vessel algal bioreactors where a species of algae from the neighboring Thames River uses photosynthesis to absorb the carbon dioxide, release the oxygen, and retain the carbon. The algae will be continually harvested, dried using waste heat from the plant, and then burned as a fuel inside the plant's cement kilns. The algae can also be processed into biofuels for the company's truck fleet and biochemicals. Pond Biofuels plans to upgrade to a full-scale commercial facility at St. Marys by 2014. St. Mary's Cement is a wholly owned subsidiary of Votorantim Cimentos based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and a strategic partner in Pond Biofuels. The project also has support from the Asia-Pacific Partnership.The Ministry's support comes from the Innovation Demonstration Fund (IDF) which "focuses on emerging technologies, with a preference towards environmental, alternative energy, bio-products, hydrogen and other globally significant technologies." The program is intended to assist with gap financing between finalization of research and development, and initial stage commercialization, providing between $100,000 and $400,000 CAD per project, covering up to about 50% of project costs. Steve Martin, CEO of Pond Biofuels, said, "Solving the problem of industrial emissions requires industry, government, technology and capital all working together. We have that here, with Pond Biofuels providing the technology, St. Marys as our commercialization partner, angel investors in the Biomaterials Investment Group and support from the Province of Ontario. Going forward, Pond's made-in-Ontario technology can be applied to other essential industries, like steel, power generation and resource extraction." 01/24/2012


POET Declines $105MM USDA Loan in Favor of DSM Joint Venture

POETBased in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, advanced biofuels company POET has announced that it intends to formally decline the $105 million USDA loan guarantee secured last September, before drawing upon any of the funds available. The formal funds release will occur as soon as the new 50/50% joint venture with Royal DSM is completed. "The loan guarantee commitment from the DOE was an important milestone in our quest to commercialize cellulosic ethanol, and we are appreciative of the work they put into the due diligence process," POET founder and CEO Jeff Broin said. "We believe that the joint venture with DSM positions us well to meet our ambitious cellulosic ethanol production goals, and thus the loan guarantee has become unnecessary." As one of the world's highest volume biofuels producers, POET will join DSM in demonstration, commercial scale development and licensing of cellulosic bio-ethanol. As POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels LLC, the partnership will first complete Project Liberty, expand to replicate the integrated processing at POET's other 26 corn-ethanol plants, then begin to take this template global through DSM's own massive network. DSM held first position on the Dow Sustainability Index last year and can offer both proprietary advances in enzyme and yeast production to increase POET's conversion rates. DSM's press release of the joint venture includes call-in instructions for an open conference call for investors and analysis, scheduled from 9:30 to 10:30 am CET on January 24, 2012. 01/23/2012


Oregon DEQ Starts Conversion Technology Rulemaking

State of OregonOregon's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has scheduled the first advisory committee meeting for January 27, 2012 to discuss the state's new Conversion Technology Rulemaking. The Rulemaking would establish performance standards and solid waste permit requirements for conversion technology facilities. The DEQ Solid Waste program has formed the advisory committee to discuss issues relating to the permitting of Conversion Technology Facilities that are designed to convert solid waste into useful products, chemicals and fuels: "Conversion technologies consist of a variety of biological, chemical and thermal (excluding incineration) processes that convert solid waste into chemicals, fuels and other products. Examples of conversion technologies include: anaerobic digestion, gasification, hydrolysis, and pyrolysis." The Oregon DEQ program website provides numerous reference materials, many linked to Conversion Technology work in California, Ohio and Massachusetts. The meeting is open to the public and will also be accessible via web broadcast; questions should be directed to or Bob Barrows, or at 541-687-7354. 01/23/2012


JBI Receives Final Emissions Data on Plastic2Oil Stack Tests

Plastic2OilCanada's waste plastic to fuel company JBI, Inc. has received and released final third-party stack test data for their Plastic2Oil conversion process (P2O) on JBI's processors in New York. Plastic2Oil converts a variety of unwashed and unsorted types of waste plastic generally considered unrecyclable, into ultra-clean, ultra-low sulphur to-specification end-user fuels produced (Fuel No. 6, Fuel No. 2, and Naphtha. The three stack tests conducted by Conestoga-Rovers & Associates were at feed rates of 3258, 3233, and 3932 pounds per hour (18 to 24 tons per day) with efficiency consistently improving with the higher feed rates. The conversion rate for waste plastic into fuel averaged 86%. Optimization during trials reduced sulphur emissions (SO2) ten-fold, cut final nitrogen oxide emissions (NOx) from about 86 parts per million (ppm) to 15 ppm and reduced particulate matter (PM) from an initial 0.016 pounds per hour (lb/hr) to a final total of 0.002 lb/hr. The results provide the validation necessary for JBI to apply for modification to its current air quality permits from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to allow higher processing rates. In the last two months JBI has received significant fuel supply orders and secured $2.8 million in support for processing build-out which will be facilitated by the permit modification. 01/23/2012


MagneGas to Supply Syngas Cutting Fuel for Florida Tank Demolition Project

MagneGasFlorida's plasma-driven waste-to-syngas company MagneGas has announced a new cutting fuel supply contract with King Metal Recycling and Processing Company of Miami. In partnership with Marathon Construction and Demolition of Fort Lauderdale, King Metal will use MagneGas' product syngas exclusively to dismantle a 13.3 million gallon oil tank at Port Canaveral, Florida. MagneGas estimates the job will require over 1,000 gas cylinders of cutting fuel gas that will be produced, bottled and delivered from the company's facility in Tarpon Springs, Florida. The company's waste conversion platform utilizes its Plasma Arc FlowTM process to generate synthetic fuel gas from a wide variety of liquid wastes such as sewage, sludge, animal manure, glycerin, used antifreeze, some oil based liquids and waste water. MagneGas has grown steadily, securing $3.2 million at the closing of its private placement funding round in November 2011. "After seeing a demonstration of MagneGas, we recognized immediately that this environmentally friendly alternative fuel is the ideal choice for this assignment," commented Pete Amador, President of King Metal Recycling & Processing. "By using the MagneGas fuel on this project, we will be able to complete the demolition of the oil tank much faster, more efficiently and at a lower cost when compared to other metal cutting fuels." 01/23/2012


AWS Burdens Installing Base Biogas Storage Sphere at Wales AD Plant 

Base Structures Ltd Headquartered in Bristol, United Kingdom, Base Structures Ltd has announced sale of a 25 cubic meter "plug and play" biogas storage sphere to Welsh-based anaerobic digestion (AD) specialists AWS Burdens Environmental. Base developed the multi-layer modular and scalable biomethane storage vessel, a half-sphere that can be quickly deployed and interconnected with an AD facility to increase biogas storage. Burdens has recently developed its own proprietary AD plant; the new Base sphere will be installed at Burden's trial plant at its headquarters in Carmarthenshire, South Wales. Base's systems allow self-assembly of increasing storage, in a produced-biogas range associated with AD plants processing from 30 tonnes per week to 100 tonnes per week. The agreement with Burdens followed upon Base's first public display of the 25 cubic meter module at the ETS UK 2011 environmental trade show last October. 01/22/2012


USDA Conditional Loan Guarantee Supports Fiberight Advanced Biorefinery

Fiberight LLCThe US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved a $25 million conditional loan guarantee in support of an advanced biorefinery being developed by Fiberight LLC in Blairstown, Iowa. The new biorefinery will be fully operational in 2013, producing 3.6 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol annually. Fiberight purchased the shuttered corn-ethanol facility and completed refurbishment in mid-2010 for the first stage of operation using paper pulp wastes from a plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The fully developed advanced plant will also be able to convert a wide variety of other feedstock including wheat straw, corn stover, municipal waste, and other energy crops. The company's patented process starts with cell structure pulping, then Fiberight's partner in the project, Novozymes, will supply the enzymes to convert this to wood sugars for fermentation. “We truly believe that 2012 is the year for take-off in this industry. Steel is going into the ground, more Americans are going to work make biofuels and we anticipate seeing significant volumes of biofuels as a result,” says Craig Stuart-Paul, CEO of Fiberight. “Our long-term and extensive involvement with Novozymes has helped us development a commercially-pathway to advanced biofuels – and today it’s been rewarded by the U.S. Government.” 01/22/2012


