BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFOriginOil Inc., developer of Electro Water Separation (EWS), the high-speed, chemical-free process to clean up large quantities of water, announced today that in a letter to shareholders, CEO Riggs Eckelberry reported that the prototype of a GEN 2 frack water cleanup system is complete and on its way to Colorado for field testing. The full report is now available on OriginOil.com’s website.
  • The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) announced that U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will keynote the general session at Solar Power International (SPI) in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Wednesday, Oct. 22. In his cabinet role, Dr. Moniz implements critical Department of Energy (DOE) missions in support of President Obama’s goals of growing the economy, enhancing security and protecting the environment.
  • Baker Electric Solar announce it has installed its first SolarTrackr DUO system. Wovn Energy’s Hi-Yield Solar Initiative (HYSI) solar tracker product points a system’s solar panels towards the sun all day increasing efficiency and reliability.
  • Michigan’s evolving energy industry, one of the state’s largest employers, will be in the spotlight next week, as part of a national campaign to recruit talent for the energy workforce of the future. Gov. Rick Snyder has proclaimed Oct. 13-19, 2014 as “Careers in Energy” week to raise awareness about a sector that boasts 84,000 jobs in Michigan and creates more than 1,200 new opportunities a year. In addition, Consumers Energy and DTE Energy collectively provide more than 500 internship and co-op jobs for high school and college students.

Mechanics See Ethanol in Action at NASCAR

Mechanics in Kansas had the opportunity to learn about NASCAR first hand when they attended the Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Race on Sunday, October 5, 2014 at the Kansas Speedway hosted by the Kansas Corn Commission. The Commission has been a part of the American Ethanol partnership with Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association and several state corn associations since 2011.

“All NASCAR race vehicles have raced on E15, 15 percent ethanol fuel since the 2011–that’s over 6 million miles of racing on E15,” said Kansas Corn Commission CEO Greg Krissek. “This race was a great opportunity to help mechanics see firsthand how high performance ethanol works in NASCAR race vehicles.”

Kansas Mechanics at NASCAR raceAustin Dillon, who drove the #3 American Ethanol car spoke to the group and answered questions before the race. Dillon is the American Ethanol spokesman. He drives for the Richard Childress Racing team and is one of the top rookie drivers in the Sprint Series. The Kansas mechanics spoke with Dillon and were treated to a tour of the garage and pit areas and walked through the RCR team’s American Ethanol hauler before going to their seats for the race. The RCR team drivers, Dillon, Ryan Newman and Paul Menard all had top ten finishes Sunday. Newman had a sixth place finish and Menard was ninth.

“It was a good day for everyone on the No. 3 team,” Dillon said. “I’m happy that we could get a top-10 finish for American Ethanol, Dow, Cheerios, Bass Pro Shops, and everyone associated with Richard Childress Racing. We’re working hard and learning a lot. It was a good day and I’m excited for Charlotte Motor Speedway next week and finishing the rest of the season out strong.”

The American Ethanol group brought about 400 fans to the race on Sunday. The fans included farmers, ethanol producers and industry partners.

“Austin and Richard Childress are both fantastic spokesmen for American Ethanol and are true believers in the high performance qualities of ethanol blended fuel. They were excited to have the mechanics come through their garage Sunday,” added Krissek. “The mechanics in our group asked very good questions about the fuel and the NASCAR engines. They learned that ethanol blends work just fine in NASCAR race cars as well as the cars and trucks they work on every day.”

How to Establish Biobased Production Chains

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RV0), Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research has developed a method that can help companies and government authorities create biobased chains, from source materials to end products. The method was developed out of a need for companies to develop successful production chains for the production of biofuels or biomaterials from biomass-based resources.

According to senior scientist Wolter Elbersen at the institute for Food & Biobased Research, the method is mainly intended for businesses and investors looking to establish a biobased production chain locally, or for export to the Netherlands or other EU countries. “They often have trouble evaluating whether developing a biobased production or export chain is feasible or how it can be done commercially,” said Elbersen. “This method provides an insight into which factors are at play.”

Setting Up International Biobased Production ChainsThe method is a step-by-step plan for the development of a biobased export chain. It includes a classification of the various types of biomass.

Scientist Jan van Dam at Food & Biobased Research explained that an analysis was made of which crops and products are most suitable, and how market demands are expected to develop. “We then described how businesses or investors can use a SWOT analysis to evaluate whether a local crop is a good starting point for the development of a biobased trade chain. This includes factors such as the availability of the crop and the infrastructure, security of supplies, costs and the degree to which the source material can be produced in a sustainable way.”

