Cerritos College located in Norwalk, California has announced a new training program to certify military veterans and other applicants to meet the growing need for electrical field service technicians (EFSTs). These are the workers who help to maintain solar power and electric vehicle infrastructure.
The program is the result of a partnership among Cerritos College’s Technology Division, the Advanced Transportation & Renewable Energy (ATRE) sector, a California Community Colleges workforce program, and True South Renewables, Inc. The five-month college certification program will teach students how to maintain and repair solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and equipment needing general maintenance. Cerritos College and ATRE worked closely with True South Renewables to develop the extensive curriculum for this unique program.
“This is an important initiative to provide military personnel who were electricians in the service with training to receive certification in a high-paying, growing civilian field,” said Rue Phillips, CEO of True South Renewables based in Huntington Beach, Calif. “In addition, these graduates are needed. Few outside the solar power industry are aware of the volume of operations and maintenance work required to ensure the optimum performance of large solar fields and photovoltaic systems on commercial and residential rooftops.”
Classes start Jan. 12, 2015 at the Cerritos College campus and applications are now being accepted. Applicants must be experienced electricians with accumulated service knowledge and skills in the electronics/electrician and IT sectors. Qualified U.S. veterans are being prioritized for entry and will be able to secure financial support upon acceptance.
“We are proud to offer this program to the community, enabling qualified veterans, the unemployed and under-employed to receive training that fills a critical shortage of technicians in the trillion-dollar solar and EV markets,” added Jannet Malig, ATRE regional director based at Cerritos College. “Graduates of the program will be introduced to industry leaders with the expectation that we will achieve 99% job placement for graduating students.”
Folks in the Aloha State will be keeping cool and the lights on late greener as the state’s electric utility signs a deal to use biodiesel to power generators on Oahu. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports Hawaiian Electric Co. and Maui-based Pacific Biodiesel Technologies have signed a two-year contract starting in just under a year.
Pacific Biodiesel Technologies will provide waste cooking oil and other local feedstocks to be used at the 110-megawatt power plant at Campbell Industrial Park as well as other Oahu power plants if needed.
Pacific Biodiesel Technologies will provide a minimum of 2 million and up to 3 million gallons per year to HECO. The contract is waiting approval from the Public Utilities Commission.
The contract with the local firm comes with a reduced price, said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO.
“This new contract accomplishes our goal of using locally produced biofuel to the greatest extent possible,” Oshima said. “Biodiesel for the Campbell Industrial Park plant will come from Pacific Biodiesel’s recently commissioned Hawaii Island refinery at a lower price than we now pay for mainland supplied biodiesel.”
The utility will save about 13 percent under this new contract. Pacific Biodiesel officials say the contract will use up about half of the company’s current production volume.
Ag and construction equipment maker CNH Industrial and Italy’s Fiat Chrysler Automobiles were part of the first ever “Biomethane Day.” This CNH news release says the two attended the meeting organized by the Italian Biogas Consortium (CIB), Assogasmetano and NGV Italy in partnership with CNH Industrial and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, near Verona, Italy to highlight the potential of biomethane in terms of reducing CO2 emissions.
Biomethane enhances the industrial sector’s expertise in natural gas, a field in which Italy is one of the world leaders. It is obtained by a process of “upgrading” biogas and can be produced from animal waste, agro-industrial by-products and crop integration. It possesses similar characteristics to natural gas and enables similar operation. Furthermore, biomethane could be inserted into the natural gas network and used as an advanced form of biofuel for transport and agricultural machinery.
Biomethane is seen as part of a larger European strategy that the continent get at least 10 percent of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.
Patriot Renewable Fuels has named Audie Sturtewagen as manager of its new 5-million gallon per year biodiesel plant expected to come on line in Illinois in the first quarter of 2015. This company news release says Sturtewagen has worked for the company since 2008 when the ethanol plant started production.
Audie Sturtewagen said “I’m excited to have the opportunity to manage this important new Patriot subsidiary. We believe this new plant will be one of the most cost efficient biodiesel plants in the country. I am proud to be part of this new plant in my hometown, Annawan, IL. It’s great to see Patriot grow and diversify its business here, and I can’t wait to work with the new employees that will be brought on to operate the plant”.