Element Markets Selected for Ohio Landfill Gas to Biomethane Project

Element MarketsTexas biomethane development and environmental credit trading company Element Markets has been selected to develop a landfill gas utilization project at the Apex Sanitary Landfill in Jefferson and Harrison Counties, Ohio. The 1,285 acre landfill facility is permitted to receive up to 6,500 tons of waste per day, and has a capacity of 22.5 million cubic yards over a disposal area of 117.5 acres. The landfill is currently operating under an Enforcement Order issued by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because of significant odor issues and leachate management problems. The Order in part requires payment of $36,000 in fines, reduces maximum received waste from 7,500 to 6,500 tons per day until further notice, and requires expansion of the existing landfill gas collection system that is to be completed and operational by March 1, 2012. A landfill expansion request was submitted last month to the Ohio EPA that will be on hold for "an extended period of time" and until all of the violations have been satisfactorily addressed. Under the new landfill gas utilization project, the raw gas that is collected will be cleaned and upgraded to pipeline-quality biomethane for injection and sale into the regional natural gas infrastructure. Landfill owner Environmental Logistics Services, LLC selected Element Markets during a competitive bidding process. "We chose Element Markets to develop this project based upon their excellent track record and experience in both development and environmental commodities,” says Darren Rizzo, Environmental Logistics Services CEO. The project is expected to be operational in 2013. 01/21/2012


Wheelabrator Finalizes Purchase of Hudson Falls Waste to Energy Plant

WheelabratorTechnologies, IncWheelabrator Technologies, Inc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Waste Management Inc, has completed the purchase of a waste to energy facility in Hudson Falls, New York from the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) of Washington and Warran Counties, New York (WWIDA). The prior owner, Foster Wheeler Ltd., originally transferred the facility to the IDA in October 2003, with Wheelabrator acquiring the operating rights through 2012. The initial transfer brought Foster Wheeler about $6 million in cash, settled various litigious issues, and reduced the company's non-recourse debt balance by almost $50 million. Wheelabrator has now exercised the option to purchase the plant from the IDA rather than continue the leased service agreement. The facility converts about 170,000 tons of municipal solid waste a year from New York State and Vermont, or about 500 tons a day, to electricity for sale under a new power purchase agreement to the national Grid. “The agency is pleased that Wheelabrator has taken full ownership of the Hudson Falls waste-to-energy facility. Wheelabrator has proven to be an excellent operator of the facility since taking over from Foster Wheeler in 2003. The working relationship between the agency and Wheelabrator has been excellent from day one,” said Nick Caimano, chairman of the WWIDA. “Wheelabrator has been proactive in suggesting ways to reduce costs of operations and increase revenue, resulting in substantial savings for the counties. We welcome Wheelabrator as a fully fledged member of the local business community.” 01/21/2012


Chesterfield BioGas Secures Biomethane Upgrading Contract

Chesterfield BioGasPressure Technologies plc (PT) has announced that its subsidiary Chesterfield BioGas Ltd (CBG) has secured a contract to supply and install biomethane upgrading facilities at a major food waste anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Stockport, just outside of Manchester England. When it opens later this year, it will generate enough renewable gas to supply the natural gas requirements for 1,400 homes. The £1 million AD plant will be operated by Fairfield Bio Energy, a partnership between green energy firm Bio Group Ltd and Centrica, the owners of British Gas. PT operates three divisions, with CBG providing turnkey solutions for biomethane upgrading including the licensed equipment from Greenlane Biogas®, a division of the Canadian consortium Flotech Group. Greenlane manufactures and globally sells various scales of biogas upgrading modules designed to minimize on-site engineering and the need for maintenance contracts. CBG will install a modular "Kanuka" unit under the new contract to take up to 300 cubic meters per hour of raw biogas produced by anaerobic digestion of food waste from local hotels and restaurants and upgrade it to 98% pure biomethane, using Greenlane's proprietary water-wash process. CBG's Managing Director, Stephen McCulloch, said: "Our first project at the Thames Water site at Didcot used raw biogas captured during the treatment of waste water. The fact that the new Stockport site will use gas derived from a completely different waste material is a significant testament to our upgrading system and its versatility in coping with variable inputs from the anaerobic digestion process." 01/19/2012


New USDA Web Portal Improves Access to National Renewable Energy Data

US Department of AgricultureAgricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed and launched a new data portal streamlining access to national energy efficiency and renewable energy development and investment data. The new energy website provides access to all USDA energy resources, including agricultural, forestry, economic, and social data, using three new web-based tools: the USDA Renewable Energy Investment Map, the Renewable Energy Tool and Energy Matrix. The site also provides a link to all USDA state and local offices and energy resource coordinators. "Improving and modernizing access to USDA energy data and resources is essential in today's highly competitive rural business environment," said Vilsack. "Farmers, ranchers and small businesses across the country will benefit from easier navigation and retrieval of energy and renewable energy investments data and funding opportunities. As we continue to invest in rural communities across the country, USDA has heard from producers about the need for reducing red tape and the need to modernize its services. We are answering this challenge by making the best use of taxpayer resources, and providing the best possible service to the American people." 01/19/2012


Joule Closes 3rd Funding Round with $70MM Private Equity Investments

JouleUnlimitedMassachusetts based Joule Unlimited has now closed its $70 million third financing round and will utilize the new support to complete construction, commission, and start operations at its Hobbs, New Mexico, biofuels testing and optimization facility. The facility is designed to test and optimize Joule’s Helioculture™ process and SolarConverter® system at incrementally larger scales This financing round included investments from both new and prior undisclosed institutional and private sources that joined Flagship Ventures, Joule's founding venture capital investor. The company's Helioculture™ process engineers microbes to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and by using its proprietary SolarConverter® photosynthetic system, the organisms directly secrete ethanol, diesel and other products. The core of the process is based on the discovery of unique genes coding for enzymatic mechanisms that enable the direct synthesis of alkane and olefin molecules, foundation chemicals for fuel production. The Hobbs facility has the ability to incrementally expand to around 1,000 acres of reactors. Noubar Afeyan, Founder and Chairman of Joule and Managing Partner and CEO of Flagship Ventures, made the announcement at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi on January 17, 2012, saying, "Joule is among the most innovative and transformative companies to have emerged from our VentureLabs unit, encompassing numerous breakthroughs in a highly-efficient, scalable process that represents a new paradigm for liquid fuel production. Joule has now successfully moved beyond the research phase to prove the industrial viability of its approach, with a clear path to global implementation." The Hobbs plant is scheduled for commissioning in mid-2012. 01/18/2012


Enval Secures Funding to Commercialize Recovery of Unrecyclables

Enval LimitedUnited Kingdom's advanced recycling and waste processing company Enval Limited has secured funding to scale up its existing pilot operations to a commercial scale laminate packaging recycling plant.  The pilot operations have proven capable of separating and recovering plastic and aluminum from laminated packaging, which are usually considered to be unrecyclable. A syndicate of investors including Cambridge Enterprise and business angels from both Cambridge Capital Group and Cambridge Angels provided the investment support. The company originated as a spin-off from the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge, and has collaborated extensively with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in development of microwave-induced pyrolysis for recycling complex flexible packaging materials. Following separation of plastic aluminum laminates in Enval's material recovery facilities (MRFs), the new technology separates the material into its constituent components, producing clean aluminum ready for introduction into the secondary aluminum supply chain and hydrocarbons that can be used as fuel or chemical feedstock. ”Enval is delighted to announce the completion of this funding round and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our current investors for their support,” said Dr. Carlos Ludlow-Palafox, co-founder and CTO of Enval. ”With this investment and the backing from our industrial partners, Kraft Foods and Nestlé, Enval expects to bring its first commercial plant into service towards the middle of this year.” 01/18/2012


First Biodiesel Sustainability Symposium Set for February 8, 2012

National Biodiesel Education ProgramThe first Sustainability Symposium on Biodiesel is set for February 8, 2012 on the last day of the National Biodiesel Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida. The symposium is being presented by the National Biodiesel Education Program, sponsored by US Department of Agriculture (USDA). University of California, Davis professor and director of the California Biomass Collaborative Dr. Stephen Kaffka will keynote the symposium, and is one of the presenters for the Greenhouse Gases session. The rigorous agenda will also explore "the fundamental challenges we face to make our society, and particularly our fuel supply, more sustainable." Panel topics include a morning session on Energy Security: The Economic and Social Consequences of Energy Dependence vs. Independence, asking "Beyond the economic cost, what are the social and political consequences of reliance on foreign oil, or any single source of energy?" In the afternoon, a panel moderated by USDA, Office of the Chief Economist Jim Duffield will tackle Food Security: Long term strategy for sustained healthy populations in an energy-dependent world. Asked about his thoughts for the keynote address, Dr. Kaffka notes, "Sustainability is both easy and difficult to define. At a very broad level, everyone agrees that we should not undermine our prospects for the future based on enjoyment of current benefits. Definitions become increasingly more difficult the closer they come to use as regulations for specific activities." Dr. Kaffka will discuss this dilemma by using examples from the use of crops and crop residues for biofuels. 01/18/2012


