Bluesphere Plans to Turn Landfill Methane into Power

Blue-Sphere-Corporation-logoIsrael-based Bluesphere Corp. has announced a plan to convert the methane gas coming off U.S. landfills into clean energy. Company officials say it can be done with technology that is already available.

Methane can be converted into energy by drilling pipes into the landfill. Through these pipes methane is directed into a gas turbine or internal combustion engine which converts the gas into electricity. The electricity can either be used on-site or sold to the local electric utility and fed into the grid.

Bluesphere CEO Shlomi Palas commented, “A large number of the landfills in the U.S., particularly in the southeastern region, are not productively using methane gas emitted from landfills. These landfills are the oil fields of the future.”

“We believe we can offer a very favorable partnership to current landfill owners by providing the equipment, expertise, and power purchase agreements to convert what is now an unused asset, methane gas, into a revenue stream. We’ve been in talks with state representatives looking to increase green energy production and reduce methane emissions. They have invited and welcomed our efforts to work with landfill owners in their jurisdictions on methane-to-electricity conversions.”

Bluesphere officials believe this is a win-win-win-win situation, as they’ll generate revenues for landfill owners and Bluesphere, while cleaning up the environment AND generating clean, renewable energy.

Biogas Opportunities Roadmap Published

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Energy (DOE) along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have published a new report that outlines new federal initiatives to support growth in the private biogas/waste-to-energy sector. The Biogas Opportunities Roadmap concluded that developing a viable biogas industry in the U.S. can boost the economy as well as provide a reliable, distributed source of renewable energy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Blue Sphere Corporation logoThe report found that today there are 2,000 biogas sites operating and with opportunity for another 11,000 additional biogas systems to covert waste to energy and co-products. However, to make way for these additional biogas systems, there must be support from federal agencies, significantly more investment, increased research and development and expanded markets for biogas, according to the report.

In the Biogas Opportunities Roadmap, the federal agencies identify programs that will promote biogas utilization and help the private sector take advantage of the full potential of biogas system without legislation. These programs include:

  • Using existing agency programs to leverage over $10 million in research funding.
  • Fostering investments in biogas systems including reviewing government procurement programs for products of biogas systems.
  • Strengthening markets for biogas systems and system products including by modernizing existing Federal incentives.
  • Improving communication and coordination by establishing a Biogas Opportunities Roadmap Working Group that will include participation from DOE and EPA, as well as the dairy and biogas industries.

“The potential for biogas to increase renewable energy production, reduce landfill waste, benefit the environment, and spur economic growth in the U.S. is significant. We are very pleased to see the U.S. government publish a report that outlines these benefits and opportunities,” said Shlomi Palas, CEO of Blue Sphere Corporation, a company specializing in biogas technology.  “Bluesphere is actively working in several U.S. states to develop biogas facilities. We have brought our global expertise in building and operating waste-to-energy facilities to the U.S. market and we’re finding very strong interest in the value proposition we have to offer. We are eager to expand our operations in the U.S. in conjunction with some major partners and to capitalize on biogas opportunities.”

Bluesphere has begun design and engineering work, and is scheduled to break ground in 2014 on a 5.2 MW waste-to-energy anaerobic digester in Charlotte, North Carolina. The company is also developing in a 3.2 MW waste-to-energy project in Rhode Island and has a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a 5.2 MW waste-to-energy project in Massachusetts.

MIT Researchers Convert Lead to Solar Power

Researchers at MIT are recycling materials from discarded car batteries into long-lasting solar panels that provide emissions free power while keep lead out of landfills. The system was described in the journal Energy and Environmental Science and was co-authored by Angela M. Belcher and Paula T. Hammon along with graduate student Po-Yen Chen, and three others.

The system is based on a recent development in solar cells that makes use of a compound called perovskite — specifically, organolead halide perovskite — a technology that has rapidly progressed from initial experiments to a point where its efficiency is nearly competitive with that of other types of solar cells.

“It went from initial demonstrations to good efficiency in less than two years,” said Belcher, the W.M. Keck Professor of Energy at MIT. Already, perovskite-based photovoltaic cells have achieved power-conversion efficiency of more than 19 percent, which is close to that of many commercial silicon-based solar cells.

Initial descriptions of the perovskite technology identified its use of lead, whose production from raw ores can produce toxic residues, as a drawback. However by using recycled lead from old car batteries, the manufacturing process can instead be used to divert toxic material from landfills and reuse it in photovoltaic panels that could go on producing power for decades. In addition, because the perovskite photovoltaic material takes the form of a thin film just half a micrometer thick, the team’s analysis shows that the lead from a single car battery could produce enough solar panels to provide power for 30 households.

As an added advantage, the production of perovskite solar cells is a relatively simple and benign process. “It has the advantage of being a low-temperature process, and the number of steps is reduced” compared with the manufacture of conventional solar cells, Belcher explained.

