March 2012 News and Matters of Interest

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Cyclone Power and Enginuity Team for Distributed Biomass-Fueled CHP

Cyclone Power TechnologiesFlorida's Cyclone Power Technologies has announced a teaming agreement with Pennsylvania based biomass gasification company Enginuity Energy LLC for development of biomass-fueled combined heat and power modules. Under the agreement, Cyclone's all-fuel external-heat driven Schoell-cycle engine will be integrated with Enginuity's Ecoremedy® biomass gasification technology for commercialization of 35 kilowatt electric (kWe) to 250 kWe distributed power generator sets. The Ecoremedy gasifier is fuel-flexible, accepting a wide range of moisture- and ash-content feedstock, while Cyclone's use of external heat to generate power avoids most of the tarring and scaling problems associated with direct biomass-sourced synthetic gas (syngas) combustion. Focusing initially on Cyclone's late-stage prototype WHE-25 and Mark V engines, the companies hope to have a demonstration unit operational in late 2012. David Mooney, President and CTO of Enginuity Energy, commented: “There is incredible demand for small-scale biomass systems that allow power to be produced on-site where the waste is created. These include farms, factories, hospitals, military bases and villages throughout the world. We are excited to be working with Cyclone because we believe they have the perfect technology for these applications. We look forward to a long and successful working relationship.” 03/31/2012


2G CENERGY Plans CHP Systems Manufacturing Plant in Florida

2G CENERGY Power Systems Technologies IncHeadquartered in Florida, 2G CENERGY Power Systems Technologies Inc, announced it is establishing a US production facility in St. Augustine, Florida to build advanced combined heat and power (CHP) for the North and South American markets. 2G's modular, pre-tested and “connection-ready” high-efficiency units cleanly convert biogas, landfill gas, sewage gas, coal mine gas, natural gas, syngas and other specialty gaseous fuels into electricity and heat. The company has purchased a 60,000 square feet facility and adjacent property in the St. Augustine Interstate Commercial Park. The company's 2G® BIO-TEC® energy generation technology is designed specifically for conversion of anaerobic digestion biogas to CHP; its LAN-TEC® and SE-TEC® units are optimized for use of landfill sourced biogas and sewage biogas respectively, while the SYN-TEC® model utilizes syngas derived from the thermochemical conversion of biomass into synthesis gas, specifically developed for a gas mixture that comprises of CO, CO2, N2, and H2. Florida Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope, who serves as president and CEO of Enterprise Florida Inc., the state’s principal economic development organization, sums up the new development: “2G’s expansion will greatly benefit Florida as well as St. Augustine, and we welcome this enhancement to both the local and state economy. We’re delighted that Florida will be a larger business base for the 2G Group. The company’s choice to broaden its operations here is a response to our supportive climate for business growth and innovation.” 2G CENERGY is a US Corporation is a 2G Energy AG Group Company (formerly 2G Bio-Energietechnik AG).  2G Energy AG is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and manufacturers CHP systems, with more than 2300 cogeneration plants installed.



Washington State Adds Renewable Heat to Alternative Energy Options

State of WashingtonThis week, Washington state Governor Christine Gregoire signed Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2664 (ESHB 2664) that included recovery and use of heat from renewable energy generation to qualify for renewable energy credits. Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Morris (D-Anacortes), ESHB 2664 passed the House 97-0 and the Senate 47-1, and was supported by environmental groups, utility companies, municipal organizations and private developers. From the signed bill language: a "qualified alternative energy resource" means the electricity or thermal energy produced from generation facilities that are fueled by: (a) Wind; (b) solar energy; (c) geothermal energy; (d) landfill gas; (e) wave or tidal action; (f) gas produced during the treatment of wastewater; (g) qualified hydropower; or (h) biomass energy based on animal waste or solid organic fuels from wood, forest, or field residues, or dedicated energy crops that do not include wood pieces that have been treated with chemical preservatives such as creosote, pentachlorophenol, or copper-chrome-arsenic. Washington's utilities since 2002 must provide voluntary options for retail electricity customers to purchase qualified alternative energy resources under the state's Green Power program. The renewable energy company Cascade Power Group notes that in 2010, more than 50,000 customers purchased over 50 megawatt-hours of renewable energy credits through voluntary utility programs; Chuck Collins, the company's CEO: “This bill changes the way people think about energy. Until now, when people said renewable energy they just meant electricity. Now, we’re changing the conversation to include thermal resources.” 03/30/2012


UCLA Researchers Produce Biofuel from CO2 Emissions and Electricity

University of California Los AngelesThe University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) reports that researchers at its Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have demonstrated microbial conversion of carbon dioxide into liquid fuel isobutanol using electricity. James Liao, UCLA's Ralph M. Parsons Foundation Chair in Chemical Engineering, and his team genetically engineered Ralstonia eutropha to produce isobutanol and 3-methyl-1-butanol in an electro-bioreactor using carbon dioxide as the sole carbon source and electricity as the sole energy input. Photosynthesis converts light energy to chemical energy and then stored in the bonds of carbohydrates, in a two-step process involving a light reaction and a dark reaction. The light reaction converts light energy to chemical energy and must take place in the light. The dark reaction, which converts carbon dioxide (CO2) to sugar, doesn't directly need light to occur. Liao's method does not require the light and dark reactions to take place together. Hydrogen released from water by sunlight's energy can convert CO2 to sugars, but the reaction is self-limiting and inefficient. "Instead of using hydrogen, we use formic acid as the intermediary," Liao said. "We use electricity to generate formic acid and then use the formic acid to power the CO2 fixation in bacteria in the dark to produce isobutanol and higher alcohols." The researcher's electrochemical method of liquid fuel production has just been published in the journal Science. 03/30/2012


California Suspends Biomethane-to-Pipeline RPS Eligibility

California Energy CommissionThe California Energy Commission (CEC) unanimously voted to suspend elements of the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) Eligibility Guidebook related to certification and pre-certification of biomethane. The vote took place at its monthly Business Meeting March 28, 2012, and became effective at 5:00 pm that day. Numerous public comments were received by the CEC during meetings and workshops, with formal comments to Docket submitted by JDMT, Inc (Teru) and 63 other parties. Legislative intervention identified biomethane-to-pipeline project conflicts with Senate Bill X 1-2 passed to increase the RPS to 33%, pointing to the potential for "double-dipping" and the lack of a reliable verification mechanism. Additional legislation is expected later this year. No end date was given for the suspension. The staff presentation is available on-line as are all comments received, and the amended Resolution No: 12-0328-3 will be posted to the Renewables Portfolio Standards (RPS) Proceeding, Docket # 11-RPS-01 & 02-REN-1038 in the next few days. Commissioners amended the proposed resolution, deleting some of the timeline related detail and adding three key conditions, (a) clarifying that the suspension does not apply to projects using biomethane produced and used on the same site or produced and delivered by dedicated pipeline, truck or rail to the end-user, (b) directing staff to gather additional data on current biomethane projects, and (c) noting that further consideration of project status will be separately noticed. 03/30/2012


Canadian Austerity Budget Includes $105MM for Forest Market Development

FPInnovationsThe Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and industry/government partnership FPInnovations both see continued forest industry support from the Canadian government in the austerity budget just released by the House of Commons. The “Jobs and Growth” budget from Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, includes $105 million over two years for forestry innovation and market development. FPInnovations offers innovative approaches to deliver economic returns in Forest Fibre, Forest Operations, Wood Products, Pulp & Paper, and Bio-products & Bio-energy. “Today’s budget will allow us to continue to pioneer new products such as bio-materials and bio-composites and next generation building systems for multi-storey buildings,” added Pierre Lapointe, President and Chief Executive Officer of FPInnovations. “These innovations will open new markets and new job opportunities for the Canadian forest sector.” FPAC agrees that the top priority of the government must be to keep the deficit situation under control to support growth. “This kind of support has been helping to secure employment and shore up communities that rely on the forest products industry,” says Avrim Lazar, the President and CEO of FPAC. 03/30/2012


Due 07/31/2012: Applications for 2013 California Fire Safe Council Grants

California Fire Safe CouncilThe California Fire Safe Council (CFSC) has announced the schedule for 2013 Fire Safe grants. The grants are awarded to local programs for fire management and education in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), emphasizing removal of biomass for "hazardous fuel mitigation". Bio-Industry companies will find the program annually generates substantial tonnage of sustainably extracted biomass, primed for further utilization. Considering the new national Forest Planning Rule and associated Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration projects, the state program provides a significant front-end link in the biomass supply chain. CFSC has been advised that the Grants Clearinghouse will receive about $4.5 million in grant funds from the US Forest Service State Fire Assistance program for the fiscal year 2013 grant cycle. As the opening date approaches CFSC will post dates and locations for free workshops to assist in proposal development. The Grants Clearinghouse is expected to open the call for applications on May 21, 2012, with proposal submissions due by midnight July 31, 2012. Last year's program information is available on-line and includes considerable guidance and background material. The 2013 cycle grant program has been significantly modified and workshop attendance is being strongly advised for both new and returning applicants. Prospective applicants should also contact their regional Grant Manager directly. CFSC announced last year that it had been designated the official state liaison to the Firewise Communities-USA program, concurrent with state adoption of new funding mechanisms for fire control and education in State Responsibility Areas (SRAs) pursuant to AB X1-29's mandate for regulatory changes currently under development. To learn more about Fire Safe Councils and/or the Firewise Communities/USA program, contact CFSC at (800) 372-2543 or . 03/30/2012


Myriant Partners with DaniMer for Biopolymer Production

MyriantMassachusetts bioconversion company Myriant and Georgia bioplastics company DaniMer Scientific have announced a strategic alliance to develop cost-effective bio-based materials for the marketplace. Myriant's proprietary technology platform includes biomass pre-treatment, genetic engineering, fermentation, separation, purification and scale-up. The vertically-integrated biorefinery process first co-locates with extensive biomass feedstock supply, pre-treats the cellulosic biomass to create a range of inexpensive sugars, then converts these carbohydrates into various organic acids as foundation bio-based chemicals. DaniMer will use Myriant's bio-succinic acid for cost-effective production of high-performance bio-based polymers, and then use the green chemicals to make a broad array of sustainably bio-sourced products at its Bainbridge, Georgia product development center. Myriant also announced significant progress this week toward production of cost-competitive bio-acrylic acid; the firm has filed for patent protection for the process and will immediately begin scale-up to commercial production. Cenan Ozmeral, Chief Operating Officer at Myriant: “Bio-acrylic acid, like our first two products, is an important chemical building-block monomer and demand exists for affordable, high-performing drop in bio-acrylic acid for existing large market applications. Strategically and operationally, this is an important pipeline expansion product for the Company and we look forward to meeting customer requests for kilogram-sized samples later this year.” 03/29/2012


Minnesota Releases Roadmap for Advanced Biofuels and Biochemicals

BioBusiness Alliance of MinnesotaThe BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota has released a comprehensive report on the status of advanced biofuels and bio-sourced chemicals development in Minnesota with roadmap recommendations for their ongoing growth. The specific policy recommendations were generated through a consensus-based process led by the Great Plains Institute. The Alliance and the Institute worked in collaboration with Minnesota's BioIndustrial Partnership, and the Biotechnology industry Organization (BIO) affiliate Life Science Alley. The report advances four key recommendations: (1) Ensure availability of funding options for bioindustrial processing, (2) Communicate Minnesota’s competitive advantages to the global industry, (3) Enable production and development of end markets for bioindustrial processing, and (4) Organize industry-led efforts to develop a voice for the industry. The conclusion: "The advanced biofuels and biobased chemicals industry is set for strong growth, and Minnesota has the assets to sustain a global leadership position. Implementation of the prior recommendations will serve to accelerate this growth." 03/29/2012