Abengoa Selected for Brazilian Sugar Cane Bagasse to Biofuel Project

AbengoaGlobal biofuels firm Abengoa has been selected to develop a second generation ethanol facility in Brazil to produce bioethanol and biobutanol from sugar cane straw and bagasse. The facility will be designed with a capacity of 100 million liters per year of liquid biofuel. The selection was made by the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES) and a national promotion / investment agency (FINEP) to advance the country's Industrial Innovation Program for the Sugar Energy Sector (PAISS). Abengoa utilizes enzymatic hydrolysis and precision fermentation to convert biomass to fuels and chemicals, and is currently developing a reference facility in Hugoton, Kansas on this technology platform. The PAISS program, launched in March 2011, has allocated €435 million for the overall research, development and demonstration effort. BNDES has launched its own Prorenova sugar cane industry R$ 4 billion support program for 2012, providing loan and lease financing support for establishing new and refurbishing existing plantations. Abengoa has been involved in Brazil's sustainable development efforts for over 30 years. 01/17/2012


Starwood Secures Interest in 100 MWe Gainesville Renewable Energy Center

Starwood Energy Group Global, LLCConnecticut-based Starwood Energy Group Global, LLC (Starwood Energy) has announced acquisition of partial ownership interest in the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center ("GREC") from Tyr Energy, Inc. Part of a broad development consortium, Tyr Energy was formed in 2002 as a subsidiary of ITOCHU Corporation, an international trading conglomerate, and its U.S. based subsidiary, ITOCHU International, Inc. Starwood Energy specializes in energy infrastructure investments. Founded in 2005, Starwood Energy sponsored and closed its first dedicated energy and power infrastructure fund in June 2008 with $433 million of equity commitments. Construction began on the GREC 100 megawatt design capacity biomass power plant in March 2011 on about 130 acres of leased city property in northwest Gainesville. Project design and emissions analysis by the state notes that the facility will use a bubbling fluidized bed boiler and steam turbines to generate power in a system "capable of accommodating a wide range of clean, woody biomass fuels. The GREC will use clean, chipped/ground, woody biomass material as its primary fuel. The biomass will consist of logging residue, mill residue, and urban wood waste." Once completed in late 2013, the GREC will sell energy, capacity and environmental attributes to the City of Gainesville, Florida, Gainesville Regional Utilities under a thirty-year power purchase agreement. Starwood Energy affiliates and its investors will now provide about 40% of the ownership equity interests; the total cost of the facility is approximately $500 million. 01/17/2012


HyperSolar's Solar-Nano System Cleans Wastewater, Produce Hydrogen

HyperSolar, IncInspired by photosynthesis, Santa Barbara-based HyperSolar Inc. has announced a breakthrough in wastewater treatment for production of fuel-grade hydrogen, clean water and an array of pure bi-products. The company's technology platform utilizes solar-powered photoelectron-chemical nanostructures to separate hydrogen from any water-base liquid. The system is designed for cost-effective manufacture and operation and is capable of harvesting hydrogen from both the wastewater and any in-solution organics such as biosolids and acids. The nanoparticles absorb sunlight and generate a hydrolyzing electrical charge, allowing separated gases to surface for collection within transparent reaction vessels. Reactions occur at ambient temperature and pressure with no energy source other than the sunlight. Valuable bi-products can then be reclaimed from the remaining slurry, while collected hydrogen can be used as a fuel on-site or to drive further biochemical reactions for manufacture of green fuels and chemicals. “Instead of using pure water to produce renewable hydrogen, a very expensive starting point, we are optimizing our technology to work with municipal and industrial wastewater, which contains organic molecules of all kinds,” said Tim Young, HyperSolar CEO. “Billions of dollars are spent on energy to clean wastewater for reuse. Our process uses free sunlight to photo-oxidize (detoxify) wastewater to simultaneously produce molecular hydrogen and clean water. This zero-carbon hydrogen can then be used to power the wastewater treatment plant or turned into natural gas by combining it with CO2 for distribution using the existing natural gas infrastructure.” 01/17/2012


SWANA Issues White Paper on Economic Benefits of Waste to Energy

Solid Waste Association of North AmericaThe Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has announced the availability of a new white paper illustrating the socio-economic benefits of waste to energy (WtE) facilities. The paper, "Waste-to-Energy Facilities Provide Significant Economic Benefits", highlights accomplishments of nine WtE installations in the United States. The paper addresses two economically and environmentally successful WtE facilities in Lancaster County and York County, Pennsylvania in operation for over a decade, plants in the Florida counties of Palm Beach, Pinellas, Lee and Hillsborough, northwestern facilities in Oregon and Washington and a WtE plant in Maine built in 1988 that diverts 90% of waste from landfilling and will be paid off in 2015. "This paper demonstrates the positive economic performance of many waste-to-energy facilities over several decades," said John H. Skinner, Ph.D. SWANA Executive Director and CEO. "Other municipalities considering this technology across North America can have confidence that they can be operated in an environmentally sound manner and can actually represent an economic asset to the community," Skinner added. An in-depth assessment by SWANA's Applied Research Foundation will published in February 2012 focused on the solid waste infrastructures of Lancaster Pennsylvania and Honolulu Hawaii, concluding that "properly managed waste-to-energy facilities offer an array of financial benefits to the communities that utilize them." 01/16/2012


PDM Group to Expand ReFood Anaerobic Digestion Facility Program in 2012

PDM GroupThe United Kingdom's (UK) food industry giant Prosper De Mulder Ltd (PDM Group) has announced plans for a £40 million expansion of its ReFood anaerobic digestion (AD) facility network with construction of two new plants to be located in Widnes and East London. ReFood's first facility in Doncaster was opened in September 2011, coinciding with PDM Group's receipt of key equity backing from German-based Sarnia Industries. PDM Group's property in Widnes will become a regional food waste recycling hub drawing feedstock from residential, industrial and retail sources, while incorporating animal bi-product rendering, thermal biomass to energy and AD. The planned facilities will each convert around 90,000 tonnes per year into 4 megawatts of grid-connected renewable energy and nutrient-rich fertilizer. Philip Simpson, commercial director at PDM Group said, “Food waste is recognised as an issue the UK needs to overcome, not only is it a complete waste of a resource by letting it rot in landfill, capacity at these sites is falling fast and AD offers the ideal solution. Our AD plant in Doncaster is performing well, and we’re keen to keep the momentum going in developing our ReFood network to provide regional solutions for food waste across the UK.” PDM hopes to start construction on both sites by autumn 2012, with both plants fully operational in 2013. 01/16/2012


PERC Releases Vermont Case Study on Biomass Heating

Property and Environment Research Center The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) has published a case study of biomass heating utilization in Vermont's schools and commercial buildings entitled, "Vermont Schools the Nation in Woody Biomass Heating". The report was authored by Steven Bick, a forestry consultant and adjunct professor at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Based in Bozeman, Montana, the 30-year-old non-profit PERC originated the concept of Free Market Environmentalism in an attempt to explain "how markets could be harnessed to improve environmental quality." This case study explores use of regionally-sourced wood from mill residues and forest management, comparing socio-economic and environmental benefits of biomass use as an alternative to petroleum-sourced heating oil, to propane, and to natural gas and electricity. The report concludes: "With roughly one-third of U.S. energy consumption used for heating, energy and environmental policy makers would be wise to consider wood as a heat source. Although this ancient technology is far from cutting edge, it can provide an economic and environmentally viable solution for high heating costs in many parts of the country." 01/16/2012