Rick Vondra said “Patriot Fuels Biodiesel, LLC will use a new “Super Critical” production process that involves high pressure and heat. It will use less chemicals than many other processes. Feedstock will be corn oil extracted from the corn/ethanol process, but if we want to expand production, we can use any of the other feedstocks such as soy oil, brown grease, or yellow grease as well”. The plant has been designed by Jatro Diesel, Miamisburg, Ohio. Patriot is acting as general contractor for the project. Construction Manager, Joe Lillion is coordinating and supervising all the engineering, procurement and subcontractor activities.
Biodiesel at the plant will be made from corn oil, making it the first advanced biofuel produced by Patriot.
Lloyd Register Energy has launched a new Wind Turbine Certification IEC 61400 service. The goal of the certification is to help overcome many of the technical, financial and environmental risks associated with turbine design and manufacturing. It will also ensure that the wind turbine is designed, documented and manufactured to comply with design specifications, specific standards and other technical requirements.
Ross Wigg, VP Renewables at Lloyd’s Register Energy said, “Success in the wind energy industry requires multi-disciplinary competences to understand the wind resource; choose appropriate technology; and design, install, and operate robust projects. With the certification landscape changing, we have launched this new certification service to address a growing need in the market for independent provision of type certification for onshore and offshore wind turbines.”
The Lloyd’s Register Type Certification process is carried out in accordance with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) — IEC 61400-22 — which is an internationally recognized and a mandatory requirement in some regions. It sets out the key requirements for assessment of wind turbine design, manufacturing and testing.
“We feel that clients in Europe, America and Asia could benefit from a fresh, more intuitive, approach while retaining the technical excellence already associated with Lloyd’s Register Energy as an acknowledged independent global certification and classification company,” added Wigg.
The company also has launched a pre-certification ‘SMART Audit’ module specifically designed to plan for innovation challenges in future technology advances. Its experts conduct a full audit of a client’s early stage design, management systems and resource so they can make adjustments where necessary. A pre-certification audit is then put in place to plan for likely technical or innovation challenges which can be worked through in advance and minimizing delays further down the line.
Some drivers in the Sunshine State will now have access to 15% ethanol fuel (E15), approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in vehicles 2001 and newer.
In partnership with Protec Fuel, retail stations in Ft. Myers and Sarasota operated by Mid-State Energy are holding kickoff events with substantial discounts on E15 and E85 fuel today to celebrate the new fuel choice for consumers.
Florida-based Protec Fuel helped manage the ethanol blends installation and provide fuel for the locations. “We are proud to help introduce American-made ethanol into the fuel pool through E15 in Florida, especially as it’s a higher performance fuel at 88-octane,” said Protec vice president of business development Steve Walk. “It’s so convenient for drivers to make a difference – you can use E15 interchangeably with gas if you’re driving a 2001 or newer model.”
The Renewable Fuels Association has been working with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for more than two years to overcome regulatory barriers that hindered the sale of E15 in Florida. “It is exciting to see E15 continue its expansion to the East Coast and it is my hope that additional states in the South and East that don’t currently offer E15 will follow Florida’s example and begin offering low-cost E15 to their consumers,” said RFA vice president of industry relations Robert White.
The Tampa Bay Clean Cities Coalition is pleased to see the expansion of bio-based fuels in the region. “These fuels can provide a renewable and cleaner fuel option for us now with virtually no additional investment in vehicle modification or infrastructure,” said coordinator Steven Reich. “I hope that more retailers will take advantage of the availability of these fuels in their product mix.” Clean Cities coalitions throughout the nation are charged with reducing the nation’s petroleum usage by the U.S. DOE.
Renewable energy production in California is getting another boost as dairy biogas digester development is turning waste into fuel. This article from Dairy Cares says the development of the waste-to-fuel converters is being helped by new programs, incentives and partnerships.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture recently announced the creation of a new Dairy Digester Research and Development Program, an important front-end boost for expanding the number of dairy digesters. With funding from the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (cap-and-trade program), $11.1 million in competitive grants will be awarded for the construction of new dairy digester projects in California. These grants can provide up to 50 percent of the total cost of a new project, with a $3 million grant cap. An additional $500,000 will be made available for research and demonstration projects that improve the economic performance of dairy digesters in California.