MagneGas Secures $3.88MM Private Placement for National Expansion

MagneGasFlorida's green metal-cutting gas producer MagneGas has announced another private placement agreement for the sale of 19,412,500 shares of common stock with warrants to purchase 9,706,250 shares, resulting in proceeds to the company of for $3,882,500. The agreement calls for this funding round to close today with a second round closing in early April 2012. This follows on successful initial private placement funding that resulted in over $3 million last November. MagneGas intends to use the new funds to nationally expand its refineries and increase its fuel cylinder inventory. The firm's patented Plasma Arc FlowTM technology gasifies a number of liquid wastes into a gaseous fuel branded MagneGasTM, sensible heat, carbon precipitates and sterile effluent. The company's client base has continued to increase in the eastern state's salvage and steel industry, while a Chinese partnership brought needed capital mid-year 2011. MagneGas is a cost competitive, clean burning hydrogen-based fuel alternative to petroleum-sourced natural gas but with lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that can be used for metal cutting, cooking, heating, or powering natural gas bi-fuel automobiles. 03/29/2012


Tecogen Chosen for Biogas CHP at New York Wastewater Treatment Plant

TecogenMassachusetts based Tecogen Inc. has announced that its cogeneration 60 kilowatt module will be installed in the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Medina, New York to convert the plant's biogas to combined heat and power (CHP). The WWTP has been the Medina community's largest power user; the new CHP unit will generate grid-connected renewable electricity to off-set the plant's demand, while heat recovery will stabilize and improve the facility's anaerobic digestion of sewage for biogas production. Savings from integrated operation of the CHP system should be about $10,000 annually. "Medina is going green," said Peter Houseknecht, supervisor of public works for Medina. "Like many other communities we are trying to become net-zero; we want to consume only as much energy as we can create. The addition of the Tecogen CHP system to the waste water treatment plant will allow us to make a substantial amount of usable energy from what was once just a byproduct of the treatment process. Adding CHP to the solar PV panels, geothermal heat pumps, efficient lighting upgrades and other energy saving measures will bring our plant to the cutting edge of efficiency technology." Partial funding came from New York's Green Infrastructure Grant program, which stipulated that the system meet Buy America standards. 03/29/2012


HyperSolar Uses Nanotechnology to Produce H2 from Paper Mill Wastewater

HyperSolarSanta Barbara based HyperSolar has announced completion of successful tests converting the acrid wastewater from a pulp and paper mill into hydrogen (H2). The company has developed nanotechnology that mimics photosynthesis, cost-effectively separating hydrogen from water using only the energy of sunlight. When the recoverable, reusable nano-modules are immersed in wastewater in sealed clear tubes, the free hydrogen generated can be captured and drawn off from above the fluids. The nanoparticles detoxify the wastewater and act as one-way hydrogen generation machines. HyperSolar is currently working with the University of Santa Barbara on a year-long effort to optimize and commercialize the technology. Tim Young, CEO of HyperSolar: "One of our key milestones was to prove that we can use elements of a conventional photovoltaic cell to produce hydrogen using free or negative economic value feedstocks. Pulp and papermaking processes consume large amounts of water, generating several hundred gallons of wastewater per ton of paper. This wastewater stream contains chlorinated compounds and volatile organics with a high pH that must be treated before being reused or discharged. Starting with a negative economic value feedstock, such as wastewater, and operating low cost reactors, we believe that our artificial photosynthesis process of extracting hydrogen from water will be cost effective.” 03/27/2012


Virdia and Virent Cellulosic Bio-Jet Fuel Passes US Air Force Testing

VirentRedwood City based Virdia and technology partner Virent have announced successful testing of the team's cellulosic biomass sourced drop-in jet fuel. Virdia uses concentrated Hydrochloric Acid Hydrolysis to convert woody biomass to a sugar solution ready for fermentation to ethanol, along with other alcohols and chemicals. Virdia has improved the biomass conversion economics through the firm's CASE™ process involving a sequence of innovative extraction and separation operations. This CASE™ process yields and refines almost all of the sugars contained in lignocelluloses, the lignin and other extractives. Virent used Virdia’s biomass-derived sugars to produce gasoline and jet fuel using its patented BioForming technology platform. The fuel was then sent to the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for analysis where it passed rigorous testing. Tim Edwards of the Fuels Branch of the AFRL said, “This fuel passed the most stringent specification tests we could throw at it (such as thermal stability) under some conditions where conventional jet fuels would fail. This fuel is definitely worth further evaluation.” “Passing the AFRL’s arduous test requirements for jet fuel further substantiates the superior value proposition of the advanced carbohydrates that Virdia is introducing,” said Philippe Lavielle, Virdia CEO. “As demonstrated by the BIRD Energy project results, Virdia’s CASE™ (Cold Acid Solvent Extraction) process can deliver the high-purity, cost-effective cellulosic sugars needed as the primary raw material for jet fuels and other applications. We are pleased to work with Virent to prove that the value of cellulosic biomass can be unlocked.” 03/27/2012


WM Riverbank Recovery Purchases GETH's Permit to Construct for Plas2Fuel Plant

Green Envirotech HoldingsNewly formed in December 2011, WM Riverbank Recovery LLC has purchasedthe Permit to Construct from Green EnviroTech Holdings (GETH) for its proposed waste plastic to synthetic oil facility in Riverside, California. The proposed facility will utilize the Agilyxplastics to fuel technology platform, and will be the company's first facility in California. The WM Riverbank facility is expected to be operational later this year, and will speed Agylix technology deployment for conversion of plastics into fuels and chemicals. The system accepts agricultural mulch film, fumigation film, and irrigation drip tape (LDPE), along with other difficult to recycle waste plastics. Waste Management Inc (WM) invested in Agilyx last year, allowing further refinement and commercialization of its "anaerobic thermal reclamation" processing approach. Brent Bostwick, Chief Commercialization Officer with Agilyx said, "We are pleased to see that WM Riverbank Recovery, LLC has been able to acquire the 'permits to construct' in Riverbank, California." GETH CEO Gary De Laurentiis stated: "The sale of the permit to Agilyx will allow GETH to focus on the two major projects at hand. First is our proposed plant for waste plastic and tires to oil in Mississippi. "Second is our proposed plant in Wisconsin to process shredder residue to oil and compounded plastic." GETH uses automated separation systems processes dirty plastic and rubber wastes into two products: pelletized clean polymers by type of plastic, and light sweet crude using Agilyx' proprietary Plas2Fuel platform. 03/26/2012


Vega Biofuels Secures Funding, Leases Site for Waste Wood to Bio-Coal

Vega Biofuels, IncVega Biofuels, Inc. has announcedthat the company has closed negotiations on an interim funding package consisting of a Promissory Note secured Line of Credit. The influx of money will support the design and engineering for its proposed bio-coal manufacturing plant near the Cordele Island Port, Georgia. Vega uses "torrefaction", a method of low-oxygen thermal processing ranging in temperature from 475°F to 575°F (200-400°C), to convert waste wood and forest residues into stabile, shippable partially carbonized powder that is then compressed into briquettes as a drop-in alternative to coal. Torrefaction drives off high volatiles, reducing nitrous oxide and sulfur dioxide compounds in the bio-coal product. The high-energy (10,000 Btu/pound) briquettes combust evenly and produce little or no residual fly ash. Vega has entered into a contract with a lumber mill in Cordele for the needed wood residue feedstock, and last month informed shareholders the company had entered into a contract to sell its bio-coal through a European utilities broker. Following close of funding, local news reportstoday that Vega has now signed a lease on a 90,000 square foot building, quoting CEO Michael K. Molen: “The funding package we recently completed will help us meet the financial terms of the lease. We can now focus our energy on the installation of equipment for the facility.” 03/26/2012


Due 05/15/2012: Qualifications to County of Maui for Waste Conversion Project

County of Maui, HawaiiThe Department of Environmental Management (DEM), County of Maui, Hawaii, has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a Waste Conversion Project at the Central Maui Landfill (CML) in Pu'unene. Mayor Alan Arakawa made the announcement, indicating that the County is seeking Statements of Qualifications (SOQs) from experienced developer / operators for clean conversion of municipal solid waste into renewable electricity, fuel and/or other forms of energy. The RFQ is a preliminary step designed to accumulate technical and financial information from prospective developers. The RFQ states "The overall goal for this project is to develop renewable energy or fuel from residential and commercial solid waste, while resulting in a net environmental benefit to the island. Moreover, the DEM is seeking the maximum energy generation which will result in substantial cost savings to the DEM." Once this information-gathering stage is completed, the county anticipates the release of a formal request for proposals to short-listed developers in December 2012 to finance, plan, design, construct, own, operate, and maintain the waste conversion facility at the CML. “It is time for the County of Maui to take a hard look at making waste conversion a reality,” remarked Mayor Arakawa, “At an average inflow of 450 tons per day at the Central Maui Landfill, there is a potential to develop an estimated 10-15 MW of renewable energy with no County capital outlay.” The DEM will be administering the RFQ and prospective developers may contact Kyle Ginoza, Director, at (808) 270-8230 orfor a copy of the RFQ and for further information. The deadline to submit questions for clarification of the RFQ is April 16, 2012. SOQs are due May 15, 2012. 03/25/2012


USDA Announces Publication of New Forest Planning Rule

US Department of AgricultureUndersecretary of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has signed the new Forest Planning Rule with only minor modifications for language clarity in the Preferred Alternative defining that Rule. The final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement released earlier this year has also been accepted. The USDA has now announced that the final Rule has been published in the Federal Register, replacing the procedures in place since the rule's 1982 version. The Forest Service will begin implementing the new Rule 30 days following publication. Based on urgent need, eight forests in California, Idaho, Alaska, New Mexico and Puerto Rico have been selected to begin revising their individual National Forest Plans in the first round. According to the final Rule, the new forest plans must include mandatory conservation, restoration and maintenance provisions, access for multiple use and sustainable recreation, a framework relying on a collaborative engagement of stakeholders as well as best available science, and adaptive management strategies using an iterative process of planning, monitoring and plan modification. The changes to the Rule are broadly based on the work of a large number of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration initiatives, and finally appear to have broken the stalemate surrounding forest biomass usage. “We are ready to start a new era of planning that takes less time, costs less money, and provides stronger protections for our lands and water”, said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.  “This new rule will bring 21st century thinking to a process that is sorely needed to protect and preserve our 193 million acres of amazing forests and grasslands.” 03/23/2012


PTG Adds Mobile Wastewater to Energy Unit for Demo and Field Tests

Pasteurization Technology GroupCalifornia based Pasteurization Technology Group (PTG) has announced addition of the PTG XM-5 mobile unit to its capabilities, allowing on-site testing and systems demonstration. PTG's technology treats municipal wastewater and generates electricity using the biogas produced from a treatment plant's anaerobic digestion process. The biogas fuels turbines for power generation while using the engine's excess heat to pasteurize the effluent. Using a dual heat exchanger system, temperatures for disinfection can be adjusted from 100 to 1,200° F. The scaled-down, quickly deployed mobile unit is capable of disinfecting from 1,000 to 14,000 gallons of wastewater per day, allowing accurate on-site cost-benefit analysis before a prospective client commits to full-scale development with PTG's larger system scale of up to 500,000 gallons per day. The company's expansion is enabled by an investment of an additional $1 million from prior investor EIC Ventures last month. Greg Ryan, co-founder and CEO of Pasteurization Technology Group: “We have a solution that handles their disinfection needs while also offsetting their power and water bills. The new XM-5 mobile system enables these businesses to determine how a PTG system will fit with their specific application as well as identifying multiple sources of cost savings.” 03/23/2012


Agrivert Selected for Central Wales Food Waste AD to Energy Contract

AgrivertThe United Kingdom's organic waste conversion specialist Agrivert has announced its selection as preferred bidder for anaerobic digestion (AD) of food waste to biogas by the Central Wales Waste Partnership (CWWP). The project is expected to convert 10,000 tonnes per year of food waste under a 15 year contract. Formal contracts should be completed in May of this year with services beginning in November; the contract is enabled by a new Welsh coordinated procurement process. Initially, collected food waste will be treated in one of Agrivert's existing AD facilities, although both CWWP and Agrivert will seek to develop more local conversion facilities. In January of this year, Agrivert and strategic partner Covanta Energy Ltd singed a 25 year contract that included food waste AD conversion for the Royal boroughs of Windsor and Maidenhead, and last November won planning permission for another facility in Longcross, Surrey County. The activity has not gone unnoticed: Agrivert has won a series of key industry awards this month. Just one night after Agrivert’s success at the prestigious AfOR awards ceremony, Agrivert wins two more awards at the glittering West Oxfordshire Business Awards (WOBAs) at Heythrop Park Resort. 03/23/2012


