October 2010 News and Matters of Interest

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Pyrolytic Tobacco-Oil Looks Promising as a Natural Pesticide
Institute for Chemicals and Fuels from Alternative ResourcesBio-Oil produced through pyrolytic conversion of tobacco appears to be an excellent natural pesticide. Canadian scientists published their report in the American Chemical Society's bi-weekly research newsletter. Leaves "cooked" at 500 degrees Celsius in a slight vacuum are converted to more than 43% tobacco bio-oil, along with combustible gases and biochar. The bio-oil was tested against numerous insect pests including the voracious Colorado potato beetle, and against many common fungal and bacterial crop disease agents, with good results. The oil was an effective, and selective, pesticide even if the nicotine was removed. With the decline of tobacco smoking, established but struggling tobacco farmers can look to production of tobacco oil and the pharma compound nicotine for additional income. Dr. Franco Berruti, Director General of the Institute for Chemicals and Fuels from Alternative Resources (ICFAR) of the University of Western Ontario, last year spun off the mobile bio-oil production company AgriTherm, and continue their productive exploration of both bio-oil and biochar. ICFAR's point of contact for the tobacco oil is Cedric Briens at cbriens@eng.uwo.ca. 10/31/2010
Is Biogas the Key to a Black-Out Free Africa?
Zimbabwean Ministry of Economic DevelopmentInvestment in Africa is hampered by more electrical demand than available supply, and power rationing is a "fact of life", according to Botswana-registered Imara Holdings. Imara has advised the Zimbabwean Ministry of Economic Development that a program of power station development and upgrades plus utilization of biogas technology could create a power surplus by 2014. As part of the country's National Economic Development Priority Program, the Ministry has already issued a license for waste conversion to biogas, with operations to produce 120 MWe that is expected to come on line by 2013. 10/31/2010
UC Davis Energy Institute Seminar - Going Beyond Corn Ethanol
University of Davis Energy InstituteOn Monday, November 1, 2010, the UC Davis (University of California, Davis) Energy Institute will present "Agriculturally-Derived Biofuels & Bioproducts: Going Beyond Corn Ethanol," as part of their Fall Seminar Series. The seminar will be given by  William J. Orts, Bioproduct Chemistry and Engineering Research, Western Regional Research Center-ARS-USDA, Albany CA. USDA biorefinery strategies include development of enzymes and microbes for crop pretreatment before conversion, use of western crop feedstocks, separation engineering for bioproduct isolation, and production of complementary products, including cellulose-based composites, biodegradable plastics, sustainable chemicals, and novel nanocomposites. The presentation will be from 3:10 pm to 4:00 pm in Room 1065, First Floor, Kemper Hall, UC Davis. For more iformation: contact Dr. Zhiliang (Julia) Fan at  jzfan@ucdavis.edu or 530.754.0317; or Bill Kuhlman at wbkuhlman@ucdavis.edu or 530-752-7055. 10/30/2010
FSA Low-Interest Conservation Loans Available
Farm Services Agency (FSA)In September, the Department of Agriculture announced availability of low-interest Conservation Loans (CLs) for farmers and farm operations, administered by the Farm Services Agency (FSA). CLs of up to $300,000, and guaranteed loans up to $1,112,000 are available for conservation practices that USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) see as environmentally beneficial; regional NRCS offices are now geared up for those determinations. On-farm waste conversion examples include manure management, including manure digestion systems and emerging or existing conservation practices, techniques or technologies. FSA's loan rates for October were 4.375 percent; length of terms vary with security provided. The Federal Register Notice provides further CL details, or contact Kent Politsch 202-720-7163, kent.politsch@wdc.usda.gov. 10/30/2010
India Recognizes Importance of Green Chemistry
SAICMIn an October 29, 2010 news release, the Press Information Bureau (PIB) of the Government of India reports that their Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Shri Srikant Kumar Jena, is calling for the country's Chemistry Industry to be "put into proper perspective through Green Chemistry". PIB reports that the Minister said that there is a need to encourage good manufacturing practices, eco-friendly technologies leading to zero effluent and recycling of solvents. India is signatory to SAICM (Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management), a program lead by the United Nations following the 2006 International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM) The SAICM Policy Strategy: by 2020, chemicals are to be produced and used in ways that minimize any significant adverse impact on the environment and human health. 10/29/2010
