2014 Propane Engine Fuel Summit

The fourth annual 2014 Propane Engine Fuel Summit will take place on March 27, 2014 in Irving, Texas. The event will include panels of industry experts discussing topics such as how fueling with propane autogas can benefit your company’s bottom line, which propane autogas vehicle technologies are available now, which OEMs offer propane applications, and more.

2014 Propane Engine Fuel SummitJoe Thompson, president of ROUSH CleanTech, will be a keynote speaker. Thompson plans to share his years of experience in the automotive industry while addressing technological advances in the field of propane autogas fuel systems in the session, “This Isn’t Your Grandpa’s Propane Vehicle.”

“The leaders in the propane industry have a wealth of new knowledge to share about our rapidly advancing industry,” Thompson said. “This domestic resource supports job creation, economic growth and energy security nationwide — all while providing both economical and environmental advantages.”

The agenda will include speakers ranging from fleet managers who have adopted propane autogas vehicles in their fleet, to executives from the Propane Education & Resource Council, CleanFUEL USA, the Industrial Truck Association and more.

According to the event hosts, TSN Communications, converting a corporate fleet to propane autogas can create a positive impact on the environment and sizeable savings for an organization. Propane fueling stations, both private and public, are attainable and accessible, and propane industry equipment, such as forklifts and lawn mowers, is now widely available.

The 2014 Propane Engine Fuel Summit can be attended in person or viewed live via the free online webcast on March 27. There is no charge for viewing the entire event online, courtesy of the North Central Texas Council of Governments. The summit kicks off the 5th Annual Texas Alternative Energy & Transportation Conference & Expo.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFOrion Energy Systems was recognized as a 2013 Xcel Energy Efficiency Partner for outstanding efforts to save energy.
  • SeaRoc, was awarded 2nd place award in the 2014 renewableUK and The Crown Estate Health & Safety Awards for their innovation and delivery of a ‘minimal human intervention’ lattice tower installation methodology, recently deployed at Dogger Bank, alongside Forewind and Universal Foundation.
  • The Håkan Frisinger Foundation for Transportation Research has awarded its 2013 scholarship to Professor Lars Nielsen at Linköping University. Nielsen will receive the scholarship of SEK 250,000 for his national and international successes in vehicular systems research as well as hybrid technology, where Nielsen has been a strong contributor to the research development of national hybrid technology within The Swedish Hybrid Vehicle Centre (SHC).
  • According to a recent report from Navigant Research, worldwide revenue from electric vehicle supply equipment, or EVSE, sales will grow from $567 million annually in 2013 to $5.8 billion in 2022.

Despite Record Offshore Wind Projects, Industry Slows

Despite record offshore wind energy projects coming online in 2013, a recent report shows that new projects have slowed. Last year, 418 offshore turbines came online in Europe making a record 1,567 Megawatts (MW) of new capacity. This is one-third more than the capacity installed in 2012.

This makes a new total of 6,562 MW of offshore wind power – enough to provide 0.7 percent of the EU’s electricity.

European Offshore Wind in 2013However, the report finds that when taking a closer look at what happened, there was a slow-down during the year: two-thirds of the new capacity came online in the first six months. With 11 projects now under construction, down from 14 this time last year, market and regulatory stability is critical to bringing forward the 22,000 MW of consented projects across Europe.

“The unclear political support for offshore wind energy – especially in key offshore wind markets like the UK and Germany – has led to delays to planned projects and fewer new projects being launched,” said Justin Wilkes, Deputy CEO at the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). “This means installations are likely to plateau until 2015, followed by a decline as from 2016.”

Wilkes added, “An ambitious decision on a 2030 renewable energy target by the Heads of State in March would be the right signal to send to the offshore wind sector that Europe will develop its massive offshore wind potential for green growth, jobs, industrialisation, technological leadership and CO2 reductions.”

