Forecast for Greater GHG Reduction from Ethanol

A new report forecasts global ethanol consumption will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions this year by over 106 million tons.

global-rfaThe Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA), in cooperation with (S&T)2 Consultants Inc., released their Global Green House Gas (GHG) Emissions Reduction Forecast for 2014 as the International Transport Forum Summit begins today in Germany.

The annual report shows the reduction in global GHG emissions from global ethanol production is increasing. This year’s figure reveals that 90.38 billion litres of global ethanol production and use in 2014 will reduce global GHG emissions by over 291,000 tonnes per day. Compared to 2013, this is an increase of over 7000 tonnes per day in GHG emission savings.

According to GRFA, the 106.4 million ton GHG emissions reduction is equal to over 21 million cars being removed from the world’s roads in 2014, about 58,000 per day.

“We believe International Transport Forum Summit participants should call for an increase in ethanol production and use given the significant contribution ethanol is making to reducing global GHG emissions today,” said GRFA spokesman Bliss Baker. This year’s theme for the International Transport Forum Summit is “Transport for a Changing World”.

Ethanol Groups Participate in China Trade Mission

RFANewlogoU.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse led a mission to promote U.S. agricultural exports in northeast China May 5-13. The mission is part of President Obama’s “Made in Rural America” export and investment initiative, designed to help rural businesses and leaders take advantage of new investment opportunities and access new customers and markets abroad.

growth-energy-logoTaking part in the mission to promote U.S. biofuels and co-product exports was Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Director of Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis and Jim Miller with Growth Energy.

During a press conference Tuesday to talk about the trade mission, Davis said it was her first trip to China and she was astounded by the number of cars on the roads and sees a great need for both biofuels and distillers grains for livestock feed in that country. Miller added that China provides an excellent market opportunity for the U.S. ethanol industry.

Also taking part in the trip and the press conference was Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmer’s Union. Ethanol Press Conference Opening Remarks

Asia Key for Ethanol Producer Aemetis’ Profits

aemetislogo1A California-based ethanol producer is reporting a big turnaround in profits, thanks to its business in Asia. Aemetis, Inc., the largest U.S.-owned biofuels producer in Asia, reports a $7.7 million net profit for the first quarter of this year… quite an improvement from a nearly $10 Million net loss from the same quarter a year ago.

“We’re very pleased with our record financial and operational performance in the first quarter,” said Eric McAfee, Chairman and CEO of Aemetis, Inc. “These results build upon the very strong results we posted in Q4 of 2013, and with available capacity and attractive international markets for our India products, the company is well positioned for additional growth in the remainder of 2014,” added McAfee.

Financial Results for the Three Months Ended March 31, 2014
Revenues were a record $60.7 million for the first quarter of 2014, compared to $19.4 million for the first quarter of 2013. Gross profit was a record $15.6 million for the first quarter of 2014, compared to a gross profit of $0.2 million in the first quarter of 2013. The increases in revenues and gross profit were primarily attributable to a full quarter of operations during the period from January 1, 2014 through March 31, 2014 as compared to the period from January 15, 2013 through March 31, 2013 when the Keyes plant was idle.

Aemetis also set a record with its adjusted EBITDA for the first quarter of 2014 at $14.2 million.

SolarEdge Solar Array Completed at Challenger Site

Bouygues Construction has completed the installation of 2.5 MWs of PV modules at the Challenger site near Versailles, France. Several key technological components of the solar project, including inverters and power optimizers, was from SolarEdge, selected, said Bouygues Construction, for their 20 percent increase in energy yield.

“Bouygues Construction was looking, on the one hand, for technology that would make PV installation safe by allowing the immediate shutdown of energy production on demand, and Challenger 2on the other hand, technology that would simplify maintenance by allowing a faulty PV module to be easily pinpointed,” said Phillippe Metgès, Director of the Center for General Affairs at Bouygues S.A. “This is the reason we chose SolarEdge power optimizers. In addition, SolarEdge technology increases our installation’s yield.”