ACORE Offers Renewable Energy Info State-by-State
American Council on Renewable EnergyIn August 2010, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) launched a free "live" publication called "Renewable Energy in America". It provides an executive summary of state-level renewable energy policy and implementation, and is sponsored by the Evergreen Power Corporation. ACORE's website includes a User's Guide, a detailed Glossary and a map-linked search to quickly locate specific information. ACORE intends to update the reference quarterly. The "snap-shot" report provides "high-level overview on the key developments that have shaped the renewable energy landscape in each state, including information on installed and planned capacity, markets, economic development, resource potential and policy." Questions and comments about this useful tool should be directed to Lesley Hunter at hunter@acore.org. 10/28/2010
USDA/FSA - BCAP Final Rule Published
USDA Biomass Crop Assistance ProgramThe US Department of Agriculture, Farm Services Agency (FSA) posted the Final Rule for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) in the October 27, 2010 Federal Register, effective on the date of publication. BCAP was authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill). It is intended to assist agricultural and forest land owners and operators with the establishment and  production of eligible crops in selected project areas for conversion to bioenergy, and the collection, harvest, storage, and transportation of eligible material for use in a biomass conversion facility. This rule specifies the requirements for eligible producers and participants, biomass conversion facilities, and eligible renewable biomass crops and materials. Biomass materials managed as feedstock are eligible for BCAP matching funds (a) if collected or harvested directly from the land before transport and delivery to the biomass conversion facility, or (b) if collected or harvested by separation from a higher-value product collected or harvested directly from the land before transport and  delivery to the biomass conversion facility. BCAP funds do not apply after transport and delivery to the biomass conversion facility. FSA has prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding BCAP.  10/27/2010
EPA Final Rulemaking: PSD Modeling for PM 2.5 Thresholds
Environmental Protection AgencyConversion of waste, especially thermal conversion, always finds compliance with air quality regulations most challenging. On October 20, 2010, EPA finalized a 43-page Rulemaking on one of the most difficult aspects: emissions thresholds for particulate matter in the size range of 2.5 microns, or "PM2.5". Permits require complex modeling to comply with provision of the federal Prevention of Significant Deterioration, or PSD, program. The final rule establishes maximum allowable increases in ambient pollutant concentrations, or "Increments", and two screening tools, "Significant Impact Levels" (SILs) and "Significant Monitoring Concentrations" (SMCs). PSD permit compliance requirements will now change over the next two years as the Rulemaking is implemented, and will impact both new permit applications and repermitting of existing facilities. SILs and SMCs will also become part of New Source Reviews. A Fact Sheet is available for Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OAR–2006–0605 established for this Rulemaking; the Final Rule becomes effective December 20, 2010. 10/27/2010
New USDA ERS Report Released: Biofuels & US Economy in 2022
Effects of Increased Biofuels on US Economy in 2022Conversion of wastes and byproducts to fuels will, remain heavily impacted by federal policy; tracking federal biofuels policy decision-making requires an understanding of the source of the critical data. One such source: the US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service (USDA/ERS) has just released their October 2010 biofuels assessment, Effects of Increased Biofuels on US Economy in 2022. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS-2) called for 9 billion gallons of biofuel in 2008 increasing to 36 billion gallons by 2022. The report examines economics if that goal were met, summarizing: "If biofuel production advances with cost-reducing technology and petroleum prices continue to rise as projected, the RFS-2 could provide economy wide benefits ... Improved [biofuels production] technology and increased investment would enhance the ability of the U.S. economy to expand ... Technological progress could enable biofuels to become competitive with petroleum, providing benefits to the U.S. economy. The larger the value of displaced petroleum for each dollar of biomass produced, the greater the benefit would accrue to the U.S. economy." 10/26/2010
FERC Clarifies Feed-In Tariff Rulings for DG in California
