Gevo’s Plant Co-producing Isobutanol & Ethanol

Gevo’s plant in Luverne, Minnesota is now co-producing isobutanol and ethanol with one fermenter dedicated to isobutanol production and three fermenters dedicated to ethanol production. With the completion of the last phase of capital for SBS, Gevo has begun to produce and ship isobutanol in railcar volumes.gevo logo

This equipment facilitates the extraction of isobutanol from the plant, which should enable Gevo to boost production levels of isobutanol by debottlenecking the downstream side of the plant. This distillation equipment was commissioned in early September and is already showing improved results at the plant, such as:

  • A doubling of isobutanol batch sizes;
  • A 50% reduction in isobutanol batch turnaround times;
  • Consistent yields of >90% based on starch content; and
  • A continued decrease in isobutanol production costs towards targeted
    economic rates.

“We are on track with the SBS. We completed the installation of our isobutanol distillation column and it operates well. We are continuing to boost isobutanol production levels while simultaneously driving cost out of our production processes. We are pleased to be shipping both ethanol and isobutanol in railcar quantities. This isobutanol is destined for the solvents and specialty gasoline blendstock markets, as well as to supply our demo plant in Silsbee, TX, to convert our isobutanol into hydrocarbons such as bio-jet fuel and isooctane,” said Dr. Patrick Gruber, Gevo’s CEO.

Gruber continued, “By installing the last phase of capital at Luverne, we remain confident that we will be able to achieve production levels of 50-100 thousand gallons of isobutanol per month by the end of 2014. As we continue to learn and optimize the isobutanol production process, we believe we can ultimately increase our production rate to approximately 2-3 million gallons of isobutanol per annum under the SBS, while we are producing ethanol in the other three fermenters.”

10 Facts About Geothermal Energy in Oregon

geothermal power plantThe GRC Annul Meeting and Geothermal Energy Expo is taking place September 28-October 1, 2014 in Portland, Oregon. To get people excited, the Geothermal Energy Association has created 10 facts about geothermal energy in Oregon.

  1. There is about 33 MW of geothermal power on-line in Oregon producing 165 GWh in 2013.
  2. The latest industry survey identified 19 projects under development in Oregon with estimated subsurface resources of 340 MW that developers expect could provide 60 MW of additional power within the next few years if appropriate contracts are secured.
  3. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there are an additional 500 MW of discovered geothermal power resources in Oregon and 1,800 MW of undiscovered resources.
  4. Geothermal power provides affordable power according to studies produced in 2014 by the Energy Information Agency, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, California Public Utilities Commission and others.
  5. Geothermal power provides significant numbers of permanent jobs. For every 100MW of geothermal power there are 170 permanent jobs supported and development of 100MW of new projects produces over 600 annual construction and manufacturing jobs.
  6. According to studies geothermal has the lowest life-cycle emission of any renewable technology besides hydropower.
  7. Geothermal power projects have the lowest land density compared to any other renewable power technology.
  8. Geothermal power plants can be engineered to be firm and flexible power sources in addition to being source of a renewable baseload power.
  9. Geothermal fields can operate for 30 years or longer, the largest geothermal field in North America, the Geysers in California celebrated its 50th birthday this year. Geothermal fields in Italy have been generating electricity since 1912.
  10. Every additional megawatt of geothermal power can enable the installation of 3 to 5 megawatt of additional intermittent power like solar and wind power.

Registration is still open. Click here for more information.

E15 Could Help Lower Gas Prices at the Pump

The end of summer is here and with the season change, “summer gasoline” and its Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) requirements will also come to an end. With fall in view retailers who want to offer E15 to their customers may now do so.

“We’re seeing reports and predictions of lower gas prices, with some celebrating the fact that the price is ACElogodown to $3.39 nationwide,” said American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty. “In the Midwest, where E15, E30, and E85 are more widely available, even E10 prices are already under $3.00 in some markets. Ethanol adds octane and lowers prices because it provides competition for higher priced, lower octane gasoline.”