The method also offers a list of criteria for determining the most suitable location for converting the source material into tradable products. It deals with questions such as which country has the best infrastructure and the most educated employees? Which location offers the lowest operational costs and the best logistics? And where do the co-products or by-products have the most value? This involves issues such as heat for heating networks, CO2 for CO2 fertilisation or lignin for new chemical products.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFBiochemtex and Beta Renewables announced they have signed a definitive agreement with ENERGOCHEMICA SE for the construction of a 2nd Generation Ethanol plant and the annexed Energy Block for the generation of power and steam. The plant, that will be built in Strazske, Slovak Republic , will deliver 55,000 metric tons per year of cost-competitive cellulosic ethanol while using non-food biomass as its feedstock.
  • Capital Dynamics announced the financial closing of the first phase of a 300 megawatt (MW) onshore wind project in Texas- Green Pastures. Once commissioned, Green Pastures will generate enough electricity to power 110,000 homes. Green Pastures is Capital Dynamics’ first onshore wind project in the United States and fourth overall, following on the heels of three wind projects in the United Kingdom.
  • Global solar photovoltaic (PV) installations added during the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2014 are forecast to exceed 19.5 gigawatts (GW), pushing global cumulative PV deployment towards the 200 GW mark. The amount of solar PV deployed in Q4 is forecast to be equivalent to the energy supplied by five large-scale nuclear power plants and will surpass the total annual solar PV deployed in 2010. According to findings in the latest NPD Solarbuzz Quarterly report, this record quarterly figure will be driven in large part by China, and will ensure that the PV industry approaches the previously forecast 50 GW annual installation level in 2014.
  • The REF-2014 KYIV Forum 2 is taking place October 14-14, 2014 in Kyiv, Ukraine, NSC “Olimpiskiy”. REF-2014 Kyiv is focused on sustainable energy within Eastern Europe with attendees including key players in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency as well as heads of state departments, engineers, producers and suppliers of technical solution and equipment; bankers and investors, best international experts and professional associations representatives, aiming to strengthen legislative and economic basis for projects development in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFLSU AgCenter has released the Sweet Sorghum Production Guide. The guide was written to supply producers with information they will need to grow profitable sweet sorghum crops. AgCenter researchers are studying how to produce sweet sorghum, as well as energycane, for use as feedstocks for biofuels as part of its Sustainable Bioproducts Initiative. The study focuses on evaluating geographic zones for adaptation, producing commercial yields on marginal soils and determining low-input sustainable production practices.
  • The U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change has announced a record 464 million liters of liquid biofuels were consumed by the country’s transportation sector during the second quarter. Consumption of liquid biofuels increased 17.8 percent from the 394 million liters consumed during the same period of 2013. Ethanol accounted for 4.5 percent of gasoline during the three-month period, while biodiesel accounted for 3.7 percent of diesel. On a combined basis, the liquid biofuels comprised 4 percent of gasoline and diesel fuels, an increase of 0.6 percent compared to the second quarter of last year.
  • Texas Tech researchers received $1.4 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a new radar prototype. John Schroeder, a professor of atmospheric sciences and principal investigator for the project, said the design for wind energy research will focus on enhancing clear air sensitivity relative to the currently available radar system. He hopes to lead to revelations that could help them optimize the wind farm more. If accomplished, they could get more power output of the farms and lower the cost of electricity.
  • On Friday, October 10th, Kersey will be hosting a ribbon cutting event for the new 143 kilowatt solar array which provides 100% of the annual energy needs of their modern sequential batch reactor waste water treatment plant. The project is the result of cooperation between the developer/builder Bella Energy, the Town of Kersey, Colorado and The Atmosphere Conservancy. Kersey will purchase the solar energy from Kersey Renewable Energy LLC, allowing the company to receive all their annual energy needs for the plant at about 16% less cost than they were paying before from the grid.

Is there Enough Feedstock for Gen 2 Ethanol?

Last week Biofuels Digest Editor Jim Lane posed the question: Is there really enough affordable feedstock for the second generation ethanol wave? According to Robert Kozak of Atlantic Biomass Conversions an co-founder of Advanced Biofuels USA, “Yes, if we realistically address the financial realities of feedstock producers and feedstock buyers.” He reviewed the current weaknesses in current biomass development philosophy for feed, fuel, chemicals and biobased products and penned his findings in a white paper.