FERCOn-site conversion of wastes and bi-products into valuable combined cooling, heating and power, including recovery of waste heat, is proving to be a cost-effective distributed generation (DG) model. On-site generating has been constrained in California by the lack of a cost-effective "feed-in- tariff" or FIT, so popular and effective in Europe. Feed-in tariffs encourage generation by offering a guaranteed purchase price under a long-term contract. Per the California Energy Commission's (CEC) Guidelines, the "Waste Heat and Carbon Emissions Reduction Act" (AB 1613 as amended by AB 2791), California's first FIT requires investor-owned electric utilities to purchase electricity generated by eligible combined heat and power generators at a price set by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Calculation of avoided costs resulting from locating generation at or near the point of demand were to be part of the FIT price equation, an idea promoted vigorously in the United States by the FIT Coalition, but were complicated by possible conflicts with federal FIT rules. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) October 21, 2010 press release clarifies how the CPUC and the CEC could implement this FIT Rulemaking in compliance with federal law. In the press release, FERC said a proposal to employ a multi-tiered resource approach could comply with the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act and FERC regulations. 10/26/2010
USDA BCAP Offers 2011 Biocrop Funding
Biomass Crop Assistance ProgramAgricultural production of biocrops for conversion to bioenergy, biofuels and bioproducts suffers from the lag between planting and sale; the federal BCAP program focuses support to growers and harvesters to overcome this problem. The Farm Services Agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (FSA/USDA) created the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) as a result of the 2008 Farm Bill. BCAP provides incentives to interested farmers, ranchers and forest landowners for the establishment and cultivation of biomass crops for heat, power, bio-based products and biofuels. A USDA BCAP press release issued October 21, 2010 explains their program in more detail. The BCAP website provides information, including a Fact Sheet and a BCAP-alert email sign-up service. 10/25/2010
ORNL: Ethanol's Indirect Land Use Change Impacts Negligible
Oak Ridge National LaboratoriesOak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL) scientist Keith Kline reports that data for corn ethanol production from 2001 to 2008 show no significant impact on US commodity exports, on other crops, or on croplands in the United States. The report was part of a presentation made on October 14-15, 2010 before the California Air Resources Board's (CARB) Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) - Expert Working Group. This debunks other claims of negative indirect land use change (ILUC) impacts attendant to the increase in corn-based biofuels production. ORNL's conclusion: "The analysis suggests minimal to zero indirect land use change was induced by use of corn for ethanol over the last decade." The ethanol industry's association Growth Energy has posted ORNL's presentation. 10/25/2010
BIO: US Bioproducts Drives Economic Development and Green Jobs
Biotechnology Industry AssociationOne BIG driver for our Waste Conversion industry is the economical advantage of using waste and biomass to create new bio-based products, or "bioproducts", as "green chemistry" alternatives to petroleum-sourced product manufacture. The Biotechnology Industry Association (BIO) this spring developed a whitepaper, "Biobased Chemicals and Products: A New Driver of U.S. Economic Development and Green Jobs", providing an excellent mantra for our Conversion industry to repeat when queried about "value added" aspects of technologies and projects. The whitepaper recommends, "The biobased products sector should be nurtured so that its benefits can be realized in the United States," and accompanied BIO's March 11, 2010 request that Congress support deployment of biotech chemical platforms to create green jobs. Economic development impacts will include the creation of high-valued green jobs, an improved trade balance, the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and enhanced energy security through reduction of dependence on imported foreign oil. The synopsis follows up on last years' in-depth BIO report on " U.S. Economic Impact of Advanced Biofuels Production: Perspectives to 2030." 10/22/2010
USEA CO2 and Carbon Capture Briefings Available
United States Energy AssociationWaste conversion for recovery is, in broadest sense, a controlled rearrangement of elements at a molecular level, especially carbon, to turn discarded materials back into products. Critical to our efforts is an understanding of the complex "Carbon Markets", and the mechanisms for management and monetization of Carbon as a resource. The United States Energy Association has long been focused on CO2 and Carbon Markets; in their most recent October 2010 USEA News, they provide free access to a wealth of their clearly written and deeply researched Briefings. Well worth the download. 10/21/2010