“E15 brings environmental benefits as well,” continued Lamberty. “Recent studies highlight the reduction in cancer causing emissions offered by E15. E15 means cleaner, higher octane fuel at a lower price and fuel marketers are starting to realize that. Fuel retailers like CHS/Cenex and Protec have taken steps to make E15 available in more markets soon and others will follow.”

Lamberty is encouraging retailers to take note of the growing number of vehicles that can use E15. E15 use is covered under warranty for most cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. for the 2013, 2014, and 2015 model years, and some automakers approve it for 2012 vehicles. That’s 30 million vehicles or more with more vehicles hitting the roads each week that are approved for E15 use.

“This is exactly why Big Oil fights so hard and spends so much time and money to convince EPA and elected officials that the 10% “blend wall” is real, and why they have contract restrictions that prevent branded stations from offering E15.” Lamberty concluded, “It’s not the 5% market share that could be taken by E15 that worries Big Oil – it’s what competition for that 5% does to the prices they can charge for the rest of the gallon. More ethanol means lower prices.”

Lotnisko Wind Farm Contruction Begins in Poland

September 10, 2014 marked the official beginning of construction of the 90 MW Lotnisko wind farm based in Kopaniewo, Poland. It is one of the largest projects in the Polish wind power industry. The ceremony was attended by Marek Woszczyk, PGE Odnawialna S.A1, President of the Board; Maciej Górski, PGE Energia 90 MW Lotnisko wind farm in PolandOdnawialna S.A., President of the Board; Lesław Kuzaj, Alstom, President of the Board; Mirosław Kowalik, Alstom Thermal Power and Renewable Sales and Marketing Director; Alexis de Beaumont, Alstom Renewable Spain, Regional Vice President; and several local officials.

The construction of the Lotnisko wind farm will be conducted by Alstom who was awarded the contract in June 2014. This is the first wind power project implemented by Alstom Poland. The project includes supply, installation and commissioning of 30 Alstom ECO 110 3MW wind turbines, equipped with a 110m diameter rotor, 90m high steel tower and a SCADA2 remote control system. Completion of the wind farm is scheduled for Q 4 of 2015.

“Alstom is proud to contribute to this project, thus confirming our involvement in the development of the wind power sector and the effort to build a sustainable energy mix in Poland,” said Yves Rannou, Senior Vice President of Alstom Wind business.

Fuels America Thanks Biofuels Supporter Sen Harkin

As Iowa Senator Tom Harkin prepares to retire, Fuels America is thanking him for his unwavering and tireless support of biofuels with a full-page advertisement in the Sunday, September 14, 2014 Des Moines Register and on Iowa radio. Sen. Harkin will be holding his final steak fry with Secretary Hilary Clinton, who is the keynote speaker. During the event he plans on taking the opportunity to update Clinton on biofuels progress across Iowa and the country.

“We’re grateful to Senator Harkin for his leadership, and proud to welcome Secretary Hillary Clinton to Iowa for the last Harkin Streak Fry,” says Fuels America’s radio ads that began running on Wednesday and will continue through Sunday on stations throughout the Des Moines area. “As one great Iowa tradition ends, another is growing.”

Fuels America Harkin-Clinton AdThe ads note that Iowa has doubled renewable fuels production since 2007, and that the Iowa renewable fuels industry now supports over 73,000 jobs. The ads go on to appeal to Clinton’s experience as Secretary of State, noting that she knows the danger that America’s addiction to foreign oil poses to our national security, economic security, and energy security. Instability in Ukraine and Iraq has recently created even more uncertainty in an already tumultuous global oil market, and America’s reliance on foreign oil has left us at the mercy of hostile and unstable foreign actors.

The advertisements come as President Obama is giving final consideration to this year’s final rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which will determine the extent to which renewable fuels will be allowed to compete with foreign oil in our fuel supply. At the same time, Secretary Clinton’s arrival in Iowa marks the beginning of a larger national dialogue on the future of renewable energy sources.