In 2013 Siemens was the leading turbine supplier (69%), DONG Energy the leading developer (48%), and Bladt the leading substructure supplier (37%), as they were in 2012.

Greenercars.org Releases Environmental Ratings

Greenercars.org has released its 17th annual 2014 Environmental Scores with the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive topping the list with the hightest-ever score of 59 out of 100. The vehicle will be rolled out nationally this year. The GreenerCars initiative is part of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

2011_smart_fortwo-electric-drive-cabriolet_Softtop_RoadsterThe next two “greenest” cars were the Toyota Prius C and the Nissan Leaf. Toyota’s entire family of Priuses performed exceedingly well, with the regular Prius and the Prius plug-in hybrid nabbing spots #4 and #7. Other top scorers for 2014 include the Honda Civic Hybrid (#5), Lexus CT 200H (#6), Honda Insight (#10), and the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid (#12). Making its return to the “Greenest” list after an absence last year is the Honda Civic Natural Gas vehicle (#9).

“We’ve had such an influx of hybrid and electric vehicles in recent years that the race to earn a spot on the “Greenest” list is more competitive than ever, particularly for conventional vehicles. It’s encouraging to see automakers investing heavily in eco-savvy vehicles on the whole,” said ACEEE lead vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan.

New to the list this year is the Mitsubishi Mirage, Mitsubishi’s new subcompact offering for the American market. The gasoline vehicle takes the 8th spot on the list. The only other non-hybrid gasoline model to make the list this year is the Smart ForTwo which placed at #11.

“From the rise in the number of efficient vehicles in car-sharing and car rental fleets to the myriad advanced technology vehicle choices available to consumers, the leading edge of the U.S. auto market is evolving rapidly,” said Steve Nadel, ACEEE’s Executive Director.

In addition to the “greenest” cars, the list also includes “greener choices” and the “meanest” cars as well. The dirtiest vehicle for 2014 is the Class 2B Ram 2500 followed by the Bugatti Veyron and the Ford E-150 FFV Wagon.

Iowa RFA President Steve Bleyl Seeks Advocates

The new Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (Iowa RFA) President Steve Bleyl is seeking advocates for biofuels. Iowa RFA President Steve BleylWhile giving his remarks to kick off the 8th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit held in Altoona, Iowa, he had people who were driving flex-fuel vehicles, using E15 or mid-level ethanol blends and driving biodiesel vehicles stand up. Most of the 600 plus attendees were still sitting.

Thus, said Bleyl who works for Green Plains Renewable Energy (they have three ethanol production facilities in Iowa), the industry and consumers need to become better advocates for renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel.

Bleyl noted that Iowa is a motivated state to have higher ethanol blends. The state incentivizes retailers to blend over 10 percent ethanol (E10), and he said you’re starting to see that effect take off. He noted that the IRFA board has given his staff some pretty lofty goals. They want E15 in the state and his goal is to have 100 E15 pumps in Iowa by the end of this year.

I asked Bleyl, so how exactly do we make this goal happen? “I’m in a unique situation. l  will actually write someone at a retail gas chain and tell them, hey, I was at your gas station today and your E85 is not competitively priced. I know what the price should be,” answered Bleyl. But he said he’s not doing it in a way to tell them how to price their fuel, but in a way that let’s them know he realizes they want to do more and he wants to help.

He challenged me and all those at the conference as well as in his interview to be better advocates and call retail chains and write letters and ask for E15 and E85 and biodiesel. He stressed that if retailers know consumers want these fuels, then most of them will offer the fuels to their customers.

His last piece of advice, “Fight globally, but act locally.”