Texas IOF: New Tools & Reports can aid Biorefinery & Conversion Projects
Texas IOFThe Texas Industries of the Future (IOF) program highlights new Campus research reports and modeling tools of use to refineries and manufacturing plants, whether using biomass, landfill gas or petroleum as feedstock. One new tool aids Refinery owners, operators and energy managers in understanding plant efficiencies during low demand periods, Go to IOF's website to register and download the Energy-Efficiency Assessment Tool for Chemical Plants and Refineries Running at Low Rates Excel modeling files. A recent report, Evaluation of Environmental Emissions for Combustion of Landfill Gas in a Texas Petrochemical Plant is also available.The Texas IOF program is a project of The University of Texas at Austin Center for Energy and Environmental Resources. 10/19/2010
US Forests & Carbon: New Data, New Report
RMRS Forest Biomass DataUsing Forest Biomass for conversion to energy and fuels comes with its own set of rules, its avid supporters, and its own detractors. USDA FS Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) has released new data: 41.4 billion metric tons of carbon is currently stored in the nation's forests, and due to both increases in the total area of forest land and increases in the carbon stored per acre, an additional 192 million metric tons of carbon are sequestered each year. RMRS also calls our attention to a peer-reviewed report, "A Synthesis of the Science of Forests and Carbon for U.S. Forests", published by the Ecological Society of America, Issues in Ecology 13:1-17, Spring 2010. The report provides substance to the discussion of how much wood can, or should, be removed from today's forests. Not a simple subject, and a contentious one. Whatever side you take, the background documents and data are well presented. 10/19/2010
DOE's North-East CHP Initiative Conference
Northeast Combined Heat and Power InitiativeDOE's Northeast Clean Energy Application Center based kicks off the Northeast Combined Heat and Power Initiative (NECHPI) on November 10, 2010, with a 1 day conference at Madison Oneida Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) facility in Verona, NY. NECHPI is a group of individuals, organizations, and state and federal agencies, committed to promoting and implementing Combined Heat and Power in the Northeastern United States. State agency staff will speak of CHP's role in "critical infrastructure", and federal staff will address Support comes form the Pace University Clean Energy Regional Application Center and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. See agenda and registration details, here. 10/18/2010
Post-Partisan Power Report Released
Post-Partisan Power Report Conservative and Liberal energy-policy institutes have just released a co-authored "Post-Partisan Power" report titled, How A Limited and Direct Approach to Energy Innovation Can Deliver Clean, Cheap Energy, Economic Productivity and National Prosperity. The Brookings Institution, the American Enterprise Institute and the Breakthrough Institute want to "hit the reset button on energy policy" which they feel has come to a stand-still: "The extremes have so dominated mainstream thinking on energy that it is easy to forget how much reasonable liberals and conservatives can actually agree on." The Report calls for a framework that includes Energy Innovation Programs (a national network of decentralized energy innovation institutes) and Business-Military Tech Contract Increase ($5 billion per year to help DOD test, demonstrate and purchase energy technologies). Find the full report here. 10/18/2010
October is National CO-OP Month
USDA BiofuelsThe Agricultural Council of California lets us know that the USDA has proclaimed October as National Co-Operative Month, and October 17-23 is National Co-Op Week. USDA's Rural Development Business and Cooperatives program can be invaluable as a starting-point for obtaining local and regional ag biomass-source contacts, and their business support includes Grant and Loan programs such as Section 9003 Biorefinery Assistance Loan Guaranties and Section 9005 Bioenergy Program Payments for Advanced Biofuels Producers. USDA Rural Development Business and Cooperatives Program can be visited here. 10/18/2010
BLE Releases English-Version Info & Readies for Sustainability Conference