California DTSC and US EPA Sign Green Chemistry Accord

DTSC Green ChemistryThe US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to collaborate on identification, removal and substitution of toxic chemicals in consumer products. Developing the framework and implementation steps for the DTSC's "Green Chemistry" initiative has been difficult and contentious; one area of common concern has been the sheer magnitude of the proposed chemical tracking effort, a task that the EPA's own Green Chemistry program has recently addressed by partnering on the Tox21 rapid robotic screening effort. The January 12, 2012 MOU is designed to minimize redundancy and standardize assessment methods, which also goes to a second concern regarding the DTSC's efforts. Once again, California is setting up a more stringent set of business criteria than is being applied to other states and other markets. It is hoped that nationally consistent methodology will foster a more even state-to-state application, ultimately bettering the environment with less collateral damage to the economy. “This partnership will build and harmonize common tools and practices used to conduct alternative assessments to promote safer products,” said Jim Jones, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “These alternative assessments inform and speed the adoption of safer chemicals for use in products, homes, schools, and workplaces, which produce significant environmental and economic benefits.” 01/15/2012


Santa Barbara County to Initiate CEQA on Regional MSW to Energy Project

County of Santa Barbara, CaliforniaThe Santa Barbara County, California, Public Works Department has prepared a staff report requesting authorization from the Board of Supervisors to initiate California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review on the multi-year Resource Recovery Project to divert waste from the Tajiguas Landfill. The staff report has been placed on the Board of Supervisor's agenda for consideration during the January 17, 2012 regularly scheduled meeting. The report includes recommendations for the project's next steps, a Resource Recovery Project Summary, and the presentation staff will make before the Board. The project begun in 2002 is centered on the well-documented collaboration of the County and the Cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta, Solvang, and Buellton in a Conversion Technology Study. These jurisdictions are served by the Tajiguas Landfill, which will reach capacity by 2023 unless a substantial expansion is accomplished or alternatives to landfilling are developed. The region already diverts from disposal and recovers around 70% of the generated municipal solid waste (MSW)  through existing reduction, reuse and recycling programs. The Conversion Study's intent was to increase diversion of the remaining 175,000 tons per year still being landfilled, resulting in a long term disposal alternative. Evaluation of the vendor/developer proposals during the long process have resulted in the conservative selection for an initial stage project development of an integrated Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and anaerobic digestion (AD) plant with produced methane-rich biogas used as fuel for generation of electricity. Residuals from the AD process would then be stabilized by composting for use in land reclamation, and/or landfilled. The County's selected vendor is Mustang Renewable Power Ventures LLC. For more information on this project, contact Carlyle Johnston, Public Works Department, at (805) 882-3617 or by email at. 01/14/2012


Malaby Biogas Receives First WRAP Anaerobic Digestion Loan

United Kingdom's Waste & Resources Action ProgrammeThe United Kingdom's Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has announced that Malaby Biogas is the first to benefit from the Anaerobic Digestion Loan Fund (ADLF) from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Malaby Biogas will receive a loan of £800,000 in support of the Bore Hill Farm food-waste anaerobic digester facility. The plant, already under construction, will utilize technology from Marches Biogas to convert from 17,000 to 20,000 tonnes of regionally-sourced food waste per year to biogas, fueling generation of 4.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, or about 0.5 megawatts. A total of £10 million is available in the fund, with loans ranging from a minimum of £50,000 to a maximum of £1,000,000 disbursed over a five year period. “Malaby is the first of what we hope will be a number of companies to benefit from the anaerobic digestion loan fund and it is excellent to see such good progress being made at the Wiltshire plant,” said WRAP director Steve Creed. “We’re currently considering a number of other applications, and the new round of loan awards for 2012 has just begun, so we’d encourage anyone who is interested in the fund to get in touch with us.” Defra Minister Lord Taylor said:  “The energy that can be created from food waste that would otherwise lie rotting in landfill is astonishing. This £800,000 investment from our £10 million anaerobic digestion fund will help this new plant to be built so we can harness that energy to power our towns and cities and remove a cause of greenhouse gas emissions form landfill.” 01/14/2012


BlackGold Biofuels, SLM Partner for Commercial Kitchen Grease Program

BlackGold BiofuelsTwo Pennsylvania companies with broad national market services, BlackGold Biofuels and SLM Facilities Services, have announced a strategic partnership to provide collection services and biofuels conversion for waste commercial kitchen grease. SLM provides services to more than 15,000 clients in the hospitality industry, food processors, and institutional kitchens that generate and must dispose of greasy kitchen waste, and to the cleaning services, pumpers and treatment facilities that collect and manage that waste grease. BlackGold Biofuels operates a national network of liquid waste recycling facilities, using a combination of proprietary processes to cost-effectively convert fats, oils and grease (FOG) to biofuels and other beneficial commodities. FOG-laden wastewater is separated into clean water, residual solids, and dry FOG, which is then processed into glycerin, heating oil, and biodiesel meeting ASTM D6751 and the EPA’s ultra low sulfur requirements. "This partnership streamlines the recycling process for restaurants by increasing access to BlackGold's innovative wastewater service," said Emily Landsburg, CEO of BlackGold Biofuels. "In partnership with SLM, we have identified both the most cost effective and best use for wastewater materials, eliminating confusion and headaches for kitchens and waste-haulers." 01/14/2012


Waste Conversion Start-ups Among Finalists in 2012 Clean Energy Challenge

2012 Clean Energy ChallengeTwo waste conversion start-ups are among the ten finalists in the 2012 Clean Energy Challenge for the Midwest according to the Trust's announcement just released. The finalists were selected from 59 Early Stage and Seed Stage business applications across eight states. Dioxide Materials of Champaign, Illinois utilizes a liquid ionic catalyst to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to a beneficial carbon monoxide (CO), a processing approach referred to as "artificial photosynthesis" due to the resemblance to gas conversion in plants, in nature. The company has been in close collaboration with researchers at the University of Illinois. The second waste conversion company, Algae Scientific, uses microalgae to remove soluble organics and nutrients from a wide variety of liquid effluents, reducing biological and chemical oxygen demand (BOD and COD) in what the company calls its patent-pending "Hypertrophic Water Treatment ProcessTM." The treatment results in clean water and a harvest of algal biomass that depending on the feedstock and algal strain may be processed for energy, fuels, chemicals and/or fertilizer. Finalist companies receive mentoring as they prepare to compete on March 1st for the $100,000 grand prize, which is provided by the Department of Energy. 01/13/2012


Due 02/21/2012: Proposals for Low Carbon Biofuel Production Facilities to CEC

California Energy CommissionThe California Energy Commission (CEC) has announced the release of a Program Opportunity Notice (PON-11-601), soliciting proposals for either new low carbon biofuel production facilities, or for significant carbon intensity reductions in biofuels from existing production facilities. About $38 million is available, with almost $12 million allocated for production of diesel substitutes and over $12 million set aside for gasoline substitutes; the largest allocation of 413.28 million is reserved for biomethane development. Projects must demonstrate economically competitive yields and lower GHG potential than Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) pathways for corn ethanol or soy biodiesel. The solicitation is being funded through set-asides of the AB 118, which requires the Energy Commission to adopt and update annually an investment plan; its most recent investment plan was issued on September 7, 2011. The 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 Investment Plans should be familiar to those interested in proposing to this solicitation, and are available on-line from the Alternative and Renewable Fuel & Vehicle Technology Program website. The 15 solicitation documents are also available on-line, to include the Application Manual and all current attachments. The Proposal Workshop and deadline to submit questions is January 27, 2012. The Workshop is now scheduled for 9:00 am in The CEC's Hearing Room A in Sacramento, and will also made be available via webex; call Kristyn Jack at (916) 654-4381 for workshop questions. Proposals must be submitted by February 21, 2012 to the CEC Grants and Loans Office. Questions about the overall solicitation should be emailed to. Proposals must be submitted by 4:00 pm PST on February 21, 2012. 01/13/2012


Cool Planet Biofuels Starts Negative-Carbon Fuels Fleet Tests in California

Cool Planet Biofuels Negative Carbon FuelCalifornia based Cool Planet Biofuels, Inc has announced receipt of California Air Resources Board (CARB) approval to begin commercial fleet testing of its negative carbon biofuel. Fuel for this initial testing is made from conversion of corn cobs, and is chemically identical to standard unleaded gasoline. Testing will be on a blend of E-10 gasoline. The company's technology platform utilizes a combination of mechanical and thermal energy to convert low-grade biomass feedstock directly to engine-ready "drop-in" neutral-carbon biofuel, while producing a carbon-sequestering biochar product for soils amendment or as a neutral-carbon substitute for coal. Assuming that the biofuel itself is carbon neutral, the total carbon footprint is less than zero when the biochar is incorporated in the soil, thus considered a "negative carbon" fuel. Former CARB Fuels Program Chief Dean Simeroth notes, “Cool Planet’s cellulosic based renewable gasoline is the first such technology to be granted CARB approval for fleet testing. Cool Planet’s test blend is designed to address California’s 2020 Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which mandates a 10% reduction in carbon intensity versus today’s gasoline.” Recently, the company received major C Round equity investment support from BP Technology Ventures. 01/12/2012