Those factors will help to make it “easy to get to large scale cheaply,” added. Continue reading

Albion Community Power Funds Biogas Project

Albion Community Power logoAlbion Community Power (ACP) has funded the development of a small scale landfill gas engine in Docking, Norfolk (UK). The project will be developed in conjunction with ACP’s biogas partner AlphaGen Renewables who will oversee the installation and operation of a 50kW microgeneration landfill gas engine. The project will generate power from the landfill gas resource at the site under a 20 year agreement with Norfolk County Council. The Docking projects represents the first project with AlphaGen Renewables and the first Biogas project in the ACP portfolio.

Richard Tipping, Chairman of AlphaGen Renewables said, “We are delighted to be partnering with ACP on this project, which is set to deliver strong returns. Renewables such as biogas are playing a growing role in the UK’s energy production.”

ACP undertakes projects in biogas as well as projects incorporating wind, hydro and solar energy. The company is looking to build a portfolio of similar, high yielding, landfill projects going forward.

David Gudgin, Head of at Renewables at Albion Ventures added, “Biogas is an increasingly popular area of renewable energy and we are looking forward to working with AlphaGen both on this project and others in the future.”

ClosureTurf Featured in Hartford Landfill

The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA) has begun the final phase of the Hartford Landfill closure with the addition a 40-acre cap utilizing ClosureTurf, a three component erosion control closure system, topped by six acres of solar panels. ClosureTurf consists of an impermeable geomembrane layer, engineered turf and sand infill. This system ensures durability, longevity and the elimination of drainage and odor. According to Watershed Geosynthetics, the developer of the ClosureTurf, the state-owned landfill is now an example of innovation in renewable energy for future landfill closures in Connecticut and across the nation.

“When we began working with the City of Hartford on the future of the landfill, we wanted to find innovative ways to use the land,” said Thomas D. Kirk, CRRA President. “Solar energy was an idea we all agreed on right away.”

ClosureTurfClosureTurf is a durable system that allows for a multitude of post-closure uses with easy accessibility and clean surface having little maintenance. “Solar panels on top of a landfill, is an extremely beneficial re-use of typical dead space when a landfill is closed,” explained Mike Ayers, president of Watershed Geosynthetics. “The ClosureTurf system makes solar a very viable option since the panels are located in a remote place over large areas which allows the opportunity for installation of a large number of solar panels (making it easier to reach critical scale in megawatts installed) with very minimal maintenance.”

With the completion of the installation, the Hartford Landfill is now the first in the state of Connecticut — and one of few in the nation — to be transformed into a renewable energy source through the generation of solar power. Collected energy will be sold to the regional power grid in Connecticut. The CRRA plans to generate enough megawatts to power more than 1,000 Hartford homes. When the closure project is completed, the entire 96-acre landfill will be encapsulated with ClosureTurf.

Free Webinar: Muncipal Solid Waste to BioProducts

Renewable-Waste-IntelligenceMunicipal solid waste is a big concern for cities around the world and many are discovering that they can make money from their waste. How? But converting the waste stream into biofuels and bioproducts. Yet a question that remains to be answered is where and when will this development play out and how are developers strategizing their business model to reach commercialization?

People can learn the answers to these questions by signing up for Renewable Waste Intelligence’s  free webinar, “The challenges of achieving a commercial scale MSW to biofuels and bio-products project“. The webinar will take place Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 10:30 am ET.

Speakers include experts from several of the country’s leading biofuels and bioproducts companies who will share their views on the unfolding project plans, how commercialization has been reached and how MSW can be used to produce a viable and green “drop in” solution for the biochemicals industry.

Speakers include:

  • Tim Cesarek, VP, Enerkem
  • Steve Csonka, Executive Director, CAAFI
  • Sadesh Sookraj, EVP, Novomer

For more information and to register click here.

DOE Allocates $4B in Loan Guarantees

The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a loan guarantee solicitation making as much as $4 billion in loan guarantees available for innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects located in the U.S. that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases.

DOE_logo1“As the President emphasized in his Climate Action Plan, it is critical that we take an all-of-the above approach to energy in order to cut carbon pollution, help address the effects of climate change and protect our children’s future,” said Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Investments in clean, low-carbon energy also provide an economic opportunity. Through previous loan guarantees and other investments, the Department is already helping launch or jumpstart entire industries in the U.S., from utility-scale wind and solar to nuclear and lower-carbon fossil energy. Today’s announcement will help build on and accelerate that success.”

The Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects Loan Guarantee Solicitation is intended to support technologies that are catalytic, replicable, and market-ready. Within the solicitation, the Department has included a sample list illustrative of potential technologies for consideration. While any project that meets the appropriate requirements is eligible to apply, the Department has identified five key technology areas of interest: advanced grid integration and storage; drop-in biofuels; waste-to-energy; enhancement of existing facilities including micro-hydro or hydro updates to existing non-powered dams; and efficiency improvements.