BLE Sustainability ConferenceThe German Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE) has released information in English on sustainable biomass production. Their conference “Sustainable Biomass – Certification in Practice” scheduled for November 3, 2010 in Berlin -  in German -  is intended as an exchange of experience gained in practical implementation of sustainability certification and legal requirements along the different biomass utilization value chains. Their web-based Nabisy System, used to monitor BLE compliance, will be explained by BLE in an ISCC training session on December 6, 2010 in Cologne -also in the German language. Register early; participation is limited. See here for English information. 10/18/2010

CA ARB New Draft AQ Guidance for Siting Biorefineries
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has released a draft Air Quality Guidance for Siting Biorefineries in California, which will be discussed at a public meeting on October 14, 2010. The ARB has also released an agenda for this meeting. Comments on the draft are due by December 1, 2010. Questions should be directed to Lea Yamashita at (916) 323-0017 or via email at lyamashi@arb.ca.gov. 10/12/2010
Update: For more information on the Draft from the October 14th meeting, see our Action Item. Teru's comments submitted to the ARB can be seen here. 10/16/2010 

Need a Working Vacation? BCN Strategic Retreat, Alberta, Canada
Refining Technology for Biomass ConversionThe Biorefining Conversion Network (BCN) 2nd Annual Retreat is set for November 7-10, 2010 at the Fairmont Chateau, Lake Louise, Alberta CA near Banff. The event will focus on Refining Technology for Biomass Conversion: Conventional Products through Unconventional ApproachesBased out of the University of Alberta, BCN's primary mandate is "to cultivate Alberta’s bio-industrial sector by facilitating development of novel, commercially viable biomass conversion technologies and value-added products." The BCN seeks academic collaborators and industry partners with common interest in biorefining conversions. Check out their Get Involved tab for more information. 10/16/2010

Successful IFWG Field Trip to Angora Fire Area, Lake Tahoe Basin

The Interagency Forest Working Group (IFWG) got about 30 of its members in a bus on October 1, 2010, and drove to the south end of the Lake Tahoe Basin for a day of high-level "What We've Learned" discussions as we walked through the devastated area of the Angora Fire of 2007. Speakers included California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire), the US Forest Service, University scientists, and Basin planning staff, some of whom lost homes among the 260+ structures destroyed and most all were on the ground for the fire. Some of Teru’s personal THMs (take home messages): .....more 

IFWG was created within California's' Climate Action Team (CAT) program following the Governor's California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32). A major CAT conference on Behavior, Energy & Climate Change is scheduled for November 14-17, 2010 in Sacramento. Click here for Teru's Focus Report. 10/15/2010

Bagasse to Charcoal Briquettes: Africa Rural Connect Contender 
Africa Rural Connect Sometimes low-tech conversion works best: making clean-burning charcoal briquettes out of waste sugar cane fiber (bagasse). Non-profit Africa Rural Connect (a National Peace Corps Association program), sponsored in part by the Gates Foundation) enters their 4th and final round seeking cost-effective ways to improve rural African health, economy and security. One of Round 3 surviving ideas: turning waste bagasse to product helps the regional sugar cane industry, cleans up the environment, and could help reduce dependence on open cooking fires for rural African families. Winning ideas receive lots of PR and $1,000 seed capital. See the full Peace Corps press release and the Bagasse-to-Charcoal proposal for more information. Sign up to vote for your favorite Waste Conversion idea here.10/15/2010 
Biodiesel Developers: EPA & Industry Clean Diesel Press Conference 
Diesel Technology ForumThe non-profit Diesel Technology Forum hosts the EPA, environmental orgs and diesel vehicle industry reps on Tuesday October 19, 2010 in D.C, to show off "a sampling of 2010 heavy duty trucks and buses which feature the most modern clean emissions technology in existence", and will include "a “clean hanky” test where a new white handkerchief is placed over a running truck’s tailpipe to illustrate the low emissions of 2010 truck technology." The press conference kicks off the two-day US EPA Clean Diesel 10, part of the National Clean Diesel Campaign. The press release can be viewed here. Also see DTF's news about EPA's expected reauthorization of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA), and November solicitation. 10/15/2010 
CEC Releases New Draft of EECBG Guidelines 