Pico Solar & Solar Home Systems to Top $2.1B

According to Navigant Research global market share for miniature solar photovoltaic systems, including pico solar and solar home systems, will grow from $538 million in 2014 to more than $2.1 billion in 2024. These systems are moving rapidly from specialized niches for solar enthusiasts and early adopters into the mainstream. They are particularly well suited for applications in the developing world where the provide lighting, cell phone charging and power for small direct current (DC) appliances in areas where the grid is unreliable or nonexistent.

Pico Solar System“Although the majority of solar consumer product activity is, for now, in developing regions of the world, similar products are also emerging in the developed world in the form of solar PV generators and kits,” said Dexter Gauntlett, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “NRG’s recent acquisition of Goal Zero exemplifies the growing interest in the sector among major corporations, with more acquisitions and strategic partnerships likely to follow.”

According to the report, in the developing world pico solar systems are providing new alternatives for people who previously had no choice but to pay high prices for low-quality and polluting fuel-based lighting, such as kerosene lamps. In addition to providing inadequate illumination, kerosene lamps pose significant health risks. The spread of pico solar systems gives these communities access to compact, clean, and affordable off-grid lighting and other electric devices.

The report, “Solar Photovoltaic Consumer Products”, analyzes the emerging global market for solar PV consumer products. It focuses on pico solar products and solar home systems, but also analyzes growth opportunities and key players for solar PV generators and kits. The report examines the distinct market issues for each product type in both developed and developing countries, including drivers and barriers, business models, and pricing trends.

Northern Power Launches Distributed Wind Turbines

Northern Power Direct Drive Distributed Wind TurbineNorthern Power Systems has unveiled its next generation permanent magnet/direct drive distributed wind turbines. The 100 kilowatt NPS 100C and the 60 KW NPS 60C are now commercially available for use around the world.

According to the company, new 24.4 meter rotor features state-of-the-art hub and blade technology with superior aerodynamics providing a larger swept area compared to the outgoing model. This increases the annual energy production (AEP) of the NPS 100C-24 and 60C-24 by up to 15% depending on wind conditions. In combination with Northern Power’s proprietary permanent magnet/direct drive technology, the company says these new turbines are industry leading in power performance, energy production and lifetime cost of ownership.

Northern Power System’s first turbines were deployed in 2008. The improved, design reduces foundation and installation costs according to the company, and further improvements include a new best in class brake system, industry leading yaw configuration, an enhanced electrical layout, more efficient generator cooling, and an ultrasonic wind vane and anemometer. The new class III 24.4 meter rotor is available on the 100kW and 60kW model. The NPS 100C is alternatively available with a class II 21 meter rotor option.

EWEA to New Commissioner: Rein in Energy Future

Alenka Bratusek has been named Vice President- and Commissioner-designate for Energy Union and Miguel Arias Canete has been named as European Commissioner-designate for Energy and Climate Action. In response to the news, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) is calling on the new commissioner to take the reigns of the Europe’s energy future.

ewea-logo“We look forward to working with Vice President Bratusek and Commissioner Canete on building a new treaty-busting energy union in Europe, which is underpinned by renewables,” said EWEA Chief Executive Officer Thomas Becker. “For a true single energy market to flourish in Europe, energy policy must become the domain of EU lawmakers and should not be shackled to 28 diverging ministries, regulators and agencies at national level.”

Becker said added, “The announcement of Vice President-designate Bratusek, with responsibility for energy union, shows a commitment by the Juncker presidency to make strides toward a single electricity market that places renewable energies, such as wind power, at the heart of European energy security.”

Parliamentary hearings for the new College of Commissioners are expected to commence on the week beginning Monday September 29, 2014.