Bouygues Construction installed six SolarEdge firefighter gateways, which are designed to enable firefighters to immediately stop energy production including decreasing the system voltage to safe DC levels, either manually through an emergency stop button or automatically through a Fire Alarm Control Panel System.

On a total surface of 25,000 m2, the Challenger’s PV installation consists of ground-mounted and roof-mounted sections. With 12,180 SolarEdge power optimizers and 202 SolarEdge inverters optimizing part of the installation, the system is expected to produce a simulated 2,500 MWh annually. The fixed-string voltage in SolarEdge technology allows an increase in the number of modules per string of at least 43 percent compared to a traditional inverter, according to SolarEdge.

“SolarEdge technology is becoming a standard feature in commercial systems because it improves the bottom line of large projects,” stated Lior Handelsman, VP Marketing & Product Strategy SolarEdge. “Being selected by Bouygues Construction, a leader in its field, demonstrates the growing trend to use module-level optimization in large PV systems in order to protect these significant investments.”

Argentina’s Beef with EU over Biodiesel Before WTO

areu-flagArgentina has formally presented its case in the dispute with the European Union over EU antidumping duties imposed on Argentine biodiesel. This story from Biodiesel Magazine says the Europeans claim the South Americans’ green fuel, as well as biodiesel coming from Indonesia is unfairly priced, a point disputed by the Argentinians.

In its complaint, Buenos Aires contends that Brussels incorrectly calculated the final duties by failing to take into account records kept by the exporters or producers under investigation; did not determine production costs in the country of origin; and also included costs not associated with the production of the goods in question.

In addition, according to Argentina, the EU failed to conduct an objective examination of the elements such as volume and price effect of the purportedly dumped imports in its determination of injury to the EU domestic industry. Argentina is also questioning the objectivity of the EU’s examination of the causal relationship between the alleged dumping and injury.

The dispute has had its second hearing before the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body.

Trends & Growth in Global Geothermal Market

A new report reveals the international power market is booming with a sustained growth rate of 4 percent to 5 percent. The “2014 Annual U.S. & Global Geothermal Power Production Report,” finds, released by the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) finds that nearly 700 projects are currently under development in 76 countries. Among the key factors for growth, finds the report, are threats posed by climate change and the need for renewable energy sources that can satisfy grid needs.

The report also found that international geothermal market growth was up, while stateside growth held steady; 85 MW of the total global 530 MW of new geothermal capacity in 2013 was in the U.S. However, U.S. growth was flat because of policy barriers, gridlock at the federal level, low natural gas prices and inadequate transmission infrastructure.

Global Geothermal Growth 2014 - GEA“While there was a modest downturn in capacity additions, the Industry Update also underscores the tremendous untapped potential for geothermal energy,” said GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell. According to the report, the geothermal industry was working on 977MW of new capacity (Planned Capacity Additions or PCA’s) at sites that hold over 3,092MW of power potential in eight western states.

U.S. additions in Utah, Nevada, California, and New Mexico kept the industry on the map domestically in 2013, and future growth looks promising. “The geothermal resource base is still largely untapped,” noted Ben Matek, GEA’s Industry Analyst. “With new initiatives in Nevada, California and Oregon moving to recognize the values of geothermal power, we are optimistic that state policies could spark another period of growth in geothermal power over the next decade.”

In 2013, 25 pieces of legislation in 13 U.S. states were enacted specifically to address geothermal power and heating systems, creating a foundation for the environment needed to foster geothermal growth in these states. Past evidence shows successful policy initiatives have translated into growth; in Nevada, for example, which leads the way as one of the most business-friendly environments, the number of developing projects (45) more than doubles that of California (25).

On a global scale, the report found that there could be a time in the near future when the U.S. is no longer the world geothermal energy producer.

Microalgae Project Underway in Portugal

A one-hectare pilot project for the production of microalgae is under construction in Portugal. The facility will demonstrate, what a consortium of biotechnology experts say, is an innovative approach to produce microalgae biomass with biodiesel validation in a sustainable manner.

