The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) has named Novozymes President and CEO Steen Riisgaard as the recipient of its 2012 George Washington Carver Award for innovation in industrial biotechnology.
A panel selected Riisgaard as this year’s winner “to recognize his significant contributions to the industrial biotechnology field.”
Under Riisgaard’s leadership, Novozymes is creating tomorrow’s industrial biotechnology solutions and improving the use of our planet’s resources, while reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Riisgaard will receive the award and also deliver a short address during a May 1, 2012 plenary lunch session at the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology & Bioprocessing. The conference is being held at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando April 29-May 2.
Washington Carver Award Recipient
“I am honored to receive the 2012 George Washington Carver Award,” Riisgaard said. “At Novozymes, we see biotechnology as a way to reshape the world’s economy and create balance between better business, a cleaner environment and better lives. This award is a mandate to continue innovating with our customers, moving towards a world where everyday products are made with organic materials instead of oil.”
The award honors the original vision of George Washington Carver, an originator of the “chemurgy” movement who, more than a century ago, achieved world renown by combining agriculture and science to produce everyday biobased products, changing the nature of farm economics and sustainability. Industrial biotechnology is the modern-day equivalent, combining biotech innovations with renewable biomass to create solutions that can revitalize manufacturing and energy.
Yesterday in conjunction with Presidenta Obama’s visit to Ohio State University to discuss the administration’s strategy for American energy, he announced $35 million in new federal funding over the next three years for biomass research and development. The project is funded by the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) and will focus on the development of advanced biofuels, bioenergy and high-value biobased products. The effort, aimed at reducing America’s use of oil while at the same time embracing a more environmental friendly fuel source, is joint initiative between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Energy Department (DOE).
In support of the program, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “USDA’s partnership with the Department of Energy aims to improve our country’s energy security and provide sustainable jobs in communities across the country.” Vilsack is a large supporter of homegrown renewable energy and biobased products that can be developed and produced by rural Americans.
The renewable energy industry advocates that green energy will bring green jobs to America and save Americans money. Secretary Chu said that these advanced technologies will both help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and save money for American consumers. He also stated, “Investing in next-generation biofuels helps boost the competitiveness of the U.S. biofuels industry, supports economic development in rural communities, and creates skilled jobs for American workers.”
The funding is allocated For fiscal year 2012 and applicants seeking BRDI funds must propose projects that integrate science and engineering research. Three technical areas will be considered and all projects must demonstrate technological advances in at least one category: feedstock development, biofuels and biobased products development and biofuels development analysis.
Subject to annual appropriations, the USDA and DOE have allocated $35 million over three years for the BRDI project. It is anticipated that the funding will support five to seven projects over the timeframe. Applications are being taken now and are due April 23, 2012 and must be submitted electronically. Winning projects will be announced by June 15, 2012. A description of the requirements, instructions and the application is available at www.fedconnect.net or www.grants.gov under Reference Number DE-FOA-0000657.
The first comprehensive genetic mapping of miscanthus has been completed. Researchers have been studying the feedstock as a possible source for bioenergy. The goal of the project is to accelerate product development. The results were published in the online journal PLoS One and the project is a collaboration between Ceres and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University in Wales.
The project entailed creating a collection of genetically related plants and then sequencing and analyzing DNA. Researchers mapped all 19 chromosomes of mischanthus and over several years have analyzed more than 400 million DNA sequences. The benefit of this research is that by isolating positive genes, for example a marker that would yield more biomass per plant, researchers can then focus on that gene, along with others, to create bioenergy superior feedstocks.
Today, miscanthus is primarily grown in Europe and used for electricity generation. It is not commercially viable as a bioenergy feedstock due to high production costs and few miscanthus producers. Ceres Chief Scientific Officer Richard Flavell, PhD, FRS, CBE said that the company will be able to more rapidly introduce important crop traits. The company is currently evaluating various varieties in several locations and anticipates that its varieties of miscanthus will require less time, effort and money to be bred for different environments.
In the past the majority of miscanthus research focused on field trials and this is the first large-scale project of its kind to focus on its genetics. Iain Donnison, PhD and head of the bioenergy team at IBERS added that, “The joint miscanthus development programme with Ceres has provided new insight into the evolution of the species as well as the similarities and differences in populations across different countries and environments.”
The Sustainable Biofuels Awards were presented this week at the World Biofuels Markets 2012 Congress in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
The awards include biofuels leadership, technology, adoption, bioethanol, biodiesel, feedstock innovation, innovation in aviation, biopower generation and bio-based chemicals and are determined based on judging by an elite panel of independent industry experts, with final voting by individuals in the general biofuels industry.