Air Products Buys Xebec Biogas Upgrading IP and Labs

Air ProductsBased in Quebec, Canada, Xebec Adsorption Inc has now unveiled that negotiations to sell its intellectual property (IP) for upgrading of biogas have been completed with the transfer of its patents to Air Products' Global General Gases division. In a concurrent announcement, Air Products noted that it will acquire all IP for gas upgrading adsorption technologies including both patents and patent applications, and will assume ownership of Xebec's laboratory facilities in Canada, back-licensing rights to Xebec to allow the company to continue to sell its systems. In Xebec's announcement, the aggregate price was disclosed as CAD $8.6 million. The technology uses solid phase adsorbents to purify gases. Adsorption systems are part of the front-end pre-purification technology for air separation units (ASU) for water and carbon dioxide removal, hydrogen-carbon monoxide syngas purification, vacuum swing adsorption (VSA) oxygen, and pressure swing adsorption (PSA) nitrogen generation. In February 2011, Xebec partnered with Southern California Gas on a biogas upgrading demonstration project in the City of Escondido, reprocessing gas from the city's wastewater treatment plant. Victoria Boyd, general manager of Global Generated Gases at Air Products, said, “Adsorption process technology is a core competency of Air Products and a key component of our gas generation plants that produce significant revenues. The acquisition moves Air Products’ adsorption technology platform to a unique proprietary position compared to our competitors.” 03/23/2012


Due 04/24/2012: Pre-Applications for Biomass R&D Initiative Funding

US Department of EnergyThe US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that the Obama administration has unveiled a fund of up to $35 million to available over three years through the Biomass Research and Develop Initiative (BRDI), a joint DOE/US Department of Agriculture (USDA) program. The BRDI effort is intended to "help develop economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass and increase the availability of renewable fuels and biobased products that can help replace the need for gasoline and diesel in vehicles and diversify our energy portfolio." For this year's funding, applicants need to clearly identify one of three specific areas of R&D as the leading project focus for assessment purposes, while integration of multiple technical areas is encouraged: (1) Feedstock Development, (2) Biofuels and Biobased Products Development, or (3) Biofuels Development Analysis. The $35 million total funding is subject to annual appropriations, and expected to support from five to seven projects. Grants awards and national program leadership for the BRDI program will be administered by the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. A description of the solicitation, eligibility requirements, and application instructions is available at FedConnect and Grants.gov under Reference Number DE-FOA-0000657. Pre-Applications are due April 24, 2012, and must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov. It is anticipated that applicants who submit completed pre-applications will be notified of the results by June 15, 2012. Invited full applications will be due August 3, 2012. Contact Geoffrey Walker at for more information. 03/23/2012


Winners Announced for 2012 Sustainable Biofuels Awards

GreenPower ConferencesGreenPower Conferences has announced the 2012 Sustainable Biofuels Award winners, presented last week at the World Biofuels Market conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The awards, now in their fourth year, are intended to recognize "the tremendous innovation that is taking place in the development of truly sustainable and renewable fuels." The judging Panel was composed of global leaders in the biofuels industry; on-line voting by the public also counted toward the selection of one winner in each of ten Biofuel industrial categories. Among the winners: Novozymes took home the Biofuels Leadership Award, "designed to encourage, inspire, and reward innovation throughout the biofuels value chain." Global science and engineering company DuPont's Industrial Biosciences division has won the 2012 Sustainable Feedstock Innovation Award for its highly-collaborative research and scale-up Stover Harvest Collection Project. The Sustainable Biopower Generation Facility award went to Envergent Technologies, the 2008 joint venture between Ensyn advancing its Rapid Thermal Processing (RTP) technology, and Honeywell's UPO bringing advanced hydroprocessing for upgrading pyrolytic oils to drop-in biofuels. “The Sustainable Biofuels Awards are designed to encourage, inspire, and reward innovation throughout the biofuels value chain,” said Nadim Chaudhry, Managing Director of Green Power Conferences. “Within the biofuels value chain, there are countless initiatives making a huge difference to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting the environment, and enhancing society, and we are committed to recognising those achievements.” 03/21/2012


Cyclone Power Closes First Round of Secured Promissory Note Funding

Cyclone PowerThe Florida-based engine developer Cyclone Power Technologies has announced closure of its first round of Secured Promissory Note funding to support its technology development and operational expenses. This round is part of a $350,000 financing plan to capitalize the Company’s recent acquisition of Advent Power Systems and its $1.4 million contract with the U.S. Army / TACOM.  In December 2012, Cyclone reached an agreement to acquire Advent Power, and with the acquisition, Advent's Prime Contractor relationship with the U.S. Army. Advent had been Cyclone's exclusive licensee for military applications since 2006. The current investors will have a security interest in the Company’s contract with the U.S. Army / TACOM; since the offering is transferred under a Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) exemption from registration requirements to accredited investors, thus no SEC filing will be made. Cyclone has developed a Rankine Cycle heat regenerative external combustion, otherwise known as a “Schoell Cycle” waste heat engine (WHE). The engine captures and runs on heat as low as 500° F from external heat sources such as commercial or small-scale industrial ovens or furnaces, landfill and industrial gas flares, engine exhaust from vehicles or power generators, and Biomass combustion. The Cyclone Engine was recognized by Popular Science Magazine as the Invention of the Year for 2008, and was presented with the Society of Automotive Engineers’ AEI Tech Award in 2006 and 2008. 03/21/2012


LanzaTech, Emefcy Win Bloomberg New Energy Awards for Waste to Energy

Bloomberg New Energy FinanceThis year's New Energy Pioneers awards have been announced at the fifth annual Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit under way from March 19-21, 2012 in New York. Ten awards spanned innovative solar, biofuel, power-storage and electricity-management systems; the program is designed to identify, recognize and integrate potential game-changers in the field of clean technology and innovation. In the Biofuel category, the energy research company recognized two microbial waste to energy and fuels conversion companies, LanzaTech of New Zealand, and Emefcy of Israel. Lanzatech has developed a proprietary microbe technology that converts waste gases to fuels and chemicals from any source of carbon monoxide with no impact on the food value chain; the company just secured another key commercial agreement to provide its technology to New Zealand Steel. Emefcy has developed bacteria-run Microbial Fuel Cells for generating electricity from wastewater with its Electrogenic Bioreactor In October 2011, Emefcy received the Early Stage Company of the Year award, along with being designated among the Global CleanTech 100 by the CleanTech Group. Applications are being accepted for the 2013 New Energy Pioneers program awards; program information and nomination forms are available on-line. 03/21/2012


Due 04/20/2012: Applications from NY Farmers for NRCS AD Funding

US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation ServiceThe US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced availability of up to $1 million in support funding to New York farmers for development of anaerobic digestion (AD) systems as part of on-farm manure management. The funds are provided through the agency's Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), and can be combined with other state and federal sources, including the USDA Rural Development's "Rural Energy for America Program" (REAP). The farm be ready to build an AD unit within the next year, but funding is also anticipated to be available in subsequent years. Acting State Conservationist Carrie Mosley: "This funding will install a treatment system that reduces odors, greenhouse gases, and pathogens while producing electricity and recycling nutrients back to the land. The addition of an anaerobic digester can benefit the dairy and the community though clean air, clean water and renewable energy. One kilowatt of electric can be produced for every five to seven cows. Federal programs for farm-based clean energy production provide an economic incentive for dairies to gain a cutting edge in the industry while helping the environment.” Farmers need to apply for assistance through their New York state local USDA service center; questions should be emailed to Peter Wright at. 03/21/2012


Burns & McDonnell Receives ACEC Chapter's Highest Award - Twice

Burns & McDonnellMissouri based engineering, architecture, construction, environmental, and consulting firm Burns & McDonnell has announced receipt of two Grand Conceptor awards, the highest honor from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Missouri Chapter. This is the organization's first time to present dual awards. The first award honored Burns & McDonnell's six-years of work under contract to Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L) as engineer of record, leading all phases of the latan 2 super-critical coal power plant to completion in December 2010. The second award highlighted the firm's engineering design, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services to ZeaChem to develop the 250,000 gallon per year demonstration-scale cellulosic ethanol biorefinery in Boardman, Oregon. While ZeaChem's technology is feedstock agnostic, the Boardman facility utilizes fast-growing poplar trees harvested from a nearby tree farm and locally sourced wheat straw. The core project enabling the conversion of sugars into the intermediate chemicals acetic acid and ethyl acetate has begun operations and cellulosic ethanol production will begin by the end of 2012. Well over 100 years since launch and 100% employee owned, Burns & McDonnell is globally ranked as the 20th largest architectural, engineering and construction firm. 03/20/2012


Denver Zoo's Poop and Trash Gasification Rickshaw Goes on "Tour de Tuk Tuk"

Denver ZooThe Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) first Green Award winner, the Denver Zoo, has announced that it will showcase its groundbreaking working gasification prototype on a road tour. The prototype is a motorized three-wheeled tuk tuk (rickshaw) that sustainably utilizes animal poop and human trash as fuel. The Tour de Tuk Tuk leaves Denver on March 22nd, stopping at zoos in Colorado Springs, Albuquerque, and Phoenix before arriving at its final destination at the AZA Mid-year Meeting on March 27th in Palm Desert, California. The Denver Zoo has been developing the patent-pending gasification system to convert animal waste and human trash to fuel gas; the tuk tuk was developed to test and demonstrate the poop to power system which will be used in the zoo's new 10-acre Elephant Passage exhibit, part of the zoo's Asian Tropics project that broke ground in August 2011. The full-scale system is expected to convert more than 90% of the zoo's waste to energy, eliminating about 1.5 million pounds, or 750,000 tons of waste annually. "We wanted an innovative energy solution that would help us eliminate our landfill waste. We immediately considered ways to create energy from animal poop and human trash. The result is astounding - an energy solution that can create clean energy from trash," says Vice President for Planning and Capital Projects, George Pond. 03/20/2012


USDA "Match-Up Day" to Link Ag Feedstock Producers, Biorefinery Developers

US Department of AgricultureThe US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it is hosting a "match making day" on March 30, 2012 in Washington DC to bring major agricultural feedstock producers together with biorefinery developers. Officials from the U.S. Department of Navy, U.S. Department of Energy, and the Federal Aviation Administration will attend, make presentations, and answer questions. The agenda is designed to present examples of each stage of the biofuels supply chain from production of biomass feedstock to final conversion to drop-in aviation biofuels. According to the announcement: " As we move forward as a nation, identifying and implementing an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, there are key relationships that will determine our success in the effort to develop and deploy aviation biofuels. The objectives of this match making session will be to improve awareness and increase understanding of the biofuels supply-chain links between those involved in feedstock production and the processors of that feedstock into biofuels. This includes logistical challenges, potential roles of service providers, and potential pitfalls." Registration is required; parties interested in participating should email their contact information and position in the supply chain to OSEC-. 03/20/2012


German Energy Efficiency and Renewable Heating Gets Big Boost

Germany Trade & InvestThe Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI)  announced that Germany has already reached its 20 percent renewable electricity goal, and is now targeting renewable heating with the commitment to achieve 14% by 2020. An existing program was extended late last year with additional funding of EUR 500 million, jointly supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) and the federal KfW Banking Group. The program supports technologies including solar collectors, thermal storage systems, heat grids, biogas plants, biomass systems and geothermal energy. The GTAI is announcing the program expansion at this year's Ecobuild Conference in London, March 20-22, 2012. Heiko Staubitz, energy efficiency expert at GTAI in Berlin, comments on the renewable heating program: “Renewable electricity is only the first step in the shift to a sustainable energy future. With generous funding for renewable heating, Germany is making great strides in developing and implementing new technologies. Companies spanning the globe are looking to Germany for market and R&D opportunities.” Concurrently, the German Federal Cabinet adopted the German Resource Efficiency Programme (ProgRess), referred to as "a master plan for sustainable growth" in Germany; KfW and the German Ministry of Economics and technology (BMWI) launched an energy efficiency grant program for small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) last week, under the new program name "SME Energy Advice". Germany Trade & Invest is the economic development agency of the Federal Republic of Germany. 03/19/2012