The demonstration pilot facility is one of the milestones expected from the Integrated Sustainable Algae (InteSusAl) project. The project aims at optimizing the production of algae by both heterotrophic and phototrophic routes. It will also demonstrate integration of these production technologies to achieve the microalgae cultivation targets of 90-120 dry tonnes per hectare per year.

algae“InteSusAl’s demonstration unit comes in a time of extreme importance to ensure Europe’s energy supply security, said Dr Neil Hindle, coordinator of the InteSusAl project. “We are glad that the European Commission is making it possible to demonstrate this new approach to produce microalgae biomass. We hope that our results will attract attention from investors interested in financing a 10-hectare site to produce microalgae in a sustainable manner on an industrial scale.”

The project integrates heterotrophic and phototrophic production technologies, using biodiesel glycerol as a carbon source to the heterotrophic unit and validating the biomass output for biodiesel conversion. The demonstration unit will be located in the municipality of Olhão, in the Algarve region of Southern Portugal. The pilot site will be composed of a set of fermentation units, tubular photobioreactors and raceways.

The sustainability of this demonstration, in terms of both economic and environmental (closed carbon loop) implications will be considered across the whole process, assessed via a robust life cycle analysis.

DuPont & Zhenfa to Partner On Solar Power

DuPont China Holding Co., Ltd. (DuPont) and Zhenfa New Energy Technology Co., Ltd. (Zhenfa New Energy), have signed a strategic cooperation agreement to collaborate on improving the performance, reliability and return on investment of solar power installations. Under the agreement, both companies will cooperate in optimizing the selection of durable solar materials and technologies used in solar panels.

DuPont Zhenfa solar partnership“Solar energy is a clean and sustainable form of energy that we expect will become a greater part of the future energy mix,” said Zhenfa Zha, general manager, Zhenfa New Energy. “We are excited to collaborate with DuPont to employ quality solar materials and technology support to help maintain long-term power generation, operations management and cost optimization at our solar installations. This will ultimately benefit our customers with cheaper, cleaner electricity.”

All of the solar panels installed by Zhenfa will be manufactured with DuPont Tedlar polyvinyl fluoride (PVF) film-based backsheets, the only material, according to DuPont, proven to reliably protect solar panels for over 30 years, even under extreme environmental conditions. Both companies will work together to optimize solar energy power production and performance as well as conduct field research on panel reliability and failure modes in order to better understand materials’ critical impact on solar energy systems.

Chuck Xu, global business director, DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions said of the partnership, “We are delighted to expand our relationship with Zhenfa New Energy into a more strategic relationship that leverages advanced materials critical to the reliable, long-term performance of solar panels for their solar installations. DuPont continues to advance material science to improve the performance, reliability and return on investment in solar to help make it more competitive with other forms of electricity.”

UK Announces 8 Major Renewable Energy Projects

The UK government has announced support for eight major renewable electricity projects giving a big boost to green energy and green jobs. By 2020, the projects will provide up to £12 billion of private sector investment, supporting 8,500 jobs, and they could add a further 4.5GW of low-carbon electricity to Britain’s energy mix (or around 4% of capacity), generating enough clean electricity to power over three million homes.

Once completed and in operation, the projects will contribute around 15TWh or 14 percent of the renewable electricity estimated to be produced by 2020, helping to put the UK well on the way to meeting its renewable energy target. The clean energy projects will also reduce emissions by 10 MtCO2 per year compared to fossil fuel power generation.

The projects have been offered under Contracts for Difference (CfD), which form part of Government’s Electricity Market Reform programme. They include offshore wind farms, coal to biomass conversions and a dedicated biomass plant with combined heat and power.

offshore-wind-power-Photo Christopher ThomondEnergy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said of the announcement, “These contracts for major renewable electricity projects mark a new stage in Britain’s green energy investment boom. By themselves they will bring green jobs and growth across the UK, but they are a significant part of our efforts to give Britain cleaner and more secure energy.”

“These are the first investments from our reforms to build the world’s first low carbon electricity market – reforms which will see competition and markets attract tens of billions of pounds of vital energy investment whilst reducing the costs of clean energy to consumers,” Davey continued. “Record levels of energy investment are at the forefront of the Government’s infrastructure programme and are filling the massive gap we inherited. It’s practical reforms like these that will keep the lights on and tackle climate change, by giving investors more certainty.”