Polar Bears to Warm Up Elephants at Oregon Zoo

H_slinky-infographic-3What in the world do polar bears and elephants have to do with renewable energy? Lots with a creative use of geothermal energy at the Oregon Zoo where an underground heating-cooling system will improve energy efficiency. Polar bears like it cool and elephants like it hot and with the help of “Slinky” or a geothermal loop, the two endangered species will keep each other comfy. The innovative high-tech system will be buried 12 feet underground.

“Essentially, this system works the same way as your household refrigerator,” explained Jim Mitchell, zoo construction manager. “The condenser that cools the coils in your refrigerator produces heat, which is expelled away from the coils with a fan. Our system has just added another step: capturing that heat for use elsewhere rather than blowing it all away.”

According to Mitchell, heat is created as a byproduct of cooling the polar bear swimming pools at the zoo. And rather than just expel that heat, the geothermal system will direct it through rows of Slinky-like coiled pipes buried deep in the northern section of Elephant Lands.

The ground maintains a constant temperature, insulating the pipes. Then, when it’s time to crank the thermostat, pumps connected to the system will deliver heat to Forest Hall, the 32,000-square-foot indoor portion of Elephant Lands.

The geothermal loop and other energy-efficient design systems are expected to cut Elephant Lands’ energy requirements in half, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent and serve as the primary heat source for what will be one of the country’s largest indoor elephant facilities.

Eventually, other renewable sources of heat will be fed into the geothermal system. While it won’t be readily apparent to visitors, the roof at Forest Hall will feature a huge array of solar panels.

“Gradually, we may eliminate the need for fossil fuels at the majority of buildings and exhibits at the zoo,” Mitchell said.

Curator Bob Lee, who oversees the zoo’s elephant program said of the project, “The beauty of this system is in how it gives elephants choice. Most of the time, the elephant family will be able to move freely indoors and out, and we’ll be able to sustainably maintain a comfortable temperature for them.”

Wind Turbines Outperforming Expectations at Honda

Wind turbine energy output is exceeding expectations just six months after installation at the Honda Transmission Mfg of America plant located in Russells Point, Ohio. The two wind turbines have exceeded the projected power output figures by 6.3 percent. The turbines, standing 260 feet tall with 160-foot blades, were initially projected to produce upwards of 10,000 megawatt hours (MWH) of electricity per year, accounting for approximately 10 percent of the plant’s annual power needs. The turbines have outperformed company projections in four of the six months since operation began. At their highest output, the turbines provided 16.26 percent of the plant’s power requirements for the month of April.

“We are extremely pleased with the performance of the wind turbines’ production over their first six months,” said Gary Hand, Vice President of Honda Transmission Mfg. of America. “The turbines’ operation has exceeded the projections established during the project development.”

The wind turbines have also contributed toward reducing the CO2 emissions of power production, helping HHondaturbinesSMrevonda reach its voluntary goals to reduce the environmental impact of its products and manufacturing operations by 2020. This includes a 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from Honda products, and significant CO2 reductions from the company’s plants and other operations, compared with year 2000 levels.

We are pleased to observe the performance of the two on-site wind turbines are achieving results over and above what Honda had anticipated. From the outset, we were confident that the site location selected would allow the GE turbines to produce a significant amount of the facility’s’ energy requirements,” said Tyler Juhl, vice president of operations for Juhl Energy who developed and installed the turbines.

The installation of the turbines makes the plant the first major automotive facility in the United States to receive a substantial amount of its power from on-site wind turbines. The two turbines are owned by ConEdison Solutions.

Michael W. Gibson, vice president of energy services at ConEdison Solutions, added of the wind power achievement, “ConEdison Solutions takes tremendous pride in our commitment to customers, and we are proud to be helping Honda implement its innovative energy program at Russells Point. With this initiative, Honda has set an excellent example for the American manufacturing sector, and we are gratified that they have been pleased with its success.”

Symposium Examines Critical Energy Infrastructure

The Midwest Energy International Symposium will look at how the U.S. will confront a host of energy environment and infrastructure challenges over the next two years. The event will take place on Thursday, October 9, 2014 at the Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center located in Bettendorf, Iowa.