Advanced Biofuels USA Biomass Crops white paperKozak looked at a several possible biomass feedstocks including switchgrass, miscanthus and other grasses to dandelion roots and carrot and sugar beet residues. He concludes that the combination of saturated markets and increasing production costs may soon cause corn growers to either start returning land to the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and other programs (and increasing U.S. taxpayer costs) or to find other crops. In response, he advocates taking a closer look at what we have learned about biomass conversion technologies over the past 10 years along with farm policy.

In the paper he writes, “So, with approximately 20-25 percent of current US corn production being used for fuel ethanol, the questions for growers become: Could portions of this land be used for lower nutrient input biomass crops that would produce comparable income from ethanol or other biofuels and biomaterials? Could corn land not within current shipping distance of existing ethanol refineries also be used for biofuel/biomaterial crops? … I think the right answers to these questions could not only retain current grower incomes but more importantly, could be an opportunity to build the foundation of a true Advanced Biofuel and Biomaterial System.”

Kozak proposes root crops as a viable solution to these challenges. He bases his arguments on cell wall structure, lack of pesky lignin, and potential for over-wintering in situ to address storage logistics, etc. He acknowledges that these are very preliminary thoughts on a complex issue which deserves greater scrutiny. He also suggests convening an action-oriented conference or a series of workshops where experts involved in all aspects of the subject can gather for intense discussions.

“PUMP” Coming to a Theater Near You

There is a new documentary coming to a theater near you: PUMP. The film tells the story of America’s addiction to oil. Stories told range from Standard Oil’s illegal tactics to the dominance of oil companies. The goal of the film is to explain why and how consumers can end Big Oil’s monopoly and “win choice at the pump”.

According to the movie’s website, gasoline is our only option of transportation fuel today. With global demand rising and the continued dependence on gas our wallets are thinning. In addition, air pollution is getting worse and Americans are fighting wars in oil-rich countries.

PUMP shows consumers how making a variety of replacement fuels widely available will reduce fuel prices across the board. Diversifying the market with replacement fuels that are cheaper, cleaner and American made will also create jobs, strengthening the economy at home and promoting stability abroad.

The movie features experts including John Hofmeister, former President of Shell Oil Co.; Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, Inc.; Peter Goldmark, former president of the Rockefeller Foundation; our colleague Jim Lane and other noteworthy figures.

To see where the movie is headed and to buy tickets, visit the PUMP website.

Greenbelt Resources Cellulosic Tech On Stage

Greenbelt Resources Corporation has been selected as one of only 30 showcase companies to present during GloSho’14. The prestigious event is focused on the global clean tech industry and takes place October 6-7, 2014 at Los Angeles Theater in downtown Los Angeles, California. Company CEO Darren Eng will be presenting on Monday, October 6, 2014 between 2:15 to 3:15 PM PST during the Air & Waste session in Theatre 1. The membrane technology will be displayed at Table 34 in Theater 4.

GloSho’14 helps provide the resources, skills and partners necessary to be a global player. The event includes an investment boot camp, reverse investment showcasGreenbelt Resources membrane technologyes and several sessions covering water issues in California, clean energy policy at federal and state levels, and how to capitalize on university partnerships. Attendees will include the global clean tech business community, investors, entrepreneurs, mayors, politicians, city municipal managers, energy and environmental experts and more.

“We’ve had a great response to our clean energy technology,” said Darren Eng, CEO of Greenbelt Resources. “Our invitation to present during this event solidifies what we already know – that we have a viable, cost-competitive, critically needed solution that the clean tech, agriculture, food and energy industries are taking great interest in adopting.”

Greenbelt Resources offers a modular food waste recycling system featuring an end-to-end automated ethanol production system with 24/7 remote monitoring. This configuration is the only one in the world that utilizes patent-pending membrane technology which maximizes energy and water efficiency. By feeding the system waste feedstocks including dairy, agriculture, food, beverage, brewery and alcohol wastes; or biomass feedstocks, the technology produces fuel, feed, fertilizer and filtered water coined by Eng as the “four Fs”. Continue reading

MN Wind Industry Shines in Profile Report

A new report demonstrates the successes and competitive advantage its clean energy industry has brought to Minnesota. The findings were released by MN Governor Mark Dayton and led by the Minnesota State Departments of Commerce and Employment and Economic Development with input from those in the clean energy industry including Wind on the Wires.

“Minnesota’s early action to embrace wind energy has created thousands of great professional jobs in our economy,” said Wind on the Wires Executive Director Beth Soholt. “We applaud Minnesota’s leadership in the clean energy sector. We are enormously proud of the nearly 2,000 wind power jobs and particularly the 553% increase in wind power businesses in Minnesota since 2000.”