UMass Researchers Boost Biochemical Output from Biomass by 40 Percent

University of Massachusetts AmherstThe University of Massachusetts Amherst has announced that its chemical engineering researchers have improved recovery of petrochemical alternatives from non-food woody biomass by as much as 40% over previous methods using catalytic fast pyrolysis technology. The process converts wood, grasses or other renewable biomass to produce five of the six petrochemicals that serve as the building blocks for the chemical industry: the aromatics benzene, toluene, and xylene, and the olefins ethylene and propylene. The single-step process does not produce the remaining "wood alcohol", methanol. The approach introduces biomass feedstock to a fluidized bed gasifier, then uses a new gallium-zeolite catalyst to yield significantly more product than with other thermal conversion methods. Team leader George Huber believes the process can be economically competitive with the current petroleum refinery infrastructure, “The ultimate significance of our research is that products of our green process can be used to make virtually all the petrochemical materials you can find. In addition, some of them can be blended into gasoline, diesel or jet fuel.” The team has published the findings in the December 23, 2011 edition of the German Chemical Society’s journal Angewandte Chemie, authored by Huber, Wei Fan, assistant professor of chemical engineering, and graduate students Yu-Ting Cheng, Jungho Jae and Jian Shi. The team’s catalytic fast pyrolysis technology has been licensed to New York City’s Anellotech, Inc., co-founded by Huber, now scaling up the process to industrial size. 01/12/2012


CEC/PIER Community Scale Renewables RFP to be Released Next Month

California Energy CommissionThe California Energy Commission's (CEC) Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program held a workshop on January 10, 2012 to request stakeholder input on its upcoming Community Scale Renewable Energy Development, Deployment and Integration solicitation. Community scale renewables are defined as projects generating less than 10 megawatts and serving communities with local heat, electricity and or fuels. The workshop looked at ways such projects could be integrated with Investor Owned Utility (IOU) grid systems, and followed on earlier CEC work since 2008 developing the Renewable Energy Secure Community (RESCO) program. The detailed staff presentation is available on-line, outlining the three major program areas to be funded in a Request for Proposals now scheduled for release February 16, 2012. The presentation provides key questions, including: What are the major concerns of California’s IOUs with community scale renewables to be addressed in this solicitation, and how can the solicitation be structured to ensure awarded projects will balance IOU and community-specific concerns? How can intermittent DG resources be best integrated into communities to provide baseload generation and potential backup support during outages? How can the Energy Commission encourage proposals from a broad applicant base? With California's expansion of net metering regulations last year beyond wind and solar to include all forms of renewable energy (RE), eligible under the Renewables Portfolio Standard, communities now have a much broader suite of RE options.. 01/12/2012


SAIC, Enova Energy, Carlyle Group Launch $225 Million Biomass Project

Plainfield Renewable Energy, LLCScience Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and the Carlyle Energy Mezzanine Opportunities Group (Carlyle) have jointly announced a $225 million agreement to finance the construction of the 37.5 megawatt Plainfield Renewable Energy (PRE) biomass project, owned by a subsidiary of the Enova Energy Group LLC (Enova). The PRE project is located on a 27-acre reclaimed Superfund site in Plainfield, Connecticut. Feedstock for the biopower plant will consist of locally sourced wood waste from construction and demolition (C&D) debris, recycled wood pallets, and land clearing materials. The owners have all permits, and have a 15 year power purchase agreement with Connecticut Light & Power; the plant is fully certified as a generator of renewable power in the state of Connecticut. SAIC and Carlyle will together provide the financing, while SAIC will also provide engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services for the project under a fixed-price, date certain contract. "Enova is proud to work with SAIC and Carlyle on this state-of-the-art project that will not only power the community but also create jobs, foster economic growth, and promote a better world in which to live," said Zachary Steele, Chief Executive Officer of Enova Energy Group. Anticipated date of construction completion is December 2013. 01/11/2012


Verso Paper Completes $45MM Renewable Energy Mill Upgrade

Verso Paper CorporationMemphis-based Verso Paper Corporation has announced completion of a major renewable energy upgrade to its pulp and paper mill in Quinnesec, Michigan. The facility's boilers have been upgraded to allow clean combustion of waste wood and mill residuals in addition to the continued combustion of black liquor, a byproduct of the pulping process, while a new feedstock handling system expands the plant's capability in efficiently managing diverse woody materials. Combined, the upgrades will enable generation of an additional 28 megawatts of electricity for consumption within the plant, providing almost 100% of the electrical demand. Verso feedstock acquisition programs are designed to ensure that the expanded harvesting of forest-sourced logging residual materials meet sustainability standards. “In addition to reducing our carbon footprint, these improvements will improve boiler combustion and efficiency and will markedly reduce the mill’s reliance on electricity produced from fossil fuels,” said Verso Vice President of Energy and Technology Mark Daniel. Construction on the upgrades began in October 2010 and was just completed with the commissioning of a new turbine earlier this month. 01/11/2012


Renewable Gas Research in Ireland Receives Funding Boost

Environmental Research Institute at University College Cork, IrelandThe Environmental Research Institute (ERI) at University College Cork announced receipt of €250,000 to advance research in 2012 on the country's renewable gas development "beyond the academic and into industry." ERI has long collaborated with Bord Gáis Networks (BGN), the Irish natural gas distribution utility, releasing a report two years ago on “The Future of Renewable Gas in Ireland.” The report estimated that 7.5% of Ireland’s natural gas demand could be met by renewable gas. “There is no silver bullet when it comes to fuels of the future,” said Dr Jerry Murphy, Principal Investigator in Bioenergy and Biofuels at the ERI. “Renewable gas (also called biomethane) has a significant role to play. Detailed research is required into the numerous biomethane feedstocks (algae, grass, household waste, slurries) and the most efficient technology available to convert these feedstocks to renewable gas. We have investigated the sustainability of producing biomethane from a range of feed stocks such as organic waste materials and non food crops. We have shown that biomethane is far superior to first generation liquid biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. Of huge benefit is the fact that the gas can be injected to the natural gas grid and used as a transport fuel in natural gas vehicles (NGV). The gas grid is the distribution system for the fuel, negating the need for on road tankers.” 01/11/2012


EPA, DOE and WAPA Host Green Power Program Webinar

US Department of EnergyAn informational web presentation entitled "Overview of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Program" will be held on January 25, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. Mountain Standard Time (MST). The webinar is being presented by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Tribal Energy Program and the DOE Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs join the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) to highlight the EPA's Green Power Partnership. The program supports procurement of green power and can help lower the transaction cost, reduce its carbon footprint, and communicate to key stakeholders. Green power is electricity produced from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and low-impact hydro. The speakers will discuss the qualifying green power sources and the steps to becoming a Green Power Partner as well as the program's efforts to help Partners identify compelling project participation opportunities. This is the third in a series of webinars that will continue into September 2012. There is no cost to attend, but on-line registration is required. 01/11/2012


ClearEdge Signs $500MM Agreement with Güssing for 50 MW of Fuel Cell Energy

ClearEdge PowerOregon's scalable stationary fuel cell manufacturer ClearEdge Power has announced the signing of a long-term system supply agreement with Austrian distributed energy specialists Güssing Renewable Energy GmbH. ClearEdge will supply Güssing with sufficient stationary proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEM FC) for 8.5 megawatts of combined heat and power over the next 36 months. The fuel cells will be fueled in part by biogas from Güssing's anaerobic digestion modules, which ferment biomass such as green waste, micro algae, urban liquid wastes, and food processing waste with the help of bacteria. ClearEdge currently offers 5 kilowatt PEMs; the new support will allow expansion in module scale up to 200 kilowatts per unit. The full agreement calls for provision of PEMs to supply 50 megawatts by 2020; the estimated value of the completed agreement is $500 million. Güssing, who already invested in ClearEdge's $73.5 million total Series E financing round, will now sell, install, and maintain PEM FC systems in Austria with expansion options for broader western European markets. "With its flexible and modular power systems, ClearEdge Power has developed a distributed energy solution that will fundamentally change the way people receive power,” said Michael Dichand, Chairman, Güssing Renewable Energy. “We see these fuel cell systems as the perfect complement to our sustainably cultivated biomass facilities and are pleased to be able to partner with a forward-thinking company like ClearEdge Power as we aggressively move to achieve our clean energy goals." 01/10/2012


