- Genescape has released a free white paper about the status of cellulosic biofuels and the availability of, and the policy surrounding, cellulosic Renewable Identification Number (RINs) in 2014 and the near future. The paper highlights history and progress of cellulosic liquids and presents projections for the new cellulosic biogas pathways.
- Dyadic International, Inc. has announced the receipt of a $500,000 licensing payment from Abengoa Bioenergy for commercial scale production of Abengoa’s proprietary cellulase enzymes, used for converting biomass into ethanol, developed under Abengoa’s license agreement with Dyadic.
- GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association (ESA) are entering into a partnership to develop a series of quarterly reports offering analysis on energy storage markets, policy, and technology. This collaboration will combine GTM Research’s experience in developing impactful market intelligence reports for the renewable energy sector with ESA’s depth of knowledge and expertise in the ever-evolving energy storage industry. These reports will provide energy industry professionals, policymakers, government agencies and financiers with consistent, actionable insight into the burgeoning U.S. energy storage market.
- The European Wind Energy Association has elected Dr. Markus Tacke, Chief Executive Officer of Siemens Wind Power, as its new chairman. Tacke took the helm at Siemens Wind Power, a division that specialises in turbine manufacturing, on 1 August, 2013. He will succeed current EWEA President Dr. Andrew Garrad, who has served in the post in 2013 and 2014.
The Governors’ Biofuels Coalition has sent a letter to the Obama Administration urging action on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and for the restoration of biofuel levels as designated by the mandate. This, the group said, will protect consumer choice, ensure jobs and reduce dependence on foreign oil. The initiative was led by Governor Pat Quinn and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, chairman and vice chairman of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition.
In the letter, the governors write, “The continued expansion of the biofuels industry is essential for our nation’s energy and economic future. Through continued expansion of biofuels plants, it will be possible to deliver millions of gallons of clean, renewable fuel, create thousands of jobs, lower imported oil expenditures, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80 percent, compared to gasoline.”
The governors also expressed their concern about the impact the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule will have on biodiesel. “The EPA’s proposed volume cuts for biodiesel are creating turmoil, resulting in production cutbacks and layoffs. More than halfway through the year, many jobs are in jeopardy and many biodiesel plants have been negatively impacted.”
The letter highlights the impact that the EPA’s proposed rule has had on the emerging cellulosic industry: “[T] he proposed RFS rule has discouraged new investment in the newly emerging cellulosic ethanol industry and now threatens the many new plants about to go into commercial production.”
The letter concluded, “Amending the proposed rule to one that will build and restore America’s robust leadership in the development and production of domestically produced renewable fuels is crucial in ensuring a successful future in rural America.”
The new leadership of the Renewable Fuels Association has been elected. The Board selected Randall Doyal, General Manager and CEO of Al-Corn Clean Fuel, as the next Chairman of the Board of Directors. Doyal heads an ethanol facility in Claremont, Minnesota that produces 50 million gallons annually.
Doyal’s career in the ethanol industry began in 1982 at Mountain Development Corporation. In addition to Al-Corn Clean Fuel, he serves as Chairman of the Board of Guardian Energy, LLC and Renewable Products Marketing Group. Doyal previously served as Vice-Chairman and Treasurer of the RFA.
“It is truly an honor to be selected by my peers to head the Renewable Fuels Association. The RFA has the technical knowledge, political influence, and market acumen to positively impact today’s ethanol industry, which will in turn help bolster biofuels production and consumption across the nation,” said Doyal. “I am proud to take the helm and lead this great organization as ethanol is establishing itself as an indispensable part of this country’s motor fuel supply. We will work to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard and expand markets abroad. The future is bright and I look forward to this new challenge.”
Additionally, RFA elected:
- Vice-Chairman Mick Henderson, General Manager of Commonwealth Agri-Energy in Hopkinsville, Ky.
- Treasurer Walter Wendland of Golden Grain Energy, LLC in Mason City, Iowa.
- President Bob Dinneen, CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association in Washington, D.C.