According toMinnesota Clean Energy Economy Profile the Minnesota Clean Energy Economy Profile report, Minnesota has seen a 288 percent increase in wind power jobs since 2000, compared to an 11 percent state employment growth during the same time period. Wages in the wind power sector are more than $10,000 higher than the average annual wage in Minnesota. The report find that for wind, the greatest number of jobs can be found in installation and maintenance, project development and financing, and supplying manufactured component parts.

“Wind on the Wires has worked side-by-side with many groups, organizations, and our members to establish the key policies that have helped drive this incredible growth and economic development for our state,” added Soholt. “We urge Governor Dayton and the legislature to ensure that Minnesota achieves at least half of its electricity from clean energy by 2030 because it’s the right thing to do to create jobs, boost economic development, and reduce carbon emissions that endanger our health and pollute Minnesota’s vast water resources.”

UNICA’s ‘Ethanol the Complete Fuel’ Is Back

The Brazilian Sugarcane Industries Association (UNICA) has launched is next phase of its advertising campaign, “Ethanol the Complete Fuel“. The multimedia campaign will primarily run in the state of São Paulo, the ads are designed to reinforce the positive impacts of ethanol on the economy and environment. The communication strategy consists of a 30 second TV commercial, sponsorship of television and radio programs, a striking jingle, online actions and presence in social networks.

“With the resumption of the campaign we want to remind consumers the advantages and benefits of biofuel. Ethanol generates environmental, social gains and promotes economic growth significantly in over a thousand Brazilian municipalities, “said Elizabeth Farina, UNICA president.

When first released in November 2012, the campaign leveraged ethanol sales in the state of São Paulo. In one month of placement sales increased 10%. Last year, the advertising action also aired three other states: Paraná, Goiás and Minas Gerais.

“Right now, the price of ethanol is more advantageous than gasoline for the consumer, ie the 70% parity has already been achieved in some states, yet the demand for the product did not react as expected. This reinforces our diagnosis that direct contact with the public should be constant, “said Farina.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFThe Massachusetts Clean Energy Center has released its annual industry report detailing the impressive growth of the state’s clean energy industry and the impact it is having on jobs and economic activity across Massachusetts. The 2014 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report describes the size, scope, and growth of the Commonwealth’s clean energy industry.
  • The SunShot Initiative team recently enjoyed a day in the sun on a rooftop in Washington, D.C., where they volunteered to install a solar energy system on a Habitat for Humanity home. The install was organized by GRID Alternatives as part of a two-day event to bring solar power to underserved communities and to celebrate the launch of GRID’s new mid-Atlantic office. GRID has a decade-long track record of successful solar deployment in low-income communities in California, Colorado, New Jersey and New York.
  • A new report finds that India’s rapidly growing solar and wind programs are creating enormous economic opportunity, providing significant employment opportunities for India’s workforce, and expanding much-needed energy access for India’s citizens. In just four years, India’s solar market has grown more than a hundred fold and India is now also the world’s fifth largest wind energy producer. Together, the wind and solar industries have already created approximately 70,000 clean energy jobs in India according to new findings by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).
  • Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association (TREIA) is hosting its Texas Renewables 2014 conference taking place Monday, November 3-6 in Dallas, Texas. The event will explore today’s energy landscape, acknowledge the significant contribution the renewable energy industry is making, and discuss the very real role it will play and challenges it will face in shaping Texas’ energy future.

Abengoa Yield’s Solana Solar Project Wins Award

Abengoa Yield has announced that Solana, its Arizona-based solar power plant, received the Energy Storage North America (ESNA) Innovation Award in the Utility-Scale category. WinnersAbengoa Yield Solana solar field were announced on October 1st, 2014, at the ESNA Innovation Awards ceremony in San Jose, California. Winners were chosen by the ESNA Advisory Board and votes on social media.

According to the company, Solana is the largest solar parabolic trough plant in the world. Located near Gila Bend, Arizona, it has a total installed capacity of 280 megawatts. With a six-hour molten-salt thermal energy storage capacity, it supplies clean energy to Arizona Public Service (APS), Arizona’s largest utility, meeting peaks of demand before dawn and after dusk.

Intermittency issues are a signficant hurdle with renewable energy such as solar. Using solar thermal energy coupled with molten salt elimates this issue according to the company. The storage component also increases dispatchability in
the power generation process, creating systems which can operate flexibly both with and without solar radiation.

The company explains that Solana’s parabolic trough collectors track the sun and concentrate sunlight onto receiver tubes located at a focal point of each collector. A heat transfer fluid (HTF) is heated as it circulates inside the tubes and is then circulated back to a central power plant. The HTF then passes through a series of heat exchangers to produce superheated steam that is used to generate clean electricity in a conventional steam turbine generator.