The eight projects have been awarded contracts under the Final Investment Decision (FID) Enabling for Renewables process, allocating the first CfDs that are being introduced through the Electricity Market Reform programme. Under CfDs, generators and developers receive a fixed strike price for the electricity they produce for 15 years. As a result, these contracts are vital to give investors the confidence they need to pay the up-front costs of major new infrastructure projects. The contracts are supported by the new legislative framework introduced through the Energy Act 2013. Further CfDs will be made available in the fall.

Argentina to Cut Biodiesel Taxes

argentinaflagAs its biodiesel industry is battling the European Union over anti-dumping measures, Argentina is looking to cut taxes on biodiesel for domestic use. This article from Bloomberg says the government is proposing an exemption of a 22 percent tax on biodiesel used in thermoelectric plants and a 19 percent tax on biodiesel for gasoline blends until the dispute with the EU is resolved.

The EU slapped Argentina with duties on biodiesel imports last year, saying producers have access to raw material at prices that are kept artificially low. Argentina has requested the formation of a panel at the World Trade Organization in order to resolve the dispute and said the nation is being punished for being competitive in a free market, Fernandez said.

“We’re in the middle of a true trade war,” [President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner] said during the speech. “We have to protect those who need our help.”

Argentina has about 33 biodiesel plants employing 1,600 people.

Shell Eco-Marathon Seeks Most Energy Efficient Car

The North America leg of the Shell Eco-Marathon will kick off in Houston, Texas April 25-27, 2014. The event brings hundreds of high school and college students from around the world together to showcase their energy efficient cars. The winning team’s car will travel the farthest distance using the least amount of energy.

For the Houston leg, Linde North America will be the supplier of the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Mike Beckman, vice president Hydrogen Fueling, said, “Shell chose Linde as its exclusive worldwide hydrogen supplier because it wanted a solid and technically capable global partner for all of its Eco-marathon events around the world.” The first event of 2014 was held in Manila, Philippines, in February; Rotterdam, Netherlands, will be the site for the May event.

Shell Eco-marathon is also an educational platform, giving innovators practical experience of developing smarter, sustainable transportation. “We’re excited about the opportunity to work 2014 Shell Eco Marathon Prototype Concept Carwith this highly motivated and skilled group of future engineers that falls in line with our support for the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiative,” Beckman added. “These young people are our future, and we’re happy to support this effort.”

Linde will be working with eight teams whose vehicles will require hydrogen, and will be providing valuable technical support and advice to the student teams from North and South America.

“The Shell Eco-marathon is a unique competition that challenges students to design, build and drive the world’s most energy-efficient car,” said Norman Koch, Technical Director Shell Eco-marathon. “We are very pleased to partner with Linde for the fourth consecutive year supporting these students to develop energy efficient mobility solutions for the future.”

The Houston event will be held at Discovery Green Park and George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston.

BayWa Commissioned Solar Farm in Great Britain

BayWa r.e. Commissions 18 MWp Solar Farm in Great BritainBayWa r.e. has commissioned its fourth solar farm, Whitland, in Great Britain. Despite the continual bad weather, the project team were able to construct and commission the 18 MWp solar plant in only nine weeks.

Matthias Taft, Managing Director of BayWa r.e., said of the project, “The rapid implementation of the Whitland solar farm shows that our project team and technical know-how put us in an excellent position. This enables us to finance even larger projects without difficulties. This in turn ensures commissioning on time. Together, this results in a dynamic and economical project implementation at every project stage – from engineering and construction to the ultimate project sale to institutional investors.”

The Whitland solar farm was established on a 28 hectare in the Welsh village of the same name. It comprises 69,000 polycrystalline modules on freestanding supports. Annually, this plant will generate around 17 million kWh green power and can cover the electricity demand of around 5,000 households. Apart from completed projects, BayWa r.e. has significant projects in the pipeline for Great Britain.

Incbio Delivers Biodiesel Plant for Tunisia

incbiologoPortuguese biodiesel equipment maker Incbio has delivered an 8,000MT per year Biodiesel plant to Tunisia. This company news release says Biokast Energy will operate the fully automated industrial ultrasonic biodiesel plant in North Africa.