Tembec Announces $310 MM Two-Phase Pulp Mill Waste-to-Energy Expansion

TembecQuebec's pulp and paper mill Tembec has announced initiation of the Phase 1  expansion of its Temiscaming specialty cellulose plant. The redevelopment, supported by a $75 million loan from Investissement Quebec, will expand the existing biopower generation by about 40 megawatts, reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 70%, and increase cellulose production from 310,000 to 345,000 metric tonnes per year. In the first $190 million phase, Tembec will replace old boilers with high-pressure units to cleanly convert the waste sulfite liquor, a byproduct of the cellulose manufacturing, by December 2013. Phase 2, expected to cost another $120 million, will install new electric generation turbines to run off of the increased boiler steam output, scheduled to operational  by May 2014. The company uses Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sustainable forest feedstock to produce lumber, paper, pulp and specialty chemicals (resins, lignosulfonates and ethanol) in addition to the specialty cellulose; anaerobic digestion of wastes and bi-products also now provides biogas, cutting the pulp plant's consumption of natural gas by 45% since 2003. Tembec's limited partnership, Tembec Energy L.P., has entered into a 25 year power purchase agreement with the utility Hydro-Quebec at $106 MW/hour indexed to the CPI to a maximum output of 50 megawatts. Once all new equipment is in place and operating, Tembec anticipates a four-year return on investment. “This exciting project shows Québec’s commitment to supporting its regional resource-based industries, and helping them compete on the world stage. By working together proactively with local governments and Investissement Québec, we are pleased to reinforce Tembec’s leadership position in specialty cellulose, a growing and sustainable industry,” stated Québec Premier Jean Charest. 03/19/2012


Due 05/07/2012: Proposals to Minnesota Commerce Dept for Energy CARD Grants

Minnesota Department of CommerceThe Division of Energy Resources, Minnesota Department of Commerce, has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) today, "seeking proposals from organizations or individuals interested in applied research and development projects that serve to accelerate the development and adoption of new energy efficient technologies and strategies in Minnesota." The Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD ) RFP is part of the state's Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) for energy policy development; up to $3 million is available, funded through utility assessments. Four funding categories have been established: (A) Field Studies of New Technologies; (B) Testing or Demonstration of Innovative Program Implementation Strategies; (C) Small-Scale Partial-CHP (Power Generation from Waste-Heat Recovery) Projects; and (D) White Papers Addressing Specific Problems, Underutilized Opportunities or Potential for Pioneering Technologies or Concepts. Projects up to three years duration will be evaluated for this RFP, but in only one category per proposal; proponents need to clearly identify which category is being proposed. Category (D), White papers, is capped at $50,000; other categories do not have a pre-determined maximum allocation. Questions are due by Monday, April 2, 2012; all questions should be directed to Ann Zechbauer, Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources,. Full proposals must be on file before 4:00 pm CDT, Monday, May 7, 2012. 03/19/2012


LanzaTech and New Zealand Steel Move from Pilot to Commercialization

LanzaTechNew Zealand's waste gas to alternative fuels and chemicals company LanzaTech has announced expansion of its partnership with New Zealand Steel, a subsidiary of Australian company Bluescope Steel. The new agreement takes the partnership beyond the existing pilot scale collaboration, allowing New Zealand Steel and its parent company rights to commercial use of Lanzatech's technology. The pilot project has been operating since 2008 on New Zealand Steel's mill at Glenbrook, and has proven LanzaTech's fermentation processing platform is effective and scalable, producing industrial and fuel grade ethanol and further refinement to aviation fuel. The process can capture and convert about a third of the carbon dioxide in a steel mill's emissions into fuel. Using locally sourced ironsand, lime and coal, New Zealand Steel produces around 600,000 tonnes of steel each year, primarily for export; the company is New Zealand's only flat rolled steel producer. LanzaTech is presently completing construction of its 100,000 annual gallon plant in China, and has initiated its Freedom Pines project in the US in Georgia. Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, LanzaTech's CEO: “LanzaTech’s process addresses all three sustainability pillars. The use of a waste gas as a feedstock means we are not impacting land use or the food value chain while promoting economic growth and producing low carbon fuels.” 03/18/2012


VERBIO Starts Up Industrial Waste Straw-to-Biomethane Plant in Germany

VerbiogasGerman company VERBIO Vereinigte BioEnergie AG (VERBIO) has announced opening its industrial-scale waste straw to biomethane anaerobic digestion facility in Zörbig, in the Saxony-Anhalt region of Germany. VERBIO’s new plant can convert 20,000 tonnes of straw into biomethane every year, a fraction of the 8–13 million tonnes of straw that the DBFZ German Biomass Research Centre in Leipzig has calculated is being produced annually by not used in Germany.A year ago, VERBIO received German governmental approval to proceed with development of a multi-feedstock anaerobic digestion (AD) facility for production of verbiogas, depending primarily on regionally sourced agricultural residues including "distillery slop" biproducts from VERBIO's existing bioethanol plant. VERBIO achieves "cascade utilization" of non-food biomass feedstock through multi-stage integration of its bioethanol plant, biogas plant and bio-fertiliser plant, accounting for total system greenhouse gas reduction of up to 90% compared with petroleum sourced natural gas. VERBIO's biomethane is branded "verbiogas"; the company's contractual partner VNG-T (VNG-Erdgastankstellen GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of VNG AG) is now dispensing its verbiogas product in all ten of VNG-T's natural gas filling stations. Two of the stations are located in Berlin; one is near the Bundestag, which a few months ago converted a quarter of its fleet to natural gas. Conditioned to the quality of natural gas and fed into the existing natural gas network, verbiogas is also now available at nearly 50 natural gas filling stations. VERBIO plans to expand its biomethane production sites in Zörbig and Schwedt until 2015/16, enabling about half the natural gas fueling stations in Germany to be converted to verbiogas. 03/17/2012


Quantum and Surigao City, Philippines Plan Regional Waste Plasma Facility

Quantum InternationalHouston, Texas based multi-sector holding and development company Quantum International and the City of Surigao, Philippines, have announced plans for a regional plasma gasification plant. Following meetings with the City of Surigao's Mayor, the original plan to serve just the city have been up-scaled to a 5,000 ton per day capacity to serve the Mindanao region. The new plant will provide for conversion of both municipal solid waste using plasma gasification, and agricultural residues via anaerobic digestion for biofuel and fertilizer production. The news quotes a statement released by Quantum CEO Al Johnson:  “This facility will handle the treatment of municipal and industrial solid waste while producing massive amounts of electricity for the entire region.  Also agreed upon was at least one model biofuel operation for the treatment of agricultural waste." According to Quantum's website, the company is also planning three 3,000 ton per day multi-technology waste conversion facilities in the Philippines cities of Mandaue City, Castle City, and Manila. Surigao City inaugurated its new P45 million Waste Treatment Facility in June 2011. The 10 hectare facility is expected to accommodate about 21 tons of solid waste daily for the next 20 to 25 years. The facility consists of an administration building, a briefing room and viewing deck, a Materials Recovery building, a sanitary landfill consisting of two cells, a leachate collector with submersible pumps, aerated ponds and other support structures. 03/17/2012


California REC Market Update Webinar Scheduled for March 30, 2012

US Department of Energy Green Power NetworkThe US Department of Energy's (DOE) Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Green Power Network has announced a webinar to provide an update California's Renewable Energy Certificate market, scheduled for March 30, 2012 at 11:00 am to 12:30 pm Pacific Time. There is no cost for the informational webinar, but registration is required. Participants will hear how California's 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard treats renewable energy credits and certificates, and the function of the voluntary renewable energy reserve account established under California's Cap and Trade Program.. A Renewable Energy Credit (REC) represents the environmental and renewable attributes of renewable electricity. A REC can be sold either "bundled" with the underlying energy or "unbundled", as a separate commodity from the energy itself, into a separate REC trading market. California law (Public Utilities Code §399.12[f]) defines a REC as: "a certificate of proof, issued through the accounting system established by the Energy Commission… that one unit of electricity was generated and delivered by an eligible renewable energy resource. ‘Renewable energy credit’ includes all renewable and environmental attributes associated with the production of electricity from the eligible renewable energy resource, except for an emissions reduction credit issued pursuant to Section 40709 of the Health and Safety Code and any credits or payments associated with the reduction of solid waste and treatment benefits created by the utilization of biomass or biogas fuels.” Speakers will include Sara Kamins of the California Public Utilities Commission, Randy Lack from Element Markets, and Elaine Sison-Lebrilla, of the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District. Presentation slides will be available after the webinar on the DOE's Green Power Network. 03/17/2012


Due 03/23/2012: Comments to CEC on Biomethane to Pipeline RPS Eligibility

California Energy CommissionThe California Energy Commission (CEC), prompted by requests from the state Legislature, has released notice of consideration of the suspension of Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Eligibility Guidelines governing electricity generating facility (powerplant) contractual use of and RPS accreditation for biomethane injected into the natural gas pipeline infrastructure. The potential suspension is being considered as a result of passage of Senate Bill X1-2, and is deemed necessary to provide the CEC and the Legislature time to evaluate whether the existing RPS eligibility guidelines and certification process for power plant use of pipeline-injected biomethane indeed provide the mandated benefits to state ratepayers. SBX1-2 establishes a preference for electricity generation that provides more environmental benefits to the state by displacing in-state fossil fuel consumption, reducing air pollution within the state, and helping the state meet its climate change goals by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) associated with electrical generation. Biomethane "wheeling" via pipeline, especially considering in-state vs. out-of-state injection, complicates accounting of RPS value regarding compliance with SBX1-2. Existing powerplant certification would not be summarily canceled by this decision, yet additional conditions to safeguard compliance would become necessary. Powerplant projects that depend upon use of biomethane for certification as an eligible renewable energy generation facility and have been pre-certified would remain so; should the CEC suspend the guidelines, powerplants that apply for pre-certification after the effective date of the suspension will not be processed until after the suspension is lifted. The matter will be considered during the CEC's March 28, 2012 Business Meeting. Written comments should be submitted by March 23, 2012 according to instructions in the notice, and with "Docket numbers 02-REN-1038 and 11-RPS-01" and "RPS Proceeding" in the subject line. 03/17/2012


Primus Raises $12 MM to Complete Biomass Gasification Demo Plant

Primus Green EnergyNew Jersey's thermal conversion company Primus Green Energy, Inc has announced completion of financing needed to complete construction of the demonstration facility for single-loop biomass gasification to liquid fuels at its Hillsborough, NJ headquarters. Primus already has a pilot plant operating at its Hillsborough site, and is currently working with Bechtel Hydrocarbon Technology Solutions (HTS) division on design and estimated costs of a fully commercial facility expected to break ground in early 2013. Primus' technology platform processing train begins with gasification of biomass, then uses a proprietary variant of Exxon-Mobile's methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) catalytic method to produce drop-in green gasoline. Biofuel production and testing was successfully completed in October 2011, showing a 93 octane fuel produced capable of improving unmodified engine run-time by 25%, while the cellulose to biofuel conversion efficiency reached 25%. Primus expects to increase this efficiency to 33% in the near future, and estimates the gasoline will sell at a price competitive with gasoline produced from petroleum at $60-$70 per barrel. The current $12 million investment came from IC Green Energy Ltd., the renewable energy arm of publicly traded Israel Corp, bring total funding to $40 million since launch in 2007. "IC Green Energy's financial commitment these past five years has allowed us to proceed toward commercialization in a deliberate, focused manner, secure in the knowledge we are backed by an investor that will also stand behind us over the long-term," said Dr. Yom-Tov Samia, Primus Chairman. "Now that our technology is in place, we look forward to partnering with additional strategic investors to bring our biomass/natural gas-to-gasoline process to market." 03/16/2012