2012 Sustainable Biofuels Awards Winners:
Biofuels Leadership Award – Novozymes
Sustainable Biofuels Technology Award – LS9
Biofuels Adoption Award – City of Stockholm
Sustainable Bioethanol Award – Abengoa
Sustainable Biodiesel Award – Vale
Sustainable Feedstock Innovation – DuPont Cellulosic Ethanol
Innovation in Aviation – Boeing
Sustainable Biopower Generation Facility – Envergent Technologies
Leader in Bio-based Chemical Industry – Kiverdi
A diverse group of bioenergy stakeholders is holding a Capitol Hill Day for Bioenergy in Washington, DC on March 21.
The event is being sponsored by a number of organizations including the 25x’25 Alliance, American Farm Bureau Federation, Advance Biofuels Organization, Algal Biomass Organization, American Council on Renewable Energy, Biomass Power Association, Energy Future Coalition, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Farmers Union, and SAFER Alliance.
The groups are holding the event to draw attention to the fact that renewables make up nearly 12 percent of all energy produced in the U.S., such as fuels, electricity and thermal energy from biomass, and that bioenergy reduces the nation’s risks from dependence on foreign oil, strengthens our economy and ensures the continued, sustainable management of our natural resources.
The day will include a morning briefing with congressional members and trade group association leaders on bioenergy issues, small group visits to educate Congressional leaders and their staffs, an evening reception on Capitol Hill to network with other industry stakeholders, Congressional staff, and association partners.
Anyone in the bioenergy sector is welcome to take part in the event – registration and other information is available on-line.
ZeaChem, a developer of biorefineries for the conversion of renewable biomass into sustainable fuels and chemicals, will receive a portion of a $40m grant from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Regional Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP). The USDA project will establish regional systems for the sustainable production of bioenergy and bio-based products.
ZeaChem will secure $12m of the total $40m grant, and will implement the AFRI project at its existing 250,000 gallon-per-year integrated demonstration biorefinery, located at the Port of Morrow, near Boardman, Ore. The company is creating integrated cellulosic biorefineries, capable of producing a broad portfolio of fuel and chemical products from renewable biomass.
ZeaChem’s role in the USDA project is the logical progression of the company’s phased development strategy, in which it researches and develops potential products at each step toward commercialization. Design of the AFRI project is underway and the equipment modules are expected to be installed in 2013.
“ZeaChem is pleased with the USDA’s support to establish a bioenergy economy in the Pacific Northwest,” said Jim Imbler, president and chief executive officer of ZeaChem. “The grant allows ZeaChem to use our existing integrated demonstration facility to develop advanced biofuels beyond cellulosic ethanol, including bio-based jet, diesel and gasoline. The project highlights one of our unique strengths, which is that we can utilize a variety of biomass feedstocks and proven processes to develop a wide range of economical and sustainable fuel and chemical products.”
Production of bio-based jet and diesel is expected to begin in 2013 and production of bio-based gasoline, part of the C3 product platform, will follow in 2015.
The USDA AFRI Regional CAP is led by the University of Washington and includes GreenWood Resources, Oregon State University, Washington State University, the University of California, Davis, University of Idaho, and the Agricultural Center for Excellence.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week launched a new energy website to provide quick access to the agency’s energy efficiency and renewable energy data.
The website, usda.gov/energy, provides access to all USDA energy resources, including: agricultural, forestry, economic, and social data. This is done in part through a set of new complementary web-based tools: the USDA Renewable Energy Investment Map, the Renewable Energy Tool and Energy Matrix. These tools focus on USDA’s energy, energy efficiency and renewable energy investments and projects; provide information and data to a broad spectrum of stakeholders; and empower the user with the ability to easily navigate USDA’s energy web resources. In addition, the site provides a link to all USDA state and local offices and energy resource coordinators.
The new website was welcomed by the Ag Energy Coalition (AEC). “USDA’s Energy portal demonstrates the positive impact the Farm Bill energy title and related programs are having on job creation, national security, and the environment,” said Coalition co-director Lloyd Ritter. “The Ag Energy Coalition believes Rural America will be a continuing force for change in the advancement of sustainable energy and renewable chemicals production in the years ahead. With the right policies in place, and requisite funding, the promise of a rural renaissance focused on clean energy solutions will become a reality.”
The Ag Energy Coalition includes a membership of organizations and companies representing a variety of clean, renewable energy and bioproducts stakeholders.
BBI International and NEAtech have formed a joint venture, called BBI Consulting Services, to offer bioenergy consulting to thousands of companies and organizations worldwide, as well as state and federal departments in the United States.
BBI International originally started as a bioenergy consulting firm in 1995 and has since grown into a media and events company focused on growing the bioenergy industry. Founded in 2009, NEAtech is a technology-based engineering and consulting firm specializing in advanced biofuels, biomass energy, and biotechnology projects. Having already helped hundreds of companies plan and execute successful projects, this new joint venture with NEAtech will reintroduce BBI International’s consulting service to thousands of new businesses worldwide.