According to a recent Vital Signs, renewable energy is outpacing nuclear electricity expansion even though renewables still have a long way to go to catch up with fossil fuel power plants. Michael Renner, senior researcher with Worldwatch Institute writes that nuclear energy’s share of global power production has declined steadily from a peak of 17.6 percent in 1996 to 10.8 percent in 2013. Renewables increased their share from 18.7 percent in 2000 to 22.7 percent in 2012.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, following a rapid rise from its beginnings in the mid-1950s, global nuclear power generating capacity peaked at 375.3 gigawatts (GW) in 2010. Capacity has since declined to 371.8 GW in 2013. Adverse economics, concern about reactor safety and proliferation and the unresolved question of what to do with nuclear waste have put the brakes on the industry according to Renner.
In contrast, wind and solar power generating capacities are now on the same soaring trajectory that nuclear power was on in the 1970s and 1980s. Wind capacity of 320 GW in 2013 is equivalent to nuclear capacity in 1990. The 140 GW in solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity is still considerably smaller, but growing rapidly.
In recent years, renewable energy has attracted far greater investments than nuclear power. According to estimates by the International Energy Agency (IEA), nuclear investments averaged US$8 billion per year between 2000 and 2013, compared with $37 billion for solar PV and $43 billion for wind. Individual countries, of course, set diverging priorities, but nowhere did nuclear have a major role in power generation investments.
In contrast with investment priorities, research budgets still favor nuclear technologies. Nuclear energy attracted $295 billion, or 51 percent, of total energy R&D spending between 1974 and 2012. But this number has declined over time, from a high of 73.6 percent in 1974 to 26 percent today. Renewable energy received a cumulative total of $59 billion during the same period (10.2 percent), but its share has risen year after year. Because wind and solar power can be deployed at variable scales, and their facilities constructed in less time, these technologies are far more practical and affordable for most countries than nuclear power reactors. Worldwide, 31 countries are operating nuclear reactors on their territories. This compares to at least 85 countries that have commercial wind turbine installations.
The chances of a nuclear revival seem slim writes Renner. Renewable energy, by contrast, appears to be on the right track. But it is clear that renewables have a long way to go before they can hope to supplant fossil fuels as the planet’s principal electricity source.
AllEarth Renewables and Claire Solar Partners have announced the completion of a 2.2MW solar tracker farm in South Burlington, Vt. According to the companies, it’s the largest solar project in North America to feature distributed inverters and dual-axis trackers to maximize production.
JA Solar provided multi-crystalline 260 watt PID resistant modules for the project. Claire Solar utilized 366 AllSun Trackers and highly efficient modules from JA Solar, to further maximize the farm’s output. The ground-mounted pre-engineered solar trackers, which track the sun throughout the day, produce up to 30 percent more energy than fix ground-mounted systems per JA Solar. The company also says its multi-crystalline 260 watt modules outperform the peers’ modules by 5-10 watts in terms of power rating.
The project was constructed under Vermont’s Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) standard-offer program and will produce over 3 million kilowatt hours of emissions-free energy a year. AllEarth Renewables also served as the EPC for the project. In 2011, AllEarth Renewables utilized their solar trackers for a 2.1MW solar farm across the road from the Claire Solar site.
- During the United Nations Climate Summit in New York last week, a Global Geothermal Alliance was created. Partners include: Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Fiji, Iceland, Kenya, Nicaragua, the Philippines; The Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank Group; and The International Renewable Energy Agency. The Global Geothermal Alliance Action Statement (PDF) states it is “a platform for dialogue and knowledge-sharing among partners as well as a coalition for action to increase the share of installed geothermal electricity and heat generation worldwide.” The partnership plans to develop and adopt a detailed Work Plan for the Alliance by January 2015.
- The Illinois Farm Bureau RFD Radio Broadcast featured the Midwest Energy International Symposium tomorrow on September 30, 2014. Patriot Renewable Fuels Judd Hulting joined event organizer Sheri Fieweger. You can listen online at rfdradio.com.