First US Dairy Sustainability Awards Recognize Dairy Waste to Energy

Innovation Center for US DairyThe Innovation Center for US Dairy has announced its first year's Sustainability Award winners for outstanding dairy farm sustainability, dairy processing and manufacturing sustainability, and including two awards sponsored by the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, Idaho National Laboratory (INL) for outstanding achievement in energy. In Gooding, Idaho, the 4,700 cow Big Sky Dairy brought in Dean Foods Company and AgPower Partners (DF-AP) as partners and privately funded development of anaerobic digestion systems to convert a mix of their own and locally-sourced organic wastes. The system generates around 1.2 megawatts of green electricity along with about 55,000 tons of fiber for composting or animal bedding, and quantities of high-nitrogen liquid fertilizers. The 950 dairy cow operation of Brubaker Farms in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania has combined manure digestion and solar power to generate enough electricity to power their operations plus about 200 surrounding homes. In recent years when milk prices dropped, the farm made more money selling renewable energy than from product sales. Glenn Gorrel, President of Profession Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania: "The Brubakers have defined by example the entrepreneurial spirit of Pennsylvania’s dairy producer and have outreached to a public that is often critical of animal agriculture with a message of social, financial and environmental responsibility." 03/16/2012


Rivertop Renewables Begins Contract Green Chemical Manufacturing

Rivertop RenewablesMissoula, Montana's green chemistry company Rivertop Renewables has announced successful scale up from laboratory to pilot, and the beginning of manufacturing of its carbohydrate oxidation technology platform by DTI under contract. Virginia-based DTI is a custom manufacturer of specialty chemicals; initial production will fill Rivertop's existing contracts for bio-based corrosion inhibitors, while excess will be used to test and expand products and markets. Rivertop is currently expanding its Missoula research and development laboratory facilities; successful contract manufacturing will allow the company to move directly from pilot to global market scale. The global bioprocessing industry has concurrently developed numerous pathways to convert woody waste to an array of low-cost sugars (carbohydrates); Rivertop turns that sugar solution into to-specification bio-sourced analog replacements of standard petroleum-sourced chemicals. The science behind Rivertop's technology dates back to the 1920's when inefficient, uneconomical processes for converting carbohydrates to polymers were first described. The company's founder and chairman Dr. Donald Kiely has worked for decades to improve on the basic principles of this conversion, first in the University of Alabama and later at the University of Montana until 2008, when he retired to start Rivertop Renewables. The patented Kiely Process has now been piloted and proven to convert carbohydrates into high-performing, cost-effective glucarate-based products. To expand toward fully commercial production, “Demonstrating the capability of our technology is another key milestone for our company and proof point for our oxidation process,” said Jere Kolstad, President of Rivertop. “Contract manufacturing is a critical step along the way to a capital-efficient technology deployment strategy that yields a high return on investment.” 03/16/2012


WELTEC Begins Construction on Huge Biogas Refinery in Arneburg, Germany

WELtec BioPower GFmbHGermany based WELtec BioPower GFmbH has started construction on what will be Germany's largest anaerobic digestion (AD) plant for the conversion of manure and agricultural-sourced biomass to biomethane. The site for the six acre facility is within the Altmark Arneburg Industrial and Commercial Zone, in Germany's Saxony region, and is well suited to utilize locally sourced feedstock from 30 regional farms and to distribute to local farmers the resulting high-quality digestate for soil amendment. The four-digester biogas refinery will generate about 6 million cubic meters of biomethane annually, or over 700 cubic meters per hour. Incoming feedstock will be analyzed, mixed to recipe and stored prior to digestion in its constantly-mixed, temperature-controlled tanks; raw gas will be amine-treated to specification for injection into the regional natural gas grid. WELtec designs and constructs its modular AD systems from stainless steel to ensure long-term resistance to the corrosive activity of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia generated during the digestion process. The company announced last fall that its Bariskow AD plant in Brandenburg, Germany was complete and had begun operations that would also inject processed biogas into the regional natural gas grid. Plants are generally configured to provide combined heat and power (CHP); the Brandenburg facility fueled two Capstone Microturbines to provide required heat and power for plant operations. 03/15/2012


UD Researchers Study Microalgae that Eats Emissions and Makes Biofuel

University of DelawareThe University of Delaware (UD) has announced promising research by assistant professor Kathryn Coyne into the microscopic algae species Heterosigma akashiwo, cosmopolitan algae that Coyne and her team discovered produces an enzyme capable of detoxifying nitric oxide, one the key pollutants in industrial smoke stack emissions. Early-stage funding just received from Sea Grant Delaware will allow the research to explore the potential to use this algae for pollution control. Most species of algae that might be used to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are poisoned by the nitric oxide; H. akashiwo's resilience may provide a functional alternative as it converts the toxin to the benign, useful nitrate form. Algal consumption of emissions-sourced CO2 are showing promise for large scale biofuels production, but nitrogen addition to that raw fuel is usually an expensive but necessary finishing step. This algae may eliminate the need. Coyne's grant-supported work will now evaluate algal uptake and growth rates, optimal light intensities and affects on production of lipids and fatty acids. The University of Delaware was designated as the nation's ninth Sea Grant College in 1976 to promote the wise use, conservation and management of marine and coastal resources through high-quality research, education and outreach activities that benefit the public and the environment. 03/15/2012


Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance Offers Nine-Month Internships

Northwest Advanced Renewables AllianceThe Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) has opportunities for Native American graduate students in the fields of environmental science, forestry, biology, and engineering to work with the Columbia River Basin tribes on project teams for nine months beginning in Fall 2012. Research institutions involved in this alliance include University of Washington, Washington State University, University of Idaho, University of Oregon, University of Montana, and Montana State University. NARA maintains five research Teams with specific areas of focus: Education, Sustainability Measurement, Feedstocks, Conversion, and Outreach. In September 2011, NARA received a $40 million project grant from the US Department of Agriculture for a broad coalition effort to develop advanced biofuels, an effort led by Washington State University and including University of Washington staff. Because most schools have graduate application deadlines during the winter months for fall admission, graduate students who are interested in this opportunity should apply immediately. Questions may be directed to Laurel James,, NARA Tribal Projects Team. 03/14/2012


BiogenGreenfinch Selected to Build Food Waste to Energy Plant in Wales

BiogenGreenfinchThe United Kingdom (UK) based food waste digestion specialist BiogenGreenfinch has announced that it has been selected by the Gwynedd Council of Wales as the preferred bidder for the design, construction and operation of a food waste anaerobic digestion (AD) facility.  The Council has been engaged in planning the GwynriAD project since 2009, aiming for a target of 51% biodegradable waste diversion from landfilling by March 2013, and is in the process of rolling out a separate "brown bin" food waste collection and treatment infrastructure. The new AD plant will be sited in Llwyn Isaf, in North West Wales, replacing an existing landfill. The AD plant will be designed to convert about 11,000 tonnes per year of food waste to biogas for grid-connected renewable electricity generation, along with bio-fertilizer for surrounding farmlands. The diversion will help the Gwynedd Council meet its statutory recovery targets established by the Welsh Government in support of Recycling, Preparation for Re-use and Composting Targets, Wales Order 2011 and Regulations 4 and 5 of The Recycling, Preparation for Re-use and Composting Targets, Wales Regulations 2011. 03/14/2012


Ince Park Will Provide Energy from Waste, £1.5 Billion Boost to NW UK Economy

Ince ParkInce Park has announced completion and release of a positive economic assessment with predictions of a £1.5 billion boost to North West United Kingdom (UK) economy. The Ince Park LLP integrated waste management complex is a joint venture partnership between Covanta Energy and Peel Environmental, a subsidiary of The Peel Group. The report was developed by the independent, non-profit think tank Urban Mines. The Ince Park site is located on the south bank of the Manchester Ship Canal, 9 miles from Chester and 18 miles south of Liverpool. When fully developed the Ince Resource Recovery Park will be UK’s largest ‘eco park’, home to businesses in the energy, recycling, environmental technologies and waste management sectors focussed on sustainable resource use. The anchor tenant will be Covanta’s Energy from Waste (EfW) facility that will convert non-recyclable, residual household and commercial waste into renewable and low carbon electricity and heat, with a design capacity to generate up to 95 megawatts (MWe). Construction of the EfW facility is set to begin during 2012 with it becoming operational in 2015. In addition, Peel Energy has received planning permission for a separate 20MW energy facility on the Park, the Ince Biomass Energy Plant, scheduled to start construction early next year. The full Ince Park Economic Impact Report, and an Executive Summary, are available on-line. Myles Kitcher, Director of Peel Environmental, said: “Ince Park is a major development for the North West which will deliver hundreds of construction jobs over the next five years and thousands more in the longer term. Throughout the development a special emphasis will be placed on providing apprenticeships to give young people a real opportunity to develop a career in the energy and environmental technologies sectors. This report confirms our belief that the development of Ince Park can provide a major contribution to jobs and economic growth in West Cheshire and Merseyside areas.” 03/14/2012


Ameresco's SRS Biomass Cogeneration Facility Celebrates Successful Startup

AmerescoMassachusetts based Ameresco has announced today's well-attended ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate successful operational start-up of the new bioenergy cogeneration plant at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in Aiken, South Carolina. The $795 million fixed price contract constitutes the largest Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) ever written in the US, and included private financing, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and fueling for the new biomass facility under a 20-year fixed price contract. Ameresco received a Final Acceptance Certificate upon completion of the 34 acre multi-facility construction in December 2012. The plant can consume almost 400,000 tons of locally-sourced biomass and replaces the inefficient 1950s-era D Area Powerhouse, a coal facility with oil-fired boilers. The plant will generate an estimated $944 million in savings in energy, operation and maintenance costs over the duration of the contract. “Today is the capstone on what has been a tremendous endeavor for our partnership. Together with the Department of Energy, the Savannah River Site, the State of South Carolina and our local and regional partners, we’ve built an award-winning, large-scale sustainable power resource,” said Ameresco’s President & CEO Sakellaris. “This SRS Biomass Cogeneration Facility, funded by our ESPC is a shining example of how public-private partnerships can create transformative energy infrastructure for the 21st Century.” 03/13/2012


UK Green Investment Bank Will Open Main Offices in Edinburgh and London

United Kingdom Department of Business, Innovation and SkillsThe United Kingdom's (UK) Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has announced that the country's newly established Green Investment Bank (GIB) will be headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, while the GIB's main transaction team will be located in London, "playing to the strengths" of both areas. The next step for the GIB is the recruitment of the Chair and Senior Independent Director so that it will be in a position to be fully operational this Autumn, subject to state aid approval for the GIB. Scottish Enterprise is an organization that has become increasingly crucial to renewable energy development in Scotland. Its Chairman, Crawford Gillies, said, “This is fantastic news for Edinburgh and for Scotland. The Green Investment Bank will be an enduring institution supporting the growth of the UK’s renewable energy and low carbon sectors. Being headquartered in Edinburgh will enable the bank to draw on the city’s world class financial services expertise as well as Scotland’s renowned capabilities in the development of renewable and low carbon technologies. Not only will this help ensure to ensure the long term success of the Green Investment Bank but it will also further enhance Scotland’s renewable ambitions, making it the world’s leading location for renewable energy.” 03/13/2012


POET-DSM Groundbreaking Celebrates Start of Construction for Project LIBERTY

POETIn Emmetsburg, Iowa, the newly formed joint venture of POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels LLC celebrates the start of construction on Project LIBERTY, the commercial-scale cellulosic biofuels plant adjacent to POET's operating corn ethanol plant. The new facility will use regionally-sourced agricultural residues collected and stored on the company's 22 acre newly completed stackyard. Last fall, local farmers harvested and delivered 61,000 tons of corn cobs, leaves, husks and stalks to the stackyard, and that aggregation will continue this year in preparation for Project LIBERTY's feedstock demand of about 770 dry tons per day. In January, POET entered the 50/50% joint venture with Royal DSM, allowing the team to decline a $105 million USDA loan guarantee POET secured in September 2011. Stephan Tanda, Member of the Managing Board of Royal DSM, introduced DSM to the Emmetsburg community and commented: "DSM is a living example of the transformation from a petroleum based economy to a bio-based economy. By joining forces with innovative growers and entrepreneurs right here in Iowa we all together are pioneering new value chains that produce fuel and eventually also chemicals and advanced materials from sustainable, renewable resources." 03/13/2012