The California Energy Commission has posted draft Guidelines for the Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant (EECBG) program, spelling out how this round's federal ARRA stimulus fund allocation will be determined. Proposed revisions will be considered at the CEC's October 28 Business Meeting. Key proposed changes include allowing compensation for some of the awardees' "pre-development costs". Although EECBG grant eligibility is focused on "the low hanging fruit", such as lighting and insulation, this grant can provide significant ancillary cost support for more complex small-community efforts, and there is no prohibition against biomass and/or waste conversion integrated combined heat, cooling and power CCHP) projects. Eligibility is based more on the need and size of the community than on the type of project, and the Commission is offering their expertise to eligible communities interested in more complicated efforts. For mre information, see the meeting Notice and proposed Guidelines. 10/14/2010 
EPA OKs a 5% Increase in Ethanol Blend 
The Ethanol producers' association Growth Energy announced today that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has responded to the Industry's petition of March 2009, and approved an increase in percent ethanol in gasoline for vehicles 2007 and newer, from the current 10% to 15%. The association's CEO Tom Buis called the approval a "first crack in the blend wall in more than 30 years", and will apply to more than 42 million vehicles, about 20% of the current U.S passenger cars and light-duty trucks. See  Growth Energy's press release, and the EPA's Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) for more information. 10/13/2010 
CEWD Receives $1.3MM to Jump-Start Energy Industry Workforce 
Get Into EnergyThe Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) recently received $1.37MM from the Gates Foundation to help low-income young adults and our returning Military in eight states prepare for careers in the energy industry. The State Energy Workforce Consortia in Ohio, North Carolina, Washington, Georgia, Florida, California, Indiana and Minnesota will use boot camps, apprenticeships, certificate programs and/or an associate degree to prepare and refer participants into electric and natural gas utility positions, and for energy-related construction and manufacturing jobs. The consortia are partnerships and alliances between utilities, industrial construction, unions, educational institutions and government, using the Get Into Energy platform to create a future pool of energy industry workers. A West Regional Meeting is scheduled for November 9, 2010 in Las Vegas for CEWD member companies and invited guests; the event is free, but registration is required. 10/13/2010 

Alternative Fuels Center of Excellence to be Launched
UC Riverside’s Center for Environmental Research and Technology is hosting a series of free events on October 14, 2010 to highlight the future of renewable energy and serve as a launch pad for its new Alternative Transportation Fuels Research Center of Excellence. The Oct 14th events kick-off at 10 a.m. The $1.2 million received in August from the California Energy Commission will broaden and further develop CE-CERT’s research in this area. Researchers at CE-CERT expect to use the money to study butanol, butanol/ethanol combination, and other mixed fuel combinations. Parking at UCR is free, but reservations are required: contact Jim Dexter at 951-781-5682 or jdexter@cert.ucr.edu. See the full press release here. 10/11/2010

CEC/ARB Virtual Energy Conferences
The California Energy Commission's Public Interest and Energy Research Program and the Air Resources Board are co-sponsoring a free conference / webinar series that will address current issues and activities for improving air quality associated with energy production and use. The series is scheduled for October 12, 19, 26, and November 2, 2010. For more information about the conference and registration information, click here. For a printable conference announcement, visit ARB's Energy Activity website: http://www.arb.ca.gov/energy/energy.htm. 10/11/2010

SCE / Sempra Energy - Seminar Series
The Southern California Gas Company and the Energy Resource Center provide a wealth of information through their energy seminars, usually (but not always) FREE! Topics range from Fuel Cell Technologies and a Schools Symposium this Wednesday and Thursday, to a 3-day Steam Operator's License Training that starts November 2nd, a Combined Heat and Power update on November 17th, to a 2-day Combustion Seminar scheduled for March 30-31, 2011 ... but see their calendar page, and register early: the December Combustion Seminar is already booked. 10/11/2010
IEA's New Policy Pathway" White Papers
MVE Policy PathwayThe International Energy Agency has released the first in a series of white papers they call "Policy Pathways", this one focused on Energy Efficiency implementation through Monitoring, Verification and Enforcement (MVE). The papers follow on IEA's 25 Energy Efficiency Recommendations released about two years ago. The first White Paper is available by clicking here. Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka's  