- AcuComm has announced that its Biomass Business Finder Worldwide sales support database now provides access to more than 1,403 biomass plant developments in 106 countries worldwide. Biomass Business Finder Worldwide is the most comprehensive monitor of biomass plant development and upgrade available.
- Energy companies from 26 countries have been selected as finalists for the Platts Global Energy Awards, an annual program recognizing exemplary industry leadership. The 2014 finalists, chosen from nearly 250 nominees from three dozen nominating countries and representing 6 continents, were announced today by program host Platts, a leading global provider of energy, petrochemicals, metals and agriculture information. Established in 1999 and often described as “the Oscars of the energy industry,” the Platts Global Energy Awards highlight corporate and individual innovation, leadership and superior performance in 18 categories that span the entire energy complex.
Urban Air Initiative has launched a public awareness campaign with the first phase the launch of a new website. The consumer-focused site draws attention to the problem of toxic compounds in gas with a call to action for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate some of the most harmful components in fuel.
According to Urban Air Initiative President David VanderGriend, “There’s a problem with the air we’re all breathing and it stems from what’s in our gasoline. It’s something that’s too small to see, but too big to ignore.”
The new website is fixourfuel.com and explains why the country needs to clean up gasoline and protect public health through lowered emissions from vehicles said VanderGriend.
“The website takes a story-like approach to make a complicated subject easier to understand. “Right now, toxic compounds called aromatics are added to gasoline to provide octane boost,” added VanderGriend. However that boost is hurting your health. Aromatics, such as benzene, come out of the tailpipe as invisible, odorless ultrafine particles (UFP’s). These UFP’s have been linked to ailments from lung cancer and stroke, to birth defects and developmental disorders in children.”
Under the Clean Air Act, EPA is required to remove these harmful aromatics from gasoline, but not enough is being done. According to Urban Air Initiative officials, there are cleaner and cheaper options available, such as mid-level blends of ethanol. Increased use of these mid-level blends will reduce toxic aromatics and UFP’s.
- The Department of Energy (DOE) has posted resources about renewable energy for students and teachers. The Get Current coloring book introduces sources such as geothermal energy for young students. The Get Current activity book uses puzzles and games to teach energy efficiency and renewable energy concepts. Perfect for pre-K and kindergarten students, the coloring book takes the student through solar, wind, water, hydropower, bioenergy and geothermal before demonstrating ways to improve energy efficiency—like plug in electric vehicles. The activity book includes crosswords, word games, math puzzles and more challenging fun ways to help students, learn, understand, and internalize the principles of energy literacy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.
- The University of California, Davis and SunPower Corp. plan to build a 16-megawatt, ground-mounted solar power plant that is expected to generate 14 percent of UC Davis’ electricity needs. The university anticipates that, when the plant is completed in 2015, more than one-third of total electricity demand on campus will be served from carbon neutral energy sources. On completion, the project will be the largest solar power installation in the University of California system, and the largest solar power plant to offset the electricity demand of a U.S. university or college campus.
- ECOHZ has a Call for Projects for landowners, project developers and cooperatives who have renewable energy projects that are close to being realized, but lack top financing. In phase I, ECOHZ is primarily looking at financing mature technology projects using solar, wind or hydropower. The scope is initially limited to projects in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany. The eligible projects need to have the required permits, access to the grid and project start-up planned within a year. The top financing ranges from EUR 50,000 to 500,000, and is limited to 15% of the total investment. In Phase II, ECOHZ will look to top finance projects with different technologies in more geographies.
- Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company and Coronal Group LLC has announced the completion of nine solar projects in Tulare and Kings Counties in Central California. The projects provide 16.2 MW of energy to Southern California Edison’s grid to power approximately 14,500 homes annually.
DNV GL has released its finding of a report, “Offshore wind: a manifesto for cost reduction,” at WindEnergy Hamburg 2014. The offshore wind industry is looking to reduce costs to ensure growth. In response to this need, DNV GL is offering the industry its manifesto for offshore wind cost reduction identifies and quantifies cost reduction opportunities. It also set out a challenge and the company has committed to take action on the issue.