JBI Secures $2.8MM for Plastic2Oil Technology Buildout

Plastic2OilOntario, Canada's waste plastics conversion company JBI, Inc. has announced closure this month of an equity financing round totaling $2.795 million, for further development of its "Plastic2Oil" (P2O) technology platform and production capacity. P2O cleanly converts mixed waste plastic to products, without extensive cleaning. The long-chain plastic polymer molecules are first thermally cracked into shorter hydrocarbon chains, then the gases and vapors separated. Heavy fraction gases are catalyzed to exit as discrete product streams; lighter gases such as butane, methane, ethane and propane are combusted to provide process heat. The 2% remaining petcoke residual solids are currently being analyzed for beneficial use determination. JBI has received substantial orders from Indigo Energy Partners, LLC and XTR Energy Company Limited. The firm's to-specification fuel products include #2 and #6 fuel oil, transport diesel, naptha, various fuel gases, and petroleum coke (petcoke). “I think this is further validation of our business model by sophisticated investors who believe in the innovations and proprietary technology that JBI, Inc. has developed,” commented John Bordynuik, CEO of the Company. “This financing will continue to support the operational build-out of our P2O processors at the Company’s Niagara Falls facility and the initial site in our agreement with Rock-Tenn Company.” 01/10/2012


Imtech Secures Commission for Polish Recycling and Energy Plant

ImtechNetherlands-based technical services provider Imtech has been commissioned by Polish waste company Finalsa S.A. to provide all technical solutions for an advanced waste management facility near Warsaw, Poland. The integrated Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and Waste to Energy (WtE) plant will be designed to process around 120,000 tons per year of municipal solid waste (MSW), about 15% of the city's 800,000 tons of annual residential commercial and industrial waste. The plant will be net-energy positive, supplying all on-site demand and exporting about the same amount of energy to the City's grid. Imtech's design will extract a large fraction of recyclables while delivering organics for anaerobic digestion and biogas production to fuel on-site power generation. The facility will also produce post-recycling residual refuse derived fuels. When the facility is completed, total waste diverted from regional Polish landfills will exceed EU directive 1999/31/EG requirements for the year 2020. René van der Bruggen, CEO of Imtech said that the new order in Poland and previous recent orders for energy-efficient waste processing plants in, for instance Germany, the Netherlands, and in the UK, show that Imtech is leading in this segment in Europe. Imtech works in around 25 countries, having a worldwide network of 70 support offices. 01/09/2012


Extreme Biodiesel Converts Waste Glycerin to New Product

Extreme BiodieselExtreme Biodiesel has announced that it will convert its waste glycerin to new value-added products, including lubricants for concrete and asphalt forms as used in landscaping and road construction. The Extreme Biodiesel facility has been operating in Corona, California since January 2008, producing biodiesel fuel while also manufacturing personal biodiesel processors, and recently adding a regional restaurant brown grease recycling service. Production modules range from a one-day, 120 gallon standard unit to the new 600-gallon mini-refinery, a waterless and scalable production system. The company conducts educational workshops and offers financing alternatives. "We are again happy to continue our research and produce a new product that provides a new customer base with a better product that saves them money, creates another profit center for ourselves and promotes a green alternative to existing product," say Richard Carter, CEO. Contract negotiations are ongoing with existing companies for the wide distribution of the product. Extreme Green Technologies, Inc dba Extreme Biodiesel is a BookMerge Technology, Inc company. Both companies are incorporated in the state of Nevada. 01/09/2012


CleanMetrics Study: Climate Change and Economics of US Food Waste

CleanMetricsThe Oregon think-tank CleanMetrics has released a pre-publication report detailing the many environmental and economic deficits of America's disposal of food-sourced organic waste. The work is based on comprehensive life cycle analyses (LCA) and economics analysis of 134 food commodities. The work "significantly tightens up" the companies earlier estimates, and indicates that at least 2% of the net greenhouse gas emissions in the US are related to food waste at an annual cost of almost $200 billion. CleanMetrics analysis finds, "… avoidable food waste in the US amounts to over 55 million metric tonnes per year, representing nearly 29% of annual production. This results in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 113 million metric tonnes of CO2e annually, equivalent to 2% of US national emissions. Over two-thirds of these emissions occur in production and processing. The annual economic cost of this waste to US businesses and consumers is $198 billion. Consumers are responsible for 60% of the waste and bear a proportionate fraction of the cost – about $1600 per year for a family of four – while retailers are responsible for one-third of the waste. There is a promising opportunity here to show both consumers and businesses that they can simultaneously mitigate emissions and save money through waste reduction." 01/08/2012


ZeaChem Starts Core Facility Operations at Oregon Biorefinery

ZeaChemColorado-based multi-technologic biofuels and chemicals developer ZeaChem has announced completion of the core components of its Boardman, Oregon biorefinery on schedule and under budget. The core operations will convert regionally-sourced biomass to produce the intermediate bio-based chemicals acetic acid and ethyl acetate, precursors to manufacturing of paints, lacquers and solvents. The biochemicals will be available for sale to commercial and industrial customers seeking renewable and cost-competitive alternatives to petroleum-sourced chemicals. ZeaChem’s proprietary technology core consists of a parallel hybrid system of fermentation and gasification. Fractionating biomass will allow C5 xylose and C6 glucose sugars to be processed through the now-completed fermentation core to produce acetic acid without excess carbon dioxide production. In a second processing pathway, the lignin fraction will be gasified to produce hydrogen-rich syngas, used to reform the precursor chemicals to ethanol and other liquid biofuels. Once this second project at the facility is operational later in 2012, it will result in the production of up to 250,000 gallons per year (GPY) of cellulosic ethanol. “Beginning operations at the core facility is another indication that ZeaChem continues to successfully execute its strategic roadmap,” said Jim Imbler, president and chief executive officer of ZeaChem. “Our phased development approach minimizes risk by allowing us to produce marketable products as we scale up our biorefining operations. We will continue to build out our biorefinery platform to produce a broad portfolio of sustainable and economical chemicals and fuels derived from cellulosic biomass.” Concurrently, ZeaChem was just selected as "This Week's Colorado Company to Watch" for the week ending January 5, 2012. Colorado Company to Watch is a collaborative Colorado economic incentive program sponsored in part by the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, and designed to recognize growth-focused, privately held companies headquartered in the state. 01/08/2012


Due 02/10/2012: Comments to IBI Biochar Standards

International Biochar InitiativeThe International Biochar Initiative (IBI) is seeking stakeholder comment on its proposed collaborative Guidelines for Specifications of Biochars by February 10, 2012. A final draft of the proposed standards will be posted to IBI's website by January 10, 2012. Public webinars have been scheduled on two different days in order to accommodate as many people as possible; space is limited to allow interaction and although free, registration is required. The first presentation will be on January 11, 2012 at 3pm eastern standard time (EST); click here to register for the January 11th webinar. The second on-line discussion is set for January 19th at 3pm EST requiring separate registration. After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar. The final Guidelines document will be submitted for legal review, then presented to IBI membership for a week-long balloting period starting March 5th, 2012. If approved, the Guidelines will be published on March 12th. Public comments and any questions regarding the program should be emailed to, or by direct contact with IBI Communications Director Thayer Tomlinson, (802) 257-5359. 01/12/2012 Update: Another webinar has been scheduled for January 24th. You can register for the webinar online for either January 19 or January 24. 01/08/2012


US Commerce Webinar on India's Infrastructure and Energy Opportunities

IndiaThe US Department of Commerce, Commercial Service India has scheduled a webinar on India's Infrastructure for January 11, 2012 at 10:00 AM EST in preparation for a trade mission in March  2012. The on-line presentation will focus on Project Management and Engineering Services (including architecture and design), Transportation (including road/highways, rail, airports and intelligent transportation systems), and Energy (including distribution, transmission, and smart grid sectors). India's economy has experienced 8% growth over the last decade and has pressing infrastructure development needs. We have reported recently on the dynamic 3,815 megawatt expansion of government-supported renewable energy projects in 2011, with installation of 45,000 rural anaerobic digestion systems in one year. The webinar will begin with a brief overview of the Indian commercial environment, followed by a sector-growth summary with and a focus on specific business opportunities in the infrastructure, renewable and energy efficiency sectors. U.S. Commercial Service staff in India will then discuss the U.S. Department of Commerce Executive-Led Infrastructure, Transportation, and Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Trade Mission to India scheduled for March 2012. Webinar participants will be able to ask questions of the presenters. On-line registration and a $45 fee provides the necessary access codes. 01/07/2012