Wastewater Has Potential as Biodiesel Feedstock

luxresearchWastewater streams could provide the feedstocks for biodiesel production. This article from Water Technology says a new study from Lux Research shows the potential to capture industrial fats, oils and greases (FOG) from the streams to make the green fuel.

Growing demand for biodiesel amid a restricted supply of feedstocks drives recovery of industrial FOG. However, current economics don’t favor lithium and phosphate recovery, noted the release.

“Many current wastewater streams contain resources worth billions of dollars of lost product and lost opportunity,” said Tess Murray, research associate and author of the report titled, “Recovering Valuable Resources from Wastewater.”

“As the value of resources rises, recovery technologies are beginning to make sense for even parts-per-million traces of materials such as precious metals and oil,” she added.

You can read the full report here.

GENERcoin to Back Renewable Alternative to Coal

Now this is an interesting concept that I’ve run across – a mix of digital currency with renewable energy. The crypto currency is backed by real Green ENERgy and their product is coined ‘GENERcoin’. The product is being offered through Arterran Renewables and according to the company combines stable value together with economic utility that neither debt-backed or gold-backed currencies offer.

Ok, let’s take a step back. Arterran Renewables is a nextgen biofuel company whose technology converts any waste with a suitable cellulose content into a solid biofuel that can replace coal.  According to the company, the result is a renewable and abundant source of energy that produces significantly more energy than industrial wood pellets, with no off gassing, superior combustion characteristics, and lower handling costs.

“Arterran Renewables is very enthusiastic about the potential from this partnership with members of the crypto currency community. The mutual discovery of the benefits that each of us can offer the world is enormous,” said Arterran’s CEO Lloyd Davis. “Arterran believes both parties have disruptive innovation at the core of our technologies and our innovations will change the World.”

GENERcoinNow back to GENERcoin. The solid biofuel, which is a replacement for coal, is reality thanks in part to GENERcoin, whose currency is in essence backing the technology.

“GENERcoin is simply about one thing: a World with sustainable renewable energy. The world cannot afford to ignore the effects of 150 years of fossil fuel use, nor can it continue down the big energy business as usual path,” said GENERcoin’s lead visionary David Tiessen. “The effects of fossil fuel use will continue to increase the CO2 levels of the planet and negatively affect our climate and the future of thousands of species, including ours.”

“We now have the choice of business as usual and the continued burning of dirty fossil fuels and the polluting of the planet, or renewable and sustainable alternatives like Arterran Renewables,” continued Tiessen. “Mankind now has at our disposal clean, sustainable energy alternatives and Arterran Renewables with their ability to directly replace coal is the latest exciting addition. GENERcoin is the medium to deploy Arterran’s NextGen Renewable Solid Biofuel and we’re excited to get down to the business of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

GENERcoins will be released through a crowdsale taking place on the Master Protocol on June 11, 2014. Each participant will actually be pre-purchasing Arterran’s NextGEN Solid Biofuel at the rate of $0.062 USD per coin, equivalent to 10,000 btu calculated at a significant discount (according to current market prices as reported by Argus Media). Each coin holder then has the option of redeeming their coins for the fuel or exchanging or trading them as they see fit.

DEINOVE & SUEZ Enter Into Waste to Ethanol Project

DEINOVE has entered into a collaborative agreement with SUEZ ENVIRONMENT Group to explore the potential for developing a new industrial sector for transforming urban organic waste into ethanol through the use of Deinococcus bacteria. The goal of the two-year agreement is to define the optimum conditions for producing ethanol on a per-industrious scale.

Today, organic waste is essentially recycled through composting and methanization. The abundant availability of this source of carbon, its cost and its composition, which is favorable to the growth of microorganisms, make it a realistic candidate for innovative recycling into molecules of industrial interest, including commodities, according to DEINOVE.

Deinoccoccus bacteria“With its amazing capacity for effectively degrading all types of biomass, Deinococcus creates value from waste that is little used today,” said Emmanuel Petiot, CEO of DEINOVE. “In cooperation with SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT, one of the world leaders in processing and recycling waste, we are expanding our potential markets and are contributing to the development of a real circular economy.”

During the past six months, DEINOVE has been working with SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT who has been providing various types of waste coming from its processing units. The results of this upstream research phase have confirmed that these substrates can be transformed into interesting molecules, including ethanol, by Deinococcus bacteria.

As a result of the R&D, the partners have decided to undertake a two-year collaborative extension of their DEINOL programme. The first phase will focus on optimizing the main stages of the process’ development including: choice of substrates supplied by SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT and pretreatment conditions; choice of a Deinococcus strain adapted to these substrates; and the definition of the conditions for fermentative production in order to achieve a satisfactory ethanol production rate in 20-L bioreactors.

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
journey.”

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.