The cost reduction strategies outlined in the manifesto are categorized into three basic types: “Doing it right,” by mitigating risk and increasing certainty; “Doing it better,” by improving the efficiency of existing processes; and “Doing it differently,” by innovating for the future. Working with industry partners, the actions DNV GL commits to in the manifesto have the potential to achieve reductions in the cost of energy of up to 25 percent. According to DNV GL, these savings, combined with trends in other areas such as improved supply chain efficiency, has the potential of delivering a total reduction of 40 percent which is recognized by many stakeholders as the level required to secure the future of the industry.
CEO for DNV GL – Energy, David Walker, said, “This is about securing the future of offshore wind. Achieving cost reduction is about more than just new technology and innovation. It also requires us to get the basics right which means getting people together, assessing the issues in detail and defining best practice. This may be seen as incremental or even unglamorous, but it is exactly what a maturing industry looks like and it is exactly what is required to drive down costs.
“The good news is that we are seeing signs of progress, but we need to do much more as an industry,” added Walker. In this manifesto document, we in DNV GL recognise the role we can play in the cost reduction story – we are committed to helping offshore wind do it right, do it better and do it differently.”
The manifesto document contains 14 specific pledges across a wide range of topics from reducing subsea cable installation risks through to accelerating the commercialization of floating offshore wind technology:
Since January of this year, Clariant, Haltermann and Mercedes-Benz have been testing E20 known as sunliquid 20 fuel that contains 20 percent of cellulosic ethanol coming from wheat straw. The cellulosic ethanol comes from Clariant’s sunliquid demonstration plant in Straubing.
According to tests, Sunliquid® 20 improves engine efficiency so that its 4 percent lesser energy content, as compared to E10, is more than compensated. Another notable finding was the 50 percent improvement in particle count emissions of sunliquid® 20 in contrast to the EU reference fuel EU5. In addition, the fuel blend the cellulosic ethanol 20 demonstrates greenhouse gas emission savings of up to 95 percent across the entire value chain (well-to-wheel) without competing with food production or agricultural acreage.
With the success of the the automotive fuel tests, consumers could now fill their tanks with sunliquid 20 fuel without making any adjustments to the gas station infrastructure in Europe and without compromising fuel range and driving comfort.
“Cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residues can play a key role in creating more sustainable mobility in Germany, Europe and worldwide. Here we have the latest generation of truly advanced biofuel, the high performance of which was confirmed in the fleet test on series vehicles,” said Professor Andre Koltermann, head of Group Biotechnology at Clariant. “Second generation biofuels coming from agricultural residues are now technologically ready and available for production and application.”
Koltermann continued, “A change in energies used for transport must also be successful now; for this to happen, we urgently need stable framework conditions such as the mandatory blending rate for advanced biofuels being discussed at EU level. Our main task is to shape solutions to create sustainable mobility for the future. Gasoline with 20% ethanol can already be used easily in our latest Mercedes-Benz BlueDIRECT gasoline engines.
sunliquid® 20 is an E20 fuel with 20 percent cellulosic ethanol. Using wheat straw or other non-edible agricultural residues the feedstocks are converted into cellulosic ethanol using Clariant’s sunliquid process. The production of cellulosic ethanol is virtually CO2-neutral, saving almost 100 percent of CO2 emissions compared to gasoline according to Clariant.
Haltermann then mixes the cellulosic ethanol with conventional fuel components to form the new fuel sunliquid 20. The 20 percent cellulosic ethanol gives the fuel a high octane number (RON) of over 100, guaranteeing optimal efficiency.
As the U.S. government fights ISIS, this week oil fields became a target in the war on terror Fuels America is running a new series of ads online, radio, cable and in the Washington, D.C. market. The ads tell the public and decision makers that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) could end American’s addiction to foreign oil. The radio ads will run for one week, and the television ads will run during the Sunday morning talk shows as well as Sunday, Monday and Tuesday programming.