SWJM Collaborative Schedules Meetings on Forest Restoration Purpose and Need

US Forest ServiceThe Southwest Jemez Mountains (SWJM) Collaborative will hold open public meetings on March 29, 2012 at the Santa Fe National Forest Office and on March 31, 2012 at the Valles Caldera Science and Education Center, Jemez Springs, New Mexico. SWJM is a recipient of USDA Forest Service 2010 and 2011 funding through the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration (CFLR) program under the new Forest Planning Rule now being finalized. The meetings are being held in compliance with the new Rule and will provide an opportunity to discuss the purpose and need for forest landscape restoration, including biomass extraction and utilization.  The Collaborative lands lie within and surrounding the Santa Fe National Forest and the Valles Caldera Trust / National Preserve, encompassing more than 100,000 acres. Of this, between 62,000 to 90,000 acres have been designated for biomass thinning and harvesting with an estimated potential extracted wood volume of 527,000 continuous cubic feet (ccf) from this project area, plus 250,000 ccf from neighboring national forest lands (Santa Fe and Cibola). SWJM has posted a draft statement of the overall Purpose and Need of the Landscape Restoration Project for review prior to the meeting. Four Purposes have been defined: (1) Improve ecosystem resilience and function at the landscape scale in order to sustain healthy forests and watersheds for future generations; (2) Improve watershed conditions and reduce road-related impacts to natural and cultural resources; (3) Offset treatment costs and benefit local rural economies: there is a need to use wood products from restoration treatments; and (4) Increase the resilience of cultural resources to natural disturbances and provide for the sustainability of traditional cultural properties and other resources associated with traditional practices. For further information contact Susan Bruin, Santa Fe National Forest, (505) 797-0945, or online. 03/12/2012


Air Liquide Purchases Georecover Renewable Landfill Gas Assets

Air Liquide Advanced technologies US LLCAir Liquide Advanced Technologies U.S. LLC announced that it has acquired the landfill gas collection and processing assets of the company Georecover - Live Oak LLC, including the company's gas processing facility in Conley, Georgia. Georecover is a subsidiary of Jacoby Energy Development, Inc. The Conley facility uses Air Liquide's MEDALTM membrane technology, a refinery process train that includes catalytic reforming, hydrocracking, and dehydrogenation for hydrogen recovery. With MEDAL, the process converts methane-rich waste gases emitted from anaerobic digestion within the landfilled materials to pipeline-ready renewable natural gas. The MEDAL technology is currently being utilized at most landfill gas to liquid production plants in the US. Air Liquide's U.S. operation, American Air Liquide Holdings, Inc. (American Air Liquide), is part of an international group specialized in gases for industry, health and the environment. Michael Graff, president and CEO of American Air Liquide Holdings, Inc.: “This acquisition further establishes Air Liquide as a leader in clean energy solutions and helps position us for increased growth in this important marketplace. We continue to develop and offer innovative solutions to meet the needs of customers and help ensure reliable and clean energy for our nation.” 03/11/2012


GreenWatt Raises EUR 6 MM in Investment Round to Fund International Growth

GreenWatt SAInnogy Venture Capital and SRIW joined the European investment group Gimv-Agri+ and existing investors Energie Brabant Wallon, Nivelinvest, Vives and business angels to invest EUR 6 million in GreenWatt S.A. This funding round is intended to enable GreenWatt to expand its business internationally. Greenwatt, based in Belgium, is focused on the development and integration of anaerobic digestion and combined heat and power (AD/CHP) packages for agricultural and food industry waste conversion to energy. GreenWatt offers a multi-stage, multi-technology approach that is customized to a client's specific feedstock substrate; the system accepts high percentages of solids, and presents a small compact design fully integrated with a host site's existing processing train for closed-loop residuals utilization. Founded in 2004 as a spin-out of the Belgium's Catholic University of Leuven (UCL), GreenWatt is currently active in the Benelux countries and France and will use the financing to expand globally. Currently, the firm maintains a full assessment and customization lab and has numerous projects operating under a business model that first brings a 1/100 scale demonstration and testing unit to the project site to optimize for that specific feedstock before scale-up and systems integration. Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt, CEO RWE Innogy, explains: "The distributed renewable production of energy will become increasingly important with the restructuring of the energy supply – therefore we have decided to support GreenWatt. This innovative biogas technology has already been successfully adopted by several customers and, with the additional benefit of avoiding waste disposal costs, these plants are an economically attractive alternative for the agriculture and food industries." 03/11/2012


Washington State Governor Signs Legacy Biomass Facility Bill

Washington State UniversityThe Washington Forest Protection Association (WFPA) has announced that Governor Chris Gregoire has signed Senate Bill 5575 into law to "put common sense back into the system by allowing facilities that can produce renewable energy and organic material to count." SB 5575 was brought to the Washington Senate for first reading by Senator Brian Hatfield on January 31, 2011, reintroduced in the 2012 regular session, and passed the House and Senate in February 2012. The legislation removes a key barrier that prevented bioenergy generated by plants built and in operation before March 31, 1999 from being counted by purchasing Utilities toward the state's Renewable Energy Portfolio, and also recognizes energy from conversion of waste from pulp and paper mills  as "renewable", reversing restrictions from Initiative 937 that went into effect in 2006. “That date was THE critical point for the family wage jobs that might have been lost were it not for this bill,” said Senator Hatfield. “March of 1999 was an arbitrary date. There was no science, no studies and no good reason for it to be chosen as a cutoff line that impacted jobs and rural economies.” In addition to adding back conversion of "black liquor" wastes from paper pulping, liquors derived from algae and other sources, yard waste, food waste and food processing residues qualify as eligible biomass. Mark Doumit, the Executive Director of WFPA, commented: "We need to do everything we can to use our renewable natural resources efficiently, and not pick winners and losers along the way.  If we want healthy working forests we must ensure that our rural resource lands remain economically profitable." 03/11/2012


Due 06/05/2012: Proposals to NY City for Non-Incineration Waste to Energy

New York City Department of SanitationNew York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that a Request for Proposals (PIN# 82712RR00028) issued by the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) is seeking development of a pilot non-incineration facility for conversion of the City's waste to clean energy. Only New and Emerging Conversion Technologies will be considered. The pilot plant scale cannot exceed 450 tons per day, drawn from roughly 10,000 tons per day currently generated by the City, and must be located either within the city boundary or no more than 80 miles outside. Expansion to about 900 tons per day will follow successful pilot performance. Rather than offering financial support, the City will pay a negotiated per-ton tipping fee for processing the waste. Selection will follow the City's comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) and Waste Reduction Plan (PlaNYC) with the intent to double the amount of waste diverted from regional landfills by 2017. The PlaNYC is a "3-point plan: 1) Invest in waste reduction and recycling. This step includes the possible construction of a waste-to-energy plant on Staten Island; 2) Increase access to waste-reduction programs. This involves expansion of recycling programs, and the creation of new ones, including food-scrap collection; and 3) Create incentives and engage the public to reduce waste. Enforcement will be ramped up, as measures such as a "bag fee" may be implemented. Mayor Bloomberg: " New Yorkers generate more than 10,000 tons of solid waste every day and too much of it ends up in landfills. Using less, and recycling more are the most effective ways to address the problem, but this project will help us determine if some of that waste can be converted to safe, clean energy to meet the City's growing power needs." There will be an optional pre-proposal conference at 10:00 AM, on April 9, 2012, at 110 William Street, Conference Room 4 A/B, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10038. There will be an optional site visit of the Staten Island City Provided Site on April 9, 2012, for which the bus will leave at 1:00 PM from Water Street between Fulton and John Streets, New York, NY. All written inquiries about the RFP should be submitted on or by 5:00 PM on May 4, 2012, to. A proposal submitted in response to this RFP is required to be accompanied by a proposal deposit in the amount of $10,000.00. Sealed proposals are due 06/05/2012 by 11:00 AM. 03/11/2012


Pepco Contracts with DC Water for $170MM Turnkey Biogas to CHP Plant

PepcoHeadquartered in Virginia, Pepco Holdings subsidiary Pepco Energy Services Inc. has announced that it has signed an agreement with the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) to design, build and operate a combined heat and power (CHP) plant fueled by biogas from the agency's Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant (AWTP). The design and construction element of the contract is valued at $81 million; the contract includes 15 years of operation and maintenance, for an overall value of about $170 million. Blue Plains is one of the largest AWTPs in the world; the plant has been under redevelopment to integrate thermal hydrolysis pretreatment of food waste for co-digested with sewage followed by nutrient recovery, a program expected to dramatically increase biogas production. The CHP plant will use three Solar Mercury 50 low-emission gas turbines, digester gas cleaning and compression equipment, heat recovery steam generators, duct burners, a backup boiler, and electrical equipment needed to operate in parallel with the utility grid and ancillary systems, including water treatment and process control systems. Overall, the CHP facility will reduce DC Water’s greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 40 percent. “This is the next step in closing our ecological loop,” said DC Water Board Chairman William M. Walker. “Blue Plains takes water from the region, cleanses it and puts it back in better condition than the waterway it came from. The investment in the digester takes the waste from that cleansing process and turns it into energy." 03/09/2012


CalRecycle Schedules 3rd Regulatory Cleanup Workshop: Compostable Materials

CalRecycleCalRecycle has announced the next stage of review for regulatory clean-up of Title 14 and Title 27, scheduling the 3rd informal Workshop for March 27, 2012.  Regulatory areas to be addressed include Compostable Materials, Transfer Processing, Permit Application Form, and Permit Exemptions. For the first workshop in December 2011, staff generated a list of an even dozen Issues: 1) Food Waste; 2) Land Application - disposal or beneficial use; 3) Onsite Organics Storage and 12,500 cubic yard limit; 4) Odor Complaints; 5) Regulation of POTW Acceptance of FOG; 6) Green Waste Contamination; 7) AD Permitting; 8) Meat Waste Management and regs review; 9) Metals Contamination; 10) Ag Materials Processing; 11) Small-scale Compost Exclusions; and 12) Clarification of "Maximum Daily Tonnage". Issue 13, Vermiculture, was added to the original list. The March 27th workshop will address Issue 3 and include updates on 5, 6 and 11. The workshop will be held from 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM at the CalEPA Building in Conference Room 550. The workshop is also available via conference call, and call-in participants are requested to dial (877) 695-6958 and enter the participant code: 5653278. Questions regarding the workshop can be sent to  . 03/08/2012


Alphabet Energy Secures Additional $2MM to Advance Waste Heat Recovery

Alphabet EnergySan Francisco area based Alphabet Energy has announced it has now secured an additional $2 million in strategic capital from Hercules Technologies Growth Capital, following on last quarter's Series A round support of $12 million, led by TPG Biotech. Using thermoelectric materials science developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the firm will use the funds to speed commercialization of an efficient silicon nanowire heat-to-electricity product being prototyped in its new Hayward, California facility. The device provides a turn-key solution for generation of electricity from waste heat as found in industrial exhaust and can be used to turn heat directly into electricity in applications ranging from power generation, to heavy industry, automotive, aerospace, and military. Matt Scullin, Alphabet’s CEO and founder: “There is huge potential for waste-heat to generate very low-cost power in a wide variety of applications and industries. Alphabet is focused on developing scalable and cost-effective technology that will provide an affordable and plentiful source of renewable energy.” 03/08/2012