Listen to my interview with Bob Dinneen here: Iowa RFA President Steve Bleyl Seeks Advocates

View the 2014 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit photo album.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFThe Clean Energy States Alliance has released a new report titled “Potential RPS Markets for Renewable Energy Generators“. The report, written by Ed Holt of Ed Holt & Associates, provides information regarding where a renewable energy generator in a particular state or Canadian province can possibly sell its renewable energy certificates in order to meet the demand created by a renewable portfolio standard (RPS).
  • The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has published its 2014 flex-fuel vehicle (FFVs) brochure that explains in detail which makes and models are available as FFVs. There are more than 16 million FFVs on the road today and more than 3,200 stations nationwide that offer E85.
  • The Interstate Turbine Advisory Council (ITAC) has added the Osiris 10 and Kestrel e400nb, two fully certified small wind turbines, to its Unified List of wind turbines. The turbines join six others on ITAC’s small wind turbine list; these turbines meet ITAC’s listing requirements, a unique set of eligibility criteria that address both the business practices of manufacturers and the performance and reliability of turbines with a rotor swept area of less than 200m2 (meters squared). The list is used by ITAC-member clean energy programs across the U.S. that have pooled resources to efficiently review and evaluate turbines.
  • The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Energy Efficiency Standardization Coordination Collaborative (EESCC) has released for a 45-day public comment period the EESCC Standardization Roadmap V1.0 draft, which outlines 116 action-oriented recommendations to advance energy efficiency in the built environment through standards and conformance activities. The draft is being issued for public comment to provide an opportunity for review and feedback on the EESCC’s findings and recommendations before final publication in mid-2014.

First Magma-Enhanced Geothermal System Created

During the Icelandic Deep Drilling (IDDP) project that began in 2009, a borehole drilled at Krafla in northeast Iceland unexpectedly hit magma at 2100 meters with a temperature of 900-1000 Celsius. This borehole was the first of several wells being drilled in search of high-temperature geothermal resources.

IDDP-1 in IcelandFast forward four years later and the efforts of the IDDP project were reported in the January 2014 issue of the International journal of Geothermics. One paper focusing on this project was co-authored by Wilfred Elders, a professor emeritus of geology at the University of California, Riverside, along with several of his Icelandic colleagues.

“Drilling into magma is a very rare occurrence anywhere in the world and this is only the second known instance, the first one, in 2007, being in Hawaii,” Elders explained. “The IDDP, in cooperation with Iceland’s National Power Company, the operator of the Krafla geothermal power plant, decided to investigate the hole further and bear part of the substantial costs involved.”

Once the magma was hit, the team inserted a steel casing in the bottom section closest to the magma and cemented it into the well. The hole was then allowed to heat slowly and eventually allowed to flow superheated steam for the next two years, until July 2012, when it was shut down in order to replace some of the surface equipment.

“In the future, the success of this drilling and research project could lead to a revolution in the energy efficiency of high-temperature geothermal areas worldwide,” Elders said. Continue reading

Economic Impact Study Released During IRFA Summit

A new economic impact study was released this week during the 8th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit hosted by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (Iowa RFA). The study was conducted by ABF Economics economist John Urbanchuk highlighting the impact of the renewable fuels industry on Iowa’s economy. During 2013, spending on new cellulosic plant construction and research and development offset reduced spending on inputs due to lower commodity prices.

“The environment facing the renewable fuels industry improved modestly in 2013 and the economy of Iowa benefitted accordingly,” said Urbanchuk about the report findings. “Ethanol and biodiesel producers are part of a manufacturing sector that adds substantial value to agricultural commodities produced in Iowa.”

Based on the size and scope year-end, the renewable fuels industry had the following impacts on Iowa’s economy in 2013:

  • Accounts for more than $5.5 billion, or about 4 percent, of Iowa GDP;
  • Generates $4 billion of income for Iowa households; and
  • Supports more than 62,000 jobs through the entire economy.