The ad warns that the Obama Administration’s proposal to gut the RFS would leave America’s renewable fuel industry—and the thousands of American jobs it supports—at the mercy of the oil industry. Meanwhile, maintaining a strong Renewable Fuel Standard would support American innovation and thousands of American jobs that can’t be outsourced.
The President’s decision on the EPA’s proposal is expected in the coming days. It is currently under review with the Office of Management and Budget and it is not actually known if the final volumes will be lower than the year before and lower than mandated by the legislation. Fuels America points out this the public unveiling of the final 2014 rule comes as oil producing regions around the world remain unstable. As a net importer of oil, every gallon of domestic biofuels the U.S. produces means less foreign oil we must import from hostile foreign regions.
Those ads come alongside a digital campaign that includes a Politico Morning Energy Sponsorship by the Fuels America coalition, which says “Despite the mess in the Middle East, the Obama Administration is calling for a 1.3 billion gallon cut in America’s renewable fuel production—making us even more foreign oil dependent,” and “With turmoil in the Middle East, this isn’t the time to cut back on the clean, domestic alternatives to foreign oil.”
World Bio Markets Brasil Conference is taking place in Sao Paulo this week and Jan Koninckx, director of DuPont Industrial Biosciences biofuels business, told attendees about the company’s offering and vision for the growth of the cellulosic ethanol market in Brazil. The company is in the final stages of building a cellulosic ethanol refinery in Nevada, Iowa co-located next to Lincolnway Energy with plans to be in full commercial-scale production by the end of the year.
“As global ethanol markets continue to grow, Brazil will need innovative solutions to meet the fuel demands of its growing population and of markets abroad from existing hectares of sugar cane,” said Koninckx. “DuPont Industrial Biosciences’ cellulosic ethanol technology makes good business sense in Brazil: abundant sugar cane provides a large quantity of convertible biomass at very competitive costs. Because our cellulosic ethanol technology can utilize the leftovers from sugar cane processing, DuPont can improve the productivity of first-generation ethanol mills and increase ethanol yield without growing more sugar cane. We are engaging with industry leaders to explore options to support the growth of renewable fuels in Brazil, including, as required, increase of our regional enzyme capacity.”
Koninckx continued, “DuPont developed our advanced biofuels technology through a network of scientists and assets in laboratories around the globe in Brazil, the United States, the European Union and Asia. We are currently finalizing what will be the world’s largest cellulosic ethanol biorefinery in Nevada, Iowa to demonstrate the company’s cellulosic ethanol technology package at industrial scale. While the feedstock at that plant will be corn stover, DuPont validated the same technology with bagasse– the fibrous matter leftover once the juice has been extracted from sugarcane – with our process yielding more than 310 liters per metric ton in our demonstration plant in Vonore, Tennessee.”
The company has a long history working in Brazil and on behalf of the DuPont, Koninckx said the company is excited for the future. The company has been in the country for nearly 80 years and currently has 2,500 employees, 12 manufacturing sites and 11 Research and Development locations. With this on-the-ground experience and their world-leading science, Koninckx said DuPont is uniquely positioned to help expand the Brazilian cellulosic ethanol industry and to develop the country and region’s growing bio-based economy.
- The Department of Interior and the California Department of Natural Resources have released a draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). The proposal is a combined state and federal effort – including collaborations between the Bureau of Land Management, the California Energy Commission, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plus input from NRDC, conservation groups, renewable energy companies and other stakeholders. The draft is an unprecedented opportunity to provide a framework for “smart from the start” planning efforts that guide renewable energy development to areas with low environmental and wildlife risk, and conserve the desert’s wildlife, wilderness and treasured landscapes.
- Lumos Solar, a Boulder has introduced their SmartPark Solar EV Charging Station, featuring the new GSX Glass-Glass Frameless Module System. The company believes SmartPark will revolutionize how solar and EV charging are integrated. The cantilevered SmartPark structures are pre-engineered, prefabricated and designed to be easily deployable in residential, commercial and institutional settings.