Speakers and panelists will provide valuable information and insights regarding energy Midwest Energy Natl Symposiumexports including ethanol, biodiesel, biojet fuels and the supply chains and logistics for fuel transport systems including the trucking, railroad and water transport industries.

The featured keynote speaker is Dr. Gong Ping Yeh, Fermilab with the United States Department of Energy (DOE). His research and interests in sustainable energy include wind, solar, biofuels, electric vehicles and improving energy efficiencies. In recent years, he has focused on Accelerator Driven System and Thorium energy as a new source of energy. Dr. Yeh has been serving internationally as an advisor for sustainable energy in many countries.

Other keynote speakers include:

  • Lt. General Wallace “Chip” Gregson, Jr. (Ret.) will address United States Department of Defense Sustainable Energy Projects.
  • The Rock Island Arsenal, United States Army, will present energy program models for hydroelectricity.
  • Mexico: Creating an Energy Self Sufficient Region in NAFTA, Mexico Energy Ministry
  • Korea: Korea’s Energy Future, Global America Business Institute
  • Germany: Germany’s Current Energy Transition and Use of Biogas as a Fuel, German American Chamber of Commerce, Chicago.

More information about the event along with registration information can be found here.

Western US Slowly Adopts Geothermal Energy

EIA operational geothermal plants in USCalifornia has been the leading geothermal energy state in the U.S. but according to a recent Today in Energy published by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) other western states are slowing adopting geothermal energy.

There are currently 64 operating conventional geothermal power plants in the U.S., accounting for nearly 2,700 megawatts (MW) of total capacity at the end of 2013 or 0.4 percent of total U.S. generation. Over three-fourths of U.S. geothermal power generation in 2013 was in California, largely because of favorable geothermal resources, policy, and market conditions in the state, according to Today in Energy. The largest group of geothermal power plants in the world, a complex called the Geysers, located in Northern California, has more than 700 MW of capacity.

Since 2001, only 7 of 30 new plants exceeding 1 MW have been built in California, where most available low-cost geothermal resources have previously been developed. Sixteen of those 30 plants built after 2001 are in Nevada, with the remainder in Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Hawaii. Most of the newer plants are relatively small, and while geothermal generation rose 11% between 2008 and 2013, the geothermal share of total U.S. electricity generation has remained consistently around 0.4% since 2001.

Geothermal plants are virtually emissions free, and unlike renewable sources such as wind and solar, they provide an available, dispatchable source of baseload power that is able to operate at a relatively high capacity factor. EIA projects that geothermal electricity generation could more than quadruple between 2012 and 2040 (increasing to over 67,000 GWh), helping California and other states with renewable portfolio standards satisfy their mandated renewable generation requirements.

Yelo- A Solar Powered Desk in a Bag

Students in need of electricity in rural schools have a new way to learn: YELO. Designed by Prayas Innovation the bag converts into a school desk. It comes equipped with a LED light that is powered by solar energy kit. The rechargeable battery in the solar kit can be charged through solar energy as well as supports AC charging. YELO is made up of corrugated sheet is durable and has strength to carry belongings worth more than 5 kg and is the outcome of several months of research and user trails.

With millions of stEmpowering Rural Education - 'YELO' an Innovative Solar Powered School Bag that Converts into a Deskudents out of school world-wide, India ranks highest amongst countries with students not attending school. Students in rural areas lack access to basic educational infrastructure. Sitting on the floor in incorrect posture for long working hours results in back pain, bad eyesight and inability to concentrate and study.

YELO addresses these needs by helping children carry their books and belongings irrespective of weather conditions. The same bag with a single fold technique smartly transforms into a school desk. The desk offers an angle of 30-35 degrees for students to write and read, thus ensuring they maintain an ergonomic posture while studying at school or at home.