ZeroPoint Completes BioPower to Grid Trials at German Biomass Installation

ZeroPoint Clean Tech, IncNew York based ZeroPoint Clean Tech, Inc completed successful combined heat and power (CHP) trials for its biomass fueled gasification installation at Schwarze Pumpe, Germany during the last two weeks of 2011. The modular biomass gasification system generates synthetic fuel gas (syngas) that can used to directly fire engines or be reformed to liquid fuels. The integrated CHP configuration recovers usable heat from the engines, and the starved-air gasification of the biomass produces a beneficial biochar bi-product for soils amendment and carbon sequestration. A variety of feedstock ash been tested with particularly good results gasifying wood, palm waste residues, and bagasse. For this ZeroPoint installation, renewable syngas fueled gas engines and sold electricity in its early trials to the regional grid under the German "Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz," (Renewable Energy Act). ZeroPoint CEO John Gaus: "The last half month of continuous operation and power sales are an important milestone in demonstrating reliability. We fully expect to show higher throughputs and reliabilities and prove attractive project economics in the coming year." 01/07/2012


TES New Energy Introduces Small Scale Waste Heat to Power Modules

TES New EnergyThe Japanese start-up TES New Energy (Thermo Electric Systems and NewEnergy Company) has introduced multiple new lines of its novel heat-to-electricity module with a  thermoelectric generation technology platform based on research and development within the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology"s (AIST) Kansai Center in Ikeda, Osaka, Japan. The AIST research team discovered a unique oxide compound capable of the direct conversion of waste heat to electrical energy in 2000 and a decade later in May of 2010 established TES New Energy to commercialize the clean energy platform as low cost small scale heat-to-power modules. Initial applications mounted the 2 centimeter square units in the walls of cooking pots were successfully field-trialed in Uganda. The Hatsuden Nabe Pan Charger activates with cooking heat and generates from 2 to 12 watts at 12.5 and 5 volts for recharging electronic devices and running LED lighting. TES New Energy has since been diversifying the product lines and scaling the modules upward. Most recent additions include a 50 x 50 centimeter fin or plate type panel operating between 100 to 1,000 degrees Celsius (° C) waste heat and generating a little less than 700 watts at 600° C. The new company is now ready to provide support services for a wide range of transport and stationary heat-to-power conversion applications. 01/07/2012


Student-led ReGenerate is Clean Energy Challenge Semifinalist

ReGenerateThe Clean Energy Trust (CET) has now announced selection of 16 semi-finalists in the 2012 Clean Energy Challenge launched last October for student-led companies from eight mid-western states. Among the survivors from an initial 500 applicants is ReGenerate, a start-up out of Michigan State University, Ann Arbor. The young company's 1/10th scale prototype underwent extensive testing at Michigan State's Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center (ADREC), converting cafeteria food waste while being assessed for a wide array of operational metrics such as gas output and quantity of compost generated. The current model, the Compact Organic Waste System (COWS), is a micro-scale high-solids anaerobic digestion (AD) module for conversion of organic waste to biogas, coupled with a small boiler to pre-heat building water through a closed-loop heat exchange system. The system is designed to produce beneficial compost from the post-AD organic feedstock residuals. Unlike standard aerobic composting, the COWS system can accept any form of organics including both pre- and post-consumer meat and vegetable scraps along with organic packaging. In the 2012 Clean Energy Challenge, student companies compete for $50,000 state prizes and a $100,000 grand prize from the US Department of Energy. Semi-finalists will now receive mentoring on business plan development, and then present their finished plans to judges on February 29, 2012. The grand prize winner will be chose from the top eight state-level semi-finalists toi receive the award on Masrch 1, 2012 in Chicago's Spertus Center. “The Student Challenge is truly bringing the best and the brightest students from some of our nation’s most prestigious universities to the forefront of the clean energy world,” noted Amy Francetic, executive director of the Clean Energy Trust. “They have taken wonderfully innovative technologies and built viable business plans around them.” 01/07/2012


Rural African Biogas Project Converts Manure to Energy

Republic of CameroonAlertNet reports on an anaerobic digestion (AD) project in the Republic of Cameroon that is part of a program sponsored by the government and supported by the Cameroon branch of Heifer International. The village AD installation, one of three demonstration modules set up in the region, uses manure from a 40-cow, 1.5 acre farm in the village of Bafut in northwestern Cameroon, generating biogas while producing sterile fertilizer for use in the area. The farm owner, Juliana Mengue, told reporters during a government-organized field trip, "We also use (the bio-gas) for lighting and heating, replacing our local bush lamps and the use of wood fuel. We were not aware how much destruction the decomposing dung was doing to the environment. Now we have been told it releases tonnes of methane gas that is very harmful.” Reporters learned from Jean Kuete, Cameroon’s agriculture minister, that the biogas effort is just one of a range of government initiatives aimed at improving the lives of livestock farmers and their communities through innovative, sustainable and low-cost projects. AlertNetis a free humanitarian news service by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. 01/05/2012


Due 02/21/2012: Nominations for Forest Planning Rule Advisory Committee

United States Forest ServiceThe US Forest Service published a corrected Federal Register notice that officially extended the due date until February 21, 2012 for nominations to the newly-formed National Advisory Committee. Following the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) the Committee will advise and give recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Chief of the US Forest Service, regarding implementation of the new National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule. The Committee composition of 21 advisors will represent three major stakeholder groups; the industrial and recreational sector will include up to seven members representing one or more of interests for the Timber Industry, the Grazing or other land use permit holders or other private forest landowners, for Energy and mineral development, for Commercial or recreational hunting and fishing interests, and for Developed outdoor recreation, off-highway vehicle users, or commercial recreation interests. Applications to serve on the Committee are now available on-line, accessible from the Planning Rule FACA Committee web page. Further information is also available in the corrected Federal Register Notice calling for nominations, or by calling 202-205-0830. 01/05/2012


Renewable Energy Group Sets IPO Price

Renewable Energy Group, IncIowa's Renewable Energy Group, Inc (REG) has amended its S-1 filing for an initial public offering (IPO), setting per share pricing between $13 and $15. REG will offer 6,857,140 shares of Common Stock, and some prior stockholders are joining with sale of an additional 342,860 shares. REG's underwriters also have an option to purchase over-allotments if available, up to an additional 1,080,000 shares. At the $14 mid-point, REG this places the IPO at just over $100 million valuation. REG currently produces the largest annual volume of biodiesel in the US, approaching 150 million gallons in 2011. REG intends to use about $12.0 million to exercise the option on its facility in Seneca, Illinois, which the company is currently leasing from three of its stockholders: Bunge, USRG, and West Central. The 60 million gallon per year biodiesel plant was shuttered in March 2009 after its owner, Nova Biosource Fuels, Inc, filed for bankruptcy. REG acquired the assets through a sale/leaseback program in April 2010 and began production in August 2010. The remainder of the net proceeds will be used for working capital and other expenses and investments. REG focuses on lower-cost feedstock to include inedible animal fat, used cooking oil and inedible corn oil rather than sourcing from virgin vegetable oils and operates six biodiesel plants capable of over 200 million total gallons annual output. The primary REG-9000 product lineup is guaranteed as more stringent than ASTM D6751 specifications; the company maintains full renewable identification number (RIN) accounting for customer compliance with the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2). 01/05/2012


Springboard Biodiesel Launches Support for School Biodiesel Programs

Springboard BiodieselCalifornia based Springboard Biodiesel has announced a teaming agreement with Washington state's Pinnacle Capital for innovative financing of biodiesel production programs for school campuses. Springboard's patented small-scale BioProTM processor and SpringProTM dry-wash automated biodiesel production systems make ASTM D6751 specification biodiesel at around $1 per gallon from waste cooking oil feedstock. "Turning used cooking oil from campus kitchens into fuel that will run buses and other campus vehicles is not only a proven method for any school to reduce its carbon footprint, but because the cost of making biodiesel in our BioProTM systems is less than $1.00/gallon, it's also a great way for any school system to bring money back into its budget," said Springboard Biodiesel CEO Mark Roberts. "We have 59 colleges and universities enthusiastically using our equipment to convert used cooking oil into biodiesel. They are saving money, reducing their carbon footprint and, in many cases, incorporating the system into their sustainability curriculums. This really is a 'no brainer,' and with this financing option now available, we are excited that virtually any academic institution that feeds its students can benefit from a campus biodiesel program." 01/05/2012