presentation is available here and here. Curious to us, conversion of waste to energy somehow has not been included by the IEA as a functional way to reduce industrial energy use and improve plant efficiency; perhaps we need to tell Director Tanaka about our tools and capabilities, as an industry. Visit their info-packed website here; comment to their Global Energy Dialogue. 10/11/2010
Japan Recovers Rare Earth Metals from Electronics
In response to an unofficial embargo on export of rare earth metals from China to Japan, the Dowa company subsidiary Kosaka Smelting and Refining has geared up thermal re-processing of discarded electronics for recovery of gold, indium, neodymium and other rare earth metals critical to energy and technology manufacturing. Their facility processes about 300 tons per day of electronics waste at 1400 degrees C to recover only 150 grams or so of the metals, but reports in the NY Times indicate that they are now making a profit. China prohibits export of used electronics, while Dowa imports the same from the global marketplace. 10/05/2010
ISCC: EU's Premier Biomass & Biofuels Sustainability Certification Program
The International Sustainability & Carbon Certification organization (ISCC) has been approved by the German Authority BLE as the first Certification System for sustainable Biomass and Biofuels according to the German Biokraftstoff-Nachhaltigkeitsverordnung (Biokraft-NachV). The German federal BLE approved the ISCC system for certification of all types of sustainable biomass this past July. The 1st Meeting of the ISCC Technical Committee Latin America is scheduled for October 26, 2010 in Sao Paulo, Brazil; the next general assembly will be held in Brussels on February 8th, 2011. See here for further information. 10/05/2010
The DISCO Project: Biomass-to-Liquid Enzyme Research in the EU
The DISCO project is a collaboration between research institutes, universities and industrial partners from across Europe and Russia, to help meet the European Union’s directive to promote the use of biofuels and renewable fuels from Lignocellulosic biomass. Funding comes in part from the Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development (FP7), European Union´s funding research program for 2007 to 2013. The project's aim is to develop micro-organism-derived enzymes that can break down lignocellulose so yeast fermentation can produce bioethanol. For more on the DSCO Project, see here. 10/05/2010
First UK Toilet-to-Stove Biogas Supplied to National Grid
The Didcot sewer treatment plant began October 4, 2010 to supply biogas into the national grid, providing heating and power for homes in Oxfordshire, UK. Anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge produces biomethane, which is cleaned for pipeline injection; the process takes about 23 days from flush to finish. British Gas told the BBC that they hope to build more plants, as the UK works to meet an EU directive for 15% renewable energy by 2020. For the BBC report, click here. 10/05/2010
Graphene: the Ultimate Bio-Product?
The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, two Russian-born scientists at the University of Manchester, UK, "for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene" - a completely transparent one-atom-thick lattice of carbon that conducts heat and cold better than anything else, is as good as copper for conducting electricity, and is so dense that helium can't pass through it. Graphene is now the strongest material known; it offers a wide variety of practical applications including the creation of completely new materials. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences notes that "Carbon, the basis of all known life on earth, has surprised us once again". See here for the full press release. 10/05/2010
PNNL AQ Study: Air-born Toxics Down but Wood Smoke PAHs a Problem
Direct combustion of wood for heating and from forest fires rivals industrial pollutants: The Pacific Northwest National Lab reports that most toxic pollution falling onto Puget Sound's waters has decreased — some by as much as 99 percent — below earlier estimates, according to a region-wide study. Despite the overall decline, the study found that industrial areas like Tacoma still have the Puget's Sound's highest air-deposited contamination levels. The amount of trace metals like arsenic, lead and copper falling onto the Tacoma region have decreased significantly since PNNL last measured air-deposited pollution there in 1991. Researchers examined polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; PAHs are made when fuels like petroleum and wood are burned. The team found a large percentage of the region's PAH pollution comes from wood. Puget Sound residents rely heavily on burning wood to heat their homes. Seasonal fires in the Northwest's forests also likely influence the kind of PAHs found in Puget Sound rainfall, the researchers noted. For more on the story, click here; for the full report, click here. 10/04/2010
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