Clean Tech Will Provide Jobs in Emerging Countries

According to a new report from World Bank Group, there are significant clean tech opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries. The new report, “Building Competitive Green Industries: the Climate and Clean Technology Opportunity for Developing Countries,” frames responding to climate change as an extraordinary economic opportunity, particularly in developing countries. The report, published by infoDev, recommends actions by the public and private sectors to foster the growing market for SMEs in the clean technology sector.

World Food Bank Clean Tech report“Fostering home-grown clean-tech industries in developing countries can create a sustainable and wealth-producing sector of the economy,” said Anabel Gonzalez, senior director for the World Bank’s Global Practice on Trade and Competitiveness, “While simultaneously addressing such urgent development priorities as access to clean and affordable energy, clean water and climate-resilient agriculture.”

In just the last decade, clean technology has emerged as a major global market. Over the next 10 years, an estimated $6.4 trillion will be invested in developing countries. Of the total market in developing countries, some $1.6 trillion will be accessible to SMEs, according to the report. China, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa are the top three markets in the developing world for SMEs in clean technology, with expected markets of $415 billion, $349 billion and $235 billion, respectively for sectors such as wastewater treatment, onshore wind, solar panels, electric vehicles, bioenergy, and small hydro.

More can be done to support green entrepreneurship. As sited in the report, clean technology SMEs face daunting challenges, particularly in accessing early and growth stage financing. Countries can help by creating targeted policy incentives to encourage their own clean technology sectors. The report provides policymakers with a range of practical instruments that help support SMEs in clean technology sectors such as innovative finance, entrepreneurship and business acceleration, market development, technology development, and the legal and regulatory framework.

Martifer Solar Closes Contracts

Martifer Solar, a subsidiary of Martifer SGPS, has added close to 90 MW of new third party O&M contracts throughout Italy. According to the company, they have been able to distinguish its O&M Service capabilities in Italy by leveraging a resourceful and qualified local O&M staff, the company´s high quality processes and systems integration, such as its award-winning Operation Management System, and its global industry expertise.

Henrique Rodrigues, CEO of Martifer Solar, said, “We are proud when Clients such as DIF and Eland rely on our O&M team to complement their Asset Management services as it demonstrates that the market is recognizing our strength and reliability as a global O&M Service provider.”

MTS_OM_Italy_PR_1With this recent achievement from the Italian team, Martifer Solar´s global solar O&M portfolio has grown to more than 550 MW of plants under supervision across Europe, Asia and the Americas. The portfolio is comprised of both plants completed by third parties and those built by Martifer Solar.

David Lau, Associate Director of DIF who has contracted with Martifer Solar, said, “As our strategy is focused on targeting investments that generate predictable, long-term and stable cash flows, we need to count on a credible and trusted partner like Martifer Solar to provide operation and maintenance services for our assets.”

The recent addition to the Italian portfolio will strengthen Martifer Solar´s pace as the third largest vertically-integrated O&M player in Europe, as named by recognized research firm, Greentech Media Research. “As we have done here in Italy, as well as other European markets such as Spain, France and the UK, we expect to double the capacity of our O&M portfolio in the near future,” added Rodrigues.

USDA Launches Ag Industrial Reports Program

usda-logoThe U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has relaunched the formerly defunct Current Agricultural Industrial Reports (CAIR) survey program. NASS will collect and publish vital statistics for the dry and wet alcohol milling and flour milling sectors. Beginning this year, NASS will collect data and publish the industrial reports. In addition to the flour milling, and dry and wet alcohol milling sectors, CAIR surveys will also result in reports on the cotton, and fats and oilseeds industries. This information may be valuable to ethanol and biodiesel producers.

“As soon as the Census Bureau announced they were discontinuing the Current Industrial Reports, we began hearing from agriculture stakeholders around the country about the impact this decision had on the industry,” said NASS Administrator Joseph T. Reilly. “These reports are such an important element of sound economic policy planning and are used for market analysis, forecasting, and decision making that we knew we had to provide the data and I’m glad that beginning this year NASS is able to do just that.”

To prepare for the program launch, NASS conducted extensive work building up baseline profiles for the industries. On the ethanol production side, the agency will work with 200 facilities, with a reported nameplate capacity of 14.792 billion gallons per year. On the flour milling side, NASS plans to survey 183 facilities, which have a reported 24-hour milling capacity of 1,594,755 hundredweight.

NASS has a long history of collecting and publishing agriculture data. As is the case with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential.