Smithfield’s Renewable Energy Commitment Tangible

Smithfield Foods commitment to renewable energy is showing tangible results according to the company. During the past several years, the company has been monitoring scientific advancements that have removed barriers to efficiently and sustainably create renewable energy from agricultural waste, in particular the use of anaerobic digestion processes that covert decomposing organic matter, such as hog manure, into renewable energy.

“The bottom line is that our company’s commitment to creating renewable energy is about to produce some very tangible and beneficial results,” said C. Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods.

cute pigsPope noted that two Smithfield Foods strategic partnerships at Murphy-Brown LLC facilities in northern Missouri and Milford, Utah, involving anaerobic digestion technology are seeing results and the projects will soon deliver electricity to neighboring communities.

“Our Missouri and Utah projects are a classic win-win. We will considerably reduce the greenhouse effects on the Earth’s atmosphere by recycling agricultural waste, help to protect our natural resources and provide a more environmentally friendly energy source,” Pope said.

In northern Missouri, Murphy-Brown of Missouri, LLC (MBM) and Roeslein Alternative Energy, LLC, have announced joint plans to develop a $100 million renewable biogas project. Biogas produces energy when organic matter decomposes without oxygen present. The biogas will be harvested from MGM finishing farms in northern Missouri and construction is set to begin this spring.

In addition, the company’s project Milford, Utah, is ramping up. Murphy-Brown’s
Circle 4 Farms will be producing electricity via two methane digesters. In this project, manure will be converted to energy and as a result, the manure, or solid waste, will no longer be stored in lagoons.

Pope added, “Our manure-to-energy projects are just another step in our sustainability

All They Want for Christmas Is a Biogas Generator

Franklin, Vermont farmers Denna and Mike Benjamin were heading into the holidays with a big wish: natural gas to start their anaerobic digester to convert the methane fro their cows’ manure to electricity. The project was partially funded by a federal grant, and if the digester was not operating by year’s end they would lose a major portion of the money.

The challenge they were facing was not living near a natural gas pipleline and a “shot of pure gas” was needed to get the biogas generator going.  So the Benjamins called NG Advantage, a company that trucks compressed natural gas (CNG) to very large industrial NGA starting farmers methane producer 2013 6customers not located on gas pipelines. The company brings several tractor-trailer loads of gas each day to their large customers, whose factories run their boilers 24/7. These isolated facilities save an estimated 20-40 percent on their fuel bills and emit 26 percent less CO2. The Benjamins hoped that NG Advantage could bring them the much-needed natural gas to get their digester operating.

Even though the Benjamins did not need a trailer full of gas, NG Advantage worked with the Benjamins’ engineer, John Forcier of Forcier Consulting Engineers PC, Christopher Herrick, the Chief of the Vermont HAZMAT Response Team, Mike Raker of the Green Mountain Power Renewable Development Fund, Robert Achilles of the Vermont State Agency of Agriculture, and a Canadian company Bio-Methatech, to make a small delivery of gas available to the Benjamins within two days of the phone call. General Transportation of Bridge Water, MA (NG Advantage’s hauler) provide the use of their tractor at no charge to help reduce the cost.

NG Advantage’s VP of Operations and Safety, Gerry Myers, organized the holiday rescue team. He explained why the company went out of its way to help the Benjamins, “Environmental stewardship and embracing the needs of our community at large are embedded in our company’s daily operations. Helping the Benjamin family and Riverview Farm achieve success with their digester project was the right thing to do.”

Denna Benjamin described why it is important for them to build a digester at the Riverview Farm by saying, “We, as other farmers, are looking for ways to diversify our income steam so that we can keep farming. This project seemed like a way to do that and to improve the environment at the same time.”

The Benjamins built the anaerobic digester to use the manure from their cows to create electricity that they can sell back to the grid, to generate heat their farm, and to create a byproduct that provides dry bedding for the cows. By using the methane from the manure to generate electricity, they also eliminate the substantial release of greenhouse gas that would have otherwise naturally occurred. Continue reading

Seasons Greetings From Greenbelt Resources

Twas the night before startup, and all through the plant
Not a creature was stirring, not even an ant.
The wiring was hung by the electrician with care,
With hopes that good lining would keep them from wear.

The cooker tank was nestled on a slant on its beam,
While starchy feedstock inside it mixed with enzymes and steam.
The fermenters sat empty from bottom to hatch;
The system on idle before its long process batch.

Happy Holidays from Greenbelt ResourcesWhen out in the parking lot arose an engine’s roar,
I sprang down from the catwalk and headed for the door.
Past the boiler I flew with wind at my back,
I grabbed the door handle and open’d just a crack.

With the sun just setting down past the airport,
The shadows grew longer making sight tough to sort.
When who in the lot to mine eyes should appear,
But a tanker truck, full of what looked to be beer.

Despite a sharp reflection off the trucks’ front windshield,
I knew in a moment it must be Butterfield.
Then quickly behind, other feedstock trucks came,
And he pointed, and shouted, and directed by name!

“Here beer waste, here crop wastes, here waste wines and waste booze,
There soda, there sports drinks, there juice and waste foods!
To the back of the lot! To the back of that wall!
Pull in quickly big rigs, pull in quickly you all!”

As professional drivers on a closed course do drive,
when instructions were finished, their gears came alive.
So into the lot the tankers they flew,
With an assortment of feedstocks, and Butterfield too.

And then, with a swoosh, I heard in the pipes
The flowing of liquids of various types.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around
Through the bay door Butterfield came with a bound.

He was dressed like a local, from his cap to his boot,
In a button-down and jeans, the local version of a suit.
He looked at the tanks all filling, wide-eyed.
You could see by his stance he was brimming with pride.

His eyes…how they sparkled! His smile, quite friendly!
He walked straight to the control screen and touched it ever so gently.
All around us the tanks were now full to their brims.
I wondered if we’d all might soon have to swim.

Just as fast as it started, the filling stopped with a squirt.
And then I wondered how such varied feedstocks would convert.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And activated preset system programs; then turned with a jerk.
And lifting his cap by its hard edged visor,
He nodded toward the screen, leaving us all a bit wiser.

He hopped in his rig, to the others gave a whistle,
And away they all drove as fast as a missile.
But I heard him exclaim, like a Saint to his disciple,
“Make Fuel, Fertilizer and Filtered Water from your food wastes; Happy Holidays to all, but please remember to Recycle!”

Methane Digesters Providing Reliable Electricity

Murphy-Brown, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, has announced that its two methane digesters are producing renewable energy. The methane-to-electricity project kicked off in 2012 between Circle 4 Farms located in Milford, Utah (Murphy-Brown’s livestock production subsidiary) and Alpental Energy Partners when the two companies entered into a partnership to convert hog manure to electricity.

Today, the energy produced is connected to the electricity grid and is providing electricity for residential and commercial customers in Utah.

Smithfield logo“Murphy-Brown is excited to be the engine driving this latest form of renewable energy that will allow citizens to turn on the lights in their Utah homes, while at the same time protecting the environment from greenhouse gases such as methane,” said Jim Webb, director of environmental and public affairs for Circle 4 Farms.

“On a personal level, our Milford project is very gratifying for all of us at Smithfield Foods, Murphy-Brown and Circle 4 Farms. Anyone who has observed our actions during the past decade is familiar with our commitment to sustainability. We are committed to reducing our impact on the land, water and air resources that we use in our operations,” Webb added.

Webb explained that the two methane digesters installed at Milford convert some of Circle 4′s hog manure to energy, providing enough electricity to power about 3,000 homes and businesses. The manure-to-energy project has had a significant positive impact on Circle 4′s lagoons because the solid waste that is typically stored in the lagoons, is reduced.

Brady Olson, vice president of Alpental Energy Partners said of the project, “It’s a pleasure to be part of this special project. We are thrilled about our partnership with Smithfield Foods, Murphy-Brown and Circle 4 Farms, and we are looking forward to getting this project fully ramped up and to provide another source of electricity for the citizens of Utah.”

Standard Ethanol Selects Greenbelt Technology

Greenbelt Resources Corporation has been selected by Australia-based Standard Ethanol Pty. Ltd to design and deliver an end-to-end commercial-scale advanced biofuel system for converting wheat feedstock to ethanol and organic fertilizer.

The module is designed to enable beverage producers and agri-businesses to locally recycle organic wastes into usable products. The customized modular system for Standard Ethanol will include proprietary distillation and dehydration modules and a plant-wide implementation of automated process controls. This commercially-viable system, designed to produce fertilizer and 0.5 million gallons per year (MMGY) fuel-grade ethanol, is scheduled for delivery in 2014.

“This system design will prove that converting waste to bioenergy is a profitable endeavor for our industry and the customers we serve,” said Darren Eng, CEO of Greenbelt Resources Corporation. “The management team leading the effort at Standard Ethanol has a strong track record for executing on visionary business innovations and their contract with us is an important validation of our technology and expertise.”

plant_image_smallerStandard Ethanol conducted a worldwide search over a four year period that included visits to the Greenbelt Paso Plant in Paso Robles, California, and to the Stan Mayfield Biofuel Center at the University of Florida, where a distillation module purchased by the university is currently in operation. Standard Ethanol said they selected Greenbelt Resources as the best technology partner based on verifiable experience, high-quality workmanship and a reputation for delivering performance outcomes which exceed expectations. The system will recycle wheat and the company plans to use the ethanol to fuel its own irrigation pumps and vehicles or sell it within the local community.

“After an international search, choosing Greenbelt Resources as the partner for developing our bioenergy facility came easily due to their impressive technology and versatile business model,” said Larry Walsh, Director, Standard Ethanol Pty Ltd. “By adding this system we will gain added value from lower grades of wheat while we also begin to achieve a measure of local energy independence.”

The directors of Standard Ethanol were recently involved in completing another large venture in Australia with the construction of a fully operational cotton gin. Projected cost to operate the system from Greenbelt Resources is estimated to be below one dollar per gallon of biofuel produced.

New Waste Biomass Project Announced

Concord Blue USA, Inc. and LanzaTech have entered into an agreement to integrate their individually proven technologies to demonstrate the production of fuels and chemicals from waste materials.

Concord Blue TechnologyLanzaTech will install a Concord Blue Reformer at its Freedom Pines facility in Soperton, Georgia to convert waste biomass from regional forestry operations into syngas. The syngas will be converted by LanzaTech’s gas fermentation process into a range of biofuels and chemicals. The company says the integration and testing at Freedom Pines will serve as an important step towards commercialization of the integrated technologies for multiple projects that both companies have under contract and in development.

“As the U.S. continues to diversify its energy mix and produce more domestic energy, low carbon fuels derived from waste woody biomass and municipal solid waste will play an increasingly important role,” said Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech. “Our partnership with Concord Blue will enable us to extend our technology to these important resources.”

Concord Blue says it has developed a closed-loop, commercially proven, non-incineration process that recycles nearly any form of waste, including landfill waste and sewage sludge, into energy at virtually any scale. By working closely with leading businesses, governments and communities around the globe, Concord Blue creates tailored solutions that safely and effectively dispose of waste streams while producing clean energy through advanced waste conversion.

“This partnership and demonstration facility lays the foundation for the expeditious development of large scale projects we have been awarded, like the Four Forests Restoration Initiative (4FRI),” said Charlie Thannhaeuser, chairman and chief executive officer of Concord Blue. “This represents a critical step towards achieving our company’s objective to produce drop-in fuels from waste resources and bolster foreign oil independence by producing sustainable non fossil-based fuels.”

Researchers Pair Loofahs & Bacteria to Make Power

Environmental Science & TechnologyWhile the shower room favorite the loofah is known for exfoliating your skin to a radiant glow, researchers might have found a way to pair them with bacteria to turn waste into power. This article from the American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science & Technology says loofahs and bacteria can create a power-generating microbial fuel cell (MFC).

Shungui Zhou and colleagues note that MFCs, which harness the ability of some bacteria to convert waste into electric power, could help address both the world’s growing waste problem and its need for clean power. Current MFC devices can be expensive and complicated to make. In addition, the holes, or pores, in the cells’ electrodes are often too small for bacteria to spread out in. Recently, researchers have turned to plant materials as a low-cost alternative, but pore size has still been an issue. Loofahs, which come from the fully ripened fruit of loofah plants, are commonly used as bathing sponges. They have very large pores, yet are still inexpensive. That’s why Zhou’s team decided to investigate their potential use in MFCs.

When the scientists put nitrogen-enriched carbon nanoparticles on loofahs and loaded them with bacteria, the resulting MFC performed better than traditional MFCs. “This study introduces a promising method for the fabrication of high-performance anodes from low-cost, sustainable natural materials,” the researchers state.

So re-energize with your loofah… and just know that it might one day solve the world’s energy problems.

Renewable Energy Project in NC Begins

NC DM 2 - 3 completeA ribbon-cutting ceremony was recently held by Revolution Energy Solutions (RES), a company focused on waste-to-electricity projects, for its inaugural North Carolina anaerobic digestion project, coined NC-1. The project is currently one of the largest and most progressive farm-based biogas projects in the state.

The event included representatives from RES along with farm hosts Murphy Family Ventures, as well as Lloyd Yates, Duke Energy executive vice president of Regulated Utilities. The nexus of energy, agriculture and the environment, RES says NC-1 marks the beginning of a new era in renewable energy production, rural economic development, community-wide environmental benefits and swine industry waste enhancements for North Carolina.

As the second largest pork producing state in the country, North Carolina generates 40 million gallons of swine manure daily. North Carolina has created a Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (REPS) that establishes the amount of energy demand in the state that must come from renewable sources. The REPS also includes a specific set-aside for swine waste-to-energy projects, which serves as a catalyst for deploying this type of technology and capital in North Carolina, and Duke University estimates that the REPS requirement could be met with as few as 127 state farms.

DM 4 - 3 CHP November 2013“Projects such as NC-1 are a gateway to rural economic development and renewable energy production. Not only are we generating significant electricity and employment opportunities, we are greatly enhancing the farm’s existing waste management system to improve processing and create previously unachievable environmental benefits,” said Alan Tank, co-founder and CEO of Revolution Energy Solutions. “North Carolina already has the requisite quality and quantity of feedstock to sustain these types of projects. We’re confident that additional states will embrace this example and NC-1 will be the first of many such waste-to-energy projects in the United States.”

RES says it brings both the patented, proprietary technology and proven project success to transform these swine waste streams into a meaningful source of energy. By processing waste streams generated by livestock on farms, as well as other organic feedstock materials such as food waste, fats, greases and oils and municipal waste streams, RES projects can create renewable energy, improve the environment and drive local economic development. These projects generate measurable air and water quality benefits, including greenhouse gas emission reductions, pathogen destruction, hydrogen sulfide emission reductions, and enhanced nutrient management and waste stream utilization.

LanzaTech’s Gas-to-Biofuel Earns RSB Certification

lanzatechLanzaTech’s venture in China to turn steel mill waste gases into biofuel has earned an important sustainability certification. The company’s partnership with Shougang Jingtang Iron and Steel United Company and the Tang Ming Group is now Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) certified as sustainable for biofuels and biomaterials production. When commercially producing biofuels next year, the LanzaTech technology-enabled facility becomes the first RSB-certified biofuel plant in China.

“The joint venture uses a process that creates a sustainable biofuel and does so by efficiently reusing greenhouse gases that would have otherwise been released into the atmosphere,” said Peter Ryus, RSB Services’ CEO. “This solution, which does not impact the food chain or land use, meets the RSB principles and practices and serves as an example of how continued innovation in the industry will lead to sustainable biofuels in the future. We are honored to be working with LanzaTech and their joint venture partners on greenhouse gas reduction and global sustainability improvements.”

The use of novel gas fermentation technology to convert industrial waste gases into biofuels is aligned perfectly with the RSB Principles and Criteria, which go beyond greenhouse gas emissions reductions to focus on economic and social sustainability. By using a widely available waste resource located in areas typically unsuitable for agriculture, LanzaTech’s process reduces overall emissions without negatively impacting the food chain or causing land use changes. By enabling the production of fuels from available steelmaking waste, Beijing Shougang LanzaTech New Energy Science & Technology Co., Ltd. will help China balance economic growth with sustainability, as well as increase its supply of domestic biofuels.

“The RSB certification is an incredibly important step for the development of our commercial production facilities which we expect to bring online in 2014,” said Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech. “In addition, we trust this certification will help accelerate the acceptance of biofuels made through carbon capture technologies and serve to showcase the possibilities opened up by thinking of carbon emissions as an opportunity, not just a problem.”

LanzaTech is also partnering with Virgin Atlantic Airlines, one air travel company which prefers the RSB certification when getting sustainable biofuels for their operations.

EcoEngineers Recieves “Waste Stream” Funding

EcoEngineers has been awarded a State Energy Program Formula grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) to conduct a feasibility study of waste-to-energy projects in Iowa. The grant will enable EcoEngineers to evaluate the economic and technical feasibility of converting biogenic waste streams from Iowa’s agricultural, livestock and industrial operations and municipal solid waste into renewable natural gas (biogas).

livestock“We are grateful that IEDA chose our project. And, we are excited to be able to advance Iowa’s position as a leader in sustainability and renewable energy technology and production,” said EcoEngineers’ Managing Partner Shashi Menon. “This feasibility study is just one more example of Iowa’s commitment to innovative sustainable practices that could very well result in a future increase to the State’s economy.”

The study will compare costs and revenues associated with generating biogas from anaerobic digestion of waste streams. It will also look at existing biogas collection systems at landfills, and it will offer an analytical tool to determine optimum end use for the biogas. The anticipated outcome of the project is to demonstrate that alternative waste treatment options, such as anaerobic digestion systems are economically feasible and financially viable. The report and tools generated from this project will be free and available for the public to use.

“We are excited to partner with EcoEngineers on this project. Having the tools and resources to make decisions regarding waste-to-energy projects will not only spur economic development in the state but also assist in meeting a number of environmental goals like reduced emissions and improved water and air quality,” said Paritosh Kasotia, Energy Team Leader for the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Iowa is a good location for the study because the state leads the nation in agriculture, meat production and production of renewable fuels. These industries generate waste streams that are rich in organic material that can be broken down to produce biogas, EcoEngineers Logocomprised mostly of methane and carbon dioxide. Biogas can be used as a fuel in a gas engine where it is converted into electricity and heat, and can also be purified and compressed, the same way natural gas is compressed to CNG, and used to power motor vehicles.

Other incentives for the project include current federal policy under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) that allows biogas from manure digesters and sewage treatment plants to qualify for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs). However, the biogas must be used as transportation fuel. Over the past three years, EcoEngineers has supplied engineering and regulatory expertise for several landfill biogas and anaerobic digester projects and successfully connected the projects with environmental credit (RIN) markets, thus closing the loop to allow for financing. Through these projects, EcoEngineers has helped bring over 72 million gallon-equivalents of biogas generation capacity into commerce.

Clean Energy Fuels Distributing “Waste” Natural Gas

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. has announced that it will be the first company to commercially distribute a renewable natural gas vehicle fuel, called Redeem, made from waste streams such as landfills, large dairies and sewage plants, directly to fleets around the country. In addition, natural gas fleets will be able to purchase Redeem at the 35 public Clean Energy stations throughout California.

“It’s a landmark day for Clean Energy as the first company to make this revolutionary and renewable transportation fuel made from waste available to our customers,” said Andrew J. Littlefair, president and CEO of Clean Energy. “Our goal is to produce and distribute 15 CE-Sacramento-CA-Refuse-Truck-RedeemSticker-1million gallons of Redeem in our first year, which can make significant progress towards achieving California’s climate change goals and prove that this is a viable, cleaner and abundant alternative fuel source for our future.”

Clean Energy is staking its position in the renewable fuels market through a significant investment in natural gas fueling infrastructure, including 400 fueling stations throughout the nation, as well as in the development of multiple biomethane production facilities that will produce Redeem.

“California’s leadership in addressing the threat of climate change and its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions makes it the ideal state to launch Clean Energy’s Redeem fuel,” said Harrison Clay, president of Clean Energy subsidiary Clean Energy Renewable Fuels. “Redeem is the lowest carbon footprint fuel commercially available and the only affordable renewable fuel for heavy duty trucks. We believe this creates an environmental and economic incentive for companies inside and outside California who are looking to make a major reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions from their fleet operations while still saving on their fuel bill. Redeem makes that possible.”

According to California Air Resource Board CARB( estimates, Redeem sourced from landfill gas can enable up to a 90 percent reduction in carbon emissions when displacing diesel or gasoline in compressed natural gas (CNG). Clean Energy Fuels estimates a fleet that consumes 1,000,000 gallons of gasoline per year can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 9,700 metric tons by switching to Redeem. Continue reading

Research to Look into Food Waste-to-Ethanol

greenbeltResearchers are going to be looking into the feasibility of fermenting food waste and sweet potato into ethanol. Greenbelt Resources Corp. and its wholly-owned subsidiary Diversified Ethanol Corp. will have California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo look into the fermentation testing at a commercial level.

The study seeks to optimize three factors in biomass-based ethanol production that are critical to the scalability and adoption of the technology solutions provided by Greenbelt and Diversified: process temperature, application of various enzymes, and variations in fermentation processing. Batch ethanol yield is a key factor in the effort to scale down ethanol production to reach localized volume demands. Research parameters will report on the effect on yield from variances in temperature, pH levels, enzyme volumes and concentration, particle size, and batch volumes. The study will also compare separate hydrolysis (SHF) versus simultaneous saccharification (SSF).

Greenbelt Resources officials say they are happy to have some of the brightest at Cal Poly working on the project. The school says the funding has helped it continue research around waste-to-fuel conversion formulas.