Emery Energy Starts Up FlexFeedTM Gasifier and Syngas Test Facility

Emery Energy CompanyUtah-based Emery Energy Company has announced that it is ready to begin coal and biomass gasification operational testing in its recently commissioned 10 ton per day FlexFeedTM Gasifier Test Facility at the Western Research Institute (WRI) in Laramie, Wyoming. Emery will test clean coal conversion on contract to the State of Wyoming Clean Coal Technology Fund, and test biomass feedstock gasification under a separate contract with the US Department of Energy (DOE). The facility will be open to other testing arrangements, including assessment of synthesis gas (syngas) cleaning and upgrading processes, and alternative synthesis pathways to fuels and chemicals, aided by the WRI's diverse expertise and numerous one-of-a-kind laboratory facilities. Gasification and emerging bioenergy technologies are cornerstones of the non-profit WRI’s research and development. Emery is a technology provider and developer for thermo-chemical processes; the core of Emery's technology platform is a feedstock flexible advanced air- or oxygen-blown gasifier capable of cleanly converting a wide range of carbonaceous feedstock to include biomass, municipal solid waste residuals, waste tires and coal. The company's proprietary syngas purification capability allows various options for generation of electricity and/or heat, optimization for hydrogen production to drive fuel cells, or gas synthesis to liquid fuels and green chemicals. 01/04/2012


BASF Invests $30MM in Renmatix for Woody Biomass to Sugar

RenmatixGerman chemical giant BASF and Pennsylvania-based Renmatix have jointly announced BASF's investment of $30 million in Renmatix' current $50 million financing round. The investment was competed through its subsidiary BASF Biorenewable Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG. Renmatix has developed and is commercializing a cost-effective method to convert woody biomass such as crop residues and wood chips directly to cellulosic sugars for biofuels and biochemicals. Renmatix’s supercritical hydrolysis technology deconstructs non-food biomass an order of magnitude faster than other processes and enhances its cost advantage by using no significant consumables. The Plantrose™ Process - two core steps (1) fractionation of biomass and separation of the remaining solids which contain cellulose and lignin. (2) cellulose hydrolysis of the pretreated solids under more severe conditions utilizing hot compressed water as the primary solvent. The relative ease of hydrolysis of the hemicelluloses compared to the recalcitrant cellulose necessitates this two-step process in order to preserve the C5 sugars that would be rapidly destroyed under the more severe conditions necessary for cellulose dissolution. BASF is a global chemical company with four "Verbund" concept ultra-integrated production facilities that seek closed-loop, maximum resource utilization where one plant's residue becomes the next plant's raw material. Mike Hamilton, Chief Executive Officer at Renmatix said, “Thanks to the partnership with BASF, we can now develop and commercialize our technology more efficient. We have already demonstrated the functionality of the Plantrose process in a pilot plant. In cooperation with BASF, we will be moving it to the industrial scale.” 01/03/2012


BioTork Converts Papaya Waste to Biofuel for USDA Hamakua Project

BioTork, LLCFlorida based BioTork, LLC has announced success in converting Hawaiian papaya culls to fatty acids for advanced biofuels using microorganisms, algae, and mushrooms. This is the first milestone of its collaborative work with the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center (PBARC) in implementing PBARC's Hamakua Project for "Zero Agricultural Waste". The USDA entered into a two-year specific cooperative agreement with BioTork for the expertise necessary to rapidly select the heterotrophic algal strains that could convert agricultural waste streams to biofuels, feed for fish, and other value-added products. In the seven months since the project started, BioTork's proprietary "Evolugate" natural selection plus genetic engineering platform has succeeded in developing strains of heterotrophic oil-producing algae capable of converting the waste fruits and other residues to fatty acid intermediary compounds. BioTork notes that 40% or more of the papaya grown does not meet market criteria and is culled as waste. In subsequent stages of the project, the PBARC will grow the algae and then harvest and characterize the bio-oil, while having the oil assessed for suitability in production of biodiesel and/or aviation fuel, and the algal residual tested as a component in fish feed. BioTork will now optimize the metabolic pathway of this papaya-eating algal strain for oil production. If results continue to be promising, the PBARC will analyze the economics and scale up the production. As part of the biofuel component of the project, Rivertop Energy Solutions, LLC will develop a transition plan to coordinate the research activities to the overall biofuel requirements of the US Navy.  01/03/2012


Foster Wheeler Receives LNTP on South Korean Waste to Energy Project

Foster WheelerInternational engineering and construction firm Foster Wheeler AG (FW) has announced that a subsidiary of its Global Power Group has been given a Limited Notice to Proceed (LNTP) by GS Engineering and Construction on a South Korean waste to energy project. The LNTP authorizes design of a circulating fluidized bed (CFB) gasification / steam generation unit for Daegu Metropolitan City, South Korea, owners of the Green Energy Center BTO (Build, Transfer, Operate) project. The completed system will convert 380 tons per day of refuse derived fuel (RDF) into electricity. FW's CFB design features include proprietary Fuel Flexibility that allows use of waste products that otherwise would have been land-filled, while maintaining low emissions and high equipment reliability and efficiency. The company’s Global Power Group designs, manufactures and erects steam generating and auxiliary equipment for power stations and industrial facilities. FW anticipates completion of all contract terms and receipt of full Notice to Proceed during the first quarter 2102, with project completion scheduled for the end of 2014. “This project represents the opportunity for both electricity production as well as an alternative to landfilling and is another example of how the fuel flexibility of a CFB steam generator can provide environmentally friendly solutions for owners," said Gary Nedelka, Chief Executive Officer of Foster Wheeler Global Power Group. 01/03/2012


Carbon Sciences Turns Waste Gas and CO2 Emissions into CarbonCrude

Carbon Sciences, IncCalifornia-based Carbon Sciences, Inc has announced new technology that turns waste oilfield natural gas and carbon dioxide emissions into more crude, converting a strong environmental and economic liability into assets without the need for expensive new infrastructure. The company's process combines the uneconomical fraction of natural gas associated with oil extraction with CO2, either from combustion of a portion of that natural gas or from CO2 laden emissions from other on-site combustion equipment to produce CarbonCrudeTM that can then be added directly to the main crude oil being developed from the wells. The technique can make viable an otherwise uneconomical oil extraction project, eliminating flaring of the waste gas while sequestering the carbon from the CO2 emissions. Low-volume natural gas associated with oil field production usually requires conversion to liquefied natural gas (LNG) to recover product, but the infrastructure necessary for LNG production is uncommon to most oil field operations. The two-step process first catalytically reforms the waste gas while consuming CO2; the second step utilizes a low-grade Fisher-Tropsch process to turn the reformed blend into low-cost crude. Byron Elton concluded, “Associated gas is a big problem for resource holders and can negatively affect oil field economics. By converting this excess gas into synthetic crude oil using our low capital, clean-tech solution, we believe we can deliver both economic and social value to oil field operators. We intend to aggressively target oil field operators with our CarbonCrude solution.” 01/03/2012


Intelifuel Launches WVO Pricing Board and Alternative Energy Forum

IntelifuelEcuador based biofuel company Intelifuel has just established two on-line aids for the Alternative Energy industry. One is a "current price" ticker that tracks and reports the global average price of waste vegetable oil (WVO) based on the present USDA standard. The other is an open Alternative Energy Forum for announcements, general discussions, and addressing technical issues, including a Buy/Sell board for WVO listed by state in the US and by country, globally. The site provides a constantly updated biofuel price chart downloadable file based on USDA Livestock and Grain Market News. Registration is required to participate in the Forum, but the monitored use is free of charge. Intelifuel was created by two West Virginia friends initially to collect and market WVO and purified (strained and dewatered) vegetable oil (SVO), and then progressing to production of the company's own B-100 biodiesel as Phase II. Currently, Intelifuel works with public and private parties to collect WVO, and then markets the feedstock globally as a raw material for alternative fuel production, primarily for biodiesel. Intelifuel uses Base Catalyzed Reaction to refine WVO into biodiesel, mixing the raw waste with a settler then with methanol and a catalyst to produce glycerin and methyl esters (biodiesel). Intelifuel markets the WVO, the biodiesel and the residuals which it composts to produce fertilizer. 01/03/2012


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