New Special Economic Zone in Cayman Islands Seeks High-Tech Companies

Cayman Enterprise CityThe government of the Cayman Islands has announced launch of Cayman Enterprise City (CEC) as the first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the Caribbean. CEC has been granted the exclusive rights to attract internet, technology, commodities and derivatives, media, and biotechnology companies from around the world as the island's third economic pillar, alongside tourism and financial services. SEZs assist local economies through direct foreign investment, creating highly skilled local jobs. CEC can guarantee 10-day, fast-track set up of operations so companies can quickly establish an office in Cayman’s tax-neutral jurisdiction. Companies in the zone are exempt from work permits and import duties, and may be able to cut operational costs in half. Cayman’s tax-neutral jurisdiction also guarantees protection of intellectual property, 100% foreign ownership;100% exemption from Income Tax, Corporate Tax and Capital Gains Tax for 50 years. The Special Economic Zones Law was passed by the Cayman Legislative Assembly in September 2011, establishing the SEZ Authority which held its first meeting in December and is now licensing the first zone companies. 03/08/2012


Metso to Build Bio-Oil Demonstration Plant for Fortum Power in Finland

Metso CorporationGlobal technology supplier Metso Corporation has announced signing of an agreement with Fortum Power to build a bio-oil production facility in Joensuu, Finland. The plant will use pyrolysis technology that Metso has developed jointly with Fortum Power, VTT Technology Research Center in Finland and the Biofore company UPM Kymmene Oyj as part of Finland's TEKES Biorefine research programme. Metso will provide the plant as a turn-key delivery capable of converting around 225,000 solid cubic meters of forest residue and sawdust per year into 50,000 tons of oil for fuel or chemicals refining, with a nominal 30 megawatt of bio-oil production. The Joensuu demonstration project will aid commercialization of a new level of technology integration where a pyrolysis reactor is connected as a fixed part to the CHP-plant's boiler. The 500° C bio-oil production pyrolytic retort will be integrated into Fortum Power's existing Joensuu power plant, allowing the uncondensed combustible gases and coke residuals from the pyrolysis to be used as fuel by the power plant's fluidized bed boiler. The Finnish utility Fortum Oyj will invest 20 million euros to integrate the bio-oil plant into its power generation facility; the Ministry of Employment and the Economy has granted Fortum's bio-oil project EUR 8.1 million in a new technology investment. Construction is to start this year and be completed late in 2013. 03/08/2012


Virdia Has New Name, Closes $30M, and Plans Expansion to Mississippi

VirdiaCalifornia-based biofuels company HCL CleanTech has changed its name to Virdia and has announced that it has closed on $30 million in its recent funding round. Last June, HCL CleanTech received a DOE award of up to $9.0 million to establish facilities in Oxford, North Carolina to develop and demonstrate its CASETM integrated process. The CASE process uses concentrated hydrochloric acid hydrolysis for the conversion of sugars from biomass, and then further convert the sugars into diesel products. With the name change and new funding, Virdia has brought in ex-Genencor executive Philippe Lavielle as its new CEO. Virdia also negotiated a $75 million low-interest loan package and tax incentive package potentially worth another $155 million over 10 years with the Mississippi Development Authority to build manufacturing facilities in Mississippi. The agreement will help fund multiple biorefinery developments in Natchez, Booneville and Hattiesburg, with a demonstration and testing center planned for Grenada, MS. “We are pleased Virdia is locating manufacturing operations in Mississippi and will be using our state’s ample biomass resources to create its renewable products,” said Governor Phil Bryant. “This innovative company has committed to creating hundreds of high-paying jobs for Mississippians and will have a positive impact on communities around the state.” 03/07/2012


SNV Completes Feasibility Studies for Biodigesters in Peru and Bolivia

SNVThe Netherlands-based philanthropic organization SNV reports on results of recently completed feasibilities studies for development of national programs in Peru and Bolivia to establish rural biodigesters. SNV partnered with Hivos and Practical Action to conduct workshops mid-February in Lima, Peru and La Paz, Bolivia. The effort brought together broad representation from public and private sectors to discuss what has been learned from digester development in each country since the 1980s and to consider how best to improve on both technical and economic digester program aspects. Several hundred biogas plants have been constructed in the past, both with fixed-dome and tubular synthetic technology (plastic and geo-membrane), but operational levels have remained low. The workshop reached consensus that capacity building, technical assistance, quality control, and research and development were necessary programme functions, while the importance of standardised, validated technologies was stressed. A key finding: a household’s investment in a biodigester was found profitable only when the fertilization value of the bio-slurry was considered in addition to the biogas. 03/07/2012


Due 03/30/2012: LOIs to ARPA-E for Transformational Energy Technologies

US Advanced Research Progects Agency - EnergyThe US Department of Energy has announced that the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E)  just released a $150 million Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0000670), seeking proposal submissions on all forms of "transformational energy technologies" that would not otherwise be able to attract private investment, but could lead to breakthrough energy technologies. The call for submissions supports " transformational research in all areas of energy R&D, including resource identification, extraction, transportation and use, and energy generation, storage, transmission and use in both the transportation and stationary power sectors. Areas of research responsive to this FOA include (but are not limited to) electricity generation by both renewable and non-renewable means, electricity transmission, storage, and distribution; energy efficiency for buildings, manufacturing and commerce, and personal use; and all aspects of transportation, including the production and distribution of both renewable and non-renewable fuels, electrification, and energy efficiency in transportation." Submission of an initial Letter of Intent (LOI) is due March 30, 2012, and a Concept Paper is due April 12, 2012 and a template is posted. The final application due date has not yet been established. A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page has been created; questions on the program need to be submitted by email to ; responses will be posted weekly to the FAQ page. 03/07/2012


ALL Power Labs to hold Gasification PowerExchange Workshop

Gasification Experimenter's KitALL Power Labs (APL) has announced a three-day Gasification PowerExchange Workshop #11 to be conducted March 30, 31 and April 1, 2012 in its Berkeley headquarters and production factory. The workshop is free to owners of APL's Gasification Experimenter's Kit (GEK) and Power Pallet systems, and $100 to all others. The hands-on sessions are intended to get more people acquainted with small-scale biomass gasification for real-world applications, whether with an APL system or any other. The weekend will start with a lecture and demo from owner Jim Mason, then continue with two days of "general wrench turning", with multiple systems under development and/or operating. Projects include (1) operational 10 and 20 kilowatt Power Pallet units, (2) GEK construction tables with welders for four people, (3) Lister spark conversion system development, for conversion from diesel start-up to self-powered systems, and (4) GEK kit assembly and start-up. Systems owners can bring units (and feedstock) to the workshop for personal assistance with construction, operation and maintenance (and possibly, free upgrades). Space is limited; sign up for the workshop on-line. ALL Power Labs work with small-scale gasification began with the open source Gasifier Experimenter’s Kit (GEK), supporting research, education and DIY hacking in biomass thermal conversion, and then evolved into the GEK Power Pallet, a fully automated solution for personal scale biomass power generation. APL now has over 250 systems in 30 countries, supporting research in over 40 universities. 03/06/2012


Itochu Invests in ZeaChem for 2nd Generation BioEthanol Technology

ZeaChemJapan's Itochu Corporation has announced acquisition of shares in advanced biochemical and biofuel specialist ZeaChem, Inc to further commercialize the Colorado-based company's hybrid microbial / thermal technology platform. The new funds will aid the company in completion of the biorefinery under development in Boardman Oregon for which ZeaChem just finalized key federal loans. As an investor and partner, Itochu will help ZeaChem expand globally and provide support through project investment and development, aiming for commercial production by 2014. The investment expands ZeaChem’s business development beyond the United States and advances the company’s geographic diversity throughout the Far East and globally. Itochu is already a leading player in the markets for the intermediate chemicals acetic acid and ethyl acetate, which are the first two products being developed at ZeaChem’s integrated biorefinery in Boardman. Itochu is also engaged in the market for transportation fuels, the next target of ZeaChem’s biorefining platform and has large forestry holdings in Latin America, Europe and Australia. The 150 year old company now has around 130 offices in 67 countries. 03/06/2012


Hamworthy Secures Contract for Biogas Liquifaction Plant with Cambi

Hamworthy Oil & Gas SystemsCambi AS has contracted with Hamworthy Oil & Gas Systems for biogas handling and liquefaction at the food waste to biogas plant under construction in Nes, Romerike near Oslo, Norway. The City of Oslo awarded the prime contract to Cambi to design, construct, and commission the turnkey biogas plant to treat about 50,000 tons of food waste per year. In addition to biogas, the plant will produce about 27,000 tons per year of biofertilizer. Completion of the liquefaction plant is set for early 2013, and Hamworthys’ responsibilities include feed gas compression, biogas cleaning and liquefaction, and liquid biogas storage and export. The 14,000 Nm3 per day of biomethane produced will be used as biofuel for buses in Oslo. "We were able to employ our knowledge and expertise in liquid gas handling gained from 30 years experience in the marine and oil and gas markets to secure this breakthrough contract,” said Reidar Strande, Hamworthy LNG Business Unit Director. With headquarters in the United Kingdom and offices world-wide including in Houston and Miami, Hamworthy was acquired by Wärtsilä Corporation on January 31, 2012. Hamworthy will be integrated as a business unit within Wärtsilä’s Ship Power business. Wartsila currently operates about 170 offices in 70 countries, with around 18,000 employees. 03/06/2012


Bingaman's Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 Includes Waste-to-Energy

US CapitolSenator Bingaman (D-NM) introduced the Clean Energy Standard (CES) Act of 2012 (S. 2146) on March 1, 2012, an energy policy priority for President Obama, but without bi-partisan support in the Senate. The proposed bill's goal is to reduce power plant pollution through low carbon energy production and to double clean energy by 2035. Plants would be required to either be "zero-carbon" or produce less carbon in emissions than state-of-the-art coal-fired power plants, including natural gas-fired plants and carbon-sequestering coal plants. Zero carbon production would wrap around both nuclear and renewable energy generation; the CES would allocate increasing credits proportional to the reduction in carbon below conventional coal plant emissions. Qualified waste-to-energy is defined in the bill as "energy produced from the combustion of post-recycled municipal solid waste, animal waste or animal byproducts, biogas, landfill methane, or other biomass that has been diverted from or separated from other waste out of a municipal waste stream." Although the bill faces an uphill battle in Congress, it may also serve to broaden national acceptance of energy derived from urban and rural wastes and residuals and from combined heat and power (CHP), among other sources. 03/05/2012


GESI Selects InREFco Gasification for Railroad Tie Conversion to Energy Project

Green Energy Solution Industries, IncGreen Energy Solution Industries, Inc (GESI) has announced selection of a thermal technology for conversion of waste to electricity or commodity biofuels, entering into a Letter of Intent with International Renewable Energy Facilitation Company (InREFco) for the provision of a starved-air gasification platform. In 2009, GESI won an Alberta, Canada bid for a grant from Alberta Energy to determine the feasibility of cleanly converting used railroad ties and other creosote-treated waste biomass to renewable energy and to "advance negotiations to develop and build a waste to energy facility in Alberta." GESI notes that the 25 to 30 year usable life necessitates cyclic removal and replacement of ties along Canada's nearly 30,000 mile rail infrastructure; this waste generation currently approaches 3.5 million creosote-treated 200-pound ties per year. The initial  waste conversion facility design would convert 200 tons per day of waste railroad tie (WRT) feedstock to electricity; GESI is presently seeking to negotiate power purchase agreements. On March 2, 2012, the company also announced its formal name and trading symbol change to Green Energy Solution Industries, Inc, from its former name of SATMax Corporation. 03/05/2012


Winners Announced in 2nd Annual Clean Energy Challenge

Clean Energy ChallengeThe Clean Energy Trust (CET) has announced selection and awards for its 2nd annual Clean Energy Challenge launched last September. In the Early Stage company category, Wisconsin-based biomass pre-treatment company Hyrax Energy received the top prize of $100,000, which was provided by the US Department of Energy. Hyrax is an early stage industrial biotechnology company targeting production of low cost fermentable sugars from cellulosic biomass, and developing biorefineries that use ionic liquids to break down the cellulose in woody residuals to fermentable sugars. A first for 2012 was the Student Challenge developed "to increase the creation of student-run start-ups and accelerate the commercialization of clean energy technologies from Midwest universities." The winner in the Student category was the NuMat Technologies team from Northwestern University for their start-up efforts focused on metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). The NuMat team  won a $100,000 top prize as well as $10,000 for “Best in Illinois. The 2012 Clean Energy Challenge brought over 100 competing teams from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. “The National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition is engaging the next generation of America’s energy leaders,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “The winning teams have developed effective strategies for commercializing new clean energy technologies that will help American businesses lead in the global economy.” 03/05/2012