Waste-to-Energy Insider Interviews

Renewable Waste Intelligence has just released a report, RWI Insider Interviews:
The Municipal Perspective on Waste Conversion Projects, that features five in-depth interviews with executives that focus on waste management to energy. Interviews featured RWI Insider Interviewsare with the County of Maui; the City of San Jose; Humboldt Waste Management Authority;, Monterey Regional Waste Management District; and the City of Glendale. The interviews provide insight into the experience of companies currently undergoing municipal waste conversion projects including opportunities and challenges the projects face.

The goal of the brief is to give the reader insight into how municipalities deal with regulatory & technical issues, have changed public perception, utilised public-private partnerships and financed projects; and understand how municipalities go about selecting project partners and technology providers.

For instance, Kyle Ginoza, Director of the Department of Environmental Management in the
County of Maui, Hawaii, notes, “The greatest challenge is perhaps ensuring that a waste conversion project is economically viable. We face constraints in acceptability of the project from an electricity generation perspective, since there is a multitude of existing renewable energy projects in the region. Consequently, our waste conversion project will entail generating liquid and solid fuels as the output marketable products.”

The paper was launched as a prelude to the upcoming Waste Conversion Congress taking place December 3-4, 2013 in San Diego, California. Click here for more information and to register.

Louisiana Animal Fat-to-Diesel Plant Hits Capacity

darlingA Louisiana plant that turns animal fats, used cooking oil and other waste grease into diesel fuel hit capacity this week in its startup phase. This article in The Advocate in Baton Rouge says the Diamond Green Diesel plant, a joint venture between Darling International Inc. and Valero Energy Corp., can now produce about 9,300 barrels per day of biodiesel and will get more reliable after a heat exchanger is changed out.

Diamond Green’s website says it expects to convert about 1.1 billion pounds of fat and restaurant grease into 137 million gallons of green diesel per year — an estimated 9,300 barrels per day.

At that rate, the company would be converting up to 11 percent of the country’s animal fat and used cooking oil into a fuel that has the same properties as petroleum diesel.

The project follows two years of planning and development after the U.S. Department of Energy said it would back a $241 million loan guarantee to help build the plant, which the agency said would create about 60 jobs.

Darling International Inc. of Irving, Texas, supplies the feedstock for the plant. The company recycles beef, poultry and pork by-products into useable ingredients such as tallow, feed-grade fats, meat and bone meal, poultry meal and hides. The company also recovers and converts used cooking oil and commercial bakery residuals into feed and fuel ingredients.

The plant, located right next to Valero’s St. Charles refinery, started operations earlier this summer.

UK Seeks “Best” Biofuel

According to an article in The Guardian, the United Kingdom (UK) is willing to pay for the best biofuels. The UK government is hosting a competition to come up with the most garbageviable demonstration plants for biofuels made from waste organic materials, such as wood waste or straw.

Many groups, especially environmental groups, have begun to lobby in favor of “better biofuels” or ones they consider to be both better for the environment or for society. Within this context, groups are opposed to first generation biofuels- or those that can be used for “food-” aka the food versus fuel debate. In light of this trend, focus has shifted to biofuels made from other feedstocks, especially waste materials – things that would end up in landfills.

Attempts to manufacture biofuels from waste have been going on since the late 1960s; however, until now, research has been limited to the lab have have not met with great success. Yet growing concerns about the environment has brought more attention to the transportation sector and a resurgence in waste-to-energy technology has evolved. Today, the industry is beginning to see some success at demonstration level.

In the UK, Ministers believe that research has now reached a stage where advanced biofuels are commercially possible. The department for transport said indications from the biofuels industry have demonstrated there are potential projects with a modicum of interest. The Ministers believe there will be several “high quality” bids for the 25m on offer, which must be matched by private sector investment.

Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat transport minister, told the Guardian, “It’s hugely important that we decarbonise transport. We have been up hill and down dale on biofuels in the past few years. What we need to do is distinguish between good biofuels and bad biofuels, and this competition will produce good biofuels.”

The first step of the prize will involve a feasibility study detailing the design of the competition and the criteria that needs to be met by any bidder. This stage is expected to take four or five months, after which bids will be accepted. A winner could be announced within a year, but the process could take longer depending on the bids received. The prize will accept a bid for a project using any methodology or feedstock as long as they can be proved to produce carbon savings over conventional fuels and come from feedstocks that are environmentally sustainable.