Dr. Rafael Nieves and Mark Yancey of NEAtech, two experienced bioenergy consultants, are leading this group. Nieves has worked in the bioenergy sector for more than 28 years. He has extensive experience nationally and internationally managing bioenergy projects in the U.S., Mexico, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Australia, Philippines, Ghana, Armenia, Indonesia and the Ukraine.
Yancey has 35 years of experience in the fields of bioenergy and environmental engineering including extensive experience in project development and economic analysis for first and second generation biofuels facilities. His expertise is in the development of bioenergy projects including development of business strategies and financial, market and technical analyses of projects and renewable energy opportunities.
“We are excited about offering a consulting service to our customers,” said Joe Bryan, president and chief executive officer of BBI International. “This venture is the first step in helping companies associated with BBI International gain valuable insight on their current and future projects.”
“This venture will allow us to combine our expertise with BBI’s knowledge and resources,” said Nieves, CEO of NEAtech.
Florida State Representative Debbie Mayfield dumped a load of sugarcane waste to dedicate a new pilot biorefinery this week in honor of her late husband, Stan Mayfield.
The dedication ceremony involved Mayfield pulling the lever on a front-end loader to dump a pile of pulverized sugarcane stalks, officially delivering the first shipment of feedstock to the facility, which will now be known as the Stan Mayfield Biorefinery Pilot Plant. The plant is located in Perry, Florida and is a cooperative venture between the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and Buckeye Technologies Inc. The facility will be operated as a UF/IFAS satellite laboratory researching the use of inedible plant material to produce fuel ethanol, such as sugarcane waste.
When fully operational, the biorefinery will produce up to 400 gallons of fuel ethanol and 5,000 pounds of organic acids for bioplastics each day. Some of the researchers’ goals include testing a wide variety of feedstocks, such as crop residues and yard waste, and finding ways to save money on production costs.
Stan Mayfield was a member of the state House of Representatives from 2000 until his death in 2008 and was instrumental in securing a $20 million appropriation from the Florida Legislature to fund the biorefinery. A UF graduate, Mayfield was a strong advocate of renewable fuels, environmental protection and economic growth.
HyperSolar has filed a patent application for its technology to produce natural gas using solar power. According to the company, the natural gas is a carbon neutral methane gas that can be used as a replacement for fossil-fuel based natural gas.
“The sun is our greatest source of energy and a method to use this energy to make clean, renewable fuel is a very significant discovery,” said Tim Young, CEO of HyperSolar. “We intend to focus all our energies and resources on commercializing this breakthrough technology.”
The technology was inspired, according to HyperSolar, by the photosynthetic processes that plants use to create energy. The company is developing a solar-powered nanoparticle system that mimics photosynthesis to separate hydrogen from water. The hydrogen is then reacted with carbon dioxide to produce the methane, which is the primary component of natural gas.
“With global consumption projected to surpass coal in 2035, natural gas will be the next great fuel, continued Young. “From sunrise to sunset, our proprietary nanoparticles will work in a water based solution to produce clean and environmentally friendly renewable natural gas that can be collected for later use in power plants, industrial plants and vehicles – anywhere and anytime.”
Young also noted that there has already been hundreds of billions of dollars invested in natural gas infrastructure. He believes a renewable natural gas fuel is a reality.
The U.S. Department of Energy has released a brand new report that recognizes the importance of renewable energy for the nation’s future.
The inaugural Quadrennial Technology Review report (DOE-QTR) is billed as “an assessment of the Department’s energy technology research and development portfolios” establishing a framework for energy technology activities and priorities.
“Innovation in energy technology is going to be central to solving our energy challenges,” said John P. Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “New energy technologies can reduce the cost of energy services to firms and families, improve the productivity of manufacturing, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, increase the reliability and resilience of our energy infrastructure, and reduce the risks from climate change, even as they strengthen and sustain U.S. competitiveness in global markets.”
The DOE-QTR defines six key strategies: increase vehicle efficiency; electrification of the light duty fleet; deploy alternative fuels; increase building and industrial efficiency; modernize the electrical grid; and deploy clean electricity. According to the report, “Reliance on oil is the greatest immediate threat to U.S. economic and national security, and also contributes to the long-term threat of climate change.” The DOE-QTR promotes “out of the box” ideas for improving all types of energy alternatives, including battery and fuel cells, biofuels, solar, and wind, with a strong emphasis on modernization and efficiency.
Read the report here.
USDA will make payments to more than 160 energy producers in 41 states “to support and ensure the production and expansion of advanced biofuels.”