IRFA Summit 2014 Monte Shaw2Iowa RFA Executive Director Monte Shaw touched on the huge impact that the renewable fuels industry has on Iowa. He noted that Iowa’s renewable fuels industry has taken the best punches its opponents can throw and is still fighting back to preserve a strong and growing federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“While production and profits were sound, the renewable fuels industry took a pounding politically in 2013,” said Shaw in his state of Iowa address. “But I stand before you today to declare that the Iowa renewable fuels industry can take their punches and we are fighting back! No one here ever thought it would be easy to earn market share away from the world’s most powerful and profitable industry. The fact is, the world needs oil, but consumers also deserve the chance to choose lower cost renewable fuel blends. So, we will never stop fighting to put the option of E15, E85 and biodiesel in front of every American consumer.”

Even though the comment period has ended for the 2014 proposed RFS rules, Shaw stressed that President Obama needs to keep his promise about supporting cleaner fuels, consumer choice, and cutting oil dependence. He needs to pick up the phone and call the EPA and simply state: Don’t mess with the RFS.”

View the 2014 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit photo album.

Study Finds U.S. Solar Jobs Grew 20% in 2013

The Solar Foundation (TSF) has released its fourth annual National Solar Jobs Census, which found that the U.S. solar industry employed 142,698 Americans in 2013. This figure includes the addition of 23,682 solar jobs over the previous year, representing a 19.9 percent growth in employment since September 2012. Solar employment grew 10 times faster than the national average employment growth rate of 1.9 percent in the same period.

TSF National Solar Jobs Census Graphic“The solar industry’s job-creating power is clear,” said Andrea Luecke, Executive Director and President of TSF. “The industry has grown an astounding 53 percent in the last four years alone, adding nearly 50,000 jobs. Our Census findings show that for the fourth year running, solar jobs remain well-paid and attract highly-skilled workers. That growth is putting people back to work and helping local economies.”

The good news was mentioned by President Obama in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 and he has been vocal in his support of clean energy in including solar.

Solar employers are also optimistic about 2014, expecting to add another 22,000 jobs over the coming year. By comparison, over the same time period, the fossil fuel electric generation sector shrank by more than 8,500 jobs (a decline of 8.7 percent) and jobs in coal mining grew by just 0.25 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Survey.

“This is an exciting time for the solar industry in the United States, made even more clear by the latest industry job figures,” commented U.S. Energy Secretary Ernst Moniz.  “According to the Solar Foundation, today there are more than 140,000 Americans employed up and down the U.S. solar supply chain and across every state. Since 2010, the solar industry has created nearly 50,000 new American jobs and employment has grown nearly 20 percent in the last year alone.”

“President Obama has set an ambitious goal to double electricity generation from renewable sources once again by 2020, and a vibrant U.S. workforce is vital to achieving this, Moniz added. The DOE has a solar program known as the SunShot Initiative to help support the future of the solar industry. “To support a growing workforce and a new generation of clean energy leaders, the Energy Department is providing training and education opportunities for engineers, utility workers and students, as well as supporting projects across the country to ensure America’s continued leadership in clean energy innovation.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFPatton Boggs has released “The State of the Union in 2014,” a succinct yet substantial analysis of President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address to Congress and the nation, delivered the evening of Tuesday, January 28, 2014. The report details key agenda items and priorities for the remainder of the year, as laid out by the President in his fifth State of the Union address.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced that its Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is making $24.9 million available through its new Low- or No-Emission Vehicle Deployment Program that will put a new generation of advanced, non-polluting transit buses on the road in communities nationwide. The funds are intended to encourage more widespread adoption of reliable “green energy” buses into transit fleets.
  • Dyadic International, Inc. a global biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development, manufacture and sale of enzymes and other proteins for the bioenergy, bio-based chemical, biopharmaceutical and industrial enzyme industries, announced today that the expansion of its research laboratory in The Netherlands is now complete.
  • Organizations and individuals at the forefront of clean energy development are marking their calendars for Earth Day 2014 (Tuesday, April 22), when the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) will host a one-day International Geothermal Showcase at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. With the global geothermal market showing dramatic growth, the event will feature an exciting program showcasing geothermal projects, trends and governmental policies in the U.S. and around the world.