Another key to achieving economic viability of dairy digesters is the price paid for green, renewable electricity generated on the farm. Today’s dairy bioenergy market is new and underdeveloped. However, 2015 should see significant market maturation for dairy bioenergy with the expected full implementation of the California Public Utilities Commission’s bioenergy feed-in tariff mandated by SB 1122. This law requires that California’s three large investor owned utilities collectively procure 90 megawatts of bioenergy from dairy and other agricultural sources.
The article goes on to point out that national partnerships with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and new opportunities on the horizon should make the California dairy community “optimistic about the potential to develop more cost-effective, environmentally friendly dairy digesters to our state.”
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) is bringing retired Four-Star General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark to its next big conference. The group says Clark will talk about ethanol and energy security during the at the 9th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit and Trade Show on January 27, 2015 at Prairie Meadows near Des Moines.
“The IRFA is excited to have retired Four-Star General Wesley Clark address the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit to provide attendees with a unique perspective on biofuels and their impacts on national security,” stated IRFA President Steve Bleyl. “With discussion over renewable fuels policy at fever-pitch, the 2015 Summit will be a great place to hear the latest and greatest on the future of renewable fuels.”
The meeting is free to the public. More information and registration are available here.
Waste cooking oil-to-biodiesel operations are getting some help as biotech company Novozymes introduces a new enzyme just for that kind of operation. This company news release says Novozymes Eversa® is the first commercially available enzymatic solution to make biodiesel from waste oils and gives producers more feedstock selection at lower costs.
Growing demand for vegetable oil in the food industry has resulted in increased prices, causing biodiesel producers to search for alternative – and more sustainable – feedstocks. Most of the oils currently used are sourced from soybeans, palm or rapeseed, and typically contain less than 0.5% free fatty acids (FFA). Existing biodiesel process designs have difficulty handling oils containing more than 0.5% FFA, meaning that waste oils with high FFAs have not been a viable feedstock option until now.
“The idea of enzymatic biodiesel is not new, but the costs involved have been too high for commercial viability,” says Frederik Mejlby, marketing director for Novozymes’ Grain Processing division. “Eversa changes this and enables biodiesel producers to finally work with waste oils and enjoy feedstock flexibility to avoid the pinch of volatile pricing.”
Novozymes officials say Eversa will work with a broad range of fatty materials as feedstock, although initially intended for used cooking oil, DDGS corn oil and fatty acid distillates. They do say most biodiesel producers would have to convert their plants to an enzymatic process.
“The enzymatic process uses less energy, and the cost of waste oil as a feedstock is significantly lower than refined oils,” says Frederik Mejlby. “A small number of plants have been producing biodiesel from waste oils using existing technologies. But this has not been cost-efficient until now, broadly speaking, as the waste oils have had to be refined before being processed using chemicals. We hope that our technology can unleash more of the potential in these lower grade feedstocks.”
Ethanol producers in Oregon will be getting some safety help. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is co-hosting free safety seminars Dec. 10–12 at the Portland Fire and Rescue Training Center in Portland, Oregon. The training is aimed toward first responders, hazmat teams, safety managers, and local emergency planning committees, as well as being open to the general public.
The goal of this seminar is for attendees to gain full ethanol emergency response training experience that they can put to use immediately in the field and pass along to other first response teams. A majority of this training is based on the “Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response,” a training package created by the Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition (EERC) that has been distributed throughout the United States and to several countries worldwide.
“The Office of State Fire Marshal is pleased to offer the Ethanol Safety Seminar, funded through the Hazardous Material Emergency Preparedness grant,” said Sue Otjen of Oregon’s State Emergency Response Commission. “This training will provide first responders with the knowledge and resources needed to be prepared to safely respond to ethanol and other fuel related incidents in their community.”
“2014 has been a very successful year for the RFA and its partners in educating and training communities across the nation on swift and efficient responses to ethanol emergencies,” said Kristy Moore, vice president of technical services at RFA. “We are proud to continue this indispensable program in Portland as the year comes to a close.”
To register and for more information, click here.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Tom Vilsack has announced the availability of $6.5 million in grants to 220 producers throughout the country to support their efforts to produce advanced biofuels. There is also an additional $4 million in grants dedicated to advanced the bioeconomy.
“Producing advanced biofuel is a major component of the drive to take control of America’s energy future by developing domestic, renewable energy sources,” said Vilsack. “These resources represent the Obama Administration’s commitment to support an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy that seeks to build a robust bio-based economy. Investments in biofuels will also help create jobs and further diversify the economy in our rural communities.”
The funding is being provided through USDA’s Advanced Biofuel Payment Program, which was established in the 2008 Farm Bill. Under this program, payments are made to eligible producers based on the amount of advanced biofuel produced from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch. Examples of eligible feedstocks include but are not limited to: crop residue; animal, food and yard waste; vegetable oil; and animal fat.
In other news, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the award of fiscal year 2014 grants through three other programs supporting bioenergy initiatives.
- The National Biodiesel Board and Regents of the University of Idaho received $768,000 and $192,000 respectively, through the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program. The program was established to stimulate biodiesel consumption and the development of a biodiesel infrastructure.
- South Dakota State University (SDSU) received $2.3 million through the Sun Grant Program. This program encourages bioenergy and biomass research collaboration between government agencies, land-grant colleges and universities, and the private sector.
- Through the Critical Agricultural Materials program, Iowa State University of Science and Technology received $1 million for the development of new paint, coating, and adhesive products that are derived from acrylated glycerol, which is a co-product of the biodiesel industry.
Alstom has opened its first offshore wind turbine production plants in Saint-Nazaire, France. On hand for an inauguration event was French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Alstom Chairman and Managing Director Patrick Kron and Alstom Renewable Power Chairman Jérôme Pécresse. The new facilities will manufacture nacelles and generators for the Haliade 150-6MW turbines while the towers and blades will be made in the Alstom plants in Cherbourg. The plants will produce, on average, 100 machines per day and will be fully operational in early 2015. Delivery is expected to begin during the first quarter and includes 5 turbines intended for the Block Island wind farm in the U.S.
The plants in Saint-Nazaire will also be assembling the 238 offshore turbines that are planned to equip the three facilities installed by EDF, the exclusive partner of Alstom on the French market, in Saint-Nazaire, Courseulles-sur-Mer and Fécamp starting in 2017.
“The inauguration of the Saint-Nazaire facility represents a milestone in Alstom’s story and in the country’s own industrial history,” said Kron. “These new plants are France’s first offshore wind turbine production factories. Thanks to them, we shall now be in a position to serve the French market as well as to meet a growing international demand.”
The Haliade 150-6MW wind turbine is designed for a marine setting. Thanks to a rotor exceeding 150 metres in diameter, the turbine’s yield is 15% higher than that of other same-generation wind turbines according to Alstom. With 6 MW of power.
Pécresse added, “Through the construction of those new plants, Alstom is upholding its determination to be one of the leaders in a French industrial sector of excellence devoted to renewable energy, and to ensure the sustainability of a Renewable Ocean Energy industry intended to claim an early position in a global market, by involving all our partners.”
Biomass producers in Oregon could lose out on some production tax credits, if the state gets its way. This story from Oregon Public Broadcasting says the state’s Department of Energy proposed a change that reduces tax incentives for biomass facilities.
Matt Krumenauer, a senior policy analyst with the agency, said the tax program was intended to offset the costs of producing, collecting and transporting biomass.
“We’ve analyzed the program and found that those costs for animal manure are much less than similar production or collection costs for other types of biomass,” he said.
Krumenauer said the tax credit provides incentives that are sometimes 10-times higher for animal manure than for other types of biomass, such as wood.
The losses could total up to nearly $5 million a year, based on current credits being handed out. The change would have to be made by the state legislature and signed off by the governor.