“Renewable energy production will create tens of thousands of direct, American jobs; thousands more indirect jobs, and clean electricity to power millions of homes. The payments I am announcing today represent the continuing commitment of the Obama administration to work with producers to provide the biofuel necessary to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign energy sources,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
The payments are authorized under the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels (Section 9005 of the 2008 Farm Bill) and are made to eligible producers to support and ensure an expanding production of advanced biofuels. Payments are based on the amount of biofuels a recipient produces from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch. Eligible examples include biofuels derived from cellulose, crop residue, animal, food and yard waste material, biogas (landfill and sewage waste treatment gas), vegetable oil and animal fat.
The payments total nearly $80 million and range from a low of just over $1000 for Kaapa Ethanol in Nebraska to a high of nearly $10 million for Hero Bx in Pennsylvania for “biodiesel mechanical.” Some of the bigger payments being awarded include $6.2 million to Renewable Energy Group for biodiesel trans esterification, $4.8 million to Smarter Fuel of Pennsylvania for biodiesel from waste products, $4 million to White Energy in Texas for ethanol, $3.2 million for Louis Dreyfus Agricultural Industries for biodiesel from waste, and $2.6 million to ADM for biodiesel trans esterification.
For a list of all recipients, click here.
I came across this story today and thought it was kinda cool. TESSA is a car that uses stored heat from the engine to produce heat energy that can be used in homes for hot water and central heating. This “new age” car will be showcased for the first time at Nextgen, a free environmental trade show taking place October 5-6 in Warwickshire, UK. Nextgen is co-located with two other events that focus on renewable energy technologies such as solar, wind, bioenergy, and hydro power generation.
TESSA stands for Thermal Energy Storage and Saving Automobile and the prototype is a Land Rover Freelander. Atmos Heating Systems fitted the SUV with a thermal energy storage and transfer system.
“We are delighted to be able to demonstrate the energy and carbon saving benefits TESSA offers at Nextgen. We have developed and patented a means of storing waste heat on board the vehicle, and a practical means of transferring the stored heat into a building for use as hot water and/or space heating,” said John Thomason, General Manager of Atmos Heating Systems.
Today an internal combustion enegine only manages a mechanical power efficiency averaging around 30 percent. The remaining 70 percent is dissipated as heat, through the radiator coolant system and the exhaust. Although some of the coolant system energy is used to heat the interior of the vehicle, the rest is simply lost.
“In other industries such horrendous waste would not be tolerated, and with the transport sector responsible for 40% of carbon emissions, this must not be left to continue. Whilst our technology does not reduce CO2 emissions from the vehicle, it utilizes heat that is otherwise wasted, resulting in lower fossil fuel consumption in the home and thereby an overall net benefit to the environment,” said Thomason.
The thermal heat technology can be integrated with other renewable technologies in the home such as solar thermal and heat pumps. In addition, it can be retrofitted with vehicles using biofuels instead of gas and diesel fuels to ensure additional environmental benefits.
ICM has announced that it has entered into a technological partnership to couple its gasification system with EISENMANN Corporation’s dual-field wet electrostatic precipitation (WESP) technology. This technology was proven successful at ICM’s commercial-scale demonstration gasifier located adjacent to the Harvey County municipal solid waste transfer and recycling facility in Newton, Kansas.
The gasifier underwent several performance tests with multiple feedstocks including but not limited to refused-derived fuel (RDF), tire derived fuel mixed with RDF, wood chips, wheat straw, switchgrass, and corn stover. Combined with ICM’s thermal oxidizer and heat sink, the WESP 2-F system cleans removes all particulate matter as well as acid gases from a variety of fuel sources and meets all levels of emission control requirements.
“We’re thrilled with the recent commercial deployment of our biomass gasifier technology, as it allows us to offer our waste-to-energy system on a global level,” said ICM CEO Dave Vander Griend.”Recognizing the strength of collaborative partnerships, ICM is pleased to work with EISENMANN and their WESP technology to enhance our biomass gasifier applications.”
POET announced a new alliance this week with The Earth Partners to develop “a sustainable supply of biomass that helps restore degraded land.” The project, called Conservation Biomass, will initially be used for heat and power generation and eventually liquid fuel production.
As part of their ongoing ecological restoration work, The Earth Partners will work with farmers and conservation property landowners to grow and sustainably harvest biomass from land with invasive vegetation or land where restorative plant species are grown. POET will then evaluate the best use of the biomass to generate heat, power or for liquid fuel production.
The initial project will deliver Conservation Biomass to POET Biorefining – Chancellor, a 100 million-gallon-per-year grain ethanol plant in Chancellor, S.D. that burns wood waste and landfill gas in a solid fuel boiler to generate all of its process steam. Burning biomass at the plant to generate power will allow the partnership to test the commercial viability of the Conservation Biomass business model at scale. POET and The Earth Partners will continue to research the potential for utilizing Conservation Biomass sources like prairie grasses for cellulosic ethanol production.
Read the story from POET here.