Oregon DEQ Plans 2nd Advisory Meeting for Conversion Technology Rulemaking

State of OregonThe Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has announced a second open meeting on April 12, 2012 for the Advisory Committee selected to assist in the Conversion Technology (CT) Rulemaking process Background materials and instructions for the public to join by webcast are available online. 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 DEQ is developing a rule proposal that would define conversion technology, establish performance standards and solid waste permit requirements for conversion technology facilities. If adopted, the proposed rules would establish regulatory clarity through performance standards and solid waste permit requirements for conversion technology facilities. This would assure environmental protection, establish an appropriate fee schedule for this new permit category and provide regulatory certainty for emerging technology providers and DEQ staff. For further information, contact DEQ's CT Rulemaking program director Bob Burrows at or (541) 687-7354. 03/05/2012


CalRecycle Schedules Forum on Digesting Urban Organic Residuals

CalRecycleCalifornia's Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) has scheduled a full-day forum on May 30, 2012 to explore the technologies, case studies, economics, policies, and regulations of anaerobic digestion used to convert urban-sourced organic waste into renewable energy, fuels, and other commodities. The draft agenda is now available on-line; the day will start with a review of regulations that impact compostable materials management. Background resource documents are also available on the Organic Materials Management web page dedicated to the Forum. First session in the morning addresses planning and permitting issues, with a focus on case studies from Riverside, San Jose and Santa Barbara Counties. Second session case studies involve construction and operation, with presentations from East Bay Municipal Utilities District, the City of Toronto Canada, and Inland Empire anaerobic digestion project in Chino, California. Project Economics and Financing is the target of the first afternoon session; the last panel will address biogas, digestate and nutrient utilization alternatives. The workshop will close with a summary, and an opportunity for feedback. The event is organized in collaboration with the California Biomass Collaborative, the California Organic Recycling Council, and the City of San Jose. 03/02/2012


Nine Minnesota Projects Receive Funding for Biofuels Development

State of Minnesota Department AgricultureThe Minnesota Department of Agriculture has announced the award of $2.4 million in grants to nine renewable energy projects, following release of the request for proposals (RFP) last September. Winners: (1) Koda Energy LLC, Shakopee - $480,000 for a biomass aggregation / processing yard at its existing bioenergy generation facility; (2) West Central Renewable Ammonia Development, Bloomington - $450,000 for feasibility study on a proposed biomass-to-ammonia plant to convert 95,000 tons of biomass to 45,000 tons of anhydrous ammonia annually; (3) SarTec Corporation, Anoka - $400,000 to develop a small-scale on-farm advanced biodiesel production module using its proprietary Mcgyan technology; (3) Al-Corn Clean Fuel, Claremont - $248,000 with JetE, to integrate advanced biofuels production with its existing corn ethanol facility; (4) Renville Renewable Energy LLC, Olivia - $220,000 for Phase 2 anaerobic digester (AD) project adjacent to a poultry facility, to add multiple waste streams and recover liquid and solid crop nutrients from the byproduct streams; (5) Northern Excellence Seed LLC, Williams - $200,000 to optimize its existing 150 kilowatt gasification to power generation plant for use of waste biomass from seed screenings; (6) Central Lakes College Ag and Energy Center, Staples - $193,000 to continue oil seed to biodiesel development; (7) Jer-Lindy Farms, Brooten - $137,000 to integrate advanced pre-treatment, genset and by-product recovery technology into its AD plant; (8) Rural Advantage, Fairmont - $73,000 Phase 1 feasibility study / business plan to assist Prairie Skies Biomass Co-op in developing 300 ton per day biomass to biofuel. Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson: “These grants support the innovation, research and development in which companies are investing to help us get a step closer to the production of new biofuels. There are some interesting developments on the horizon for biofuels and I’m really intrigued by these projects.” 03/02/2012


Genomatica, Mitsubishi Enter Asian Market for BDO Development

GenomaticaCalifornia based Genomatica announced signing a limited exclusive agreement with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation for Asian regional joint commercial development of production capacity for bio-sourced industrial chemical, 1,4-butanediol (BDO). The two companies began negotiations with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last April after the December 2010 equity investment by Mitsubishi in Genomatica. The production arrangement is facilitated by Genomatica's global access secured in January 2012 to the PROESA platform of biomass-to-sugar, exclusively for BDO production. Using its suite of technologies, the company can now convert almost any form of waste or virgin sourced biomass into multiple green chemical alternatives to petroleum-sourced commodities. “Genomatica and Mitsubishi are both focused on bringing greater sustainability to the chemical industry,” said Shigeru Handa, general manager of the Sustainable Resources Business Development Department of Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation. “Genomatica is a technology leader, especially in the strategically important field of C4 chemicals. Their BDO process has the potential to provide market-leading economics and sustainability consistent with our concept of Kaiteki, the global quality of life that will be made possible through sustainable technologies and through breakthrough scientific advances in human healthcare.” 03/02/2012


Due 05/01/2012: Statement of Interest to SMUD for Biogas to Pipeline Capabilities

Sacramento Municipal Utility DistrictThe Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has released a request for statements of interest (SOI# 120063.OS) in the development of biogas to pipeline projects within California and the western states. The solicitation preference is for new long-term joint development opportunities and competitively priced off-take agreements from within California; however, all opportunities will be considered. The focus is on larger projects with potential flow-rate greater than 2 million standard cubic feet (SCF) per day of raw biogas that justify cleaning and transporting to pipeline. Supplies of biogas must satisfy eligibility requirements of the California renewables portfolio standard and for biomass-derived fuels under the AB 32 cap and trade regulation. Further program detail and the Excel-format Biogas Questionnaire are available online. Prospective bidders should register on-line to receive updates; Direct all communications by email to . For further assistance, contact the project's Procurement Professional Oscar Santos, , (916) 732-5616. Email the completed Questionnaire to: by May 1, 2012. 03/02/2012


Due 03/16/2012: Proposals to CPUC for Renewable DG Technical Analysis

California Public Utilities CommissionThe California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) released a request for proposals (RFP #11PS5003) seeking technical analytical expertise on renewable distributed energy generation (DG). The four-year contract term is intended to aid staff in technical economic and engineering cost / benefit assessment of different DG technologies. Curt-off for submission of questions was February 10, 2012; a Question and Answer fact sheet has now been posted addressing incorporation of interconnection study results, accessible with all RFP documents on the registration-required BIDSYNC website. Bid package proposed Tasks include bioenergy and solar cost benefit and implementation assessment; siting identification, quantification and mapping; revenue requirements; and the potential positive and negative impacts on ratepayers and society of expanding renewable distributed energy development. Maximum bid amount is $1.2 million, with the contract start date June 18, 2012. For further information, address email questions to both Adam Schultz, Project Manager, and Jaclyn Marks, . 03/02/2012

03/06/2012 Update: The submission due date for the RFP has been extended to Friday, March 16, 2012, by 5:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.


GETH, ACG to form JV for Conversion of Waste Plastics to Fuels and Resins

Green EnviroTech Holdings Corp.Green EnviroTech Holdings Corp. (GETH) has signed a non-binding letter of intent (LOI) to form a joint venture (JV) to structure and fund waste plastic conversion facilities with ACG Consulting, LLC, a division of the investment management group ACG Companies. Three waste feedstocks are targeted: agricultural plastics, tires, and auto shredder residue (ASR), a low-density material consisting primarily of plastic and rubber that remains when automobiles are shredded for metals recovery. GETH assessed a technology in use in eastern Asia early in 2011 and found the conversion economically produced marketable oil with minimal emissions that would meet US standards. The feedstock is first separated into streams of plastic, rubber and remaining metal fines. Plastics and rubber are treated using the proprietary PlastExtract cleaning and separating process to develop discrete families of materials, compounding some resins to market specifications and thermally converting the rest to crude oil; the design process can generate about 120,000 barrels of oil and 50 million pounds of marketable plastic resins per processing plant. ACG's financial mechanisms that could be used to fund processing facilities include the EB-5 program of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services that is intended to attract immigrant investors. Gary De Laurentiis, Chairman and CEO of GETH, said, "The joint venture with ACG will allow the management of GETH to focus on building SR plants with the expertise of ACG's financing through the EB-5 program. We are excited to have such a valued JV partner within the environmental sector.  In addition to our LOI with ACG we continue to work with Mosaic Capital, LLC, the company's investment banker, as part of our overall capital raise of $22 million." 03/01/2012


Skanska Will Build Biomass Combined Heat and Power Plant in Sweden

SkanskaGlobal construction firm Skanska has secured a contract to build a biomass fueled combined heat and power plant in Lund, Sweden, for the municipal-owned Lunds Energi Group (Lunds Energikoncernen AB). Skanska will start construction this month on the site work and the main plant with associated railway access under a two-year contract worth about $47 million (SEK 310 M). The plant will use biomass fuel including wood chips and straw to generate sufficient thermal energy for district heating of around 50,000 households in the surrounding community. “We are very happy to have been given the trust to construct the new combined heat and power plant in Lund. This is an exciting project where our competence in laying the foundation as well as constructing the facility will come in use. The project also has a strong focus on sustainability, since the power plant will be fired with bio-fuels such as wood chip and straw”, says Hans Fransson, district manager, Skanska Sweden. Headquartered in Hagaporten Sweden, Skanska maintains two offices in the US, in Parsippany New Jersey and Queens, New York, the company's single largest market for its building and civil engineering projects; Skanska is currently targeting development of public/private partnerships for market expansion. 03/01/2012


REG Launches Biodiesel Policy Action Center Website

Renewable Energy Group, IncIowa-based Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REG) announced the launch of an advocacy web service designed to consolidate the industrial voice of its constituents for biodiesel policy. The news website "allows supporters to sign up for informational updates and alerts and then offers an-easy-to-use platform to contact state or federal elected officials." An "Advocacy Toolbox" is provided to aid communications; current Issues under discussion include the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) and the federal Biodiesel Blenders Tax Credit. REG’s Director, Corporate Affairs, Scott Hedderich: “We are urging the friends of REG—who may be vendors, customers, suppliers, partners, shareholders or family members—to sign up to receive federal and state legislative updates and calls to action. The biodiesel industry is facing important issues like the expansion RFS2 and the reinstatement of the federal blenders’ tax incentive in order to grow green collar job creation, create a healthy environment and expand energy security. Americans have a constitutional right to make their voices heard and this site helps them utilize that right. We have a unique opportunity to reach out to our base of business contacts and broaden the reach for biodiesel industry support.” 03/01/2012


EERC Awarded $906K to Demonstrate Gasification to Biofuels to US Military

Energy & Environmental Research CenterUniversity of North Dakota's Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) has announced receipt of a $906,000 award from the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc. (CCAT), to develop gasification-based alternative liquid fuels under CCAT's program for the US Military's Defense Logistics Agency (US DLA). EERC will use its transport reactor development unit (TRDU) and bench-scale entrained-flow gasifier (EFG) systems to "evaluate the impact of fuel quality and operating conditions on synthetic gas composition, gas cleanup, system performance, overall process efficiency, and CO2 emissions." Gasification feedstock for the liquid fuel production trials will include both biomass and coal; previous testing in EERC's gasification systems has shown that a clean syngas can be produced from coal, crucial for production of quality liquid fuel. "CCAT is extremely pleased to be working with the EERC and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and our project partners Arcadis/Malcolm Pirnie and Avetec, Inc., to conduct these tests. CCAT is excited about the potential impact this testing may have on the coal/biomass-to-liquids (CBTL) industry. This team's work is important to support the development of alternative liquid fuel options for the U.S. military, and we look forward to doing additional testing at the EERC," stated Dr. Tom Maloney, CCAT's Director of Technology & Research Application. 03/01/2012 

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