“We look forward to collaborate with corporates, NGO’s and other social organizations who share similar vision for working towards this cause,” said Manish Mathur, managing director of Prayas Innovation.

Tender Issued for Isreal Timna Solar Park

A tender is being issued to organize and operate the Tima Solar Park, an new 50 MW PV tracker solar energy farm in southern Isreal. The solar project is being led by the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative. The new Timna Solar Park will be located on a 247 acre plot of land adjacent to the site of the former Timna Mines, which is approximately 18 Eilat Eilot logomiles north of Eilat. The tender will be open to only PV Tracker solar systems and the cost of the bid will cover only the acquisition of the land. The tariff per installed kilowatt has already been determined by the government of Israel according to regulations established in 2012 for solar energy harvested by PV systems. The allocation of the land and project have already been approved by the Israeli Land Authority.

“We are very proud to announce this tender for the Timna Solar Park and significantly expand the amount of solar energy produced in the Arava and Eilat regions, which currently stands at 65 megawatts,” explained Dorit Davidovich-Banet, CEO of The Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative and Chairperson of the Eilat-Eilot Green Energy Conference “The new Timna Solar Park offers bidders and their investors an attractive opportunity to build a profitable solar energy field supported excellent infrastructure and a dynamic renewable energy ecosystem.”

The tender to build and operate the Timna Solar Park is scheduled to be published on October 19,2014 and is open to qualified bidders worldwide, while the Timna Industrial Zone, where the Timna Solar Park will be located, will be managed by the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative. Detailed maps of the area and a completed environmental impact report will be provided to qualified bidders as part of the bid process. Each bidder will be required to submit a detailed plan of its proposed technology and systems to the Israeli National Planning Committee for approval.

Eitan Parnass, director general of the Green Energy Association of Israel, added, “The Timna Solar Park will substantially increase Israel’s renewable energy production and will play an important role in diversifying the country’s energy mix,” said “This project also holds the potential to serve as the basis for international cooperation throughout the region with connectivity and supply of solar energy to the national grids of neighboring countries.”

At the Eilat-Eilot Green Energy Conference, there will be a special conference session dedicated to discussing the project details and bidding process for the Timna Solar Park. This conference session is scheduled for 1pm on December 9, 2014 with bidders taken on a tour of the Timna Solar Park site the following day.

CESA Releases Solar Group Purchasing Guide

Clean Energy States Alliance GuidebookThere is a new guide available for state program managers who are looking at the opportunity of community group purchasing for solar energy. “Planning and Implementing a Solarize Initiative: A Guide for State Program Managers,” was produced by The New England Solar Cost-Reduction Partnership, a coalition of five New England States managed by the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA).

This guide features detailed cases studies of two particularly well-developed and successful programs from New England: Solarize Connecticut and Solarize Massachusetts. Solarize is a group purchasing program for solar PV systems that lowers acquisition costs for rooftop solar installations. As more homeowners join the group purchasing program, the cost goes down, because of a tiered-pricing plan with reduced prices for more participation. The guide will be helpful to program managers and other stakeholders in states across the country seeking to develop their own Solarize programs.

According to the guide, solarize programs in both Connecticut and Massachusetts have been tremendously successful in increasing the rate of residential solar adoption in three ways:

  • First, Solarize expands the potential customer base. In Connecticut, 20% of households who signed a contract for a new solar PV system through the Solarize CT program had never previously considered installing solar.
  • Second, the program speeds up solar deployment. In Massachusetts, the number of small-scale solar projects more than doubled in the vast majority of participating Solarize communities as a result of the program. In Connecticut, during Phase I of their Solarize program, selected Solarize municipalities achieved 24-65 times the rate of new solar installation contracts as compared to the rate during the prior seven years.
  • Third, Solarize programs help drive down the installation prices for consumers. In Connecticut, Solarize has resulted in cost reductions of between 20-30 percent for customers. Solarize Mass has achieved an average price reduction of 18-20 percent for installed projects.

The guide is available here.