- Sol Systems has announced the successful financing of a 944 kilowatt solar project in partnership with its investor client, Washington Gas Energy Systems (WGES), a subsidiary of WGL. The operational solar energy system is located at Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Calif., and A-C Electric served as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) provider.
- Media reports about ISIS control of some Middle East oil fields brings up the question of disruption of global oil supplies and pricing. Shanjun Li, an expert on the economics of energy and an assistant professor at Cornell University’s Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, says that the potential disruption in production from the ISIS-controlled region will have an insignificant impact on the global oil market. He proposes two scenarios: U.S. consumption reduces proportionally to the world. That is, the consumption has to go down by 16,000 barrels a day – or 0.08 percent of its daily total. The U.S. gasoline price would increase by 1.4 cents to 2.8 cents per gallon, based on the current price of $3.50 per gallon; and scenario two: U.S. consumption reduces by all 80,000 barrels a day – which is 0.4 percent of its daily total. The gasoline price would increase by seven to 14 cents per gallon with scenario one most likely to happen.
A new series of white papers look at various issues relating to energy in Mexico. Recent reform in the country has created anticipation and speculation as to how the energy market will shape up over the next few years. Peter Nance with ICF International has released three white papers to help increase understanding of the country’s emerging energy issues.
The first paper, “Renewable Energy and Cross-Border Prospects,” looks at current opportunities and risks in cross-border renewables trade, especially for the California market. The current power trade between the United States and Mexico is relatively small, and the renewable sector in Mexico remains underdeveloped. Yet, encouraging market dynamics gives ample reason to pay attention to this area. Key topics include: ambitious reform creates opportunities and lingering questions; state of electricity trade and renewables development; exporting opportunities for central station renewables; and risk and uncertainties.
“Power Generation and Cross-Border Prospects,” is the second paper in the series and examines current opportunities and risks in cross-border power markets in the context of the Mexican regulatory reform, especially along the Arizona-Sonora and Texas-Tamaulipas/Coahulia/Chihuahua areas of the border. Key topics include: current state and near-term prospects; future opportunities; and risks and uncertainties.
The third report is, “Midstream Opportunities,” and focuses on proposed sublaws from Mexico’s energy sector. ICF International anticipates a comprehensive analysis and development of their implications for investors after a successful conclusion of current negotiations in the Mexican Congress. They are also closely tracking the emerging trends and needs in the midstream and engaging with partners in Mexico to develop a comprehensive, in-depth picture of the market and its potential opportunities and risks. Key topics include: current state and near-term prospects; recent project profiles; important players in the Mexican midstream subsector and future possibilities.
ACCIONA Windpower has completed the installation of the world’s first AW125/3000 wind turbine, which combines a 125 meter rotor with a 3 megawatt wind turbine generator. The turbine is mounted on a 120 meter concrete tower at ACCIONA’s Vedadillo Experimental Wind Farm located in the Navarra Region of Spain. The company has fulfilled orders for an additional 552 MW of AW125/3000 turbines which will be installed at wind farms around the globe in the coming months.
Launched in 2013, the AW125/3000 is an extension of ACCIONA Windpower’s AW116/3000 wind turbine. The 125 meter rotor is among the largest rotors in operation at any onshore wind farm, capturing the wind energy from an area of over 12,300 square meters to deliver maximum production at a lower cost of energy. The AW125 is suitable for a wide range of wind conditions and is certified for IEC Class IIb, IIIa, and IIIb.
“The 125 meter rotor is one of the technological advances made by ACCIONA Windpower as part of our commitment to lower the cost of energy for our customers,” said Jose Luis Blanco, CEO of ACCIONA Windpower. “Design innovation is helping ACCIONA Windpower emerge as a preferred supplier by many major customers and fueling the rapid growth in orders for the AW3000 platform.”
The AW 125/3000 turbine at the Vedadillo Wind Farm will help ACCIONA Windpower complete the requisite testing for Type Certification, which is expected to be complete by Q1 2015. The AW125 is available on 100 and 120 meter concrete towers and an 87.5 meter steel tower.