It uses Incbio’s ultrasonic reactors to produce EN14214 Biodiesel from Used Cooking Oil (UCO), collected from restaurants in Tunis. This will be one of the most advanced and efficient transesterification plants in the world, employing as three most important design parameters which form the base for Incbio’s technology: small footprint, low cost and high efficiency, which is both innovative and widely proven in Biodiesel production plants globally.

The plant is fully built on skids, so it should take less than a week from the time it arrives until it is producing biodiesel.

New Zealand to Get 5 MMgy Biodiesel Plant

z energyKiwis (the people, not the fruit) will be a little greener, as New Zealand is set to get a 5 MMgy biodiesel plant. This article from Biodiesel Magazine says Z Energy plans to build the $21 million refinery that will use tallow as its feedstock.

“Cities, countries and [corporations] all have a role to play in ensuring the world addresses very real climate change concerns,” [the mayor of New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington, Celia Wade-Brown] said. “It’s great to see local company Z Energy leading new energy sources and developing a green economy for New Zealand. In light of the recent IPCC report, on the severity and costs of adaptation to climate change, we need to support innovation from Z and others in the business community toward a low-carbon future for New Zealand. In addition to having more efficient vehicles on the road, fuel switching to biofuels, hybrids and electric vehicles will be essential to help us achieve the emissions cuts recommended by the IPCC. As production expands, we will take opportunities to work with Z on Wellington’s future fuel picture, including the civic fleet and Wellington’s bus network.”

When fully up and running, the Z Energy biodiesel plant is expected to use about 10 percent of the country’s inedible tallow production.

ILUC Modeling Still Unverifiable

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released their 2014 Climate Change Mitigation Report. According to the Global Renewable Fuels Association (GRFA), the report confirms that biofuels production is economically beneficial and that Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) modelling is unverifiable. The report, says GRFA spokesperson Bliss Baker, is further proof that biofuels contribute to local economies and that ILUC modelling is nothing more than a flawed theory.

The report found that “Bioenergy projects can be economically beneficial by raising and diversifying farm incomes and increasing rural employment through the production of biofuels for domestic or export markets. The IPCC report went on further to say that “Brazilian sugar cane ethanol production provides six times more jobs than the Brazilian petroleum sector and spreads income benefits across numerous municipalities…Worker income is higher than in nearly all other agricultural sectors and several sustainability standards have been adopted.”

Baker says the IPCC report’s finding are consistent with one of their 2012 reports that found that global ethanol production in 2010 supported nearly 1.4 million jobs in all sectors worldwide and contributed over $273 million to the global economy. In the European Union WGIII_AR5_Cover_webalone the ethanol industry created 70,000 direct and indirect jobs. The IPCC report’s findings also align with a recent study conducted by ABF Economics, which found that the U.S ethanol industry in 2013 created 86,503 jobs, sustained an additional 300,277 indirect and induced jobs while contributing $44 billion to the United States’ Gross Domestic Product and added $30.7 billion to household incomes.

“Not only do biofuels, particularly ethanol, have the lowest CO2 abatements compared to any other renewable energy but the latest IPCC climate change mitigation report confirmed that they make significant contributions to economies around the world and in some cases like Brazil, biofuels employment is eclipsing crude oil,” added Baker.

Baker says the IPCC report contained another significant finding regarding ILUC: an attempt to predict future land use patterns globally. The report stated, “These estimates of global LUC (Land Use Change) are highly uncertain, unobservable, unverifiable, and dependent on assumed policy, economic contexts, and inputs used in the modelling.”

According to Baker, these significant findings mean that the IPCC has joined the overwhelming number of scientists and academics that have found the ILUC theory to be faulty because modeling relies on hundreds of assumptions, not facts, to predict future land use patterns around the world.

“The GRFA applauds the UN for recognizing that the ILUC theory has no ability to accurately predict future land use patterns and hopefully it can now focus on the real challenges to food security like rising crude oil prices and food waste,” Baker concluded.